Kvatch Kvetches: A Simpler America?
But I don't really lament that particular America. Sure more trust in the government would be nice, but I don't for a second believe that the America of...say...the 1800's was a place where I could trust the government. I don't really believe that 'Frontier America' was a safe place for kids. Perhaps that was a mid-20th century America. I don't know...
But you know what I do miss? A simpler America, and it makes me resentful. I resent an America of such dazzling complexity that few can comprehend it without a Ph.D. I resent a tax code so complex that I need a program to do the work for me. I resent shelling out $50 for the software and resent the fact that I'm probably still getting fleeced by the Feds.
I resent the f*ckin' 'Ownership Society'. I don't want to be in charge of my health care choices--my retirement plan's investments--my auto insurance, fire insurance, long-term disability, dental, flood, or any other stupid insurance. I resent the fact that, if I don't make investment banking my god-damned career, my own nest-egg will never grow. I resent the necessity of the two-income family. I resent all the demands on my time--having my leisure moments squeezed to the point where I can hardly find time to sleep.
But most of all, I resent the fact that I live with an ease that no generation in human history could conceive of, and yet I can't seem to stay on top of it's mind-boggling complexity. What kind of ungrateful frog am I?
Don't be worried now. Come with Daddy.
And I agree with all of it. Thing is, I recall that some 35 years ago I thought life was getting unnecessarily complex. I had no clue....
And they would say, "Froggie, you're on your own." :(
Nvisiblewmn... Just doing my part to enhance everyone's anxiety. ;-)
Don't be worried now. Come with Daddy.
Daniel... Oh no! I know who you are. You're the big bad alligator. My what a sharp wit you have! ;-)
I can't imagine what it must be like to move from a society where, if you had a good industrial job, your company pretty much took care of you to a society where everything from your health to your wealth to your education is entirely in your own hands.
RevPhat... Welcome to Blognonymous.
As an agnostic, I think that "Froggie, you're on your own," would be the mildest of their responses. But more to the point: The Bible (any religious text for that matter) give a lot of advice on how to relate to people but sparingly little on how to deal with society's complexity. With the exception of maybe Buddhism.
RAFFI... Thanks for the kind words. Perhaps we could go after one per year--starting with the MOTHER-F*CKING TAX CODE!!!
Liberality... No doubt, no doubt, and it helps to try and remove complexity from one's life. I guess I'm taking issue with the government deliberately making our lives more complex. [sigh indeed!]
Why can't we talk to people anymore?!
I know, iounds like something that one of Raygun's speech writers would've worked up for him.
to prove to you that they are." - Easy Rider
Chuck... I guess the problem we have now is that there are layers of complexity that serve no purpose.
Fred... How true.
Sumo... Actually this damn blog adds to the complexity!
We bitch, moan and, dare I say it, kvetch, and we have life easier than any people on earth, past and present.
But I do agree that there is a lot of useless complexity. The tax code is unnecessarily complex, as you say. But you're absolutely not getting fleeced by the Feds. US families pay relatively little taxes, because they don't pay for what they use in services (hence the government deficit), and because the government doesn't do many of the things it should (maintain infrastructure, clean the environment, educate all children, ...)
I certainly agree that healthcare choices and investments decisions are largely negative impacts on quality of life. Incidentally, to fix that, you need more government, and hence higher taxes.
As to our place in history, I agree that we have it easy in some aspects. Less of us do backbreaking labor, partially because we moved jobs that require it to other countries, partially because we import laborers (illegally and legally) to do those backbreaking jobs that we can't export, and partially because we use non-renewable energy to make our lives easier. We live longer than our forefathers because we have easier access to food, live more sanitary lives and have access to healthcare. All of that depends again on our access to cheap non-renewable energy as much as on technological progress.
But do we live happier lives? I seriously doubt that. I don't think that people living in societies with less choices are necessarily unhappy. After all, our consumer society has only one goal: to make people unhappy with what they have. People that are content don't go out and buy things. And if we didn't have TV to watch, or bills to pay, wouldn't we perhaps spend more time with each other?
So I don't think it's ungrateful to resent living in a modern society. And certainly it is healthy to question the way US society works. After all, there are several countries with higher standards of living, even though they lack all the natural advantages the US has. It shouldn't be too hard to learn from that?