I would like to wish you a belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I trust your winter break was well spent with family and friends. I was certainly blessed this break. Though our celebration was simple — healthy conversation over a delicious home-cooked meal — I am humbled to consider the condition of life outside the civilized world.
Even in the wake of recent terrorist attacks, the United States is stable and secure, unlike countries such as Sudan, South Africa and Somalia. Wrought with social, political and ethnic tensions, these countries as well as others like them exist in a state of instability and insecurity.
Take for example Darfur, in western Sudan. Save Darfur, an alliance of over 100 human rights organizations, reports that an estimated 300,000 people lost their lives in an ongoing conflict that former President George W. Bush declared “genocide” between 2003 and 2005. Americans, along with the western world, are blessed to have a safe and stable society, even as we fight the War on Terror.
Food is a commodity Americans take for granted. Yes, food banks help address issues of hunger in America, but the western world knows nothing of malnutrition that countries such as Angola, Swaziland and Zimbabwe experience. World Vision reports that more than 4 million Zimbabweans are affected by the worsening food shortage, hundreds of thousands of which are children. To add insult to injury, over 600,000 children have been orphaned by aids, and about 1/3 of the adult population lives with HIV/AIDS. Elaborating on the material gifts we regularly receive such as new shoes, warm clothes, electronics and toys seems irrelevant in light of the Zimbabweans’ suffering.
In the comfort of my home, in the warm aura of family and friends, I realized that comfort promotes complacency. It is only natural that when people are the most comfortable, they are also the least motivated to work. The Marxist concept that people must work to eat is at the most primitive level, true. Without real and relevant motivation, there is no incentive to work. Fortunately, in capitalism, this motivation is raised to a higher level by personal property.
In our society, motivation to be involved in government process has been lost to prime time television and replaced by lifetime politicians who promise to solve our problems by increasing government size. As a culture, our drive to obtain personal property, financial freedom and make a positive impact on humanity has been substantially impacted by the comfort of our recliners. Ironic that our government was built on the very principles of hard work and personal responsibility we seem to despise today.
As we enter the new year, I urge you to reflect on the words of G.K. Chesterton, who, when asked to comment on the primary problem with the human condition responded, “I am.” With this simple response, Chesterton cleverly pointed out mankind’s imperfect nature. It follows logically, that if left in a state of complacency, man will not do good, but remain wallowing in imperfection. Therefore, I challenge you to answer Kennedy’s great call: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” by turning off your TVs and putting away your IPods. Fight for stability in Darfur, donate against hunger and inspire the intellect.