The problem is not with the people but with the message that we are all being subjected to.
Here’s what it boils down to. We Americans are constantly bombarded with the message that it’s better to have more shit. We’re taught that it’s good to get good grades and go to a good college and get a worthwhile degree. Why? So we can get a good job and afford to buy a lot of shit for ourselves and our family. And we call it “providing for our family and children”. The end result is the general sense that the more we have, the better we are or the better we must be doing at “life”.
The point is that there isn’t enough for everyone. Not everyone can afford the finer things in life, but we are ALL told that they are available for us. Conservatives and liberals are equally guilty in this respect.
We’re all told that we can all have these things, but no one wants to acknowledge the 10,000 lb gorilla in the room: we CAN’T all have that stuff. We wouldn’t want everyone to have all that stuff. It’s simple, really. The day that everyone can afford a Bentley is the day that the Bentley loses whatever appeal it may have. It’s the things that not everyone can have that everyone wants, for the most part. Diamonds aren’t valuable because they look nice; they’re valuable because they are rare and hard to get.
The result is that we have a society that basically looks to the gov’t to do the impossible: create a situation in which we all have what we want and what we need. It’s the difference between equal opportunity and equal results. Quite frankly, Thomas Jefferson NEVER should have written “pursuit of happiness”. We all have that right, but in no way, shape, or form are we even remotely equal in our ability to achieve such happiness.
And since we derive happiness from material possessions, and we are essentially taught from birth that this is a good thing, we are eternally fucked. That fucking cunt, Ayn Rand, is more responsible for this than anything in the last 50 years, in my decidedly non-humble opinion. The idea that capitalism is morality is a farce of an ideology, one that basically ignores everything Hume has shown about the is-ought dichotomy, has zero basis in a priori knowledge (what the FUCK can be logically deduced from A is A?), and is completely void of any attempt at epistemology. But I digress.
The point is that we are taught from Day One to accumulate shit, and to put ourselves into position to do so throughout life. If we cannot provide such things to our children, then we are lesser parents for failing to do so. So we are all trying to get our hands on something that CANNOT be possessed by everyone, despite being told that we can all have these things and despite being told that we are all capable of achieving these things. There isn’t enough to go around, not everyone is capable anyways, and yet, both sides of the political aisle let this lie perpetuate itself.
I shouldn’t even really bring politics into this since this is a PEOPLE problem and not a political one.
Our political situation these days is simply a reflection of this fundamental flaw in humanity, or at least in American humans. And in a democracy like ours, why shouldn’t it be reflective of us as people? We get the gov’t we deserve. So we get a gov’t that has a short-term outlook on EVERYTHING. Why? Because WE have a short-term outlook on everything.
I’d also say that the death of intellectualism is responsible as well. Many universities are simply liberal circle jerks, and many conservatives see universities as something to be avoided altogether. The end result is a nation comprised of people who cannot think critically and are ill-informed on many worldly issues. Critical thinking and logic should be required classes from 1st grade through 8th grade, at the very least, in ALL schools, public or private. Basic Aristotelian logic is certainly within the scope of middle school. Look at how often philosophy degrees are ridiculed nowadays. Why? Because you can’t get a high-paying job with a philosophy degree (for the most part) and therefore you cannot accumulate as much stuff as you could with a business degree. But quite frankly, I think it would be a foolhardy argument to suggest that a more well-rounded individual capable of critical thinking on issues outside of their area of expertise is more likely produced by comprehensive business classes rather than philosophy classes.
Well, that was about as close to a perfect post as I could ask for!
The old concept that to be " educated" meant that you had to understand philosophy, language, and logic would go a hell of a long way towards fixing a lot of these issues.
It won’t fix them all of course because as you said, its a people problem…and people aren’t perfect. But it would really fix a lot of things.
One of the things I despise is the use of identity politics. I fucking hate that because it is based on sympathetic emotion and cynical us/them play rather than any sort of underpinnings of logic.