Hell in a Handbasket

A curious turn of the phrase, I’ve always thought, meaning (as per the oracle of Wikipedia):  “a situation headed for disaster without effort or in great haste“.   Yes, that – for me – describes rather well the human condition.

If you happen to believe that our purpose on this planet is primarily to improve the state of our material well-being, you’ll likely disagree with that observation.  Perhaps you’d cite great progress in technology, medicine, governance, foreign affairs….whatever.  To be sure, the progressive humanists among us can take great pride in such advancements.

At the forefront, perhaps, of this wave of achievement is the supposed explosion of knowledge, best epitomized by the internet.  A great tool, to be sure, but one that – in my opinion – seems a bit like the frosting on the cake of our increasingly complex lives.  If complexity is your thing, well, you’re standing in tall cotton now.

Well, personally, I believe our purpose in this life is a bit more urgent and vital than whether or not we’ve achieved (Roosevelt’s) freedom from want.  Frankly, I don’t even think that’s possible, maybe even especially for the richest among us.  It seems that we often forget the difference between want and need.

I happen to side with those of our nation’s founders that would have placed “moral agency” at the top of the priority list.  In a nutshell, we must be free to make important choices about how we are to live.  For those of us that (still) believe in God, that belief will clearly influence how our life choices are made… whether to be charitable, to be kind, to be resolute, to be productive.  These, after all, are the cornerstone characteristics of a well functioning (and, I might add, prosperous) society.

So, no, I’m not much for the “bread and circuses” of our modern collectivist society.  Socialism, on the one hand, accomplishes nothing, in my opinion, other than the promotion of dependency and state-sanctioned larceny.  And, humanistic narcissism, on the other hand, fosters the sort of puerile society that, ultimately, becomes both ungovernable and, frankly, dangerous to the welfare of everyone.

Of course, you can’t force people to be good.  Any Christian (worth his salt) knows this, as it is one of the essential foundations of the gospel.  As such, the protection of liberty (i.e. “free will”) was the whole point of the (libertarian) principles espoused by our founders.

It may well be your Christian duty to set aside your own wants in the interest of being charitable, but it is surely not your neighbor’s right to insist upon it.  Those that today promote such a “social good” are committing a crime of theft and despotism (not too mention butchering the language).

As for today’s headlines and current events generally, sigh, let me say this again:  “hell in a handbasket“.  We…collectively…have lost site and understanding of such principles as that of self-sufficiency, of self-responsibility, of modesty, of rectitude, of reason, of charity, of accountability, of lawfulness.

We use the blunt weapons of politics to argue over issues of governance that the (presumed) law of the land – the original Constitution – quite plainly states are patently out-of-bounds for our meddlesome government.   Through this force, we allow bureaucrats to regulate every facet of our daily lives, obsessively criminalizing ideas, and, as often as not, rewarding egregious misbehavior with fame and celebrity.

In short, it seems that most have come to “believe the lie“, mostly the one that says we’re smarter than we used to be, and that we’re better too:  That’s its “good” to have 1/3 of our adults policing the 1/3 who are slaving away to support the 1/3 that want more stuff.  Or, that “more is always better”.  That the solution to any problem, in fact, is always “more” of something new.

OK, well then, for me, the “more” I would like to have, is mostly the sort of stuff we’ve been throwing in the trash.  I want more quiet, more time, more space, more reason, more liberty, more of the fruits of my own labor, more tradition, more beauty, more durability, more simplicity.  If that means less of what you want on my behalf, so what?

Now, is that too much to ask?

– HT

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