This is an incredibly insightful and well articulated article, period. Well done
and thank you for its submission! It does make me wonder since so many of
the globe's immediate "problems" are addressed here domestically,
should more thought be put to strategic planning and thinking? Civilizations,
all great ones, are led by visionaries. Friction is often caused by groups who
simply wish to carve out a portion of the progress with their sense of justice
and "more fairly" distribute it. I contend that "we" are at a
place in our history where we simply cannot let off the gas and similar to the
Chinese, need to develop a national framework for a long term plan or true Grand
Strategy. The sole focus of promoting peace and unity of effort globally to
extend life, improve quality of life, eradicate human suffering, and enhance
global economic prosperity; not at the cost to one country or another but to the
benefit. Restructuring the neo-liberal world order and truly partnering with
those who want to be partners in our leadership endeavors and moving on from
those who don't or want to be obstructionist.
@Karen R.Appreciate your thoughts on public university research. You are
right. There are occasional examples of government getting something right. But, as I said, “more often than not” government impedes and
delays the next great leap for the American people. I had to scratch my head to
think of any significant breakthrough or discovery primarily through government
that was not connected to national defense. As to public research universities,
they simply don’t know how to get things to consumers in the marketplace
without the collaboration of private industry. Nonetheless, as
always, I appreciate your thought-provoking words.
Should people look to their government for greatness or is greatness the
responsibility of the people? Our Founding Fathers told us that greatness comes
from the people NOT from the government. They limited the Federal Government to
have authority to do only seventeen things. Those "things" are
enumerated (listed) in the dependent clauses of Article I, Section 8. The 10th
Amendment tells us that ALL other duties are the responsibility of the States or
of the People. We are the people. If we teach people to look to
the government to solve our problems, then we do not uphold, support or sustain
the Constitution. On the other hand, if we teach people to magnify their
knowledge, their abilities, their talents and their desires by solving the
problems that we face collectively, then we are supporting those ideals that
made America great.Some people are so lazy in their thinking that
they blame the President for anything and everything. They are so lazy in their
thinking that they can't imagine doing anything great themselves. They
hide their light under a bushel and then complain that it is dark.If
America is to be great, Americans must become great.
Hatred is a storm that wrecks the insides of homes while leaving the structures
standing. We have a nation -- it is not gone. But, the hatred we have for each
other is gutting what we are, and what we stand for, and what we can accomplish.
It is destroying us on the inside. I cannot help but think of the prophecy that
if America is to fall, it must fall from within. Hatred eats at
the soul of the hater, damaging him as much as the person he hates. So it is
with us as a nation. We have sown the wind, and must reap the whirlwind. We have
sown the seeds of hatred against each other, and have reaped this inability to
function as a nation. Our divisions reflect our hatred. And, our
hatred could spell our demise as the greatest nation on earth. If we would make
America great again, we must make it united again.
@ VermonterI would add to Freitheit's list of
government/private enterprise cooperation the public university system, which
provides a lot of free research to private industry. One example: The ag
departments of many schools work closely with ag chem corporations to develop
products for crop and animal production.I'll grant that the
profit motive is a strong and reliable motivator, but it isn't the only
one. Many are motivated by the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake. These
are the people that gravitate to public jobs. Your (IMO) blinkered view of the
public sector unfairly dismisses the efforts and contributions of these people.
@Marxist. @Freiheit. I appreciate you sharing your words and viewpoints.
Though I still have a difference of opinion with you, I appreciate
your thought-provoking and well-reasoned comments. Thanks for
@Vermonter "Capitalism, independent of government “leaders,”
has been (and hopefully will continue to be) the main impetus for the great
accomplishments of America. "True, but not completely true. The
profit drive drives innovation because being first with a technology confers a
degree of monopoly power, which drives profits.But there is a
problem with capitalism, and that is Marx's "surplus value,"
whereby a major portion of profits is made by employers seizing labor's
surplus. Capitalism rests on the exploitation of hired labor. This leads to a
natural concentration of wealth at the top. This is what happened in the
20's, leading to the Great Depression.During the 30's a
coalition of communists, socialists and unionists had enough power to enact the
New Deal reforms. But after the war business interests attacked this coalition,
first the communists, and then the socialists, and finally the unionists.We now have no balance of power, so there is no buy in by the mass of
population. That's why its so hard to get things done now. .
Here's the real problem(s) Mr. Matheson.The right wing of the
Republican party's (who control the party) unfounded and fact less claim
that government is the problem never the solution, and their near maniacal fear
of spending. How do you solve any of the problems you list with the
above principles in play? A rational Republican party was a partner
in the development of America. Conservatives who didn't fear progress or
risk but preached caution and responsibility gave us the America we knew. Radicals who denigrate govt. and preach austerity have given us the
America we know now.
"The real test of a nation is what it does when it doesn’t have to do
anything."==========How true. Just as it is when it comes
to individuals.What that really means is that the real test of a
nation/individual is how good are they in **not** relying on crisis management
to do what needs to be done. That is, in not waiting to be forced to act by
dealing with foreseeable but still **potential** problems before they become
current and existential ones.One of the more obvious examples of our
DEcreasing ability to act in such a prudent manner as a nation is our
decade's long and increasingly self-delusional refusal to live within our
means. We insist on spending money we don't have, adding to an already
astronomical national debt, as if there are no eventual and inevitable
consequences.The wisdom of behaving honestly and prudently is summed
up in the old saying that, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of
cure."You'd think that having a 16:1 advantage would be
more convincing to more people than it turns out to be.
Trump is not a man of action. From what has been reported, most days he has a
very light schedule, and watches a lot of FOX. We know this because he tweets
out what they say throughout the day. And I don't see a lot of
accomplishments. What little good has been done was by congress, dragging Trump
along.The things Trump has done, have mostly been destructive. For
example, separating immigrant families at the border was heinous. To top that
off, they asked family members to come forward to take care of the children
still in custody, but that was only a trap, and they arrested most of them. So
the children sit in custody. It's beyond shameful.There are
many more examples of Trump's destruction. Not room to write them all.This country only works if there is compromise between right and left.
That is the way congress worked not too long ago. It's a shame because most
Americans are not either far right or far left. We are mostly in the middle,
just wishing they would work together to solve our problems.
Gil BatesI don't think the majority of the country, nor it
seems the Senate and Congress, are on board with this President, whose actions
seem more in self-interest than in those of the American people.And
other than rule tweeks and a tax bill for billionaires, what has the Trump
administration really put into "action"?
The irony here is that we currently have a president of ACTION, rather than
acquiescence. The editor simply doesn't like Trump's plans.
Two quotes from this opinion piece that strike me:“Great
necessities call out great virtues.”True indeed. Sadly,
Americans seem ignorant of pressing issues (climate change, national
infrastructure, health care, de-industrialization to name a few), and elements
of the political establishments seem intent on ignoring these problems. Instead
of answers, the past two years give us sloganeering and propaganda."The American people will respond with unrivaled capacity and commitment
when a leader with vision invites them to be part of a cause — not a
caustic debate."Wish this could be true. In 2016 the American
people decided that leaders who engaged in caustic debate won elections. Rather
than serious discussion of the issues confronting the country we got
Trump's tweets, insults and appeals to our lesser angels. Furthermore, the
only cause Trump really cares about is the size of his checkbook.
"Capitalism, independent of government “leaders,” has been (and
hopefully will continue to be) the main impetus for the great accomplishments of
America. "Capitalism has indeed done great things, but many of
America's greatest accomplishments have been a combination of private and
government projects. The world's first transcontinental railroad was a
joint effort. Electrification was as well. The transistors developed at
government supported labs became the foundation for advances in radio, TV,
computers, cell phones and all our "smart" stuff. The list is much
longer than space here allows.To castigate the government as an
impediment to progress is to ignore a great deal of what has been accomplished.
Can't argue with Matheson, really.But there are some really
critical tests facing us as a nation. Two of them are:1. Climate
change. The Trump Administration has issued two very dire reports lately on the
threats of climate change, despite the efforts of Trump and other supporters to
kill any actions to address the problem. We are seeing critical problems now
and today. We must act.2. The threat to our nation, democracy and
standing in the world due to Donald Trump. The danger is real, demonstrable,
and taking place. This is serious.Can we as a nation address these
problems, or will short-term personal financial interests prevail? Will we sell
our "birthright for a bowl of pottage"?
I am a little surprised the Mathewson thinks if nothing is happening in
Washington, then America is not doing anything. One can easily argue
that almost all the “can-do” examples cited by Matheson (NASA, the
interstate highway system, the Cold War and 2 World Wars) were all accomplished
in the name of national defense. The Transcontinental Railroad and cures for
countless diseases were largely accomplished by private enterprises (i.e.
capitalism). Capitalism, independent of government
“leaders,” has been (and hopefully will continue to be) the main
impetus for the great accomplishments of America. The telegraph?
Check. The cotton gin? Check. Electricity, Motion pictures, the telephone, the
automobile, the airplane, radio, television, personal computers, the
iPhone....Check times at least 100 (with virtually no government
involvement).The Government, as the Founders noted, and Ronald
Reagan emphasized, is more often than not, an impediment to America’s
greatness. So I join the Founders in championing a government that
is painfully slow and often gridlocked.
" We are a can-do country. The discipline to deal with the difficult without
delay will define America’s future."Yeah, and the current
GOP controlled government are "can doing" rolling back regulations on
clean air and water, financial regulations, consumer rights, land use, labor
rights and anything else they can enrich themselves at the detriment to the
overwhelming majority of Americans.