Democracy is running amok
TBO.comAnother Black Friday has come and gone, except this one was more like Black Thursday night-through-Sunday. Stores opened as early as 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, and many were open continuously the whole weekend.
Published: November 25, 2012
Published: November 25, 2012
Now, really, is that necessary? Isn't it quite enough to open at "zero-dark-hundred" as a friend of mine described last year's early Friday-morning openings?
Apparently not, because a significant number of people across the country started camping out in front of their favorite stores as early as Monday or Tuesday of last week, forfeiting the holiday.
Being first to acquire more trash is more important to a growing number of Americans than giving thanks for what they already have. This is a sad testament to our priorities as a society, and it's especially perplexing when you consider that most Black Friday shoppers are spending huge amounts of money to save comparatively small amounts of money.
Analyzing this national fascination with spending money to save money is the focus of a newly released study by Dr. Paul Zak, professor of neuro-economics at Clairmont University. He recorded brainwaves and other neurotransmitters as shoppers located and downloaded money-saving coupons online. Then he compared their responses to those recorded during other enjoyable activities.
He found that people discovering coupons registered happiness levels 11 percent above those recorded while kissing someone they love. They even registered greater release of oxitocin (happiness hormone) than a bride on her wedding day. (Yes, he actually wired several brides to verify those results.)
Just think about it. Dr. Zak's results mean Americans are now so shallow and materialistic that saving money is more pleasurable than love. This is sick, folks.
If you think I'm taking all of this too seriously, please remember that Americans just elected our president based largely on which candidate promised us the most freebies. Sooner or later the stink of this has to sink in. Hopefully it will occur before we plunge over the looming fiscal cliff.
Several philosophers have been credited with the idea that democracy ends when the people realize they can vote themselves benefits. But no matter who said it first, it has proved true again and again — witness current events in Greece and Spain.
Abraham Lincoln put it this way, "America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."
Now, if self-destruction is such a great danger, then why did our Founding Fathers design our government as a democracy? The answer is they didn't.
They deliberately formed a republic, not a democracy, because way back in 1776, history and experience had already proven that democracy doesn't work. Only representative government assures that the collective greater good is served, not the greed of individuals.
Unfortunately, modern American society has moved away from the principles of a republic and now operates more like a pure democracy, bowing to the greed of the populace, much to our peril.
In the words of Max Lucado, "Greed is not defined by what something costs; it is measured by what it costs you."