[June 29, 2020] If you’re a pessimist, you might like this story. This is the untold story of dying institutions across the world. Institutions like marriage, education, comedy, politics, religion, and the economy are taking it on the chin. They are being hard hit but are necessary to ensure that a society properly functions. They are the backbone of a society.
Institutions (e.g., the Masonic Lodge, VFW, local churches) are monuments to high societal accomplishments; they are designed to bring greater good to the maximum number of people. These institutions ensure the accomplishment of the minimal necessary tasks that must be performed in all human groups.
We all know of the warnings about the fall of the family structure or the declining quality of education. For example, we are witness to a drop in the number of people identifying themselves as religious. And we see corruption in politics and the crackdown on freedoms such as free speech and the right to assemble.
But, what we do not see – the untold story – is the dramatic impact of self-imposed sanctions of the COVID-19 pandemic. Governments across the world have shut down vast areas of their economy and force isolation in every community. Those weakened institutions are feeling an unexpected impact of the quarantine and economic restrictions like never before.
Without these institutions that contribute to the well-being and growth of society, our culture will surely die. The old ways of doing things are seen as ancient, unworthy, and unnecessary. Who needs to be married anyway? Who needs to belong to a church or synagogue? Who needs free speech when there is so much hate in the world? Such an attitude, superimposed over the pandemic and restrictions that have followed, are causing intense pressure on our social institutions.
The American Boys Scout is a good example. Like a canary in the coal mine, they’ve been dying for a decade due to disastrous leadership and a decline in the need for social activities. Their decline parallels the suffering of other social institutions closely. The need for local organizations that teach character to young boys is needed now more than ever. Pandemic restrictions have forced the cancellation of all in-person activities. Personal character cannot be taught in an online Zoom meeting.
Already weakened, our social institutions are being carried to the graveyard. Too many “leaders” are all too willing to help. What is needed is a strong leader(s) who has the grit to build trust, create a vision of accomplishment, and show the way how to strengthen our needed institutions. Without such a person, too many of our institutions will die out. The effect will be devastating.