Mar 1, 2010

The American Dream Has Changed

A dear friend of mine sent me a link to an article - 'Empathic Civilization': Is It Time To Replace The American Dream? by Jeremy Rifkin. In it he speaks of the 'American Dream', where it originated, as well as its need to change. And while, I agree that the American Dream has soured and that it is in need of change, I do not agree that bigger government is the way to go to accomplish it.

To my way of thinking, government has overstepped its bounds in oh-so-many ways over the centuries. It has entangled itself within our lives to the point where many are being suffocated by it. It is time that it stepped back.

"The more corrupt the state, the more laws" ~ Publius Cornelius Tacitus

"The more laws and order are made prominent, the more thieves and robbers there will be." ~ Lao Tsu

Indeed, I agree that the "American Dream" needs a facelift, but I also do not believe that the "American Dream" that we know today is the same "American Dream" that our ancestors knew; those forefathers that came to this country to find a better life. No, at some point, big business grabbed a hold of the American public and, after distorting the dream, force-fed us with their vision of it. It has become plastic, superficial.

The forefathers of our country came here in pursuit of a better life... When they didn't get it because of the continued entanglements and corruption of the Crown, they sought to break off from it. In the end, they founded a new country, holding "these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Nothing was said about the pursuit of putting one's self so far in debt that one can no longer feed one's own children. No, that is a carry over from the homeland. Big banks. Landlords. It's big business that we allow to tell us what we should want out of life. It is big business that we've allowed to guide us in building our personal facades, and all the while, in doing so, we line the pockets of big business. Making them richer while we go further in debt, in an attempt to be okay with ourselves.

The Founders did not want such a thing for We the People. Our ancestors didn't want such things for us. After all, that was what many of them came to America to get away from.

Take for instance, the Irish immigrants during the time of the Potato Famine. Indeed, there was a shortage of food because all many of them could afford to eat at the time was potatoes. Why? Because the landlords had jacked their rents up so high that they could not afford to eat much more than that. Again, why? They wanted them off the land! Land that had been rightfully theirs before the English came in...

This, I'm certain, was only one example of the time and was long after America had been established, I admit, but one of the best examples that I, myself, am familiar with.

Part of the dream was coming to America to be free of such things. But, where are we? The same position that many of our ancestors were when they came to this country. Only the facade is much different in appearance these days. Having been led to the distorted view of the dream, many of us are then swindled out of it, all by big business.

Indeed, the disparity between classes has grown immensely over the years, but BIGGER government is not going to solve it. Why? Because whether many of us want to see it or not, We the People are no longer in control of the government. It no longer answers to We the People. Rather, it answers only to Big Business. Bigger government means only more power for Big Business.

"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." ~ Old Chinese Proverb

If we ask government for anything, it should NOT be a fish. Rather, we should ask them to teach us to fish for ourselves.


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