The Age of the Hero

There is a growing trend that has become especially obvious over the last fifty years to disparage the heroic. Our universities are filled with feminist courses that paint the hero as being little more than some swaggering sexist stereotype whose very existence seems to negate theirs somehow. The qualities of the lone hero, the symbols of the struggle against the odds, the directness, the lack of fear all seem to threaten the intrinsically weak in ways I will never understand. The classical hero is an ideal, a concept and in some cases a reality. The stories of the hero tended to come from far more heroic times; times when people were expected to act a certain way, to be brave in a certain way. These were days when strength was respected, when individuality was admired and above all, when courage was a virtue.

Sadly now we cannot make the same claims. This is no longer the age of the hero; it is the age of the anti-hero. The weak, the pointless and the useless are raised by some magical and illogical standard to be somehow heroic by virtue of their uselessness. The idiot addict who lives by begging and stealing on the street is painted in strokes as something noble. The fool journalist takes this thing that should be scorned and despised for its actions and lack of wit and makes it into something supposedly noble.

We are told of how hard his life is, how he must struggle against a society intent on building wealth and how he is invisible to the system. This sort of talk enrages me as it would enrage any person who had the faintest grasp of reality. The addict is as far from noble as he can get, his struggle is not heroic, it is a base disgusting example of how low the human condition can become when we attempt to live without the benefit of rational thought.

The materialism he so despises in those who pass him is different from the materialism of the criminal he buys his drugs from. When he steals he somehow deserves it because it is not given to him. When he kills he is the victim of society rather than society being the victim of him.

Who is to blame for this travesty? Where can the finger of blame be pointed? The government and the media!

The government must take full and total responsibility for the societal decay that we see because it is their policies of failure that have allowed this to grow to the levels it currently resides. Billions of dollars are constantly thrown at a self-created problem. No matter how much good is wasted after bad the homeless issue continues to grow, the poverty level continues to grow and it seems that nothing is ever accomplished. No one seems capable of understanding that the higher the taxes, the more the government steals from the economy the weaker the economy is and therefore the poorer the state. The more money they make available for social programs the more people use them not as the safety net they were designed for but rather as an escape from the pressures of adulthood. We now have generational welfare recipients where once we had generational businesses and trades. How is it that the studies, the think-tanks, the committees that study these issues are incapable of seeing the most obvious solutions?

Return the lionís share of the wealth to the society and the society will be wealthy. Plunder the society under the guise of pseudo-moralistic and intrinsically wrong kindness and we will be poor.

A major city near where I live has as its current budget one hundred and forty five million dollars ear marked for shelters and the homeless. If there were ten thousand homeless in the entire city then we see that their individual allotment is fourteen thousand five hundred dollars. There are a great many people living and working dignified lives for that amount and less but this is where the problem really takes on its most grotesques proportions. The one hundred and forty five million dollars is not being spent directly on those who may or may not need it, the staggering amount of money is being spent on those who have made this into a lucrative business.

If you build a shelter you will need staff and that staff will need salaries, money for galas for fundraising, overhead expenses, a board of directors, offices, access to courses, etc. When all is said and done the last thing they actually need is any homeless to show up, in fact, after millions have been poured into this shelter you will quickly hear of how they have no money to operate with and the media will step forward with a cry of 'why is not more being done'.

This is all part of this modern travesty, this perpetuated lie. There are those who need help, there are those with whom a little cup of basic human kindness would not be wasted. But there are far too many others who milk the societal cow for all it's worth, and then demand to shoot the cow.

A hundred years ago we started to see significant changes in the way our society operated. As the society grew more affluent there was the intrinsic need for it to be more generous. This lead to the creation of the 'soup kitchen' and the hostel, which, while it was not perfect, while it was far from any socialists dreams it was better than we had ever done before. The wealth, held in the hand of the individual rather than the state made its way back into the state through individual acts of kindness. People had the real opportunity to be a hero in their own way and by their own means.

A wealthy benefactor opens a hostel and is lauded by his friends. An industrialist opens a school knowing that an educated worker is a better worker but still, it benefits everyone.

This is heroism at an individual level. This is self gratification at its noblest. It is the raising of the 'I' instead of the forcing of the 'we'.

That is the greatest difference between then and now. At the time it was expected that people would give to their society, they would try to make some sort of beneficial difference. Now, when the money is taken from your pocket by bureaucrats and distributed as they see fit there is far less need to make the difference on your own. This generalization, this redistribution of responsibility is the death knell of a free and moral society. When it is determined that you are neither morally righteous enough nor wise enough to know what to do with your own income then you are doomed.

We must return to a concept of individual responsibility and individual rights. We must accept that our lives are what we make of it, our actions are our responsibility and our future will be molded by our own actions.

We must deny the mediocrity of the state for the heroism of the individual. It will only be when we return to the true concept of the individual that we will accomplish anything. - Click here to travel right!

Instant Gift Certificates!
Overture Search the Web.
Type it and go!

The Musician's PlaceTo Shop!
Instant Gift Certificates!

© 2001-2005 Issues Magazine.
All Rights Reserved.

Get 15 FREE prints!