You are not enough: Love thy neighbor too
"You are enough" is a popular saying, writes Katherine Boyle on The Free Press. But it's not true. Americans have lost their sense of purpose and their "sense of membership in any kind of mutual enterprise," she writes. It's all about "me."
"A recent Wall Street Journal–NORC poll found that faith, family, and the flag — the constants that used to define our national character — have eroded in importance in the last 25 years," Boyle writes. "Only 38 percent of poll respondents said patriotism was very important to them, down from 70 percent in 1998. Of religion, 39 percent said it was very important, down from 62 percent."
Having children and community involvement also are way down as "very important" values. So is "tolerance for others." One thing is up: Money.
The decline in traditional values predates smart phones, writes Boyle. Bowling Alone was published in the late ’90s, Coming Apart in 2012. But it's getting worse. We "see story after story about teenage depression and midlife crisis depression and deaths of despair."
A relentless focus on the self -- you are enough -- won't fill the void, she writes. "For too long, we’ve been told we can be anything, do anything, and that all criticisms of that anything are an attack on our identity and very being. . . . And yet, we’ve never seemed more miserable, never been more lost, and never less confident in what we stand for."
Schools no longer see it as their job to inculcate a love of country, writes Robert Pondiscio at the American Enterprise Institute in response to the Wall Street Journal poll. "A mere 23 percent of adults under age 30 say that patriotism is very important to them personally, compared to 59 percent of American senior citizens."
Public education's "founding purpose of citizen-making and forging a disparate people into a unified nation" is not reflected in school mission statements. If "citizenship" is mentioned, it's "global" not American.