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Thirty years after a war that wounded its heart, 20 years after a scandal that scarred its conscience, 10 years after fiscal policies that ridiculed its sense of responsibility and fairness, the country has nearly exhausted the qualities by which democracy survives and flourished.
As Americans we have come to act more oppressed by freedom than invigorated by it, more concerned with freedom from rather than freedom to. We divide between the vast majority of us who -- out of futility, confusion or indifference -- are so disengaged from democracy we never vote at all, and those of us who vote not to thoughtfully resolve complicated issues Two kinds essay conclusion to express our rage.
History is clear that democracy cannot long navigate a sea of national rage. Untempered by rationale and open-mindedness, fury eventually consumes democracy rather than nourishes it, because it overwhelms our tolerance, our willingness to be reasonably informed, our determination to hold ourselves accountable for what we decide.
Most important, it overwhelms our basic faith in democracy itself and our belief in the individual freedoms that are inviolate to the power of the majority, identified by the Declaration of Independence as endowed by God and codified in the first 10 amendments to the Constitution. We display less patience, in other words, with other Americans.
A deep freeze has settled in the American soul. The nation gets meaner and more petty until rage is the only national passion left -- and then it is anger not at those on top, which is the anger America was born of, but at those on the bottom. Increasingly, we view individual freedom not as the fundamental building block of collective freedom but as an affront to collective sensibility or security.
We are encouraged by talk-show commentators to regard the most basic precepts of democracy as sentimental luxuries at best or, at worst, as legalistic refuge for vicious criminals, social parasites and moral scum. We find indignant solace in the single greatest myth of the contemporary political landscape, which holds that the problem with the country is the government and the politicians and the process as a whole.
This myth, that the process has grown helplessly out of touch with what we really want and feel and need, is the opposite of the truth. The truth is that we are the problem with America.
Confronted with change that is truly profound or revolutionary, which is to say unavoidably painful and disorienting, we scurry back to the status quo that so infuriated us to begin with, and that not so long ago we claimed was unacceptable. When they speak of unpleasant realities and tell us things must necessarily get harder before they get easier -- Bob Dole on the subject of the deficit and Bruce Babbitt on taxes during the presidential campaign ofPaul Tsongas on the economy inWarren Rudman and Bob Kerrey on entitlements, William J.
Bennett and Jack Kemp on illegal immigration -- we dismiss them at the polls or denounce them from the streets.
From political season to political season we demand our problems be solved and then make ruthlessly clear we expect someone else to pay the price. We say we want government to be smaller, but we never name government programs directly affecting us that we would be willing to forgo. People in the cities cry for cutting farm subsidies, people in the suburbs call for cutting inner-city programs.
To suggest we are hypocrites sounds elitist. It subverts the populism on which both the Right and Left capitalize, and offends the professed egalitarianism of a news media already cowed by accusations of liberal bias.
Our common sense admits that national economic survival is not served by cutting taxes and is not possible without addressing the epic components that make up most of the national budget, which one segment or another of the public has declared sacrosanct: That is because we have secretly come to fear and resent that the American dream itself may be a delusion.
This is the source of our rage, and of the rage that would devour democracy. It is a rage at ourselves, which we can barely stand to live with but which is the only thing that seems to pump blood through the national heart anymore. It is a rage at contradictions that confound and beset us. Though America has won the Cold War, we grow spiritually lethargic: International triumph appears not to have so much consolidated our power as dissipated it, and perhaps revealed its uselessness.
Though the economy improves, we grow financially insecure: Though the crime rate has dropped, we grow physically vulnerable: It is the very nature of modern crime, rather than its numbers, which bends our darkest imagination -- not just because crime has become more random and bizarre, but because it is now being committed by children for reasons that they cannot even name, and which confirm that an year-old may be soul-dead and beyond redemption.
Though our culture mirrors our vicarious desires, we grow sensually alienated from ourselves: All of these contradictions conspire to make democracy senseless, and all grow out of the biggest delusion of all, the delusion that most enrages us. This is the delusion of American innocence.
A virtual cottage industry of social and cultural psychoanalysis has been built on this delusion, as one historical phenomenon after another -- from the assassination of John F. Simpson hurtling down the L.
One of the most successful motion pictures of was about nothing less, its hero not only all the more noble but apparently all the more American for how dimwitted he is.Benedict De Spinoza (—) Benedict de Spinoza was among the most important of the post-Cartesian philosophers who flourished in the second half of the 17th barnweddingvt.com made significant contributions in virtually every area of philosophy, and his writings reveal the influence of such divergent sources as Stoicism, Jewish Rationalism, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Descartes, and a variety of.
The Essay From the time I was able to realize what a university was, all I heard from my mother's side of the family was about the University of Michigan and the great heritage it has. To arrive at the edge of the world's knowledge, seek out the most complex and sophisticated minds, put them in a room together, and have them ask each other the questions they are asking themselves.
Most fiction stories are told in first person but what makes this one different is that “Two Kinds” was based on the relationship between Amy Tan and her mother had while growing up in America.
As a reader I am able to see the narrator's childhood relationship between herself and her mother through her eyes which makes this short story much more personal.
Epistemology. Epistemology is the study of barnweddingvt.commologists concern themselves with a number of tasks, which we might sort into two categories. First, we must determine the nature of knowledge; that is, what does it mean to say that someone knows, or fails to know, something?
This is a matter of understanding what knowledge is, and how to distinguish between cases in which someone.
Aelius Donatus Life of Virgil tr. David Wilson-Okamura (; rev.
, , ) About the author. Aelius Donatus (fl. ) was a teacher of grammar and barnweddingvt.com the middle ages, he was probably best known as the author of a standard textbook; by the fourteenth century, his name had become a .