Saturday, August 22, 2009

Long-Winded and Meandering


I truly believe that there has been a fundamental change in the way that we operate here in America. Everyone alive today, save for the 80+ crowd who lived through the depression, is deeply imbued with the idea of American exceptionalism and how, due to the inherent goodness accrued by the choice of our birth country, we will never be less than the top of the heap.

Folks here have never known a serious hard time. They also have an odd idea that any other way of doing things is bad and as such should be shouted down vociferously. The current conflict at the political level in this country is a direct result of this. The good times of the past 15 years are not the result of a bit of overspending, but are our right and the ideal to which we should return.

But our "way of life" and the governance arrangements that we currently operate under are pretty much unique to our current point in history. Which is the way that it should be. The purpose of our elections is not the passing of the stone tablets to a new high priest for him to enforce the rules of the past, but rather, it appears to me to be a deliberate means of changing the means of governance to suit the exigencies of the time. I would be astounded if our founding fathers thought of it in any other way

This idea of a fluid government that evolves to suit the times and the will of the populace has offended right- thinking people since the inception of the Council of the Plebes in ancient Rome, probably before that. The idea that a majority should rule is one that sits well when one is a part of the majority. It is, of course, somewhat less appealing when one is in the minority. But that is the nature of our government and our constitution.

There are always folks who don't like the way that things are being done at the present, and there is a subset of those who will advocate violent means to return things to "the right way". I refer to these as "the dimmer bulbs".

For some reason, Europe seems to draw the most ire from the dimmer bulbs. "They are socialist's for God sakes." or "they don't work hard like us Murkins". It never seems to dawn on the clot-brains that lurk around the nut-case right side of the spectrum that the living and governance arrangements of other countries are not the product of evil, but rather a means of dealing with a set of antecedent conditions unique to that particular country.


Gather ye marbles said...

Relatedly, as Jon Stewart put it:

"I think you might be confusing 'tyranny' with 'losing'. And I feel for you because I've been there a few times, in fact one of them was a bit of a nail-biter. But see, when the guy that you disagree with gets elected, he's probably going to do things you disagree with. He could cut taxes on the wealthy, remove government's oversight capability, invade a country that you thought should not be invaded, but that's not tyranny. That's democracy. See, now you're in the minority. It's supposed to taste like a shit taco."

(Transcribed from The Daily Show, April 8 2009.)


The ash heap of history is every nation's destiny. The United States, of course, thinks that she is what history has been waiting for. Such hubris will provide many a laugh to future historians when comparing the U.S. to Babylon, Greece, Rome and other super-powers who learned, the hard way, that self-righteousness is not a virtue.

Publius said...

Hubris is almost inevitable for the big winners - who then become the big losers.
The USA isn't just full of whiners... it's full of losers.
Not all of us, of course. There are plenty of modest, creative Americans willing to adapt and cooperate peacefully.

Then there are the McMansion-dwelling, SUV driving whackos in the majority.