June 22, 2008

"The can-do, bootstrap approach embedded in the American psyche is under assault."

"Eroding it is a dour powerlessness that is chipping away at the country's sturdy conviction that destiny can be commanded with sheer courage and perseverance."

Write Alan Fram and Eileen Putman. (Via Drudge.) They summarize the evidence:
Midwestern levees are bursting. Polar bears are adrift. Gas prices are skyrocketing. Home values are abysmal. Air fares, college tuition and health care border on unaffordable. Wars without end rage in Iraq, Afghanistan and against terrorism.
Polar bears are adrift. They just don't know what to do with themselves any more. Slaughtering baby seals with our bare paws, what kind of a life is that? It may nourish the body, but what about our souls? Oh, you mean they are drifting on that melting iceberg?

Anyway, the point is that everything seems to be going to hell:
"It is pretty scary," said Charles Truxal, 64, a retired corporate manager in Rochester, Minn. "People are thinking things are going to get better, and they haven't been. And then you go hide in your basement because tornadoes are coming through. If you think about things, you have very little power to make it change."
Thanks for the tip.

IN THE COMMENTS: Paddy O. writes:
My great-great-great grandmother had six kids in Indiana when her husband and oldest son went off to fight in the Civil War. Both died, leaving her with five kids and a farm.

She worked hard and they did okay. Her oldest kids grew up and moved to California in the 1870s. She followed not long after, and continued to work.

“Soft,” she said in a newspaper article when she turned 100, talking about that present generation. “The world is full of weaklings.”

People with heart and courage respond with heart and courage. Those that never really did like to complain about how bad things are, in order to justify their own anxiety and give fuel to their fretting.

AND: Also from the comments, read this from Steve.

30 comments:

Kirby Olson said...

The news of ninnies, naturally. Tell it to Job. It reminds me of the Episcopalian Bishop Gene Robertson who flew to Europe with his partner and complained for an hour on a news program that he had to fill out separate customs files, and it took him almost twenty minutes to list all the things he had bought, and then he had to do it again on another file! What a nuisance! Tell it to Job, Tell it to Job, I thought.

I always have nothing to declare because I never buy anything. Makes filling out those customs reports a lot less cumbersome, and eases the burden of subsequent yard sales.

Tips galore this Sunday morning as more polar bears than ever congregate in the social paradise of Canada looking for a handout of trout or tuna or tansies.

knoxwhirled said...

Althouse, you forgot you "lameness" tag!

Maguro said...

Only Obama will be able to prevent the apocalypse. He's already promised to stop the oceans from rising so that should help the polar bears.

Help, Barry O! Save us!

Maguro said...

And to think that the AP wants to charge for the privilege of quoting this nonsense. Unbelievable.

rightwingprof said...

Obviously, being hit by a tornado is a great tragedy, but come on. If you live in the tornado belt, yawn, it's spring, there's another tornado watch.

Chip Ahoy said...

And what about the zombies!?!? Oh, nooooos. The hell-in-a-handbaskets are out again!!! If only there was someone who SAVE US, someone who could bring us hope and CHANGE!!!! Someone to SAVE US FROM OURSELVES!!11!!111!1 OOOOooooooh ... <--- funnier and more pathetic with sound.

Paddy O. said...

No, the can-do, boostrap approach is doing just fine. But just like throughout all of history people without the bootstrap, can-do approach sit on the sidelines and worry about how bad this mean old world is getting. Woe is us.

Things have always been bad. Every era has weather and disaster. Most have had wars significantly more destructive. Life has never been easier than now for the great, great, majoiryt of people.

My great-great-great grandmother had six kids in Indiana when her husband and oldest son went off to fight in the Civil War. Both died, leaving her with five kids and a farm.

She worked hard and they did okay. Her oldest kids grew up and moved to California in the 1870s. She followed not long after, and continued to work.

“Soft,” she said in a newspaper article when she turned 100, talking about that present generation. “The world is full of weaklings.”

People with heart and courage respond with heart and courage. Those that never really did like to complain about how bad things are, in order to justify their own anxiety and give fuel to their fretting.

steven said...

I would be willing to be that the people you name in your post are liberal or leftist. It's been said that conservatives and libertarians are happier people than those on the left. Judging by this post, it's true.
Home values are abysmal? No, they are now what they probably should be. Before they were inflated, pricing some people out of a home. Now maybe more people can afford one. College tuition has ALWAYS been high! Wars without end? I have a nephew and cousin in Iraq, and they tell me we are going to win, and they will be home soon. They are very proud of what they have done in Iraq. Health care unaffordable? I just had foot surgery and it cost me $175 total with my insurance.
If government would quit mandating that insurers cover all types of things (like accupuncture, birth control, viagra, etc., if you want that stuff then YOU pay for it) maybe health insurance could be more affordable. By the way I like McCain's idea for health insurance. Instead of getting health insurance from your employer, maybe you could get it through your church, civic organization, or something like that and deduct the cost of the insurance from your taxes.
From what I have read, polar bear populations are fine. When you tend to depend on government for your happiness, you are bound to be disappointed. When you depend on yourself for your happiness, things can be pretty good. I want to say that I make roughly $56000 a year, so I am firmly middle class. Not rich, but, hey I'm happy. That dour powerlessness is chipping away at the left's sturdy conviction. Not the right's. And that's not really all that surprising

Chip Ahoy said...

Just watched a few stargate continuum trailers. Amanda Tapping talks about the cast needing escorts with rifles to leave the compound. Polar bears. Real ones, not the imaginary ones floating off aimlessly for lack of landmass. I'm saddened people fall for this colossal hoax.

I'm immune to this projection. They'll have to do a lot LOT better than that to even begin to convince me things are getting worse and not better.

I've thought a lot about this and concluded people like this are actually talking about their own inward psychological state of being. Regarding the president, they're presented with a president who's entirely indifferent to their gay being and since they're 100% of gay that's like counting for 0% with the executive authority. And because they thrive by sucking the oxygen out of every room they enter, being the center of their universe, not being acknowledged is intollerable. Thus, for them, the world actually is collapsing.

Ha Ha Ha Ha. Oi. There's no degree of counter argument that will be accepted or cheering. Period. Whatever advance humanity takes, their world has retrograded therefore the whole world is being ruined.

If this writer thinks he can convince me ursus maritimus, so named for their mad swimming skillz, is actually endangered, then I'll have to insist this writer is very VERY poorly informed. Their numbers have increased dramatically since they've began being tracked.

dr kill said...

1. Hahahaha, This is the lowest rated story I personally have read at YAHOO! NEWS. Two stars only. This in a world where 'What to do with an aging Lemur' gets four stars.

2. Messrs Fram, Putnam and Truxal raised pussies.

Cowboy up, people, life is great.

TMink said...

I think the article refers to the malaise and fears of the dependent class. They look for others to do things for them, so they are looking forward to Senator Obama's type of liberal nannyism.

Producers are certainly not afraid. We do things for ourselves and our community.

But, in truth, the dependents SHOULD be afraid as the current presidential contenders are likely to make things harder on the producers, and we will not take kindly to that. Some of us will leave, some will produce less, some of us will drop out. Less producers will be a big mess.

Trey

Trey

Chip Ahoy said...

The best thing about that dumb-ass article was the link on the side of it to the air-scooter item seen on this page. It's a personal helicopter. I want one! (On the link you have to select the item from a choice then endure an ad for Canon.)

Chip Ahoy said...

Personal helicopter! Sweet. Now, convince me life isn't getting better.

And how can anybody have a sour attitude about the direction of life when anybody who wants can take hang gliding lessons? See, now that there's just a lack of imagination.

AJ Lynch said...

Does the AP even hire reporters with a can-do attitude?

Went to the Borgata in AC yesterday for birthday baccanalia. I saw thouands of people having fun, drinking, gambling and staying out late! I did not notice any long faces there.

Re real estate, I own a small duplex and the upstairs and downstown tenants just moved out. The lower real estste prices allowed each of them to become home owners! They did not have a can't-do attitude to the best of my knowledge! They are good kids and good for them!

Look (as Senator Obama would say) -the MSM industry is falling down around their heads. Jobs are evaporating, revenue is way down. Maybe I can give them a pass for being gloomy but they are bringing it on themselves because they brought this can't-do attitude to the job- it is in their job description.

AJ Lynch said...

Knoxwhirled:

Good catch. Ann needs to add the "lameness" tag to this.

William said...

Aren't Michelle and Barack examples of the can-do, bootstrap approach?

Paddy O. said...

Here's a scan of that article.

Joe said...

Aren't many of the things mentioned more an example of failure of big government than anything else?

(What if the government just got out of the levy business and left it up to the states and cities? I'd wager that some areas would have been much better off. And for those who weren't. Tough shit.)

AJ Lynch said...

Let me add this.

We left the Borgata around 430AM last night and drove thru Philly on the way home. Went thru Fairmount Park and actually got stuck in traffic at 545AM on a Sunday morning!! There was some kind of bike rally and the cyclists were assembling.

Not not usually up this early and so we were surprised to see also so many walkers and runners out at this hour.

I suspect these are just more (anecdotal I know) signs of this can't-do malaise.

blake said...

That air scooter guy is dead on: Flying out of your backyard? That's the way to do it.

As for home prices, they're still too high, least 'round here. Mine is still hovering around 300% what I paid for it 10 years ago, where 150% would be more reasonable.

By the way, stories like this are why I don't read the paper any more. The L.A. Times (which ran its first Iraq headline in months yesterday with "500th Californian killed in Iraq") ran stories like this for months in '92, until the Wednesday after Clinton was elected.

Then, everything changed: The economy, popular attitude, the world view of the US. The very day after Clinton was elected, they ran a story about the rebounding economy.

former law student said...

conservatives and libertarians are happier people than those on the left.

Have you listened to the whine fest that is right-wing talk radio? Liberals don't bitch about how inadequate the current generation is (true of every generation at least since McCain's BTW.) The guy yelling "Hey you kids! Get offa my lawn!" listens to Michael Savage, not Randi Rhodes.

Liberals are happier chiefly because they have more sex than conservatives. (Few libertarians have sex because they tend to wait for a woman to rationally pick them for the father of their children.

Pogo said...

"I've got to admit it's getting better, better
A little better all the time"

Paul McCartney, can-do man.

"it can't get no worse"
John Lennon can't-do, imagines a future world free of property and religion

Pogo said...

"The guy yelling "Hey you kids! Get offa my lawn!" listens to Michael Savage, not Randi Rhodes."
In my neck of the woods, the liberals live off in "communities" far away from the hoi polloi. They don't have kids very often, or maybe one, and Mummy doesn't allow little Heather to play outside anyway, so there's no one to yell at.

Liberal neighbors tend to sue each other instead.

"Liberals are happier chiefly because they have more sex than conservatives."
Source?
And masturbation doesn't count, even though it's the epitome of liberalism.

section9 said...

Oh, now come on. Everyone masturbates. I bet if you got Sean Hannity and Randi Rhodes in a Motel Six together the sex would be butt-wild!

God, I shouldn't have gone there! I bet this never happens over at The Belmont Club....

Paul Zrimsek said...

"The sun didn't come up this morning, huge cracks have appeared in the earth's surface, and giant rocks are falling from the sky. Details in 20 minutes on Action Central News, kids!" -- George Carlin

Fen said...

No worries. All of these horrible things will magically disappear if you elect a Democrat to POTUS. Just like the homeless at a Democrat convention city...

Fen said...

Liberals are happier chiefly because they have more sex than conservatives.

To be more precise, liberal women are happier because they get more sex than their metrosexual counterparts. As a conservative, I relish every opportunity to bed liberal women. Because there are some things you just shouldn't do to your wife.

Patrick said...

Any adult male who says "scary" isn't an adult male.

former law student said...

liberal women are happier because they get more sex than their metrosexual counterparts.

Unfortunately for your thesis, the woman you overheard saying that "conservatives have been screwing the country for the past eight years," was using a figure of speech.

Revenant said...

The guy yelling "Hey you kids! Get offa my lawn!" listens to Michael Savage, not Randi Rhodes.

That may be, but happy people don't listen to either of them. You can't really be happy and spend your afternoons listening to people who do nothing but spew hate.

Besides, how is telling kids to get off my lawn a sign that I'm unhappy? Exercising property rights is something libertarians *enjoy*! Besides, I bet there isn't a property owner in America who doesn't smile at the thought of turning the hose on the neighborhood teenagers, even if they'd never actually do it. :)