EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


August 4, 2013

Column: Fractured culture makes for a fractious nation


Remember the Tower of Babel, in Genesis? Men wanted to build a tower to heaven, and because for some reason God didn’t want them to do this (as if it were technically possible?), He made them all speak different languages so they couldn’t cooperate.

Well, we Americans are no longer speaking a common language, and that’s not just because many newcomers, unlike earlier immigrants, aren’t learning English; we who have grown up here speak from different cultural backgrounds. Our different generations are also getting different educations, with some of what we elders learned — like patriotism and relevant history — having moved “out of fashion” for students that followed us. So it’s really no wonder that we can’t cooperate in building political consensus and an ongoing republic, is it.

During my Ayn Rand phase I thought that if someone would make a “Roots”-type mini-series of her “Atlas Shrugged”, most Americans would consciously turn from socialism to individualism. Too bad this wasn’t done when I thought of it, in the 1960s, when there weren’t so many channels. However, the musical “Hair” as a cultural phenomenon did catch on at that time, and we moved on together to the Age of Aquarius, where we got lost in overwhelming, crowded space.

Barbara Anderson is executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation and a regular contributor to the opinion pages.

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