Tuesday, September 16, 2008

How did we get here?

News of financial failures are everywhere this week.  Patrick Deneen, who teaches political science at Georgetown has a sobering post today about "crisis" here at his blog: What I Saw in America: Unraveling.  While the facts are grim, he is very hopeful about the future - and his hope has nothing to do with us returning to a state of financial wellness as much as wellness of community and life and work.  (And for you Wendell Berry readers, Deneen was intervied about politics & Berry by Mars Hill Audio here).

Deneen and others (such as Rod Dreher) have pointed to the "go shopping" mantra that began on September 12 2001 - a rhetoric that echoed the spending that began in the 1980's - when we should have realized we were in a complex war that required sacrifices and changes in order for us to maintain our liberty.  Instead of looking for ways to become energy independent and thus stop sending our money to the middle east, we built more Suburbans.  Instead of tightening the belt on spending we bought more "stuff" from China.  They sure had some nice buildings for the Bejing Olympics - wonder where they got all that coin...

Krys & I have been watching "John Adams" this week and have been taken by the intense sacrifice that so many made in creating this new country - this bold experiment in self-governance - and it seems so shocking to see where we are today in light of where we began.  We are financially strained to the limits, morally bankrupt, lazy, under-educated, over-fed, over-entertained, without understanding of what things have real value, and to a great degree poor in spirit.  

I think everyone should either real McCollough's biography of Adams or watch the movie especially in the election season that we are in.  I want to post some comments about the political prospects we face but don't yet have the energy for it.  Maybe next week.