Is only our happiness at risk? Or do we have moral hazard as a nation?

by DRM

The American promise is Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness.

Despite the economic and social challenges we face, our national crisis is different today than in the 1930’s, says Morgan Meis of The Smart Set. Our angst is around our ability to pursue happiness as blithely as we did during the 1990’s.  The past had more critical global issues.

More than that, the decade of the ’30s saw a continued escalation of ideological turmoil, the sense that something huge was at stake, perhaps the course of civilization itself. The clash of ideas was being confirmed by clashes in the streets, clashes of arms. Writing about the ’30s in an essay about Tess Slesinger’s novel, The Unpossessed, Lionel Trilling said, “the political tendency of the ’30s defined the style of the [intellectual] class — from that radicalism came the moral urgency, the sense of crisis, and the concern with personal salvation that mark the existence of American intellectuals.”

Today’s crisis is states of grey, a image introduced in defense of democracy by Adam Michnik.

“Grey is beautiful,” he said, and “democracy is a continuous articulation of particular interests, a diligent search for compromise among them, a marketplace of passions, emotions, hatreds, and hopes; it is eternal imperfection, a mixture of sinfulness, saintliness, and monkey business.”

Where is the moral hazard in our life?  In the life of this nation?  Are we missing a threat to the truth’s that we are taught to hold self-evident?  Or are we living through the natural collective mistake of a the social group and worrying and teasing our way back to an norm that is existentially balanced?

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