Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Is the American ideal "done"?

Kira Sirote asks: Is the American ideal of progress through liberty "done"? I feel like parts of American society are indeed more just and more righteous than they were 50 years ago, can that be clarified and then extended beyond its own borders?

In my view the ideal of progress is not "done" but it is in tatters.

In medicine Americans are no longer willing to pay for progress.

In race there has been steady regress since 1965.

The war on poverty made things for poor people worse.

The Universities are markedly worse at educating or encouraging freedom of research than they were in our day.

The internet mostly brings distraction.

Television (!) is the dominant medium not just of communication but of art, and for all the strengths of The Wire it is not Dostoevsky.

The US has too many rules which persuade too many people that nothing worth doing can be done anymore. The (pre-Trump) GOP was too focused on taxes, which matter little, and not focused enough on regulation, which is crushing. The Democrats think that the response to the failure of rules (i.e., the subprime crisis), is to add rules.

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