Saturday, July 03, 2021

Civic Virtue Is Dead In America...,

charleshughsmith  |  Though no one dares confess this publicly, America is now a moral cesspool. As a result, the moral legitimacy of the nation’s leadership has been lost. Every nook and cranny of institutionalized America is dominated by self-interest, and much of the economy is controlled by profiteering monopolies and cartels which wield far more political power than the citizenry.

Civic virtue has been lost. What remains is elite self-interest masquerading as civic virtue.

In his Farewell Address, President Carter explained that "The national interest is not always the sum of all our single or special interests. We are all Americans together, and we must not forget that the common good is our common interest and our individual responsibility."

Social cohesion, civic virtue and moral legitimacy are the foundation of every society, but they are especially important in composite states.

America is a composite state
, composed of individuals holding a wide range of regional, ethnic, religious and class-based identities. The national identity is only one ingredient in a bubbling stew of local, state and regional identities, ethnic, cultural and religious identities, educational/alumni, professional and tradecraft identities, and elusive but consequential class-based identities.

Composite states are intrinsically trickier to rule, as there is no ethnic or cultural identity that unifies the populace. Lacking a national identity that supersedes all other identities, composite states must tread carefully to avoid fracturing into competing regional, ethnic or cultural identities.

Composite states must establish a purpose-based identity that is understood to demand shared sacrifice, especially in crisis. In the U.S., the national purpose has been redefined by the needs of the era, but never straying too far from these core unifying goals: defending the civil liberties of the citizenry from state interference, defending the nation from external aggressors, and serving the common good by limiting the power of special interests and privileged elites.

We've failed to limit the power of privileged elites, failed to demand greater sacrifices of the wealthy in exchange for power, and so the moral legitimacy of the regime has been lost. And with the ascendance of self-interest and the elite's abandonment of sacrifice, social cohesion has been lost.

This loss is reflected in the bitter partisanship, the increasingly Orwellian attempts to control the mainstream and social media narratives, the debauchery of "expertise" as dueling "experts" vie for control, the fraying of social discourse, the substitution of virtue-signaling for actual civic virtue, the institutionalization of white-collar crime (collusion, fraud, embezzlement, etc.), the increasing reliance on Bread and Circuses (stimulus, Universal Basic Income) as real opportunity dissipates, and the troubling rise in shootings, crime, random violence and plummeting marriage and birth rates.

The unraveling of social cohesion has consequences. Once social cohesion unravels, the nation unravels.

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