November 27, 2019

The Dreamers of Great Dreams are Gone

Timothy Birdnow

The last man to carve Mt. Rushmore has passed away.

Last Mt. Rushmore Carver Dies at 98

They don't make them like that anymore!

In our modern era we see this as an extravagance. Why waste money on a monument when there are people we can help with it instead! That is small thinking. As Jesus said "the Poor you shall always have with you" and the money saved from such a project will wind up being wasted. But building something like Mt. Rushmore, or doing something like going to the Moon, bespeaks a vital, vibrant culture, one capable of forward thinking, of doing, of challenging fate. It shows a nation is alive. America is increasingly incapable of big feats like this because we have become a small people.

It is part of why I liked Donald Trump's suggestion that we buy Greenland. Greenland has some oil, but not a lot else to offer, and the inhabitants of that enormous Island (well, islands) would undoubtedly wind up on government assistance and vote for Democrats, but at least it was an attempt, no matter how feeble, to expand, to grow, to flourish. America always thought that way; it's why Jefferson bought the Louisiana territory, why Seward bought Alaska. We've lost that, that sense of adventure, of growing and building.

We are now drowning in the mundane and futile. Where once we had a sense of national purpose, of WHY America existed, we now have frivolity and purposelessness. Increasingly Americans just waste time.

There was a man named Frederick Jackson Turner who, in 1893, wrote a thesis that is often called The Frontier Thesis or Turner Thesis. In it he argued that the American frontier was the psychological and spiritual bedrock of America, that America was always defined by her having a frontier to expand into, to develop, to provide a psychological safety valve to the populace. Even if someone wasn't going to be a pioneer he or she always knew it was a possibility if times grew hard, or if they were wanted by the law, or what have you. It was always there, it was free, it was wild, it offered a challenge, it offered a way out. Once the frontier was closed America's psychology was going to be markedly changed, Turner argued.

He was right. America substituted big projects for the frontier; building massive bridges, dams, roads. Inventing all sorts of new technology. Much of what drove America in the 20th century was a substitute for the frontier. Mt. Rushmore was a big part of that; an enormous project to honor America and some great Americans, to show we still had worlds to conquer.

The passing of this last pioneer of the peak is sad not just because we have lost someone from our history but because he represented a spirit which we no longer possess. He was a dreamer of great dreams. We are now dreamers of the mundane.

Modern Americans think small, dream small, and have small ambitions. Where once men hung from cliffs to carve Mt. Rushmore we now have people whose ambition is to get on Jimmy Kimmell and trash the President or have a youtube hit for dressing in the clothes of the opposite sex or whatnot. Americans are shallow. Americans are vain. Americans are empty-headed, shiftless, and ungrateful. Americans are apathetic and at the same time judgmental.

When America believed in God we had a sense of purpose. We had a serious nature, a feeling that we had a destiny. But the Progressives and the atheists have labored for decades to destroy God and America's sense of self and have succeeded. America is now adrift in frivolity and immaturity. Our new frontier is "social justice". We no longer have worlds to conquer; rather, we are supposed to conquer ourselves in shame and discontent.

The word is decadent. America is decadent, and I doubt we can sustain any really long major project. In the end we just give up and go back to our fantasy worlds inside our computers.

It is a sad thing, but it is where we are. I don't see any light at the end of this tunnel, either.

The inevitable course of societal degeneration will find us incapable of acting, and in the end our society will splinter and fall. We may not even realize it has fallen (as the Romans did not for several centuries after it was effectively gone) but in the end future historians will know, and will speak of America in the same hushed tones that once we spoke of the terrible fall of the Caesars.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at 11:20 AM | Comments (10) | Add Comment
Post contains 779 words, total size 5 kb.

1 Dana Mathewson
Indeed you are correct. I was in high school long enough ago that we were taught "real stuff." One of the stories we read in English class was titled, IIRC, "Leader of the People." About a man -- not sure of his name -- who led one of the groups of settlers west until they reached the Pacific Ocean. It was the main event of his life, and he spent the rest of it telling everyone over and over again how important it was to him, and to the country. His son got terminally bored by it, though his grandson loved it. He bemoaned the fact that the spirit of Westering was dying out in the people already, and foretold that the country was getting weaker already. It especially hurt him that he saw it in his son, though he didn't say so.

If we ever suffer an EMP, or huge solar flare, we are kaput, because we aren't prepared to survive. I hear lots of ads for "survival food," and like many people who hear those ads, I turn a deaf ear, saying "Can't afford it." If that's the way the Lord intends to punish us for our apostasy, well, my wife and I will be truly punished.

Posted by: Dana Mathewson at November 27, 2019 04:28 PM (ESeOM)

2 Yeah; that spirit has flown. "Westering"?  I like the phrase!

The Mormons used to require their members keep a year's supply of food on hand. Not a bad idea, but so much goes bad. I have some canned stuff put away, but it'll probably be rotten if and when something happens. And my ability to hunt and gather is, uh, limited. I wouldn't like six months without my medication anyway, so I suppose it won't matter.

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