Social Sciences

Start Free Trial

What are some of the greatest follies of our age? Please share your opinions....thank you.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The greatest follies of America are in not protecting its borders and its Constitutional foundations.  The weakness of re-interpreting things and situational ethics have brought about many of the social ills in this country.  Clearly, operating with what is politically or financially expedient has done irreparable damage to a once very powerful nation....

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

The greatest follies of America are in not protecting its borders and its Constitutional foundations.  The weakness of re-interpreting things and situational ethics have brought about many of the social ills in this country.  Clearly, operating with what is politically or financially expedient has done irreparable damage to a once very powerful nation. And, above all, the greatest personal folly committed by Americans is their refusal to be truly informed and to allow propaganda and slanted news to influence them. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The lack of commitment in marriage has created at two generations of children growing up in single parent homes.  Beginning in the mid 1960's, marriage and divorce began to hold hands.  Society and its children became the losers.  This is the greatest folly in the latter half of the 20th century...and no sign of improvement.

IN 1980, 50 percent of marriages ended in divorce. That figure has not changed.   However, a closer look at how the laws have changed and what impact societal values play will illustrate the impact on America's children. 

Before 1970, believe it or not, divorces were rather uncommon and hard to get.  In order to obtain a divorce, one of the spouses had to committed a wrongful act: adultery, abandonment, alcoholism, incarceration, or insanity. Someone had to be at fault.  Incompatibility was not an option for the most part.

No-fault became an option in some states in the 1960s. Couples no longer needed to prove that one person was at fault. They could simply say that the marriage had broken down. By 1970, almost all states had laws allowing no-fault divorces.  Today, a person dissatisfied with the marriage can receive a "drive-by" divorce in Nevada.

While the laws were changing, so was society and its acceptance of divorce.  In the 1960s, women began to be a part of the workforce.  They no longer depended on their husbands financially.  When women were unhappy in the marriage and could support themselves, then the law allowed them to leave the marriage.

Society has changed its opinion about divorce.  Previously, divorce was unacceptable and unknown in most families.  However, in the last fifty years, divorce has become a part of the lifestyle.  No fault and no guilt have replaced the old fashioned perception staying together for life.   Today, there will be very few fifty years anniversaries.

Back to that new generation, children of divorced parents are more likely to divorce when they are married.  Then, there children will be more likely...you see where this is going.  

Now, here is where the real folly comes in:

Drugs, crime, drop outs, poor work ethics, poor self-esteem--the father's absence in the home has had a grave impact on young boys and girls and well.  Research states that for a boy having the dad around has been linked to important developments in a child's physical, emotional and behavioral health.

One-third of American children are growing up, without their biological father, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In the past 50 years, the percentage of children who live with two married parents has dropped 22 points.

Several leading sociologists have labeled the father's absence "the most pressing issue facing America today." Alarmed by growing evidence of the importance of fatherhood, President Barack Obama, who was raised by a single mother, has forcefully pleaded with fathers to step up throughout his presidency.

President Obama wrote in a 2009 Father's Day article in Parade Magazine. 'I came to understand that the hole a man leaves when he is not there for his children  is one that no government can fill. We can do everything possible to provide good jobs and good schools and safe streets for our kids, but it will never be enough to fully make up the difference.'

A study by the Department of Health and Social Services found only 13 percent of juvenile delinquents come from families where the biological mother and father are married to each other.

Thirty-three percent come from families where the parents have divorced.

The study further found young men who grow up in homes without fathers are twice as likely to end up in jail as those who come from traditional two-parent families — even when other factors like race, income, parent education and urban residence were held constant.

If a person were to go into a third grade classroom today, he would find 70% of the children were from divorced homes.  These children would have faced one of the hardest things that a child can face: the loss of a parent in their home.  Statistics prove that the future for these children will be different in several ways--none of which are positive. 

Of course, not all divorced children suffer from overwhelming problems.  But it has not made their lives any easier in school or on a personal basis.

This is America's greatest folly!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dysfunctional_family

http://www.withoutafather.com/facts.php

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I'm afraid that the greatest folly of our time, in my opinion, is the belief/attitude that the state should take on the role of taking care of so many people. As we watch the world in the throes of financial crisis, it is evident that a lot of the problems were caused by, or aggravated by, over-reaching governments who cannot meet their commitments to financially take care of their citizens.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I agree with post #3 that the decline of "reading" in the 21st century is an enormous folly. I blame mobile texting, Facebook, and Twitter for this in the last few years. It seems everyone is communicating in snippets, in short form, without any involved thought, and the result is the dumbing down of communication. People no longer have the attention spans, the reading and writing skills, nor the interest in communicating on a deeper level. If they say they have an interest, why are they refraining from doing so?

In addition, it seems that everyone feels they must "update" everyone on what they're doing at a certain moment in time. They're 'always online' giving status updates on trivial matters - instead of using their time more productively...reading, writing, producing, and engaging with others face-to-face when practical and feasible. This vain self-promotion via Facebook and Twitter takes huge chunks of productive time out of individuals' schedules and is another great folly of the 21st century.

A Forecast for the 21st Century

Know the Pitfalls of Facebook

How Your Business can Avoid Pitfalls on Twitter

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I think one of the greatest follies of our "age" or generation is enablement and the subsequent dependence that has resulted.  It seems in generations past, Americans had a more natural and engrained tendency to work--for a living, for success, for something to do, to provide for themselves and others.  The competition to work harder than others was greater.  Today, there seems to be a prevalent attitude of, "How can I do the least to get the most?"  Get rich quick schemes, governmental assistance, comparison living (looking at what others have and the belief that everyone deserves to have the same amount of everything), credit card debt, etc.  All of these have contributed to a sense of entitlement and desire for equal gain without equal work.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The popular attitude regarding medication seems to me to be folly - at least to some degree. 

I'd like to propose two truths about medication:

  • There are many situations where medication is the best treatment.
  • There are many situations where medication is not the best treatment and/or is not necessary and may do more harm than good.

The folly comes when we fail, as a society, to see that there are two truths about drugs, not just one. 

See:

Brave New World

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

For me, one of the greatest follies of our age is our materialism.  I am not by any means opposed to technology or to having personal possessions.  However, I do think that we today are too wrapped up in what material things we have instead of being more concerned with our families and our friends.  I think that many of us would have a lot less stress and a lot more happiness if we were a little less concerned about having the latest gadgets or being able to afford vacations to desirable spots every year.  We try to buy happiness when we might be more likely to find it in the things that do not cost money.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team