News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: The Decay Of America

Sunday, September 11, 2005

The Decay Of America

I have quoted Richard Sennett's work before. He brings to the field of sociology of psychology a realism and understanding of both the personal and the obejctive. For Sennett, what is wrong with modern America is that people resort to personal accounts and emotional responses rather than a rational discussion over what is wrong with them. In this interview, Sennett delves into the "rage" that exhibited itself in New Orleans. That is, being invisible in American society creates a rage within black Amewricans that explodes in times of crisis.

At the same time, Sennett discusses the issue of the "blame game." Instead of looking for someone to blame, Sennett says, we should be discussing what is wrong and how to fix it. This lack of ability to ask these questions points to a decadence within American society. This decadence is not the same as that which occurred in ancient Rome. Instead, it is a decadence that has set in in the very core of the American body politic. This decadence brings with it a lack of facing what is reality and fantasies that do not address what is real in our lives.

An Interview with Richard Sennett

"After 25 years of eroding the state, we seem to have lost even the ability to inquire as a society into the larger issue of how the public realm should be structured. Instead we descend into polemical recrimination or debates over the technical details of disaster relief. Public discourse itself has so atrophied we are unable to address social problems rationally. That is a measure of decadence."

Read the rest of this interview

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