Saturday, July 21, 2012

Saturday Entertainment: Born In The USA

I heard this song this evening, after what seems like several years:

Along with X's "The Have Nots", it's another sign that if you were in a mainly blue collar crowd back in the 1980s, you could see the future coming. Soon, we'll all be there along with them, because if there's one thing Americans prove over and over again, it's that "freedom" means whatever your problems are, they won't affect me.

I've noted before that if you want to see the decline of the United States expressed from the point of view of everyday people, you can't do much better than to listen to the work of Bruce Springsteen. If he were the only one who had noticed it, perhaps it wouldn't be such a sad thing to relate. There were plenty of others who noticed, however, both in popular music and other art forms. What's sad is that you almost had to not want to see it in order to avoid noticing.


Paul Sunstone said...

This reminds me I've been meaning to ask you, Cujo. Do you think the American Decline has been inevitable? Would it have happened anyway due to our running out of resources, or for some other reason? Or has it been something we could have avoided with better leadership?

Cujo359 said...

Certain things about it were inevitable. Our position relative to the rest of the world was bound to change, for instance, simply because we had so much of an advantage at the end of World War II. We were the only industrial power with almost all of its infrastructure and population intact. The rest of the world was bound to catch up with us, barring more calamity.

Our own decline as a people, though, I don't view as inevitable. Maybe that's naive, but I think that we make our own fates as nations in many ways, and we Americans just seem to have decided we don't need to get any better than we were in the 1960s. Interest in education, economic equality, and just about everything else that makes us humane and strong flagged after that. We became a nation of people who weren't interested in doing better, except in the narrowest sense of doing better than other Americans.

Maybe that really was inevitable, too, but I think we could have managed our expectations for ourselves better.

Paul Sunstone said...

Thanks! How significant do you think Ayn Rand's ideology has been in our decline?

Cujo359 said...

I don't know, Paul. I really don't know how instrumental her writing was in the rise of all that "me-ism". Was it Rand, or ThirtySomething? Still, I think becoming more self-indulgent was part of the problem, and libertarianism plays right into that. Why should there be rules, or obligations to the society you live in? When lots of supposedly smart people feel they have to ask those questions, I suppose you're already in trouble as a society.