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    The Atlantic | David Brooks | 10/5/20 | 45 min
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    The Atlantic
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    • SEnkey
      ScoutScribe
      2 weeks ago

      The failure of and withdrawal from institutions decimated America’s pandemic response, but the damage goes beyond that. That’s because institutions like the law, the government, the police, and even the family don’t merely serve social functions, Levin said; they form the individuals who work and live within them. The institutions provide rules to live by, standards of excellence to live up to, social roles to fulfill.

      By 2020, people had stopped seeing institutions as places they entered to be morally formed, Levin argued. Instead, they see institutions as stages on which they can perform, can display their splendid selves. People run for Congress not so they can legislate, but so they can get on TV. People work in companies so they can build their personal brand. The result is a world in which institutions not only fail to serve their social function and keep us safe, they also fail to form trustworthy people. The rot in our structures spreads to a rot in ourselves.

      This is a great point. I can't imagine if when I joined the Marines my Drill Instructor had asked me what kind of Marine I wanted to be. The Corps knew exactly what kind of Marine it wanted me to be and made me that; all to my benefit.

      Most institutions today are too weak, too vulnerable, to make a statement about what you will become by belonging to them. Donald Trump isn't more 'Republican' since joining the GOP, the GOP is more Trumpian. Congress members don't become policy wonks....because they aren't writing policy - they're getting on tv. In sports coaches and players, and their fans, see teams as vehicles for them not as an institution with its own character and destiny. Is the University of Alabama more Sabian, or has Nick Sabian become more like the University?

      • Karenz
        Scribe
        1 week ago

        This is a superb article to me. It lays out with precision and attention to history a sense many of us share that our country is going to hell. I laughed out loud when Houston Texas was given as an example of where we could go next as a society, but, hey, we’ve got to start somewhere!! If all those different groups can live together in peace, that’s impressive. I grew up in the 60’s with all that upheaval and was kind hoping for a less dramatic old age. Society is a dynamism and hopefully we’ll move in a more caring inclusive direction.

        • SEnkey
          ScoutScribe
          1 week ago

          That is an example that gives me comfort. Our country has survived hard and divisive times in the past, I just wish I knew what I could do to improve things now.

          • Karenz
            Scribe
            1 week ago

            Drawing our attention to thoughtful articles like this is a big help to people like me who wouldn’t have seen it otherwise! I thank you for that!!!