Why Don 't We Complain

851 Words4 Pages
People love to complain. They love to share their opinions with the world--especially if they are negative. Most people, though, know that there is a time and a place to complain, that its appropriateness and efficacy depend on the circumstances. William F. Buckley Jr., in his essay Why Don 't We Complain?, discusses what he perceives as a failure of people to recognize things they can or should complain about, and tries to tie that deficit to the lack of participation in the American political process. He was not wrong about there being a lack of interest in politics. He fails, however, to establish a correlation, much less causality, between the avoidance of complaining and political apathy. His reasoning that our lack of complaining is solely based on anecdotes which seem to support his view. Counter-anecdotes would be very easy to find. These anecdotes also contain many assumptions that he doesn’t appear to have the basis for asserting. Buckley tries to connect his brief anecdote about being uncomfortable on a train to a much bigger political situation, flimsily. He writes of being on a crowded train car with many people, with a temperature of 85 degrees, even though it was freezing outside. He reports, "The conductor had nonchalantly walked down the gauntlet of eighty sweating American freemen" He doesn’t use the phrase “American freemen” accidentally. He may be trying to be slightly humorous, but he is also trying to connect the small, even trivial, to the grander
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