Morally responsible people sacrifice in the present to invest in the future. Irresponsible people impoverish the future to enjoy more of the present. Which describes the United States today?
Voting decides nothing. It does not prove that the people rule. It merely makes a selection of which politicians will get the opportunity to pursue their self-serving agenda.
The American War of Independence and the conquest of the nearly empty North American continent to create the United States was once celebrated as one of the great heroic achievements of history. It is now being taught as a crime by those enjoying its benefits. Perhaps this is not surprising since the descendants of those heroic Americans have long been outnumbered by those who came later.
I have lately been reading World War II memoirs. Men like Churchill and De Gaulle and even to some extent Eisenhower were literate and knew much history. They were able to write of the huge conflict with understanding of the motives and actions of men and governments in historical context. Can anyone imagine Bill Clinton, the two Bushes, or Obama doing the same, of writing anything other than superficial platitudes?
People have a genuine desire to know the truth, but it has a lower priority than other desires.
We should never underestimate the power of pure inertia in public affairs. It is a primary characteristic of bureaucracies and cowardly politicians unwilling to upset their apple carts.
I am so old I can remember when you could get a large soft drink for a nickel, a big ice cream cone for a dime, and a hot dog or grilled cheese sandwich for 20 cents. A kid could get into the movies on Saturday for 9 cents and a gallon of gas was about 35 cents. A youngster who got one toy and a bag of fruit, nuts, and candy for Christmas was quite pleased and one 10 cent comic book could keep you happy all day. Most boys had a .22 rifle and could shoot by the time they were 10 or 11. And there was NO TELEVISION.
Clyde N. Wilson is a contributing editor to Chronicles. A retired professor of history at the University of South Carolina, he is the author of numerous books, including Carolina Cavalier: The Life and Mind of James Johnston Pettigrew and Defending Dixie: Essays in Southern History and Culture. He is the editor of The Papers of John C. Calhoun.