Concerns of Now Verses Then
Too often, today’s batch of Americans preoccupy themselves with various material possessions which they deem important. Along the way, this “me, me, me” mentality has encouraged the current shenanigans to this occupy Wall St crowd. It’s very difficult to amass material trinkets when employment is out of reach. And this is the best case reasoning since there are those that partake in this anti-capitalistic charade who consider any original employment to be beneath their pay grade.
These notions of inflated starting salaries inhibits self worth and individual goal setting. Such presumptions are lofted on high and fed by an individual need for being judged successful. Work is therefore shunned if the monetary standard is not sufficient to amassing glittery success.
This mentality is a by-product from the “instant gratification” fable. Gone are the days of the first “jalopy” or the apartment living which led to the “starter home.” As a result of parents wanting “a better life than they had” for their children, all striving from the bottom up has been short circuited. My question has always been, just what degree of excessive labor and/or pain did these parents experience to make it all unworthy for their children to endure. After all, by judging the parents overall station in life, whatever they faced certainly contributed to their differing levels of success.
Not intending to center piece these unreasonable calls for “equality,” I never the less point to these unfounded complaints as the results from disassociated and often dysfunctional tutoring. This wasn’t the case during our Founding Era.
In 1788, John Dickerson, a Convention delegate from Delaware, wrote a series of letters, under the pen name of “Fabius,” appearing in Delaware newspapers. This took place following the Constitution’s proposal in 1787 and prior to its announced ratification in 1788 when it was determined that the new government would convene on March 4, 1789. The current Wall St demonstrations dim in comparison as to the public’s ansgt when deciding upon a completely different form of government which the Constitution would represent.
So, it is understandable that not only were the citizens abuzz with “what ifs,” they were greatly more in tune with the “Articles of “Confederation” while analyzing their new Constitution. This knowledge and understanding of our structure of government has largely disappeared through the intervening 234 years. Wall St demonstrates our ignorance while Tea Party supporters have returned to those Constitutional beliefs. And, it is just in time!
In Letter I, “Fabius” wrote, “Those who oppose the plan, are influenced by different views. Some of them are friends, others are enemies, to The United States.” This can also be said of today’s citizenry. Fabius continues, “The latter are of two class; either men without principles or fortunes… or men who have always been averse to the revolution.” Yes, it was a fact that many citizens were content to be rule by the British. In fact, their numbers were in the majority!
Fabius went on in Letter II to describe the selection, terms and duties of those sent to Washington. I might add that under the original Constitution, State senators were selected by their individual State legislators since as senators, they were to be their State’s ambassadors to a federal entity. This strengthened the sovereignty of the various States (which voted upon the passage of the Constitution) and caused each senator to be mindful of his State’s need for fear of being replaced whenever deemed necessary. Today, the passage of our Seventeenth Amendment nullifies State authority with the often whimsically based popular vote. Gone is the instant recall by State legislatures if and when a particular Senator veered off course.
In Letter III, Fabius mentions principles which seem foreign with today’s sea of misgivings and yet might just offer a glimpse of what might be in need of regaining. Fabius notes, “Our most gracious Creator does not condemn us to sigh for unattainable blessedness: But one thing he demands- that we should seek for happiness in his way, and not in our own.”
Fabius coninues, “Humility and benevolence must take place of pride and overweening selfishness… we cannot be true to ourselves, without being true to others- that to love our neighbors as ourselves, is to love ourselves in the best manner- that give, is to gain…”
In closing, the Wall St crowds talk of their “freedom of speech” and of their “freedom to assemble;” both of which are plainly written in Amendment I. But what is not written, yet was understood to be a given at the time of our Forefather’s writings, was the fair application of individual responsibility and that rights are conferred when others are not injured by their adherence.
Since this crucial element brings limitations, as all rights require, it is therefore universally ignored by all modern day “rights” advocates. Such is the case with this unsanitary melee. Freedom of speech and assembly does not insure the endless homesteading of public parks and gathering locales. This activity, while mystifyingly permitted by local authorities, will exclude any possibility that their message could be taken as valid or just. Especially so when compared to the massive Tea Party gatherings which lack any evidence of it ever having assembled. That’s called responsibility!
Jim Bowman, Author of
This Roar of Ours