There are some really excellent responses on the “What’s Your Theory of America’s Decline?” thread (which is still open; go have your say). I especially liked the ones given by Edward Hamilton and Political Atheist, both of whom offer the kind of thoughtful, intelligent commentary that makes threads on this blog so engaging.

But the one I will give an Evans-Manning award to is the one from Nate, which rings of G.K. Chesterton (“What is wrong with the world? I am.”) and Wendell Berry:

I am a reason for America’s decline.

I moved away from a beautiful town in the middle country for the temptations of the big city and a dream of bigger and better things.

My beautiful town is slowly losing both its identity and livability, and much of that has to do with people like me leaving it.

What has happened to my town has happened to a thousand towns.

In my small town, I had more reasonable expectations for what constituted a comfortable life. I could live more sustainably, in that I didn’t need to drive so much, or at all. I ate fresh vegetables from gardens and meat from local farmers.

Now I live in the big, romantic city. My food comes from thousands of miles away. God knows where my meat comes from. People drive into my city from surrounding burbs, spending two hours each way. Next year we will start a billion dollar highway improvement system that will save commuters six minutes on average.

I don’t know my neighbors.

I can’t go back to my old town.

I am a reason for America’s decline.