April 10, 2009 | Marcus Varner | 4 Comments A group of citizens on the Hawaiian island of Kauai took matters into their own hands. A main road into Polihale State Park had been destroyed by flooding, threatening business owners who relied on state park traffic for business. The State of Hawaii said it couldn’t afford to embark on the $4-million-dollar repair job. So, instead of waiting, business owners and residents did the job themselves for free. Even more impressive, they completed the job in a mere 8 days. I’ve said a lot on this blog about the positive effects a recession or a depression could have on self-reliance. I am a huge proponent of self-reliance. I believe in compassion and help for the down-trodden and under-privileged, but all with the goal of getting them standing on their own two feet. In fact, I value self-reliance more than comfort or wealth creation. In other words, I believe that knowing that you are able to provide the necessities of life without leaning on others generates far more satisfaction than having a new sports car or a blinged out watch. For that reason, stories like this one from Kauai get me excited. Strangely, it actually gets me excited about our economic “dire straits.” Why? Because it is a small indicator that we are being forced to return to our real American roots. There are other small indicators, too. The fact that Obama has to beg people to refinance on their mortgages. News stories about families returning to backyard gardens. Record drops in consumer credit card usage. Numerous other news stories show Americans rejecting the illusion of undisciplined, credit-fueled consumerism for a clear-eyed, work-centric philosophy of self-reliance. People say America is going down the toilet. I say we’re coming back to our senses.