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DEGRADATION OF AMERICAN SOCIETY
What is the state of our American civilization, are we in decline?
I was disturbed hearing the audio of the CNN town hall from this week. My impression from the audio was that of an habitually disruptive student (Trump), acting in his characteristic petulance, deriding the teacher (CNN woman host), while the other students of similar maturity level reveled in the discomfort and intimidation of the teacher. The idea of challenging the authority figure, and acting in a rebellious manner connected Trump to his audience.
I have had a pessimistic outlook on this country since the rise of Trumpism. I’m not alone in my feelings most certainly. I wrote my verse shown below, and found some quotes which might augment my writing. I soon found myself submerged in the question of American civilization today, and my fear (real or imagined) that we are in a spiral of degradation at this time. We have had the perfect storm of wealth disparity brought on by neoliberalism, the outward demonstration of racism once more shackled, the rise of undemocratic forces in the country and abroad, religious zealotry and the unleashing of barbarism (a word I decided as fitting) of a large segment of our nation’s people.
My search for quotes led me to the impression that perhaps my questioning is not unique to this time in America. This gives a sense of relief, if it is true, and regardless I must try to stay optimistic for my remaining time in this life. I mention an apocalypse in my verse, this is based upon my faith at this time, and it’s not traditional Christianity. It’s beyond the scope of this writing to go into, and many would connect it with talk of the “rapture,”
which it is not, although similar in similar ways. There is not necessarily a heaven awaiting me after such a calamity, and I wish not to hasten to such an event. That’s said about this.
Hopefully the reader will gain what I wished to express by this writing, and the other minds who contributed to it.
“To see one’s civilization in a true perspective is by no means easy.”
— Bertrand Russell ‘Western Civilization’, In Praise of Idleness (1935) 106-7
Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS (18 May 1872 – 2 February 1970) was a British mathematician, philosopher, logician, and public intellectual. He had a considerable influence on mathematics, logic, set theory, linguistics, artificial intelligence, cognitive science, computer science and various areas of analytic philosophy, especially philosophy of mathematics, philosophy of language, epistemology, and metaphysics
“If you would civilize a man, begin with his grandmother.”
— Victor Hugo.
Victor-Marie Hugo (26 February 1802 – 22 May 1885) was a French Romantic writer and politician. During a literary career that spanned more than sixty years, he wrote in a variety of genres and forms. He is considered to be one of the greatest French writers of all time.
“The ultimate tendency of civilization is toward barbarism.”
Augustus John Cuthbert Hare (13 March 1834 – 22 January 1903) was an English writer and raconteur [humorist].
“The worst of barbarism is that which arises, not from the absence of laws, but from their corruption.”
— W. S. Landor.
Walter Savage Landor (30 January 1775 – 17 September 1864) was an English writer, poet, and activist. His best known works were the prose Imaginary Conversations, and the poem "Rose Aylmer," but the critical acclaim he received from contemporary poets and reviewers was not matched by public popularity. As remarkable as his work was, it was equalled by his rumbustious character and lively temperament. Both his writing and political activism, such as his support for Lajos Kossuth and Giuseppe Garibaldi, were imbued with his passion for liberal and republican causes. He befriended and influenced the next generation of literary reformers such as Charles Dickens and Robert Browning.
Some final thoughts on civilization.
“Civilization is a kind of ocean that constitutes the wealth of a people, and in whose bosom all the elements of a people's life, all the forces of their existence, meet and unite; wherever civilization is recognized, we are tempted to forget the price it has cost.”
François Pierre Guillaume Guizot (4 October 1787 – 12 September 1874) was a French historian, orator, and statesman. Guizot was a dominant figure in French politics prior to the Revolution of 1848.
“The human race is a strange mixture of the divine and the diabolic, both equally real, making both good and evil inevitable. Complete despair is no more rational than blind optimism.”
— Bertrand Russell, ‘On Keeping a Wide Horizon’, Russell, nos. 33-34 (Spring-Summer 1979) 7
I’ve come to no grand understandings by my writing and researching adventure this day, but my anxiety may be relieved over circumstances that I have no real control over. I can only change myself, the MAGA indoctrinates are beyond my powers to change. I will write a little more about this subject soon however, as it remains somewhat paramount in my mind.
37th Posting, May 12, 2023.