The Codependency of The State, Continued

"I arrived in America thinking the streets were paved with gold. I learned 3 things: 1. The streets were not paved with gold, 2. The streets were not paved at all, and 3. I was expected to pave them." - Unknown Italian Immigrant

America, the land of the free, the land of opportunity, the land of liberty. When Europeans first set foot on the Northern East Coast of what we now call America the landscape offered little but frigid temperatures, disease, and harsh conditions with very little in the way of food, shelter or comfort. A great deal of the settlers died during the first winter. The natives who wandered the vast stretches of lands, plains, and forests were adapted and well skilled in the art of survival on the so called undiscovered continent. Not so, for the weary travelers. In time, the settlers came to forge a way of life here, although sometimes through dubious and even violent means towards the natives who were here long before them. They pressed on, and developed what they could. Into the 18th century America was steadily growing and feeling all of the pains associated with such enormous yet sporadic growth.

When we won our independence, America quickly progressed towards a prosperous community filled with lands, opportunity, development and freedom. In time, the Americans formed what we call "The American Dream". The American Dream just the sound of it conjures up images of shuttered three bedroom houses, with children frolicking happily around the pristine yard, safe and secure behind a white picket fence. Mom and dad are lazily sipping after fives and nibbling on creme puffs seemingly oblivious of the perils of marriage, parenting or anything outside of their nuclear family. They are dazzled by all they have accomplished here, in America. Safe, secure, prosperous, with a car in every garage, a T.V. in every living room, and a chicken in every pot.

It didn't start out that way, but what a grand dream it was anyway! Forged with the notions that equality was abundant (unless you were a woman, child or African American), fortunes were to be made at every turn, and life would soon become everything it could never have been under Britain's rule. The newly formed Democratic Republic was hard at work creating all of the necessary stepping stones to achieve what all mens' hearts most desired.

Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States.

Noah Webster, An Examination into the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution, 1787

The United States had no intention, at first, to disarm its citizens for the very principle is that they were all freedom fighters, all expected to protect democracy, and should be at the ready to heed the call of a Patriot. There is another way to disarm a person however. That is the art of distraction, and hope. While our forefathers consistently urged the citizens to work hard and educate themselves for the betterment of the country, we, the people let these standards slide away over the centuries. Hard work and a solid education was an issue that our founding fathers took very seriously. As was virtue, patience, and moderation. It was the key to keeping a solid government that worked in accordance with the citizens, ensuring an unshakable foundation, with which future generations could build upon.

Aristocracy had been in America before the revolution, ensuring that there remained an elite group of people, merchants, and business men after the revolution. Capitalism was a concept already understood by the savvy men who financially dominated the landscape. Aristocratic capitalism however, had to take on a new life with the birth of upward mobility. Even those who heralded the new government ushering in a new society ideal understood that humans, are human. Those who were at the top had every intention of staying there, and if too many people found their way up to the playing field of the upper echelon, the elite would no longer be the Elite. I don't know when it started, or how it started, and I doubt that anything other than conceptual discussions could be found about it, what I do know is that somewhere down the line, the American dream was born into a form of capitalism that offered limited upward mobility, thus securing the position of the wealthy.

It is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth — and listen to the song of that siren, till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those, who having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it might cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.

Patrick Henry, speech in the Virginia Convention, March 23, 1775

A dream is also an aspiration. Aspirations are often the spark that compel people to act, to struggle, to achieve and to produce. It is the promise that if one works hard, endures much, and asks for little in the way of entitlement, they will be adequately rewarded. When the dream offers a tangible reward, and the dreamer not only envisions success, but achieves success, it becomes a powerful tool facilitating some of the greatest progresses of our time.

But what if the dream is never truly attainable? In capitalism, the dream is readily available, and even a few have worked the system so that the dream is attainable, but the mainstay of capitalism is the inherent inequality of unshared burdens thus unshared rewards. The person who risks the capital is the person who basks in the financial success earning more capital, or fails miserably. Though it shouldn't need to be said, one needs capital before one can risk it. Hence the invariable disproportion of social position and financial disbursement among the whole of the nation.

The dream of increased capital gains and consistently replenished income masks the real dream - security. Money is invaluable to us in society, but the truth is that money has only the value assigned to it by us. It is valueless, worthless. The innate value of money is rooted in securing and ensuring one's own survival. It buys shelter, food, and clothing. The use of money also secures future gain, stored away for surety.

Everyone wants to be secure in their life. In fact the dream of becoming secure, self reliant, and certain can be, and often is all consuming to the person who has none. Ergo, the distraction of the American Dream. The distraction is powerful enough to instill a obsession that will allow the person to become lost in his own hope. This is how the potential for an American downfall came to pass without so much as a nod to its existence.

Every single person who comprises the bottom ninety-five percent of wealth is more than distracted by the need for security, and disillusioned into believing that not only can they attain the financial security they believe they need, and that once they do, all their problems will be easily solved. The American Dream will have been achieved, and they too, can sit lazily on their porch on the cul-de-sac without a care in the world.

If the American Dream was easily achieved by anyone, it wouldn't be called the American Dream, it would be called the American Achievement.

More on the correlation on the disillusionment of the American Dream and the inherent downfall of democracy in teh next installment.

1 comment:

enigma4ever said...

I loved the quote....above...

Anok: hey there..thanks for coming over to the thread...( I suck at trying to watch and type)...anyways..Fran posted an answer in the thread about Denis...I missed him...

It was nice seeing you....

thanks again...