Medieval castles, America and the story of fire ants

Medieval castles, America and the story of fire ants

Note: The following is an email exchange between economist and college professor Mark Skousen and myself. Some minor edits have been made.

December 13, 2014


Medieval castles, America and the story of fire ants


Ted Burnett


One of the essays that I hope to write is a comparison of medieval castles in Europe, how so many of them are now abandoned and the state of America. These structures once protected their owners (kings, queens or lords), maybe their subjects and all their worldly possessions. With their thick stone walls and their mountain-top views, where are these owners, their subjects and all that highly-valued stuff, today? It’s all gone. America looks a lot like one of those castles with tall walls on its southern border while constantly adding-on.

We’re always raising the standards whether it’s building codes after a fire or storm, adding more technology to our cars, requiring more insurance or developing a new test, a medical device or a $1 million piece of equipment for healthcare. It’s all driving up the cost to live even our suburban homes look like castles while holding few inhabitants. We’re pricing the poor and the middle class out of the economy and only the rich can participate. One day this castle of ours will be empty just like those in Europe.

The port of Mobile, AL is believed to be the entry point for fire ants entering the United States from South America, in the 1930’s. Ever seen one or one of their mounds? Ever felt their sting? Having played outside in the summers, it’s hard not to run across one of their raised orange-colored mounds in your front or backyard. Every boy worth his salt has kicked his share of beds or quickly stepped in and out of one to see their furious reaction. The ants could’ve built resistant homes if they so choose, but instead they simply rebuild after every rainstorm or after the kick of a seven-year-old. Their castles aren’t designed to be permanent. Today, their range extends from west Texas to North Carolina and all of Puerto Rico. So, do we want to build and defend one castle or simply multiple?

Since 9/11, the United States has been protecting all of its “ant beds” – buildings and our stuff over the health and well-being of its citizens. This is a failed policy, one of the ego, which doesn’t want to see another building fall down as they stand helpless to do anything about it. They acted like Freedom Tower couldn’t be rebuilt, but it was. Maybe it shouldn’t have been. What are precious are human beings, our citizens, not buildings, not systems. If we truly believe this maybe we wouldn’t start wars with innocent countries.

Our response to 9/11 has been out of chaos and dysfunction, pure insanity in Washington and America. The truth has been lost in all of this and so everyone suffers, but the rich. Will there be enough rich people to go around to save America when the rest of us are gone? America’s castle and the personal empires of the Buffetts, the Gates, the Kochs, the Zuckerbergs are all temporary, yet we’re treating them like their permanent.

America is on a crash course with history and very few of us can see it.

Ted Burnett
Daphne, AL

Copyright © 2014. All Rights Reserved. “Medieval castles, America and the story of fire ants” by Ted Burnett

My other essays and videos can be viewed at my website – I can be contacted via email at –

I'm an American thought leader and pioneer on the subjects of human, organizational and societal development and health. I write about the role that integrity, dignity, sanity play, as well as, on the topics of spirituality, faith, freedom, happiness, problem solving and risk taking. I produce and deliver original, world-class commentaries on business, political, social and spiritual matters to a global audience of world leaders, chief executives and key decision makers, top faculty and notables in the fields of academia, banking, business, foundations, government (including heads of state, lawmakers and governors), healthcare, media, non-profits and policy institutes. Website: