10 July 2008
America, Stop Your Whining!
Since even his liege, Senator McCain, now denounces him, let me say a word in defense of Phil Gramm. He was certainly wrong to say that the nation was enduring nothing but a "mental recession," but can anyone honestly deny his related assertion that the U.S. has become a "nation of whiners?" Liberals take offense because they infer that by "whining" Gramm means the people's rightful demand for redress of legitimate grievances, or the poor's pure cry for help. But that's far from the only whining we hear in this country. In general, we're encouraged to whine because experts expect us to vent our emotions rather than suppress them in the old stoic style. Whining is encouraged at all levels of society. When I think of whining in America, I hear the lamentations and tantrums of reactionaries, the conservatives and libertarians whose collective voice is that of a permanent adolescent whining, "Don't tell me what to do!" I hear them bewailing the unfairness of existence in such phrases as "the media is biased" or "the academy is biased." This tantrum has been going on for more than forty years, with little sign of letting up, so no wonder Mr. Gramm seems exasperated. I'm sure he'd agree with me that Americans in general should stop their whining and do something real to solve their problems. On what should be done, I respectfully agree to disagree with him.