The neo-barbarians are here.
I am not referring to skin-clad savages wielding axes and spears, of course. Those are the old-school barbarians, and their so-called “barbarism” was largely the result of a bad PR image crafted by their supposedly “civilized” opponents.
The creatures I call “neo-barbarians” are not foreign enemies or rivals. These are home-made barbarians. We can’t defend against them by locking the gates, because they’re already in our midst, trying as hard as they can to destroy our civilization. From within.
These are the people who don’t understand civilization or how it works, and wouldn’t like it if they did. People who think that civilization is just something that exists, and all they need do is enjoy what they do understand- luxuries, a high standard of living, and easy work for high pay. Responsibilities are something for the Government to worry about. Everybody has money, but the Government is always broke. Deficit spending, and ever more “vital” social services for which the Government has to spend money. The most vital program, of course, is buying votes to keep the Government in power, but it gets harder and harder for the Government to get anything done. (roughly paraphrased from H. Beam Piper)
Still worse is the incessant babbling of “rights” with absolutely no mention of responsibilities. People complain about not getting enough from the Government but do everything possible to avoid paying any taxes. People complain about getting screwed over by the courts but exhibit outstanding initiative in getting out of jury duty.
There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. Everything we have- including our rights- involves some sort of cost. The price of having all those inalienable rights is the responsibility to be a good citizen. Serving your country (in one form or another). Obeying laws which make it possible for three hundred million people to operate a high-tech, mobile society with the fewest possible problems. Paying for the Government services you receive. Voting in elections. All of these things are the bare minimum responsibilities to pay the price for our civilization.
As I have mentioned before, the United States of America is not a democracy. Our country is a constitutional democratic republic. We (the People) elect representatives to run the government for us. The original Constitution only allowed for the direct election of US Representatives (Senators and the President were selected without direct voting from the People), because the founders were terrified of the People being able to vote themselves into servitude in pursuit of Government largess.
This has historically been the downfall of all wealthy republics, and the United States is taking the same self-destructive road. In order to keep the masses of people happy and comfortable, Rome paid for lavish public spectacles in the circus and provided free bread to the poor. Whole generations of people grew up in Rome demanding this largess, never bothering to seek jobs- the Government would take care of them. Sooner or later, such social programs end up consuming all of the republic’s treasure. When this happens, the republic either collapses from the weight of all the freeloaders or expands militarily to pay for the masses of citizens who contribute nothing. Anarchy or Empire. Neither choice is particularly appealing.
Our Government is promising to spend trillions of dollars to appease the masses. The odd twist in our American version of the fall of Rome is the nature of those masses. In Rome, it was the masses of people in the City who were dependent upon the Government for their livelihood. In America, the masses are the corporate sponsors upon whom the Government depends for its livelihood.
The difference in definition is of little consequence. Even if the Government spent those trillions of dollars pouring money into the pockets of individual citizens, it would have the same toxic effect upon the future of our republic. For what seems like the best of reasons, we are headed down the rocky road to Anarchy or Empire- probably both.
Have we- as a species- lost the ability to learn from the mistakes of the past? The current program of corporate welfare (Government-subsidized failure, really) is merely a thin veneer over generations of failed fiscal policies. Throwing good money after bad never works. All we are doing is stealing from our nation’s future prosperity, and thereby rendering that putative prosperity less and less likely.
We can do something about it. Assuming you can pry yourself away from the orgy of consumerism that the holiday season has become, sit down and contact your elected representatives. Failure to do so makes you complicit in the fraud and outright theft now taking place in Washington DC. Even this would not be enough. Representatives and Senators are supposed to ignore the wishes of the electorate if doing so were in the best interests of the country. For far too long, however, our Government officials have been willing- even eager- to ignore the wishes of their constituents if it were in the officials‘ best interests.
Here’s how to deal with this problem. Pay attention. Find out how your Representative and Senator voted on various issues. Penalize them for self-serving decisions by kicking the lying bastards out of office. Senators can be tough to handle for most Americans. A senate term is six years, and most Americans can’t hold a coherent thought for that long, much less remember how their Senator voted.
The House of Representatives is another matter entirely. A House term is only two years. With a little effort, even Americans can remember whether or not a given Representative deserves a new term. Better still, if you can’t remember, vote in somebody else. Always err on the side of replacement when it comes to Gummint Oafishals. They are supposed to be public servants. In my opinion, that gives them a degree of completely undeserved status. Our elected representatives are more like parts in a machine. When the parts quit performing their designed function, they get discarded. Think of your Senator or Representative as a malfunctioning part and treat ’em that way. We might start to get better results from the Government.
Current status: Disgusted
Current music: Smaointe by Loreena McKennitt