Friday, June 19, 2009

For the children, part deux, Age of Decadence

A friend referred me to an ancient philosophy which suggests everything we do is for the future generations. We had a short debate on how attempting to get us out of a recession by burdening future generations with trillions of dollars of debt may not be logical, then...but I digress.

Yes, our example is always an educational model for our children--we "are always teaching"--however my point was that too often people disguise their rationale for doing something as being "for the children," and even at times as a burden! This is not only disingenuous but also counterproductive. Children also hear what we say, and what we say becomes part of our psyche, so it would be better: "I'm doing X with my kids."

Thinking of the tax burden on the future, and the nature of government to encroach upon rights, Troubled Corinthian and I discussed the nature of government and what is the best direction for government today. He simply and brilliantly said that the crucial change for our generation is to lower taxes, to starve the government. Regardless of any other policy--to save the earth or the unborn, to become energy independent or insured against any health problem--government must be reduced.

We have entered the Age of Decadence. We have arrived here mostly due to the economic prosperity of the United States carried into the 21st century, which many historians have already posited will continue through the next 100 years. I love having a good drink, coffee, and dessert, and we typically revel in such an event as being "decadent." I'm sure you've seen "Chocolate Decadence" on the menu. The bittersweet definition, however, is usually directed toward the fall of the Roman Empire, in which society became too rich for its own good. Yeah, my 42" LCD TV isn't good enough; I need a 56" plasma screen. Kids would rather play video games all Saturday than play outside. This is uncannily similar to 2000 years ago.

This means for our government that, not only do we feel comfortable in our seeming isolation from overseas terrorists or any other enemy (unjustifiably, of course), we spend far too much time trying to redistribute wealth from those who produce to those who do not. Too much energy attempting to control education at the federal level. Too much in tax credits to people buying so-called "energy efficient vehicles" and building "green buildings" when these measure could never counteract pollution spewing communist China.

One lesson we should learn from the current financial crisis is that we need to--and CAN--survive on less...and that means the government, too. Why should it be expanding while "the people" are losing their investments? The government needs to tighten its belt, and that means lowering taxes. A wonderful consequence is that it will have less power to encroach on our freedoms.

Second, we need to throw ourselves at the feet of the Almighty. Only God can make the sun stop in the sky--not the crazy North Korean dictator, certainly not Osama bin Laden...and not even the U.S. government. The more the government takes control of the economy, the more it fails. We will look back at this moment in history and wonder why Americans allowed its federal government to use a recession as a rationale to take over General Motors. Our founding fathers would appraise this situation quickly and, like it or not, they believed in individual people's relationship to God more highly than the federal government. This worked hand in hand with contemporary Adam Smith's "invisible hand." Let the market correct itself...because it WILL, sooner or later. If the government tries to fix it, the crisis is with the Great Depression. The federal government attempts to be god, it will be slapped down, as have all other gods in The Almighty.

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