Thursday, May 25, 2006
No Man Is An Island - Not Even An American
The author of a new book entitled American Mythos: Why Our Best Efforts To Be A Better Nation Fall Short explains his thinking at the link below. He cites the tendency of Americans to see themselves as isolates totally responsible for their own successes, and entirely to blame for their own failures. This is, in fact, a distortion of the truth, as the success of any one individual - from the scions of old families to even freshly arrived immigrants - is a synthesis of all his or her social connections and communal advantages. He also deconstructs the apparent paradox of a people who are at once fervently religious and stubbornly self-centered. Americans consider religion all too often as a private affair, a matter of personal spirituality and moral opinion, and far less often as an obligation to the community - much less as an inspiration to reach outward to other cultures and ways of life. This "me first" attitude dominates the corporate sphere, and is at least partly responsible for our rising income inequality.
"Wuthnow: Myths distort true picture of the American dream" from News@Princeton