There is no word that better describes the state of America’s culture today than “can’t.”
Whether it be in the context of stupidly shouting out “they can’t do that,” as we all watch them do whatever it is that we’re screaming they can’t, or whether it be used in excuse form as in “I can’t afford it,” we are a nation of can’ts.
For decades, stand-up comedians have stumbled upon some of the most brilliant social observances of their times. Australian native and current American resident Jim Jeffries is a fairly popular, totally vulgar functioning addict who has done just that. In his brilliantly correct 5 minute rant on dumb Americans, he perfectly skewers everything that is wrong with our society. We’re raising generation after generation of people who are undeniably stupid, yet filled with the arrogant confidence that comes with being “American.” [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
The problem is that simply being “American,” doesn’t mean a damned thing any longer. Decades of decay have shown the world what many of us knew from the jump; simply being here is not enough. America is not a Providentially protected piece of land which will prosper, persevere and thrive on its own. It must be nurtured, cared for and defended constantly, lest it fall from its’ perch, which is exactly what’s happening now. All because we can’t. As a society we simply can’t. That’s our new America; Land of the free and home of the can’ts.
Across the world, natives of Brazil, India, China, South Korea and a dozen other countries are no longer intimidated or even impressed by Americans any longer. They still revere the idea that was America, but only to the extent that they can use their superior intelligence and work ethic as a way to benefit from it. Hell, in today’s global economy, they don’t even need to move here any longer to prosper from America’s wealth. And why would they want to? The land of opportunity is anywhere in this world where you have access to America now, not merely on our shores.
And so people around the globe, who can, are taking advantage of those of us who can’t. And won’t. And we’re letting them, because we just don’t care.
Ironically, if I were to chronicle for you how people from foreign lands are using their drive and determination to remove the wealth from America and bring it to their homelands your response would most likely be “they can’t do that!” HA!
They are. And guess what? We can’t stop them. Because we aren’t smart enough any longer, we aren’t driven enough any longer, and we don’t care at all because we don’t understand what America was supposed to be and how we were supposed to steward her. We’re soft, beyond soft, and we have no interest or ability to toughen up. We’d rather watch school officials in Virginia suspend kids from their school for a year for playing with fake guns on their own private property than actually do anything about it. We’ll simply yell out “they can’t do that,” or “that can’t be true,” as Rome burns around us. Yelling “can’t” is the new fiddle. Sadly, most of you have no idea what that reference is. Way to go, America.
To be fair, the “can’t” society is not uniquely American, which should (but won’t) terrify most of us. It’s a phenomenon of Western cultures which have spent decades telling children who finish in 9th place that they’re great, combined with a total lack of appreciation for how great we’ve had it for all of these years. Last week in Great Britain a stunningly poignant piece went viral which shocked no one and could have easily been written by any random American. Read these highlights and see if it doesn’t personify today’s USA:
“…I'm a 30-year-old woman who still lives at home…I am part of a generation who can't get well-paid jobs, can't afford houses and as a result can't even leave home…The truth is that living in the comfortable luxury of my family home, a warm, cheerfully decorated, four-bedroom, semi-detached house in North London - a property way beyond my means as a single woman - means that I have no impetus to leave…Why should I? Where could I live this well, with three meals a day, a laundry service, full use of the garden and all utilities - all completely free? Where is the incentive to strike out on my own? I know my friends feel the same…. times have changed…it's normal to remain in your childhood homes into your adult years, and sometimes even after marriage. It's now happening.” [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Of course, it’s more than just adults living at home, being perfectly happy to achieve nothing. It’s more than just proving what sociologists have always known; that pride and drive and ambition are not at all natural and must be taught, and we’re not doing that at all any longer. It’s more than showing in a glaring light that when you have it so good, as we do, the desire to do better is further and further away, especially when hard work is involved. More and more of us look around and say “hey, I have it pretty good, why should I do more?”
It’s all of it and so much more. The cultural rot and societal decay is so obvious you can almost smell it. Certainly you can see it, and if you can’t, you’re just another arrogant, ignorant dumb American.