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Uncivil Discourse in USA – 2010

October 11, 2010

The Editor, Ohio State Alumni Magazine, Columbus, Ohio

Dear Ms Bonenberger,

John Deever in his article, Uncivil Discourse (Sept/Oct ’10), should have included economists as sources along with the psychologists, political scientists, philosophers, and lawyers. 

An epidemic of narcissism is offered as one explanation for an evident increase of bitterness in public debate, apparently in part because narcissists take no responsibility for their actions unless they are being rewarded for them.   Even people not inherently narcissistic seem to be “seduced by the increasing emphasis on material wealth, physical appearance, celebrity worship, and attention seeking.”

The most influential aspect of this has been the growth of consumerism.  Our populations have been converted from citizens to be primarily consumers as a way of creating an economy most easily manipulated to achieve greater concentrations of wealth.  Witness the finance crisis of 2008-2010.

Those who have benefited the most from the takeovers and the bailout are unapologetic and insist on carrying on as before.  They might be seen as role models for a narcissist emergence.

Sincerely, Richard Keller

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