Wednesday, May 21, 2008

America's "Problems" Are Just Gripes

I lifted this post in its entirety from Maggie's Farm (emphasis added):

"It's an election year - the time when politicians and their fellow job-seekers work their butts off trying to convince you that you have big problems and that your life is difficult - and that only they can fix that.

They want to be important and powerful.

Truth is, America has essentially no serious problems. It's quite remarkable, really.

We are the most prosperous nation in the world. We are the most powerful nation in the world. We are materially the best-off people in the world. We have more freedoms than anyone else in the world. We have more opportunity for everyone than anywhere else in the world. We reward effort more than anywhere else in the world. "Tolerance"? We tolerate things and people that few in the world would tolerate. We speak our mind freely, and dispute fervently. We have the lowest unemployment rates in the world, and our work ethic is the envy of every nation (except France, where they do not seem to like to work). Our blue-collar workers have two houses, $100,000 boats, and send their kids to college. Our most unfortunate have hot water, TVs, DVD players, and obesity problems. Our wealthiest are the most generous in the world. Our middle class is the salt of the earth. We are the most charitable nation on earth. We are the most conservation-minded nation in the world (or maybe on a par with England). Our educational systems educate kids who are ambitious about learning as well or better than any other nation. We go to church, and we value things greater than our our comfort and pleasure - but we rightly love the latter. We read books, news and the internets to our heart's content. We believe that every honest citizen deserves respectful behavior, and we do our damndest to provide justice for all. Our medical care is the most advanced in the world, and it takes very little effort for the most unfortunate among us to access it (via Medicaid, Medicare, and simple charity). Our only external enemies are ignorant loonies who hate almost everybody - but if they get the bomb, that would be a real problem - but one we could solve in 15 minutes if we decided to.

What a great country we are blessed with.

We are at the point at which our "problems" are gripes and bitches and minor details (see my recent post on Spencer's law) rather than major structural or institutional problems. Yes, we have an illegal immigration issue - but it's because most of the world wants to come here for freedom and opportunity. So enforce the laws. Gas prices? Gimme a break. A global market issue that pols can do little about. Energy prices? Readily solved by nuke plants. The housing market? Just a healthy bust of a bubble that dinged some reckless risk-takers but which provides cheaper homes for buyers. Iraq? If we can help those folks out, it will be to our credit, and we have fine guys and gals willing to fight and die for the cause. The economy? This normal rhythmic slowdown (not even a true recession except for Wall St. banks) will sort itself out in due time.

The working poor? Everyone who works should earn a living wage, I believe, but nowadays married immigrants will send one to work at WalMart, and one to do landscaping - and they end up with a middle class income of around $35,000 - not poor, and with excellent job benefits. Racism? We have a black guy who could be our next President. Global warming? Gimme another break. Some warming would be good for everybody. Just ask a Minnesotan.

So what change do people want?

Don't have as much money as you want? Who does? Envy the rich folks you read about? Go work for them or sell them something, and benefit from their wealth (and in the meantime, work on your envy problems). Want life to be easeful and totally secure? Get a government job or move to France (but don't decide to try to start a business there: it's almost impossible). Freedom, like religion, is not meant to be easy and stress-free - such things are far too valuable to be easy. Freedom is messy, and freedom requires that people be grown-ups and take responsibility for their lives.

In America in 2008, the only serious problem we face is the problem which our Founders intentionally handed us, the eternal problem which is our proud inheritance: maintaining freedom from the powers of our own government, and freedom from external forces which threaten our personal freedom.

But how do you run a national campaign on that? (Unless you are Ronnie Reagan.)"

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