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Is this “youthful” country on the way to decrepitude?

Dante

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March 12, 2010, 9:30 pm
Is the U.S. Following in Rome’s Footsteps?
By DAVID BROOKS AND DICK CAVETT

Do you bitch and moan, complain, whine about the government, America, society?

If so you may want to take a look at how some of us view you:

David Brooks: Dick, I’m just back from a grueling five days during which I took 11 flights — everywhere from Florida to Tucson to Atlanta to Denver to Raleigh ( O.K., I watched Duke crush North Carolina at Raleigh-Durham so that wasn’t so bad).

But I did get to engage in a fair bit of the activity that others call eavesdropping but I call reporting. I listened to other people’s conversations on the planes, and had a few of my own.

I’m beginning to be infected with the pessimism.

My small sample size confirmed what the polls show — Americans are in a crappy mood. People on several flights were talking about how rotten Washington is. “They take in a dollar and they spend two,” is how one machinist put it. The only really happy person was a 23-year-old kid I sat next to on a short flight from Atlanta to southern Georgia who had just gotten a job helping to maintain the F-22 for $25 an hour. I didn’t have the heart to ask if the F-22 was being zeroed out in 2010.


...

Dick Cavett: What a profound question. Is this “youthful” country on the way to decrepitude? Many of my friends think it is, as are they.

History is not reassuring on the subject of the longevity of seemingly lasting great nations, is it?

The only person I know who has read every single volume of what Noel Coward, in a lyric, called “Gibbon’s divine ‘Decline and Fall’” is Gore Vidal. You doubtless have. Are there lessons for us there? I’d love to know how what was ROME became merely Rome, leaving behind some widely scattered aqueducts and old coins. And in my own lifetime we have seen a colossus tumble: the plucky little Soviet Union.

History is not reassuring on the subject of the longevity of seemingly lasting great nations.

Sometimes I think if I hear the words “health insurance” three more times I’ll have a seizure, requiring mine. But here’s a nice parallel to your chatting-with-fellow-travelers gleanings: A friend on business visited five countries in but a few more days. In each case, aloft and otherwise, she asked, “How’s your health insurance situation in your country?
 
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Dante

Dante

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I really like when Brooks gets it right.
 

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