web analytics
July 31, 2015 / 15 Av, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Political Scandal, Public Emptiness And America’s Soul


Cain

The traditionally revered Western Canon of literature and art has been replaced by emphases on so-called “sports,” quantitative institutional “rankings,” and “Dancing with the Stars.” Apart from their pervasive drunkenness and generally tasteless entertainments, our once-sacred spaces of “higher education” have mainly become a pipeline for filling nonsensical and deeply unsatisfying jobs.

For most of our young people, learning has become a stunningly inconvenient commodity, nothing more. At the same time, as everyone already understands, commodities exist for only one purpose. They are there, like the newly minted college graduates themselves, to be bought and sold.

Though faced with genuine threats of war, illness, impoverishment and terror, millions of Americans still choose to amuse themselves to death with assorted forms of morbid excitement, grossly inedible foods, and the inane repetitions of an illiterate political discourse. Not a day goes by that we don’t notice some premonitory sign of impending catastrophe. Yet our anesthetized country continues to impose upon its exhausted and manipulated people an open devaluation of genuine thought, and a breakneck pace of unrelieved and unrewarded work.

It is small wonder that “No Vacancy” signs now hang securely outside our psychiatric hospitals, childcare centers, and prisons.

Soon, even if we should somehow manage to avoid nuclear war, further economic dislocation and mega-terrorism, the swaying of the American ship will become so violent that even the hardiest lamps will be overturned. Then, the phantoms of great ships of state, once laden with silver and gold, may no longer lie forgotten. Perhaps instead we will finally understand that the circumstances which once sent the compositions of Homer, Maimonides, Goethe, Milton, Shakespeare, Freud and Kafka to join the disintegrating works of forgotten poets were neither unique nor transient.

In an 1897 essay titled “On Being Human,” Woodrow Wilson inquired coyly about the authenticity of America. “Is it even open to us to choose to be genuine?” he asked. This president answered “yes,” but only if we first refused to stoop to join the injurious and synthetic “herds” of mass society. Otherwise, Wilson had already understood, our entire society would be left bloodless – a skeleton, dead also with that rusty corrosion of broken machinery, more hideous even than the inevitable decompositions of an individual person.

In all societies, individual souls are fundamentally important. There can be a better American Soul, but not until we first acknowledge a prior obligation to shun the unsustainable seductions of public scandals, crowd culture, shallow thinking, organized mediocrity, and a manifestly predatory politics of emptiness.

Louis René Beres, strategic and military affairs columnist for The Jewish Press, is professor of political science at Purdue University. Educated at Princeton (Ph.D., 1971), he lectures and publishes widely on international relations and international law and is the author of ten major books in the field. In Israel, Professor Beres was chair of Project Daniel.

About the Author: Louis René Beres (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971) is professor of political science and international law at Purdue University and the author of many books and articles dealing with international relations and strategic studies.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Political Scandal, Public Emptiness And America’s Soul”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Matt Lee of the Associated Press at the State Department press briefing.
ObameDeal Exposed: It’s not ‘Secret’ from Congress but not in Writing
Latest Indepth Stories
Silhouette of "hilltop settler."

“Yesha” and Binyamin Regional Council leaders said the attack “is not the path of Jews in Judea and Samaria.”

Schwartz-073115

The occasion? The rarely performed mitzvah of pidyon peter chamor: Redemption of a firstborn donkey.

Rabbi YY Rubinstein

American leftists have a pathological self-inflicted blindness to the dangers of political Islam

Tobin-073115

Hillary should THANK Trump; By dominating the news he’s overshadowed the implosion of her campaign

Hard to remember when Jewish youth were so hostile to their heritage as they are on campuses today.

Names of the enablers of Iran’s Nuclear weapons will be added next to Hitler’s on the list of infamy

By most accounts, the one person with the political muscle to swing enough Democratic votes to override a veto is Sen. Schumer.

The next day, in a speech in New York to the Council on Foreign Relations, Mr. Kerry substantially upped the ante.

In Israel, the judiciary has established itself as superior to ALL other branches of the government.

The Fifteenth Day of the month of Av became a day of national rejoicing. The moment that had seemed hopeless became the moment of Redemption.

I think the melodies in our religious services have a haunting sound to them that just permeates your guts and gets into your soul. If you have any musical inclination, I think they inspire you to compose.

Cavalier analogies to the Holocaust are unacceptable, but Huckabee’s analogy was very appropriate.

Pollard was a Jewish-head-on-a-pike for all American Jews to see and to learn the explicit lesson.

If the Iran deal passes, Obama’s WH becomes world’s leading financier of terrorism against Americans

More Articles from Louis Rene Beres

A “Palestine” could become another Lebanon, with many different factions battling for control.

Louis Rene Beres

President Obama’s core argument on a Middle East peace process is still founded on incorrect assumptions.

Once upon a time in America, every adult could recite at least some Spenglerian theory of decline.

President Obama’s core argument is still founded on incorrect assumptions.

Specific strategic lessons from the Bar Kokhba rebellion.

Still facing an effectively unhindered nuclear threat from Iran, Israel will soon need to choose between two strategic options.

For states, as for individuals, fear and reality go together naturally.

So much of the struggle between Israel and the Arabs continues to concern space.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/louis-bene-beres/political-scandal-public-emptiness-and-americas-soul-2/2011/12/29/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: