Sunday, June 24, 2012

Having it too good for too long

If you really want to try to figure out how so much has managed to go wrong with this country in these recent decades, then one might note this phenomenon:
When one attains, obtains, or recieves something of value or something precious---something longed-for and prized---they, at first, are very careful with their prize or acquisition.  They tend to be gentle with it and cautious about how they handle it. They exhibit a lot of reverance toward this "newly-acquired" of theirs.
However, as time goes by, they get more and more used to this item and start taking it for granted as it's now simply another part of their day-to-day existence.
And, in doing so, they also tend to start getting a little reckless with it and sometimes even handle it carelessly as this item starts taking on the appearance of having resilience and of being impervious to circumstance and surroundings.
And that's where they make the "fatal mistake" and bring on the demise of this valuable item (or situation)
---the longer you have something, the more it'll start "showing it's age"...and the rougher you handle something, the shorter it's potential "life span" will be.

And that's the case with the the prosperity and high "international status" the United States has been enjoying since the end of World War II.
After so many years we had gotten so used to this privileged position of ours that we no longer gave it any second thoughts.  We were so used to taking it for granted it just seemed like an eternal "given"---something that'll simply "always be".
This eventually caused us to become reckless with our culture---it's social structures, it's traditions, it's laws, the economic structures, it's institutions, it's priorities...

We started becoming too "experimental"
...with our institutions:
~We started altering the structure and functionality of the public school systems...introducing strange new curriculum into our public schools:  like that "new math" stuff in the late-'60s, for example... and shortening the school-day by an hour or two...doing away with the recitation of the pledge-of-allegiance at the start of each schoolday for grade-school level classes...with plenty of other alterations to come over the years.
~We closed the mental institutions due to all the corruption and abuse involved in what was presumably the "treatment of" the "mentally ill"---while never coming up with a viable alternative to deal with a huge population of "socially incompatibles" who were suddenly descending onto the streets and common public areas.
~We saw fit to jack with years of carefully constructed regulations---some involving safety and environmental protection factors in industry---others involving the ethical conduct of businesses and financial institutions---figuring "things have progressed enough strict rules are no longer necessary", overlooking the fact that human nature---which was responsible for bringing on these regulations in the first place---is ancient enough it'll never "progress", and without a certain degree of external control will always resort back to it's original "primitive" form...which is to say: people will always "take advantage" and exploit whatever's(/whoever's) manipulatable.
...with our finances:
~We've been quite lavish with the grants we give our universities to conduct research with.  Honestly, how does society-in-general benefit from research involving "the gestation period of the average gnat"? ...or experiments on human subjects for the purpose of "determining the 'alcohol tolerance level' of different age groups"? ...these are worth millions of taxpayer dollars?
~initiating both tax cuts for high-income earners alongside spending cuts for government services---while making no effort to figuring out how to deal with whoever winds up being displaced by such radical policies.
~And even after initiating tax-cuts we still continue investing in: military projects of questionable merit; building more jails and prisons, while reducing or eliminating grants for things of cultural value that enhance the social climate (museums, preservation of historical sites, the upkeep of our national parks).
~Throwing money toward various law-enforcement agencies to combat drugs, sexually-related crimes, conduct surveillance on "individuals of interest"---even if the reasons are simply those of "a show of heretical attitudes and behaviors".  Meanwhile, none of these overzealous efforts have done anything to make this a safer society.  Just WHAT is anyone doing about gangs and corruption (in government, business, and even among private citizens themselves)?  It seems useless when, for example, all kinds of efforts will go towards monitoring some hapless "sex offender" who's wrongdoing was showing "dirty pictures" to grade-school-age kids or is some teenager with no sense of boundaries who got in trouble for "possessing nude pictures of a minor" and it turns out that "minor" was himself---in other words he got in trouble for "sexting"...sending nude pictures of himself to his girlfriend over the internet.  But yet roadragers are recieving short prison sentences or even just jail sentences.  They still never catch the majority of "identity thieves".  ...offenders whom I find FAR MORE menacing than some ditsily deranged teeny-bopper or some fool who's stupid enough to show adult subject matter to his buddy's young nephew.
...with our culture itself...
~The "loosening up" of the workplace.  To the point of practically doing away with professionalism.  Especially in the public service occupations.  When you eat out, do you appreciate a half-cocked server tattooed like a Hell's Angel donned in shorts and t-shirt with "attitude" he/she is not afraid to show? (What happened to health regulations, dress codes, or on-the-job etiquette?)  Or rude and condescending flight attendants and airlines that offer no perks (like in-flight snacks or meals or free coffee) or any other type of amenities to make your trip and the overall ambience more pleasurable?  And what about plumbers, home repair crews, and the like who make a mess and don't clean up after themselves?  And dirty laundromats with attendants who "couldn't care less"?  Stores with only one or two cashiers on duty resulting in long lines of customers?
~Too much arrogance, too much egotism.  Everybody's too damn self-important.  And too domineering to boot.  To the point of being hostile and contemptuous toward anyone who's "different" from themselves and their limited range of "think-alike" friends and lovers.  And people are way too thin-skinned...they demand too much "respect" from others---the slightest disparaging look, comment, or statement made about them and they're ready to sue.  And the expectations of special accommodations from others that harmonize with their beliefs, religions, and personal habits...sorry, but this world isn't "custom-made" for any one person---others shouldn't have to suffer just so you can have everything "your way".
~Everyone's too corrupt...not just government and industry, but, and even more so, the private citizen.  People act like such bonafide scofflaws and anarchists: the way they disregard traffic laws behind the wheel---speeding, running red lights, not slowing down or signalling when turning, not yielding to pedestrians...even bicyclists behave recklessly, running traffic signs and signals, and speeding on public sidewalks; the conspiracies people commit against each other---identity theft, computer hacking and computer viruses, gossiping and spreading vicious rumors about others, framing someone for a crime they didn't commit just for spite or out of feelings of animosity toward that other person; acts of blatant inconsideration---disregarding boundaries, hogging space in public places for themselves or their group, being excessively noisy in public or even at home when living in a multi-unit dwelling place (i.e.: apartments, duplexes), holding loud conversations in public places with disregard for others around them, excessive use of digital gadgets in public, especially when also engaged in critical tasks requiring their undivided attention (driving, walking, riding a bicycle), spitting onto public areas others also need to use---sidewalks, outdoor stairways, entranceways; and the industries who  ignore both ethics and regard for the safety of others---workplaces that ignore safety regulations and disregard safety procedures resulting in perpetual safety hazards for their employees, food processing plant owners and managers who don't keep their plants clean and constantly buck health-and-safety procedures---sometimes resulting in the customers who buy their products coming down with food poisoning, major businesses and financial institutions falsifying their records to cover up unauthorized or illicit activities.
~The tainting of the social climate.  Somehow, collectively, the vast majority of people seem, for the most part, to have lost their scruples.  I don't know whether or not this correlates with the decreasing role religions have been playing in American society along with not only the loss of interest in such but also the increasing contempt towards them by larger sects of the general public as well---although I don't feel it's my place to ever dictate to others about matters concerning their personal beliefs...but it's still a worthy speculation just the same. 
However, it's hard not to notice the radical and extreme social conduct exhibited by a lot of individuals:  road rage incidents; trigger-happy disgruntled types shooting up public places; "loose-knit" sexual conduct---promiscuous behaviors among young teens, the "gay communities" who make no secret of what kind of intimate behaviors they engage in between one another, magazine and newspaper articles which candidly discuss sexual activities and problems concerning such, and the sudden influx in the number of individuals being caught engaging in illicit sexual and sexually-oriented behaviors and conduct; how common rude behavior in general has become; how closed-minded, factional, and slanderous a lot of people are anymore; people cuss too much when they speak---yes I cuss myself, but every third or fourth word that comes out your mouth?; nothing is sacred anymore...people will steal if they think they have a good chance of getting away with it (embezzlement, burglary, taking things from tables and drawers of those they're visiting), frequent incidents of vandalisms of both public and private property, people throwing their garbage on the sidewalk or in other people's yards, disregarding boundaries---sitting on the porch of someone else's home and drinking and carrying on loud conversations, stalking others, engaging in harassing behaviors, making excessive noise during the early-morning hours; having to live in a culture inundated with drug addicts and drunks, inconsiderate aggressive loud-mouthed types, fearful paranoid types, thoughtless and inconsiderate asses I have to clean up or pick up after---or whose stupidity I have to endure, paternal/maternal authority types who make me paranoid of getting into a "compromising" situation I can't easily explain my way out of, and just an overall unpleasant and uncomfortable and noisy social climate where I can't trust anyone and where I feel I have to carry on my life "in defiance of" whatever's going on around me.

Back to this thread's original theme:  the fact that all of these factors are prime examples of the results of how we've become so reckless with this country of ours and of it's cultural aspects, nuances and history we've become so unappreciative of ourselves and everything around us to the point of not even remembering---and no longer caring---where we've been and where we came from, that we'd rather just live in our own little worlds and to hell with anything or anyone else.
...and, most of all, how we've gotten so used to having it so soft and of being able to take certain things so much for granted that we just assumed this country to be "self-sufficient" enough it doesn't need any input and efforts from us to make it's systems work...hence, we can just focus on our own hedonistic needs, desires, and wants---and even blindly expect the world around us to honor any demands we may make on it.

And that's why this country's falling apart...because it's being taken for granted, it's not appreciated, and---especially---it's being treated like shit by both it's citizens and it's leaders.
You can't treat something abusively and expect it to survive or endure---at least not without sustaining either some degree of damage or premature wear-and-tear.

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