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Broken

Methinks Tablet editor in chief Alana Newhouse and her correspondent Ryan are definitely onto something with this idea.

At one point last year, Ryan said something that struck a nerve. “I don’t know what I identify as these days, because everything has gotten so scrambled,” he noted. “I’m not a Democrat or a Republican, I don’t even think I could define myself narrowly as either a liberal or a conservative anymore. The one thing I know that I fundamentally do believe is the premise of your piece, that the dominant institutions of American life—in education, in the arts, in politics—are either totally broken or so weak or corrupt that they’re becoming irrelevant. In a way, the only thing I know that I believe in is…brokenness.”

Ryan went on to explain that, when he gets into political debates with friends and acquaintances these days, those on the “other side” aren’t all liberals or all conservatives or in fact all from any other previously recognizable camp. Instead, they are the people in his life who, regardless of how they vote or otherwise affiliate, remain invested in the institutions and political ideologies that now leave Ryan cold. Many of them acknowledge that there are problems, even serious ones, with universities, newspapers, nonprofits, both political parties, what have you, but they see these as normal, fixable challenges, not signs of fundamental brokenness. To them, the impulse to consign weighty institutions to the dustbin of history feels impulsive and irresponsible—like arson. To Ryan, staying committed to decrepit structures, and insisting to others that they are fundamentally safe when they’re clearly not, is what feels reckless.

Most Americans don’t fall squarely into one of these two camps. Around 40% don’t even vote. But among the people who do engage in debates about this country’s future, the ones doing it most compellingly are not those still stuck in the battle between “Democrats” and “Republicans,” or “liberalism” and “conservatism.” The most vital debate in America today is between those who believe there is something fundamentally broken in America, and that it’s an emergency, and those who do not.

…Many people understandably see our current moment as a wave of change that can be ridden successfully—without overblown diagnoses or radical solutions. These are status-quoists, people who are invested in the established institutions of American life, even as they acknowledge that this or that problem around the margins should of course be tackled. Status-quoists believe that any decline in quality one might observe at Yale or The Washington Post or the Food and Drug Administration or the American Federation of Teachers are simply problems of personnel, circumstance, incompetence, or lack of information. Times change, people come and go, status-quoists believe—this outfit screwed up COVID policy, yes, and that place has an antisemitism problem, agreed. But they will learn, reform, and recover, and they need our help to do so. What isn’t needed, and is in fact anathema, is any effort to inject more perceived radicalism into an already toxic and polarized American society. The people, ideas, and institutions that led America after the end of the Cold War must continue to guide us through the turbulence ahead. What can broadly be called the “establishment” is not only familiar, status-quoists believe; it is safe, stable, and ultimately enduring.

On the other side are brokenists, people who believe that our current institutions, elites, intellectual and cultural life, and the quality of services that many of us depend on have been hollowed out. To them, the American establishment, rather than being a force of stability, is an obese and corrupted tangle of federal and corporate power threatening to suffocate the entire country. Proof of this decay, they argue, can be seen in the unconventional moves that many people, regardless of how they would describe themselves politically, are making: home-schooling their children to avoid the failures and politicization of many public and private schools; consuming more information from YouTube, Twitter, Substack, and podcasts than from legacy media outlets; and abandoning the restrictions, high costs, and pathologies of the coasts for freer and more affordable pastures in the Southeast and Southwest.

Brokenists come from all points on the political spectrum. They disagree with each other about what kinds of programs, institutions, and culture they want to see prevail in America. What they agree on—what is in fact a more important point of agreement than anything else—is that what used to work is not working for enough people anymore.

Worse, the people for whom it IS still working are the selfsame nefarious wreckers who broke the whole damned system in the first place, intentionally and with malice aforethought.

(Via WeirdDave)

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boron

I don’t know where to begin. Not that I don’t have the time (I really don’t, I’m way too old), I just don’t want to waste my time. My philosophy (glasses) doesn’t visualize the United States of America (or the world for that matter) as a knot of dichotomies; I don’t see two sides to every story/situation. I see an infinite number; the world is far more complex than the way Alana Newhouse is able to see/perhaps understand it.

The Torah teaches us, Jews and non-Jews alike, those who bother to read it (to understand what it says, not to quote meaninglessly from it) that we are (all) made in His image, from His clay, from His essence, but it is up to us, each of us, to take that clay and make the best of it we can: with His help; very simply: “G*d helps those who help themselves.” The editor appears to have great difficulty understanding this minor concept of Judaism.

The United States of America is constantly evolving, trying/testing/tasting new philosophies, revisiting old ones through new/young minds that have not read/understood history, bouncing them against the Ten Commandments and the Constitution. Those of us who have have watched this pendulum swing, sometimes almost uncontrollably, worry every so often that it might come flying off its pivot; it has in the past; it will again in the future. When strong leaders take advantage of the disarray, it’ll just require a stronger leader to replace it on its pivot.

I read this article/mishmosh of ideas in its entirety – and re-read it to assure myself that I didn’t misunderstand what the author was attempting to explain to her audience. I wasted my time; I apologize to you for wasting yours.

kennycan

It’s broken because Progressives, who are really Communists and anti-American/anti-Enlightenment/anti-Christian, are deliberately breaking it.

The fact that people who think of themselves as “Republicans” cannot no longer agree on the solutions and can only agree that something is broken is simply a sign that they’ve been deliberately misled about what “Republican” means by people who claim to be “Republican” but are really Progressives pretending to be “Republican”.

Trump showed us basic Republican Values in a very simple package. In reality, it’s not very difficult to understand. Get Government out of the way domestically and let the people use their ingenuity to solve problems for themselves. When dealing with Foreign Powers put America’s Interests First.

The Solutions write themselves then.

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Barry

Ditto!

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