Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Blast From The Past

I was all set to write what I believed would be a thoughtful, interesting post combining a couple of thoughts that had been occurring to me in recent days. 

The first was something that I have touched on in the past, the concept that society today is too caught up in instant gratification. From microwave food to downloadable movies, we want what we want when we want it, and we can become downright surly when something gets in the way or interferes with achieving any part of the reward that we desire. 

The second was about increasing influence of the government “nanny state” in our lives. Between the increased societal influence of political correctness, the increasingly litigious society that we have become (suing anyone and everyone over any offense, real or imagined), and the increasing role of mindless government bureaucracy in our lives (deciding everything for us from what kind of power plants we can and will have to what kind of bug spray chemicals we can use … remind me to tell you about DDT someday). 

The third was about the dramatic change in our lives that is about to come about as a part of the passage and signing of the Economic Stimulus Package (I refuse to use the made up name from Congress). Even the small part of what I see on the horizon scares the living crap out of me, and I believe that there is far more out there that I do not yet understand. Just when I was poised to produce this masterpiece of logic, reason, and conservative argument, I came across something from my continuing process of adult education. It describes far better than I could, the storm approaching. I share it with you out of a sense of awe and sadness:  

“The power is absolute, thoughtful of detail, orderly, provident, and gentle. It would resemble parental authority if, father like, it tried to prepare its charges for a man’s life, but on the contrary, it only tries to keep them in perpetual childhood. It likes to see the citizens enjoy themselves, provided that they think of nothing but enjoyment. It gladly works for their happiness but wants to be the sole agent and judge of it. It provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principle concerns, directs their industry, makes rules for their testaments, and divides their inheritances. Why should it not entirely relieve them from the trouble of thinking and all the cares of living.”
 - Alexis de Tocqueville, from his ground-breaking work “Democracy in Americas”, first printed in 1835  

It’s not that I mind being trumped you understand, but to be put in my place the French no less, and by a man who, while undoubtedly a genius, died almost 100 years before I was born is simply mind-numbing. To have to accept the fact that he saw where this country could be going over 170 years ago when oh so few of us see it happening even now is a tragedy that I am having trouble comprehending.

 

2 comments:

Jeff Lehner said...

Agreed, Tim. It's a very dangerous path we're on. I had a small hope initially that Obama might rise to the (extraordinary) occasion and turn away from the corporatism/Bailout Nation mess that Bush and the Democrat Congress created last fall.

No such luck, it appears.

The greatest tragedy of all is that it is the most hopeful among us who will be hurt most. Live and learn, I guess.

Roland Hansen said...

Oh, my aching head!

That's too much for me.

I can only focus on one thing at a time, if that!!