Oscar Wilde once said “America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.” I think he was completely right in this, and that his statement rings even more true today. America was founded on the old Braveheart rallying cry “FREEEEEEEDOOOOOOMMMMM!!!” It was not founded on discipline, but for a desire for independence; independence without discipline. This ideal of freedom has de-evolved into a mind-set of “don’t you tell ME what to do, I can do whatever I WANT!” Under the guise of freedom, people have had the excuse to litter our oceans with plastic, jeopardize the rest of our environment, drain our natural resources at an alarming rate, create MORE unnecessary plastics, destroy ecosystems just so everybody can have their own backyard and automobile, and so-on and so forth.
In the Chapter Three essay “Super-Size It!” we see exactly what Oscar Wilde was talking about, our consumer culture. We are a nation that pursues and glorifies “Instant Gratification.” We are such a fickle people; we get fat, we don’t nourish our minds, we pursue what feels good at the moment. That is why our food industry feeds us so much beef and sugar, and “Oh, you’re too much of a fat-ass now to fit into a normal-size car? Here, drive the new Hummer, and there’s plenty of space to store your Hover-Round in and be able to drive your daughter to a Justin Bieber concert.” Even though we are only about 5% of the world’s population, we still produce over a quarter of the world’s waste and the rest of the world is paying for it. Our freedom and decadence without discipline is putting our planet in a far worse place than it was before our nation’s inception, and we are slowly ending up in a worse planet than what we started with. Freedom is a luxury, and it should not come before accountability, before what Oscar called civilization and what I call discipline. Remember, the desire for independence got us kicked out of the Garden of Eden in the first place.