Will we choose wisely?

Will we choose wisely?

I’m about halfway through “Atlas Shrugged”.  I am a fast reader, so it’s a rare thing for me to be able to spend a week or two absorbed in a book.  It brings a certain clarity of thought to the process.  I find that the things I see, the things I am learning as I read; these things are resonating more in the world around me.  I find moments in the story that are often uncomfortable parallels to the challenges we, as a nation, are facing today.  One passage in particular has stuck with me this week, as I wonder were we are heading as a country:

Do you wish to know whether that day is coming?  Watch money.  Money is the barometer of a society’s virtue.  When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion – when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing – when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors – when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you – when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice – you may know that your society is doomed.

With Greece so much in the news, and real fears about the stability of the Euro, perhaps even the world economy – you have to ask, is this where we are heading?  Have we “progressed” as a nation to the point where the producers are valued only for what they can contribute to keep the welfare engines running?  If those engines are dialed back, will we see the kind of entitlement riots we have seen in Greece?  Have we forgotten that our grandparents taught us not to spend money that we don’t have?  Have the back room deals and influence peddling we saw during the Health Care debate become the new norm – a process now dedicated not to serving the will of the people, but to circumventing it?

I want to believe that the answer to those questions is – no; I fear that that the answer will be – yes.  Either way, I know that how we, as a people, choose to let those questions be answered will be the fulcrum on which our children’s futures will turn.  I hope that we choose wisely.

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