Why People And Nations Major In Minor Things
In Victor Davis Hanson’s latest column, he included this gem of a quote,
It is a depressing characteristic of government today to loudly enact legislation and impose regulations of little utility, while neglecting to address the root causes of truly serious problems. — Victor Davis Hanson
What he’s describing is something that happens both with people and nations that have lost confidence in their ability to deal with their biggest problems. Because the issues confronting them seem to be insurmountable, they begin to major in minor things. Then they either distract themselves with trivia or make a big deal over dubious symbolic victories that ultimately mean nothing. The hoarder organizes a handful of things in his kitchen, the guy who can’t get a job spends all day watching TV instead of putting out resumes and we pat ourselves on the back for cutting a bipartisan deal to avoid a fiscal cliff disaster that does nothing of significance to control our spending problems.
When you recognize that pattern of behavior, it’s an indication of a deep and abiding sickness that is unlikely to be dealt with until some sort of serious crisis forces the matter.
That’s where we are as a nation.
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George Will crafts quite a descriptive metaphor for California’s failing economy, comparing it to the titular ultimate basket-case soldier in Dalton Trumbo’s infamous 1939 anti-war novel “Johnny Got His Gun.” As Trumbo writes, if Johnny got his gun, then most certainly, “Berkeley Got Its Liberalism.”