One of my old friends, a scholar of Talmud and Kaballah, once opined that there was a really important reason $DEITY led Moses and the Israelites around the desert for 40 years between their deliverance from slavery and arrival at the promised land, and it had little to do with petty Divine annoyance on the subject of golden calfs. It was, he explained, to give that society time to let the slave generation die off and train the new generation to conditions of self reliance, to become people fit to determine their own fate. I think there’s a lot to that. Slave instincts of servility are pernicious, and difficult for even the hardiest to shake off.
The Geek’s comment produced this, from reader Magus (edited for clarity):
That one concept has set off a chain of thought within me that makes me weep for the future.
The American Revolution will probably be unique in the rest of human history. There are no more frontiers. There are no more areas where people can learn that they are or can become competent in managing their own life. Now there’s always an “agency” to take your problem to. And if you don’t take your issue to the appropriate “agency” you are punished.
We are among the last generations that will know anything like freedom or liberty. Privacy, for the most part, has already been destroyed. If you say anything like that to the majority of people now they’ll tell you that “you’re batshit crazy”.
Freedom is not comfortable or stable, and people want comfort and stability.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn once said:
In a state of psychological weakness, weapons become a burden for the capitulating side. To defend oneself, one must also be ready to die; there is little such readiness in a society raised in the cult of material well-being. Nothing is left, then, but concessions, attempts to gain time and betrayal.
I believe they’re both describing the same condition.
And I am reminded once more of the words of the Rev. Donald Sensing from 2003:
I predict that the Bush administration will be seen by freedom-wishing Americans a generation or two hence as the hinge on the cell door locking up our freedom. When my children are my age, they will not be free in any recognizably traditional American meaning of the word. I’d tell them to emigrate, but there’s nowhere left to go. I am left with nauseating near-conviction that I am a member of the last generation in the history of the world that is minimally truly free.