Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Decline of Duty: A Cause of America's Decline...and You?

For time immemorial, discipline, responsibility (duty,) and impulse control have been key to improving humankind.

Today, alas, they often are deemed less important than creativity, celebrating difference, and questioning authority.

In my article today, I argue that's reason for lament. 


Anonymous said...

Interesting take. American decline, assuming it exists, is usually blamed on unfavorable global trends or inadequate social/infrastructure spending. This is the first time I've seen it blamed on lack of moral fiber.

Marty Nemko said...

Dear Anonymous,

Of course, it is impossible to do double-blind randomized studies isolating a cause for decline. And indeed, my article's last sentence makes clear that I hypothesize these as merely one set of causes but some of the world's eminents believe America's decline is caused in part by a values shift. For example, this excerpt from an article by a U.S. Secretary of Education, quoting the eminent sociobiologist E.O. Wilson and a Yankelovich poll: "Perhaps more than anything else, America’s cultural decline is evidence of a shift in the public’s attitudes and beliefs. Social scientist James Q. Wilson writes that “the powers exercised by the institutions of social control have been constrained and people, especially young people, have embraced an ethos that values self-expression over self-control.” The findings of pollster Daniel Yankelovich seem to confirm this diagnosis. Our society now places less value than before on what we owe to others as a matter of moral obligation; less value on sacrifice as a moral good; less value on social conformity and respectability; and less value on correctness and restraint in matters of physical pleasure and sexuality."

Anonymous said...

Practically everyone who says the US is in decline points to either Europe or China as an example of how to do things right. Problem is, Americans will never accept European taxation or Chinese authoritarianism. We may as well try something that hasn't been suggested to death.


blogger templates | Make Money Online