Saturday, July 4, 2015

Some Sardonic Musings For Independence Day

It's Independence Day in the land of the free. Some of my conservative friends will contend that it is land of the formerly free since the Supreme Court of the United States ruled same-sex marriage legal and upheld the federal government's Obamacare exchange. If the Republic is indeed on life support, I suspect its first infection began with the Constitution's three-fifths clause and was exacerbated by the fact that humans are not angels and angels do not govern mere mortals.

It's been more than a week since the SCOTUS decisions and the cynic in me notes that I have not seen a quartet of horsemen riding different colored horses and carrying sealed books. Likewise, if love truly won, I have yet to see a marked increase in patience, kindness, and self control among the general populace, nor I have a noticed a decrease in overweening pride, envy, or boasting, all qualities which are constituent elements of love. Perhaps it's a bit much to expect human nature to change in a week, but surely I should have seen at least one rainbow coated unicorn.

If the land of free is disconcerted, the home of the brave is also suffering a bit of an identity crisis. A nation that once had nothing to fear but fear itself now tells its citizens to be very afraid and live under the motto "see something say something." A government created, media led effort to create a panopticon of citizen informants who tell the state about any activity that might indicate one's neighbor has become a "radicalized lone wolf" has more than a little similarity to the East German Stasi:
For the 40 years of the Cold War the Stasi – 'The Sword and Shield of the Party' – kept a lid on dissent in East Germany through a unique method of surveillance.
They did not need torture chambers and rubber truncheons to keep people in line, but instead exploited the insecurities of members of the public, according to author Christhard Laepple.
Turning one in three of the German Democratic Republic's 17 million citizens into informers, the Stasi injected fear, uncertainty and suspicion into every walk of life, making sure few people ever uttered anything which might anger the regime.
It's Independence Day, a day that Alan Jacobs accurately describes in this tweet:

As one celebrates the civic holy day, one should remember that Ben Franklin's proverbs not only warned Americans we would have to work to keep the Republic but also that giving up liberty to gain security create a fool's paradise.