posts 1 - 15 of 38
freemanjud
Boston, US
Posts: 154

Reading to respond to: David Brooks, “America is Having a Moral Convulsion,” The Atlantic, October 5, 2020


David Brooks, a Canadian-born American who is widely regarded as a conservative-leaning moderate New York Times and The Atlantic correspondent, wrote what is a very timely and thought-provoking article in this month’s issue of The Atlantic. He describes a series of historical patterns in which periodic moral convulsions occur, in which people feel “disgusted by the state of society,” “trusts in institutions plummets,” “moral indignation is widespread,” and “contempt for established power is intense.” He then argues that in response, a “highly moralistic generation appears on the scene,” using “new modes of communication to seize control of the national conversation.”


That’s your generation, folks.


Is Brooks right?


Check out his argument in this very readable, very current article. He focuses on social trust. He ponders whether we are experiencing a period of national decline. He tells the story of Valentina Kosieva who has seen more in her 94 years of life than any of us have seen in ours.


This is not a happy article. But it does get you thinking.


So here are the questions I’d like you to address, in response to what you have read here. Be sure to make specific references to the reading.


  • Do you think that people are operating in this moment as they seem to be because they do not have trust in—that they instead distrust--society? Why or why not?
  • How do you respond to the question Brooks asks: are we living through a pivot or a decline?
  • When you hear “the United States is the greatest nation in the world” or as Brooks writes “for centuries, America was the greatest success on earth, a nation of steady progress, dazzling achievement and growing international power,”what do you think?
  • Do you think you have grown up, as Brooks argues, in the “age of disappointment”? Why or why not?
  • Yuval Levin, a political analyst, argues that in high-trust eras, people have more of a “first-person-plural instinct to ask ‘What can we do?’ In a lower-trust era…there is a greater instinct to say, ‘They’re failing us.’ We see ourselves as outsiders to the systems..” Do you agree or disagree? And why?
  • And what do COVID, the killing of George Floyd, have to do with all of this? And what does fear have to do with this?

Finally—and important, as you respond to this prompt, be certain to respond to at least one of your classmates by agreeing, disagreeing or amplifying something that they had to say.

SleezMoth
boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 5

We'll Be Fine

I believe that there is a lot of separation in American society, but i don't believe that this is the cause for the rise of radicals and reactionaries. I believe that the reactions of the more politically inclined are caused by either complete trust in, or distrust of the government as opposed to society. In the article they are very persistent on the american people or society being at fault for the continuation and intensity of the coronavirus, but human nature is not particular to america. What is particular however is our government, which did not do enough in this crisis regarding many social justice and health issues, causing people either to get upset or double down.


I think we are living through the start of a long long decline. There will be ups and downs in the coming decades, probably up until the next generation of highly moral people that attempt to make drastic changes, but eventually we will leave late stage capitalism when the people start demanding power be stripped from large corporations. Greedy for their money these corporations will team up with leaders with fascistic tendencies to shut up the people, causing America's fundamental political ideology to change to something closer to fascism. But for the modern issue i think that we are kinda at a neutral pivot right now.


When I hear people saying good things about America I don't have a second thought about it, because I don't know where else in the world I would prefer to live at any given time. Sure I could go to a socially and economically sound social democracy in Europe or Asia but what am I going to do in times of war, or pandemics like the coronavirus.

plaidplatypus
Boston, Ma, US
Posts: 6

There's no way to predict the future

I think that right now, people are very distrustful of society as a whole, but do trust others whose values align with their own. This can be seen to some extent on both sides of the political divide, and contributes to the stark partisanship we’re seeing today. The us vs. them mentality which is very present today, leads to a distrust of society as a whole, making it harder to come back together. I think that right now it’s hard to figure out if we’re living through a decline, or just a pivot as Brooks says has happened in previous generations. As of right now, I don’t think America has definitively gone down either of those paths, but we are about to. I think that the election, and the response to it, is going to determine whether we pivot or decline. Things are definitely changing right now, I’m just not sure of what direction they’re going in.

I definitely don’t agree with the statement “America is the greatest nation in the world” because it’s so obviously just a piece of propaganda to make people think things don’t have to change. I disagree less with Brooks’ statement, “for centuries, America was the greatest success on earth, a nation of steady progress, dazzling achievement and growing international power,” because even though I don’t necessarily agree that America is the greatest success on earth, I appreciate how he acknowledges the importance of change and becoming a better country.

I think that growing up now has definitely made me pessimistic, but I don’t know it if I’d call it an age of disappointment. I wouldn’t really call it disappointment because I feel like our generation has always known that the world sucks, do there’s nothing that’s really disappointing. That being said I think this contributes to our distrust, we aren’t disappointed, but we expect to be let down by those in power. I disagree with Yuval Levin when he says there’s less of we instinct do to distrust and more of “they’re failing us”, because while “they’re failing us” is common, so is “we need to stand up for what we believe”, and “we need to get them out of power”, which is fueled by the us vs. them mentality. Covid-19 and BLM protests have just exasperated this, and I think the sides people are on aren’t gonna change any more, so people will continue to become more united based on views, but the country as a whole will become more divided.

In response to SleezMoth, I agree that there's a lot of division that doesn’t have a definite end, but I disagree with your second point. People are already demanding power be taken away from corporations, and I think there will be a response soon. I think that if we were gonna decline into corporate facism, I think it would happen rapidly rather than a slow decline. I also think that there are countries that are more stable and have better infrastructure that I would rather live in.

dewdropdoll
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 8

Declining Trust

Right now in the year 2020, I feel like there are definitely a lot of people who do not have trust in society and the institutions within them. Especially with the events of COVID and the killing of George Floyd, as well as many other events like the recent presidential debate, it’s pretty hard for people in the U.S. to not distrust society. When you have a president who constantly doesn’t acknowledge how serious COVID is despite the statistics showing that over 200,000 people have died from it here, and is still downplaying it even though he, himself, has it, can you really blame people for not trusting our society? I feel like David Brooks summarizes the distrust people have regarding Trump in his article really well by writing that Trump “undermines the basic credibility of the government and arouses the suspicion that every word and act that surrounds him is a lie and a fraud”. This was best shown in the recent presidential debate between him and Biden, especially when discussing COVID-19. In addition to that, we still have a great amount of racial and economic inequality, which was really emphasized with the killing of George Floyd and the massive spread of protests across the country. Because of all of these recent events, I do think that we are in this “lower-trust era” where we see ourselves as “outsiders” to the systems. Especially for people who are constantly being discriminated against by these larger institutions within our society, they were never with everyone in the system to begin with, and probably always felt like an outsider. That’s why people are aiming to change that.

In response to Brooks questions about whether we are living through a pivot or decline in the U.S. right now, I agree with @SleezMoth that we are currently in a sort of neutral pivot right now and as @plaidplatypus said, it’s hard to tell whether we’re at a pivot or decline. How I would like to think of it, however, is that we are at a pivot, and good change will happen. I disagree with @SleezMoth that we are at the start of a long decline, as I would hope that if there will be any change, it would be for the better. Especially with all the protests going on, I believe that there will be a nice pivot in America and there will finally be equality.

As for the idea of “the United States is the greatest nation in the world”, I think that it is simply false. I come from an immigrant family, and I always hear about this idea of the “American Dream”, which is what I think Brooks is referring to when he says “America was the greatest success on earth”. With such a vast economic inequality, I really don’t think that America is the best nation in the world, and definitely not in terms of how our government has managed COVID. Sure there have been achievements, but I don’t think it is better than what other countries in the world have achieved.

Lastly, I would have to agree with @plaidplatypus that growing up now is somewhat pessimistic but I wouldn’t call it disappointing. In the article, Brooks mentions that the people who grow up in this age are not surrounded by networks they can trust, and are convinced that someone is trying to trick them aka conspiracy theories. While I, growing up in this “age of disappointment”, am a fan of conspiracy theories, I don’t think it’s particularly true that we are surrounded by networks we can’t trust. There are many things on social media that are informative and trustworthy, and not just filled with conspiracies. I don’t think the society we live in today is necessarily a “disappointment”, but it’s more of an age of realization. These things that are “disappointing” have been going on for a long time, but I guess it’s during this age that things have really been starting to take a turn. However, I can also see how one would argue that this is an age of disappointment with everything that has happened during this age that we grew up in.

gibby
Posts: 7

Problematic Abstracts

This article was, to say the least, quite interesting. I found it filled with problematic abstracts about today's society. To start off, I think that the way that the author talks about trust and distrust in a society is rather skewed. It is portrayed as a personal choice, as almost an opinion, to trust or distrust society. For the vast majority of Americans, distrusting society is not simply a choice made by individual values or observations. It's based on personal experience. So rather than saying that it's the population's opinion and view of society is changing, maybe we should actually blame society. Oftentimes throughout the article, the author almost sounds as though if everyone just magically decided to have collective trust in society and faith in humanity, our country's problems will go away. Personally, I think that this is a very troublesome view. For the past few decades (and arguably a lot longer), society has failed the vast majority of people, especially in the United States. Portraying societal failure as simple distrust and bad perception is very problematic, because it places blame on the people who society has failed, not on society itself. In a broken society such as the one we have now, simply "having trust" in the notion that everyone will do what is best for the common good, frankly won't do anything. In other words, Americans today aren't just distrusting society- they're recognizing the problems with it.

A large part of this distrust in society comes from the massive socioeconomic inequality that occurs in the United States. The form of capitalism that is present in the United States is one that heavily relies on human nature- and seeing as this system is failing, this is largely a failure of human nature. When presented with the idea of rising distrust, many people will cite capitalism and many of the evil industries and corporations as evidence- and they'd largely be correct. As the author said, we trusted the system once, and it failed us. The past thirty years in the US have largely shown that when left to their own devices, most humans cannot be trusted to do the right thing. We have learned that a society that relies on the individual morality of human beings cannot, and will not, be a functioning society. The author of this article makes it seem as though this distrust in the morality of human nature is baseless- which it isn't. My generation grew up at a time when the failure of human nature is the most apparent, and so this is why the author says that this "distrust" in the United States is on the rise.

Another point that this article made me think about is how truly different the society that we live in today is from society thirty, twenty, even ten years ago. The distinct nature of our new and technology-based society makes it nearly impossible to predict the outcomes of historical events, because for the most part, comparing past societies and our society today is futile. The world we live in today is simply so different that I predict the outcome of this period of turmoil that we call 2020 will also be unique. I truly don't think that this pattern of history that the author was speaking on will continue on in 2020; the world is simply too different.

Finally, although this distrust in society can make the world an unpleasant place sometimes, I think that it actually can be necessary in order for positive change. Simply accepting society for what it is and believing in individual morality is at best ignorant, and this period of distrust will, for the most part, lead to an improved society. In other words, there is a reason people distrust society at the moment- and until we can solve the problems that created this distrust, it will remain.

gibby
Posts: 7

Originally posted by SleezMoth on October 13, 2020 17:48

I believe that there is a lot of separation in American society, but i don't believe that this is the cause for the rise of radicals and reactionaries. I believe that the reactions of the more politically inclined are caused by either complete trust in, or distrust of the government as opposed to society. In the article they are very persistent on the american people or society being at fault for the continuation and intensity of the coronavirus, but human nature is not particular to america. What is particular however is our government, which did not do enough in this crisis regarding many social justice and health issues, causing people either to get upset or double down.


I think we are living through the start of a long long decline. There will be ups and downs in the coming decades, probably up until the next generation of highly moral people that attempt to make drastic changes, but eventually we will leave late stage capitalism when the people start demanding power be stripped from large corporations. Greedy for their money these corporations will team up with leaders with fascistic tendencies to shut up the people, causing America's fundamental political ideology to change to something closer to fascism. But for the modern issue i think that we are kinda at a neutral pivot right now.


When I hear people saying good things about America I don't have a second thought about it, because I don't know where else in the world I would prefer to live at any given time. Sure I could go to a socially and economically sound social democracy in Europe or Asia but what am I going to do in times of war, or pandemics like the coronavirus.

Do you think it will be a long time before we see real change in the country? What do you mean when you say "human nature is not particular to America"?

Junior
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 4

Convulsion is a word for it

It seems like historians' favorite thing to do is organize periods of history into themes and rules. Perhaps that's a human feature, I don't think it matters. I am one of those historians/humans, but I don't put serious credence in the idea. Perhaps there is a science to humans in the same way there's a science to the fact that salmon will always swim upstream to lay their eggs, but I doubt that's something humans will ever learn. We would need to put aside all bias to achieve such an empirical truth, and I believe that if a human were to put aside all bias they would cease to be human. Rather superhuman, or perhaps inhuman.
Regardless of whether this is happening as some sort of pattern - as if it would've been unbelievable or impossible if this hadn't happened 30 years ago as well- there is certainly a decline occurring. An economist could tell you that, a climate scientist could tell you that, and any person who didn't sacrifice their eyes, ears and brain to conservatism would know that.

The United States has never been exceptional. It's certainly done great things, but to call it the greatest nation on earth is a farce. The United States is less than 250 years old, and was unremarkable for 150 of those years. It finally did something incredible in WW2, and then brought the world into the Cold War, a conflict that has crippled dozens of countries to this day. The U.S. kept up with the U.S.S.R., a nation that had existed for less than 25 years by the end of WW2, and brought the world to a standstill. Using german born scientists, they created a weapon that could, and almost has on multiple occasions, bring the end of the world. This is saying nothing of the nation's lackluster civics and ethics. The nation committed genocide, pioneered eugenics, had one of the most oppressive monopolies in human history, and has a human rights violation list longer than some dictionaries. The only thing the United States is exceptional at is excessive use of force. That's the most historically common theme in their history, not freedom or liberty. The first black girl to go to an American public school is in her mid to late sixties. How's that for liberty?

The biggest disappointment of this age is the realization that all of our problems are innate to the American system and way of life. Maybe to the upper middle and upper classes this whole situation is a bit of a shock, but the only thing surprising about our current troubles is that people think they're new.

UnrecognizableUsername
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 6

Are we (in the United States) Having a Moral Convulsion?

I think people definitely do not trust society. Personally I don’t think life feels real right now. I most certainly don’t trust society, because this world is full of disgusting people, and isn’t really sunshines and rainbows. I think living life is a decline unless you’re a part of the more fortunate. After childhood you’re hit with college, then bills, then debt, granted there are good parts of life but the further you age the worse it gets in my opinion. Whenever I hear this I don’t really think it's true, granted we “have the best this and that” but we aren’t the best at everything. Such as the BLM movement that some americans aren’t even taking seriously, doesn’t make the nation feel “the best”. Yes I definitely have, college applications come out of nowhere and hit you so hard and to be honest causes big stress. I don’t know how to answer this question because not everyone is the same (i.e. race/wealth/etc..). Fear is the driving force of all of these events, it’s in our homes, jobs, and schools.
fignewton11
Boston, MA
Posts: 8

Distrust and Immorality: An American Moral Convulsion

I think people are operating in this moment as they seem to be because of how COVID 19 has exacerbated inequalities in America. Not only this, but the pandemic has allowed many people more time to deeply reflect on the injustice in America- how “institutions failed, financial systems collapsed, and families [are] fragile.” More and more people are waking up to the fact that institutions have failed people of color for far too long and our government revolves around capitalist greed. It is hard to trust society or a government that doesn’t respect or protect your life, and it can often feel like the only protected lives in this nation are wealthy, straight, white men. The age of social media has also led to a lot of distrust in this nation and across the globe. It is hard to trust anyone or anything when disinformation is constantly being spread, even by government officials that should be credible. I think the current distrust for society does affect how people are operating in this moment. This distrust has created an “every man for themselves” attitude in many people. It is hard to trust that anyone has your best interest in mind when there is so much division in this country, and so much has been exposed about our government leaders’ true intentions. So much has been exposed about individuals and institutions not doing what “they ought to.” The divisions in this country, and the recent unrest surrounding COVID 19 and the murders of countless Black individuals at the hands of law enforcement show that many people do not share “the same moral values” or “sense of what is the right thing to do in different situations.” Social trust has been ruined.

I believe it is too early to tell if we are going through a pivot or a decline. I agree with Brooks that this problem is so much deeper than Donald Trump, but getting him out of office is a critical place to start. In a country where “moral order is dissolving,” I do not think Trump will ever be one to restore this moral order. He is the antithesis of morality. In a nation with racism and prejudice ingrained in every system, I know Trump is not the only problem, but he is a large one. This election is a pivotal moment for the United States that I think will determine whether we are a nation in decline or not. Keeping Trump in office will only increase unrest and send us into a social, economic, political decline. I just can't picture him listening to any of the protests and making any meaningful change; frankly, I can’t picture him caring about anyone other than himself. Removing him from office by no means removes the institutional racism in this country, but it is a step to not perpetuate this racism.

When I hear people say “America is the greatest nation in the world,” I cannot agree with that sentiment. Maybe there was a point in history when this was true, but it certainly is not now. America may be the best nation for the privileged, but for too many Americans this country is not a fair place. There is injustice in every institution, and too many people are not properly cared for. We’re in a moment where our leadership is perpetuating injustice. A nation this full of inequality and inequity cannot be the best nation in the world. A country that exploits marginalized peoples cannot be the greatest country in the world. Greatness for some cannot be at the expense of equality and justice for others.

I first started becoming politically aware during the Obama administration, and I do not think I would classify this time as an age of disappointment. I think Obama’s presidency was a symbol of hope and progress for many. However, since Trump’s election in 2016, I have found myself disappointed in this nation. I do not know how much time constitutes an “age,” but I would say this nation under the Trump administration has been a disappointment. I agree with @plaidplatypus that we expect to be let down by those in power, but I don’t think this makes it any less disappointing when we are let down. I fully expect my government to disappoint me (at least the national government), but it’s still disheartening when it happens.

I agree with Levin to some extent that in low trust eras there is less of this “first person-plural instinct.” When there is distrust towards a government, it can be hard to group yourselves with them. Why have a “what can we do” attitude when you can’t trust others to support you or do right by you. Distrust can lead to disunity in the nation and certainly a lack of unity between the people and the government. However, I think @plaidplatypus has another good point that there is a “we” attitude among many of the groups that have the highest distrust. For example, now might be a time of low trust towards the government for Black Americans, but there has also been unprecedented support for the Black Lives Matter movement. These people have banded together to confront this government, and these people do have more of this “first person-plural instinct” among themselves.

COVID has played a huge role in distrust in America. People looked to their government to slow the spread of this virus and keep our nation safe, but found “almost every one of their institutions betrayed them.” Not only this, but COVID has also disproportionately impacted already “low-trust” marginalized communities. America’s handling of this virus not only showed the American people our leadership could not keep us safe, but it confirmed to many marginalized people that our government does not value their lives as they should. The same can said for the murder of George Floyd: it showed the government does not give equal value to Black lives. The inaction from our President, failing to condemn white supremacists, and countless other government officials even further damaged the trust that our government was there to protect its citizens. Fear of what a future could look like without action, fear of what our President may do rashly and without regard for other lives, and fear that our nation will remain silent when it witnesses injustice has exacerbated this distrust. As Brooks said, “no one, especially Black Americans, [is] safe”; how can one not be fearful when society does not keep them safe?

Chameleon23
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 6

Distrust in Society

At this point, I believe that there are many people who are distrustful of society, largely due to the inaction or insufficient action of elected officials during crises. There are numerous glaring issues with the government, and justice system that have left many people feeling frustrated and angry. The lack of immediate response to Covid 19 has allowed the pandemic to persist, causing more and more people to die each day. The continued slow response to the pandemic has caused many people to feel that the government is not on their side, particularly in areas that have been hard hit by the pandemic. Another event that resulted in a lot of distrust in society is the killing of George Floyd. People expected there to be severe punishments for the egregious act of the police officers, so when they were not punished accordingly, many lost their trust in society. As Brooks mentioned in the article, when Trump was diagnosed with Covid, many people did not believe it. If so many people are unable to trust the president, it shows that there is great distrust in society as a whole. For someone such as Trump to be elected, a large portion of the population has to support him and what he believes, causing distrust among the political parties.

Based on where the country is at this moment, it is hard to say whether we are at a pivot or a decline. To many, things have been getting worse as the year progresses, but there have also been immense efforts by activists and protestors to cause change. I believe that the answer to this question will become more clear after the upcoming presidential election. If Trump is reelected, it is likely that things will continue to get worse, and decline. However, if Biden is elected, it is an opportunity for change, and to turn the direction that this country has been going over the past four years.

I think that by describing America as the greatest success story over the past several hundred years, Brooks is skimming over the much darker side of America’s development to what it is now. Social distrust has existed since the creation of this country, with slaves and poor people having no hope to better their lives. There have always been marginalized groups who have been excluded from society in many ways, so I do not agree with Brooks when he says that social distrust could be what stops the success of America in the twenty-first century.

I do not agree with Brooks when he describes this as the “age of disappointment,” because there is also a lot of hope that things will improve. Whenever there is something that makes people disappointed in society, such as the killing of George Floyd, there are protests and activists who give people hope that change is possible. I agree with @Plaidplatpus that people in this generation expect to be disappointed by people with power, but I think that can be changed by replacing people in power with more reliable people through voting and expressing opinions.

I agree with Yuval Levin because if people have trust in society, they want to be more active in it, and do what they can to help others. However, if there is general distrust with society, people are more likely to want to distance themselves from it, and function separately from the society that they believe has let them down. I think that Covid has led to a lot of distrust in society because there are people who risk their lives every day just so that the president can tell them that the pandemic is not a major issue, and that there is nothing to worry about. The killing of George Floyd has had a similar effect because despite countless protests, there has been very little change to have justice for affected people, and restore trust in society.

SwedishFish
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 12

Love Not Hate

Yes. I say this because when a society gets to a point of uncertainty and unrest that natural reaction is to act on it. We have seen this on various accounts just through 2020 alone. In January through March, many Americans did not know who to believe in terms of how dangerous COVID-19 was or how to protect ourselves from it. Many read conflicting articles, data, and media that led to a lot of misinformation. In the beginning of the pandemic, COVID-19 was purposefully downplayed by President Trump and this caused a lot of controversy and was used against him(I believe it was used against him rightfully so). So, when a President lies to a nation they lead, this of course leads to citizens losing their trust in them and the system itself that led them to be there. In May/June during the height of the Black Lives Matter Movement and the killing of George Floyd, many took action and protested against the police and government itself. Many of these protesters lost trust in these systems and protested for change and equality. With a country that has centuries of systemic racism against black people and many other POC, the heartbreaking killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor were the tip of the iceberg. Their deaths were prime examples of the flaws in the justice system and brought many people’s attention across the entire globe. These protests were a reaction to these deaths and distrust in the justice system and a country as a whole for failing these innocent people who deserved so much better. With the 2020 election on the rise and controversial candidates not only running for Presidency but the Supreme Court as well, also caused the people operating in this moment to not have trust in our society. First of all, how did we elect a President with 26 rape allegations, countless accounts of sexual miscondct, who is known to be racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic, transphobic,islamaphobic, etc? I think that Donald Trump’s Presidency was the tipping point in which many American citizens lost faith in the country we live in today.

In the article Collapsing Levels of Trust are Destroying America by David Brooks quote, “When people in a church lose faith or trust in God, the church collapses. When people in a society lose faith or trust in their institutions and in each other, the nation collapses.” Now, I don’t think that our nation is collapsing drastically, however I do believe that there has been unrest that has led to a weaker sense of security and unity within our country. And on the other hand, we see these protests and discussions that bring more awareness to the causes at hand and have brought a sense of community, perspective and unity among many citizens. I think that one day we are going to be able to pivot what has been happening for centuries when we have a leader who is able to spread love and not hate. And that starts with a new respectable leader. As corny as it sounds, it’s true. We need more unity, we need more strength, we need more love, and we need more peace, to ensure what we promised to uphold as American citizens so that every person who steps foot and lives in this country feels welcomed.

To consider the United States the greatest nation in the world would be foolish of me. To make this claim would be to conceal our faults as a nation. I think it is more patriotic to take accountability than to ignore it and claim that we are the best. Yes, it is a privilege to live in America, and I am extremely grateful for the countless amount of opportunities I have been given. But at the same time, no progression is made when you don’t continue the fight. When I hear people say “well racism was so much worse in the 60’s, it’s not that bad now” yes of course it was, doesn't mean it went away. You still must fight against it and the inequalities POC face daily. With that being said, I think it’s important to recognize both our faults and privilege and how we can create a change for the betterment of our country.

I don’t think we live in an age of disappointment because right now, I could not be more proud of my generation and the advocacy we have put upfront. I feel as if Gen Z is the generation that truly changes our country’s systemic problems or at least create solutions for them. Now, some might see us living in the age of disappointment but I say we live in the age of optimism.

I agree with the fact that we have been failed by centuries of systemic problems while still acknowledging that we as citizens must do something. First step in fighting a problem is recognizing the problem, then taking action. I think that is exactly what we are doing and will make strides in our government and systems we coexist with today.

graphicmango
Posts: 11

Pandemic Inflammation?

I do believe that we are operating the way we do in this moment because we have higher levels of distrust in society and the government. Trump’s administration has disappointed both its supporters and its opposition. The unjust murder of George Floyd and the Covid-19 prominenetly put both the government and many Americans’ racism in full view, increasing Black and Asian Americans’ distrust of American society. Evidently, we are going through a decline.


In the Atlantic article, Brooks mentions that the United States was the “greatest success on earth, a nation of steady progress, dazzling achievement, and growing international power”, which is an accurate assessment. In the face of the pandemic, however, it’s become apparent that the individualist spirit that drove our prior successes post-war and post-recession have failed us. Collectivist nations’ citizens, such as in China and South Korea, have proven vastly more successful than us in reducing rates of infection. Unsurprisingly, they are both nations with high ratings of trust in each other and the government.


I do feel that we have grown up in an age of disappointment. Social media and the internet have made communication nearly instantaneous and information, true or false, are more accessible than ever before. Gen Z has the ability to know more than any generation before it and inevitably, being overwhelmed with major international and national occurrences, it’d be hard pressed to find someone who is highly satisfied with their life.


As for Levin’s argument that “…people have more of a ‘first-person-plural’ instinct to ask, ‘What can we do?’ In a lower-trust era like today, Levin told me, ‘there is a greater instinct to say, ‘They’re failing us.’ We see ourselves as outsiders to the systems—an outsider mentality that’s hard to get out of.’” I agree with this assessment; as I mentioned in the first paragraph, Americans’ distrust in the government has increased across the board, not only in minorities that have been targeted more intensely during the pandemic, but also in the current administration’s supporters. This has lead us to protests and calls to vote across the nation.

SwedishFish
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 12

Originally posted by SleezMoth on October 13, 2020 17:48


I think we are living through the start of a long long decline. There will be ups and downs in the coming decades, probably up until the next generation of highly moral people that attempt to make drastic changes, but eventually we will leave late stage capitalism when the people start demanding power be stripped from large corporations.

I find it interesting that in your title you said "We'll be Fine" but made this claim that we are at the start of a long long decline.

SwedishFish
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 12

Originally posted by graphicmango on October 14, 2020 21:24



I do feel that we have grown up in an age of disappointment. Social media and the internet have made communication nearly instantaneous and information, true or false, are more accessible than ever before. Gen Z has the ability to know more than any generation before it and inevitably, being overwhelmed with major international and national occurrences, it’d be hard pressed to find someone who is highly satisfied with their life.


I agree! Social media has definitely brought a lot more attention and information to issues across the globe that I never knew were happening for so long. I have heard many mixed stances on social media, as some may say it has done more harm than good...Where do you stand on this?

Heyo8
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 7

Its bad:(

I do think people are operating in this moment as if they don’t have trust in society. People in the United States are only looking out for themselves, or at least people like that are becoming more common. We see so many examples of this in just this year. Toilet paper being a less grave topic. People took toilet paper because everyone else was doing it even though they didn’t need it. They didn't trust others to be considerate.Then poof, toilet paper for a time became Jordans on a Saturday. Designated times for seniors and first responders to come in first had to be made. That is a less extreme example. There are definitely more selfish, extreme examples out there.


I believe we are living through decline. People have high hopes for Post-Covid and Post-Trump but it will take alot to recover after this year’s events basically exposed all of America’s flaws and widened divides. In a few decades, I think we will see change, when like minded Millennials and Gen Z take power and change the world for the better. But for now, the United States, though has a long list of accomplishments, still has cracks, shadowy pasts, and other things to address before it truly becomes the “greatest nation in the world”.


I agree with Brooks when he says I grew up in the “age of disappointments”. We are facing issues we thought our older generations have solved and yet they still bleed into our everyday lives. We don’t trust the government that said it’d do its best to protect us. We are paying for degrees that are slowly going to mean nothing. There’s more things wrong with the system that need fixing.


I agree with @gibby when they said, “A large part of this distrust in society comes from the massive socioeconomic inequality that occurs in the United States. The form of capitalism that is present in the United States is one that heavily relies on human nature” and I believe that the human nature it relies on is greed and self-preservation.

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