Many wonder why the United States, the country with the greatest abundance of resources on the planet, would be floundering. Instead of flourishing, we are, it seems imploding. I was recently turned on to an article by St. Paul Minnesota Professor Joseph Olsen. In it Professor Olsen was said to have studied many great democracies throughout history and sited two as likened to the situation that the US now faces. The two he sited were “The Great Roman Empire” and “Alexander the Great”. Olsen found that all great democracies only last a little over 200 years before they fall upon themselves. While the United States was founded in 1776 and is now 235 years old the facts remain as they are. All great democracies start out strong because everyone within them is God fearing, willing to work hard and forge ahead. Wanting to make their own way. Working and fighting side by side. As time goes on and the democracy grows along with the government ruling it, we the commoners, the voters, begin to vote into power individuals that will give us something for nothing. The folks seeking power promise an easier way, ie handouts, welfare, disability, unemployment etc. Don’t get me wrong these all have a place in society, but they should not be a way of life. It always kills me when I hear of the folks on the dole bitching about no cost of living increases! What? All these should have to be renewable resources, not life long entitlements. As the handouts begin to take the form of everyday life and become expected the thing which made the democracy great goes out by the wayside. Working hard and forging ahead is no longer needed and I can sit on my ass doing nothing because Uncle Sam will take care of me. People will no longer need to take initiative or be inventive, hard working, responsible and the like. Thus the fall begins.
To quote Professor Olsen, “The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, those nations always progressed through the following sequence:
1. From bondage to spiritual faith;
2. From spiritual faith to great courage;
3. From courage to liberty;
4. From liberty to abundance;
5. From abundance to complacency;
6. From complacency to apathy;
7. From apathy to dependence;
8. From dependence back into bondage’
Professor Olsen believe the US is somewhere between complacency and apathy. That’s between “status quo and not caring”. I see apathy everyday. I hate apathy! I state apathy as a cause at work more than anything, people don’t care. How do you cure apathy? After a while of attempting to defeat the apathic among us, one wants to give up because you can’t compete with people giving or getting something for nothing. Remember the housing bust. People getting $1700 a month home mortgages when they couldn’t afford them, and worse yet financial institutions that gave them loans knowing they couldn’t afford it either. Those folks wanted the heat but didn’t want to cut any wood.
All sides have two stories and exceptions to every rule. There are hard working innovative individuals within our ranks and I try to be one of them. I’m sure everyone of us at one point has been ready to say “screw this” and move on, but we didn’t. I marvel at the last 50 or so years that have brought some of the greatest inventions not dreamed of and that have made society move forward. I thank God we have individuals that work hard, that actually want to work, that have a sense of urgency. It assures me that all is not lost and reinvigorates me to keep trying. You always find individuals that will tell you something is not going to work, I tell them “well let’s give it a go and if it fails we’ll try something else, and if that fails we’ll try somehing else, and if that fails we’ll try something else, on and on.
This is also somewhat a generational thing as well. How you were raised. What were your beliefs? What was expected? Early on guidance may be killing us. Like I said above, all sides have two stories and exceptions to every rule. If apathy is “not caring about anyone or anything as long as you get yours” this country will not move forward! If we took all the resources and inteligence in this country today and devoted it to this country, all things that tear a nation apart would be void of a place to land. Remember John Kennedy in his State of the Union Address way back in the 60’s damn near dared anyone to screw with this country, and he also asked us to find out “what we could do for our Country”. If we don’t, look out dependency.