In response to my article in WorldNetDaily last week (“The Great Pretenders”), I received an e-mail from a reader who wanted to know what a still-sane individual can do to protect his head when all about him are losing theirs. A good question, to be sure, because if you guide your actions in accordance with what you see and hear around you, you are virtually guaranteed to part ways with your sanity.
On the other hand, given that you have been blessed with a marvelous cerebral computer, you have the capacity to make a conscious decision not to join your lemming neighbors as they obediently follow evil, ignorant, and/or confused politicians and “good cause” advocates over the Cuckoo Cliffs. And the foundation for making that conscious decision is to rely on the “infrastructure of life.”
It’s important to recognize that while we live in a rapidly changing world, the daily changes we witness are in form only. The real substance of life is comprised of universal principles – axioms, truths or natural laws. These are what form the infrastructure for the stage of life on which each of us performs.
When the weather changes dramatically, the universal principles that cause such radical changes remain firmly in place. Likewise, the economy may change, but, no matter how much mischievous politicians try to manipulate it, the free-market principles that underlie the workings of the economy do not change one iota.
Everyone – with the possible exception of John Kerry, Dan Rather and Homer Simpson – is familiar with George Santayana’s famous words, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Thomas Sowell put it even better when he said, “Everything is new if you are ignorant of history. That is why ideas that have failed repeatedly in centuries past reappear again, under the banner of ‘change,’ to dazzle people and sweep them off their feet.”
Even a casual student of history is painfully aware that, notwithstanding how far mankind has advanced technologically, he continues to make the same mistakes today that his ancestors have made throughout history.
Sadly, when idealistic lads and lasses bid farewell to their clueless profs at Princeton, Harvard and Yale, they have learned almost nothing about the lessons of history. Worse, the pudding heads who were in charge of teaching them have likely perverted the lessons of history to ensure that these future leaders of our society will make the same mistakes as their predecessors.
Which is why those who are awaiting the collapse of Western civilization will have a very long wait, because Western civilization, as we once knew it, no longer exists. Through a phenomenon known as “gradualism,” it faded into the sunset of history as Americans were watching “Monday Night Football,” guzzling Bud Light and stuffing themselves with Big Macs.
The disappearance of Western civilization was easy to ignore, because it was brought about by a quiet revolution. It was, in fact, a moral revolution. And it was the success of that moral revolution that was the real cause of the demise of Western civilization.
So, how does one plan for the future when the world has become a planetary insane asylum spinning about in space? With great difficulty. There are at lest five factors that make it impossible to predict the future with any degree of certainty. And it is these five factors that allow politicians and their sign-pumping cheerleaders to carry on long after the inevitable results of their actions should have already come to pass.
Three of these reasons have always existed: government guns, government printing presses and ignorance of the masses. The fourth and fifth, however, are relatively new: modern technology and a virtually unlimited borrowing capacity. So long as a guy can spend more than his already artificially inflated income can buy, he is able to live in a nice house, drive a new car and surround himself with electronic gadgets that are the equivalent of Aldous Huxley’s “somas” in his classic novel “Brave New World.”
In his book “Judgment Day: My Years with Ayn Rand,” Nathaniel Branden relates a conversation he had with the late president of Random House Inc., Bennett Cerf. According to Branden, Cerf – who was a card-carrying liberal! – told him, “You have to throw the masses a piece of red meat once in a while or they’ll kill you.”
To be sure, the masses do want red meat. Marie Antoinette suggested cake and discovered that her joke wasn’t appreciated. A lack of red meat also prompted the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. And the masses aren’t averse to rising up against anything or anybody that threatens to keep them from their red meat.
But today’s red meat comes in the form of electronic toys – mostly from China. Keep the electronic toys coming, keep the borrowing channels open, and who knows how long the inevitable can be postponed?
So, how does all this relate to you and your ability to lead a meaningful and fulfilling life? To provide for your family? To achieve your most cherished goals?
Clearly, you should neither try to predict the future nor allow the madness of the crowd to discourage you. Instead, relentlessly focus on the infrastructure of life – universal principles – and take actions accordingly. Universal principles will never desert you.
Sure, the state of the World Asylum can be depressing at times. But, as I pointed out in “Action! Nothing Happens Until Something Moves,” crises come and go, but only one time in history is the world going to come to an end – and you won’t be around to remember it anyway.
Which is why a rational approach to life is to focus on those things over which you have the most control – and rely on the infrastructure of life to do its magic. To the extent you do so, the odds of your leading a prosperous, meaningful, fulfilling life will be dramatically increased – in both good times and bad.
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