originally posted by: Helious
America is not a product of the government. America is an ideal.
This is what I consider to be essential. Our political and economic systems all arise from the bedrock of ideals, values and morals we have as a
collective, they are a manifestation of them. Rather than consider what "they" -the politicians, the government- should change or do differently, it
seems more reasonable to look at our selves- what "I" should change or do differently.
Changing leadership doesn't change our basic philosophy about the nature of reality.
That bedrock is so deeply inscribed in us, any possible change couldn't happen over night, so it is more realistic to look at long term- what we lay
down in the minds of children when they are very young. Because that is what will determine the future manifestations of government, politics, and
Our nation was founded upon Protestant (or sometimes called Puritan) values and philosophy, in which material abundance and success is evidence of
ethical and moral character.
It operates with the values upon independence, and individual power, and rejection of dependance, or collective power.
These end up with some self contradicting effects. In order to experience being "individual" and independent, there has to be evidence of friction,
or opposition with the collective.
The collective thought being "individualism is good", you have to be opposing individualism in order to be individualist.
Truly, if one wants to experience being an individualist? They would have to be in the midst of a collective which has the opposing values- of
dependence and collectivism! Nietzsche, Rand, Sartre, .... they could experience and be individualist because they were breaking out from that bedrock
of their society laid values. Pearls come from irritation and friction with the surroundings.
In this sense, those that take a collectivist stance are being individualist, they are refusing to follow the herd and opposing it. Those who are
speaking out for individualism are actually being herd members, because this herd values and rewards that, and they are submitting to the deeply
instilled traditional American values.
All we get from this is a self contradicting dual acted out on the stage of our political and economic systems as a nation. It threatens extreme
swings from one extreme to the other.
In my mind, only a balance and recognition of both interdependence and independence, of individuality and collectivism, could possible bring us any
closer to solidarity as a nation. The idea that everything, everything, has it's place and time in which it is appropriate! That all is process and
cycles; that a society is most efficient if it has different layers for living and experiencing.
But my personal view on what might be "ideal" for future is irrelevant (as some will no doubt say, I am an ex-pat, so my opinion is null and void).
However, sometimes it is in distancing oneself that one often gains a larger perspective of what is already.
I see a nation that is like a serpent devoring itself up from the tail. The strong loyalty to "what our fathers founded this nation on" is
admirable, but on the other hand, it is also contradictory.
If your father wanted you to be your own man, and you simply strived to emulate him, would that necessarily make him proud of you? Would it be any
indication that you have actually freed your mind and formed yourself?
The truth about Paternalism is that ultimately, for it to be successful, the child must revolt against the Father and reject him- to become a father
himself, but in his own form.