Stewing

stewing
A group of peasants sharing a simple meal of bread and drink;
Livre du roi Modus et de la reine Ratio, 14th century.

"My country used to be …"

They are a proud people, overly so. They expend their energies defending themselves, for they seem to attract enemies, foreign as well as domestic, and they insist that these enemies primarily target their 'Way of Life,' which they seem to hold as sacred without ever very finely defining what it entails other than to declare it containing inalienable rights, not necessarily privileges, responsibilities, or obligations, and 'traditional values.' They seem to firmly believe that owning a semi-automatic rifle and a handgun will protect them from tyranny, if not necessarily from each other. They insist that registering or licensing those weapons amounts to the tyranny from which those weapons were supposed to protect them. They distrust governments, which they firmly believe to be the primary author of the tyranny they oppose. They proudly proclaim that they refuse to expose themselves to mainstream media, which they believe engages in an ongoing conspiracy to misrepresent what's actually going on. They believe themselves to be authentic representatives of The People, The REAL People, not those hangers-on and Johnny-come-lately folks diluting the gene pool. They receive their information almost exclusively via gossip and rumor, and once they get an idea in their heads, they blithely deflect any conflicting information. Point them at a fact checker and they will proclaim, without evidence, that fact checkers have been proven unreliable. They live within an echo chamber.

They seem a stupid people but believe themselves cleverer, more insightful, wiser.
They genuinely pity as fools the highly educated, while envying their perks. They believe that many rules were made to be broken because they don't apply to them. They hold grudges, sometimes for centuries, and easily feel slighted if put upon, which might occur with any interaction. They deeply distrust every sort of change, believing that improvements tend to degrade what already works. They barter more than others, believing this liberates them from a corrupted exchange system. They might own gold as a hedge and as an investment. They buy curious food supplements over the internet and from the back shelves in health food stores. They believe government regulation their mortal enemy. They despise paying taxes. They're more likely to home school, saying that they're preventing their offspring from indoctrination. They don't read much, certainly not the sciences, other than the occasional text mainstream publishing houses have tried to suppress. They are not impressed with anyone's degree from any university.

They hunt and fish and feel that they possess a God-given right to do this regardless. They seem easily manipulated by charlatans of almost every stripe. They believe in deep, dark secrets. They hold conspiracy convictions, never theories, and they stand ready to defend against any infringement, especially the completely imaginary ones. They are sore afraid and also steadfastly defiant. They easily get their backs up when exhorted to comply with even common sense ideas, depending upon who's disseminating the latest lie. They believe themselves continually lied to. They stand ready to shoot messengers to defend against intruding ideas. They fear socialism without understand what it entails and defend capitalism, if only because communists seem to hate it so. They proudly send their sons and daughters to serve in a military dedicated to supporting the very government they firmly believe to be the primary source of encroaching tyranny against them. They salute the flag for which it stands and curse anyone disrespecting it by kneeling. Their heads must be reeling with unresolvable paradox.

I paint here a portrait of the Americans our foreign friends see on their TVs. They believe that we must certainly be the very font of stupidity in this world, though Britain holds her own in the competition, and Hungary, and, lately, Poland. They question our definition of liberty, which seems to continually inhibit our credibility. We've opposed numerous authentic liberation movements to help maintain oppressive regimes, and it seems whenever we say "peace" we actually mean destruction. We say we worship free trade while working hardest to restrict it. We seem preternaturally stingy, hoarding the wealth of nations for our own supposed benefit, making a smaller pot and taking for ourselves an ever-increasing proportion of it. We seem awfully arrogant when confronted with inconvenient truths and steadfastly refuse to cooperate to improve even the world's fate. We're so late status quo that our neighboring countries would have to go back in time to resemble us. Our infrastructure sucks. Our health care still sucks and seems to be further devolving. They would not be surprised if we started employing witch doctors instead of the university-educated kind. We are diesel in an electric world. Coal where solar power prevails.

My country used to be …

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved








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