It will never cease to amaze me, what civilized ideas were put into the founding documents of the US. At a time when Kings owned their subjects outright, and even the people drafting the Bill of Rights owned slaves, the ideas put forth, that each individual human has unalienable rights, the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, the right to own property and to keep the fruits of one’s labor, the right to live one’s life as one sees fit, these ideas, while not new, were still bizarre, and completely antithetical to the tribal paradigm and the natural law of the jungle.
I used to be angry that so few people understood how the US, based on freedom, individual rights and free markets, offered such a haven and opportunity to people around the world whose dream it was to live here. A land where anyone, even a young immigrant boy with no money and no family, can found a giant company like Intel. A land where the rich are thin and the poor are fat, quite the opposite of much of the rest of the world.
234 years ago, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution and Bill of Rights set a stage that led to the greatest “social platform” experiment in human history, based on a foundation of freedom, not a foundation of rule by the few and privileged.
But over the last century, due to many factors, from widespread and growing ignorance, greed and sloth, to self-perpetuating and reinforcing cultural influences, the precious ideals of freedom are constantly losing ground to animal instinct and the tribal paradigm, as the People continually concede their power, wealth and freedom to the few, privileged, greedy, irresponsible ruling class in Washington DC. I can clearly see the inevitable end of the U.S. empire, brought about by the identical causes of the fall of every empire from the Roman, Persian and British to the Soviet Union. Apparently, it is rare that one can connect the dots of history.
I used to be angry about all this. I used to feel I had a responsibility to do even what little I could to try and educate those around me, like hundreds of thousands of like-minded people were doing. Of course, those efforts were futile, and though interesting and thought-provoking, those hours served mostly to soak up my valuable time away from much more fruitful pursuits.
Things are different now. I realized a few months ago, that since coming back from Bali, there’s been a major change in my attitude. I don’t identify with “being an American” anymore. The misdeeds of Washington DC no longer cause “outrage by a citizen” but simply detached amusement and rolled eyes. I have always suspected that I am a foreigner, in a foreign land. Now, beyond a shadow of a doubt, I know this to be true.
Oh well, someday I will move to Bali and live in paradise, diving with mantas and sharks and multicolored fish, and occasionally laughing at the Americans and their slide back down into the very paradigm so many brave souls fought and died to be freed from in the Revolutionary War.