Re. the life expectancy charts below, there was also another interesting story this week re. the decline in traditional values - God & country.
pic below didnt copy over correctly - lines are 20%, 40%, 60% and 80% - and relate to patriotism, religion, community involvement, children and money, respectively, from 1998-2023
There was a steep drop off during the pandemic (all are now below 40%, except money), but clearly a downward trend prior to that for the first three. It would appear the âsocial contractâ is coming unsealed. The curtain has been pulled to reveal the wizard as a fraud. We all knew this 30, 40, 50 years ago, but it seems the last decade or so, we are less inclined to be polite about it (manners, another value, were dropped). E.g, 30 or 40 years ago if you were at a party and you overheard a friend or neighbor say something you thought was ridiculous, like humanâs play no role in climate change, you were more apt to ignore for the sake of not creating a fuss (manners), or at the very least engage in a cautious debate. No longer, as people now feel obliged to correct this personâs statementâ¦ignoring manners, increasing discourse, but also disrupting the previously allowed harmony. So when you find yourself not able to even get along with neighbors, friends and family, that leads to questioning values. Unfortunately, I think once moving beyond God, family and country (all challenged by the pandemic, and our politics), most people donât have a grasp of what their values are (other than $). So, they either dig in (conservatives) or look for new, better ways (liberals). Both are fraught with danger and harmful if not done as a group/society. While the pandemic has had a role, this deterioration of values, without implementing a broad, socially acceptable replacement could also be why US life expectancy is falling. We all know how psychology or our mental states play a roll in our physical well being. Anyway, my meandering thoughts...you can ignore as most are apt to.
If thereâs a phrase that (supposedly) defines what U.S. foreign policy is all about these days, itâs âthe need to uphold a rules-based order.â Case in point: a desire to strengthen the current order is one of the main reasons the Biden administration has worked so hard to assemble a set of like-minded nations this week, in the second iteration of its so-called Democracy Summit. One can understand why: Saying the United States is just trying to uphold the rules is politer than saying its goal is to preserve U.S. primacy in perpetuity, weaken China permanently, topple governments it doesnât like, or undermine its other adversaries.
Of course, when U.S. officials say ârules-based order,â they mean the current order, whose rules were mostly made in America. Itâs not the existence of rules per se that they are defending; any order involving modern states must by necessity be rules-based, because the complex interactions of a globalized world cannot be managed without agreed-upon norms and procedures. These norms range from foundational principles (e.g., the idea of sovereign equality) to mundane everyday practices (e.g., the use of English as the standard language for international air traffic control). This raises the question: Which parts of the current order is the United States most eager to defend? Which norms matter most? (...)