Is the Triumvirate Working?

Western Civilization’s triumvirate has been very successful at meeting the needs of individuals and also enabling group success.  This is why the West has attained the pre-eminent position on our planet.  However, any shortcoming or weakness in the system can and will eventually lead to its demise. 

One area in which the triumvirate may be deficient is that nothing in the system directly motivates people according to their group needs or responsibilities.  John F. Kennedy hit the nail on the head when he said: “Ask not what your country can do for you: Ask what you can do for your country”.  In our system there are too many individuals who are only motivated to get what they want for themselves, and don’t take responsibility for their own behavior or contributions towards the group.  People do not take enough responsibility for their own actions. 

The Bill of Rights is a prominent part of the U.S. constitution.  This specifies individual rights and sets up the individualism in our country.  However, rights should not come without responsibilities.  Perhaps we should also have a Bill of Responsibilities, because it is critical that individuals contribute to the group.

Huntington points to the following conditions as leading to the current decline of Western Civilization:

  • Increases in anti-social behavior such as crime, drug use and violence.
  • Family decay as evidenced by divorce, illegitimacy, dead-beat parent etc.
  • Decreased participation in social organizations with altruistic missions
  • Weakening of the work ethic
  • Decreased commitment to learning and intellectual activity


The above conditions largely result from lack of concern for individual contributions to the whole - i.e. lack of motivation according to group-responsibility.  Too many people today are out to get what is good for their self, and have too little concern for contributions to others or the group.  This is related to the strong emphasis on individualism in Western Civilization.  This emphasis on meeting self-needs does not exist in other civilizations in the world.  Other have a greater emphasis on moral responsibilities for contribution to the group.

Possibly the largest weakness of our triumvirate at meeting the needs of the group is failure to adequately motivate individuals according to the needs of the group.

Individuals within our system, of course, have complete freedom to pursue the pleasures of meeting their group-responsibility needs, but it appears that this passive motivation of group-responsibility needs is not enough.  It appears that too many people are not adequately internally stimulated to meet their group-responsibility needs - apparently the lure of meeting self-desires is too strong.