Phillip and Jean,
Many of our parents suffered thru the depression (1930-40) then suffered thru a horrendous war to be again deprived of material goods for the sake of the nation's survival. Our parents were religious, at least those in the foxholes and in churches at home. New babies, you and I, grew up in plenty but with decreasing religiousness. We became the hippy generation. If it feels good, do it. Drugs were always there, but with post-war affluence, the money was there, too.
Behavior changed from tradition- and inner-directed to other-directed and attitudes became self-centered and narcissistic. We taught these behaviors to our children and took them not to church. They, my kids are 42 & 40, I am sure are teaching their children pretty much the same.
In short and as Alexander Tyler wrote in 1787, "...nations always progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith to great courage to liberty to abundance to complacency to apathy to dependence and back into bondage." (I edited from brevity.)
So how do we stop this process? I believe we must return to Christ or at least to Judeo/Christian Principles and join together in "the" Tea Party or at least bring forth candidates who pledge to protect and defend the US Constitution. Further, we must be willing to take a cut in our own govt check, say, 1% in each of six years to balance the Fed Budget. OR we, as all the politicians and bureaucrats from top to bottom are, can ride our overburdened horse 'til he drops. What then? We may still be alive! Did the system as proposed by Marx, Engels and Trotsky and continued by Stalin, Mao, Castro, Alinsky, Cloward & Piven, Ayers, Hillary, Jarrett, FM Davis and Barry Soetoro thrive, prosper and eliminate poverty?
Reading a lot of history, I leave you with my favorite Santayana quote, "Progress, far from consisting in change, depends upon retentiveness....Those who cannot remember history are condemned to repeat it." Rick, call me "V"