Wednesday, February 25, 2009

the plague of [boiling] frogs

R' Samson Raphael Hirsch's commentary to Exodus, Chapter 2, Verse 23--
As long as the initiators of an oppressive state project of such vast proportions as the enslavement of an entire free race are still alive, there is hope for an awakening of conscience and for the abolishment of the injustice. But once an institution - no matter how glaring the injustice that gave rise to it - has passed, along with the power of the state, into the hands of new authorities who are not aware of its origins and who accept it as traditional, legitimate prerogative of the state, the new governent will not consider itself authorized to tamper with time honored tradition. It will presume that all the institutions of the former regime have been sanctioned by the law of the land. The free people who have been enslaved by a Machiavellian tyrant will then be doomed to remain pariahs forever.

This is the curse of obsolescence inherent in time-honored state institutions. The past cultivated a field with blood and tears, and the present harvests - with a clean conscience - the fruit of the fait accompli, without considering that a curse hangs over every ear of corn that is brought home with joy.

The same applies to the New Deal, National Recovery Act, WWII and other shovel-ready infrastructure projects which 'brought us out of the last depresssion'.

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