Thursday, February 19, 2009

Stimulus as the Father of Lethargy

Thankfully a so-called stimulus didn't exist in 1819, for James J. Audubon (his Adult Bald Eagle above) might never have given us the gift of his art. Danny Heitman over at the Christian Science Monitor relates to us part of the story of John James Audubon (emphasis added):
By 1819, Audubon appeared to have achieved the American dream: a successful business as a Kentucky merchant, a nice house, a wife and children. But then a dramatic reduction in business credit shook the country, and alas, there was no bailout that year from Washington.

Audubon, like many other businessmen along the American frontier, found himself bankrupt almost overnight. "Drawing birds had been something of an obsession, but only a hobby, until Audubon's businesses failed in the Panic of 1819," writes Audubon biographer Richard Rhodes. But perhaps sensing that he had little else to lose, Audubon turned his art from an avocation to a full-time job.

The transition proved difficult, but it eventually produced the most famous bird artist in the world. Audubon conceded the early hardships of his change from merchant to full-time artist, "yet through these dark days I was being led to the development of the talents I loved," he later wrote.
The Audubon society, which bears his name, relates its connection to John James:

Although Audubon had no role in the organization that bears his name, there is a connection: George Bird Grinnell, one of the founders of the early Audubon Society in the late 1800s, was tutored by Lucy Audubon, John James’s widow. Knowing Audubon’s reputation, Grinnell chose his name as the inspiration for the organization’s earliest work to protect birds and their habitats. Today, the name Audubon remains synonymous with birds and bird conservation the world over.

Audubon’s story is one of triumph over adversity; his accomplishment is destined for the ages. He encapsulates the spirit of young America, when the wilderness was limitless and beguiling. He was a person of legendary strength and endurance as well as a keen observer of birds and nature.

Would Audubon's genius would have flourished in an era with food stamps, ACORN and public housing? How much of the spirit of this America will this stimulus bill suppress?

If necessity is the mother of invention, then this so-called 'stimulus' is the father of lethargy. You know what else big government fathered? That's right, the poster children of the coming pro-free market movement.

No comments: