About half of all adults in the U.S have experienced loneliness. That's according to a new report from Surgeon General Vivek Murthy. The report concludes that there's an epidemic of loneliness and isolation and that it's bad for the health of Americans.
Eric Liu, cochair of the Academy's Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship and an Academy member, appeared on NPR in an interview that also featured the surgeon general to discuss America's isolation problem.
Liu is the CEO of Citizen University, a non-profit organization he co-founded that designs gatherings, rituals, and workshops for people who are searching for new ways to strengthen civic culture in their hometown.
"The decline of trust in American life is pretty well documented, and it's both a cause and an effect of this kind of isolation, fragmentation and loneliness," Liu said in the interview. "And when you are disconnected from other people, over time, you will just stop believing that they have your interests in mind, that you can find common cause on anything. And so much of the challenge that we have right now is far upstream of electoral politics and policy. It is a culture problem. That's why I think one of the things that's so important about the surgeon general's report is this idea of we need to create a culture of connection, a civic culture in which we actually see one another's fates as entwined."
Liu's commitment to building civic culture is a focus of the interview and reflected in the work of the Academy Commission he cochaired. The Commission's final report, Our Common Purpose: Reinventing American Democracy for the 21st Century, includes reforms to expand civic bridging capacity and inspire a culture of commitment to one another.