It's true that the "good old days" weren't always good, but we should also remember that our belief that we're completely superior to previous generations of Americans doesn't even remotely square with reality. It's fine to pat ourselves on the back for being wealthier, more educated and considerably less racist than we used to be, but we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that those less educated, backward people in their antiquated clothes were head and shoulders better than we are in a myriad of other ways. We should remember that the real problem isn't having a problem; it's having a...
I think you have missed the most alarming symptom of all. This one I shall tell you. But go back and search for it. Examine it. Sick cultures show a complex of symptoms as you have named... But a dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Bad manners. Lack of consideration for others in minor matters. A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than a riot. This symptom is especially serious in that an individual displaying it never thinks of it as a sign of ill health but as proof of his/her strength. Look for it. --- a conversation with Friday and Dr. Baldwin in "Friday" by Robert H. Heinlein
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