Sunday, April 23, 2023

No Prescription for Organic Community


Following Frank's interview with Alan Ehrenhalt, I thought especially about the desire to be prescriptive in so many books, particularly found in those on politics and society. Ehrenhalt is right when he says so many authors look silly. After 200+ pages diagnosing the problem, people feel that there must be a "call to action," an offering of how we can turn back the tide of whatever issue we say is ruining our society. 

But the reality is that even such recommendations fall short of an organic change. A prognosis can never be natural if it is constantly deliberated, and who actually decides to stop watching television after reading Bowling Alone? What society is missing is not a prescription for the future: I think that we already have an idea what kind of future we want to live in. We don't need visions of infrastructure and technology to know that Western Civilization is dying because of its lack of organic community and associations. We've become so estranged from one another—ironically, particularly those in big cities who live so near each other but look the other way when someone is struggling—I guess that's just the con of overstimulation. 

Western Civilization is dying because we have simultaneously grown too estranged and too intertwined with those who we believe are most like us. We've associated ourselves, not with bowling leagues and chess clubs, but with politics and causes. Identities that rely on such fickle and superficial foundations of support are destined to survive only by creating the reason for their survival. In our case, indicative across the globe, that reason is that we are all enemies, split into warring teams. 

And you know what? We are. 


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