This shot of Hurricane, Utah at dusk sorta summed up a lot of things to me about what sort of civilization I currently inhabit. From the crest of the hill I looked down upon a sprawl of obedient government educated, highly taxed and regulated, propagandized and intellectually marginalized state mastered serfs.
I also don't see this little burg as anything more nor less than your town. I've been around the block and I can tell ya it all pretty much smells and tastes the same from coast to coast.
We support our troops, do you want that super-sized?
A hundred years ago Hurricane was a real place, with locally controlled education, low taxes and virtually non-existent government. It was a religiously based culture with a deep sense of independence and pride in being a hardy dusty bunch of desert pioneers. What problems they had they seemed to work through for themselves without the intruding nose of the federal camel poking into their tent. As the old Arab saying goes: once he's in, he'll never leave.
Gradually that way of life had to disappear forever because it did not fit in with the new statist program of compulsory 5-day a week government educational incarceration, social welfare programs, farm subsidies and personal involvement in foreign warfare, which would do much to "uplift" and "improve" the dusty pioneers from their wretched pre-state guided existence. To be independent and hardy were increasingly associated with "selfish" and "anti-social" attitudes which clashed with the state's ever increasing demands on your hard won income and the time of mandatory involvement with its schemes of moral and physical "reconstruction" around the globe and in your neighborhood.
A hundred years ago New York was a more independent and locally controlled place (that no Arab would dream of bombing) and so was Los Angeles, Terre Haute, Billings, Memphis and Vermont, to name a few. The country back then was still a republic and not the menacing war mongering empire of today. It is very much like the difference between the early Roman Republic and the latter day Roman Empire of the Caesars. The first was based on a loose voluntary confederation of local city-states and rural districts that were self-sustaining and independent, which eventually morphed into a micromanaging tax sucking beast that waged foreign wars to spread the enlightened "democratic civilization" of Rome. The arrogant thought of the Caesars was: once the backward hicks see us coming they'll surely bow down in gratitude for the benevolent bestowal upon them of the majestic mantle of civilized central control. Anyone see a modern day parallel?
Hitler used to say he was giving these conquered savages a history. Stalin was organizing them for greatness. Mao was making his Great Leaps Forward, while Bush is spreading peace and enlightened democracy as he proceeds to prosecute his Warn Terror. These guys always make me laugh after a while, that is, after the stench of the corpse piles begin to die down.
Ain't it just like the night to play tricks when you're tryin' to be so quiet?
We sit here stranded, though we're all doin' our best to deny it.
------Robert Zimmerman (B.Dylan)