Friday, September 1, 2017

Can Everyone Be on the Losing Side?

David Brooks:
Today, the world feels like a hostile environment to. … well … everyone. I had assumed that as society got more equal we would all share a measure of equal dignity. But it turns out that without an obvious social hierarchy we all get to feel equally powerless.
To me one of the strangest things about America today is that people in every faction feel like they are losing. Liberals look around and see Trump in the White House and Nazis marching in the streets; conservatives see gay marriage as the law of the land, Obamacare thriving, and Hollywood obsessed with providing the correct gender and racial balance in every film.

The media culture of our time is obsessed with losses, slights, and dangers. With Obama gone, what major public figure takes a calm, long-term view of events? Everything is dire and catastrophic, or at least suspicious.

We have divided into two teams, and on each team people only count their losses. The result is a foul national mood.

We need to step back, breathe deeply, forget about trivial slights and scandals, tone down our anger, and work toward compassion instead of hate. If we stopped shouting at each other and tried working together to solve a few of our problems, we might find that we are not as far apart as we suppose, and that things are not as bad as we fear.

1 comment:

Shadow said...

Kenneth Minogue makes this very argument in The Servile Mind, that the class hierarchy of <= 19th century England served an important social function. Everyone felt more confident and politically satisfied knowing their place. I'm paraphrasing; he doesn't actually say "knowing their place," but that's the gist of it, I think. There's probably some truth to this, but when all the debits and credits are added up I think Minogue is making a less than useful point.