EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

December 23, 2012

As the old world ends, it's up to us to shape the new one

(Continued)

I find this analysis from astrologers somehow comforting. Living in a present that makes very little sense, it’s nice to hear that there’s a reason for recent events that can be blamed on the solar system instead of our own failure to make the world a better place.

Think back through our lifetimes. At my age, I can say that the world is a better place since I arrived, just because I arrived in the middle of World War II, when it was threatened by Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Hard to think how terrible our lives would have been if they had won, and people older than I say that this could have happened — if America had been less strong.

After the greatness that was America took the lead in destroying that fascist threat, we moved into the dark shadow of the Cold War with the Soviet Union. When we emerged triumphant from that shadow in 1992, we had almost a decade of a better world until Islamic extremists surged onto the scene. In that decade, maybe because there was no external threat to unite us, it seems that our culture started to fall apart.

I’ll put forth the proposition that life in 2012 is not better than life in 1992. I like television, computers and other technical advances that arrived in my lifetime, but something isn’t working, better-world-wise.

A thing called “political correctness” has displaced part of our First Amendment right to free speech, while somehow we’ve allowed other aspects of that right to become license for cultural ugliness. The sense of community that held us together as melting-pot Americans has been replaced by racial, religious, sexual and age-related division; communication among family and friends has begun to be replaced by short shallow blasts of contact with collections of barely-known “friends.” Personal responsibility is becoming a quaint foreign concept, while government expands its intrusion into every area of our lives, giving power-hungry people the power to bully us and, if we don’t strenuously object, control us.

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