I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.
— Isoroku Yamamoto*
In just a few generations, American Exceptionalism has morphed from the military and industrial juggernaut that fought a two-front war across oceans, supplied its allies with war materiel, and then rebuilt the losers into functioning democratic societies..into our current malaise that is a morbid fixation on pleasure, entertainment, and most of all safety.
Gone is “Duty, Honor, Country,” except in ever shrinking segments of our society. Gone is any interest in the civic life; it seems that an aggressive ignorance of all but the shortest and most manipulative taglines is the dominant political philosophy of the day.
In place of an involved citizenry we have a majority that is obsessed by celebrities and their chaotic opinions and styles, a rabid desire to collect likes and follows and retweets of their most inane behavior, and dominating it all is a titanic shift away from the traditional American mindset of exploration and curiosity and drive and individualism toward a careful and sclerotic approach to life that emphasizes safety from all risks, no matter how trivial or imagined.
It’s easy to blame CCP flu and its use by government as a cudgel with which to beat America into submission and acceptance of their next stage of power grabs and control, but it has been building for generations.
The evolution of the automobile is a perfect microcosm: seatbelts and auto-locking doors and automatic transmissions and air bags and parking assist and lane-change warning and emergency braking independent of the driver and a host of other safety features that have neutered the great American pastime of driving…all in the interest of protecting us from ourselves.
But a society that values safety over all other considerations does not produce astronauts who go to the moon or entrepreneurs who create unimaginable wonders or armies filled with men who understand sacrifice for the greater good. It produces vast bureaucracies dedicated, at least on the surface, to that safety, but in reality those bureaucracies have a far more malign intent; to continue the transition from a risk-taking, freedom loving people to a careful and plodding and dependent populace that is beholden to those who protect them. It is one reason why our immigration policy was carefully shifted away from the West and to other parts of the world where our traditional concepts of freedom and independence are quite simply nonexistent.
Life is inherently risky, especially if lived well; and that means living as a free people, as individuals, as Americans, or what that used to mean!
*Probably a made-up quote…