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Very prescient.
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Scarily so, although the decline had already begun when he wrote that book. Great read, by the way.
 
It won't happen everywhere the same.

I think that as this "state by state" thing gains hold, that some areas will slip into this trap, and others will be havens of science and progress.
 
That's an optimistic view +Nobilis Reed. As an outsider, looking at the US from the opposite side of the world, it seriously looks like the whole country is doomed. It's not a case of if the slide occurs, but when.

If I were a real doomsayer, I'd probably envision a future where scientists are burned at the stake (or given lethal injections) for going against the interests of the mighty corporations and their few billionaire hierophants. [We see this already in the global warming "debate"] 
 
"As an outsider, looking at the US from the opposite side of the world, it seriously looks like the whole country is doomed. ":
 
As an outsider your emotional viewpoint has almost no value. As an Australian it has less because your country is irrelevant.  The great thing about this country is how different each state is. Some places like Kentucky and Texas are taking steps backward, others aren't.

"If I were a real doomsayer, I'd probably envision a future where scientists are burned at the stake (or given lethal injections) for going against the interests of the mighty corporations and their few billionaire hierophants. [We see this already in the global warming "debate"] "

Cool, which global warming debates end with scientists being burned at the stake or given lethal injections?
 
I don't see this so much as a state issue, as being an Urban vs. Rural issue. For example: Oregon. Portland, Eugene, Salem, Beaverton, and other urban zones are perfectly reasonable and mostly forward-thinking (Salem is drowning in Politicians, so that's a downside for them), but if you drive only a few miles outside of those cities and you find the most radical changes in opinion, politics, and general discourse. It's almost scary how radical a difference there is. I used to think it had to do with the education levels in those rural areas, but I doubt that is true now. It seems now those outside of the cities are more likely to get into Groupthink with their neighbors, having less interactions with others than city-dwellers have. This leads to a homogenization of thought among the Rural people, where they become accustomed to letting their opinions be swayed by others, including the media. Fox News and right-wing radio have taken advantage of this, and thus you see the degradation of critical thought that is occurring in the US.
 
The thing to keep in mind about the US is that it's not a monoculture. There are lots of different regions and sub-regions with radically different cultures.  It's not even really liberal vs. conservative, because there's a big difference between a Massachusetts liberal, a DC liberal, and a San Francisco liberal; likewise a big difference between an Ohio conservative, a Colorado conservative, and a South Carolina conservative.

It's also more complicated than urban vs. rural.  Richmond is urban and conservative; New Hampshire is rural and liberal.

It's easy to look at what happens in the media and think that the country is coming apart at the seams.

But consider this:

In more than a year of protests, there have been a grand total of thirty-two deaths in the "Occupy Wall Street" protests.  It's a worldwide movement, but the primary protest is in the heart of our largest city.  Yes, there have been clashes with police, there have been lots of arrests and injuries, but only thirty-two deaths. That's minuscule given the scale of the protest.

We have terrible philosophical differences in this country, issues that seem completely intractable...and yet here we are. I doubt any other country in the world could tolerate our level of disagreements as peacefully as we have.
 
+Steve Broome everyone's view has value whether they are an 'outsider' or not. If anything it may be possible that someone looking from outside of a culture can do so with a more objective view as they are not entrenched in the current thinking within that culture. Besides which as a global community and global economy we are all bound to one another, the things that differentiate us between cultures is much fewer that the things that we share in common. If anything I would say that the diversity of thinking is not simply global vs local but relates to  location, political philosophy (conservative, liberal, libertarian etc), specific interest group (gay, religious etc), urban or rural, education level, income etc etc etc. In short it is multi-layered and complicated and an informed opinion no matter where it comes from is valid.
 
The Demon Haunted World is an excellent read. If you have watched the Cosmos series, it had plenty of commentary on past and modern society and their values.
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