It’s a lot easier to hate your neighbor when you never actually have to live with them.
A new poll out from The Wall Street Journal on Monday revealed steep declines in what used to be bedrock values in American society. Americans are now far less patriotic, religious, community-oriented, and desiring of children than they were in 1998, while financial priorities have taken over.
Money is now a greater motivator than patriotism and religion. No wonder our corporate elites shamelessly shill for China. When there are no unifying moral standards around shared values, it’s a lot easier to see your neighbor as a competitive enemy than anything else. This is how more and more Americans view those around them.
The same Wall Street Journal poll found that placing value on tolerance for others also dropped from 80 percent four years ago to 58 percent. The results echo earlier surveys documenting nationwide polarization.
According to an Axios poll with Generation Lab conducted in November 2021, “nearly a quarter of college students wouldn’t be friends with someone who voted for the other presidential candidate — with Democrats far more likely to dismiss people than Republicans.”
In the violent summer of 2020, about 2 in 3 Americans reported being afraid to express opinions that were unpopular. When one side wants to utterly destroy the other, it’s not hard to see why. A sports announcer was fired for saying “all lives matter” that same year.
The reality is no matter how blue your neighborhood might be, you almost certainly have neighbors who voted for Trump in the last election. They just might not share it, for good reason.
[RELATED: A Neighbor You Like Probably Voted For Trump]
The coronavirus lockdowns only accelerated the nation’s divisive decline, born out of isolation. The Journal poll’s finding that only about 1 in 4 Americans view “community involvement” as “very important” to them should be among the least surprising from the survey. Childless adults who live online and work from home with a diet dependent on processed food from factories far away aren’t naturally going to be the most engaged in their local communities.
Combine that with Americans being incessantly told their country is irredeemably racist, and it’s even less surprising that just 38 percent of those surveyed by the Wall Street Journal consider patriotism “very important.” According to Gallup, American patriotism fell to an all-time low during the summer of 2020.
2020 was the year Americans retreated to tribalism, celebrating identity politics over collective unity. Just look at the flags people raise on their front lawns and Facebook profiles today compared to 20 years ago. Many Americans have even gone as far as planting social justice yard signs to call their neighbors bad people for not adhering to simple platitudes for complex problems.
The Journal’s findings of community disintegration are also why Marianne Williamson, the only Democratic candidate to launch a challenge against President Joe Biden so far, is easy for so many to mock. As American priorities shift from a spiritual form of community integration to a nation of secular elites who prize profit over partnership, Williamson’s musings became bizarre.
“I’m going to harness love for political purposes,” Williamson pledged on the Democratic debate stage in 2019. It was a losing strategy in 2020, and she didn’t make it to the third debate.
[LISTEN: Marianne Williamson On Truth, Spirituality, And Running For President]
When asked about Williamson’s candidacy, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre made fun of the self-help author. Jean-Pierre told reporters if the press secretary had a “crystal ball,” she would say whether she could feel Williamson’s “aura.”
Williamson responded to the snark on Fox News.
“I’ve written 15 books. I’ve given thousands of lectures. No one will see anywhere that I have said or written anything about crystal balls or about auras,” Williamson said. “I write books about religious, spiritual themes at the heart of all the great religious teachings of the world and I think given the deep religiosity and spirituality of a majority of Americans, you might want to be careful mocking that.”
But are a majority of Americans still deeply religious? According to the Wall Street Journal, the statement only holds true for less than 2 in 5.