Tuesday, January 02, 2007
2007 . . . the 'new' 1984?
2007. It seems like only yesterday when the world was in a lather about the looming year 2000, and the software gremlins that were supposed to gobble up computer programs running everything from ATM machines to the electronic media and public utility plants, and leave us all cashless, clueless and cold. Human beings, in some perverse ways, like to be on the verge of cataclysm, on the precipice, peering over the edge, as long as they feel someone other than they themselves is in control. That someone can be a strong political leader or, more likely, a group of someones who collectively make up what we call government.
Is this trust and faith justified? Do charismatic leaders and governments have a good track record? What do you think?
I think not.
I have a problem with the very basic notion behind the word "leader." In order for there to be a leader, there must necessarily be followers. Do you want to be a follower and all that the word implies?
Our leaders and governments have led us into wars, ill-advised social 'improvements' of every description, and fiscal ruin since the beginning of time. Our current leaders and governments are, true to form, repeating the process.
Why is that?
It is because besides being followers by nature, we are also a race of tinkerers. We have to improve on everything, even if it isn't broken. That can be a good thing if we are attempting to build a better mouse trap. It is rarely a good thing if we are trying to protect every citizen from himself, attempting to provide food, shelter and entertainment for those who can't be bothered to do it for themselves, and if we rob an entire demographic class to provide 'free' services to another class. It is because we want to improve things that we keep on electing various collections (or collectives) of incompetent boobs to improve things on our behalf. Good intentions, but very poor results, wouldn't you agree?
Am I a heartless ingrate who wants to keep the homeless on the streets, the sick without health care and the politicians without employment? No, no, and yes.
We as individuals can always do better at anything, except perhaps fight wars, when we direct our own affairs rather than let others dictate our every move. It is time to get governments out of everything except providing police protection, an army large enough to protect us from invasion (but too small to to put us in the empire business,) and a court system to adjudicate disputes. Everything else can be done better by private organizations, charities, etc.
I find it interesting that since the 1970s or so, there has been ever-more rhetoric from politicians all across the political spectrum about deregulation, free enterprise, individual responsibility, lower taxes and other 'libertarian' goals. All this, while regulations have tightened, taxes have risen, and none of us are free. Sure, we are better off than many, but we are fast approaching the point of no return after which we will be totally enslaved to the state, where every movement will be scrutinized, where every dollar will be tracked, where every word will be monitored.
Wait . . . aren't we at that point already?
Is 2007 the 'new' 1984?