3 Comments

  1. Hey DT,

    I live on the South Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Listening to your podcast while the world is literally burning around me. The sky was black at 3.30pm, air full of ash, sirens wailing in the distance…

    Wishing you a great 2020!

    Like

  2. Great episode. Good look back on the 2010s.

    I think there are several reasons why Americans today aren’t as appreciative as perhaps they ought to be of the modern world:

    The first reason is the problems people have solved to a great extent (e.g. shelter, disease, famine) may be out of sight and so out of mind. People therefore don’t put today’s marvels into the context of history.

    The second reason, and I think this is a more powerful one, is that Americans seem to insist on having a keeping up with the Jones’ type of mentality. It doesn’t matter if your $20 Menards sunglasses are more impressive than anything an ancient king possessed. If people around you tend to have brand name or high tech sunglasses that let you take selfies by blinking and cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars per pair, then you with your Menards glasses are “behind.” You aren’t cool or hip, and if you’re not cool or hip, people avoid you as if your uncoolness/unhipness could infect them like a disease and cause them to be uncool/unhip.

    A third reason, and this ties to the observation that today’s America seems particularly divided and fractured, is America’s social capital has declined. Today’s Americans are more like atomized individuals rather than members of a cohesive whole like Americans before seemed to be. The sense of community today seems to only exist in much smaller, more intimate, and perhaps non-physical circles. Before, people in neighborhoods may have known each other relatively well and seen each other in the same places (e.g. stores, parks, schools, church, etc.). Today, neighbors may not even bother to greet each other. There is simply not much social glue holding Americans together anymore. I think the reason for this is very simple: inadequate homogeneity.

    Like

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