Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Virtue of Debt

The news has been pretty fear-based, lately. We’re in danger of economic collapse, nobody loves America, there’s no hope unless we elect Obama right now, and so on. Really, if panic were a commodity, it would be the hot ticket, wouldn’t it? Anyway, a lot of this comes down to the idea that people do not like being debt. That could be healthy, except of course for the modern pervasive belief that we are somehow entitled to whatever we want. And here we are.

I grew up believing in personal responsibility. We owe for what we use and have, and we owe both our parents for what we got from them, and to our children for the promise we make by having children. We owe our spouses the lifelong commitment we accepted at the alter, we owe our employers our best effort, and we owe our nation our loyalty and constant efforts to reach the ideals set so long ago, and which grow each generation as our ability grows. All this responsibility is difficult sometimes, but it’s a good thing. We need it.

This is what gets lost, when the media leads cries for someone to make all our troubles go away. That’s a lie in the first place, but even if it could be, Utopia is only another kind of prison. It’s in paying our own debts, that we find real freedom.

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