Magazine article Insight on the News

Liberty Lost in the Mists?

Magazine article Insight on the News

Liberty Lost in the Mists?

Article excerpt

America is experiencing an epidemic of civic ignorance, according to Stephen Bertman, author of Cultural Amnesia: America's Future and the Crisis of Memory. The result is a blurred sense of democracy's value and the prices paid in the past for today's freedoms. This "dumbing of America" could undermine our democratic institutions and bring on the national equivalent of a nervous breakdown, Bertman says. "A culture maintains its identity by passing on the sum of its values and experiences from one generation to the next."

Writing in the most recent issue of The Futurist magazine, Bertman lists several factors that have "collaborated in obscuring the past and its meaning." One of those factors is the swift pace of the electronic age. Bertman puts it a bit more eloquently: "Never before in history have the minds of so many people been simultaneously immersed in the swirling waters of transience and impermanence."

He suggests that as a result of the fast pace there is no time to look back. "No wonder the past has receded from our thoughts" Bertman writes. "We have little time for it since our lives move so fast.... Like the scenery rushing by the window of a speeding car, the past becomes a blur. …

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