Monday, May 30, 2011

Wes Riddle’s Horse Sense #504 - All is Changed

A picture of mobs and pitchforks is not a pretty sight, but I wonder if a few outside of big banks might not make it better, or outside of Congress.

When I was a kid I had an innate sense, probably like most Southerners, that things were stable and things didn’t change that much over time. I’ve come to realize that they do and very often things change radically over a very short space of time. There is a world of difference socially and politically and technologically between America in 2011 and America in 1961 or 1979 or 1999. For the first time ever a majority are unmarried today—and very few of them have many children. In the 1950s 77% of the people in the country were married, and families with four children were typical. The yards outside of suburban homes teemed with young faces and the sound of kids playing.

Now Face Book helps one keep up with friends, but look at how radically different circumstances are for them and for you in the space of a decade or more or in many cases the space of just one year. Besides the stages that are the story of mankind as individuals, from childhood to adolescence to young adulthood to middle age, etc., there are the often unpredictable interventions and love and marriage, crisis and divorce, sickness and death, success and poverty, bad luck and blessing. A nation moves in accord with stages too or perhaps more along waves of experience and condition. There are good times and bad, boom and bust, attack by enemies, wars, and tentative periods of peace. We are subject to the powers that be and to the Power that is.

Sometimes we’re happy things change, because hard times don’t last forever. Someday we die, and for many that’s a relief. For the unpleasant interval there is hope that “time stands still for no man” or “time and tide wait for no one.” For the lovely fleeting moment, there is an implicit wish that we could somehow slow things down and savor it, or bottle the time and the sunshine for later. Later always comes in some form or fashion, though rarely as we thought or at the time we anticipate. Seems to me the End Times have been predicted forever. The 21st of May 2011 came and went, and I suppose the 21st of December 2012 will too. If you are living your life the way you should, meaning that you are sincerely seeking, finding, following the leadings of Christ according to the way you freely choose, it really doesn’t matter anyway. God is patient and has His own timetable. Time punctuates Eternity, and man’s predictions are positively counterproductive. They hardly make sense from the reference standpoint of Infinity. Name your date, and we’ll find it every Day of the Cosmos somewhere.

Still I think we can do better. For instance, there is a rapid world of development now and here on earth that all but precludes us from anything but a rat race our whole life long. This is not the case everywhere but it is the case in the United States and it is rapidly engulfing the rest of the world, and it is an invention of man. If you are 35 or 40 or 45 or 65 and have no savings to show, then you are not only a good consumer but you are actually being consumed according to the design. If I determined now to prepare for my old age, and say that I bought and paid for a small house on a few acres of land—perhaps I had an extended family to help, or perhaps I saved to pay for the long-term care at home that I needed—I should not need an income, particularly if I cultivated a garden or kept a few chickens. Unfortunately this is an utterly impossible scenario, as “Jeffersonian” as it sounds, because Jefferson is no longer respected and property taxes would take it away. I strongly believe property taxes should either be abolished or that some age or economic status intervene according to state law, in order to trump the state’s awful reach that robs each and every one of us of this remote possibility.

Another not so funny thing is how we have got ourselves into a one-way rat race. Strange really, since change is at least bidirectional in concept. For instance one could elect to do something on Tuesday that he did last Saturday. You can go to church on Sunday again, even if you missed a few weeks in a row. Of course politically we are not allowed to do or try again what we did in the Fifties in any respect. The ground rules were shifted beneath our feet while we slept. Large institutions now intervene where there were none so powerful to do so once upon a time. A picture of mobs and pitchforks is not a pretty sight, but I wonder if a few outside of big banks might not make it better, or outside of Congress.

That’s the great thing about the virtual world we’ve created and the way it contains our moral imagination. As long as I can watch a 3-D video or play a video game in high definition, I can do anything there—the worst violence even, and I can do it again tomorrow or practically at anytime. I can also download the upgrade, and some of the upgrades are free, even if I am no longer a free man. The world outside in physical space, however, remains firmly in the hand of controllers, and I am not threatened so long as I do not threaten their control. They monitor the macro-status and sometimes our tracks, in order to ensure that independence is beyond the grasp of virtually everyone, because independence threatens control by definition and could pose a danger to them. Therefore you and I take two politically and socially liberal steps forward for every step we may go back. Progressives control the direction, even if conservatives insert a halting step once in a blue moon. Accordingly, power stays in Washington and with the Fed. The Constitution is living, and like a dead man walking knows that tomorrow will not hold the same promise as yesterday, neither as 1776 or 1945 either. All is changed.
Wesley Allen Riddle is a retired military officer with degrees and honors from West Point and Oxford. Widely published in the academic and opinion press, he ran for U.S. Congress (TX-District 31) in the 2004 Republican Primary and is currently Chairman of the Central Texas Tea Party and State Director of Republican Freedom Coalition (RFC). Email:

No comments:

Post a Comment