Evolution or Devolution?

July 16th, 2010 by Nick Jacobs Leave a reply »

There’s a part of me that celebrates each and every day because I’m evolving. For example . . . being a mature person usually feels pretty good.  I’m more settled, less angry, less needy, less . . . well, you get the idea.  On the other hand, I would never want to own a, vintage car.  Why?  They usually don’t have air conditioning, air bags, seat belts, or CD changers. . .with auxiliary jacks for MP3 digital audio players.  Driving one would be taking several steps backwards in safety, comfort, and style.

How else have I evolved?  Let’s see.  I have air bags.  Okay, maybe they’re not air bags,  but I have a protective coating of extra stuff around my organs. (I’ve gained at least one additional pound a year for the past 30 years.)  Oh, and I am a lot smarter, too.  In fact, my IQ test gained at least 10 points over the last few decades.  (It would probably have been 20 points higher if I hadn’t been on cholesterol medication, but I’d probably be dead and that higher IQ wouldn’t help much.)  On the other hand, the fish oil is supposed to make your brain work better.  Mom used to say, “Nicky, eat your fish.  It’s brain food.”  (Forget the fact that it was deep fried and heavily battered.)

Nick Jacobs, FACHE at the beach with his grandchildrenThis evolution thing could all be summed up by saying that I’m finally starting to mature.  Even though I’ve missed it by decades; it’s happening now.  I’m wiser.  Honestly, there couldn’t be that many things left to learn about running stuff; four decades is a lot of  experience.  I’ve learned about politics, human relations, sociopaths and wonderful souls; and I’ve learned about construction, child birth, heart attacks and ground moles.  I’ve lived through the birth of my kids, my grandkids, and my friend’s kids.  I’ve lived through the deaths of every aunt, uncle, and a few cousins; friends, neighbors, mentors and a half dozen family pets, and I’ve held both of my parents in my arms as they passed, too.

Having observed all of this, what is the devolution?

On NPR the other day, there was a short story that the American public’s view of capitalism has deteriorated.  The exact percentage of those still embracing capitalism was about 44% and those who think it’s outlived its appropriateness was around 47%.  (I guess the other 9% might have thought that capitalism had something to do with that white building in Washington D.C.)  Interestingly, before I heard this story, my impression of capitalism had devolved as well.  In fact, the litany of sins observable to me because of the extreme capitalist approach that we have embraced is long and includes:  BP, Enron, Tyco, Bernie Madoff, and the fat food industry . . . I mean, the fast food industry.

But then I read a rant by Jonah Goldberg of National Review Online:

“Every good thing capitalism helps produce — from singing careers to cures for diseases to staggering charity —  is credited to some other sphere of our lives. Every problem with capitalism, meanwhile, is laid at her feet. Except the problems with capitalism — greed, theft, etc. — aren’t capitalism’s fault, they’re humanity’s. Socialist countries have greedy thieves, too.”

So, what’s the answer?  It seems simple enough.  Once again, from Mom, “It’s moderation.”  The far right and far left seem to be providing a daily whipsaw of entertaining cable news shows from Beck to Olbermann and from Hannity to Maddow, but these extreme views are not helping us solve the problems.  In fact their rhetoric contributes to this devolution.  Does Rush really believe everything that he says or does he say it because it’s so outrageous that he can continue to earn nearly $38 million per year?  And Keith? And Glenn?

I like my air conditioning, my air bags, and my computer assisted brakes, but I’m really getting tired of “bags of air,” greedy anybodys and anythings.

Let’s be less angry, less needy, and more settled . . . come on, guys, grow up.

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