Posts Tagged ‘Reality’

A Century of Unreality: Shall We Begin Another?

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Trouble Ahead?

The last one-hundred years or so have been unlike any other in human history.  From heavier-than-air flight, to widespread personal modes of transportation, to microprocessors that churn through massive calculations at mind-bending speed, our technical sophistication has created a world that none alive two centuries before would have had the audacity to envision.  Even the greatest visionaries of the early nineteenth century could not have foreseen what has been accomplished by all of mankind, but particularly seeded in the West, and most particularly in America on the shoulders of one unalterable truth:  Reality is real.  What is, is, irrespective of what some profoundly pathological liar may say to a grand jury while on the witness stand.  No country in human history had ever paid greater devotion or service to this truth, and yet with the beginning of the progressive era, no country has worked harder to undo the reality on which its existence and its prosperity depends.  The question now confronting us, if we are brave enough to acknowledge it, is whether we have had enough of unreality and wish to return to our previous condition of growth and success, or instead remain fixed on a course of self-destruction in pursuit of an unreality for another century.

If we choose the latter, it will be a short century, for it shall complete our destruction.  One cannot survive by pretending one’s belly is full, any more than one can pretend it will be filled without effort.  Life is not sustained without action on its own behalf, and yet ours is a culture beset by the bankrupt notion that life may be lived without gainful effort.  How much time in any given day is devoted to the effort of doing nothing?  How many idle hours are exhausted in pursuit of relentless indifference to one’s own existence?  The number is now incalculable, and yet we can see its cost all around us.  This years marks the ninety-ninth that our nation has pretended that value can be created out of nothing.  The Federal Reserve system, enacted into law in 1913, promises to use the manipulation of debts in order to add more currency to our circulation, but it also promised that we would gain wealth by this process.  In 1912, sixteen US Dollars would have purchased for you one ounce of gold.  Now, one-hundred years later, you will need more than sixteen-hundred dollars to buy that same ounce of gold.  This is a measurement of the scale of our century-long unreality.

It is not only in our currency that we permit such self-fraud.  We permit it primarily in our government, and in our daily existence, because it is easier to accept a beautiful lie than an ugly truth, and we are so much more comfortable with the former.  How many Americans now do no labor, today, tomorrow, or any time in the future, and at no time in the recent past?  How many Americans create no new wealth, but instead rely upon others to maintain the flow of their daily bread?  This number now measures not in the tens of millions, or even one-hundred million, but more than one-half of all Americans now receive regular disbursements from government for something other than goods, labor, or services rendered.  It happens at all levels of government, and in all levels of society.  From the poorest to the richest, we are a nation now ruled by the majority who constitute the beneficiaries of an all-encompassing welfare state.  I must compare modern American thinking to an iPhone commercial, but rather than “apps,” it seems for every imaginable want, need, or desire, we have a program now dedicated to providing them to any who demand it.

Food?  We have a program for that.  Medicine?  We have a program for that.  Contraceptives?  We have a program for that too.  Even if you want Internet access, or cellular communications, somewhere in America, under the auspices of some governmental hand-out, we have a program somewhere to suit your demands.  If you need a grant to start a “Green energy” project, we have a program for that too.  We can offer you millions if you wish to produce fuel from corn.  Do you need to advertise your products overseas?  We have a program fit to your purposes.  Education? Got it!  Housing? BINGO!  Do you want a tax break for converting your land into a nature preserve?  We have that nestled somewhere in legislation as well.  There is no limit to the imagination of politicians as to what they might at any moment convert into a so-called “public good,” which in economic terms means something that the free market cannot easily provide to all who want or need it at a price they are all able to pay.  The theory goes that government must then intervene to make sure there is equitable distribution in sufficient quantities to meet the demand, or at least subsidize its payment.

Guess who gets the bill?  You may assume you already know the answer, but do you?  I don’t think most people realize the full scope quite yet. It is true that if you pay taxes into this creature, but take none of the loot, you are among those who have a glimpse of its full unreality.  Multiply this by decades, forged of the servitude of your life stretching out before you, unto death, and spread like a virulent rash to your children and then theirs, in each day and in every moment, grabbing a little more of the life that should have been yours to live, and then theirs, and so on.  I noted with dismay that in the tax return of Newt Gingrich, nearly one-million dollars on just more than three-million dollars earnings had been wrested from him, constituting some 32% of his earnings in that year.  I complain about the total bite the federal government exacts from me, and yet it pales in comparison.  I wish to know in the name of justice why it is that people who earn so much have so much taken.

I wonder how many jobs he might have created with the additional million dollars, or the investments he might have made that would have birthed jobs in the enterprise of another. Most of all, I wonder how that money was squandered in payments to people who ought to have done for themselves that which he and those like him are compelled to provide at gunpoint.  Don’t misunderstand me, as I doubt Mr. Gingrich is suffering, but that’s hardly the point as I consider the scale of the problem.  We have millions upon millions for whom reality has been excised from their lives, allegedly as a matter of “compassion” or “humanity,” but I contend to you that those who live in perpetuity by the exertions of others deserve no compassion, because they do not themselves exhibit humanity.  To be human is to think, and to think is to recognize reality and integrate that knowledge into the consideration of all the choices with which one is confronted.  Only a primitive brute goes through life grasping and grabbing and looting, and yet this is the picture of humanity with which we are scolded.

Each is told that his or her needs is a legitimate claim on the lives and labors of others, and this is an unreality of the very worst sort, and it is at the root of the immorality driving our national decline.  There are those who will claim that “we must have safety nets, for those who cannot,” but I tell you that no such obligation exists except by the willful choice of each individual, but never through the coercive, forceful arm of the government in the name of the public.  Friday, giving a campaign speech, Barack Obama insisted he should pay more in taxes.  Let me ask you: What prohibits it?  Can he not send a check as a donation to the US Treasury?  You see, the truth is that he is not satisfied that he should give to the causes he holds dear, but that you must also.  It is not good enough that an action that should be a function reserved to private charity be left to the vagaries of human choice.  No, you must be compelled.  In this way, you cannot decline to support the un-rehabilitated drug  user, and you may not regard each case on its merits, but instead will be compelled to treat them all as being of equal value, and equal need, irrespective of fact.

This unreality, that the statists name “compassion” is merely a substitute for another word, which when viewed through the lens of those who must provide it can only be “slavery.”  We are now a nation of slaves and slavers, and the truly ingenious expression of this has been the development of a growing class who are both.  It is impossible for our nation to persist in this fashion, and the culmination of a century of social unreality that exceeds the scrupulous adherence to physical reality that has permitted our technological advancements.  It is becoming so thorough that soon, our social unreality will overrun our technological respect for nature’s realities that we will begin to regress.  In truth, this is the secret of so-called “progressivism,” inasmuch as it is not progression but regression by any measure.

Only a fool holds that one can live without effort, or exist interminably by the efforts of others, and yet this is precisely the stated object of the so-called “progressives,” and it is the unreality that they must peddle.  We are now coming to it, in a time when unreality will crash into reality.  We will be faced with many choices when this occurs, and the problem is that in crisis, mankind has a terrible history of reacting against reality’s bite with even more egregious unreality. What shall we do?  Is this to be the last generation of Americans, as that term had come to mean barely more than a century ago, or is this the time when Americans will reach for reality, and demand a respect for it among men and governments?  Time will tell, and yet I know it seems to run ever against us, but still I wonder in the end: Mustn’t we yield to reality, one way or the other?  I think so, and I suspect this will be a rude awakening through which the fragile among us may not long endure.