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Andrew Sullivan on the Opioid Epidemic in America
The pace of change, the ethos of individualism, the relentless dehumanization that capitalism abets, the constant moving and disruption, combined with a relatively small government and the absence of official religion, risked the construction of an overly atomized society, where everyone has to create his or her own meaning, and everyone feels alone. The American project always left an empty center of collective meaning, but for a long time Americans filled it with their own extraordinary work ethic, an unprecedented web of associations and clubs and communal or ethnic ties far surpassing Europe’s, and such a plethora of religious options that almost no one was left without a purpose or some kind of easily available meaning to their lives. Tocqueville marveled at this American exceptionalism as the key to democratic success, but he worried that it might not endure forever.

And it hasn’t. What has happened in the past few decades is an accelerated waning of all these traditional American supports for a meaningful, collective life, and their replacement with various forms of cheap distraction. Addiction — to work, to food, to phones, to TV, to video games, to porn, to news, and to drugs — is all around us. The core habit of bourgeois life — deferred gratification — has lost its grip on the American soul. We seek the instant, easy highs, and it’s hard not to see this as the broader context for the opioid wave. ...

Opioids are just one of the ways Americans are trying to cope with an inhuman new world where everything is flat, where communication is virtual, and where those core elements of human happiness — faith, family, community — seem to elude so many. Until we resolve these deeper social, cultural, and psychological problems, until we discover a new meaning or reimagine our old religion or reinvent our way of life, the poppy will flourish.
america  culture  meaning  poverty  screens  technology  drugs  opioids 
18 hours ago by phillip.e.johnston
Strange Elegies | Commonweal Magazine
Neither Hillbilly Elegy nor Strangers in Their Own Land tells us much about America that a sensitive reader would not already know. Instead, they reveal their authors’ respective political fatalism and optimism. If you want to read the story of a former Marine with a real plan for helping the disadvantaged, check out Lee Carter, who decided to run for the Virginia legislature when he was electrocuted on the job and had to pay for medical care without insurance. Carter won, defeating the House majority whip. We need more of that kind of political energy—not Hochschildish relativism dressed up in the guise of civility.

The “deep story” of the right is increasingly a Manichean one of friends and enemies, locked in mortal struggle to control the state. Endless listening sessions won’t change that dynamic, nor will Vance’s self-help platitudes. Instead, progressives need to reach out to the apathetic, with their own deep story of solidarity, equality, and effective government. American politics is now a race to enroll the unengaged in one of two incompatible visions of the American dream. The sooner anti-Trump forces realize this, the better.
usa  america  politics  conservatives  solidarity 
22 hours ago by isaacsmith
RT : After the shooting in , FL, high school students around are getting organized and politically act…
America  Parkland  from twitter
yesterday by tmdblya
Why the Second Amendment does not stymie gun control - The Economist explains
Nearly every gun regulation under discussion today—from expanded background checks to bans on military-style weapons—would seem to pass constitutional muster.

To the dismay of the National Rifle Association (NRA), which takes a much wider view of the Second Amendment, the Supreme Court has consistently refused to embellish the constitutional right to bear arms in the decade since the Heller decision. The NRA was particularly piqued in November 2017 when the justices declined to entertain a challenge to Maryland’s ban on large-capacity magazines and semi-automatic weapons, placing AR-15s outside the ambit of constitutional protection. It will not be pleased by another demurral on February 20th, when only Justice Clarence Thomas noted his displeasure with the high court’s refusal to hear a challenge to a Californian law that requires the buyer of a gun to wait 10 days before taking possession. His 14-page dissent complained that the lower court treated the Second Amendment “cavalierly” and that the right to bear arms is a “disfavoured right” at the Supreme Court. Whether disfavoured or legitimately circumscribed, it is clear that the Second Amendment is not the primary obstacle to gun control. If legislators in the state capitols and Congress find the political will to clamp down on America’s millions of powerful and often loosely regulated weapons, it seems there is a constitutional way.
guns  america 
yesterday by corrales
The Making of a No. 1 YouTube Conspiracy Video After the Parkland Tragedy - The New York Times
What propelled this one to popularity — and eventually into YouTube’s promotional apparatus — came from outside the platform.

Links to the video proliferated on 4chan, where users have gleefully embraced the conspiracy theories and mocked the shooting victims. When it hit YouTube’s Trending page, some on 4chan celebrated: “TRENDING IN THE USA,” began one thread in the far-right politics board called /pol/. “WE’RE BREAKING THE CONDITIONING.”

The “mike m.” video also found traction on Twitter, on Facebook and in stories and comment threads on conspiracy sites. It rose in the circuitous and unexpected manner of a viral video, rather than one that had been calculated to game YouTube’s algorithms by seizing on interest in breaking news or tragedy — it had no catchy headline, no recognizable personality, no vast theorizing. And yet it blasted through YouTube’s safeguards and somehow kept going, exposing the platform as vulnerable to sudden influence from inside and outside its walls.

After YouTube removed the video, “mike m.” said his account had received a “strike” — that is how YouTube warns users that they have broken the site’s rules or violated its guidelines. (Three strikes and you’re out.) “I mean, why strike me over a beach confrontation video???” he said. A second video he had posted about the shooting was gaining popularity Wednesday morning, he said, until it, too, was deleted, and another strike was added to his account.

Anonymous and remorseless, “mike m” was undeterred. “There is more to this kid than appears on MSM,” he said, using the common shorthand for “mainstream media.” Asked if he would think twice about posting such videos in the future, he said, “No not at all.”

He said he was worried about his account getting deleted, adding: “But I am not going to stop.”
society  guns  america 
yesterday by corrales
RT : After the shooting in , FL, high school students around are getting organized and politically act…
Parkland  America  from twitter_favs
yesterday by TheDooner64
RT : After the shooting in , FL, high school students around are getting organized and politically act…
Parkland  America  from twitter
yesterday by ericaheinz
RT : After the shooting in , FL, high school students around are getting organized and politically act…
America  Parkland  from twitter_favs
yesterday by KateSherrill
The Legacy of Malcolm X - The Atlantic
Yet the movement demanded of African Americans a superhuman capacity for forgiveness. Dick Gregory summed up the dilemma well. “I committed to nonviolence,” Marable quotes him as saying. “But I’m sort of embarrassed by it.”
america  history 
yesterday by corrales

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