About This Blog

Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) was the greatest economist of my time. His greatest works can be accessed here at no charge.

Mises believed that property, freedom and peace are and should be the hallmarks of a satisfying and prosperous society. I agree. Mises proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the prospect for general and individual prosperity is maximized, indeed, is only possible, if the principle of private property reigns supreme. What's yours is yours. What's mine is mine. When the line between yours and mine is smudged, the door to conflict opens. Without freedom (individual liberty of action) the principle of private property is neutered and the free market, which is the child of property and freedom and the mother of prosperity and satisfaction, cannot exist. Peace is the goal of a prosperous and satisfying society of free individuals, not peace which is purchased by submission to the enemies of property and freedom, but peace which results from the unyielding defense of these principles against all who challenge them.

In this blog I measure American society against the metrics of property, freedom and peace.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

On Believing In Something Greater Than Self

My wife and I had a long and deep discussion last night. It was occasioned by my father's depression. He's in his upper 80's and in failing health. He had seen a television report on euthanasia and had asked me to research the possibility for euthanizing him.

As you can imagine, such a request could spur a whole range of topics, but the one we got stuck on was the "why" of my father's depression. Yes, when health breakdowns begin to severely restrict an elderly person's options for life activities, depression is understandable. However, as my wife and I talked, we began to realize that different people react to such circumstances in different ways. Many elderly people we know are dealing with old age and it's vicissitudes quite admirably.

My mother, for instance, is only two years younger than my father, but she does not tend to be depressed. She is upbeat and outgoing. She is also deeply religious, which my father is not.

My wife and I concluded that in general not only the elderly but also people in general handle life's curve balls in different ways. It seems the common denominator, at least by my and my wife's reckoning, is a committed belief in something or Someone greater than one's self.

Both my father and her mother, who is quite younger, are prone to fits of depression or, more accurately, periods when they are mad at the world for one reason or another. They are both self-centered individuals who are quick to blame others or circumstances for their misery. Neither is the type who will accept responsibility for the consequences of their actions. Neither can see the world for what it is with a healthy perspective that they are a small part of that world. They take life's bumps and bruises personally. Neither is able to love unconditionally, or commit themselves to a specific philosophy of life greater than their own ego. As a consequence, they tend to be needy. When they get in one of their moods they can drain the energy out of whoever is nearby because they feel the world owes them a better shake.

Unfortunately, my dad is an old dog and adopting a healthy belief in a God greater than himself or even a philosophical principle greater than himself is not going to happen. Such attitudes must be learned and committed to early in life, or at least early enough to be sincerely cultivated in order to deal with the ravages of advancing age.

My wife and I then realized something profound, but extremely scary. Many of our young people today are being brought up in an environment where they are catered to and coddled. They are being taught in our schools to be self-centered egoists with an entitlement mentality. The further they advance in our educational institutions, the more they are trained by leftists who disparage family, religion, self-reliance, self-responsibility, meekness and humility. They begin to feel the world literally owes them things, if not a living, at least an education, health care and security in their old age.

In short, many young people today are being groomed and trained to be individuals exactly like my dad and my wife's mom, bitter individuals unable to see any Being or principle greater than their own self.

It's a sad situation that doesn't bode well for either their future or the future of our society.

NOTE: Unfortunately, it is necessary to point out to over sensitive readers that I am not saying ALL young people are self-centered and heading for an unhappy old age. Many young people today have excellent parents with their heads screwed on straight. Consequently, these young people have acquired strong morals and a healthy sense of prospective and self. They are our hope for a healthy future society.

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