The Consumerisation of Society

“The consumerisation of society has left us freer to choose almost everything: what to do, where to go, how to live and with whom. But that freedom simultaneously dissolves the very things that once gave permanence and dignity to a life. Marriages become fragile. Attendance at places of worship declines. Voluntary groups are more fragmented and ephemeral. It becomes hard for individuals to find stable networks of support at the very time they need them most. It becomes even harder to say why we do what we do. Politicians value us for our vote, advertisers for what we buy, but who is left to value us for what we are? When contracts displace covenants and means replace ends, we are left with freedom without meaning, which is certainly more pleasant but not necessarily more fulfilling than meaning without freedom.”

The Dignity of Difference, p. 136