The Price

The price of being free, rich, and powerful; all at the same time, is to receive the envy, resentment, and distrust of those about you; even from one’s friends. It is an existence of perpetual constraint and disappointment.

Every act and inaction is scrutinized and judged under the harsh, revealing light of hindsight. Those whose suffering it was meant to relieve, once succored, are prone to condemn the consequences of the relief they sought and received.

When the consequences of action are thought to be less harmful than the suffering condition, but aren’t, the condemnation is swift and fervent. But when the consequences of action are thought to be more harmful than the suffering condition, the condemnation of inaction is still swift and fervent.

Historian Arnold J. Toynbee (1884-1975) is attributed to the unsourced quote, “America is like a large [friendly] dog in a small room. Every time it wags its tail, it knocks over a chair.” Perhaps, from Toynbee’s British perspective, this attributed quote may be quite, understandably, expected. In many ways, the British may be singularly understanding, of the predicament described above, about the circumstances in which the United States often seems to be.

An analogous ‘friendly, large dog’ captures a certain perception other nations, if not former empires, might exchange for an analogous ‘benevolent, bi-polar giant’. By the terrible magnitude of its wealth and power the U.S. is often and always should be cautious in their use because of the often incalculable outcomes that may result. The freedom the U.S. is perceived to enjoy, in the use of its wealth and power, is further constrained by the nearly inevitable disappointment, if not fervent condemnation, that ensues and which, therefore, threatens its own perceived measure of freedom, wealth, and power.

Therefore, the cost of being free, rich, and powerful; all at the same time, is the unexpected need to be freer, richer, and more powerful; despite the ever-increasing rate of the concomitant burden.

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