This post might be a little scattered. I’m told I’m the twelve hour warning for this bug – throat a little sore, tired beyond all reason – and that two weeks of being rather sick follow. So, I’m trying to do my posts on Sunday night, and will re-run MGC if needed.
This is one of the things that has been getting to me, though, and I don’t even think it needs to be a long post (though knowing me, it might very well be.)
Recently and pretty much everywhere, I’ve been reading Eulogies to America. Do not get me started on how this makes me feel. Someone shortly after the election texted me with “You must feel like the last person who got a ticket on the Titanic.”
But even then, even after the poll watching that got me very angry, I didn’t feel that was quite right. I had a moment of despair on the night of the election, immortalized forever at Instapundit, and probably ending up as part of my funeral service, but then I started perking up.
Look, our strength is that we’re Americans.
No, wait, I’m saying this very badly. It doesn’t mean we’re immune from being spun or tricked into socialism/communism (if anyone wants to argue the differences, have at it, but really, guys, unless you want to dissect the innards of “State ownership” or “government control of private ownership” or… there is no point. Socialism/communism/ and let’s throw fascism in are all different colors of statist ideal. They all believe that if you have “the right people” on top commanding the economy all the way down, the future will be great. Their definitions of what a great future is; their ideas of how much people should be allowed to own; their choice of demonization victims and everything else may vary but in the end, it is all the same. I don’t believe they have the right to decide in which manner the individual should be happy; I don’t want any part of their utopias – and all of them end up demonizing and objectifying humans, hating all of humanity and advocating for fewer humans. And all of them can gaze upon my middle fingers, as I hold them up. I’d rather die in a free society than live in their “utopias”) but it means that we’re less likely to stick that way. As someone told me the other day, we’re neither Russian peasants nor German soldiers. There are hopeful signs of what Glenn Reynolds calls “Irish Democracy”, including the simple, silent resistance to doing what your betters insist is best for you. There are mutters from above that we’re ungovernable. Hopefully this will be enough. We’re Americans. We’re peaceful. We don’t want to have a revolution. If we need one – forbid the thought! – it will take more than this.
But the funny thing is, right and left, what I hear about America being in decline always harks back to the fifties as some form of golden age. I can get this from the left – no, truly. If you think FDR was a right winger, you’re insane – but from the right? And I get it from the right, too.
Here are some of the signs of hope that I think are being mistaken for reasons for despair:
– We can no longer undertake big projects. Now, I agree that EPA regulations are out of control and that is an issue, though I suspect in the next decade or so, if there isn’t any other type of correction, this will become self-correcting. Smaller technologies, better remote-work ability, all of it require less big projects. At any rate, the big projects everyone hankers over are always things like the hoover dam. A big statist project, with tight government control.
– The fact the US had little competition in the world. Well, then. When a war just left most of your opponents flat broke, you’re going to have a monopoly. Take a deep breath. Even if you wanted that back (and some of our elites might) it’s not likely to happen.
– American schools just “worked.” Sort of. Kind of. Arguably education was better in the old days, by which I mean when communities hired their own school masters and set their own standards.
The state view of education in the fifties gave us the dismantling of public education in the sixties, in order to accommodate new “scientific theories.” Education in the fifties (and sixties and arguably the seventies) is only better compared to today because this has been a process of slow disintegration.
The school we have now is not very adequate but at least, thank heavens, people are aware of it, and alternatives such as remote schooling, homeschooling and others are available. There is hope for the future.
And the number one, unmistakable sign: both sides lament the loss of “unity”. But there was never any unity, guys. There was a feeling of it (and only in the second half of the twentieth century, caused by the left having taken command of all the means of communication. Be glad that is gone. If it weren’t, what it would mean is that right now we’d think we were in a recovery and that the president is a genius among men, and that we must be the only ones not prospering/seeing it differently. Bah. I’ll take my chances.
It is normal, I guess, to hark back to youth and by numbers our population is mostly aging boomers, who gave us nostalgia radio stations and nostalgia fashions and nostalgia furnishings – but enough is enough. Nostalgia culture and nostalgia politics are one step over the line.
Besides our sixty year olds today can expect to live healthy productive lives for the same twenty years or so that their parents would have had at forty, back in the “golden age.”
Stop being nostalgic. This might not be the best, in the best of all possible worlds. The lies of state control being best for everyone are still with us. (They have to be. If communists/socialists/fascists didn’t have a good PR department, they’d be chased out of town with torches and pitchforks.)
But we’re headed towards more freedom for the individual. Something that has not been true in all of my life before ten years or so ago. And for right now, that must be enough for me.
My grandmother used to say Rome and Pavia were not made in a day. (I have no idea what Pavia is, but I’m sure it was a city?) Neither is the recovery of freedom. Keep calm and work towards the future.