Those of you who read the previous entries of this blog have noticed that they tend to focus on cultural changes and traditional values. Of late, however, I feel the need to go back in time to the birth of our nation, the United States of America.
In the late 1700's, a group of ragtag farmers, doctors, lawyers, and administrators decided that living under a tyrranical ruler, King George III of England, was intolerable. After enduring such unfair laws as the Stamp Act, the Tea Act, and other unfair taxations rendered without so much as asking for the opinion of those being taxed, the Second Continental Congress of the American Colonies convened to discuss what was then considered to be a radical idea, far outside the mainstream of thought by any human being with half a lick of sense. These men actually proposed, under the somewhat scathing and relentless prodding of John Adams of the Massachussettes Bay Colony, that the colonies would break their ties with England and turn what was then conventional government literally upside down.
They were conducting also, what was then considered to be a paradox. The concept of "Legal Revolution", which was essentially what was being advocated by Adams and the rest of the Founders, was totally unknown in the 1770's. Yet Adams insisted that in defiance of the unfair taxes being levied against the colonists, they take the unprecidented step of governing themselves, with representatives elected by the people rather than chosen by sheer fortunes of birth and station.
One of the principals our Founders intended was that government be limited. However, we seem to have forgotten what that actually means. Ever since the New Deal of the 1930's, government entitlements have become, rather than the anomoly, the norm of American mainstream thought. The elderly have been with Social Security for so long that they now find themselves unable to imagine a time without it. The same holds true for Medicare and Medicaid, passed by President Lyndon Johnson in the 1960's.
This seems to be a far cry from the culture of self reliance and personal responsibility that the Founders intended when they declared open revolt against their mother country.