Kyle Smith

Left and right can agree on something: America is freakin’ doomed.

Our military-political empire is crumbling, the Union is falling apart, America’s wealthy period is a fading memory (duh) and our political spatting is about to go all Gettysburg.

How do I know all this? Not just from TV and radio blowhards, but from respected analysts. Many of whom have actually gotten these notions printed between hard covers, by major publishers.

Canada — can I crash with you for the next few decades? America is turning into “The Road.”

This year, the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center, which is to “hate groups” what Gen. Jack T. Ripper of “Dr. Strangelove” was to flouridation, warns that these sinister bands are at “record levels.” More Oklahoma City bombing-style violence is coming, it says, because “we are in the midst of one of the most significant right-wing populist rebellions in United States history.”

A conservative writer, Lee Harris, evokes similar imagery in his new book, “The Next American Civil War: The Populist Revolt Against the Liberal Elite”: “Once resistance against authority has reached a certain point, it becomes difficult to keep it in check. Eventually a point of no return is reached, when all efforts to govern the society are baffled, so that no other options remain except revolution and civil war.”

Jeez, no other options? I just wanted to attend a lunch-hour rally while wearing a funny tricorn hat.

House Minority Leader John Boehner said passage of the health-care law would be “Armageddon.” This usage is a sarcrilege. Let us not trifle with a consecrated term that should be used only in its proper context: Def Leppard’s “Armageddon It.” (Refrain: “Are you gettin’ it? Armageddon it!”)

There’s a (left-wing) secessionist movement in Vermont. There’s a (right-wing) secessionist movement in Texas. Proposal: Grant them both of their wishes — but only as a joint entity. Oil, maple syrup. What’s the difference? Bernie Sanders and George W. Bush can do joint ads for the new nation of Texmont’s tourism bureau: “You can have my vegan granola when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.”

Where is the perspective on all of this? The idea of the coming American disaster is even more enduring than the American disaster movie. Today’s fears of the Tea Party/the Fed/Halliburton are just Mad Libs substitutes for 19th-century denunciations of the pope/the gold standard/the Freemasons.

In his 1964 Harper’s essay “The Paranoid Style in American Politics,” Richard Hofstadter wrote that the depression of 1893 “was alleged to be an international creation of the Catholics who began it by starting a run on the banks. Some spokesmen of the movement circulated a bogus encyclical attributed to Leo XIII instructing American Catholics on a certain date in 1893 to exterminate all heretics, and a great many anti-Catholics daily expected a nationwide uprising. The myth of an impending Catholic war of mutilation and extermination of heretics persisted into the twentieth century.”

Despite his title, though, Hofstadter concluded that “the paranoid style is not confined to a particular country and time. It is an international phenomenon.” Those disaster movies may be American-made, but they’re internationally beloved. “Armagaddeon,” “Deep Impact,” “Independence Day,” “2012” and their kin sold most of their tickets overseas. Humanity seems to have an unhealthy fascination with the end of the world, with wars and Rapture and worst-case scenarios.

These are troubled times, but even now — or perhaps especially — it’s not optimism that sells. Americans like to be warned that this will only end in tears, then be pleasantly surprised when we survive to brood another day.