Friday, October 2, 2009

THE DECLINE AND FALL OF THE AMERICAN EMPIRE?

I was watching Fox New Channel tonight, I know I'm a neandrathal, but I was struck by something. When did it become the job of the police to determine what laws to enforce? I don't recall anytime throughout my police career being told, "Enforce this law, but don't enforce this one." The police are in the executive branch whose job it is to enforce the laws. The legislative branch makes the laws.

An attorney on the panel stated the police should with the proper training, decide if an illegal immigrant should be arrested. In my career, I just enforced the law. I didn't have a whole lot of angst about how I enforced it, I just did.

One of the most disturbing developments of law is the advent of immigrant's rights law. If one enters this country legally you are welcomed with open arms. You are part of the "wretched refuse." My ancestors and most of yours are in this category. Where did it all go wrong? When did it become OK to break the law?

I could go off on an entitlement rant, but I'm not sure that would be a good thing. It is what it is. The government is not equipped to deal with social problems. It never has been and never will be. This is the last bastion of those among us who feel that all the social problems in society demand that we, as a society, solve them. OK, I'm good with that, but it must be solved within the family. We must reconstruct the family in this country, not seek ways to tear it down. The breakdown of our moral fiber is what is taking us down the toilet of history.

The question then becomes, on what do I base my statement? I read "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" over the summer and I learned a lot. Suffice it to say we are on the same track. When society loses its morals it is doomed. This book was an eye-opener. Did I mention that the last lines of this book were written by Edward Gibbons in June 1787? If you need a history primer try this: the Constitution of the United States was signed on September 17, 1787.

Is it any consolation that social problems have always been around? Society has never figured out a way to bring all aspects of society up to the level of the best among us. My question then becomes, how do you do this? Is it possible? Put aside your feelings that we are responsible for each other. How do you save humanity? How do you save those among us who are self-destructive?

I don't think that any of us wants to see anyone among us sink. But, really, how do you change society? I wish I could be my brother's keeper, but I'm not sure I can. Or that we can. Some say it's our responsibility. I question that. I want to help, but sometimes, we as humans are really inadequate. I quess we strive to be good, but we end up inadequate most of the time.

What leaves me thinking is that I don't feel really badly about the inequalities of life. I earned my life and most Americans have. When it comes to me that the government wants me to share my wealth, I say this, "I'll be generous on my own terms." When government sets the terms it's confiscatory. When I set the terms it's charity. Voluntary, involuntary. Big difference. I struggle daily with my feelings. My faith, my church, tells me that I must feel responsible for the least among us. I do, but I don't feel guilty. I feel I've earned what I have. I don't feel that's wrong. I refuse to beat myself up over whatever success I've achieved, meager though it may be.

I'm a conservative, not a liberal.

15 comments:

Z said...

I think I've said this 100 times in the last few months "But, really, how do you change society?" You are so right.
How do we make kids love a country they're indoctrinated to hate?
How do we bring faith back into peoples' lives, which also brings conscience and goodness and kindness and altruism?
How do we make a media honest or at least not shamelessly and so obviously DIShonest again? (I believe that's one of the biggest problems today, that Americans aren't hearing the truth and being able to see what's really going on)
How do we stop kids from using drugs and alcohol?
How do we make parents again who only had to give the LOOK and children respected and obeyed them?
How?
We both could go on forever with this.
Excellent post...but very scary, Law and Order.
We welcome illegals and then pay for them.....something's DEEPLY wrong here on SO many levels.

Law and Order Teacher said...

Z,
I found the book very scary. It was so on point for our times today. Rome was after all a republic that failed due to corruption and excesses and it eventually evolved into a dictatorship that led to its downfall. I hope it isn't history we are doomed to repeat. Thanks for the visit.

TRUTH 101 said...

Come up with an entity other than government with the scope and authority to effect change. Enforce laws. Provide for the common good. Defend our Nation. I'll listen LAOT.

In deference to your well thought out and well presented side, I do concede that while I believe government does have a duty to help improve lives, far too many times it's reach is farther than it should be. One day I hope we find the right amount.

Law and Order Teacher said...

Truth,
As ususal you have presented a well thought out side. I look at it, however, that government hasn't proved that it can do what it says it can.

I don't want a government takeover of anything at all, let alone something of the scope of healthcare. When it is all said and done, government is not the answer. Free enterprise will find the answer. I read some articles today that were eyeopening. I'll post on it today. Thanks for your visit.

Good day, sir.

Z said...

Truth101 DOES make a good point, and always with admirable civility and open mind...I believe that 'entity' he mentioned used to be the AMERICAN, let's face it.

Before TAXES, our country was better off, I think? We relied on families, on faith-based institutions...free market......goodness, community kindness.

I hate to admit this but I've often wondered about Truth's comment...extrapolating to the point that we don't HAVE that kind of American anymore and, therefore, we just might HAVE to go to an 'entity' like bigger government. THAT is a rub I hate to even share at my blog because I hate to give in to that kind of conservative defeatism there..So, here I am spreading my gloom at YOUR excellent site, my friend! sorry!
i'll be eager to read your upcoming post you mentioned..CHEER ME UP, please!

(and thanks for your visit..I might have just thrown red meat at my horrible troll, psi bond...let's see!)

Pasadena Closet Conservative said...

I agree, LAOT. I have worked very hard for more than 30 years to earn as much as I do, and it's nobody's business how I spend it.

For the record, I have a mortgage that I have paid faithfully by the first of every month for 17 years, I donate generously to a few local non-profit organizations and to my church, and I purchase goods and services locally so the Pasadena economy is stimulated by my sales tax dollars.

Nobody gets to tell how to live my life or spend my money.

Carl Wicklander said...

Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, huh? Not exactly breezy summer reading!

Still, those are some pretty good insights. Confiscatory is a good way of putting it. I like to think that most of us want to help those less fortunate and choose to do so in their own way. In order for the government to enact big changes, like health care reform that affects a country of 300 million, its nature has to be penetrative.

This is the reason why one should be wary of big government. Sure, big government can give us something that is good, like voting rights for all Americans regardless of race or gender, but big government can also carry out the worst of atrocities. For that, I would cite any of the horrors of the 20th century.

It was not a small, decentralized American government that interned thousands of Japanese Americans in states all throughout the country. If you want a big government that has the potential to carry out good deeds, you also have to realize that it comes with the potential to carry out all sorts of terror. Government is not a neutral agent. It has to be run by humans whose nature is imperfect. Power held by imperfect people inevitably leads to corruption. That is why we should be cautious of government power and it is why the Constitution is filled with what President Obama called "negative liberties," i.e., things that government cannot do, because the nature of government is to increase its power, not decrease it.

Truth101 is right that we need to have a (reasoned) discussion about what is the right amount of government. I believe that we have enough evidence from history to let us know that we have far exceeded it.

The Vegas Art Guy said...

The difference is that now we are fighting for our country and that we have figured out just how empty the racism charge really is.

The left is scared and it should be.

Paul Champagne said...

America may be doomed to repeat Romes' demise ... but not without a fight! There are plenty of good honest folks that are making their voices heard. But will the politicos hear?

TRUTH 101 said...

If I may answer from a cynical liberal viewpoint Paul.

The politicos listen. But what they hear the most are demands for more government largesse. A new highway. Bridge. Library. We have a theater in my hometown that is at least 70 years old. It was worn out 20 years ago. But because of good memories or something, the Feds, through our senators and congressmen have poured I would guess nearly 2 million into this thing. The only thing ready for the public to view is the outside lighted billboard on the front of it.

I'm sure every community has projects like this. The irony is that I bet at least half the people on the boards and groups demanding tax money to restore the unrestorable were at the Tea Party event in the park across the street form this thing. How do you wean a whole country that has been suckling at the teet of government for longer than anyone alive can remember?

Ducky's here said...

What leaves me thinking is that I feel uneasy about the inequalities of life. I've got double as most Americans have. Just as others got none and this had nothing to do with their lack of effort.
My faith, my church, tells me that I must feel responsible for the least among us. It also teaches me that I cannot assume that I haven't been enriched by circumstance. It teaches that only the dishonest and selfish can assume they have absolutely earned what they have.

I'm a leftist, not a liberal.

Ducky's here said...

Yes, "make them love a country". Make them, in other words, indoctrinate them.

I submit this excerpt from a great piece in today's Boston Globe by Neal Gabler.

"...It seems eons ago when Bobby Kennedy, a politician who didn’t like to stroke even his own supporters, actually scolded a rally for booing Lyndon Johnson because, Kennedy said, Johnson couldn’t have done what he did in Vietnam if he didn’t have the American people, including Kennedy’s audience, as his facilitators.

We aren’t going to hear that sort of honesty from political leaders any more because the American people are too thin-skinned and arrogant to tolerate it. Arrogance in an individual is unbecoming. It is no more becoming for a nation. The Greeks understood that the gods punished mortals for their hubris - for feeling that they were godlike. They knew that overweening pride preceded a fall. One suspects that nations are no more immune to punishment than individuals. A nation that brooks no criticism, a nation that feels it is always better than any other, a nation that has to be endlessly flattered and won’t face the truth, a nation whose people think they possess some special moral exemption and wisdom, a nation without humility is a nation spoiling for calamity.

We’ve been living in a fool’s paradise. The result may be a government that is as good as the American people, which is something that should concern everyone."

PRH....... said...

Been slacking off Steve, but I have been saying on most of my visit to the various blogs I have been catching up on.

I fear the end of the Republic is at hand...and a wiff of Revolution is in the air.

Peaceful? Perhaps, perhaps not, but you can feel real 'Change' in the air, and it's not from our so called leadership in DC...from either party.

Law and Order Teacher said...

Z,
The posting obviously didn't happen. I suffered a calamity, but it pales in comparison to yours. I wish I could say something comforting, but alas, I'm challenged. God bless.

PCC,
Thanks for your visit. When did it become wrong to claim that which your earned?

Carl,
First of all, I am honored by your visit. As for your post, I find the statement that "government is not a neutral agent" to be the most important statement I've read in a long time. Government is like the bigfoot of humanity.

Wherever it steps it leaves a huge print, most often to the detriment of humanity. Anytime power is centered in the hands of too few, it is a recipe for disaster. In the Bill of Rights the founders laid out the blueprint for disaster should the people not listen.

While Madison warned against the destructiveness of factions in Federalist 10, factions do serve a purpose in keeping the majority in check. Just a thought.

Vegas,
Isn't it sad that dissent, expounded upon by Madison in Federalist 10 and 51 is now unfashionable? Thanks for the visit.

PC,
I would hope that enough of us feel this way and are willing to fight for America. Thanks for the visit.

Ducky,
Thanks for the visit. I'll combine your replies. First of all, they are well thought as usual.

I expressed in my post my angst with the teachings of our church. I wanted to try to interpret those teachings and what they meant to me. I realize that I am not the final interpreter of the teachings of our church, however, I do feel that all of us struggle with what they mean to us in our lives.

I do feel that God is partial to those who help themselves. In other words, He wants us to succeed and he leaves it to us do so.

I never thought, nor was I taught that God said, lay back and I'll help you succeed. I was taught that God expects us to achieve. There are too many people of meager means, me included, who succeeded.

I'm not saying that I was dirt poor, but I worked from the time I was 12 with a paper route. I learned to earn my way.

While I feel America is the greatest country on the face of the earth, I will brook criticism of it. As all great nations it has made its mistakes and I have chronicled them in my classes. I have told my students that I will teach history, the good, the bad and the ugly. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Pat,
I only wish that we will not accept change that will take our country down the toilet of history. That's not what we fought for, eh? I got your email about the reunion. Good job.

Carl Wicklander said...

Thank you, Law and Order Teacher. I happily reciprocate your kind words.