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Q&A Thursday #105: Why Are Groups Like The Elks, Rotarians, Freemasons, And Kiwanis Dying Out?

Written By : John Hawkins
March 31, 2011

Question: What are your thoughts on civic fraternal organizations such as the Elks, Rotarians, Freemasons, Kiwanis, etc…? These organizations have long been an important source of charity and community, but go to any of their meetings today and you will notice a lot of old gray haired men and distinct shortage of young people. Are these simply clubs that have outlived their popularity and usefuleness, or is this another sign of a crumbling and decaying society? — President Friedman

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Answer: Maybe I’m more aware of this than most people because I work from home in a profession that didn’t exist 15 years ago, but technology has had an incredible impact on the way human beings interact with each other over the last few decades.

Want to work from home? You can. Want to talk to friends all over the world? You can do it from the comfort of your own house. Want to date? You can use online dating to at least find someone without going outside. Need something to do? There’s a couple of hundred channels, incredible video games, an infinite amount of porn, and the whole Internet to play around on.

Go back a few decades and none of these things existed in their current form and groups like the Elks, Rotarians, Freemasons, and Kiwanis filled roles that all this technology fills today. Is it just as good to say, talk to friends all across the country on instant messenger as it is to actually go hang out with them in person? No. But, it is easier and more convenient and often, that wins out.

PS: This is also one of the factors in the demographic collapse we’ve seen in a lot of Western nations. As choices proliferate, technology advances, and we become more interconnected overall, we’re going backwards in other important ways as a result. The ramifications of that haven’t been fully realized yet either.

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