Sunday, June 22, 2008

What Happened to America's Hopefullness, Abounding Strength and Vitality?

2008: Is everything spinning out of control? Midwestern levees are bursting. Polar bears are adrift. Gas prices are skyrocketing. Home values are abysmal. Air fares, college tuition and health care border on unaffordable. Wars without end rage in Iraq, Afghanistan and against terrorism.

The can-do, bootstrap approach embedded in the American psyche is under assault. Eroding it is a dour powerlessness that is chipping away at the country's sturdy conviction that destiny can be commanded with sheer courage and perseverance. The sense of helplessness is even reflected in this year's presidential election. Each contender offers a sense of order — and hope.

~Associated Press

2008: There is something both startling and disturbing about the gloom that has settled over Wall Street and the country in general. In fact, looking back over the past century, it would be a stretch to rank the current problems as especially notable or dramatic. Something else is going on – namely a cultural rut of pessimism that is draining our collective energy, blinding us to possibilities, and eroding our position in the world.

~
Who Stole the American Spirit? by Zachary Karabell, WSJ

It wasn't always that way. Here's what Britian historian, politician and constitutional lawyer Lord James Bryce said about America 120 years ago:

1888: America excites an admiration which must be felt upon the spot to be understood. The hopefulness of her people communicates itself to one who moves among them, and makes him perceive that the graver faults of politics may be far less dangerous there than they would be in Europe. A hundred times in writing this book have I been disheartened by the facts I was stating; a hundred times has the recollection of the abounding strength and vitality of the nation chased away these tremors.

9 Comments:

At 6/22/2008 6:28 PM, Blogger Sophist said...

Wall street has been transformed from an engine that powers economic growth to a vicious wealth redistribution machine.

Stop that and America will be back on track fast.

Wall street is now a days controlled by organized crime on another sophisticated level.

Besides being a compensation scheme, current wall street only hurts the economy but politicians do not understand how that works.

Just one example: naked short selling. Market makers destroy company value just to sqeeze out an investor and pocket his money. Politicians have been informed but hesitant to regulate.

or maybe they are part of the game? I don't know.

 
At 6/22/2008 6:30 PM, Anonymous Fred said...

Wow. Do those guys in the mainstream media project much or what? The Assocoated Press drifted off the edge of the world some time ago.

When the Wall Street Journal says, "Wall Street and the country in general" they mean Wall Street.

 
At 6/22/2008 7:16 PM, Anonymous alex said...

I think we've had it so good for so long now that we've forgotten what true doom and gloom really entails. Of course, our attitudes are encouraged by opportunistic politicians of both parties, all to eager to capitalize on any slight feeling of unease in order to attempt to blame their political advesaries.

Then, of course, the media is all to complicit to repeat their intellectual dishonesty without daring to take an actual objective look, without daring to throw perspective into it.

Or maybe I'm just crazy.

 
At 6/22/2008 7:36 PM, Anonymous Ryan said...

I think the most intersting thing about the first paragraph is that the government has played a role in each of the things being listed as causing the malaise. I know of no private levee businesses, the airline and health care industries are riddled with government interventionist rules and regulations, the education system is directly subsidized by the government, and the state is responsible for our foreign wars.

This malaise may be the product of what Milton Friedman said in the youtube video Dr. Perry recently posted, and also what can be found in the writings of von Mises, which is that the growth of government and its influence in the lives of private individuals is essentially corosive and stiffling, and because government interventions typically fail and cause more severe problems later there is a natural tendency for diminished liberty and diminished freedom.

It's this issue, the growth of government, that has me most concerned about the upcoming presidential election. This is probably a very pivotal moment of our history, one that can only be fully appreciated after its effects have had time to play themselves out. Unfortunately I am skeptical that either candidate believes in small government.

 
At 6/22/2008 8:12 PM, Blogger juandos said...

Funny thing, I was just reading that silly fairy tale as whinned by Fram and Putman...

Fram and Putman have been fisked repeatedly over the last few years for their shabby attempts at reporting...


Fram and Putman have foisted off stories (just where are those editors to correct the flaws?) that are basically pimping for Obama...

Fram seems to be good at watering down a story

This latest bit of nonsense from Fram & Putnam has been thoroughly fisked by Vocal Minority , especially for their attempt to foist off Lichtman as a mere historian...

 
At 6/22/2008 8:34 PM, Anonymous Amit Raman said...

"Pessimism is the national passtime"-Larry Kudlow

That's why I watch sports.

 
At 6/22/2008 9:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

America is saddled with a press that is rapidly deteriorating under the wight of their ideas and new technology. They will bemoan America's fate until they are finally unplugged.

Another group of soul suckers are the liberal elite. They create nothing and are parasites on the engine of commerce. They to must be let go.

America is growing and prosperous.

 
At 7/11/2008 10:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

food,gas,rent,housing,evrything expensive. why do you think this is? we all have an opinion on this. why is no one talking about birth control? maybe were runing out of natural resources because there are to many people in the world. people are having 6 kids and those 6 kids have 3 kids. 18 kids. those 18 have just 2 and thats 36. get the point? just another opinion, everyone has one.

 
At 10/10/2008 3:13 PM, Blogger Kathryn Wilson said...

It has been crushed by the rights and regulations that were taken away when our "great" leaders started fearing their own people and the economy's ability to bounce back without the loopholes for opportunity that they felt the need to create and probably took advantage of themselves... but who knows.

 

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