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A lotta somebodies dropped the ball...

Xelor

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Profit should never come at the cost of human blood. Any government that places profit before people is pure evil.”
-- Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem


People like my folks, their parents, as well as myself and my siblings, as Ross Douthat writes in "Why We Miss WASPs," were "hardened in the cold of New England boarding schools, acculturated by the late-night rituals of Skull and Bones, [and] sent off to the world with a sense of noblesse oblige." Such folks formed America's Establishment; however, while circumstances and trappings distinguished the Establishment from everyone else, common to all were the virtues the Establishment embraced, those qualities thus enshrined as moral mores that formed the core of American culture.

Last week's abundance of reflections on George H.W. Bush's life revealed poignantly that sometime between 1960 and 1990, a hell of a lot of people "dropped the ball" as go cultural and personal ethics. Many of these folks shall, like most old guarders, to most remain nameless even as we daily encounter them. Others, most notably our current president, will go down as the architects and heirs of the cultural catastrophe coursing our cathedrals, colleges and countrysides.

Mind, there's plenty to revile regarding the rule of the WASPs. The Establishment presided over an America that, existentially even if not prepensely, denied to nearly all but white Anglo-Saxon Protestant males the promise, pursuit and fruition of the American Dream. That's nothing of which to be proud; however, the old American WASP aristocracy, the Establishment, for all its faults gets one thing right: it has an abundance of, thus shared liberally, modesty, humility, restraint and, most importantly, public esprit de corps. As public leaders and policy makers, late 20th century Establishment members, George H.W. Bush most notably but also being the only one to obtain the presidency, exhibited unassailable will and capacity to do the right thing, to act virtuously, when it'd have been far easier to cave to public opinion. Of course, one didn't need to be a WASP to behave so; that only took the will to do so.

So where have the WASPs gone? Well, the Establishment hasn't gone anywhere. Its members remain where they always have, albeit with quieter voices and less public faces. That suits the Establishment fine for its members' place in society faces no more jeopardy now than it ever has. The Old Guard isn't gone, I dare say it's weary, or perhaps apathetic. America has been right to disabuse itself of the discrimination and other downsides of old Establishment thinking, but in doing so, it's discarded both the "baby" and the "bathwater." The question, then, is who be worse for it? I assure you, it won't be the Establishment.


The Age of Chivalry is gone. That of sophisters, economists, and calculators has succeeded; and the glory of Europe is extinguished for ever. Never, never more, shall we behold the generous loyalty to rank and sex, that proud submission, that dignified obedience, that subordination of the heart, which kept alive, even in servitude itself, the spirit of an exalted freedom. The unbought grace of life, the cheap defence of nations, the nurse of manly sentiment and heroic enterprize is gone!
-- Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France
 
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Hawkeye10

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A lot of people stopped thinking long term and stopped caring about their responsibilities and started being obsessed with "What is in it for me?" and it was not just power and money they wanted, but also fun and ego strokes.....

But Why?

Why did America decline like this?
 

The Mark

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A lot of people stopped thinking long term and stopped caring about their responsibilities and started being obsessed with "What is in it for me?" and it was not just power and money they wanted, but also fun and ego strokes.....

But Why?

Why did America decline like this?
Power corrupts.

If not guarded against, and if those corrupted are not removed from power.
 

Hawkeye10

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Power corrupts.

If not guarded against, and if those corrupted are not removed from power.

I dont think that is it......Jordan Peterson says that the root problem driving the decline of the West is that we stopped caring about truth to include that we lie to ourselves but why did we do that? I think that it was the combo of living through a bad Depression, WW2 and all that evil, watching the evil of the Utopia builders (Hitler, Stalin, Mao et al), living long term under the threat of nuclear annihilation, the counter culture, and then we heaped on for good measure economic dislocation and removing the promise of lifetime employment.....it was all too much to deal with....this society now has borderline personality disorder and PTSD.

Our nerves are shot.
 

Xelor

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Power corrupts.

If not guarded against, and if those corrupted are not removed from power.

I find it hard to believe the impacts of power have anything to do with the US' cultural discarding of the virtues the Establishment has embraced since colonial days.
 

ecofarm

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A lot of people stopped thinking long term and stopped caring about their responsibilities and started being obsessed with "What is in it for me?" and it was not just power and money they wanted, but also fun and ego strokes.....

But Why?

Why did America decline like this?

Putin told you that?
 

The Mark

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I dont think that is it......Jordan Peterson says that the root problem driving the decline of the West is that we stopped caring about truth to include that we lie to ourselves but why did we do that? I think that it was the combo of living through a bad Depression, WW2 and all that evil, watching the evil of the Utopia builders (Hitler, Stalin, Mao et al), living long term under the threat of nuclear annihilation, the counter culture, and then we heaped on for good measure economic dislocation and removing the promise of lifetime employment.....it was all too much to deal with....this society now has borderline personality disorder and PTSD.

Our nerves are shot.

I'm not entirely sure what is at fault.

I think a large part is the ability of money to influence politics.
When corporations know they can buy laws that benefit them, it breaks down both democracy and the supposedly "free market" system.

The market isn't free if the laws aren't equally applied, and democracy can't survive if the playing field isn't level.

We've failed to protect the systems that were our core strengths, and unless we repair those failures and if necessary forcibly take those systems back, this won't get better.


Corporations and other nations are using the cracks in our democratic armor to give themselves temporary advantage, at the expense of the system as a whole in the long term.


Thus far the solutions to this, as I can see them, are:
To completely and utterly remove the unequal influence money allows in democracy.

Efforts like the measures Elizabeth Warren has suggested are a start, but they may not go far enough, even if they had a chance of being enacted.

The concept of "conflicts of interest" must be applied in all respects to our democracy.
 

Hawkeye10

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I'm not entirely sure what is at fault.

I think a large part is the ability of money to influence politics.
When corporations know they can buy laws that benefit them, it breaks down both democracy and the supposedly "free market" system.

The market isn't free if the laws aren't equally applied, and democracy can't survive if the playing field isn't level.

We've failed to protect the systems that were our core strengths, and unless we repair those failures and if necessary forcibly take those systems back, this won't get better.


Corporations and other nations are using the cracks in our democratic armor to give themselves temporary advantage, at the expense of the system as a whole in the long term.


Thus far the solutions to this, as I can see them, are:
To completely and utterly remove the unequal influence money allows in democracy.

Efforts like the measures Elizabeth Warren has suggested are a start, but they may not go far enough, even if they had a chance of being enacted.

The concept of "conflicts of interest" must be applied in all respects to our democracy.

Our systems are bad because we failed to take care of our systems, but that is symptom not cause.
 

The Mark

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I find it hard to believe the impacts of power have anything to do with the US' cultural discarding of the virtues the Establishment has embraced since colonial days.
Is it that the virtues have been discarded, or rather that those in power have discarded them?
 

The Mark

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Our systems are bad because we failed to take care of our systems, but that is symptom not cause.
We got comfortable, whatever the reasons, and aren't paying enough attention.
 

Hawkeye10

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We got comfortable, whatever the reasons, and aren't paying enough attention.

That does not explain all of the lies, it does not explain the deciding to live in our fantasies.
 
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polgara

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I dont think that is it......Jordan Peterson says that the root problem driving the decline of the West is that we stopped caring about truth to include that we lie to ourselves but why did we do that? I think that it was the combo of living through a bad Depression, WW2 and all that evil, watching the evil of the Utopia builders (Hitler, Stalin, Mao et al), living long term under the threat of nuclear annihilation, the counter culture, and then we heaped on for good measure economic dislocation and removing the promise of lifetime employment.....it was all too much to deal with....this society now has borderline personality disorder and PTSD.

Our nerves are shot.

Greetings, Hawkeye10. :2wave:

You are probably correct! :damn We seem to be missing the generational "continuity" that made us what we are, and what we expect today as citizens of this country. It used to be that obeying our laws was important, but many people seem to have stopped caring about things like that lately! :doh: Sad.....
 

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A lot of people stopped thinking long term and stopped caring about their responsibilities and started being obsessed with "What is in it for me?" and it was not just power and money they wanted, but also fun and ego strokes.....

But Why?

Why did America decline like this?

Why? Because we are young and stupid. The whole damn country is only 250 odd years old and we completely misread the meaning of, the importance of the contribution to our current position that resulted from WW2. That was just a total misread on our part by the generations ahead of mine and that led us down a road of consumption and misinterpretation. We decided we were more entitled than lucky, BIG MISTAKE!

But just imagine what a mess we would be if we were still trying to throw of the Royals that plagued Europe all the way through most of the 20th Century? Imagine as well if WE were in the circumstance S. Korea has been in since the armistice ended just the fighting in the 50's? If we in this country were STILL at a formal state of war with our immediate neighbor to our North our hair and pants would be on fire every single day. God only knows how much havoc we would wreck in this world in exactly that same circumstance given our propensity for impatience.

Any of us that was around for the excesses of the 80's (Trump's decade) have to be honest about the utter nonsense, the ridiculous excesses of that decade, the utter decadence of that decade.

If you want a cheap and dirty answer, my generation grew up with the consumption disease and misinterpretation that plagued our parents (they of the greatest generation) and we elevated all of that to such a degree, by orders of magnitude that we fostered the mess we have today. That said I don't buy the idea that we are "more responsible" than other generations. The arc of consumptive excess and misinterpretation was born ahead of us, in our parents generation and how can you really fault them, "the greatest generation". So I simply reject the idea of blaming a generation. But I also had my eyes wide open while it happened.

The best decades for my generation were the 60's and 70's. We had a decent business run in the 80's and 90's into the turn of the century but with a twist. We had a decent run that was totally self serving. WE fostered the dynamic of the Venture Capitalist. We fostered the company that was always on the auction block....and I do mean ALWAYS and that created something of a mutated perspective on business and business careers, successful in pure business terms but entirely self absorbed. Your salary was not as important as your stock options and your stock options were almost more important than anything, the value of your house, your marriage, your friendships, you name it. Which generation do you think is responsible for that? HINT...its not Zuckerburg's generation.

That our Public Servants have been corrupted to some extent by this phenomenon should not come as a great surprise. The degree to which true Public Servants, those that do exist amongst us are demonized by those that are at the farthest end of what I referred to as misinterpretation of our place in history, those for whom the true meaning or our founding documents is an utter mystery is a great disappointment to me regardless of the generation from which they spring.

The plain and simple truth of it is that the Founders created an aspirational Constitutional Republic. That "aspiration" put us on a path and an Arc Toward Justice that we have been on for a much longer time element than this arc of consumption and misinterpretation, really since the inception of the country itself. Hopefully the years of this decade are the culmination of what will be viewed in retrospect as a pretty rotten period, as rotten as the entirely hypocritical and failed Reconstruction Period.

Make no mistake though, regardless of our misinterpretation of luck vs entitlement, this country needs to lead. There is nobody else that can do it or that will do it. If we don't we will be responsible for much of the world falling prey to darkness and authoritarianism and if we make the mistake of still feeling entitled and "extra special" we will be sucked down the rathole right behind everybody else. We either lead or we follow into the darkness. We must show the way, for ourselves and for everybody else. Having a broken Immigration policy, a broken Healthcare Delivery System, a propensity to repeat the errors of the past is not leadership, not for us and not for anybody else.

Time for another helpful hint. We are not leading right now, not even close. We were not under Obama and were not under 43 either.
 

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Greetings, Hawkeye10. :2wave:

You are probably correct! :damn We seem to be missing the generational "continuity" that made us what we are, and what we expect today as citizens of this country. It used to be that obeying our laws was important, but many people seem to have stopped caring about things like that lately! :doh: Sad.....

Hi Polgara, you are one of the few who I have had the pleasure of meeting who has some sense of what is going on.....and more than most you are willing to listen with an open mind and you have decided to stay civil as you do it.

Thank You.
 
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Hawkeye10

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Why? Because we are young and stupid. The whole damn country is only 250 odd years old and we completely misread the meaning of, the importance of the contribution to our current position that resulted from WW2. That was just a total misread on our part by the generations ahead of mine and that led us down a road of consumption and misinterpretation. We decided we were more entitled than lucky, BIG MISTAKE!

But just imagine what a mess we would be if we were still trying to throw of the Royals that plagued Europe all the way through most of the 20th Century? Imagine as well if WE were in the circumstance S. Korea has been in since the armistice ended just the fighting in the 50's? If we in this country were STILL at a formal state of war with our immediate neighbor to our North our hair and pants would be on fire every single day. God only knows how much havoc we would wreck in this world in exactly that same circumstance given our propensity for impatience.

Any of us that was around for the excesses of the 80's (Trump's decade) have to be honest about the utter nonsense, the ridiculous excesses of that decade, the utter decadence of that decade.

If you want a cheap and dirty answer, my generation grew up with the consumption disease and misinterpretation that plagued our parents (they of the greatest generation) and we elevated all of that to such a degree, by orders of magnitude that we fostered the mess we have today. That said I don't buy the idea that we are "more responsible" than other generations. The arc of consumptive excess and misinterpretation was born ahead of us, in our parents generation and how can you really fault them, "the greatest generation". So I simply reject the idea of blaming a generation. But I also had my eyes wide open while it happened.

The best decades for my generation were the 60's and 70's. We had a decent business run in the 80's and 90's into the turn of the century but with a twist. We had a decent run that was totally self serving. WE fostered the dynamic of the Venture Capitalist. We fostered the company that was always on the auction block....and I do mean ALWAYS and that created something of a mutated perspective on business and business careers, successful in pure business terms but entirely self absorbed. Your salary was not as important as your stock options and your stock options were almost more important than anything, the value of your house, your marriage, your friendships, you name it. Which generation do you think is responsible for that? HINT...its not Zuckerburg's generation.

That our Public Servants have been corrupted to some extent by this phenomenon should not come as a great surprise. The degree to which true Public Servants, those that do exist amongst us are demonized by those that are at the farthest end of what I referred to as misinterpretation of our place in history, those for whom the true meaning or our founding documents is an utter mystery is a great disappointment to me regardless of the generation from which they spring.

The plain and simple truth of it is that the Founders created an aspirational Constitutional Republic. That "aspiration" put us on a path and an Arc Toward Justice that we have been on for a much longer time element than this arc of consumption and misinterpretation, really since the inception of the country itself. Hopefully the years of this decade are the culmination of what will be viewed in retrospect as a pretty rotten period, as rotten as the entirely hypocritical and failed Reconstruction Period.

Make no mistake though, regardless of our misinterpretation of luck vs entitlement, this country needs to lead. There is nobody else that can do it or that will do it. If we don't we will be responsible for much of the world falling prey to darkness and authoritarianism and if we make the mistake of still feeling entitled and "extra special" we will be sucked down the rathole right behind everybody else. We either lead or we follow into the darkness. We must show the way, for ourselves and for everybody else. Having a broken Immigration policy, a broken Healthcare Delivery System, a propensity to repeat the errors of the past is not leadership, not for us and not for anybody else.

Time for another helpful hint. We are not leading right now, not even close. We were not under Obama and were not under 43 either.

You too have confused symptoms with cause, and you also are pulling the decline of America out of the context of the decline of the West.
 

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You too have confused symptoms with cause, and you also are pulling the decline of America out of the context of the decline of the West.

Funny....since I simply posted up the underpinnings of exactly what you posted.

Do you think we "stopped thinking long term" because we lost the capacity for thinking long term, some gene went astray?
 

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Is it that the virtues have been discarded, or rather that those in power have discarded them?

Who are "those in power?" To the extent you mean Trump and the bevy of folks supporting him, few, if any of them, are members of the Establishment. Indeed, though Trump was born into the Establishment, he rejected it and its members have, largely, rejected him, in turn.

I think many folks conflate "Establishment" with "wealthy." It's true that most Establishment members are comfortable, but what's more universal among the Establishment's "membership" than wealth is a minimum measure of good character, most notably honesty, trustworthiness and probity. Indeed, even Nixon, a guy who wasn't an Establishment fellow, wasn't willing to, as do the current crop of formal power wielders and their disciples, transcend the limits of forbearance as go those three traits.

So, yes, with regard to those three virtues -- it's not as though the Establishment, prior to the 1990s, had that many that were worth retaining; I dare say there may not be any others -- do appear to have been discarded by both holders of power, aspirants to power, and devotees of both groups.
 

Xelor

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We got comfortable, whatever the reasons, and aren't paying enough attention.
That is part of the conundrum. Comfort affords one the "freedom" to think in terms of and embrace broad terms of probity.
 

Hawkeye10

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Funny....since I simply posted up the underpinnings of exactly what you posted.

Do you think we "stopped thinking long term" because we lost the capacity for thinking long term, some gene went astray?

When you start working on "Why did we fail to seek the good" then you will be closer to working in the right resolution as Jordan Peterson uses the term.

I think that we stopped thinking long term because we were and are traumatized.

It is a symptom of shot nerves.
 

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Greetings, Hawkeye10. :2wave:

You are probably correct! :damn We seem to be missing the generational "continuity" that made us what we are, and what we expect today as citizens of this country. It used to be that obeying our laws was important, but many people seem to have stopped caring about things like that lately! :doh: Sad.....

Red:
The problem, the malise isn't that we no longer care about obeying the law. It's that obeying the law has become the minimum standard of comportment. On a cultural level, that didn't used to be the case. The bar was higher than that by far. Violating the law would keep one out of jail, but far more than merely not going to jail was expected of one, be one Establishment or not.
 

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When you start working on "Why did we fail to seek the good" then you will be closer to working in the right resolution as Jordan Peterson uses the term.

I think that we stopped thinking long term because we were and are traumatized.

It is a symptom of shot nerves.

So, the greatest generation post WW2 sitting atop the entire world, the rest virtually in rubble then leaving that advantage to us resulted in all of us with shot nerves, traumatized? Geez if that is the case, I would hate to see what would have happened to us if we were left picking through our own rubble.
 

JustHanging

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A lot of people stopped thinking long term and stopped caring about their responsibilities and started being obsessed with "What is in it for me?" and it was not just power and money they wanted, but also fun and ego strokes.....

But Why?

Why did America decline like this?

I would argue that at least in part it is because psychology has progressed so far, so quickly, that it is possible to largely control what people think. And right now the Russians are working hard to divide your country, and have your country loose it's allies by making you think what they want.

Putting all that effort into getting Trump elected has worked brilliantly for them, hasn't it?
 
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