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Saturday, November 3, 2012


Saturday, 8:45 AM.  32 degrees F, wind SW, calm to very light.  The sky is completely overcast with high gray clouds.  We  had a dusting of snow last night, but the barometer is up.  The days are short, and winter is upon us.
        We had a nice trip, a good visit and a good time in the field, but my Madison meeting was canceled.  Didn’t find out until meeting time, and then only by my own efforts.  It turned out I was e-mailed notice on Wednesday noon, and by that time we were already on the road.  I guess nobody had my cell phone number, but that begs the question of why everyone is expected to respond to everything “just in time” today. 
        I imagine there are folks arranging their days and their very lives now by twittering and tweeting.  Everything is supposed to be instantaneous.  Frankly I think it is all a recipe for disaster, with little thinking ahead and everyone saying and doing whatever comes into their heads at the moment.  I suppose I will have to get an Iphone with a thousand apps to keep up with the daily demands of what is actually a rather simple life. “I think we are all in big trouble,“ said the old man.
        Speaking of big trouble, that reminds me of the frog in the pot.  You remember the parable of the frog placed into a pot of warm water on the stove, which he could have easily jumped out of, but it was nice and comfortable and he did not.  Then the cook turned up the heat a little bit, and a little bit more, so gradually that the lazy frog adjusted to it bit by bit, still comfortably warm and snug in the pot.  Finally the water started to boil, and that was the end of the frog, as it was by then too late to jump out.
        We are all frogs in the pot right now, with more and more government largess that feels pretty good, but goes from a lower to a higher intensity without our even noticing it, with greater and greater intrusions in our daily lives, with more and more laws and regulations and bureaucracy until we are finally cooked, no longer free frogs, but frogs legs on the dictator’s plate (the dictator being an individual, an economic or social class, a tyrannical majority, a religious faction…or simply the “state”).
        Alexis De Tocqueville saw this scenario as a progression from “soft tyranny” to “hard tyranny,” the result being the eventual elimination of freedom and the absorption of the individual by the state, and the greatest threat to democracy.
        Friends, we are approaching the boiling point, but we still have time to jump out of the pot.

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