So I've been thinking about this for 24+ hours now (you knew I'd jump in here, right Chris
Being an ''ARF Nation'' is, indeed, a symptom of a broader issue.
We don't produce.
We don't make cars. We assemble them from bits and pieces made elsewhere. (ARDs?) We don't make DVD players either. We'll sure as heck find a way to install them in the cars we didn't make though. Why? Simple...we've spared parents the onerous task of raising children who behave for the 10 minutes it takes to get to the store. No longer need you instill discipline, respect, or courtesy in your child...simply shut them up with a dose of SpongeBob while you, feeling smug in your minivan, flip off the gass-guzzling SUV that just cut you off.
We don't even grow our own beef any more...instead importing it, along with a healthy dose of Mad Cow, from Canada, processing it beyond recognition, and offering it up to you as a $2.99 value meal you don't even have to quit yakking on your cellphone to consume, on your way to your next important meeting.
We are no longer a nation of producers. We're consumers and servants. We make life easier, faster, better, more efficient, more comfortable, flashier, quicker, and less troublesome in any way possible for anyone willing to pay our fees, desperate only to pass the fees along to the next internet site that'll offer us whatever ''must have consumable'' we absolutely NEED to own right NOW. If we don't have the money, no worries..an entire industry devoted to making slaves of us all has opened up, eager to see us further in debt at every turn.
Did ARFs ''cause'' any of this? Of course not. Is their popularity and success just one more thing we won't produce for ourselves, instead preferring to run up another debt, or write another check, for someone else to do it for us? Absolutely.
Is an ARF nation, then, a dying one?
It is, indeed.
Consider what we're saying here...
We've become so unwilling to COMPETE, on an HONEST level, with the rest of the world, that we no longer even try...not even for our HOBBIES. It's not a question of exchanging the value created our lives for the highest possible value in return...WE HAVE NO VALUE TO EXCHANGE. We've created NOTHING.
We're so averse to the idea of producing that we won't even bother to do so to fulfill our spare time, or engage in trivial pursuits. We can't, in short, be bothered to create value EVEN FOR FUN.
Go look in the gas engine forum. There's an entire thread about a new 30cc engine. Its great claim? IT'S MADE IN THE UNITED STATES! The manufacturer BEGINS the thread telling us he can not and will not compete on price...yet offers no evidence he is competing on any other level! His assertion is that of the looter:
You should be GUILTED AND BULLIED into buying his product, because if you don't, you're UNAMERICAN!
Ask yourself 2 questions:
1) Why is ''MADE IN THE USA'' such a ''big deal''?
Simple...because it's SO RARE.
2) What would you think of a man who told you not to buy a product made by blacks, jews, women, or tall people?
Differently than you think of a man who's telling you not to buy a product made by oriental people?
That manufacturer is absolutely right...he will not compete on price. He hopes, however, you will IGNORE the fundamental FOUNDATION of this country:
He WILL NOT offer you the BEST VALUE in exchange for some fixed chunk of your life. That being the case, he's right..he CAN'T COMPETE. His only hope then...the only method he has of convincing you to buy his product is the same method the looter uses to separate you from your money:
If he can convince you that buying another product is unpatriotic, immoral, or wrong....you'll buy his! REGARDLESS of the fact that you're LOSING the value for value exchange. His ONLY hope of success is to take MORE of your life than he RIGHTLY DESERVES.
What's this have to do with ARFs? Simple...
We're no longer interested in making things. As a result, those very few who try find a market dominated by others...others who have become much better at making things...things WE consume.
We're a nation of consumers. The few producers left amongst survive only by looting. And we dismiss this mindset by calling people foolish and telling them they ''think too much'' (even that form of creation has become something to criticize), and should just leave us alone, because we're doing what we want.
Truly, a dying nation indeed.