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Poppet
For Mondo (and everyone): reasons for our decline.
Sat Sep 8, 2018 12:05pm
2601:1c2:1a80:d49:1993:2621:8214:1eb0

In a thread below, Mondo asked me to enumerate some of the reasons I see this nation and society as being in a possibly-irreversible decline. I thought that might make for an interesting discussion on its own, so I decided to make a new thread.

Let me start with what I see as one of the most important and the most generalized reasons we seem to be spiraling towards dissolution as a nation: our ever-increasing divisiveness. Yes, Americans have always been a fractious lot, but I think our divisions have, over the last three or so decades, taken on a different character. We used to see ourselves primarily as Americans, a big family that might often bicker about the best way forward, but which nevertheless considered itself to be one entity. In my estimation, that is no longer the case. Far too many of us see ourselves as members of our socio-political faction first and foremost. We might elect to define that faction as the only "REAL Americans," but that's self-serving twaddle. We've started to go "full tribal," with only those of our faction being "us," and anyone else being "them." That's pure poison to the long-term health of a society.

Now let me get into some greater detail. Most of these points are such that they could be attributed to one faction or another, but they are most certainly not restricted to a single faction. While I'm undeniably out on the "left" end of things, socio-politically, I can't help but recognize that my side has contributed significantly to the decline. In fact, let me start with one example of such: education.

Our public (and private) educational system is in sharp decline. We continue to sink lower in terms of international rankings of the capabilities of graduates. We produce large numbers of students who end up with shockingly sub-par communication skills, a profound ignorance of history, and probably most importantly, dismal critical thinking skills. Democratic governance (in any form, including a constitutional republic) cannot function properly with an ignorant electorate.

While our political right has contributed to this decline (sometimes crippling funding and compromising science curricula with theologically-driven modifications), the bulk of the problem has come from the left: politicization of history and even hard science curricula, discouraging individual excellence as "elitist," the "participation trophy: mentality, and fostering a certain sort of intellectual permissiveness that compromises devotion to fact. Short version: we're creating multiple generations of ignoramuses.

Another major factor in our decline is the utter wreck our elections/general political system has become. Our current system is such that "power is money." And individual Americans, even very wealthy ones, cannot hope to compete with corporations in terms of monetary resources. We are rapidly becoming a de facto corporatocracy, with the democratic power of the people being nothing but window dressing. This is somewhat different from the oligarchy/plutocracy some assert we've become; as indicated above, I don't think that even rich individuals are particularly important in this area in comparison to corporate entities. Yes, some of those rich folks are decision makers within those corporations, but corporations have a way of transcending individual control (even privately-held ones). Corporate interests are not always at odds with individual interests...but it happens enough for our shift towards near-compete corporate control of the political process to be a massive problem. With our current system of legalized bribery of politicians in place, this isn't fixable.

A closely related factor is our ongoing upward shift of capital. I know it will possibly come across as hypocrisy for someone who has benefited significantly from that shift to complain about it, but so be it. This is a formula for violent disaster. Working classes that continue to be squeezed downward in terms of inflation in cost-of-living versus wage stagnation eventually reach a tipping point. In a well-armed society made up to a significant degree of cantankerous individuals, that can not end well. Or it ends well only in the longer term, with a lot of bloodshed and destruction in between... But can massive wealth disparity be peacefully reversed in a system controlled by corporations and other beneficiaries of that shift? I have my doubts.

It might surprise some people to learn that this far-leftist has some real problems with many aspects of multiculturalism...but I do. Bluntly put, not all cultures are equal in terms of moral/ethical applied philosophy. They are not all equal in terms of preserving the rights of their members. They are not all equal in terms of their ability to foster a good quality of life. Failure to recognize that as a result of the desire to accord reasonable respect to other cultures (and to indulge in insipid virtue signalling) is willful blindness that harms society.

I could go on, but this post is already long enough and then some (careful what you wish for, Mondo...you probably don't want a return to my former verbosity!). I'm sure others can add other reasons, dispute some of mine, and so forth.

    • Robert Heinlen... in one of his novels... ~ Sprout, Mon Sep 10 8:39am
      pointed out one of the signs of a 'sick' society was people identifying with a sub-group more than the group. The most dangerous thing is the hyphen.
    • At my age... ~ Deplorable Otis, Sun Sep 9 10:07pm
      Iím enjoying life and all the things that make it a rewarding experience......beyond that......I donít care what happens. Iím certainly not going to spend time worrying about future generations!
      • I respect that outlook. ~ Poppet, Mon Sep 10 1:36am
        I share it, to at least some degree. This thread arose from a discussion in which I mentioned I've begun preparations to emigrate. I have no progeny, nor am I likely to. I just don't have a lot of... more
    • great insights ~ Trish, Sun Sep 9 7:37am
      Greed in this Nation kills so many things. Consider a basic political campaign
      • sorry hit post too soon ~ Trish, Sun Sep 9 7:50am
        The price tag for the 2016 election (presidential and congressional) was a horrific sum of 6.5 BILLION. How many people could that feed? How many houses for homeless vets could that build. Superpacks ... more
        • The malaise in education is a killer. ~ Poppet, Mon Sep 10 1:40am
          I just don't see how any for of government "by the people" can succeed if the people lack critical thinking skills. And yes, superpacs are a blight...but the existing mutant system that they're a... more
    • Are best days are still ahead. ~ Eleanor, Sat Sep 8 4:05pm
      As long as the Constitution lives and people cherish freedom, we Americans will survive, debate, and prosper. There is no shame in leaving if you think otherwise. Just my opinion, of course.
    • Instead of voting for people to represent our interests, I think we should have more voting on each individual issue. Only 27 US states and Washington D.C. allow some form of direct democracy.... more
    • Brava! My ĘĘ: Corporatocracy ~ Merlin, Sat Sep 8 12:49pm
      Corporatocracy is I think at the heart of the matter in terms of the decline in some ways as it relates to men and women of the USA and nations in general. Many corporations today are in essence... more
      • Therein lies the rub. ~ G🤑🤑🤑G, Sun Sep 9 9:28am
        And is much of the impetus towards globalism. Corporate-Internationalist driven. Their seat of power is New York City. The political doctrine is wrapped up in the Wolfowitz 'Doctrine.' An... more
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