One man's view of the world, from the top of this great big rock somewhere in the middle of God's Country, with an eye toward freedom....or at least some way to get back down without goin' over the edge.

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Location: West Virginia, United States

Former U.S. Army, SPC E-4, Veteran of Operation Desert Storm. If you are or have ever been a soldier, you have friends in my house.

Friday, July 28, 2006

"An American Civilization": Chapter One -- The Web of Trust

I've posted on the writings of Bill Whittle before. Anyone who is anyone knows who I'm talking about.

Well, he's been away for a while, but he's back...and the view I'm looking at is GREAT from up here.

He has written the first chapter of a large project entitled An American Civilization....

Chapter One: The Web of Trust which he peels back the layers of how human beings interact with each other.

Here's just one little gem for you:

Every time two people come together and trade, wealth is created. Out of thin air. By magic. Every trade, every bit of work done by every human on the planet increases the complexity and order of the whole, and thus makes it more valuable. This is a rich subject, one we will return to in a following chapter. But for now, suffice it to say that if I, as a member of a hunter tribe, make great spears and crappy baskets, and you, as a gatherer, make beautiful baskets and miserable spears, then when we exchange my spear for your basket both of us walk away richer.

Makes sense, doesn't it? Sure it does.
But I was surprised at how I needed to be reminded of this one little aspect of human society.

Just a little further down, he offers a rather off-the-wall example of just how reliant we are upon our own interconnectedness:

Let’s look at Western Civilization at its naked pinnacle, at the height of its sheer fabulousness: Oscar night! It’s almost time for the Best Supporting Actor award!

Let’s start with the obvious: The amazing set, the stunning lighting, the beautiful people – not just American stars, but world-wide phee-noms. This culture reaches around the world. It’s a fair bet that every other crazed Jihadi getting lathered up for a good round of beheadings in Iraq or Afghanistan or Malaysia is wearing a Spider-man T-shirt or a Miami Dolphins cap or a pair of shorts with a Nike slash or one of the millions of other little trinkets mass-produced as easily as skin cells falling of the body of a sleeping Goliath.

But let’s peel away layers, shall we? One by one?

I won't spoil this article for you any further. Read it. ALL of it. It's long, but it's worth it.

Seriously. Turn off the ringer on your phone. Grab your favorite blanky from off the couch, grab some hot cocoa, and grab the rails. This guy will take you places that most of us (my humble self included) have likely forgotten about altogether.