“By the recovery of the Past, stuff and being are added to us; our lives, which, lived in the present only, are a film or surface, take on body – are lifted into one dimension more. The soul is fed. Reverence and knowledge and security and the love of a good land – all these are increased or given by the pursuit of this kind of learning.”
— Hilaire Belloc, “The Old Road” (1904)
Source: Hilaire Belloc – “The Old Road” (1904) | Wrath of Gnon
Notwithstanding Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address, government “of the people, by the people, and for the people” did not “perish from the earth” when the Southern States withdrew from a Union they had voluntarily entered into. It perished when they were driven back into it at the point of the bayonet.
— H.V. “Bo” Traywick, Jr.
This came across my Facebook news-feed:
Prior to 1968, anyone could walk into a hardware store with cash and walk out with a gun, no questions asked. Yet, massacres were exceedingly rare. So, instead of “the easy availability of guns” being shrieked about, we need to ask ourselves: What has changed since then?
Firearms could also be ordered from catalogs, such as in the ad pictured above. Background checks were not even a gleam in “liberal” politicians’ eyes. And most people kept their guns propped in the corner, in the closet, or hanging over the mantle. Yet, again, mass shootings were incredibly rare.
The quote above asks precisely the right question, but truly and constructively engaging it would require many people to lay aside a lot of their preconceptions, assumptions, and (dare I say it?) societal conditioning, and most folks are loathe to do that.
“So long as free land exists, the opportunity for a competency exists, and economic power secures political power.”
— Frederick Jackson Turner, “The Significance of the Frontier in American History” (1894)
Source: The Just Third Way: The Significance of the Frontier
My “Cogent Quotes” are generally intended to be either positive and inspiring, or else warnings; this counts as more of a lament for something which has already been lost, perhaps irretrievably.
I think Turner was absolutely right. The problem is, with the closing of the frontier, the vast increase of population, both here at home and globally (when I was born in 1965, there were 2 billion people on the planet, now there are a staggering 7.6 billion; the population of the US was just over 194 million, now it is almost 327 million), and the fact that all existing land is either in private or governmental hands, there is no longer such a thing as “free land.”
And that fact has a sadly limiting effect on both individual prospects, and freedom and democracy in our society. We here in the United States are, it seems to me, sadly becoming the Europe our ancestors fled from: “huddled masses, yearning to be free.”
Nor do I have a solution for this problem, short or war or pestilence so horrific that it reduces the global population by two-thirds or more – and that is something no one should wish for, however greatly it might increase the prospects of those remaining.