It’s not so much what N.Y. Times columnist Paul Krugman has said in his latest (6.18) essay, although his conclusions about the ways in which Donald Trump has downgraded our country’s reputation and is ignoring or undermining traditional values certainly inspire alarm.

It’s the fact that Krugman has titled the piece “Fall of the American Empire,” which conveys a glum air of resignation while sounding like a Samuel Bronston film.

First two paragraphs: “The U.S. government is, as a matter of policy, literally ripping children from the arms of their parents and putting them in fenced enclosures (which officials insist aren’t cages, oh no). The U.S. president is demanding that law enforcement stop investigating his associates and go after his political enemies instead. He has been insulting democratic allies while praising murderous dictators. And a global trade war seems increasingly likely.

“What do these stories have in common? Obviously they’re all tied to the character of the man occupying the White House, surely the worst human being ever to hold his position. But there’s also a larger context, and it’s not just about Donald Trump. What we’re witnessing is a systematic rejection of longstanding American values — the values that actually made America great.”