August 24, 2012
Morris Berman is a prolific writer on the social decline of the American Colossus and a fellow expat to Mexico. In Dark Ages America and Why America Failed: The Roots of Imperial Decline, he details the sordid mess the empire finds itself in. His conclusion is true: there will be no happy ending. At least, not for the indoctrinated, self-centered, materialist masses who failed to note the writing on the wall.
Indeed, without valiant role models, today’s youth have degenerated into a pack of animals, not surprisingly since they are taught that they are animals. Not unlike how the US Government uses social networking to overthrow foreign regimes, teenagers trash and rob businesses by the hundreds in coordinated Facebook fashion.
Quoting social scientists before him, Berman establishes a theory of a hustler mentality of the average American and the solitary goals of self-indulgence and compulsive consumerism. Where once there were family, friends and culture now resides a “technopoly” or a “totalitarian technocracy” which “eliminates everything else”. Where people are treated like machines and cultural life forms bequeathed to the “sovereignty of technology.” Where if one is not very careful, the virtual world and (social) network lead one to isolation “because if you are at home alone with a screen, that’s where you are.” Where brain function takes on the characteristics of the telecommunication device. Where the Internet teaches malleable users to skim read and not contemplate, permanently fragmenting the thought process and ability to attach oneself to a thought or idea.
Yes, we are all guilty at times of being sucked into the Internet Matrix. Nevertheless, this study points out the obvious: “people who are constantly online can develop mental disorders“.
Essentially, we get a nation of aggressive, rude, zombie, techno-boor buffoons. Berman contrasts the clash-of-civilizations between the Civil War North and South. One can spot the same differences between a place like the USSA and Mexico today, although even that is rapidly in a state of flux. The Northerner robot is “coldly burning spirit, tenacious, egotistic, cold” and with “frozen imagination.”
Considering this mentality, I recall passing through O’Hare Airport recently. I asked a food stand operator and her co-worker, who had the register open and was counting currency, if she would give me a dollar’s worth of change so I could make a phone call the old fashioned way. She immediately went into an incoherent rant, something about “no authorization…manager” and that I had to make a purchase. Conversely, in Mexico I recall a $2.50 taxi ride I once took to work where the driver so enjoyed our conversation on life in America that he waived the cab fare—which I of course paid nevertheless.
Americans today eye one another with dollars signs, asking what’s in it for them. True compassion and care for the other can be a rarity. You get fired from your job for saving lives, such as this lifeguard on a Florida beach. I have also witnessed immigrants from traditional societies convert to this ruthless religion of money worship. Instead of giving freely or accepting gifts without thought, they would in all seriousness ask: “Why is this person giving me this? What is it they really want?”
Berman notes how “social gatherings in the North invariably have an agenda” with an “ulterior motive lurking behind it and that motive is business.” Down here in the Mexican South, we’re just happy to break bread with one another, no strings attached.
The future belongs to those who are civilized, honorable, and practical, like this young teenager who is building his own home with his own two hands. It also belongs to the benevolent. Go buy that troubled man on the street a hot meal and have a chat with him. Remember to do something nice for someone every day—it will bring joy, laughter, and add an extra day to your life. Demonstrate to the state that private charity beats out government handouts, especially when a country like the USSA decides in its usual grand inept fashion to do stupid things like “promote American food assistance programs among Mexican nationals.”
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