Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Age of Enlightenment

Historians refer to the Age of Enlightenment as the period in the late 17th Century and nearly all of the 18th century when the beginnings of modern science began to erode the long-held beliefs and traditions of religion and people began to apply logic and thought to what they saw going on around them.  It appears that America has moved into her own Age of Enlightenment as the realities of economics, technology and global politics begin to erode the promises and beliefs held by the Obama Administration.

You could consider the start of this new Age of Enlightenment began six months after the President's first inauguration day in 2009--when troops remained in Iraq and Afghanistan--despite his campaign promises to have "all the troops home" within that time period.  It turned out that when you are fighting on behalf of people who A--really don't want you around and B--don't really care if they live in a democracy or a hard-core theocracy--it's not so easy to just pull up stakes and come home.

That was soon followed by the discovery that closing the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba wasn't going to be nearly as easy as the President promised it would be on the campaign trail.  It turns out that those who were being released were heading right back to the front lines against US troops--or their native countries had absolutely no interest in having militants and terrorists returned to them.

Then came the realization that spending trillions of dollars on new government programs and expansion of existing entitlement programs wasn't putting anybody to work.  It turns out that if you give people enough incentive not to work--they find reasons to not work.  And you end up with the lowest levels of workforce participation since the the beginning of World War II.

In 2012, it became obvious that the Age of Enlightenment had not yet reached the general populace--as the President was re-elected on promises to actually accomplish some of his original promises.  But now, it looks like the process of reason is finally filtering down.  It turns out that you really can't keep your health care plan when the new health care law has always said from the outset that you couldn't.  It turns out that three-and-a-half years of preparation is not enough time for the Federal Government to set up a properly functioning website that takes the average private sector company about six months to develop.  And it turns out that when you require insurance companies to cover more sick people for more conditions and procedures--it makes insurance more expensive for everybody. 

From the Age of Enlightenment was born the United States of America and the great experiment of freedom and democracy that it once was.  Maybe this second Age of Enlightenment will restore some of that revolutionary spirit in her people again.

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