Originally Posted by Sini
I think in any conversation about decline we need to first agree on definitions. We can talk about decline of enlightenment values. We can talk about decline of the middle class America. We can talk about decline of manufacturing. We can talk about decline of military dominance. We can talk about decline of education. We can speculate about innovation and when to expect decline there.

Personally, I think we are heading toward technocratic oligarchy. It appears that Twitter just got away with election meddling, this will only embolden future bad actors in this space. I would like to hear what you think can be done to discourage future misbehavior.

Sorry I never responded to this one, politics became too depressing for me to follow for a while.

Decline of enlightenment values would be the closest decline, but that also not quite on point - in some regards, enlightenment rationalization taken to certain extremes is I think partiall responsible for our situation.

One of the best frameworks with which to examine our current social ills comes from Max Weber, where he outlined the phenominae of disenchantment and re-enchantment. What we are seeing in my view is the US public, being disenchanted of any unifying belief or narrative, is a social fragmentation of beliefs and values amongst different social spheres where varying social spheres have become re-enchanted with disparate value sets and beliefs that even take on quasi-religious properties in many regards. Disenchantment with religion and science which for periods of time served as a near-universal basis for social agreement were to some degree supplanted with (and often coincided with ) enchantment with patriotic myth, such as belief in Founding Fathers, Constitution, American Dream, Manifest Destiny, Democracy, Enlightement rationality - and disenchantment with those 'myths' has resulted in the various competing social spheres to become re-enchanted with diverse sets of beliefs and values that are largely incompatible with one another, resulting in large swaths of the public not sharing enough of a common philosophical grounding or value agreement needed for reasonable mutual accomodation of interests, nor of peaceful arbitration between the competing social spheres of influence as to what constitutes an acceptable public good.

Lacking a shared universal belief, or, in some regards a shared mythology, as common ground for mutual respect of political rules and process that facilitate governance is undermining the institutions underpinning our very system of governance and shifting our society from one in which power is derived from rational-legal authority to one that is driven by charismatic authority.

Or put slightly differently, when competing social spheres of influence cannot agree on a common set of rules and values by which to arbitrate their differences according to a shared rationale for creating and enforcing rules - rational-legal systems cannot function, and lose their power. That vacuum is typically, and in our case currently, being filled by a rise of charismatic authority.

Unless we can once again find a widely shared belief in a common set of values to underpin our political interactions, the fragmentation will continue with the end result being rising social violence and either dissolution of the body politic or (more common and likely) escalated social violence and authoritarianism under whichever chasimatic authority wins out in the end.

Last edited by Derid; 10/17/21 03:35 PM.

For who could be free when every other man's humour might domineer over him? - John Locke (2nd Treatise, sect 57)