Last night (that is, at the time I wrote this article) the Discovery Channel aired the final episode of "The Colony". I had reviewed this series in a prior article and still give it 2-thumbs up. Now that the show is over (hope they do something like it again!) there are several lessons from the show that I believe are totally applicable to life today in our present society. In particular there is one scenario they showed that I want to discuss first.
As before, SPOILER WARNING.
Continue at your own risk.
When the colonists first arrived in the warehouse it was clear that someone else had been living there. No one was around but there was bedding items, some canned food on shelves, a couple of this and that trappings of very basic life, etc. A few episodes later the now-former residence returned.
A man and a woman, Andre and Elizabeth, came in a back door with a key and surprised the colonists. Both are obviously actors like the rest of the outsiders the colonists meet. But they played their roles very well.
"Andre" is a very large and muscular man, clearly more a fighter than a thinker. The woman called "Elizabeth" seems to be playing the part of a scared and physically vulnerable woman alone in a world of anarchy. We (the audience, nor the participants of the Colony) don't know what either person was in life or did for work before the disaster that is the back drop for the show, though it's clear that dog-eat-dog has been their philosophy since then. It also isn't clear what the relationship is supposed to be between the two. Are they married? Lovers? Or just loosely banded together for mere survival? (Towards the end of the series Elizabeth appears at the door of the Colony alone asking for food and water; Later Andre comes in alone threatening the colonists; So it appears the two went separate ways soon after initially meeting the Colony participants.)
The Colony participants, after getting over the initial shock of their sanctuary being so easily "invaded" realize these are the people they thought had been living here when the show first started. Andre doesn't like that the colonists are in "his" warehouse and Elizabeth immediately starts sizing up what can be taken.
The colonists do try to be the better people and welcome them, albeit cautiously. The two claim to have been on a long range scavenging trip and now are just returning. The colonists show them around, show them all they have done to improve the warehouse, all they have so far created like filtering water, growing some food, producing electricity from wood gas powered generators etc. The colonists offer them food and the chance to stay as members of the colony. But with the understanding that the two follow the same rules and conduct as the rest of the colonists.
And there in lies the problem: Andre and Elizabeth (especially Andre) do not want to follow the rules! Andre goes so far as to say over dinner "What if I want to stay but not follow your rules? Just do my own thing?"
They want the benefits of living in the colony – the food, water, shelter, electricity etc – but refuse to take part in the operation, organization and work to advance the colony's survival. Things quickly come to a big confrontation as Andre and Elizabeth are found stealing food and other supplies from the Colony and the colonists are forced to physically drive them out of the building.
I think this episode more than any other of the show is an excellent example of the problem we face right now in today's society. That is, more and more and more people want to take the benefits of living in the American society yet fewer and fewer and fewer are willing to obey the rules and laws, and especially fewer and fewer are willing to contribute to the society by hard work in education and later vocation that adds value to the society!
More and more people just don't see the "need" to contribute to society. I am not referring to the tired old liberal saying "Give back to the society that made you." That's a rallying call for taking resources away from building a society by usurping the energy and vitality of people that otherwise would have been put towards advancing the economy which in turn helps all.
I'm referring to "contributing" by going to school (or vocational training) and earning your diploma or degree, getting started in a career (as oppose to languishing for years and years at a minimum wage Wendy's or Starbucks job), voting and taking part in your community, saving and investing for your own future and that of your family, maybe even starting a business or buying into a business etc. That is how people contribute and "give back" or pay back society from which they take the benefits of living in.
But too much now people, especially (and frighteningly!) young people just don't see the importance much less the need to break out of the "fun zone" of youth and start building for their own futures. Then they complain that others have things and/or more things than they do.
You don't build an expanding, healthy economy or society when there are more takers than givers.
And you certainly do not advance a growing healthy society when government forces people to give "contribute" by taxation of those people who have worked hard for what they have.
Liberals often say that a society is measured by how well it cares for those who can't care for themselves. I don't know where that brain-fart of a line came from. Nevertheless, there is a big difference between caring for someone who can't care for themselves vs. caring for someone who is capable yet unwilling to provide at least some care or input for themselves!
Remember that even the Roman Empire wasn't conquered but collapsed from with in as more people demanded services and fewer were willing to work for those services.
History is sometimes prolog.