My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


The Syndrome Is Very Common 

Nowadays, we value safety, we value security, and we want to mitigate our risks. We don’t want to enter into dangerous commitments which we have a tough time seeing the end of, and we certainly don’t want to seem like we’re hasty or rash. We label some as “cowboys” and it’s a pejorative (John Wayne, have mercy . . .), and we’re so afraid of someone getting hurt that we don’t let our children wander out of the back yard. And the lengths we go to now to insulate ourselves from failure would make Thomas Edison blow a gasket! Every once in a while we get jolted into youthful action, like when 3,000 innocents were killed one sunny Tuesday morning by enrgetic young men who used our complacency against us. But eventually that action faded, and we started looking for the remote control again.

At its heart, though nobody ever said anything about it, the health care debate was about our national character. It was a debate about whether or not we were going to institutionalize our old age.

On the one side, you had (some honest) Republicans and a few Democrats trying vainly to stop the juggernaut of government because government impedes Freedom; on the other side, you had (some honest) Democrats driving that juggernaut of government to the rescue of the fallen because only that juggernaut can provide Safety and Security for the people. On BOTH sides are men and women of good will and good conscience who honestly believe that their vision is the right one for the country (though not all qualify). And ultimately, the vision of Security outweighed the vision of Freedom.

And so the small and the weak among us now will have a better safety net under them. The ultimate price the rest of society pays for the construction of that net has yet to be seen, but history teaches us that once that net is there it will never go away, no matter how much the maintenance of that net eventually costs.

But the spirit that built the Empire State Building among the carnage of the Great Depression will no longer strive for Icarian heights like that (dubious? the Empire State Building was built in about 2 years—how long has there been nothing but a hole in the ground where the World Trade Centers used to stand?); the spirit that sent men to the moon has run its course on dangerous manned exploration and shifted towards mechanical exploration; the spirit that celebrated the American character at Mount Rushmore (also during the height of the Great Depression) would never be so arrogant as to claim such a monument in latter-day America (even if the E.P.A. would allow it). There are many who say the curtailing of that spirit is a good thing—that the world as a whole could use a far more humble and subdued America.

I am not among them.

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