Lost Civilization

No, I’m not talking about a science fiction novel by Jules Verne or H.G. Wells. Civilization in decline is happening right now in America – and has been for some time. Our political divide has moved away from the center and toward extremists in both major parties. Divisive language in politics and media have increased racism, antisemitism and bigotry, amplifying hatred and squelching the beauty of diversity.



Having an advanced or humane culture, society, etc.
Polite; well-bred; refined.
Of or relating to civilized people: The civilized world must fight ignorance.
Easy to manage or control; well organized or ordered: The car is quiet and civilized, even in sharp turns.


Characteristic of a state of civilization
Especially : characterized by taste, refinement, or restraint

Cambridge Dictionary:

A civilized society or country has a well developed system of government, culture, and way of life and that treats the people who live there fairly:
A fair justice system is a fundamental part of a civilized society.
The terrorist attack on the UN building has shocked the civilized world.

Missing Pieces

Minorities and marginalized segments of our population have long pleaded for fairness, something that needs buy-in from all sides and infers equal consideration for every individual. Does the phrase, “dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal” sound familiar? Lincoln’s words may be idealistic, but the America I grew up with respected the phrase as a worthy objective, even if we failed to live up to the sentiment in practice. Without tolerance and compromise, someone will be left out of the “fairness” equation.

Never mind the “well-bred” or “refined” attributes – we’ve moved to far to think these are qualities that can impact 21st century society. Anyone with a following on YouTube, Reddit, Instagram or Tik Tok can proclaim truth as they see it without the need for a scholarly peer review. Lay person responses, arguments and debates are generating deep-seated beliefs. Can a growing army of the uninformed match wits with AI?

I contend there is merit in exercising courtesy and restraint in daily interactions, qualities that seem to wane as people dissatisfied with their lot in life allow anger to fester. Instead, what I see in the generations who have grown up in what was once called the “information age” are characteristics of impatience and disgust for people who don’t share their views. Arrogance from those who are social-media educated leads to discounting testimony from people who have gathered factual information. This is not the mark of an intelligent, advanced civilization. Nor is it particularly humane – or civilized – in nature.

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