Giving Up?I accidentally caught a local news report yesterday morning that sent a chill up my spine. The report was about Obama. Chris Mathews may feel tingles going up his leg when he sees Obama, but that tingle, for me, comes from my wife.
No, this was a distinct chill of fear. I looked over at the TV, and there was the handsome, photogenic newsman talking about the handsome, photogenic Obama's upcoming news conference. There was a photo of our handsome, photogenic, dear leader in the background while the newsman was talking. Under the photo were the topics of the upcoming speech. The one that made me squeamish was the announcement of a cabinet level post to help rebuild U.S. cities hurt by the tanking of the U.S. auto industry.
The handsome newsman read it with a straight face, as if it were no big deal that another portion of our domestic market and our lives was going to be taken over by the government. Yes, more government control over a formerly free market scares me. What scares me more though, is the fact that it has become so matter-of-fact. Government control over our lives, which has been slowly increasing since I was a child, is now barreling full steam ahead. Our rights, which were slowly being eroded (for our own good and the good of the children) are now being erased altogether - and it's no big deal.
We, the people, are no longer concerned that we are no longer a people with a government. We've now been degraded to a government with a people.
Wait, let me correct myself. It's worse than people not being concerned. People are welcoming that government control, begging for it, demanding it. The citizenry wants the government to save us from the collapsing auto industry, from greedy capitalists, from (gasp!) climate change.
Legions of Chicken Littles have turned Americans from a people of innovation, bravery, and fortitude into helpless subjects. As a society, we have decided that freedom is too much work. There is too much uncertainty for our tastes. We are afraid. We are so fearful that we will even allow the government to tell us what kind of light bulbs to use in our homes. We want to be safe and secure in the comforting arms of our Uncle Barack. (I know, I didn't say Uncle Sam. Uncle Sam has demands. He expects us to stand on our own two feet, to be strong and secure in our strength, to defend our country and those weaker than us. That's become too much to ask, too much responsibility and belief in our own self-worth. Uncle Barack wants nothing but our obedience and our wealth so that he can redistribute it.)
Instead of reaching for the stars and welcoming that next challenge, we long to be "free from freedom."
As Eric Hoffer said in his book, THE TRUE BELIEVER,
Unless a man has the talents to make something of himself, freedom is an irksome burden.... We join a mass movement to escape from individual responsibility, or, in the words of an ardent young Nazi, "to be free from freedom." It was not sheer hypocrisy when the rank-and-file Nazis declared themselves not guilty of all the enormities they had committed. They considered themselves cheated and maligned when made to shoulder responsibility for obeying orders. Had they not joined the Nazi movement in order to be free from responsibility?Is this how it is to end, with the formerly free people of the greatest country on Earth whimpering our way into the dustbin of history?
If not, we've got a lot of work ahead of us and a lot of bad thinking to undo.