And in other news …

… water is wet. I’m afraid my friends who are wondering when an epic Jon-rant is forthcoming today are going to be disappointed, for several reasons.

First, I’m not really sure I could start one without ending up saying something that could get me arrested. That’s not the biggest reason but it might be the most practical. I don’t lack the courage of my convictions mind you, it’s just that I fail to see the point of ending up behind bars for no meaningful purpose. I’ll leave the futile gestures to someone else for now.

Next, it’s harder to get worked up into a frenzy when you’re not surprised. Shock tends to stimulate emotion, the only thing that would have shocked me out of SCOTUS today was a meaningful amount of good news. I feel bad for my friends who have been whistling past the graveyard until the bitter end, today has to be disappointing for them and I share their grief, just not the freshness of the pain.

I reached somewhere between the 4th and 5th stages a good ways back, an area between depression and acceptance. I wish you well with Stage 2 (anger) and maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised and something good will come of it. I worry more about Stage 3 (bargaining), already too many people willing to give away the farm for empty promises, please try not to add to the problems during that part, we have plenty already.

While writing this, a friend mentioned the phrase “the America we know” and it actually helped crystalize my thoughts a bit. See, the American I’ve known has been sliding — often skipping merrily — along a path to destruction for my whole life. I’m well into the grief process about the death of an America that I find appealing because it’s been in failing health for my entire time on the planet, death was inevitable. And at this point, honestly, might be a relief. The legacy of a once-great nation, or at least one that has moments of greatness and the potential for more, is tarnished by what it has become.

What it has become is somewhere between pathetic and sickening. More the latter since I’m generally too disgusted by it to feel much pity for it. Funny thing is, it’s all been readily foreseen and foretold since long before I was born.

The most telling quote of all was the first that came to mind. The common translation is something like Every nation gets the government it deserves. Best I can tell credit for that belongs to French philosopher and diplomat Joseph de Maistre (1753-1821) who said in an 1811 letter (later published in 1851)”Toute nation a le gouvernement qu’elle mérite. In fairness, I’m using this somewhat out of the original context but as a single sentence goes it does much to sum up my feelings.

That bit of wisdom is usually misattributed to one of his countrymen, political thinker & historian Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859). His work Democracy In America was published in 1835 and even that early in the experiment he saw the road we would travel:

It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances: what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living?

Thus it every day renders the exercise of the free agency of man less useful and less frequent; it circumscribes the will within a narrower range and gradually robs a man of all the uses of himself. The principle of equality has prepared men for these things;it has predisposed men to endure them and often to look on them as benefits.

After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.”

I’m almost tempted to stop right there, I’m not sure the situation could be summed up any better. But if I stop there then I miss a great observation from contemporary satirst P.J. O’Rourke

And then there is the Tenth Commandment. ‘Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor’s.’ …
The first nine Commandments concern theological principles and social law. But then, right at the end, is ‘Don’t envy your buddy’s cow.’ How did that make the top ten? …
Yet think how important the Tenth Commandment is to a community, to a nation, indeed to a presidential election. If you want a mule, if you want a pot roast, if you want a cleaning lady, don’t be a jerk and whine about what the people across the street have — go get your own.
The Tenth Commandment sends a message to all the jerks who want redistribution of wealth, higher taxes, more government programs, more government regulation, more government, less free enterprise, and less freedom. And the message is clear and concise: Go to hell.

And right about here is where I have another epiphany of sorts.

I think I’m not able to work up a proper rant about Obamacare, SCOTUS, or the other ways to frame this because they’re really not the problem … they’re just symptoms of what ails us.

When you get down to it, today’s disastrous ruling is just the latest of countless steps toward national oblivion, and I’ve actually grown rather okay with that notion. It’s sad, but it’s certainly well deserved.

Between unsustainable & wholly unjustifiable legislation (Obamacare isn’t the first, just the most recent), the various bits of moral bankruptcy that go hand in hand with modern liberalism and the frequent comic absurdities that should insult any rational being with two brain cells left, I see a drunken diseased giant hellbent on finding a way to kill itself. Even more annoying is that it’s a spoiled brat of a giant that’s become (collectively) too lazy to work, too stupid to care and so utterly insane that it considers vices virtues and vice versa.

That brings me to one final quote for today, one that just so happens to also be frequently misattributed to de Tocqueville. The exact source is the subject of considerable debate but the quote itself seems quite apt regardless “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury.

We’ve almost made it folks, just a little further to go. Today we made considerable progress toward that end … and we have no one to blame but ourselves for allowing it to happen.

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2 Comments

Filed under Personal, Politics

2 responses to “And in other news …

  1. Sharon Kelly

    Jon, you’re just gonna have to trust me on this, Obamacare is the best option for the un and underinsured. My son Chris couldn’t get a job or insurance because of a pre-existing condition at age 33. And on and on and on. The bottom line is: I loved your blog and Obama got his plan passed because one guy read it. Also, He’s way SMARTER than the average bear. You have a brilliant mind!
    Sharon Kelly

    • Jon

      Sharon, I trust that you’re sincere, and I appreciate your kind words about the writing overall.

      The problem, capital THE single biggest issue I take with the current plan is that it (as I’ve seen done on other issues) is that the absurd inaccuracy in casting this as “insurance” in the first place. That offends intelligence to an extent that I find even more intolerable than the cost or the illegitimate intrusion into the marketplace.

      It’s a “health care plan” or some other name, it’s not “insurance” which is actually a relatively simple mathematical system based on the odds of X,Y, or Z happening. Insurance is essentially two parties gambling on potential events without the trip to Vegas. Named properly I’d still oppose the current plan with every fiber of my being but I’d at least be spared the outrage that goes with having my intelligence insulted. To be fair, that’s a situation that predates the current administration by at least a couple of decades, the role of “health insurance” in the system was careening far out of control before anyone other than family members ever heard B.O.’s name.

      FWIW, it’s no less a personal issue for me. My wife is a lung cancer survivor, virtually insurable just like Chris … but the unfortunate truth is that she’s a bad risk because of it except at rates that aren’t manageable for most incomes (including ours). That’s just realistic math. And if I’m willing to acknowledge that fact with my own dearly beloved then I’m compelled to be equally realistic about everyone else in the same boat.

      I don’t believe in any manner way shape or form that – however unfortunate it might be – it’s a government problem and I don’t believe it’s society’s problem (unless they charitably choose to make it so).

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