Growing up in the 70s and 80s it was normal to believe in God, be patriotic, pledge allegiance to the flag in class, root for the USA in the Olympics, and not rave about how fat, anxious, or depressed you were. In fact, people generally hid their problems from each other and avoided controversial topics such as religion and politics in family and work gatherings.
Somewhere in the 90’s or 2000’s it became common to politicize everything imaginable and argue with people at Thanksgiving dinner or even boycott Thanksgiving at certain family members’ houses because of politics. And somewhere in there it also became relatively normal to endlessly share on social and other networks their various neuroses, difficulties, failures and problems.
It’s hard to pinpoint the moment our country essentially became an open-air asylum, but I’m pretty sure it’s been decades, at least since the late 1960s or early 1970s. Let me lay out the evidence :
Cities are overrun with homeless people and tent camps. I have lived and worked my entire life in urban neighborhoods where homelessness has long been ignored, accepted, and now encouraged. In my youth, the homeless were viewed with some disdain or at least skepticism and called vagrants, vagrants, vagrants, mental cases, or worse. Today, they’re called “homeless people,” as if that milder language does anything. In the 1970s, at least 250,000 Americans were counted as homeless, while today we have a homeless population of about 600,000.
Having worked with the homeless in the 1990s, I witnessed firsthand that homelessness was a nightmarish maelstrom of mental illness, addiction, unhealthy living, and perpetual suffering. However, we have completely reframed compassion for the homeless to mean letting people suffer enormously because they have more perceived freedom. What kind of freedom is it to live in a tent in a city where your shoes are likely to be stolen if you fall asleep at the wrong time? The difference between now and 40 or 50 years ago, is that society mistreated people living in tents in public places instead of encouraging it like it does today.
One-fifth of Americans suffered from mental illness by 2021, and trends look even worse for young people, especially girls. According to the latest news, nearly 3 out of 10 Americans will be diagnosed with depression in their lifetime. Part of this, of course, is because it has become fashionable to adopt a persona of victimhood in today’s culture, but it is also because our senses are constantly assaulted by the forms of media that we consume that we are told that we are inadequate and unworthy consumers. . Considering that half of Americans have three friends or fewer, it looks like this trend is only going to get worse. From the article:
“The health risks associated with prolonged loneliness are dramatic, similar to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day. Loneliness can increase the risk of premature death by 26 percent and increase the likelihood of heart disease, stroke , anxiety, depression and dementia”.
Rates of mental illness, especially among young people, have been rising for decades. But what is particularly alarming is the rapid increase in self-harming behavior by young people, which Jonathan Haidt has covered thoroughly. Here is a chart that surprised me:
Americans kill and kill each other in staggering numbers. About 45,000 Americans are killed each year, enough to fill a typical baseball stadium. Meanwhile, another 25,000 Americans kill each other each year. Enough to fill a large basketball court. It took Vietnam about 15 years to reach 58,000 dead by comparison. And then there are the slow suicides, the alcoholics, the addicts, the physically ill from years of gradual self-harm by smoking, drinking, overeating, and generally giving up. For example, there are now 7 million men of working age who have it completely abandoned the workforce.
I could talk about the transgender phenomenon or mask enthusiasts in grocery stores or on public transportation or any other display of cultural insanity, but you get the picture. This is simply the reality when you turn your culture into one Longhouse giant and annoying whose rules are arbitrary and apply only at the whim of elites. And it’s driving us all a little crazy.
We’re all suffering from this post-Christian cultural collapse, but the kids don’t stand a chance.