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  • Vainly Imagined

    March 16, 2009

    Over the weekend, I watched a documentary style news program where Alan Greenspan was waxing philosophic about our current economic condition.

    Mr. Greenspan said that our nation didn’t become  great and prosperous because we had more resources than other nations. No, he said we became so great because we are smarter than everyone else.  Of course this is a paraphrase because I wasn’t watching television with a notepad and pen.

    I think Mr. Greenspan is a super smart and awesome dude, but I must disagree with him on both points, although clearly America has produced some of the hardest working, most resourceful, best and brightest.

    When I was in college, I took two semesters on the history of science and technology and I learned that while England and the Old World had skilled labor, their natural resources were depleted after thousands of years of civilization.  On the other hand, in the New World, we had more resources than we could shake a stick at, but not much in the way of skilled labor to take advantage of it.  So, I think Mr. Greenspan is wrong – we did,  and I think still do,  have more resources than other countries.  It’s anyone’s guess as to how long that will be true.

    I also disagree with his point that we got where we are because we are smarter than other nations, and here, I will quote Lincoln who said it better than I ever could.

    “But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious Hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.”

    ~ Abraham Lincoln

    30 Comments »

    1. deb says:

      AMEN, AMEN, AMEN!

      March 16th, 2009 at 10:22 am

    2. Kay says:

      Amen!

      March 16th, 2009 at 10:23 am

    3. Margaret says:

      Amen again and again

      March 16th, 2009 at 10:30 am

    4. Sue says:

      Ilove that quote! Can I add one more “amen”?

      March 16th, 2009 at 10:34 am

    5. Shoe says:

      Good. It is our faith in GOD that is important and seperates us from many other countries and nationalties.

      After 911, we are on the verge of forgetting GOD. Our forefathers had faith in God, faith in Country, and faith in self and in that order.

      Lincoln is/was right!

      March 16th, 2009 at 10:42 am

    6. HarryJacksMom says:

      Excellent, as always! Enjoy your spring break 🙂

      March 16th, 2009 at 10:47 am

    7. suzanne says:

      yes, ma’am, I agree with you and ABE….you sure have been thinkin’ hard lately. I am on Spring Break this week, too, so I hope we both enjoy it!! 🙂

      Suzanne

      * * *
      I know. It kinda’ hurts my little pea brain. The condition of this world that my son will inherit gives me a little heartburn. ~AM

      March 16th, 2009 at 11:09 am

    8. Jenni D. says:

      The difference between you and me, AM, is that you thought about what Greenspan had to say, drew conclusions which you can support (with information you learned in college, no less!), and then wrote a coherent argument supporting your point. I, on the other hand, would’ve watched Greenspan, thought, “Huh!”, then wiped the drool off my chin.
      Have a great break with Sean!

      March 16th, 2009 at 11:16 am

    9. Roxanne says:

      One of my favorite quotes from the Pollyanna movie. . .

      “While you’re out appreciating the sunlight, just give a little thought to who’s sending it down to you.”

      We can IMAGINE that we’ve done wonderful things, but those imaginings are, indeed, in vain. The sunlight alone puts our best creations to shame.

      Great post. Enjoy your week.

      March 16th, 2009 at 11:22 am

    10. Linda says:

      Amen,sister

      March 16th, 2009 at 11:30 am

    11. Margie says:

      Have fun with Sean this week. The sun is finally beginning to pop out here. I’m so ready. And please do show up with a picture or two and more of the sillies. While not wanting to take up your comment section, I wanted to share something my 2 yr. old granddaughter told me last week. She is such an independent little girl and she doesn’t like me holding her hand going down steps, even concrete ones. So, I told her she had to hold my hand to help me because “Gremmie is old”. So she does. But she told me in her two yr old speak, “I buy you Hanna Ontanna earwings and you be old no moe.”

      March 16th, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    12. Jenny-Jenny says:

      This country was preserved for the faithful. As long as we have faith in that God who created us, we(this great country) will be blessed. It’s not about being great or having it all. It’s about who we trust and what we do with what He gives us.

      * * *
      I appreciate your sentiment that as long as we have faith in God our country will be blessed, but I don’t know that I agree with that. I just don’t find those guarantees anywhere in Scripture, but then again I am far from a Biblical scholar. The verse that comes to mind is that it rains on the just and unjust alike. ~AM

      March 16th, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    13. diXymiss says:

      An eXcellent quote. If only we would elect leaders today with Lincoln’s wisdom, faith, integrity and vision…

      March 16th, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    14. diXymiss says:

      PS: Have a lovely spring break and soak up every minute of sunshine with your son-shine. 😉

      March 16th, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    15. Stretch Mark Mama says:

      *Sniff sniff* What’s that I smell, Mr. Greenspan? Ethnocentrism?

      In other news, I read Job 38-40 to the kids today. So fabulously humbling.

      March 16th, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    16. Faerylandmom says:

      Outstanding post, AM. Eloquent and to the point. 🙂

      (In regards to Jenny-Jenny’s comment)
      It does take more than faith in God.

      “‘When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:13-14

      Belief is not enough – even the demons believe, and they tremble. (Jams 2:19)

      March 16th, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    17. Gretchen says:

      THis is just a really lovely post. May your spring break be fab!

      March 16th, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    18. Heidi says:

      Have a great time!

      March 16th, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    19. Jenny-Jenny says:

      I am a big believer in the promises of the Bible. There is a scripture in the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ talking about America. It says:
      …there shall none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord.
      Wherefore, this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring. And if it so be that they shall serve him according to the commandments which he hath given, it shall be a land of liberty unto them; wherefore, they shall never be brought down into captivity; if so, it shall be because of iniquity; for if iniquity shall abound cursed shall be the land for their sakes, but unto the righteous it shall be blessed forever.

      * * *

      Ah, my bad in the assumption I made. I’m not terribly familiar with the particulars of Mormonism. Although my perspective is different, I respect your point-of-view. Thanks for following up Jenny. ~AM

      March 16th, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    20. mythoughtsonthat says:

      In total agreement here.

      And I love it when you call him your little boyfriend!

      March 16th, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    21. edj says:

      It’s true that America is super-blessed with resources. But credit must also be given for the way those resources were handled. God blessed the US with many natural resources, and a lot of land, and let’s not think about all the murky history because all history is murky. But I think the blessings have come because of the Judeo-Christian work ethic that has permeated our culture.
      The Republic of Congo (I think, the one that used to be Zaire; I can’t keep up with all the name changes) is one of the poorest countries in the world. War-torn, ravaged by famine, starving refugees, cholera outbreaks, lack of development, etc. Yet as far as natural resources go it is one of the richest–timber, rubber, gold, oil, etc. (I think diamonds) They have been cursed by being ruled by tyrants and warlords, and this is the result. And this is just one example. Resources in and of themselves don’t mean anything–it is how they are handled.
      Whew! Stepping down now 😉

      * * *

      Excellent points all EDJ. I love your world perspective. I did not know that about Congo. ~ AM

      March 16th, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    22. jen from windy ridge says:

      AAAAAAAAMEN

      March 16th, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    23. Tam says:

      Thank you for your post and quote by Abraham Lincoln. I think we all know that “to whom much is given, much is expected”, and that sober truth sure serves to keep me humble. Living and working overseas and witnessing heartbreaking poverty and illness changed my feelings about my beloved America. Much is expected of us here, and we can spend our days living up to that, as opposed to bragging on some television show about how much “smarter” we are than anyone else.

      Thanks for your blog, AM.

      March 16th, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    24. Amy says:

      Excellent.

      March 17th, 2009 at 1:35 am

    25. Luke Holzmann says:

      If Jared Diamond is right–and he seemed rather informed to me–we did have more resources.

      ~Luke

      March 17th, 2009 at 9:37 am

    26. Nette says:

      Thank you for the words of wisdom to consider.
      Have a wonderful spring break!

      March 17th, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    27. Bitsy says:

      Great post. I just love your writing.

      March 17th, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    28. RefreshMom says:

      LOVed the Lincoln quote. One doesn’t have to retreat too far into the writings of our previous leaders to see that they didn’t entirely detach their faith from living out their duty. And our country is the better for it, I think.

      And I agree with you; it is a sometimes nauseating thought about the state of the world our boys will grow into. I’m glad I have someplace to put my trust that things will be ok (whatever that means). I wouldn’t want to be looking at the future without it.

      March 17th, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    29. Weekend Linkage « Faery Inn says:

      […] Vainly Imagined ~ Antique Mommy […]

      March 20th, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    30. Sarah S. says:

      Okay, just coming over for this one. LOVE that quote from Lincoln. Indeed…

      March 23rd, 2009 at 1:18 pm

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