Cause, Effect, and Solution
We have seen this scenario played out before – in fact, the Holy Bible speaks to third generations not embracing the religion of their parents. In short, it is the values, traditions, and work ethic of our parents and grandparents being pushed aside for a more progressive vision.
Let’s consider some historical aspects. In the ’50s, this nation saw a surge in prosperity never encountered before. Acquisition of wealth and material possessions became the mantra. We established ourselves as a true consumer economy. This level of opulence continued until the ’70s when a confluence of circumstances brought us to our knees. Sky rocketing oil prices, unemployment, stagflation, and radical changes in the national political outlook turned this country completely around.
Amazing how similar situations tend to repeat themselves. We currently face high unemployment, (although this “may” be leveling off); we have already been through increasing oil prices, (which will likely occur again); and the tremendous government expenditures will likely have profound effects upon the value of our dollar.
So, how do we stand back and consider this situation? What commonalities should we consider when facing the solutions being presented from our federal and local governments? Let’s consider the social implications that seem to be repeating themselves and determine if that influence is one of the driving forces.
The children of the ’60s were the progeny of the workers and consumers of the ’50sfifties. They revolted against the excess they saw in their parents. Of course, they had the luxury of the wealth of their parents to sustain them. To be fair, the true revolt started with the beatniks of the ’50s who often lived a Spartan lifestyle and focused upon intellect. But, the transition moved to the hippie generation – less interested in serious thought and more interested in drugs and pseudo-revolution. This generation of the ’60s – ’70s brought us the guilt of our prosperity.
The allure of guilt is its simplicity. One can easily find hypocrisy in others and ideologies without thoroughly thinking through the consequences of proposed changes. For instance, capitalism has been promoted as greed of late. That is an easy transition in thought when the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ are played against each other. Unfortunately, this perspective is devoid of a serious review.
When capitalism is introduced into a society, barriers like social status begin to fall away. A person can take a chance, work hard, and build a level of wealth never imagined under other systems. Capitalism gives the next generations the luxury to review a wider world view rather than simply worry about attaining the necessities of life. Unfortunately, it also allows the following generations to be lazy in their thinking and blame this group or that for the problems in the world. This is the rub of a society that achieves great wealth.
Rather than realize we have a system which allows the greatest number of people to aspire, we instead focus upon those who have not achieved the level of prosperity we have determined is their right. We forget that this system, capitalism, allows for some to win and others to lose. But (!), even if you lose, you have the opportunity to try again and again. The same cannot be said of other economic systems throughout our world.
You see, capitalism allows the generations to follow the security to not aspire. You may find that an odd statement, but if you think it through, it makes sense. When you know food and shelter will be available, then the onus to aspire becomes completely personal. It is no longer a familial requirement to provide for parents and siblings, but rather a personal decision to motivate yourself and make a meaningful difference.
It is this aspect of our system which engenders guilt. We grow up with nice homes, good food, an education, and the many material distractions which can lead to lazy thought. Rather than recognize we have responsibilities, we look outward and determine that not only do we not deserve these advantages, but we lose perspective and feel guilty for being born into such a wonderful situation. This is the insidiousness of the luxury of capitalism – we no longer focus on the need to reach out and give our time and profit to others, but rather we blame and feel guilt for what we have!
And this is where the seriousness of the problem begins to manifest itself. We become very busy and decide we need the luxury of sitting at the computer, or watching the various bland television shows or programs, and other distractions rather than accepting our God-given responsibilities toward others. But (!), we still have a sense of guilt that must be pacified.
What is the solution? Government programs. We have abdicated our own responsibilities and determined to not only give up our liberties and responsibilities, but more so, take from others without their consent under the guise of helping those in need.
Guilt has led us to believe that only our government can solve the problems of the poor. Guilt has lead us to believe that only our government can solve the problems of those who have yet to obtain what we may have worked to possess. Guilt has led us to believe that only our government can solve the problems of our globe – whether these problems are real or simply well promoted. In short, we have, as a society, become too lazy to think through the entirety of the situation and allow government to control not only our world view, but take from others to solve real problems or propaganda.
This is how our nation has slid into the predicament in which we find ourselves. We did not stand on the wall. We got too busy and determined that government is a solution to most of our problems. It seemed easy, and speaking up became more and more difficult – the many slurs were too difficult to fight. We allowed our children to be educated under the lies of guilt without talking to them about truth and the values we know to be true.
But (!), the nation is rising up. These false prophets, half-truths, and outright lies are being taken to task. Don’t let this movement pass by. If the economy rebounds, these responsibilities will again fade away as we go back to our hurley-burley lives. Don’t allow this guilt ridden laziness to occur – talk, write, volunteer, and hold those in office accountable.