"The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant." ~ John Stuart Mill
America the Trashy
Is it just me, or have the inhabitants of the USA become awfully, well, gross in recent years? I used to believe that the vast majority of Americans were morally upright and even decent folk. I thought them a bit deluded, sure, but charming and wholesome nonetheless. A relatively short time ago, I viewed my countrymen as well-meaning if na've. I considered them harmless in their jingoistic nationalism and earthy vulgarity. I laughed at their imperialistic tendencies, while at the same time I decried the statist mechanisms of eternal Empire. I once thought that by simply withdrawing from the State, I could maintain a sovereign existence in the midst of flag-waving, television-watching fools. I was wrong. There is no temporal escape from the debasement of 'civilized' culture.
In comparing the America of one hundred years ago to the America of today, one can only be horrified. For example:
It used to be that unwed mothers were considered shameful and depressing spectacles. In modern America, unwed mothers are not only shameless but also celebrated. (They are still depressing.) I can be certain that no matter where I live, be it a cosmopolitan metropolis or a small farming town, my wages will be garnished to support such women and their brats. I can also be certain that the mainstream media'print, televised, or radio'will award unwed mothers the title of hero. It takes courage, you see, to cash a government check without the blush of humiliation.
There was a time when certain four-letter words were reserved for only the most illiterate of speakers. An educated person might resort to them in the most emotional and emphatic of declarations, if then. Curse words had meaning as just that'curses. In a modern American conversation, one is likely to encounter a mixed salad of vile epithets. Most of these words are either scatological or pertain to fornication. Their usage is not determined by class or wealth; watch "The Simple Life" to witness two rich socialites put sailors to shame.
One hundred years ago, a man who relied on charity for his survival'public or private, it didn't matter'was the subject of derisive scorn, crippling pity, or both. Today he is not to be judged but merely funded without question. To ask why such a man deserves a living at the expense of others is to risk being labeled an 'elitist.' It is not his fault, I am told. How can I be so selfish as to begrudge this young citizen a livelihood? It is only my money, after all.
Prostitution was once rightly considered the lowest of professions. Exploiting one's most intimate talents for the benefit of material goods was regarded as pathetic at best. Today in modern America, you may observe buxom women of marriageable age selling themselves to some guy, millionaire or midget, handpicked by network producers, in hopes of obtaining a televised marriage and their own tawdry 15 minutes of fame. In addition, the astute observer is likely to notice the subservience of mainstream media hacks to powerful government interests. This too is prostitution, albeit intellectual rather than sexual. Such lapdog obedience is today celebrated as patriotic rather than sluttish.
What has happened to us? We have devolved from a culture of self-responsibility to one of continual babyhood. When Americans are willing to sell their freedoms for the empty promise of security, their morals for political correctness, and their sovereignty for collective prosperity, they have become a nation of trash. My wise Texan grandmother once told me, 'The difference between a man and a fool is a paycheck and a plea.'
We have become a nation of pleading fools. Is it any surprise that an incoherent ape is our 'elected' leader? That our foreign policy has degenerated to the dual strategies of global rape and pillage? Until Americans can look themselves in the eye and say, 'I am better than that!', this country will continue its descent into the sewers of history.
It's a shame, really.