From Isegoria, a very good post which points out some often-overlooked facts about our country. It’s very easy to get caught up in a web of pessimism about our future (and the situation does look very bleak) but we might be prone to forget some of our strengths.
A quote from Jared Diamond is the basis for the post, and it calls forth some good comments from the blog’s readers. Let me say first of all I haven’t been a fan of Diamond and his idea that environment, not genetics, influences the development of peoples and nations, but in his book Upheaval (no link to Amazon, sorry) he addresses how we and others are responding to the ‘civilizational crisis’ we are facing. Are we mindful of the assets we do have, what with the grim news stories that are staring us in the face every day? Diamond points out, among other things, that we have a resource-rich country, with ‘excellent real estate’, in the temperate zone.
He says we are “self-sufficient in food and most raw materials.” Are we? I’ve had this conversation with friends, and it seems that we have made ourselves dependent on other nations, such as Mexico and China, in that we seem to import much of what we need from them, such as foods, while we export our best produce, meat, etc. elsewhere, it seems. We can’t get locally grown produce, having to import it. It makes no sense. And of course it’s well-known that we no longer manufacture much of anything, having to make do with shoddy (and sometimes toxic) goods from our ‘friends’ on the other side of the world.
Will we ever return to being relatively self-sufficient? We are vulnerable to the extent that we rely on others for a great percentage of our consumer goods. But then this was the idea: to make the whole world ‘interdependent’ so that we would be ‘one world,’and theoretically less likely to war against each other. Right.
A commenter on the Isegoria blog offers an apposite quote about another strength we seem to have overlooked: the little fact that this country was, originally, meant to be a united country, composed of people with a common ancestry, religion, and customs. ‘A band of brothers’ as John Jay wrote in Federalist No. 2.
The right in America seems lost in cynicism and sour grapes about the America that once was, or that should be now. As the consensus seems to be that we cannot retrieve or preserve anything of that America, then all is lost, so says this line of thought, and it’s actually for the best anyway as the original America was flawed and corrupt from the get-go. I don’t see any value in adopting that attitude; it can only foster more bitterness and fatalism.
It seems much of the right, bizarrely, shares the left’s attitude that our country should just be written off, and replaced with something ‘better’ – but then we are entering into the Left’s territory if we think we can do better than our ancestors — who, it appears, were far wiser than we are today.
It may be that all is lost, but we can’t know the future, so why proceed as though our situation is beyond repair?