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ERIC Number: EJ949548
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Dec-1
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0146-5945
No Thanks to Gratitude
Ceaser, James W.
Policy Review, n170 Dec 2011
Gratitude is one of the most fundamental and complex of the virtues, overlapping with and undergirding many of the others. Is gratitude today a diminishing virtue, less evident than it was in the past? And if so, how much of this decline is due to government or political action and how much to general trends that are operating in the culture at large? These are difficult questions, and it is hard to prove any answer beyond a reasonable doubt. Many thinkers today contend that there has been a steep decline in the ethos of gratitude in modern America, citing as causes failures in civic education and a diminishing influence of religion. In addition, wealth and technology appear to have increased expectations and allowed many people to take much for granted. The relative security of today, in which there have been no wars on a major scale, may also contribute to this decline. Still, the disposition for gratitude can never be eliminated. It resides in the human heart. There will always be occasions, whether born of concerns for one's own well-being and that of their loved ones, or of the safety of the nation, where the power of a gift breaks through the veneer of a sense of control and security and makes people feel grateful. It may be, however, that people are too prone today to search for trends, as if the only reason to validate a concern about a virtue is if conditions are deteriorating. For most enduring human problems, trends occur at the margins, and slight changes, which are usually beyond people's powers to detect, do not really touch the essence of the matter. When it comes to public gratitude, whatever trend may be afoot, people can be certain that sustaining a living history will always prove to be a difficult challenge. The author contends that if people are to be true to the spirit of the gifts of those who created this nation, keeping alive its great memories is something people owe not just to themselves, but to all mankind.
Hoover Institution, Stanford University. 21 Dupont Circle NW Suite 310, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 877-558-3727; Tel: 202-466-6730; Fax: 202-466-6733; e-mail: polrev@hoover.stanford.edu; Web site: http://www.hoover.org/publications/policyreview/about
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States