I just watched the four-hour Ken Burns production about The Dust Bowl. In addition to the stories of the families who experienced the dust bowl, which were both agonizing and inspiring, it stimulated a lot of thought about the current state of our nation. There were two avenues of thought that sent me searching on the internet. 1. Although Mother Nature was the instrument of the environmental disaster of the dust bowl, I wondered if there any misdirected behaviors in the United States today such as those that lead to the destruction of the land of the Great Plains. 2. Although it seemed that President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the United States government, under his leadership, had some policies and actions that helped with recovery from both the dust bowl disaster and the great depression, I couldn’t help but wonder “Who paid for that?” Coincidental to my searching for ideas on those matters, I discovered a web site that seems to more closely reflect my libertarian philosophy concerning the FDR New Deal and Obama's New Deal, and a Wikipedia article that has some interesting history on liberalism. Links to those are included below.
To comment on the first idea, I’ll say that I have seen a few things that hint at potential for more disaster Most recently, with the terrible storm that descended upon New York City and surrounding areas, I’ve begun thinking about the density of populations, the concentrations of economic factors in certain areas of the country, and the tendency for disaster struck areas to simply rebuild rather than re-think the environment of where the disaster could strike again. And then, there is that hope that “next year things will be better” as was seen in the dust bowl families that stayed where they were, trying to continue doing what they had done in more properous times. There was even the terrorist attack on the United States, which showed such vulnerability of concentrated financial populations, as well as the resultant increase in fear, hatred and restrictions on personal freedoms. There is the potential for devastating earthquakes in California, another center of financial populations. There was the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, continued risk because of the nation’s dependance upon oil. There is the drought that has affected farm and ranch production. There is the increase in cancer, obesity, diabetes and infectous diseases that seems to have more than a coincidental relationship with food consumption, environment, and lifestyles, and it’s relationship to Americans’ dependence upon corn and processed food, in which the government has been more of a instigator or propagator than a resource for addressing the problems. There is the flawed political system that allows a majority to take away freedoms of minorities and individuals in what I think should rather be the governmental role of maintaining law and order and infrastructure.
Since Obama was first elected as President, and even more so since he was re-elected, I’ve had a very depressing sense of doom, but I’ve not been able to exactly put those feelings into words. I found an article, a commentary by Jim Powell, on the Cato Institute web site that delineated some of my own thoughts, both on the state of affairs in the early 1930s with FDR’s part in them, as well as with Obama’s attempted New Deal.
First of all, when one reads things on the internet, it is helpful to get an idea of where the writer is coming from, because every opinion is undoubtedly influenced by the philosophical background, so this is a kind of disclaimer. The Cato Institute is known to be an American libertarian think tank. Jim Powell is a Senior Fellow at The Cato Institute, an author on the history of liberty, and is a frequent contributor to Forbes Online. Here is the article. If you love Obama, the Democratic Party and what they are trying to do to America, you probably won’t like it. If you are like I am, however, wondering what the future will bring, these ideas may give you some possibilities to consider.
I have come to the conclusion that for anyone to truly have full liberty and freedom, one must live a solitary life, with no partners, neighbors or any kind of society, being a hunter-gatherer and farmer of one’s own food, unable to create any large-scale destruction on the environment. I think this is not only not possible, but it is not natural for humans, wildlife or vegetation. I don't think a solitary life would bring much pursuit of happiness. We must find a way to live together, to respect the earth and each other and to think more carefully about how what we do today will affect the future. I do not yet have any concrete, workable ideas, but I have not stopped thinking about it.