Saturday, November 24, 2012

Greater Self-Reliance and Self-Sufficiency

The recent election posed this simple, straightforward and stark choice of whether we, as a nation, were moving toward a society of greater self-reliance and self-sufficiency that implies freedom and independence, or whether we become increasingly reliant on others to provide all those things for ourselves -- including eventually our own personal care, and beyond that, the extraordinary and cost-prohibitive care everyone will demand just to keep them alive, long past the time when life has become recognizable as meaningful, enjoyable and "conscious" -- simply because it is now possible to do so, and the laws will demand it.

While at first glance that seems to be the compassionate choice to "always" make, increasingly we must realize, cost and affordability is always a factor in every decision -- that for every ten people keeping one person alive on "life support," ten people are removed from doing other things -- including and even, taking proper care of themselves.  In fact, the able and viable, are often required to "sacrifice" themselves in that way -- for past generations, in so much as the previous generation "sacrificed" themselves, so that they could become the caregivers for the previous generation, etc.

That is a vicious cycle, as long as it is thought proper that anybody, should sacrifice themselves for anybody else, no matter how much they feel "entitled" -- that that is what everybody else exists for.  That manner of thinking, puts us back into the times of the pharaoh, and other such entitled personages, who took everybody who served them in this life, into the next one with them, so that they could continue to serve them there as well.

Many still think that way, although they may call it something nobler.  One person who didn't, was the insightful greatest novelist of the genre, Ayn Rand, in her two epic works, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged -- which most liberal scholars discourage their students from reading, because it is everything that is "politically incorrect" (so they shouldn't know about) -- of people who don't believe in sacrificing themselves for anyone else, as the supreme contribution any individual can make, as well as not demanding that any other person, should sacrifice themselves for them.

It is then entirely the responsibility of each individual, to provide for their own best lives -- as everyone can, and has a right and responsibility to do so.  That is the most efficient and fair society, and not one in which everyone can only do for others, but never for oneself, and never for one's own benefit directly.  That is forbidden, by contemporary edict -- and enforced by all the socializing institutions of people who believe they are "sacrificing" themselves for everybody else, with the expectation of the entitlement that everyone else must henceforth sacrifice themselves to support them in the lifestyle of permanent affluence for as long as they can be sustained on artificial life support -- as society's greatest priority.

In the last century, it is estimated that 250-500 million people were killed in wars and other political struggles that ensured that mostly the fittest would survive -- but when all 250-500 million live to become older and incapacitated, the world is equally challenged for its very survival.  That is the great challenge and question of these times -- that we've never had to ask before, when life was made tenuous and scarce by those age-old ways.

But now, life is too abundant, especially at the marginal levels -- that in the past would not have been sustained because they didn't have the technology to do so, or the political will.  That is the difference between a frontier mentality, and a highly urbanized one -- in which people are inextricably reliant on others for everything, so much so, that they are surprised to learn that their food actually comes from the ground, and not just in plastic containers distributed by the government.

That is also the political divide, of people moving towards greater dependence on others for all their care and sustenance, and others to do all their thinking for them -- and those who still maintain and retain the value and dignity of doing most of those things for themselves -- because that is what defines them as human beings, and not merely the consumption of everybody else's time, energy and attention, as though that were infinitely free and entitled from others -- and never first and primarily, from oneself.


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