Loneliness, despair, and the Christian countermeasure


Published August 24, 2023

WORLD Opinions

Seven years on from her defeat in the 2016 election, it seems clear that Hillary Clinton has still not come to terms with her loss to Donald Trump. In a recent article for The Atlantic, she now blames the widespread problem of loneliness in America for her failure at the polls. The left’s analysis of 2016 tends to operate with one of two scripts whereby Trump’s supporters were either diabolical scoundrels or stupid dupes.

That Clinton herself might have alienated support by insulting a large portion of the American people, or simply did not offer anything in the way of an attractive vision of what her presidency might look like, would seem to be questions she should at least find worth asking. But no. Once again Trump is the fault of deep sickness in American society, not her own policies or campaign strategy.

Nevertheless, in highlighting loneliness she may be excusing, rather than explaining her loss, but she is still touching on something of importance. All the evidence does suggest that America, and perhaps the West in general, is moving into an era where loneliness and isolation might well be the norm for more and more people.

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Carl R. Trueman taught on the faculties of the Universities of Nottingham and Aberdeen before moving to the United States in 2001 to teach at Westminster Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania. In 2017-18 he was the William E. Simon Visiting Fellow in Religion and Public Life in the James Madison Program at Princeton University.  Since 2018, he has served as a professor at Grove City College. He is also a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and a contributing editor at First Things. Trueman’s latest book is the bestselling The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self. He is married with two adult children and is ordained in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.


Carl R. Trueman is a fellow in EPPC’s Evangelicals in Civic Life Program, where his work focuses on helping civic leaders and policy makers better understand the deep roots of our current cultural malaise. In addition to his scholarship on the intellectual foundations of expressive individualism and the sexual revolution, Trueman is also interested in the origins, rise, and current use of critical theory by progressives. He serves as a professor at Grove City College.

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