Ask A Genius 543 – Going the Way of One’s Gods: Invincibility’s Dawn-to-Dusk
April 30, 2020
[Beginning of recorded material]
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Yes, this is like a phase change in American society and one-way; the first note of vulnerability or that the sense of invincibility being destroyed or corroded in American society was 9/11. That was a big one. Another one is the coronavirus.
Americans do not feel invulnerable anymore. So this is an important marker in early 21st century history for Americans because this corrodes the idea of not being harmed in any substantial way by outside forces who are people in 9/11 or by microscopic, seemingly invisible forces.
Rick Rosner: Yes, though, like you have to connect it to larger trends or tendencies in society. One of the larger trends, maybe not just for America, but certainly for America, is increasing selfishness. The sense of World War Two and then post-World War Two America, at least the public face of Americans, was that we were in stuff together and that we would thrive together.
Now, of course, there was plenty of racism and sexism that was built in, and that was part of our assumptions. So that all togetherness included some sort of exclusionary behaviors and institutions.
But we felt rich enough, powerful enough and righteous enough there, and also that there were these righteous institutions, e.g., scouting, religion, patriotism, standing together against the Nazis, the Soviet Union, and so on.
All these people were and it just made us less, unscrupulously greedy. The ratio of CEO salaries to the average worker salary is more like 30:1 instead of 300:1. So in a more selfish society, it doesn’t matter if we all thrive, if you’re looking at trying to excuse your selfish behavior because there’s not enough to go around.
So, this is stuff like this is part of a more Dog-Eat-Dog selfish orientation. The various amateur, gun toting morons, hitting state houses to protest the lockdown. Where the lockdown, it is a sacrifice, but it is nowhere near like near some of the sacrifices of the past, people getting killed in war.
So, it is the mark of an increasingly rinky dink country, a country that no longer feels like it is the paragon of world.
Jacobsen: Ok, let’s pause there.
[End of recorded material]
American Television Writer
Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Founder, In-Sight Publishing
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