Mark Zuckerburg should stick to restricting the reach of peoples’ posts on Facebook. It’s what he is good at.
A long time ago I started talking about the price of apathy. I said that while it is understandable to want to throw your hands up in disgust or just roll with whatever the TV talking heads were telling you,* one cold fact remains.
The number one reason our lives are made more difficult every single day is that very sense of apathy. We have lives. We work. We raise kids. We pay bills. Why should we be bothered with all this socio-political bullshit?
The answer lies within the question. If we (the normal, clear-minded grownups) were to engage in our civic duties with just a fraction of the enthusiasm we pursue our hobbies and entertainment with, we’d have answerable statesmen doing our bidding.
But civics isn’t just about elections.
Strictly speaking, elections should be a one-day affair. Imbecilic early voting not withstanding, an election occurs on Election Day. Primaries and general elections do include lots of circus and empty rhetoric. But our civic duty should have us prepared to vote our conscience no matter when election days occur.
* Both in the book Street Politics: It Ain’t Your Daddy’s GOP Anymore! and in several articles, I discuss our apathy and willing credulity. It’s just easier to pretend you don’t get it.
How We Got Here
Why do you think schools stopped teaching civics in the 70’s? It was written off as boring, unnecessary. Of course, it was then replaced by Black History Month and Militant Lithuanian Lesbian Truck Driver studies. The reason given: It was what the little snowflakes wanted. Reality: It’s what was sold to the budding rubes as good citizenship. And it was dripping with revisionist history and emotionalism.
It’s a lot easier for a kid to get fired up about Thomas Jefferson getting’ nasty with a slave girl than it is to understand Jefferson’s writings on good government. Or Madison’s for that matter. Or Cicero’s.
For most students, the “studies” requiring the least attention, and tests requiring only a poorly expressed opinion, are always the fun way to go!
So now we have our third generation entering the adult world thinking that good government is the government that removes personal responsibility, “gives” us lots of stuff and makes us feel good.
All the being prologue…
It is painful for the mature adult (there are few of us left) to watch people of influence being lauded for saying the most ridiculous things. This week, Mark Zuckerburg, founder of Facebook and self-declared peoples’ hero, declared in front of Harvard graduates, his belief that we should have a wage paid to every citizen, a “cushion” he called it, by the government.
One can safely assume in context that he refers to the federal government. For people like Zuckerburg, who don’t understand America at it’s best, local and state governments are just little league versions of the real [ecstatic sigh] federal government.
Another safe assumption might be that he was just making a play for easy headlines. A big splashy headline is free advertising for Facebook.
Shy of that, the next two possibilities are deeply disturbing.