The title of this brief essay, “No Character, No Culture,” is of course an overstatement of the prevailing atmosphere in American life today. However, there are many Americans from all age groups, all economic and educational strata who would agree there is much truth in it.
In fact, it is likely that many people, if probed beneath the outward confidence they project in everyday life, would agree: America, for whatever reason, is in decline. They might express this concern in moral or spiritual or religious terms. But the malady they refer to would be the same for each of them.
The symptoms of this decline are abundant and obvious. The obesity epidemic, the bloat of public and private debt, a corrosive dependency on mind altering drugs–both illicit and prescribed, an astonishing homicide and incarceration rate. America, after all, has a far higher percentage of its population in prisons than any other country in the world.
Even actions of the national government are reflective–and even precipitous–of this decline. It can be seen in the extent to which elected officials have become the captive of highly influential and well-funded interest groups. Decline is also apparent in the general tone of policy in both domestic and foreign matters.