I was listening to a segment on social security a couple of days ago on NPR. A group of elderly citizens were being interviewed about their respective reactions to President Bush's remarks last night about social security reform. One of the comments was quite interesting.
She said, in effect: She was a child during WWII. At that time, all Americans were asked to sacrifice. Many went to fight. Those were stayed at home, as well as the rest of America, was asked to make personal sacrifices to support the war effort. One of the items she mentioned was the taxes imposed at the time to raise funds to support the war effort; so, if nothing else, every American's pocket book was affected.
This got me to thinking about how little we, as Americans, are being asked to sacrifice, even though we are at war. We are not asked to sacrifice our sons and daughters; they now volunteer and are professional soldiers. So, they know what they are getting into when they sign up. Additionally, there is no mindset in this country of any kind of personal and/or financial sacrifice. The only apparent mindset sweeping the country is the supposed obligation for obedience and lack of dissent.
What may be going on here is the beginnings of a militaristic culture, in which we have professional soldiers paid to go off and fight wars while the civilians sit on the sidelines and cheer. If this is the case, the militaristic mindset may poison our society, resulting in our entire country evolving into a "zero sum" mindset: for me to win, you must lose.
If this is the case, we may be seeing striking parallels to the historical track of the Roman Empire.
I do not pretend to be an expert on the Roman Empire or in history, for that matter. However, I did spend a sufficient amount of time studying the culture to see many parallels.
And, yes, I do understand that, unlike Rome, we do not conquer and absorb other countries... at least, not geo-politically. However, the cultural absorbtion does strike a parallel.
But, more to the point, why do our political leaders not ask more sacrifice from us, if we are truly involved in a global battle for the survival of our culture?