Summary: I am on the road this week, moving from the San Francisco Bay Area to make a new start in the Heartland. Posts will be brief, appearing irregularly. Let’s start with an addition to the “smackdowns page” (listing my mistakes).
“Anger is easy. Anger at the right person, at the right time, for the right reason, is difficult.”
— Aristotle in the Nicomachean Ethics, book IV, chapter 5 (lightly paraphrased).
“Telemachus, now is the time to be angry.”
— Odysseus to his son, when the time came to deal with the Suitors. From the movie The Odyssey (1997).
Americans of today lack the motivation to undertake the great effort required to rebuild the Second Republic — or create a Third. Restoring that motivation is the first task for those seeking to reform America. No plan, no organization, no goals can succeed without a large body of people committed to the project.
In 2013 I advocated for anger as a last-ditch means to arouse Americans so that they assume responsibility for America — and act accordingly.
Look at the Wikiquote page for “anger”. Few of the sages quoted there have much good to say about it. They counsel calm and contemplation. For some people that produces a steely resolve. But not always. Sheep are calm, perhaps contemplative, but not estimable.
To get action a disengaged passive people, like Americans today, perhaps we should target the spirits, not the mind. Arouse anger. Anger at what we have become and how America changes. Like most things, anger can be a force for good or ill. …Logic and knowledge can only do so much. Passion and spirit must carry us forward.
Our leaders took my advice. They incited blind hatred of Obama. He was an anarchist, totalitarian (like Hitler!), muslim-loving, communist — and illegitimate as President. They incited blind hatred towards Trump, who was totalitarian (like Hitler!), friend or instrument of Putin, and all-around evil bad guy — and illegitimate as President. It was easy for them.
“Anger assists hands however weak.”
— Ovid, Amorum (16 BC), I. 7. 66.
Our anger has not made us stronger. It has not awakened our sense of responsibility for America. It has made us like angry sheep, easily herded by the shepherd and his dogs. I was wrong.
Look to the Man in the Mirror
“An experience of profound contempt is necessary in order to grasp our situation, and our capacity for contempt is vanishing.”
— Allan Bloom in Closing of the American Mind (1987).
Who is responsible for America’s problems? We are. We longer seem willing to bear the burden of self-government. Each of us needs to look at the Man in the Mirror. Perhaps what we see there might inspire us to act. Many people taking a first small step could do great things.
I’m Gonna Make A Change
For Once In My Life
It’s Gonna Feel Real Good
Gonna Make A Difference
Gonna Make It Right…
I’m Starting With The Man In The Mirror
I’m Asking Him To Change His Ways
And No Message Could Have Been Any Clearer
If You Wanna Make The World A Better Place
Take A Look At Yourself, And Then Make A Change
Look here for ideas about the first step you can take to making America a better nation.
“If not now, when?”
— Patrick Henry on 23 March 1775. Click here for more advice from him.