God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen - Jars of Clay - listen now

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

And Yet...

Very good article by David Mamet in the Village Voice. Starting with our form of government, which he describes as "rather brilliant," Mamet goes on to speak of our other institutions and customs such as the free market, the jury system, the mobility of our classes, all things we are taught to cherish but most often perceive as broken:
I'd observed that lust, greed, envy, sloth, and their pals are giving the world a good run for its money, but that nonetheless, people in general seem to get from day to day; and that we in the United States get from day to day under rather wonderful and privileged circumstances—that we are not and never have been the villains that some of the world and some of our citizens make us out to be, but that we are a confection of normal (greedy, lustful, duplicitous, corrupt, inspired—in short, human) individuals living under a spectacularly effective compact called the Constitution, and lucky to get it.

For the Constitution, rather than suggesting that all behave in a godlike manner, recognizes that, to the contrary, people are swine and will take any opportunity to subvert any agreement in order to pursue what they consider to be their proper interests.
He concludes, as should we all, that he has a deep faith both in humans and our ability to work through our problems and difficulties. It reminds me of William Faulkner who said "I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail." In an election season where a putz will be elected President no matter who wins, it was a much needed reaffirmation. Read the whole thing.

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