In order for a society to function, there has to be a certain level of trust. Each day when we leave our homes, we take for granted that most people are not going to attack us for no reason, that there will only be isolated incidents of theft in our community and that rioting and violence are not going to erupt in the streets. Whether we realize it or not, we depend on the fact that the vast majority of the people around us are going to act in a civilized manner. Unfortunately, the thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted is starting to disappear. When I was growing up, I was taught that challenging times reveal our true character. There are many that believe that the declining economy is causing a lot of the chaos that we are now witnessing, but perhaps what is going on is that these challenging economic times are simply revealing the character that has been there all along. For decades, a “false prosperity” that was fueled by unprecedented amounts of debt has masked a lot of the internal rot that has taken hold in America. But now that our prosperity is crumbling, our lack of values is becoming startlingly clear.
Greed, corruption and extreme self-centeredness have deeply infected our society. We see this on Wall Street and in Congress, and we see this among those that are trying to survive on the mean streets of our largest cities.
Our nation is breaking down on every level. If by some miracle we were able to fix our economy, that would mask our problems for a while, but it would not solve them.
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