How Consumerism Killed a Society
By: Tom Chatham – Author of Rebuilding The Republic
On this Thanksgiving holiday there are many things for Americans to reflect on. We are seeing the beginnings of a major war in the Middle East, the destruction of our currency, a high unemployment rate that will increase, and hurricane disaster victims that continue to struggle. There are deep divisions in our society at all levels, distrust of the government, talk of secession, the specter of increasing taxes and inflation, the creeping loss of freedom and government scandals that are piling up.
This is the time of the year when we come together and celebrate the family and renew old bonds. We celebrate and give thanks for the many things that we have no matter how little that may be. The laundry list of troubles that we face become insignificant on this day of the year. It is the ties that bind that are important and the happiness of belonging that we share. At least that used to be what Thanksgiving was all about.
The new holiday tradition is all about stuff. People actually camp out in front of stores for days just to be the first one in on black Friday to get the limited sale items. The advent of the consumer rush began long ago as people rushed to buy presents for Christmas. This sacred holiday became all about shopping and buying the best gifts. The act of buying became more important than the holiday a some point. Peace on earth and good will towards men got trampled in the rush to celebrate buying stuff.
With the Christmas holiday successfully debauched by sales it was time to move on to the next victim. Thanksgiving was only a month from Christmas. If people could be convinced to start their holiday cheer a little earlier, it would be a boon for retailers. A whole month of shopping insanity to increase profits, Gee, what a country that would make. A whole month to rack up credit card debt that they could take the next year paying off just to do it again.
The shopping season used to start the day after Thanksgiving but it has at last started creeping into Thanksgiving Day itself. Not content with opening at midnight Thursday, the stores are now opening earlier Thursday night as every retailer tries to get the shoppers money first. It’s all about the money and how much you can get before all of the consumers credit is maxed out. Some stores were putting out Christmas decorations before Halloween this year.
I suppose before long the madness will start on the 4th of July and provide shoppers with six months of shopping glee to spend the increasingly worthless money they will be loaned to put them further into bondage. I think everyone harkens back to the good old days not so much because they were more prosperous but because people were too poor to act this stupid. When a society begins to place a higher priority on the tangible things, like money, than the intangible things like faith and friendship, the society is soon to suffer the indignation of economic failure and societal collapse. Humility is a dish usually served cold and unannounced to the populace. You might try to reflect on that this Thanksgiving Day as you eat your turkey and stuffing. I will as I contemplate the limited shopping I’ll do next month.