“You have too much cargo.”

Aboriginal Chieftain

By Dr. Jim Ferguson

After more than two decades, the above quote from Jared Diamond’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “Guns, Germs, and Steel,” still intrigues me. While walking along the beach with an aboriginal chieftain, the polymath Professor Diamond was challenged to defend Western culture and explain why Western civilization became the preeminent culture of the world. The book is complicated, but it remains unquestionably relevant as civilized man confronts Hamas savages and neo-Marxist anarchists like BLM and ANTIFA.

It was the chief’s opinion that our modern culture has too much stuff, which he labeled as cargo. He may be right because we have a lot of stuff.

We have an extended family member who has been forced to downsize because of health issues and the frailties of aging. No one wants to give up their independence, but it is a reality that if you live long enough you will need help and often a protected environment. And when you downsize what do you do with the stuff you’ve collected over a lifetime?

Becky and I are from Knoxville and have always lived here except for a few years in Memphis. Our roots are in Knoxville, and since we have seldom been forced to move we have acquired considerable cargo. The same goes with our loved one who has far more cargo than can be put in her new apartment. By comparison, a friend has lived in a lot of places because of job transfers. She jokingly avers that it is best to move every five years and take nothing with you!

Have you noticed how many storage facilities there are around K-town? They’re everywhere. We rented space at one of these to store our loved one’s stuff. Perhaps it’s sad that most of our “treasures” are not wanted by younger family members who apparently just want new stuff or to acquire their own cargo. Of course, there are exceptions. Our West Coast daughter loves “vintage” cargo, but shipping costs are prohibitive. As a result, we’re organizing a fire sale after a few items were passed on to family members.

We have a rear entrance to our 20-acre farm property that is accessed from the cul-de-sac of a neighboring development. I’m glad we have this alternative entrance which faces west and is more passable in winter months than the north-facing main entrance that is occasionally ice-bound.

Recently, we were driving through the neighboring condo development and it seemed more like a parking lot than a roadway. Cars were parked everywhere on the street. Apparently, the condo owners have lots of cars and I guess the small garages are filled with cargo. As a result, street parking has become a necessity and has turned the local neighborhood into a parking lot.

I’m not complaining about American affluence or our mobile society. We are blessed, but sometimes take these blessings for granted. As I observe the Israel-Hamas war, I feel sorry for the Gaza citizens who live under the thumb of Hamas and are often used as human shields by the terrorists. If the Hamas leaders, who are billionaires and live in Qatar, would help their people instead of themselves, things would be different in that wretched part of the world. However, in a recent New York Times interview, the Hamas leadership said they have “no interest in governing in Gaza.” Instead, they want a “permanent state of war” with Israel.

I thank the Lord daily for another day of life and things like running water, power, a hot shower and stocked grocery shelves. While it is true that Gaza citizens voted for Hamas to lead them, I suspect the elections were rigged. There seem to be a lot of fraudulent elections these days. Some believe that it was Joseph Stalin who said, “It’s not the people who vote that counts; it’s the people who count the votes.”

Capitalism has raised more people out of poverty than any other system. Bill Maher recently said the same thing. This is especially true when capitalism is compared to socialism or communism. The clueless AOC graduated from Boston College with a degree in economics. And Ivy League schools like Harvard, don’t teach reality, but instead seem to focus on anti-Americanism and antisemitism. Someone should tell supporters of AOC and her squad that the slogan, “From the river to the sea” is a call for genocide of the Jewish state of Israel.

Cars are representative of American individualism and freedom. I may whine about Knoxville traffic on I-40 or the construction project underway on Alcoa Highway, but I don’t want to surrender my truck or my freedom. I resist the Progressive’s assault on fossil fuels and cars. I don’t want to be crammed into an urban center or dependent on mass transit. Cars are representative of Americanism, and I will surrender neither to the left. I will offer one word of caution: When you’re on the road, be vigilant and drive defensively. But you also better watch out in parking lots where pedestrians and other drivers don’t pay attention.

The Democrats and Progressives have brought us a lot of baggage, the type of cargo no thoughtful person would choose. Democrats and Progressives have corrupted our education systems, the courts and intelligence agencies, and, along with Washington RINOs, are bankrupting the country. I’ve lived a long and full life; my time is about done. However, it breaks my heart that my children and grandkids will pay a horrible price for my generation’s foolish dependency on government rather than God. I’m no polymath like Professor Diamond, but as a self-trained student of history, scripture and the humanities, I know we’re on the wrong track and we are making the same mistakes other cultures have made down through history. And it always ends badly.

Apparently, it just hasn’t gotten bad enough for us to vote the bums out of office, tighten our belts with serious budgetary cuts and close the border to stop the invasion. We should be supporting the police and locking up miscreants and criminals who threaten citizens. And we should be alert for the next attack from terrorists who have slipped into America on Biden’s watch and have vowed to kill us after they finish with the Jews and Israel.

It may already be too late for America. You will know in 2024.