Monday, January 05, 2015

American Culture Is Going Downhill

The belief that our culture is getting worse has been attributed to the age of those who think so. Old folks are the ones who talk about the good old days. Sam, one of the people who seems wise in these things, says the following:

Every old man complains of the growing depravity of the world, of the petulance and insolence of the rising generation. He recounts the decency and regularity of former times, and celebrates the discipline and sobriety of the age in which his  youth was passed; a happy age which is now no more to be expected, since confusion has broken in upon the world, and thrown down all the boundaries of civility and reverence.

But those who complain of the worsening of the world are right, you say. I agree, But then, I'm getting old now, too.

So what, you ask? Well, Sam is Samuel Johnson, and the quotation above was written in 1750 (Rambler essay Number 50, published September 8, 1750). If every generation thinks (rightly?) that things are getting worse and the younger generation is spoiled and corrupt, and if we've had about 9 or 10 generations since then, why, we must be living in very confused times, where there is little civility and reverence. Hey, wait. That's right.

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