Amidst the worst social problems in the USA -- shootings and environmental destruction and the abolishment of "safety nets" -- the biggest barrier to solutions tends to be ... STOOPID PEOPLE.
It's SP who think that their right to carry weapons everywhere trumps your right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It's SP who believe that all the unfortunate amongst us deserve their hardships It's superficial scientific understanding that makes even intelligent people underappreciate the human contribution to climate change, because the history of the earth shows many climatic ups and downs, but it's SP who say that "global warming" isn't real at all. It's SP who make SP famous. It's SP who make it possible to say things like that idiot preacher did -- that if the bible said 2+2=5, he'd believe the bible over the demonstrable fact that it ISN'T.
I'm coming to suspect that the late-20th-century tendency to coddle children's self-importance may be at the bottom of it all.
In the desire to make sure our kids know we love them, and to make sure their self-confidence isn't too impaired to allow them to aspire in life -- to me, important goals -- some parents go WAY too far. Those children learn that they're the center of their parents' world, but are never taught that they're NOT the center of the WHOLE world. When they give an incorrect answer in school, they're not told they're WRONG as often as applauded for saying SOMETHING -- teachers often bend meanings and contexts around, to make an answer seem partially right. Children are given a trophy for participation, regardless of the quality thereof. Why should they study, or practice, or TRY to excel, when they can get the approval they need simply by showing up and going through the motions?
Now that the first generation of this kind of treatment has reached adulthood, we have a society full of people who think that their beliefs and opinions are on equal footing with verifiable facts. We have people who think "faith" is as good as science. We have fucking idiots running for president, who say that you don't have to obey laws if you don't think they're "right."
^^^I'm not kidding you.
We have a problem.
I've read that the 20th century's me-first issues started in the 1920s. The war-to-end-all-wars (hahaha) was over, and women were acknowledged as actual human beings with a right to express themselves, and the world looked like a promising, exciting place -- even common people saw an opportunity to be a bit self-indulgent. Laissez les bon temps roulez! Unfortunately, because of the moronic morality-based ruling known as PROHIBITION, millions of people had to defy the law in order to enjoy a simple, civilized glass of wine with their dinners. We now have organized crime which was perfected during that era -- talk about unintended consequences! I hope Carrie Nation and her cohort are currently roasting in hell!
The generation born in that decade came of age to fight WWII. I believe that was the last time that Americans felt "ownership" of any national action -- home folks grew victory gardens and participated in drives to collect scrap-metal, rubber, ... even cooking fats! If you ask me, THAT was the pinnacle of America being "great" or "exceptional." It's all over now, though, even if some people still claim it. When that war ended, veterans and civilians alike had tough adjustments to make. The former felt rebellious and entitled, and the latter (ESPECIALLY women who kept industry going in the absence of the men) felt disenfranchised. Gotta get out there and grab your share!
Baby-boomers, to whose generation i belong, had it both good and bad -- America enjoyed a great deal of prosperity and the widening of opportunity across many demographics, but all that caused us to have an exalted sense of what "normal" is. One income in the family was enough to thrive on, and television showed us that no matter how complicated a problem was, it could be solved within an hour ... with time out for commercials.
Our schools and infrastructure blossomed during this golden age, but all that is gone to hell now. Moneyed interests have managed to exert their powers with the help of Saint Ronnie. (Trickle-down economics = large corporations and rich people pissing on the rest of us.) Booming post-war business is no longer paying its share of holding things together, nor are the ultra-rich, and our middle-class is buckling under the strain just like our roads and bridges.
Pop-psychology, which really took off in the first half of the century, came to fruition with bad interpretations of Freudianism heavily influencing child-rearing practices. Pop SCIENCE, based not on tried-and-true experience but on academic hypotheses, influenced schooling and home behavior alike. We must not break their little spirits by holding them back, if they don't do adequately in an age-appropriate classroom! We must not make the lowest-performing students feel "different" by shunting them into "special" classes! No, we should advance them with others their age, and hold back the rest of the class, so that the VERY SLOWEST set the pace for everyone, in the steadily-growing class sizes. Teachers must warp the performance of all their students by making allowances for the kids diagnosed with ADHD and autism ... who MUST be allowed to take part with the "normal" kids.
And here we are. We have antisocial behavior ruining everyone's experiences, in schools, restaurants, shopping venues, and outdoor spaces. We have classrooms in which teachers have NO control over the bad behavior of a few, no matter how it impedes the education of everyone else, AND where lessons are dumbed-down so that there is "no child left behind" -- no, no ONE child is left behind, ALL OF THEM ARE, when compared to global standards.
I believe that the answer to the question posed in the title of today's post is YES. America has raised several generations of selfish, immature, stubborn, besotted, and willfully-ignorant swine ... and now the problem has come home to roost. The country is a hotbed of stoopid assholes, and not a one of them know it -- they have the delusion that their failings are actually virtues, and hide behind notions like "faith" and "patriotism" instead of the less-flattering labels the rest of the civilized world would use.