|Look at his face. That's why there's no real-life superhero.|
I suspect not.
|John Walsh, America's Bruce Wayne.|
Time and again, we have each witnessed injustice and declared, "Someone should do something about that!" But we don't. We might become active if we are personally wronged, but even then the most outspoken and passionate of us form non-profit groups and organize political action committees to lobby for legislative changes. What keeps us back? There's no shortage of stunning stories in the news of people snapping and doing extraordinarily cruel things; why has the pendulum not swung wildly in the opposite direction?
I suspect that the truth is, for all our talk, most of us honor and obey the Social Contract and have trust that something can and will be done.
One of our most public champions has been Erin Brockovich, known to most people through the film starring Julia Roberts. Brockovich was, for all intents and purposes, in entirely over her head as a legal clerk when the community of Hinkley, California needed a champion. Brockovich rose to the occasion, too late to prevent the destruction to that town but fought doggedly for retribution. Has the litigious payout been sufficient to offset the damage? I doubt it, but what other recourse was there? Even working within the system--honoring and obeying the Social Contract--no expense was spared to thwart Brockovich in her quest for justice.
|Look, kids: this is what the "environment" was, once upon a time.|
In our society, our government is not an arbitrary institution imposing its will upon us. It is a manifestation of our collective will. It is of the people, by the people, for the people. We work through our legal system to express our values and to address the wrongs within our society. That isn't naivety on my part. That's the very essence of our society, despite what your cynicism may have taught you. There's a cynical, even paranoid, suspicion of government agencies among many Americans but the truth is those agencies exist because we willed them into being.
In the late 1960s, for instance, Americans declared they had had enough of business practices that decimated our natural environment and the manifestation of this cultural backlash against destruction was the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. For forty years now, it has existed to see that the air our children breathe does not poison them. There shouldn't even be a need for an E.P.A. because no one should ever have the temerity to establish a facility in the United States that would knowingly release toxins into our air, but the truth is that this "cumbersome bureaucracy" is our best defense against destructive behavior.
The 112th Congress has aggressively gone after the E.P.A., some going so far as to declare the entire agency ought to be abolished. The E.P.A. exists for one purpose alone: to stand against those who would otherwise engage in practices that would decimate the world in which we live--with us in it. Not to go all "you're with us or you're against us" on this, but there's really only two sides to be taken in this matter. Either you're against being poisoned or you're for it. This is not a debate about economics, religion or even liberty. It is about something far more basic even than that.
Give in to the anti-government rhetoric, and know this: you are not defending freedom. You are actively supporting people who intend to poison you tomorrow, and the only reason they haven't poisoned you yet is that the very agency preventing them from doing so is the one they wish to destroy. Want to know who desires de-regulation? It's these guys:
|One's a psychopath. The other is a real villain.|
"When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."There can be no question that those who would seek to amend the Social Contract to permit them to conduct destructive behavior are bad men wishing to combine.