Can We Reverse America’s Distemper?
Social trust, a baseline measure of social stability, has eroded.
Consider this description of America’s discontent:
“…a Hamlet-like loss of self-confidence, with an apocalyptic sense of doom for the civilization. On the Right it embodies a conviction that the sensate culture is pushing the society down the Gaderene slope of drugs-and-fornication to destruction. On the Left there is the vague sense that America is imperialist, fascist-oriented, caught in inner contradictions of class and ethnic struggles which will end in self-destructive wars or civil chaos.
…the fragmenting and polarizing of institutions (family, neighborhood, university, church, nation)–in short, the overloading of the social nervous system by sudden accelerations of change.”
Is that a reasonably fair description of America in 2023? Interestingly, it was written in January 1974, describing the America of 50 years ago. (America Agonistes (Max Lerner, Foreign Affairs, January 1974). I have often referred to Peter Turchin’s evidence-based cyclical mapping of the structural sources of social disorder which he has updated in his latest wor
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