At present the creation of our Founding Fathers limps along with high unemployment, gargantuan budget deficits, and a lack of confidence that is, well, un-American. So with these United States seemingly in trouble, it’s always worthwhile to consider the difficult times we’re in through the eyes of the Founders themselves. Wildly successful entrepreneur Tom Blair has done just that with his highly insightful and enjoyable Poorer Richard’s America – What Would Ben Say?
Ben wouldn’t have much good to say. “How stands the Union?” Daniel Webster is said to ask from his grave, and the answer now is “not so well.” Our elected officials, with very few exceptions, are a pack of jackasses, idiots, buncombe artists and fools. Our tax system is a twisted labyrinth that no single person understands even dimly. And look at our cities; look at Detroit, once a wonder of modern manufacturing, now a quasi-Third World hellhole. Look at Chicago, where competing gangs conduct open warfare on the streets. Look at San Francisco, where the city council encountered bitter opposition to a proposed ordnance to prevent – yes, really – public defecation.
I’ve added Poorer Richard’s America to my reading list. I’ll post some thoughts once it works its way to the top of the queue, and I’ve had a chance to digest Mr. Blair’s take on Franklin’s view of modern America.
Also: Take a look at the latest from the always-worth-reading Dr. Victor Davis Hanson: Brave New World. Excerpt:
Sometimes societies just plod along, oblivious that the world is being reinvented right under their noses. In 2000, one never saw pedestrians bumping into themselves as they glued their noses to iPhones. Thirteen years later, it is almost rare to see anyone on the street who is not stumbling about, networking or texting. Yet most of us are scarcely aware of the collective effect of that odd habit repeating itself millions of times over each day, of millions of books not read, of “hellos” not offered, of brains wired to screens rather than the physical world about them. When cars once drifted into your lane, you assumed a DUI; now their drivers are most likely texting.
Cars, of course, look about the same as they did thirty years ago. But we just assume now that they almost never break down. Up until 1980 I used to see them with hoods up by the side of the road almost every five miles or so. Today, entire notions such as points, plugs, tune-ups, and carburetors have simply quietly passed away for most motorists. The old jalopy with 100,000 miles on it was junk; the new Accord with 150,000 miles has another easy 250,000 to go. The world changes while we snore.
We snore; society slouches. It’s a fine mess.