Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It Doesn’t Look Good

I’ve always maintained that the stock market was an indicator of the confidence in society and its future -- and right now, it famously does not look good, let alone promising. A few newspapers and other news media are still trying to spin the economy to be not as bad it is -- because commencing January 20, 2009, President Obama is going to ride to the rescue, and the clouds and seas will part and a revived American economy can waltz on through to the Garden of Eden, where all the factories have been shuttered so as to preclude the possibility of pollution.

Obviously, Republicans have the advantage of preparing for the worst, rather than being blindsided with misguided optimism -- that shortly, real estate is going to resume their skyward trajectory to the moon, all the loans will become good, and Honolulu’s rail project will provide employment for the coming prosperity right around the bend.

But just in case those cheery scenarios don’t play out, one doesn’t necessarily need to load up on guns and bullets to bring down one’s own food. It is merely enough to move to where they grow the food, or to grow it oneself -- an art that seems to have been disconnected in the many ways modern life has specialized and fragmented so as to seem a world and life forgotten-- and one becomes hopelessly dependent on the other to provide for one.

That mentality is commonly expressed in the “demand” that that’s what others must do for oneself -- even at the expense of themselves, for our benefit -- naively thinking that’s what everyone else in the world exists for. Freedom and prosperity is not what everybody else owes us -- but is entirely possible if that is what we wish to make for ourselves.

That is a difficult lesson for many people to learn -- that peace does not come about because we wish to ignore violence, and the demand for food, shelter, choice, does not come about just in the demand for it. Somebody has to create it -- usually out of nothing but the realization that such a thing is possible.

We’re not used to thinking in that way -- but we had better learn it again, as every generation must, that begins to take these things for granted.