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Whoa, folks! Yes, we're going to go through a rough patch.No, deciding that civil society is just not worth the effort of participation is way, way, over the line.I know people who decided that some years back, for religious reasons, and they live lives of isolation, and in some cases, palpable poverty. I guess individuals can do that, but I don't believe it's ethical to take one's children down with the ship!Yes, it's bad, and there probably is more bad news out there.But, all the doomsayers fail to factor in (1) people's ingenuity and courage in facing down tough situations;(2) their loyalties to family, friends, and institutions such as churches;(3) the fact that not every public official and bank officer is an amoral crook; and (4), the very real possibility that there is a Providential Hand--call it what you will--that has a real role in history, both at the 'macro' and personal level. If we refuse to panic, we might see it at work.There have been other bad times in our history. I would not have wanted to live in Mississippi between 1865 and 1885, where crooks who make Madoff look like an amateur ran the country, but my great-grandfather did. And, here I sit, typing away on a laptop in 2008, against all odds, and not due to any particular virtue on my part. (He was one of 19 survivors in his infantry unit from the War Between the States.)Again, not to sugar-coat the situation, or minimize that fact that there is real pain out there.But, we here on the ground make the choice about whether civil society lives, not people like Madoff and Paulson.
Welcome Old South, and I agree. I'm merely relaying some feelings which show how moral criminality in high places is a serious threat to the social order. Against that you set a number of factors, including God-fearing patriots, and this is where America differs from modern Britain: here, Christianity is grudgingly tolerated by the party in power, because they can't attack it as viciously as they'd like without also having a go at adherents of other religions whom they consider to be client voters. And Gordon Brown has just discovered "Britishness" (the last refuge of the scoundrel), having spent much time previously emphasising his Scottishness, including ensuring that all three of his children were born in Fife. We here are not really a democracy, and although it doesn't (as you observe) always work that well in the USA, you do essentially have government of, for and by yourselves. American anger will eventually translate into political and legal action; historically, in England it leads to riots, since the electoral system has been designed to work mostly as a placebo.
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