The Roots of America's Decline

The purpose of today's 4th of July treatise is to reflect upon major social, political and economic ideas and forces that have predicated America's decline -- i.e. those ideas or forces that have rendered the children and grandchildren of the "Greatest Generation" simultaneously fat, greedy, lazy, arrogant and stupid -- enough so to re-elect George W. Bush.


Puritanism in America is symbolized by the Salem Witch Trials. Not that everything about religion or belief in a Supreme Being like Yaweh or Jesus Christ is necessarily wrong. To obey the principle: Love Thy Neighbor as Thy Self is perhaps the purest and most noble credo I have ever known. But it is simply the rigidity and inflexibility inherent in the philosophy and practice of the most devout pursuants of "Christ" that calls their entire movement into question. To my mind, Puritanism - i.e. pure -- in body, heart, and mind -- represents the classic deterministic trap. There simply is not and can never be a supreme truth -- that is knowable by any human being. Instead truth must evolve with increasing human knowledge and must always be pluralistic not rigidly pure. Puritanism, as exemplified in Salem, Iraq, or the attacks on the World Trade Center, teaches that it isn't enough to disagree. Instead you must hate, torture and even kill those with whom you disagree. This is simply wrong. And there is a word to describe the act to kill others, believing (but not knowing, as in a direct, lethal attack) that they will kill you. The word is MURDER.

Mass Production

Mass production inevitably leads to mass consumption and/or forced/propagandized consumption through advertising. In other words, the term Mass Production has come to represent far more than a manufacturing process in America and is imbued with social, political and ethical contexts that far outstrip economics of production. I see mass production as part of the ethos that one might loosely describe as the "American Dream." Furthermore, it is my belief that mass production -- producing maximal output at minimal cost -- has been overused by U.S. corporations in a vain attempt to simply manufacture profit. This overuse has in turn contributed to a false sense of deterministic largesse or entitlement. Ultimately false entitlement has led to gluttony, scarcity of resources and unsustainability of the systems that mass production was implemented to serve in the first place. A classic example is the unholy trinity of the automobile, internal combustion engine, and fossil fuel -- a 20th Century combination that risks the very sustainability of modernity in the 21st Century and beyond.

The Installment Plan

Have it now; Pay for it later. No pain; All gain. But these ridiculous slogans cannot defy the laws of physics, thermodynamics or economics. In a finite universe, there is no free lunch! Thus LOAN is simply another word for indentured servitude, which is a euphemism for slavery -- to a job; a way of life; a dream.

It is our moral and ethical duty to buy only what we can afford -- not what a bank, our neighbors or the television says. It is arguable that personal and national debt has already destroyed, or at least substantially undermined, the United States of America.


This is a tough one because its converse is conformity and senseless conformity is synonymous with tyranny. But let's face it, individualism can be destructive to a society and its been destructive to ours. The Gun Fighter and the Rock Star are classic American icons, but their outlaw brand of Freedom is the antithesis of Community. Individualism eschews compromise and human progress through collectivism. A nation that celebrates outlaw loners and individual freedoms -- to the detriment of family, community and humanity -- is in decline.