In the past decade, nearly every pillar institution in American society — whether it's General Motors, Congress, Wall Street, Major League Baseball, the Catholic Church or the mainstream media — has revealed itself to be corrupt, incompetent or both. And at the root of these failures are the people who run these institutions, the bright and industrious minds who occupy the commanding heights of our meritocratic order. In exchange for their power, status and remuneration, they are supposed to make sure everything operates smoothly. But after a cascade of scandals and catastrophes, that implicit social contract lies in ruins, replaced by mass skepticism, contempt and disillusionment.
In the wake of the implosion of nearly all sources of American authority, this new decade will have to be about reforming our institutions to reconstitute a more reliable and democratic form of authority.
The sad fact is, America is in decline not because of anything our current President and Congress have done or attempted to do. Rather, the past generation of conservative dominance has shredded the social and political fabric of this country, and we are left with the monumental task of reconfiguring it - in the face of the constant shriek that we are the ones who have destroyed or are destroying the country.
I look forward to their responses.