J. Peder Zane in his Jan. 1 column, “Here’s to not knowing you,” adeptly described the ways in which our society is changing. People are less connected with each other. Those at the top separate themselves from the rest of us.
But his conclusion – that this means “America keeps getting better and better” – is based on a faulty view of what freedom is. Does freedom simply mean that I can do what I want and there’s no one to “tread on me”? Is it freedom when the gay couple in the next town is free to marry, while I shun their company? Is it freedom when I regard taxes as an annoyance and not as a way to help others? I suppose Zane would answer in the affirmative.
But while these things might give the illusion of freedom, they’re actually signs of a society that will crumble as soon as it’s confronted with big problems that demand a unified response. Ask the people who already shoulder the burden of those big problems: poor children in crumbling schools, farmers devastated by “free trade” (and soon by global warming). They’ll say, no, America is not getting better and better.