Yuval Levin on What You Can Do To Help Solve Our Broad Social Crisis

“A key part of our task,” Yuval writes, “is simply to see what we lack.”

"And when you step back and listen, an awful lot of what’s distinct about this moment in America seems like a response to a certain kind of suffering: a response to being left behind, disrespected, robbed of place and dignity and hope ... The absence we feel looks like isolation and mistrust and alienation, and so it looks like a shortage of belonging and confidence and legitimacy ... When we look for solutions, we tend not to look to institutions but to individuals, to movements, to ideals, or to maverick outsiders.”

"The transformation of our understanding of the role of institutions does not simply explain all this. It is not the cause of our broad social crisis, and it doesn’t offer the answer to the challenges that crisis has posed for us. But it is the cause we tend to be most blind to, and is it is worth seeing and articulating. And it also does point toward an answer to one of the deepest quandaries that now confront us.”

"And by failing to see the formative purpose of institutions, we undermine that purpose, and so we advance an idea of institutions as not molds but platforms, and contribute to a set of social transformations that tend to separate people in the very attempt to unite them, to undermine our aptitude for freedom in the very act of liberating us, to eat away our capacity for patient toleration, our decorum, our forbearance, our restraint; to cause us to mistake expression for reflection, affirmation for respect, reaction for responsibility, and empty celebrity for an earned reputation."

Yuval Levin is editor in chief of National Affairs, a right-leaning quarterly journal. He is a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. And he is the author of four books. 

In April, he delivered three lectures at Princeton University as part of its Charles E. Test, M.D., Distinguished Lectures Series. Yuval titled his talks, "Why Institutions Matter: Three Lectures on Breakdown and Renewal."

The videos of the lectures can be viewed by clicking on this link.

You can listen to my first interview with Yuval for the Long Game podcast, on July 19, 2017, by clicking here, or on iTunes here.

Outro music: "Cudi Montage" by KIDS SEE GHOSTS, Kanye West & Kid Cudi

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