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Response to applegrove (Original post)

Sun Jan 19, 2020, 11:52 AM

11. Or it was all smoke and mirrors to begin with.

Have institutions suddenly become more corrupt while I wasn't looking? Have priests just recently started abusing children, have bureaucracies suddenly decided to start covering up wrongdoing rather than boldly and forthrightly admitting it and correcting it? Was public education once about truth and beauty, and not about making good grades? When, oh when, I wonder, was this Golden Age when we could rely on our betters to Do The Right Thing and act for the good of all?

Perception is everything. Certain institutions had very good PR for many years -- centuries, even -- because they succeeded in hiding their misdeeds from the scrutiny of the public. The Organization Man knew that he had to toe the party line, mouth the right platitudes, and always, always put the good of the institution above all other considerations, or he wouldn't be in that organization very long. Why have Americans lost faith? Because the culture of silence has faltered, largely because the disgruntled can't be controlled in an open media world. There's a reason "whistleblowers" are hated ("finks" and "rats" are not recent terms), there's a reason the worst crime is never the crime itself, but revealing that a crime has been committed. Americans are losing faith because it is becoming increasingly clear that they've been sold a bill of goods since forever, and that "American Dream" the author is on about has always been a lie, true only for a small portion of the people in very specific conditions. But, oh, it sold well.

-- Mal

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