17 August 2008

NYT Op-Ed Suggests America is a Bunch of Whiners

Is America a Big Bunch of Pussies?

Conservative NYT columnist, David Brooks, writes of a heroic tale of Chinese citizens amidst suffering in the Sichuan Province after the devastating earthquake earlier this year. Citing the Chinese people's desire to move on with their lives, he brings up the question of whether or not America, by comparison, is a bunch of over-emotional ninnies regarding our trite, little problems.

While America is much more modernized than China, with buildings that are designed to withstand the devastating effects of mother nature in places like Los Angeles, it doesn't necessarily suggest that our comparative lack of suffering would lead us to be a nation of pussies. The fundamental purpose of innovation and engineering has been to utilize science for the improvement of mankind, which will hopefully continue our domain off of earth to expand humanity one day. The fact that life is no longer nasty, brutish, and short should be a celebrated effect of mankind's achievements, and not regarded as making us weaker.

IMHO, the real reason America has become a nation of whiners is due to our continuing belief that the all-powerful state should provide everything from free healthcare to cheap gas, while we go about our banal lives paying taxes and not asking a lot of questions. The introspective nature of democracy to just vote for one's short-term self interests leads to a culture of viewing the sole purpose in life as "being happy" and "feeling good". Evidence of the self-serving by-products of modern western civilization include dog daycare and spas, Cuddle Parties, and fastest text messaging contests. It's difficult to combat current crises (terrorism) and looming crises (energy and resource shortages) when people adopt such a solipsistic view of the world. Ayn Rand would probably punch me in the face for asserting such a collectivist argument, but the purpose of life being self-gratification seems to be a bunch of bullshit, and its manifestations in modern society are bullshit too.