Humiliating decline in debating standards
What struck me most watching US Presidential elections over the years was the gentle manners on show from the candidates and the fact that their debates focused on deficits and spending, rather than gossip.
I wonder to what extent the decline in our debating standards can be attributed to the decline of the West?
Recently, I've found an unexpected ally in my cultural pessimism - Gerald R Crabtree, professor of pathology and developmental biology at Stanford University.
He writes (in Our Fragile Intellect): "I would be willing to wager that, if an average citizen from Athens of 1000 BC were to appear suddenly among us, he or she would be among the brightest and most intellectually alive of our colleagues and companions.
"We would be surprised by our time-visitor's memory, broad range of ideas and clear-sighted view of important issues."
If that's true, can you imagine what he or she would think of the egregious Trump v Clinton soap-opera?