When did America become a nation of frightened wimps?

It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority – Benjamin Franklin

When did America become a nation of frightened wimps? When did we cross the line from courage to cowardice? Was it sometime in the 1990s? After the Oklahoma City bombing? After the Columbine shootings? After 911?

When did we decide to allow the police to smash into private homes without knocking and identifying themselves? Recently, in the suburb I live in, a special police force dressed in black Nazi style uniforms busted into a suburban home without warning and dragged a school teacher out of her house with an automatic weapon at the back of her head. They forced her to the ground, handcuffed her, and hauled her away while her neighbors watched. They did it without a warrant and without consequence. Why? A misunderstanding. That is precisely why we need checks in place, to avoid misunderstandings and abuses. The police chief said, “When we realized it was a mistake, we all had a good laugh.” If a group of unidentified men dragged his wife away at gunpoint, I wonder if he would still think it was funny.

When did we decide it was okay to strip search an old lady at the airport because the pin in her hip set off the metal detector? When did we decide it was too risky to take a cup of coffee on an airplane? When did we decide it was reasonable to make a nursing mother drink her own breast milk to prove she wasn’t a terrorist? When we impose such extreme levels of security, haven’t the terrorists already won? Haven’t we willingly given our freedom to the government and the terrorists in the name of security?

When did we decide it was okay for policemen in combat boots with German Shepherds to patrol High School hallways?

When did we decide to allow routine police roadblocks? Why weren’t we outraged?

When did we decide it was too dangerous for our children to ride their bikes to school?

When did we decide it was okay for the government to seize property without a trial, without due process, at the whim of a government agency?

When did we decide that our government had a right to the fluids inside our own bodies? Or a right to the very breath in our lungs? When did we decide that it was the accused’s responsibility to prove they hadn’t been breaking the law? When did we decide that drug testing High School students was reasonable? Hell, why is it reasonable to drug test anyone – ever? Why would anybody, for any reason, have the right to invade your body without your permission?

When did we decide to give 10 year prison sentences to adolescents for having sex? Was it before or after we decided to put them in jail for smoking cigarettes and drinking beer? If my memory serves me correctly, when I was a teenager, almost everyone I knew either was doing it or wanted to do it. Why did we make what is biological and natural, criminal?

When did we decide it is too risky for 20-year-olds to drink but reasonable for them to kill and die overseas? Does that make sense to anyone?

We’ve justified every one of these injustices by claiming that it was necessary to preserve health and safety. I say bullsh!t. What is the point in being a safe slave?

I think we crossed the line somewhere between 1984 and 1988, around the time we outlawed lawn darts and every mini van in America had a ‘baby-on-board’ sign. While lawn darts and baby on board signs may seem trivial, they were warning signs of a mass shift in American values – a shift away from freedom and liberty as predominant values to health and safety as predominant values. There will be no end to the loss of freedom if we believe being healthy and safe trumps all else.

I believe there was day when most Americans accepted that life was risky. They accepted that bad things can happen to good people. They accepted that risk was an inherent part being free. They didn’t need a new law or government program every time something bad happened.

It is sad to watch our freedom slowly disappear in front of our eyes with so few people taking action.

But I have hope. I sense a shift. Something is blowing in the wind. I can smell it. I can feel it. I can see it in young people. A move away from authoritarianism – like the people that run The Free Talk Live podcast, one of the most popular podcasts in the world. The Free Talk Live podcasters make no apologies and pull no punches in their love of freedom. They tell it like it is.

He who gives up freedom for safety deserves neither – Benjamin Franklin

207 thoughts on “When did America become a nation of frightened wimps?”

  1. Where I work safety is a #1 priority but it’s mostly due to faults of the competition. We try to make a work safe enviroment but sometimes it frankly makes no sense. If we have people physically preventing someone from going into an area that can verbally tell people “STOP” why should we use banners that have it printed instead?

    Everything ultimatly comes from the fear of lawsuits and people that just want money.

    I saw a cop a few months ago directing some people to the left to an apartment complex…I thought something was wrong so I stopped “Do YOU live there?” um no officer…then keep going? So why do we need a cop to tell us to take a left? We didn’t always have speed limits on roads as people if they had experience would know how fast their cars could handle the road but now they don’t. If something goes from say 30MPH to 45MPH up the road you can bet your ass they’ll slam it right before the sign. Now you have total logistics made for designing it to the signs alone…

    We also have “Do not eat” on boxes of moth balls. We have plastic bags that say “Not a childs toy” well no shit who the hell gives plastic bags to kids?

    Then we have to ALSO put it in spanish and probably at least one other language…why? fear from lawsuits

    There’s a great book that tackles much of this called The Death of Common Sense. things like

    1) having a worksite with say 6 people at an industrial area….and 12 osha inspectors watching

    2) having France offer NYC free self cleaning public bathrooms but denying them because they couldn’t build a connecting one for disabled people (seperate ones were deemed “segragation”)

    3) having a home daycare shutdown because one person their smoked (not even anywhere near the children)

    etc

  2. Perfectly written article.. I am emphatically in agreement with the points made. These are the same thoughts I have all the time. Sure you can argue counterpoints and try to justify otherwise, but the theme is real.. Freedom is the most important thing.. period.

  3. Alas …

    “There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    — Frank Zappa

  4. Thanks Steve for the boldness and power of this post.

    We the citizens of this country are the deciders, not the sad man in the White House or the corporate ponds in congress. This moment in history is a tipping point. Either we live in fear and let those, that are run by ego and hunger for power, dominate us or we step fully into our reponsibility (respond ability) and say we the people take back this government for the good of all. This stance must be mindful, conscious, compassionate and peaceful. If we are to change the world we must do so from a place of higher wisdom. Einstein said something like, “We cannot change things from the same level of consciousness they were created”. We must be peaceful to create peace. We must be awake to help others awaken and question what is going on. We must have open hearts so we can care about others and live in courage. We must be, think and live in non-violence to rise above the murder for control mentality. We must be our fullest potential and our highest possibility if we are to inspire a revolution of evolution. Are you ready?

    Joseph Bernard at explorelifeblog.com

  5. Do you think Israel is a nation of wimps as well, for having what you would view as “excessive” airline security? You bring up some good points, but it’s not when we start getting more security at airports that the terrorists win, it’s when they succeed in blowing up a plane or flying one into something. I think at some point during your post you lost sight of that…

  6. l have always been saying that this country is losing the freedom that our forefather has died to give us. And l think that Most people are throwing our safetly away. Throwing our freedom away. We do have wimps that say they are fighting for our freedom. Well they are not. it is our children that has to fight over seas or home because the goverment is sitting on their ass.But Bush did serve his country too. He does not want to lose our freedom. And all police are not like some.There are bad one ,yes. But there are those who risk their life to protect us. The cause of this country losing our freedom is really because we are always helping others to gain their. Then they turn on the Americans like it is all their fault that they have it so bad over there. I do think that we need to help those who help us and to hell with the rest. But to do so would make other country stronger then we are, and over take our freedom. We need to help others so that when we need help they will help us. But do not judge all the People by those who are bad

  7. The place to start is to force term limits in all elected positions, especially Congress. No more free health care for life for politicians. No more perpetual pensions for Congress. Get rid of the career politicians. Institute civilian oversight on all pay raises for politicians. Set spending limits on political campaigns.

    No more lifetime appointments to the Supreme Court. Set a mandatory retirement age for the Justices. Give them a ten year term limit.

    But the most important change people is to get off your butts, turn off your ipods, put down the cell phones, get off the bread and circus train and start forcing change. Petition, demonstrate, vote, talk, write, kick and scream until things change. Take over, there are more of you than there are of them. Use your numbers, work together, form a new party and force the changes.

    As long as the same old system is there, all you’ll see is the same old results.

  8. The problem is broader than the troubling symptoms of the last few years.

    We are more aware at some times than at others that events are beyond our individual control. When that happens, we look for ways to regularize activity to define the things we can control and those we cannot control. Such ways can be as simple as a banding together of two individuals in a common cause, or as complex as, for example, the U.S. Tax Code.

    It is my opinion that we are presently in a time of tremendous technological change, which both presents the opportunity to control activities we previously concluded were beyond our control and presents the danger of making activities we previously concluded were by definition within our personal control potentially subject to the input of others.

    I believe that, over time, the manner in which we attempt to regularize activity must change to meet the changes in our world.

    In the best of all possible worlds, a system would require the making of decisions based on reliable scientific evidence, and would include a means for recognizing dissent.

    It is unfortunate that probability theory has been substituted for scientific reliability, in policy-making choices. Once probability is institutionalized, it appears to me that there is no longer room for facts, individual choice, or recognition of dissent. Rather, what is probable is presumed to be true, and is the trigger for action. It is my view that that is the real source of the tragedy in American values at the present time.

  9. I want to say thank you.

    As a public high school student (soon to be a public high school graduate), I was first drawn to your post on America’s school system. Even though I am (apparently) one of those who excel in such a setting, everything you said is so true that I have passed many of your posts on my friends who have been encouraged by your words.

    I am a regular reader even though this is the first time I have commented. You blog about both the way I live my life and the way I wish to live my life. I am strengthened and inspired by your knowledge and insight.

    I know that my peers and I are disillusioned about the state of our country and hope that we can be the generation that changes things. We are sick of hearing from our parents and “authority figures” that we are being too idealistic when we express a desire for change and fuller lives. And we are tired of being told that we are “the most depraved generation to date” while nobody mentions our potential to be the most expressive generation or the most influential.

    I know some very talented and motivated people with the ability and drive to change this country and this world. And my peers and I as a whole are disgusted with this country and lack the blind patriotism that has been the downfall of so many empires throughout history.

    Thank you for being someone who is willing to write about the things nobody else will admit. And thank you for having more faith in my generation than the entire sum of our parents and teachers.

    Kristin

  10. This is sadly all very true. I live in Britain, and it is common for Brits to stereotype americans and american culture as being obese, paranoid, war-mongering and many of the things that you bemoan in this post. However, what a nation of hypocrites we are. Slowly Britain is becoming just like the nation you describe in this post. It is sad what a minority of the worlds population have reduced us too.

  11. This is NOT politics or religion; it is HISTORY. When Lucas wrote Star Wars, he studied the history of democracies. So far, they all meet their demise in one of two ways: bankruptcy or rebellion.

    The rebellions all take the same basic pattern of Star Wars… false threat used to make “protecting” the governed easier, followed by more and more restrictions on freedoms. Ultimately, an empire results.

    The problem is not politics, religion, honor, integrity, or anything of the nature. The problem is POWER. Those that have it aim to keep it. And they want us to spend our lives keeping it for them, voluntarily if possible but by force if necessary. The fear keeps it voluntary for as long as possible.

    Michael Crichton’s comments in State of Fear sum it up: The PLM (Politicians, Lawyers & Media) unite along fear lines. Politicians use fear to control us. Lawyers need fears of dangers to litigate. The media needs scare stories to capture an audience. So fear rules the public forums.

    The key here is the politician – make us scared, constrict freedom, repeat. It’s not Republican, nor Democratic or Libertarian. It’s strictly about control of power.

    One of the members of the Weather Underground stated it most clearly in the recent documentary DVD (yes, Netflix has it). I paraphrase, but she said a revolution cannot begin until the people can no longer live in the circumstances that exist. After all, who is willing to die to prevent somebody we hardly know from being searched at the airport? Heck, we tell ’em to drive instead & quit the whining.

    Bottom line – until freedom is gone and we cannot function in our daily lives, we will remain passive (or jailed). Only when the fear of doing nothing exceeds the fear of death in a rebellion, will we begin the fight.

    The Second Civil War is inevitable. The only thing that might cause it before lack of freedom is a U.S. bankruptcy.

  12. Have you considered zoloft or some other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor? This might just wash away these awful and disruptive thoughts you’re having so you’ll fit right in and stop worrying so much.

  13. You maid a lot of valid points:: You should expose the group who puts

    these false idea’s in front of us :

  14. To Scott Davis:

    I hate to break it you.

    Canada is more wimpy than the USA. Canadians gave up even more rights years ago. Look at the hate laws against free speech. People are in jail in Canada for saying the wrong thing. The USA is fortunately a few steps behind.

  15. You are amazing. Things that I wanted to say, but didnt have a solid enough point of view to say it. And now it’s here, in this blog.

  16. When did we become scared of typing the “i” in bullshit? I agree with exactly all of your points, but they seem at odds with the fear of offending people by spelling curse words correctly.

  17. When you hear someone telling whats wrong about the country. we shouldnt sympathize anymore . We have to ask ourselves “What are we gonna do about it?”
    Start

  18. I am an Indian but I have been staying in the US for sometime now.

    I always knew that the day you curtailed your freedom and started looking at every passing stranger with suspicion, the day the nation started living in a constant state of terror is the day the terrorists won.

  19. >When did America become a nation of frightened wimps? When did we cross the line from courage to cowardice? Was it sometime in the 1990s? After the Oklahoma City bombing? After the Columbine shootings? After 911?

    When did YOU think it was? You throw out a bunch of recent events; you’re telling me heroism doesn’t exist? Didn’t a guy cover up a seizing would-be passenger while a New York subway train sped over them just last year? That’s pretty heroic, no?

    >When did we decide to allow the police to smash into private homes without knocking and identifying themselves? Recently, in the suburb I live in, a special police force dressed in black Nazi style uniforms busted into a suburban home without warning and dragged a school teacher out of her house with an automatic weapon at the back of her head. They forced her to the ground, handcuffed her, and hauled her away while her neighbors watched. They did it without a warrant and without consequence. Why? A misunderstanding. That is precisely why we need checks in place, to avoid misunderstandings and abuses. The police chief said, “When we realized it was a mistake, we all had a good laugh.” If a group of unidentified men dragged his wife away at gunpoint, I wonder if he would still think it was funny.

    What the HELL is this? Have you got a link to this story? You want authority questioned. Where are your sources here?

    >When did we decide it was okay to strip search an old lady at the airport because the pin in her hip set off the metal detector? When did we decide it was too risky to take a cup of coffee on an airplane? When did we decide it was reasonable to make a nursing mother drink her own breast milk to prove she wasn’t a terrorist? When we impose such extreme levels of security, haven’t the terrorists already won? Haven’t we willingly given our freedom to the government and the terrorists in the name of security?

    >When did we decide it was okay for policemen in combat boots with German Shepherds to patrol High School hallways?

    Again, sources?

    >When did we decide to allow routine police roadblocks? Why weren’t we outraged?

    You know. Sources.

    >When did we decide it was too dangerous for our children to ride their bikes to school?

    I read that rant, too. I figure you’re either an influencer, or you’re an influencee.

    >When did we decide it was okay for the government to seize property without a trial, without due process, at the whim of a government agency?

    Umm, if it’s all a conspiracy, and we’re supposed to find and fight the conspiracy, then it should be pretty obvious that the government is just a corporation that’s bigger than all the other corporations, with more guns, is that it? Because it obviously follows that “property rights” are something “given” to us by this corporation; and thus, are pretty easily able to be taken away.

    >When did we decide that our government had a right to the fluids inside our own bodies? Or a right to the very breath in our lungs? When did we decide that it was the accused’s responsibility to prove they hadn’t been breaking the law? When did we decide that drug testing High School students was reasonable? Hell, why is it reasonable to drug test anyone – ever? Why would anybody, for any reason, have the right to invade your body without your permission?

    Come on, how do you know the blood test to get life insurance isn’t really for genetic testing to harvest adult stem cells? It’s the evil corporation argument, again.

    >When did we decide to give 10 year prison sentences to adolescents for having sex? Was it before or after we decided to put them in jail for smoking cigarettes and drinking beer? If my memory serves me correctly, when I was a teenager, almost everyone I knew either was doing it or wanted to do it. Why did we make what is biological and natural, criminal?

    Sources? And by the way, we’ve had laws against employment of minors in many occupations for a long time, too. You want to preach personal responsibility? Have ’em keep the baby, and see how well two 15-year-olds can get along. Oh, and no-fault-divorce doesn’t help this one, either.

    >When did we decide it is too risky for 20-year-olds to drink but reasonable for them to kill and die overseas? Does that make sense to anyone?

    No. You’re right.

    >We’ve justified every one of these injustices by claiming that it was necessary to preserve health and safety. I say bullsh!t. What is the point in being a safe slave?

    >I think we crossed the line somewhere between 1984 and 1988, around the time we outlawed lawn darts and every mini van in America had a ‘baby-on-board’ sign. While lawn darts and baby on board signs may seem trivial, they were warning signs of a mass shift in American values – a shift away from freedom and liberty as predominant values to health and safety as predominant values. There will be no end to the loss of freedom if we believe being healthy and safe trumps all else.

    I agree. But I’m a man. My first impression agrees. My wife would disagree. At least, her first impression would. What does that tell you? We must be different or something; and those people who make the rules, and changed the rules, must have changed, too.

    >I believe there was day when most Americans accepted that life was risky. They accepted that bad things can happen to good people. They accepted that risk was an inherent part being free. They didn’t need a new law or government program every time something bad happened.

    Influencer or influencee again.

    >It is sad to watch our freedom slowly disappear in front of our eyes with so few people taking action.

    You going to run for office anytime soon?

    >But I have hope. I sense a shift. Something is blowing in the wind. I can smell it. I can feel it. I can see it in young people. A move away from authoritarianism – like the people that run The Free Talk Live podcast, one of the most popular podcasts in the world. The Free Talk Live podcasters make no apologies and pull no punches in their love of freedom. They tell it like it is.

    Easy there, Bob Dylan. You say you really want a revolution? I disagree. I say, if you’re not in, you’re out. Here’s my metaphor: there’s no point in trying to blow up the door, when you can pick the lock. Get IN the game, and stay there as long as you can, and quit while the getting’s good, and let the proles go the way they will.

    Isn’t this the end result? Your desired outcome?

    Why do you REALLY feel so bad about the country today? It’s always been tough. That’s why we always go bitching to our parents or mentors or whatever about how hard it is. I don’t want to live in 1803, or 1864, or 1910, or 1945, or 1985 (again). I want to live now. Stop pining.

    Unless of course, you have a plan…

  20. Wow, what a thoughtful post. This is the type of expression that really gives me hope for the world. It also makes me sad for Americans. More people need to be aware, and I feel it is in the process of happening.

  21. I feel totally the same way. When was it bad to ride a bike without a helmet? When did America decide it was better to not live and be safe, then to LIVE and get hurt. Without pain, you have no idea what feeling good is. I see these parents that baby their kids, no you can’t rollerblade without a helmet, and pads, BS, you learned to skate and ride your bike well when you FELL!!! then you said to yourself, “um, i either better not do that again, OR DO IT BETTER” thats how you learned, unfortunatly American’s don’t LEARN by doing anymore, the “Learn” by being told. How do you learn whats good, unless you experience whats bad. Little yin/yang for yah 😉

  22. I’ve been asking these questions for a long time. When did all the people who cared sell out? Where’s activism? Free Press? Counter culture? Where are my people!! The new land of consertive anti-freedom is going to fall and take everyone of us with it, and we deserve it. Bunch of goddam pansies! We took bullets at Kent state and breathed tear gas all summer to protect our rights, now no noe gives a shit. The death of the hippies was the death of Amerikkka.

  23. (crossposted at Digg)

    Pointing to stuff like “the Patriot Act” or “President Carter” or “President Bush” or “lawsuits against teachers” is begging the question. Those are just micro details that illustrate that we have become a nation of wimps. They don’t answer the macro question of WHY.

    To get to the real reasons behind a broad, deep sociological change of this sort, you have to look and see what is fundamentally different about today compared to yesterday. And when you hold up 20th-21st century society against the past, there is just one big, glaring element that stands out:

    Technology. Or, more to the point, the affluence and ease of life brought to us by technology.

    That’s not an indictment of technology; it’s simply an indictment of human nature. When one no longer has to worry about life’s basic struggles — health, food, travel — one gains the luxury of sweating the small stuff. One gains the luxury of being “frightened” about a gazillion little things.

    When a society is no longer saddled with fear that childbirth will kill mama or that half her toddlers will get wiped out by disease, it gets to fret about affixing “Baby On Board” stickers and making kids wear bike helmets. In an age when getting from town to town doesn’t require days of arduous labor, we get to debate whether the ideal blood-alcohol limit is .08 or .10. In a culture where harvesting food is no longer the prime concern for most individuals, we get to worry whether this type of poly-something-or-other fatty acid is healthier than that one.

    At the heart of it all is this innate human need to identify and confront anxieties and uncertainties. But I think there’s also another weird human tendency at work: The closer we get to genuine comfort and stability, the more frustrated we become with the little things that sit in the way. It’s as if technology — having improved our lives so dramatically, so quickly — has given us a glimpse of a “utopia” that we now sit around tinkering constantly trying to attain.

    And so we’re in a perpetual state of trying to clear out the piddly stuff, this notion that if we just keep tweaking this, that, this, that, we… can… make… it… perfect. We don’t even think about the damage to freedom and liberty — those are just other luxuries we’ve learned to take for granted.

    In other words: It’s not so much that we’ve “become” wimpy — we’re the same human creatures we were 100 and 1,000 years ago — it’s that we have the luxury of acting like it. It just might be the inevitable and ineradicable byproduct of human progress…

  24. As an Israeli who visited the U.S (and worked in a mall for a while), i couldn’t ignore the fact that almost (and when i’m saying almost i mean 98%) of Americans whom i spoke to in the mall about my travels around the world (5 continents .. and counting) and the usual Iraq / Iran / Saudi Arabia / Israeli talks. Each and every one of you “funny” americans was absolutely sure you’re living in the best country in the world. that you have the best goverment structure, idealism, freedom and security. OMG !!

    Now, considering the fact that 91% of all americans never left america (i don’t know how many of you never left your home state … not to mention your local area), and the fact that all your news, tv broadcasts, cinema movies and generally your entire media is an purely-100%-American – you guys basically don’t have any other hope then accept whatever shit the government is shoving down your throat. if you’re that sure you live in the best place in the world, if u have no idea what’s going on outside, and you are stupid enough to believe that duck-n-cover will save you from a nuclear attack – why are you so surprised to accept the fact that your freedom and basic humen right are taken away? i would take them i was one of your leaders. like taking a candy from a baby.

    you guys had what? 7-8 terrorists attacks on your land since the begging of the U.S.A ? funny. my country had 1000’s. so are many many other countries around the world . mother russia ate much more terror then you guys will ever eat. So did you see any of our leaders informing the public they are reading every e-mail, fax, SMS, mail and listening to every call “randomly” for our security ? did you hear about any other governments (even of “evil muslims enemies”) who strip search old ladies for our “security” ?

    No. you didn’t. and it’s not because you missed it on the John Stewart global edition. it’s because it only happens at “the land of the free”.

    Speaking of “the land of the free”, i could”t help but smiling ironically thinking of “the home of the brave” -free ? brave ?

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

  25. I have been really enjoying this discussion, and I just want to add one of my favourite quotes:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

    — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

    Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

    But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

    – Seems to me that your founding fathers have given you the instructions to fix what’s wrong with the US.

  26. When did we decide it was too dangerous for our children to ride their bikes to school?

    When I discovered the CIA has a blackops program called “The Finders”. Where they kidnap kids out of parking lots and make illuminati mind controlled slaves out of them. See tedgunderson.com.

  27. Much of what you say is true. It will be interesting when Bush is gone to see what the Dems do. Every little thing Bush has done has been the “coming Fascism” of America. Will they repeal the Patriot Act? Will they seal the boarders from a horde of illegal invaders? Will they legislate against the governments ability to confiscate property at will? Or will it be the status quo, leaving us with the realization that every little protest and quip was really just about getting back in power.

  28. I can not believe all the Feed back that this subject is having. And l sit here and wonder just how many people responding to this put down on America. How dare you all sit and say we are wimps.The guys and girls out there fighting for your ass to sit here { and my ass too } put down america,You can not judge a group of people in any way and then say they are all that way. How dare you talk about the police and the guys and girls that do protect you. You have it in your mind that just because a few apples in the barrel made the whole barrel of apples bad.What happen to this God loving freedom country is that there are more people ready to put down our country then there are those who are out there fighting for our freedom.It is sick to see protestors holding sign at a furnnal of our fighting loves ones that were killed.The family tears running down their faces and a bunch of louses carrying signs . No the wimps are the one that are afraid to get out there and help.There are more reporters out there talking about the bombs of some car and hide in their hotels and not go out in the feild to see the mass of death around there of our fighting men. But report on how sad a bomb was.Then their people kill each other and the people here wants to give aide to our enemy. No we are not the wimpss. Is it people like you that wants to sit and put our own country down .Have you all forgot that we were ask for our help.And every man that was a president was run down from every kind of people that just want to shot their mouth off instead of picking up a gun to help keep our freedom.And to top that off, the ones who burn our flag and march in protest are the wimps. And there are people that will see a crime going on right here and they do not want to get envoled.They are the real wimps and l am saying that l think you are a wimp also.Tell this crap to the love ones who are suffering now. Tell them with your protect sign and fat ass sit around making judgement.

  29. theNrg: Easy there pal, you just as bad as Steve in your generalization of a nation. Besides, I’m sure you’d love it if the United States of America stopped backing and selling weapons to your country of Israel. Which most likely wouldn’t of existed or existed for as long as it has without American backing, so I suggest you show some respect even if I think its wrong to give your country special treatment just because your of a different faith. Every country has their problems, especially yours. Though I wont go into that here, but again I suggest you show some damn respect.

  30. I like this article. I honestly feel that we became a sheeple nation probably some time between 1890 – 1920. This is when I believe the powers that be seized power at the federal level and enacted a host of laws that basically gutted the country. You could say our freedoms ended when the War Between the States started. Even before then, I don’t think we as a country were as united as we like to believe. Have you ever heard of the Toledo War? It was fought between Ohio and Michigan in the 1840s over international (yes, that’s right) borders. The states were sovereign nations before and after the War Between the States, except they all converted to military dictatorships. We as a country are a military dictatorship, and while state sovereignty is still active, none of the states operates under a republican form of government. (This is why there is so much corruption and repression at the state level).

    I think if we did have any sort of revolution, it likely would be very quick, but I don’t think DC would win. I honestly question if the Feds can control our country as easily as we maybe think. It could become violent, yes, but I don’t think DC would win at all. DOn’t assume that the states necessarily like each other either, regardless of whether they are “Blue” or “Red”. Go and ask your friends from Vermont and see if they really like Massachutsetts folks that come up and inflate housing values. I know what’s going on all over the Internet here, with everyone. I would be more worried about the states fighting each OTHER at this point. With DC gone, who knows what would happen. Whatever happens, it’s unlikely that you would hear anything accurate about it in the MSM.

    However, if we can seperate peacefully, then all will be well. Liberty is more important than money or patriotism or even equality.

  31. Ben: my kind american, not for a single second i tried to attack your country or show disrespect to your efforts around the world. i well do recognize the important part america has with me still being alive today (i even said it more then once in those particuler words in the past).

    The title of this article was “When did America become a nation of frightened wimps?”. my comment was an answer. you guys became a bunch of wimps because you guys simply don’t know “much” (as in: you guys don’t know shit). i stand behind every word of my comment: you never left america, the only thing you know IS america – and you guys are still 100% sure you’re living in the best place in the world.

    well, you’re not. i’ve been around. i’ve been around the u.s also. to both blue and red states, to the ignorant south the both coasts.
    you guys don’t live in the best place in the world. i’m not saying Israel is better – it’s not. defently not. but also defently – america is one place i wouldn’t want to raise my children in.

    So u got offended cause someone outside of america dared to join the disscussion, and showed an anti-patriotic opinion? look at you, insted of responding to my words about your culture (you know, topic of the disscution) you chose to attack my country – “so I suggest you show some respect even if I think its wrong to give your country special treatment”.

    That, my friend, is the essence of your culture – you guys are all nice and cudly on the outside (i remember every second american in the mall with his fake “excuse me” every 2 seconds, but the one time i dared not excuse someone – i told him he’s not excused – he almost beat the shit out of me. lovely nation) – but when someone critize you, when someone dares to tell you your actions are wrong – you immediately, like a frightened turtle, role into your “we’re the best thing in the world” mode, and attack everyone else.

    Why do you think the vast majority of the world’s population doesn’t like you? is it because we’re too stupid to comprehend to true idealic freedom fighter america?

    No. it’s because as a nation – you guys suck.

  32. Exactly when is not so important as the effect of not voting, staying ignorant, allowing ‘George’ to do it, thinking that money is so important, letting religious dogma and intolerance prevail, not upholding the basic tenants of the US founding documents, i.e., the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, ass kissing the religious extremists, allowing the inculcation of lab rat mentality instead of free-will free-thinking humans.
    We need the ‘go to hell’ refrain to return and be enacted.
    This situation is an excellent example of why the first and second amendments were added and past time to utilize them openly and publicly.

  33. Thanks for your thoughtful, thought provoker Steve!

    We can co-miserate here as much as we want, we can play the “my team is better than yours” game and we can even bring religion into the fray, but the only real way to change America for the better is to do it within YOUR OWN framework (results may vary):

    Here’s this 42 year old’s checklist list of how to do that:

    1. Read Science fiction books,
    2. Play the accordion as a kid,
    3. Don’t become part of any clique in high school – unless it’s the computer club or soccer team,
    4. Read History books,
    5. Watch your parents split up and feel; anger, frustration, denial, acceptance and then resolve,
    6. After high school, don’t pay too much attention to degrees,
    7. Vote Democrat, be an agnostic or atheist,
    8. Get 2 jobs – start every day at 6:00am and work until 11:00pm for a few years,
    9. Don’t get enough sleep,
    10. Have a “can-do” attitude at all endeavors (it’s rare) – you’ll reach management in no time,
    11. Smile and observe a lot,
    12. Shut the hell up and realize that you’re still learning,
    13. Don’t buy into the credit card game,
    14. Read more books, this time about revolutionary times and the men who lived in them,
    15. Don’t spread your seed without a condom,
    16. Do something spontaneous to help find that someone who will accept your seed without a condom,
    17. Love with all of your essence and get married on top of a mountain,
    18. Buy a house (you may play the credit game for this one purchase ONLY),
    19. At 25 start a business, while you can still put in the time and while you’re still in “honeymoon” mode,
    20. Work a lot, find answers to what you don’t know even though there is less time to read.
    21. Remember that every new client is food on your table and will pay towards this month’s mortgage payment,
    22. Change your voter registration to Repubulican, see the merit in organized religion,
    23. Get behind on your payroll taxes (941’s), because you put your 2 employees families before the tax man,
    24. Welcome the the IRS into your house when they visit unannounced because you believe the best in people,
    25. Realize that item 24 is pure bunk. Rather, pick up your Constitution and Bill of Rights,
    26. Start to write letters, ask questions, get to know your congress-critter, VOTE against ALL tax increases,
    27. Get pissed off as you learn more about YOUR government, but don’t take it personally – It’s built that way,
    28. change your voter registration to Libertarian, embrace all faiths (and none),
    29. Watch the births your 2 children at home – the second one in water, cut their umbilical cords,
    30. Work harder, you now have children under that roof, realize that you’re now officially “responsible” – for all of it,
    31. After 3 years of fighting, take out a second mortgage to get the IRS off your back. Write one final letter,
    32. and let them know in no uncertain terms that you’re not gonna pay one more dime until they answer your questions,
    33. Stop filing in 1994 after hearing nothing back for over a year. continue rebelling ad-infinitum,
    34. Opt out of the Social security system – note, you can only do these things because you’ve decided to run your own show.
    35. Remember, you are one of the “original” home business dudes, embrace technology, build your own computers, run linux,
    36. Start home-schooling your kids now that you’re not paying into the system – that responsibility is completely yours.
    37. Grow, get more employees, but put them under an employee leasing company, so that you can keep the feds off of your back,
    38. Prosper and watch your children grow into teens, love your spouse with all of your heart, love everyone (even the IRS),
    39. Read blogs, learn, marvel at this new means of interaction, vote with your pocketbook, trust the open market,
    40. Eat healthy, drink good beer, ride a bike when you can, don’t buy into any managed health care system – private or public.
    41. Give grandly to non-governmental charities, the cash out of your pocket will soon be replenished via karmic means,
    42. Put down your experiences on paper, share it with the world, hope others will take it to heart and live their own special moments….

    The list is still being written and it reflects 42 years of learning and screwing up. It is by no means a guarantee for happiness or to a happier (less wimpy) populace, but it is this man’s way to affect change. From the bottom up!

    Thanks again for the post Steve, ya got me thinking!

    Mike G.

    p.s. – 43. Vote for Ron Paul in 2008, get called an “extremist” and love it…Happy Tax day!

  34. I share many of the same questions and concerns as you do. We as a nation have been herded into a state of ignorance, indifference and inaction. FREEDOM is not submission, PATRIOTISM is not sitting on your ass and watching about Anna Nicole Smith while WE THE PEOPLE are being sidewiped by the biggest show of chicanery and misused power in all history. Our children are growing up watching degenerate crap on the television that constantly dispenses poor image and embraces consumerism. Our teachers can’t teach children to be citizens, they have to teach curriculum and make them into test-takers when we should be molding confidently- inquisitive minds. We are mostly discontent with how our society functions, but we still do nothing to change it.

    WHAT HAPPENED TO OUR SENSE OF COMMUNITY???

    It’s obvious that if we want to change things, we need to educate ourselves, organize and UNITE UNDER THE SAME DESIRE FOR A BETTER WORLD. Fear needs to be set aside for the time being, because people are dying, children… ours and theirs, for what purpose? George Bush doesn’t care about us, the system that has been cemented between the government and the market is unnacceptable. THE FOUNDATION OF OUR FREE NATION WAS BUILT ON A GOVERNMENT DESIGNED TO SERVE THE PEOPLE, and a nation that spends majority of its subject’s blood and sweat to make the weapons that bring on the tears. . . is not a nation that holds to its former promises to the people.

    THOSE WHO SIGNED OUR DECLARATION SUFFERED FOR THEIR LIBERTY

    THEIR FAMILIES WERE SCATTERED AND KILLED
    THEIR HOMES WERE BURNED
    THEY WERE EXECUTED

    But if you could ask them, “Was it worth the pain, to do that for your country?” what do you think they would say? “No, I should’ve kept my mouth shut and let them keep opressing my people?” I think not.

    It’s time to stand.

    stmth04@moravian.edu

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