Is America really in a long term social decline as David Brooks claims in the NYT?
In the half-century between 1962 and the present, America has become more prosperous, peaceful and fair, but the social fabric has deteriorated. Social trust has plummeted. Society has segmented. The share of Americans born out of wedlock is now at 40 percent and rising.Kevin Drum does a good job at challenging the assumption that things are worse now than before. On four of the five measures he proposes, only one has got worse since the 60s: The marriage rate is down and the divorce rate is up. But even that is a subjective measure, a good divorce is often better than a bad marriage as anyone who reads certain parts of the Huffington Post is reminded every other article.
But Kevin still misses the most important measure: It's the bigotry.
How can anyone possibly claim that the social fabric of the US was better under segregation unless they are either: (1) ignorant and stupid; and/or (2) think society better with the addition of institutionalized racism, sexism and homophobia, to name a few?
But this is always the way with right wing Jeremiads on the moral decline of the nation. Has there been a decline in British social morals since the Dickensian era? Only if you ignore the working conditions in the factories, the child prostitution and the fact that it took the resources from a third of the world to support the opulent lifestyle of the elite.
It's sad that David Brooks is what passes for an 'intellectual' in the modern conservative movement.