"Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters." Ben Franklin - April 17, 1787 (www.earstohear.net)
"Atheism is unknown there; Infidelity rare and secret; so that persons may live to a great age in that country without having their piety shocked by meeting with either an Atheist or an Infidel. And the Divine Being seems...pleased to favor the whole country."
We sure have come along way baby. Any hint of this would be met with a fit of protest about how intolerant that is. Yes, the days of the corrupt and vicious are here. Some examples of corrupt and vicious Americans include kids beating each other to death on the way home from school, our obsession with violence in all entertainment sources, overflowing jails, bribed public officials, and corporate accountants, unions paying off politicians so they can get favorable legislation even though it hurts the cause their members are working for (teachers unions!) and citizens declaring bankruptcy on a regular basis. These things have become so common that we assume it happens everywhere.
How have we dealt with this trend? We have passed LAWS (or masters?) against such corrupt and vicious behavior as if we didn't already have laws to deal with it had they been correctly applied. This trend allowed us to fool ourselves that someone else could solve the problems in our own back yards while we sat around feeling smug and faultless.
Yes, American's in general have become very smug. We throw money at every problem we see as if money created magic and solved all problems. And we have plenty of money. Yes, we donate it all over the place and that is a good thing, but not when we feel like we have then done our part and nothing more should be required of us to solve the ills in our communities. How arrogant is that? Our attitude then enslaves us to the solutions of others. We wonder why the problems aren't going away and we begin to blame those we thought would save us. Again, distracting ourselves from the real problems- our own apathy and corrupt, vicious behavior. So we have masters of our own making all in an effort to remove any responsibility or change our pleasurable ways.
Our political problems are not the fault of our politicians, they are OUR OWN FAULT! We elect the jerks. We are the jerks. And we will NEVER solve problems until we can turn the finger of blame back to ourselves and admit to the real problem. Because blame has a great side effect - it allows one to take the power to solve the problems. Only those who take the blame have the power to solve the problems. As long as we are intent on blaming anyone else, we are giving away our power and thus we have many masters in the form of politicians and laws.
IF the day should come that we see ourselves for what we really are, corrupt and vicious, THEN we will have the power to return to virtue as Franklin called it.
When we start loving our neighbors rather than competing with them, when we realize nothing is free unless it is stolen, and when we begin to return to honesty we may be able to recover. I've seen the problem and I am increasing my energies at home so I can have real power -with my kids and the future. Because Benjamin Franklin was RIGHT.