News and Tribune


July 1, 2013

CUMMINS: How to stop the degeneration of America


Where do we find smart people to guide us other than at Harvard? “The Great Degeneration,” written by Harvard professor Niall Ferguson, talks about the approaching doomsday. It’s closer than you might think unless we unite to form a world far from perfect, but one where chaos isn’t the norm. I prefer happy books, not e-books, but the paper kind, which, I know destroys trees, pure air, etc. Admittedly, I’m part of the degeneration. 

Which are you, an upper or a downer? Despite my age, characterized by a pronounced and steady degeneration, I remain an upper. Hope is good for you. Without it, people perish. I hope the monkeys in Washington escape from the zoo and evolve. Evolution takes eons for the fittest to survive. The fittest are the strongest and smartest. Strength today is measured by stockpiles of nuclear weapons, drones and Prism, the mega-databank that stores your cell calls and emails. No one knows where intelligence and common sense is stored. If you are upright, remain an upper. I like to think that it will take more than a relaxant or a government program to take me down.  

Ferguson says that civilization has entered into a period of decline due to the strangling of private initiative by the ever-encroaching state. “We are living through a profound crisis of the institutions that were keys to our success — not only economic, but political and cultural —as a civilization,” he writes. Ferguson worries about the erosion of the rule of law. He says that politicians increasingly flout the Constitution by creating a proliferation of unwise and unenforceable laws and regulations. Lawyers on congressional staffs write massive pieces of legislation for other lawyers to interpret and implement, thus “lawyers rule.”

 Personally, I have nothing against lawyers when I need one. If a lawyer can’t help me, the lifetime Supreme Court judges will. Justice is based on what judges and the Supreme Court says it is. And that is based on ideology, personality and idiosyncrasies. Our constitution is either flexible or rigid. It was flexible when big corporations gained the right of free speech, expressed by gobs of money that definitely talks. Never mind.

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