David Brooks’ op-ed in the June 12 Bulletin is more than just a judgment about the values of Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency’s contractor who went public with NSA’s phone and internet surveillance programs.

Brooks writes, “But Big Brother is not the only danger facing the country. Another is the rising tide of distrust, the corrosive spread of cynicism, the fraying of the social fabric and the rise of people who are so individualistic in their outlook that they have no real understanding of how to knit others together and look after the common good.”

The years our public school systems emphasized “self-esteem” rather than self-acceptance and the onslaught of smart phones are creating citizens whose constant mantra is “What’s in it for me?”

Our state Legislature can continue to increase the fines for texting while driving, but unless the texting driver realizes her distraction endangers other citizens, the physical danger continues for each of us. Enforcement of the no-texting law is virtually impossible.

The “common good” is only good when the individual abandons the “me first” mindset.

Tim Conlon