Tuesday, January 8, 2013

To Mr. James Fenimore Cooper, Jan 7

January 7, 2013

Mr. Cooper, 

Thank you for the copy of The Pathfinder.  Sadly, it accurately reflects the stubborn ignorance of mankind, the pride taken in false knowledge and the tendency of people to persist in falsehoods rather than own up to an obvious mistake.  Your take on the ship of state allegory is both enjoyable within the story and instructional in the weaknesses of a democratic society. 

Jasper Western's predicament crossed my mind while discussing the recent debacle over the so called "fiscal cliff."  Those bent on following this irresponsible course will never change and admit error, while the vast majority of people will not even know there is a danger until the wheels fall off the bus.  They resemble Mabel aboard the Scud.  Our citizens no more recognize the nature or nearness of our danger than they would be able to recognize breakers; they no more know the tools of government than they would identify leeward from windward, a spar from a topgallant or a halyard.  The destination, the tools to get there, or even our present position are beyond the understanding of the people, yet in a democracy it is their whim and random yanking on ropes that determines our course. 

Were I not aboard this vessel, I wouldn't care what point of the compass the bow would be directed in.  Yet my fate is tied to theirs.  I detest going out in the rain to keep others from getting wet, seeing as it usually only results in me catching a cold alongside them, and in their personal lives I no longer make any attempt to interfere.  The urge grows to act like Jasper and let the fools have the helm unhindered by me; it is my intention to turn to philosophy and religion for a while, though I know myself too well to believe I will long abandon care of the course of our ship of state. 


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