Life in America is always getting better and worse at the same time. Progress comes at a cost, even if it is often worth that cost. Misery beckons relief so that our virtues often turn up where our vices have been. Decay and decadence almost always trail behind success, while renewal chases ruin. And in a vast society like ours, all of this is always happening at once. That means there are no simple stories to tell about the state of our country, and that upbeat and downcast social analyses are often just partial descriptions of one complex whole.
- From The Fractured Republic: Renewing America's Social Contract in the Age of Individualism by Yuval Levin