The Untold Story of Dying Institutions

By | June 29, 2020

[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.

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

17 thoughts on “The Untold Story of Dying Institutions

  1. Yusaf from Texas

    Most of the story of the decline of social institutions has been told and told repeatedly over and over. What is not happening is that our political and community elites are not doing anything to help. At least, they should discuss it and admire those who are supportive of keeping up our institutions like the family, education, economy, religion, etc.

  2. Kenny Foster

    Good start of the decline of social institutions. We’ve been experiencing this a bit since at least the 1960s. In reality, well before then. Why? That is any body’s guess. But the fact remains, those institutions are in decline. Ask an academic and he will tell you they are not declining but changing. Well, that is a rose-colored glass look at them. When the family and religion declines, the very basis for society is being written off. Crime, poverty, etc will increase. Those who still believe and practice in the family and religion will be the most successful.

    1. The Kid 1945

      … and others will be most jealous of them. The thieves of our world will try to get what they can from the successful because the latter know they must adhere to a simple but hard set of rules. They are too lazy to do so and they are supported by many of our leftist politicians.

      1. Lynn Pitts

        I’m not so sure about that The Kid. Certainly our institutions are changing and there is little we can do about as a society. As an individual we can do something. Practice what we talk about, do what is right and good. But first, you must know what is right and good.

  3. Joe the Aussie

    Another excellent article to start my day off with a snippet of leadership info.

  4. AutisticTechie

    Of all the institutions, it is the family that has taken the biggest hit. It’s decline parallels closely the increase crime rates in so many areas and the brutal violence we are seeing everywhere. Religion’s decline is likely the number two contributor.

    1. Len Jakosky

      Excellent points, Autistic Techie. Major institutions are going down. Why? I think that the answer to that would win anyone the biggest prize a civilization could give. Only by identifying the problem (actually the interplay of many problems) then we could work on a solution. ?

  5. Harry B. Donner

    How specifically the COVID pandemic we’ve been subject to has impacted our institutions negatively is not really spelt out here. While I do agree that the effect is wildly negative, it would be a good thing to show why. I know that the govt shutdowns have made a huge difference. Being cooped up in your house or apt with others can be a drag after a while (for those with weak personalities) but come on! We need a bit more.

    1. Max Foster

      Hello Harry, I don’t think you got the point of this article. Gen. Satterfield is saying that the pandemic is hitting our ability to “trust” one anther very hard. The very foundation of any institution (human made of course) is TRUST. When trust is being destroyed (or more likely in some cities, ‘allowed’ to be destroyed) then we lose hope and our ability to believe what leaders are telling us.

      1. Otto Z. Zuckermann

        I agree with you Max but Harry also has a point. Maybe Gen. Satterfield would consider a more detailed 2-part series or something to give us a little more.

    2. Janna Faulkner

      Yes, the pandemic, Harry but remember that we must believe in the fairness and trustworthiness of institutions for them to work. Too many, for example, don’t believe in marriage any more and now only the rich are getting married.

    3. Eric Coda

      Good point Harry. Thanks. I too would like to see a bit more from this blog related to the decline of our social institutions. The decline was already there. I think Gen. Satterfield means that the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns is accelerating the decline.

      1. Linux Man

        Yes! That is the point here. And no one is saying this. Why not?

      2. JT Patterson

        Gen. Satterfield should look back on the long-term decline and offer suggestions about what us leaders can do.

  6. Greg Heyman

    Enjoyable, entertaining, and educational. Thank you Gen Satterfield for giving us a new perspective on why our institutions are dying.

    1. Army Captain

      Yes, appreciate the quick comment Stacey!

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