Domesticate: to take, especially by generations of breeding, to live in close association with human beings as a pet or work animal and usually creating a dependency so that the animal loses its ability to live in the wild.
I have the most pathetic dog in the world. He’s a cock-a-poo. He’s fat, lazy, and the only thing that qualifies as effort in his life is when he begs. Still, we are pathetic owners. We love him because he is cute and because he is ours. We are those bad owners who give him food from the table and treats for tricks. He sleeps on a nice bed, has his toys replaced when they go bad (due to his mistreatment of them), and has more money than can be justified spent on his health (shots for dog are more expensive than shots for kids?). The good thing is that he will never run away because he is utterly lost more than 10 feet from the house. He returns willingly and wanders cautiously. He knows he has it good and he isn’t willing to try to make it on his own – he is owned by us.
Do I need to draw out the metaphor? In what I amount to an inhumane act, our governments (local, state, and federal) have domesticated a large portion of our population in the ironic spirit of humanism. In the same breath that speaks of care and comfort to the less fortunate comes the tyranny of superiority over the subordinate. Man is not made to be the play thing of another man, nor do we as Americans believe in the hierarchy of men among men. Our equality is measured in our nature; even if unequal in assets. America, however, has floundered into the seemingly natural territory of masters and minions in an apparently vain attempt to counter that very condition. Tycoons have become senators and moguls, our presidents.
I will not question the heart of Franklin Roosevelt when he looked on the “Oakies” in the mist of the Dustbowl. No doubt their burden was more daunting than we can understand and Roosevelt’s empathy weighed heavy on their behalf. It would have been hard to criticize him when he spoke had you lived through 7 years of drought and “black blizzards”. Men who were independent and hardworking moved to the Midwest to build their future with their hands. They bet everything on their fortitude and God’s grace. When the rain stopped coming and the dust replaced sky they didn’t turn to handouts, but suffered with pride. Pride can only stand so long against hunger, loss, and death. Survival was key and FDR came with something that the climate refused to bring – hope.
History will remember the nation’s response to the Dustbowl in one of two ways; as an egregious takeover and influence of the private sector by the federal government or a benevolent act of necessary interference for a desperate citizenry. The truth is likely somewhere in between, but philosophy and politics aren’t as concrete as outcomes and consequences. Measuring those results is as convoluted as our judgment of them. The child of an “Oakie” would likely define the success of those programs instituted quite differently than a Nutmegger. Time offers no proper translation as we see further aftereffects today in the form of America’s dependency mentality. While it may not be fair to lay that liability on FDR’s response to the Dustbowl and Great Depression entirely, surely a sensible man would concede that it helped propagate the approach.
“The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often awry,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!”
The great iniquity is presently the natural deterrence to self-sufficiency from an ever expanding caretaker role filled by our government. However, an abandonment of Americans in need was a reality and the fate of those thousands sat in a balance that tilted heavily in the direction of death due to the empty counter of relief. Man failed man in their time of need, and a careful study of American history will underscore that evil inclination. Those who suffered the fate of a cursed land were abandoned and segregated by those whom the land blessed. Humanity utterly failed on an individual level and required Government to fill a hole that brothers would not.
The secondary sin may have been predictable – that our foundations of individualism would erode with the mounting sea of government rolling in with a relentless tide. That is a very heavy price that has been reverberated by many before me; but it is also misleading. The deception comes in the notion that our chief founding principle is liberty – a tenet that we here at The Sentry Journal cherish deeply. Allow me to quote a man whom we often quote when we speak of liberty.
“Bad men cannot make good citizens. It is when a people forget God that tyrants forge their chains. A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience, is incompatible with freedom. No free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue; and by a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.”
This is our foundation on which a great nation was built. Our liberty is a vain tower of sand, easily washed away if not properly erected on the solid ground of true principle as man relates to man. Our greed robs us of the purpose of government – to unite men on “foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”
The point of all of this is this; many of us search for a renewal of independence in America as if that independence is our foundation, goal, and god. Independence is merely a weapon of defense for a moral and responsible man. Liberty is a responsibility that cannot be properly directed by the immoral and immature any more than a domesticated animal can be trusted to hold the leash tied around your neck…which is exactly where we find ourselves – government unleashed with a domesticated populous. You can no more blame government for their takeover than you can the dog for running wild. We’ve failed in our responsibility as individuals.
Original Post: The Sentry Journal