Charles Krauthammer writes:
My personal preference is for … the reform conservatism that locates the source of our problems not in heartless billionaires or crafty foreigners, but in our superannuated, increasingly sclerotic 20th-century welfare state structures.
This line caught my attention because I had just finished reading David Brooks, who says the country is suffering from “an epidemic of isolation, addiction, and trauma.” Brooks cites the large numbers of Americans who report chronic loneliness, a surge in addiction, the rising number of children born to unmarried women, a decrease in religious affiliation, and a collapse of trust in others, in media, and in government.
My problem is I can’t reconcile the two columns. I don’t understand how our “superannuated, increasingly sclerotic 20th-century welfare state structures” are entirely to blame for the political, cultural, and social decomposition of America. And I am afraid decomposition is the word: Political, since the influence and strength and size of our parties is in decline as polarization widens. Cultural, because the “revolt of the public” and the explosion in content has revolutionized and balkanized the way Americans read the news and experience culture.