Continuing my previous post, Faith, Not Politics, Can Heal Lonely Hearts and a Nation: New York Times Op-Ed: Politics Can’t Fix What Ails Us, So david french (Author, Divided We Fall: The Threat of America’s Secession and How to Restore Our Nation (2020)):

One of the most important and interesting articles to read this week is a Reason magazine article by Elizabeth Nolan Brown on one of the most vital issues in the world today: declining fertility. With very few exceptions (Israel notable among them), fertility rates are falling well below replacement levels in virtually all developed nations, and no one has a realistic idea of ​​what to do about it. …

[O]ne reason why our politics is so angry and performative right now is that we know a series of profound and negative cultural changes are taking place, and we are turning to politics to solve crises that are beyond its reach.

There was another example in the pages of The Times this week. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy wrote a personal report and poignant piece on America’s isolation epidemic. “At any given time,” she said, “about one in two Americans is experimenting measurable loneliness levels.” These findings echo the conclusions of a recent study “belonging barometer”, a report from the American Immigration Council’s Center for Inclusion and Belonging, and Over Zero, a group that studies and combats identity-based violence at home and abroad. …

[T]Here are many more equally daunting social statistics. In my short tenure at The Times thus far, I have written about increased depression and anxiety in adolescents and suicide crises, drug overdoses, and educational achievement gaps that afflicts american men. While not all US social indicators are negative (the US economy is beating their rivals, for example), there are good reasons why millions of Americans feel deeply that something is seriously wrong with the country they love. …

Too many of us rightly feel a sense of loss, mistakenly turn to politics to fill the void in our lives, and then grow increasingly frustrated when the political process invariably fails to live up to the expectations we place on it.

The true response to our cultural challenge is much more parochial and personal. I remember Alexis de Tocqueville quote about american civic associations:

Americans of all ages, all walks of life, all minds are constantly coming together. They not only have commercial and industrial associations in which all take part, but they have associations of a thousand other kinds: religious, moral, serious, futile, very general and very particular, immense and very small. …

It is in these associations, these human connections, that we find purpose and meaning. And note the nature of the associations: most of what de Tocqueville describes is a collective response to a local need. Too many of our current local efforts are devoted to fighting national struggles. …

In general, each of us (including columnists!) can have a large influence on a small number of people, but only a small influence on a large number of people. …

When I look at the profound challenges of our time, from the waning desire to have children to the sadness and hopelessness that plagues so many of our children and the profound loneliness that afflicts many of us and our friends and neighbors, don’t think in five-point political plans. I think of something much more timeless and something much more under our own control. Quote the prophet malachi, it is time to “turn the hearts of the parents towards their children and the hearts of the children towards their parents”. Otherwise, our despair and loneliness will only increase, and no politician or political movement will heal our wounded hearts.

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Other David French op-eds:

  • Easter rebukes the Christian will to power (April 16, 2023)
  • In the face of tragedy, prayer is an act of faith (April 2, 2023)
  • Freedom of expression does not mean free rein to shout at others (March 27, 2023)
  • Faith, not politics, can heal lonely hearts and a nation (January 29, 2023)
  • How a great American victory shook the American faith (January 22, 2023)
  • What if diversity training is doing more harm than good? (January 19, 2023)
  • The law protects religious freedom, but Christians do not guarantee integrity in their institutions (January 15, 2023)
  • Fundamentalism cannot compete with grace in the competition for the human heart (December 11, 2022)
  • An open letter to those who think I have lost my Christian faith because I support the Respect for Marriage Act (November 27, 2022)
  • Why I Changed My Mind About The Law And Marriage, Again (November 20, 2022)
  • Does Jesus need an advertising campaign? (November 13, 2022)
  • Racial Discrimination Is Not The Path To Racial Justice: Why Harvard Is Wrong (Oct 31, 2022)
  • Christianity, Morality and Hypocrisy (October 23, 2022)
  • The Christian Case Against Biden’s Student Loan Debt Forgiveness Plan (Sept. 4, 2022)
  • Christian Political Ethics Is Upside Down (August 28, 2022)
  • I prayed and protested to finish off Roe. What comes next? (June 26, 2022)
  • War, Adoption, and God’s Faithfulness (December 5, 2021)
  • When the Church is right and the State is wrong: the right to prayer and ‘human contact’ for a convicted man before his execution (November 21, 2021)
  • Time to stop rationalizing and enabling evangelical vaccine rejection (September 19, 2021)
  • ‘Legal Cannonball’ Lawsuit Filed by Dozens of LGBTQ Christian College Students Has ‘No Real Chance of Success’ (April 11, 2021)
  • How a fictional football manager showed how the world should be: Ted Lasso and the simple power of forgiveness (January 24, 2021)
  • A Christian leader reminds believers of the power of character (November 1, 2020)

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