Tuesday, February 26, 2008



The below is a response to an e-mail sent by a good friend commenting on my last several posts. This particular friend is one of the most original thinkers and brilliant people I know. Not coincidentally, he agrees with me on most issues.

Note that, since my correspondent’s e-mail dealt with political issues, my response was limited to our country’s political and governance decline. I did not address the sewerification of our culture, deification of artifice and denigration of honesty and good character, decline (near absence, really) of meaningful educational standards, spiritual bankruptcy, crass materialism, personal financial irresponsibility, decline in the family, ubiquitous me-meism and disregard for our fellow person, collective unwillingness to control our borders or defend the concept of our nationhood, or the other maladies that permeate modern American society and give us further cause for believing that, as the blowhard Rush Limbaugh would say, our best years lie ahead of us.



I've thought for at least the last twenty years that this country was doomed. It took Rome (depending on the point at which you start, and, arguably, the point at which you end) about 250 years to fall from its peak to oblivion. Things move more quickly now; we won't have that much time.

The problem is that people have not taken their responsibilities as citizens of
a self-governing nation seriously. Self-government is just that--governing that
you have to do yourself, and hence involves some work. If you don't want to do
the work on, say, your house or your lawn, you can hire someone to do it for
you. Similarly, if you don't want to do the work necessary for self-government
(keeping informed, reading up on the issues, thinking about things), someone
will do it for you, and that someone will expect to be paid. That is just what has happened. People have anesthetized themselves with sports, TV, movies, etc. while protesting that they are just "too busy" to follow what is going on in their country (like
Letterman's top ten or the Bulls' latest exercise in futility is REALLY
compelling), leaving the work of governance to someone else--the manipulators,
the money people, the swindlers, the con-men, the hornswogglers, the professional trough sloppers. That is why we have this choice of three patheticoes for our next president.

Yes, self-government requires some time and effort, that is why it is called
SELF-government. If we're too busy for self-government, well, I guess we're too
busy for self-government.

To use (again) perhaps my favorite Mencken quote, "The American people get the
government they deserve, and they get it good."

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