On the heels of the 2018 mid-term elections I have read posts here that wax nostalgic about the '60's and echo the hyperbole of that era. It is not just Writer Beat that offers these idealistic remembrances and naive proclamations, they are found all over the Media and here is why these nice sounding platitudes and grandiose patronizations, resurrected on the 6 o'clock news and all over social media fail as a philosophy for our nation.
The 1960's rallied the commendable but impractical movements of a 'perfect world'. Matters of war, race, gender, poverty, etc. were catapulted to the forefront of the popular consciousness. Gurus of many stripes touted mysticism and drugs, not to mention progressive politics as the answer to the presumed corrupt and misapplied Western world of Christianity and European (sic) culture. The problem from the outset was the radical misperception of these issues at their core and in the context of reality. When you mixed this circumstance with the naivete of youth, the cynicism of pundits, and factored in the effect of carnal licenses in sex, drugs and the rock and rolling of politics the outcome was predictable at the time and transparent in retrospect.
Who isn't for a world without war? In the cataclysm of Viet Nam there was no hardsell necessary to gather the believer and the folk-rock, non-stop protest fanned the flames of fanatical peaceniks. The problem then and now is the willful denial that to achieve world peace a la the '60's you need to do one of two things: convince all the people of the world to put down their arms and forswear against a return to war as a social/political device or get ourselves a supercop. Too few among us ever entertained the simple question, What one thing can anyone name that ALL humans agree upon and commit themselves to? War will always be an option that some are willing to employ.
This brings us to the second alternative, an overarching, all powerful, benevolent body with irresistible power to compel peace on a planetary scale. Presumably this body would wield power so terrible that the mere thought of contrary exercise of force would be unthinkable. Again the question, Who do YOU trust enough to empower with such in confidence that it would not be turned to corrupt purposes. No, the answer remains we need to continue our involvement in war until the messiah remedy comes to Earth. At one time our effort must be towards alternatives to violence AND committing ourselves to prosecuting with the greatest prejudice, in the most terrible fashion wars of necessity. 5, 10, 20 years of slow carnage is not the 'better war'.
GENDER AND RACE, AND OTHER 'INEQUALITIES'
Again, the simple question that searches for the example of equality in practice defies an answer. The world is rife with prejudices and phobias that should cause us to look more closely at why these are the universals in human behavior. Our best strategy is to find how these contribute to our sense of security, belonging and balance in nature and then work on formulating, again a balance of the human need to bind to the familiar and the human failing of taking things too far. A good place to begin is this nonsense that we are all the same. Bad science data such as the oft proffered deceit that among human DNA a mere 1%, or less separates us from the 99%, or more that unites us. This spurious claim denies the immense complexity of humans while at the same time ignores that we ARE still a part of Nature and like all other living beings on Earth survive because of our prejudices.
The racists and gender defenders like to sift through history to find the examples of 'man's inhumanity to man' and to trot out the paradox of power throttling between the sexes and races in so called enlightened societies but what is skipped over is the why of civilizations evolved with these discrepancies. There's a widely understood case of the weekend mechanic who upon reassembly of a project is left with 'extra parts' that could not find a place in it when what was taken apart is put together. If you know the purpose of those parts you are more than half way to figuring where they go. WE need to understand why those historical practices that offend our Liberal senses of justice today existed in the first place before we hit the road with a rebuilt society only to see the wheels fall off.
Here is the one issue that in many ways sheds the light for all the others. Of course poverty is problematic but can there be any question of the wrong-headedness of putting some government in charge of parcelling out the wealth? Can there be any DOUBT that at least one messiah got it right when he taught, '... give a man a fish and you feed him for one day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for his life,'? The crux of that wisdom is not the teaching so much as the presumption that it is for every man to do for himself. With that starting point we have enlisted, so far as we can garner consensus, the efforts, energy and ingenuity of all among us. There is where we begin to create self sufficiency that prevents poverty.
On the matter of charity there is this. Charity is for the giver not those who receive. Why? Because to depend on charity is a disease that has no cure. It is a contagious addiction that passes to future generations and increases in its damage to the practitioners and those who seek to remedy. To enshrine entitlement in law and fund it with other people's wealth by force is no solution. Nothing so illustrates the folly of this as does the notion that there is work some people just won't do despite that they cannot otherwise feed and clothe themselves offered as justification for redistribution. The notion that anyone is entitled to particular quality of gainful employment, let alone standard of living is the enemy of a people who are incented to exercise themselves towards success in life as part of a nation. In a word, it is the prescription for a nation of dependents. The corollary that 'we are each other's brothers' is more of this dangerous silliness as charity is best left to those who choose to supply it.
This leaves us with the givers. Should we be charitable? Is a nation obligated to those less fortunate or those who through no fault of their own find themselves in dire straits? Of course, but this is a self serving philanthropy that protects society from wreckage and ruin and not a roadmap for a path forward. The answer is that we must rise to help each other but recognize when enough help is enough. The measure must always be against moving each other to step up to their own responsibility.
Pablo Picasso, the artist and not Bobby Kennedy the politician noted, 'Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not.' When we take into account the ramifications of an artist letting fly and a politician leveraging idealism for your vote we should come up with some cynicism over the import of either. Children of the '60's and the Liberal, Left, Democrats of the 21st Century are not of this school and prefer to play on OUR sympathies to gather power unto themselves that will come at the cost of our Freedom. It is for us to take heed and remain true to ourselves.
Disclaimer: I am a child of the '60's, a hippy, and a lifelong conservative. My opinions come from personal observations and more than 50 years of testing the theories. My conclusions are that in life, if you want it done right, do it yourself and less government is better government.