Developing character in a country that prides shallowness

I have written before about the political conditions that have given rise to Donald Trump, but it is an incomplete explanation. There is also a cultural and moral context that allows someone like Mr. Trump – narcissistic, crude, obsessed with wealth and fame, and who has never felt the need to ask God for forgiveness – to emerge. It is hardly a coincidence that Donald Trump shot to the top of the polls in a nation that celebrates the Kardashians.

All of which got me to thinking about the marvelous recent book by David Brooks, The Road to Character. According to Brooks, “Each society creates its own moral ecology. A moral ecology is a set of norms, assumptions, beliefs and habits of behavior and an institutionalized set of moral demands that emerge organically. Our moral ecology encourages us to be a certain sort of person.”

Brooks goes on to write, “Over the past several decades we have built a moral ecology around the Big Me, around the belief in a golden figure inside. This has led to a rise in narcissism and self-aggrandizement.”

Sound familiar?