Albert Lea Tribune “From My Point of View”
Are we distracted and uninformed?
With the onslaught of electronics and the entertainment world it seems that we are becoming more isolated in our daily lives. There appears to be a never-ending infatuation with entertainment in this feel-good society. The addiction to games of all kinds, the enticement of Facebook and Twitter, and the draw of reality shows, apparently divides us from each other and affects our health and social skills.
For example, many people in volunteer and civil organizations are finding an increasing lack of interest and participation. Alarmingly, parents are not as involved in a child’s studies of chemistry, math, political science and language. Most importantly, are the majority of Americans watching and reading about the daily political changes in our republic?
When Edward Gibbon wrote his masterpiece about the fall of Roman civilization, he gave these three main reasons:
- The government became too large and complex to govern itself efficiently.
- The self-indulgence of the ruling classes.
- Pacifistic teachings.
Maybe we are making the excuse that teachers, politicians and authorities are all corrupt and why should I be concerned?
Even though we know this nefarious statement is not universally true, we accept the negativity when we hear it and continue to allow our personal participation and knowledge to diminish. Children unfortunately model us and the loss of interest in governmental affairs tends to compound into a growing ignorance of the civil process.
During a working career I have personally hired in different venues more than 1,000 employees. It has become obvious that current first job applicants have an equal ability to learn, but their overall relationship skills and motivational instincts have diminished sharply. Generally by all measurements that still exist, the 150-year history of superiority in American education is in a free fall compared to other advanced nations.
The wise Greek Polybius wrote a history in the second century explaining why the Roman republic was able to thrive for more than 500 years. This is a short summary of his conclusion.
The Roman citizens had political virtues of prudence and courage. The fidelity of the citizens to each other, and to the state, was confirmed by the habits of education and the guidance of religion. Honor, as well as virtue, was the principle of the Republic. The hard-working habits (ardour) of the youth and the universal respect they held for their ancestors was widespread. Incapable of fear, and impatient of repose, each male citizen bound himself, by the obligation of an oath, to draw his sword in the defense of his country, until he had discharged the sacred duty of military service of 10 years.
Recently, there was an opinion article written in this publication espousing the great qualities of the first intercontinental railroad built by the federal government. Apparently the writer was unaware of basic Minnesota history espousing the vastly superior railroad built by the St. Paul icon James J. Hill.
His achievement has been universally taught. Previously, many high schools in America have required the reading of “Catcher in the Rye” and Orwell’s “1984,” and I attended a university where Alexis De Tocqueville “Democracy in America” was a required three-hour course for every 5,000 annual graduates. A decline in the study of history can be anathema for our nation.
Historical evidence shows that democracies are lost when they ignore their founding principles. When the Roman republic was established it was based on 12 tablets the founders had written, and it was driven by the virtues of the stoic religion dominant at the time.
When the American Republic was established it was based on a constitution the founders had written, and it was driven by the virtues of the Puritan religion that had been the general inheritance at the time.
Only if we become better informed will Americans understand that our U.S. Constitution is being increasingly ignored. Only through the immediate personal focus of a majority of us, can this destruction be understood and halted. In the same manner, as in the past, perfections could still be instituted and refined through amendments.
In dying democracies, the selfish distractions are sometimes obliterated and citizens become refocused toward being good citizens when the great tragedies strike a nation.
We can avoid this coming catastrophic event, if we can each try harder to reject secularism and help each other to avoid the current plague of multiple addictions. Remember this established fact in all of history; governments cannot save you from this certain calamity. If we as a people immediately change direction, and only then, the nation will take the correct path to achieving greater prosperity and improving health for all living beings.