News from Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Are We To Become A Welfare State? Haven't We Learned Anything From History?

The politicians governing this country, in Washington, DC, are so far removed from the reality of who we are they seem to be living in a parallel universe. In his inaugural speech, President-elect Obama, described his ideal world as one where the people owed all to big government. In his perfect world, every facet of our lives, our life style, how much income we would be allowed, the education of our children, and their futures, would be in the hands of the government. Subtext: We would be provided for according to what the government felt we needed and our duty was to accept and be content. This is a peculiarly European philosophy of government.
Is that what I heard? Surely not. He was describing a total welfare state—like the one that failed so miserably for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. We all watched while Russia imploded and shook our heads at the futility of a government trying to separate into an elitist, ruling class that subjugates the remainder of the populace to total dependency. It was called Communism, or Socialism and it didn’t work. Eventually, the little guys, referred to as the Proletariat, rebelled.
European history has always been about a privileged class, created by accident of birth, or dint of politics or religion, keeping a portion of the populace dependent and powerless in order to maintain elitist power.  Dependency was maintained by a government welfare system. Work was for those who were too dumb to play the system.
Remnants of the idea remain in Europe. We see it in public riots triggered when welfare checks are threatened, or people are asked to work a few more hours a week, or beleaguered governments try to balance their budgets by cutting back on benefits. Somehow, a portion of the populace has acquired contempt for honest endeavor. They are like baby birds sitting on a fence, demanding more and more food from their beleaguered parents.
Not everyone in the late 1800s bought into the “work is bad” idea. When the lower classes had enough, the bravest and best of them left for a new land across an ocean to seek the freedom to find a better life, free of government oppression, taking their solid work ethic with them. Thus began The American Dream, battered and beleaguered lately, but still alive.
Descendants of those stalwart legions are the bedrock of this nation, not the whining, privilege-seeking, corrupt men and women who govern us from Washington, DC. We need only to look to California to see what the “everybody on welfare” philosophy of government can do to destroy a nation. Again, the employed and business entrepreneurs who are supposed to pay for this have had enough. They are leaving.
How can our DC leaders be so unfamiliar with who we are? We are hard working, entrepreneurial people who will tolerate only so much interference from government. Forty-nine percent did not vote for the idea of the government-controlled life dreamed up by the socialist thinkers in DC. They will put up with only so much before they rebel. Gun control, outrageous corruption in our financial community, labor unions exploiting their workers—they all might be the last straw.
Our leaders would do well to learn from history. In “The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire,” historian Edward Gibbon wrote what might foreshadow history today.
“In the end more than they wanted Freedom,
They wanted security.
When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society
But for society to give to them,
When freedom they wished for was
Freedom from responsibility,
Then Athens ceased to be free.”
-          Edward Gibbon (1737 – 1794)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Shootings, Murder and Mayhem. What's up with That?

It’s been over a month since my last post, but something happened. The world went sour and spending time writing a blog, which I enjoy immensely, seemed like such a trivial, self-serving contribution to an already too enormous glut of words trying to make sense out of what’s going on.
Although I’m a writer with an insatiable need to write, how do I avoid dwelling on a human race run amok and not let it color my enthusiasm for good things to come? 
Politicians are no help here. The cultural anthropologists will have to explain human behavior to us in such a way that we can deal with its atrocities and understand how we’ve emerged, since the beginning of our existence, with this unholy need to kill every other living thing that crosses our path. Our three thousand year history is a relentless chronicle of violent human behavior—ethnic cleansings, slaughters of entire civilizations, destruction of irreplaceable treasures, the slaughter of those of different beliefs—the Jewish Holocaust—I could go on and on. This need to destroy is not the work of some supernatural devil force. It is perfectly normal behavior of a species of mammal that has imbedded in its DNA a predator gene, usually recessive, but, when turned on, runs amok.
We are the mammalian product of evolution rising from the primordial mud thousands of years ago. We have been given, by whichever Creator you recognize as your God, DNA and a genetic make-up that contains a predator gene that is usually recessive until activated by a host of reasons. Something went wrong during the process but, it defines our character. The sooner we accept that this gene, when activated, causes behavior capable of obscene destruction, the sooner we will be able to deal with it. We cannot deny it—we can only learn to recognize it at the start and learn how to channel it away from calamity.
We see the evidence everywhere.  We can begin with our determined destruction of any life form on Earth that isn’t like us and therefore of no value.
Go on from there to the child massacre in Connecticut, by a lost soul for whom there was no help, and on to a mother who had to put six bullets into a home invader to save her children, acts of neighborhood violence by men who’ve lost their humanity, the wholesale slaughter of 60,000 citizens by a demonic, power-crazed ruler, or the ever-present ethnic cleansing inspired by zealots held in thrall by their religion exists with the same fervor today as it did a thousand years ago.
If we want to make this a better world than what we have now, we have to admit that humans kill when turned on to do so. They enjoy it. We won’t solve the problem by getting rid of guns because other ways less convenient will replace them. We must accept the existence of the predator gene and recognize that, even though it is usually recessive, there are a host of catalysts that will activate it.
Killing is not acceptable and must result in loss of life as punishment. That includes acts of war, ethnic cleansing, and simply killing because you can. Recognize the existence of this aberrant human behavior, learn to recognize it early on and its many causes and teach the awareness of it beginning in early grade school. Recognize mental illness and make treatment available. Recognize early signs of predatory behavior and do not allow teasing or bullying in the young.
Find out why Chicago and Detroit neighborhoods reservoirs of violence, and fix it. Why do children bully? Put an end to it by teaching why. Get to work and do some thoughtful parenting. Be prepared to learn that humans who cannot be re-educated will have to be eliminated from society forever.
Meanwhile, understand the problem and be prepared to do whatever it takes to protect yourself.  You might want to learn more about my take on the subject by reading my book, “Accidental Alien.”