posts 31 - 36 of 36
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 12

America's Moral Convulsion

This is an unprecedented time in human history. As we are living history is constantly being made. Scientists are finding new planets, computers are getting faster and faster which each passing year. We have all these great achievements, but they’re all set to the backdrop of a distrusting society. Of course people are losing trust in society. When you watch the video of George Floyd’s death, one of very many, and you see him call out for his dead mother, while a police officer is kneeling on his neck, you should be disgusted. A man who is supposed to be keeping society in check, a police officer, is suffocating a man before the eyes of the American people. This video is one of the reasons people are so depressed and untrustworthy. If you can’t even trust an officer of the law to keep people safe, then who can you trust. This why I believe we are living through the decline of American society. America is being exposed for what it has always been, a hateful society. The Proud Boys, the KKK, organizations like these never went away during America’s many pivots and financial booms. They were never stopped, or if they were they just reunited again. America has had racial issues ever since its founding, but now there are social, economic, and racial issues occuring all at the same time. These things are the perfect combination for a country to tear itself apart from within, civil war.

When I hear America is the greatest nation in the world, I take a moment to think of what average life for an American is, and compare it to average life around the world. America, is a good country, but its far from the greatest nation in the world. Compared to rest of the world is country is good, relatively speaking. But we still have people who have to sleep outside in the cold, people who go hungry, and people who are killed because of the color of their skin and who they love. America can’t seem to solve these problems. America cannot seem to get over the fact that all people are equal, because if America did realize this, we would never be in this situation in the first place.

I have grown up in the age of disappointment. I don’t think there’s an argument to refute this. I grew up in the aftermath of 9/11 and the economic recession. I watch old movies where the characters are in airports smoking and I immediately cringe, because every fiber of my being says: “This isn’t right”. I never got to live through the social and economic freedoms before these events. All I received were the terrible ripple effects. There have been studying saying we are less likely to believe in the American dream, and in God. This is because we have received a system of organized chaos upon birth, but that chaos has unraveled in 2020, and now we are truly left with nothing but negative ripple effects.

I totally agree with Yuval Levin, and his views on the mentalities viewing the succeeding and failing systems. When the system does its job, when it works to fuel a functioning society, people of course want this system to keep succeeding. On the other hand if the system fails people start to think about what went wrong. People start the resent the system designed to keep them safe. The natural state of human beings is to shift the blame on to others. The problem is in the system, but how does the system get fixed? The system can only be fixed by people. There is nothing else capable of fixing the system. People cannot be blamed for blunders if the system is broken. A bad system hurts everyone, and a good system helps everyone. But only good people can fix a bad system, and only bad people can break a good system.

Covid, George Floyd, and fear are nothing but wood to the fire of transition. Right now they are kindling a fire of American slipping into downfall. People have been failed by the core systems keeping society running. A steady job, a trustworthy police department, and food to eat, have been gradually disappearing throughout the last couple of months. Key pillars of society are rotting, and fear is only accelerating the process. The article mentioned in June gun sales were up 145%. This is not a sign of progress. Progress is moving toward a society were guns aren’t a priority. Fear is taking over, its rotting the system, its changing the ways people are thinking about their future. America still has a chance of moving in the right direction, a direction where the system works, but current events are very telling of what is most likely to happen: a decline.

Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 12

Originally posted by kurapika on October 14, 2020 21:45

I really enjoyed reading this article, especially the points Brooks made about the lack of trust in this country. I do think that people are acting with less trust in things around them. Most people around us are heavily skeptical about the institutions, systems, and policies in place --- I know I am. I agree with @yvesIKB in that I also think that this general feeling of distrust is caused in part by the fact that we feel that the institutions in place at this time do not support us or benefit us. I also feel like the divisive climate in our nation is to blame for this as well. I think we have all felt our society get more divided, especially in the political arena. Why would we place our trust in those whose beliefs could potentially harm our own wellbeing? I do think this skepticism is well placed--- like Brooks said in his article we have every right to be mistrustful, especially with the events (government’s handling of COVID, Black Lives Matter protests, police brutality) that have taken place during this pandemic. Instead of using this event as a way to support and unite everyone, I feel like this pandemic has divided us further.

I really do hope that this point in our history will turn out into a pivotal point, but I fear that that may be too naive or idealistic. Like Brooks said, “the stench of national decline is in the air...America will only remain whole if we can build a new order in its place.” Honestly, I feel like our nation is either too broken or too stuck in its ways (or both) to put in the effort to create such a thing. I guess what I am trying to say is that I don’t know how this period of time will turn out, a pivot or decline.

When I saw the sentence “the United States is the greatest nation in the world” I scoffed in disbelief. I certainly don’t think our country is the greatest. While we do have a good economy and a history of political stability (compared to other countries in the world), we as a nation have a long list of shortcomings that we refuse to acknowledge or try to correct. I do however recognize the privilege that comes with being raised in this country. I just don’t like the idea of glorifying a country and its institutions. I think it blinds people from facing the flaws that are inevitably there.

I do think that my generation has grown up in the Age of Disappointment. Generation Z was raised during a time of unrest. In our early days we and our families felt the aftermath of 9/11 and the 2008 recession. I think that is why we almost expect disappointment. Throughout our childhood and even now we have seen institutions crumble or see how they just don’t support the people they are meant to support. This is why many are heavily skeptical towards authority, or feel ostracised from society/community. The feeling of being “outside” of a system is a common one these days, and one I have. But, like @ernest said, we are part of the system, of society, so it is our obligation to take action when we feel we need to make a change.

Kurapika, I agree with you about growing up in the age of disappointment and really found it interesting where you stated "we almost expect disappointment". I also wrote about how we grew up in a post 9/11 and 2008 recession world, but I hadn't thought about the effects like you did. I think a lot of people share your thinking of "expecting disappointment". There's been a lot of good during our lives, it hasn't been all bad, we didn't grow up in something dystopian like Nazi Germany, but sadly you're right about seeing systems collapse before out very eyes. Congress is constantly arguing and some cities are still in turmoil. It won't be long before another aspect of our lives is taken away, and I have to agree with you on "expecting disappointment".

Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 11

US Moral Convulsion

Generation Z is definitely unique as we mostly share the same beliefs. We are always referred to as the more progressive generation compared to the previous ones. We are more aware of topics such as climate change, school shootings, discrimination, and immigration because of the information that is available to us. This allows us to be very educated on topics and we can easily (I hope so at least) point out the flaws in a country. I believe that many people in the US are starting to have distrust in our country and the narrative of “the United States is the greatest nation in the world” starts to break down.

I found @speedyninja’s response on the pivot vs. collapse argument very interesting and I have to agree. On the one hand, I would like to say that we are on a collapse. From my experiences, I can see so many things that our society has failed to do. There are kids being locked in ICE detention camps in horrible living conditions. The ALM movement seems to be growing in response to the BLM movement which shows that these values are not shared by a few people. Everyday we learn more and more news about our earth’s last day due to the affects of climate change. However, we have gone through a lot in the past such as the Civil War, and many of the other reform movements.

When Brooks writes “for centuries, America was the greatest success on earth, a nation of steady progress, dazzling achievement and growing international power,” I somewhat get angry. Like I listed before, we have so many problems with our country and the current President seems to be ignoring them. The peoples’ voices are not being heard and it becomes hopeless for us. When I was younger, I definitely saw America as the best country but now I am not entirely sure. I was put in a different perspective yesterday when I saw videos of Gen Z glorifying the “aesthetic of post-Soviet countries” because it looks nice. I was shocked. Many people in these countries face the terrible outcomes of communism and they definitely see America as the greatest nation compared to their own country. I like how Brooks pointed out, we re in a country that has a ton of success, but that is no excuse to ignore all of the problems of this nation and we are no where near of being the best.

I wholeheartedly agree with @bebe that we live in a time of unrest. With over 210k people dying the COVID-19 along with the disappointment outcomes such as the case of Breonna Taylor, the people of America are starting to lose hope. All we can do it uplift each other.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 8

Are we having a moral convulsion?

At this current moment, I’m in a position where I believe many Americans distrust not just the government, but their own society. This is a period where we are being fed lies by our own government, the human rights of certain people are being violated, and where the benefit of the people is not the goal, but rather the benefit of oneself. Over the years our trust in the country and government has been beaten down countless times, and if the country does not change its ways, as Brooks mentioned, I believe that the country could very well collapse. That is not to say that there has not been change, as there have been movements to spread awareness and fight for the rights of others.

I agree with a point that @thesnackthatsmilesbac made, where we can hope that this is a pivotal moment, but if we truly want this to be a pivotal moment, true change needs to happen. I do believe that we are slowly getting there, as society is becoming more aware of the systemic, racial, and economic problems that lie in our country. In retaliation to these problems, the more recent generations have been coming together in movements such as Black Lives Matter. As much as we could classify this as a pivotal moment for the country, if Trump gets re-elected as the president, I believe that this would most likely be a time of decline. The existing movements would not change, but it is foreseeable that they may not be able to move much further than where they are now. Like Brooks said, “America will only remain whole if we can build a new order in its place,” and Trump will not make that happen.

I certainly grew up believing that America was the greatest country in the world, and for many years I felt proud to be an American citizen. As I grew more aware of the situation of our country, the idea that America was the greatest country became a joke to me. America has become a country that others laugh at, as well as pity. In addition to that, many American citizens are unable to trust their own government, some even wish to leave to country due to the dire situations. The justice system and police force are unreliable, and do not support the masses. Although this is a time where we all need to come together, the economic gap between the classes is only ripping people further apart.

Brooks argues that we are living in an “Age of Disappointment,” but I disagree with his statement. Despite the fact that we have many who are strong Trump supporters, white supremacists, and overall those who loathe change, now more than ever society is opening its eyes to the faults of the country. Society is coming together to fight for the rights of others, call for change regarding environmental issues, and demanding for a police force that is unbiased towards all races. With all this change, America has definitely experienced its disappointments, but I believe that the people are going to make this an age of change and awareness.

I agree with Levin’s statements, mainly the fact that we see ourselves as outsiders to the systems, and therefore have come to loathe them. I also agree with his point that people are more much more willing to change and help others in a high trust society. Those that trust each other find it easier to come together to fix their issues. They do not constantly need to be on edge wondering if they are being lied to, or if the government is only acting on their benefit and not the benefit of the people.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 12

Time of Change

I think that the events of the last few months have some part with not having trust in society. Events such as the BLM movement were reignited because victims such as George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery weren’t given justice and were murdered by police and racist alike. Police, the foundation built on serving and protecting people clearly did not follow this principle. Instances such as the ones mentioned before, leave much of society questioning their beliefs. Along with this, COVID-19 has had a large part in the times we’re living now. Trump and his dismissive behavior on a disease which he knew was deadly, caused millions of citizens to be infected and 200,000 deaths. This is also a significant reason why I believe that some of the events of the past few months have been caused by a distrust in society.

But I don’t believe that distrust in society is the only reason why the US is the way it is now. The few examples I gave in the last paragraph only exposed what was hidden deep in the folds of American society. The inherent racism and imbalance in most of American life is obvious when taken a deep look. Along with this the unqualified people in positions of power, aside from the president, also create this deep rooted distrust that has always been there. Recent events have just reinforced the idea and opened other’s minds to the concept.

I believe that this is a time of pivot. By addressing the issues which have been pushed back for the last 200 years, it only creates a better society to live in. Conservatives generally don’t like the idea of change and equality, but this change only makes life fair. Many conservatives believe that everybody has the same amount of opportunities and that life is a fair game, but by addressing and working towards change towards those issues, that’s when life can be a fair game.

America is viewed as the greatest country, but it is only viewed this way because of what is covered up and not discussed. Some of the worse things about America is the inequality and prejudice that fills the daily lives of citizens. America is far from the greatest country when there are still prevalent issues such as racism, prison overpopulation, income disparity, poverty, education, and healthcare, just to name a few.

I don’t believe that I’ve grown up in the age of disappointment. Growing up in a time of societal and cultural change has taught a lot of people in my generation about life and the different experiences of it. Because of this many people in my generation will fight for what they believe in and for others when they can’t. Brooks believes it’s disappointing we cannot believe the things we are told, but I believe that is a positive. By questioning what we are told, we are able to learn more and have our own ideas.

Roslindale, MA, US
Posts: 12

2020 has been a punch in the face

I think that people are currently operating as they are because they distrust wider society. Society teaches us that the only people who are moral are people who have our exact same belief system. This means that we distrust anyone with a different background or worldview, leading to a much larger group of people that we do not trust. On the other hand, those that we do trust we trust deeply, often baring our souls to near-strangers on the internet because we trust that they will understand, empathize, and agree. This is where the “sociometers” mentioned by Brooks come into play - if we find a community online of people similar to us, our beliefs are constantly being affirmed, making us believe in them more deeply. If we find ourselves in a more hostile corner of the internet, we will hate the dislike we receive and automatically discount any and all opinions from people with views different from our own.

I think that we are living through a decline that we are desperately trying to turn into a pivot. Sisyphus’ rock is rolling down the hill and he (or we) is (or are) desperately trying to catch it before it gets to the very bottom. Things seem to be getting worse and worse even as we are trying to make them better. Awareness - of BLM, of the president’s inability to handle COVID, etc. - is spreading, but very little actual change is being enacted. I think we will not know whether this is truly a pivot or a decline until after the results of the presidential election.

I do not think the U.S. is the greatest country in the world. Maybe this nation used to be thriving for most, but there was still incredible sexism, homophobia, racism, and more. I think there has never been a true “greatest nation in the world” - every nation has strengths and weaknesses, and most countries run so differently and have such different criteria for what their citizens want that “greatest” is impossible to measure.

We have certainly grown up in the age of disappointment. I was born into what was the biggest recession since the Depression and am now living in what is now the biggest recession since the Great Depression. Yes, I saw ay marriag become legalized, but I also saw countless other forms of homophobia on the rise. Easy access to information has meant that we are constantly in-the-know about all the ways our governments are failing us. Even living in the liberal bubble of Boston, I am surrounded by the disappointment of my peers not being as left as I would like.

I agree that in a low-trust era we see ourselves as outsiders of the system, but my reasoning is somewhat circular. A low-trust era means that we do not trust the larger community, including the government. Of course we feel that we are outsiders of a system that we do not trust. Even those who are most definitely on the inside - say, the president - feel they are outsiders, always throwing blame at others or saying that they are the way the system will be fixed, even if they are the ones who broke it in the first place. Lower-trust communities lead to more outsider thinking leads to lower-trust communities lead to more outsider thinking.

I think @lurando was completely correct when they said that the killing of Geroge Floyd was a strong reminder to the American people that we must always continue the fight for equality, and that having little else to do due to COVID strengthened the force of the movement. But I think that, for some, the movement has remained. For Black people the need for the BLM movement is always prominent, of course, but for allies it is now clear that we cannot trust any of the systems in place because we have learned that they were built to keep the top at the top and the bottom at the bottom.

posts 31 - 36 of 36