Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Is the American dream a thing of the past?

A few decades ago, the American Dream was synonymous with opportunity: opportunity to endeavor after “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
The American Dream was imbued with the concept of the individual: each man would reap the fruits of his own labor. America was the land of the rugged individual, who carved out his life with his own hands and accounted to no one but himself for his failures.
Let us compare this view of the American Dream with that of today. Whereas the American Dream was once equated with certain principles of freedom, it is now equated with things.
Today, a man would say merely that he has a right to live comfortably; the fact that comfort must be earned is ignored; the question of whether the person is deserving of comfort never arises.
When people are concerned more with the attainment of things than with the maintenance of principles, it is a sign of moral decay. And it is through such decay that loss of freedom occurs.
This metamorphosis of the human spirit did not come about unforeseen. Although he was not writing specifically about America, Jose Ortega y Gasset, in his The Revolt of the Masses, clearly delineated the process by which the individual would eventually be sacrificed to the mass-man; the mass-man thereby destroying that which made possible his very existence.
Respect for the rights of the individual has been the foundation for America’s greatness; it was the reason for the immigration to America from all around the world. It is precisely this respect which has deteriorated as a result of the efforts of the mass-man in America, this laying the groundwork for a totalitarian welfare state.
 Gilbert De Bruycker
The Free Man
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What are your thoughts about this perspective?

43 comments:

Always On Watch said...

So many Americans have succumbed to worshiping the god of materialism.

We've also become soft -- in subtle and not-so-subtle ways.

Sometimes I think about the pioneers who went west and endured so much in the crossing of the continent. Today, most Americans cannot walk two blocks without a bottle of water.

Ed Bonderenka said...

Over at the blog Home on the Range There's an exacellent comment by Sunnybrook Farm:
"I have been researching my genealogy over the last couple of years and have come to the conclusion that we are living in an unusual time. We have more luxury than royalty of centuries ago could only dream of. The American dream of the huge house and stainless steel appliance and marble counter tops is very a very recent dream, Even 50 years ago it would have not been in many dreams.
Most of the history that I dug up would be called hard times by today's population. I think what we have come to expect, what we are entitled to is a very fragile thing and we live in a special time of extremely good health care and plenty of everything. We can lose it all so quickly, and there are no guarantees."
We live like Kings and Noblemen.
We may not have the power over geopolitical entities, but far exceed the comfort level.
And yet it appears we are willing to live like slaves to live like kings.

Always On Watch said...

Ed,
The American dream of the huge house and stainless steel appliance and marble counter tops is very a very recent dream

As a nation, we've become obsessed with living like Kings and Noblemen. And some snobbery has resulted -- I've seen that snobbery too many times on my own block, filled with McMansions except for this old house in which we live. Our neighbors are strangers to us -- in spite of our many overtures to establish acquaintance.

Impertinent said...

@AOL:

Or a 5 hour "energy" drink, a Red Bull followed by a sweet Starbucks concoction too?

Rottweiler said...

The American dream has been turned in to just that nothing more than a “DREAM” The failure(s) of this president and the adoption of Communism, Socialism and Progressivism in American and the now weaken American Military along with Obama's weakness and the embolden Vladimir Putin has put a nail in the coffin of the American dream.
It was predictable.

Right-Winger said...

The “American Dream”? Are you kidding yourselves? We have a President who is doing everything to kill the "American dream", he is doing whatever he can toreduce jobs, reduce construction, kill our economy, lower our defense, and divide America. So how can we even think of an “American Dream”?
What we are seeing is the destruction of the American Dream!

Sam Huntington said...

There can be no American dream if there is no hope for the future. But we do have a gaggle of metro-boys fluffing about, and we have morons devoted to electing the very people guaranteed to destroy every vestige of Americanism. So there you go, America. You asked for it, you got it …

Rottweiler said...

Anyone with any knowledge of the world and with any commonsense knows that a leopard never changes his spots, and neither does Putin !

Always On Watch said...

Imp,
Yes, a 5 hour "energy" drink, a Red Bull followed by a sweet Starbucks concoction too.

I can't stand either one!

Remember Ben Gazi said...

The REAL Conservatives, and by that I mean NOT the RINO’S are our only hope.

sue hanes said...

Z - If the goal of the American today is to have 'things' then that is a sign of moral decay. If the goal of the American is to have principles and not just to earn 'things' then that is a good sign.

I'm not so sure that it is one of just wanting 'things.' Who is to say which it is.

sue hanes said...

Z - If the goal of the American today is to have 'things' then that is a sign of moral decay. If the goal of the American is to have principles and not just to earn 'things' then that is a good sign.

I'm not so sure that it is one of just wanting 'things.' Who is to say which it is.

Duckys here said...

The article mentions Ortega y Gasset who was most critical of the very self satisfied consumer AOW mentions.

However, I don't know how capitalism can function without them. The working class certainly can't drive the contemporary economy.

Duckys here said...

Rotweiler, Putin is flinching.

And Obama didn't even have to "do a Bolton".

Impertinent said...

@Ducky:

"Flinching"?

He's now making the same case we did for Iraq. He's moving on them.

Waylon said...

This is an interesting contrast. The original American Dream as envisioned by the founders of the nation in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution: The vision of an individual striving to move ahead and create a better life in the world and as Ed points out, by looking at life in our world today with its many scientific and technological advances, having more material comforts than royalty in the past, makes it difficult, if not impossible, to imagine that something might have happened or be happening to undermine this great achievement in conquering material want in this world.

Yet, somehow there's a sense of foreboding that something has been lost, that there's something that's just not quite right in our world today. Is there too much information available today, really at ones finger tips, that enables anyone seeking it to be overwhelmed by information overload,since there is plenty of conflicting evidence which would buttress either side of the argument that one makes?

America has been looked to as a shining example for all people in the world that accepted the idea of the Founding Fathers of the country. And by their actions became Americans themselves and did indeed achieve the American Dream. And yet there remains the feeling that something is different today than when the country began. Can it be regained? And what would need to be done to regain that sense that America is unique in the world, as it was back then?

Thersites said...

The working class certainly can't drive the contemporary economy.

One of your pinko friends should try and clue Nicholas Maduro in as to THAT fact!

Waylon said...

@ Rottweiler

Don't let yourself be driven into a rabid frothy and foamy state by the lying liars of the Western media. There's not likely a newspaper in the western world that doesn't have several pages every day demonizing Russia and Putin. Seems to be a convenient and too easy a target.

Conveniently omitted is any discussion about the neo-Nazi -style putsch that installed "Yats" the selection of the U.S State Department to replace the previously elected president who abandoned the Parliament.

The county was destabilized by outsiders intent on moving the world to the brink of war. Part of their longer term and larger agenda, I believe.

Dave Miller said...

Imp, if what you say us true about Putin making the same case in Ukraine as we made in Iraq, what argument should we have with him?

We stated a principle and annunciated a doctrine, claiming the moral high ground.

In theory, to defend our right to do the same again elsewhere, if we believe we were right to invade Iraq, shouldn't we support Russia?

Fed Up With You Libs. said...

Putin can and will kick Obama's skinny ass, and make him look like the laughing stock he is!
Put that in your hat and eat it Libmann

Leticia said...

There is more to life then obtaining material possessions. You can't take them with you when you pass on.

It's fine to have some nice things, but that shouldn't be the goal.

I have to agree with what the writer said.

Impertinent said...

@Dave:

LOL..is that a solution or hyperbole?

Actually...a conundrum / Catch 22 if I ever saw one Dave.

Theoretically...yes...Politically...???

Anonymous said...

Obama is a marxist, progressive, socialist and communist Ass-Kisser.
Putin can and will kick Obama's skinny ass, and make him look like the laughing stock he is!
Put that in your hat and eat it Libmann."

Shredding the constitution, and at the first sign of tension between Russia and America the cowardly chicken shit commie liar will Chicken out and go on Vacation.

Our own our Country is thoroughly embarrassed by his actions!
Mark my words, it won't be long before the Rocket Scientist in the White House and his Mooching wife will be going on vacation to get their names out of the headlines!

Rudy Giuliani could teach him a thing or THREE!
We are all fed up with him!

Anonymous said...

From Z:

If we are the moral equivalent of Russia, then absolutely....

Moonbat Spanker said...

Sarah Palin, the same Sarah Palin who is constantly mocked by the "Wicked one" was mocked in 2008 for warning that Russia's Vladimir Putin may invade Ukraine if Barack Obama were elected President, and the former GOP vice presidential nominee on Monday said that President Barack Obama's weakness has emboldened Putin and perhaps even the Chinese.

I have never have I ever detested any progressive the way I do this progressive blogger.NEVER!
And by the way, I read that the Russian Nick name for Obama is...Obumko, which means stupid weak little dog,

Duckys here said...

We are similar to Russia.

Right now you have a low growth American/European economy that is a haven for Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs. London is probably the most disgusting beneficiary but the West is playing the game.

Ukraine is caught between East and West but whichever way this is resolved they will be at the mercy of the oligarchic interests.

How does this relate to the American dream? For most there is little many to look forward to than a job as a Walmart greeter.
The working poor are put in that vice and then get the double whammy by being blamed for being responsible for the disappearance of economic prospects.

What does the writer of the article prescribe? More stagnation and upward wealth transfer.

moonbat spanker said...

Obama is the most chickenshit president of my lifetime:
I equivocate before using derogatory names like "chickenshit" to describe any person, let alone a standing president. I don't do so lightly. But it encapsulates how I feel completely.
And all youleftists, if you don't like my assessment, you can kiss my ass.

And as a matter of fact, no democrat party president in my lifetime has ever utilized the these various chickenshit techniques and, even when they've used some of them, it's been only a fraction as much as His Majesty Obama has used them.

Sorry, but I disagree with Obama on every single one of his polices, And I don't like him. Not at all. He's an arrogant, condescending, thin-skinned, out-of-touch far leftist elitist -- the worst of the worst that the 20-percenters have to offer.
And my questions at the end of this year remain the same: What did this great country ever do to deserve the likes of Obama and his Moochie Koochie? To deserve the current corrupt and extreme-controlled the democrat party period? I guess maybe it's our punishment for being to good to the rest of this freaken world..

And pardon me for the triple posting of my last comment. You can blame that on Blogger.

Sickening Isn't It! said...

Good point. Moonbat Spanker, and may I remind you that...You can’t make chicken soup out of chicken shit!


And may I also remind you that during Barrack Hussein Obama’s speech after the killing of Osama bin Laden......Barack Hussein Obama DID NOT once acknowledge our brave men and women who fight for our country and that, my friends, is chicken shit!

Tracy said...


Hello, Im so glad I came across this website. My heart is truly broken for President Obama.
The people who have been calling and accusing Obama of being Weak. and too timid because of the way he has been handling everything that involves Putin The Republican critics want him to show some guts, or something that will show the Russian Bear that he means business. This Russian is constantly making obama look like a Coward..
So why Do Republicans, Conservatives and Tea Party Hate President Obama so much?
He was elected by a large margin of electoral votes so there are definitely a lot of people who like him. But that said! Why all this drama over Obama, and pleeese don’t give me that nonsense about his race.
After 5 years of calling Obama a dictator and a weak president, they are now denouncing him for not being like the American president they want him to be.,
They seem to reject everything Obama says and does. What did candidate Obama do that was so wonderful that made his so widely elected but then so hatred so much?
Was it the healthcare scare? The rescission? Rush Limbaugh?
Surely the Republican Party is not full of Racists as the Democrats-Liberals say. I am a white woman and voted for the president because i thought that he was the right choice at the time. Did I change my mind? Well, maybe I did, but I surely don’t hate his as so many others seem to. I would only have to assume that race is definitely a huge factor, because i don’t know what else it could be. Do I agree with all of his policies” Definitely not. Do I believe all the rumors that he is really a Muslim, and if he was , so what! Despite the controversy over Reverent Wright his Pastor. And that he was out to destroy America. No i can’t believe all that, although do believe that what Reverent Wright his Pastor said was awful and that he was right to disassociate himself with him.
Do I believe He's a communist, and a socialist? I must admit that I’m not exactly sold either way on that one. I think that his “Hope and change” can be a bit scary and some people are afraid and just don’t want to accept it. But it works both ways, I also am tired of hearing all this rhetoric over President Obama and Michelle’s vacations. And I’m tired of him saying that he inherited this mess from our previous presidential administration, and his excuses for unemployment.

Dave Miller said...

Holy cow Z... you're being spammed by unidentified bloggers...

Imp... I am not sure there are any solutions here. the only way to get Putin to back off is with military actions and we aren't going to war over this peninsula.

We are in the same spot as we were when he invaded Georgia. Many thought GW was a strong president and other leaders knew where he stood, but that did not stop Putin.

It's a mess, without a lot of good options, even if we wanted to change the reality on the ground...

Constitutional Insurgent said...

Good post. We as a society have lost the moral respect for individual sovereignty, and surrendered that high ground to pajama boys [as Sam stated], activist mommy's and statist, suited stooges.

A large part of that problem is this society relies on a "news" media that is more TMZ than BBC. When pop culture and entitlements are our compass and sextant....the American experiment is truly over.

Thersites said...

The American Dream isn't dead, you just have to leave the USA to achieve it. :)

Thersites said...

For most there is little many to look forward to than a job as a Walmart greeter.

Becoming truer by the minute.

But the "solution" isn't to choke off capitalism for the full Joseph Stalin command ecoonmy, like you want. The solution is "laissez-faire" and enforcement of laissez-faire economic policies (instead of crony-oligarch corporate capitalism). But please, "corporate" special tax treatment and liability laws are NOT "laissez-Faire" economics. Real people are NOT immortals. Real people CAN be sued if their products harm others.

A level playing field, THAT is what the world needs. Not one that favours large corporate interests over the small businessman.... and gives him "tax breaks" and "below-market credit financing" for locating his plant in your state.

Anonymous said...

From Z;

I get idiot spammers about every six months; it's worth it to my commenters not to have to fill out the numbers/letters to prevent spammers.

No, we are not like Russia. Perhaps that question is an excellent blog post.
There are those who think America invades for no reason; there are those who thought we went into Iran for oil$$ (PLEASE, I wish now that we had since we're only so much poorer for that escapade that was well meant and short sighted now with hindsight, even if it was supported by both parties)....
We have never invaded Mexico or Canada, we had never moved into gov't healthcare, we had never told attorneys general to only uphold laws they like, meaning only the leader's (tsar?) ideology, of course, ...I could go on...
No, we have never been any bit like Russia...........
that some think we are is telling and not a good harbinger for America's future.

Man, for some, it's just so important to run ourselves down...not healthy; I worry for their children as well as ours. I wish they would.

Duckys here said...

@Farmer ---
But the "solution" isn't to choke off capitalism for the full Joseph Stalin command ecoonmy, like you want.

-----
Fallacy of the excluded middle. But it's a great look into right wing paranoia.

Duckys here said...

Good post. We as a society have lost the moral respect for individual sovereignty, and surrendered that high ground to pajama boys [as Sam stated], activist mommy's and statist, suited stooges.

---
You forgot Libertarian dilettantes and bubbas.

Sam Huntington said...

One can always tell when Ducky's been masturbating with sand paper.

Constitutional Insurgent said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kid said...

There is no respect for the individual. Government and the media talk to the population like they are knuckle dragging morons. Most of them seem to be these days.


Have you read about 91 million are out of work and aren't even looking.

That's 58% of the eligible work force.

We have a 58% unemployment rate.

How many tax payers want to continue to pay to have these losers sitting around breeding democrats ?

We have fewer eligible people working than not. The Loser is the new Winner. Can you claim Victim Status, black, poor, uneducated, not enough money to pay for the required number of condoms your partners need each month? If not, you are now the Bottom of the Food Chain.

Everyone is feeding off of you and not just in the USA, but the entire world. While the elite launder most of the money to themselves and their friends and payback cohorts, the unions bosses, etc.

The American Dream is dead when it is no longer a desire to excel, earn your own way, do your own work, and take all the responsibility. People are inherently lazy, and given the opportunity (which they now have in spades) they will take the path of least resistance and become useful idiot subjects of a diseased new monarchy.

Kid said...

Dave, Why do we have to support -or not- Russia. In every equation lies the choice of doing nothing.

How about we just ignore the Ukraine?

Well, there's that pesky promise going back to bubba clinton, that if the Ukraine didn't arm up, we'd support them in such situations.

Not that I suggest we do so.

I see this as an opportunity to teach the world that these kinds of promises are worthless and if people really think they need protection, they better start arming themselves versus putting all their resources into maintaining an impossible socialist structure.

Kid said...

Tracy, Congrats on you for trying to see both sides.

Keep digging and finding answers. There is a lot of good explaining here and on other sites if you have an open mind.

Again, whatever the subject, Always see both sides. It's the only way you can come to a reasonable conclusion.

Thersites said...

Fallacy of the excluded middle from the purveyor of the full Ayn Rand...?

...what part of the excluded middle aren't we in now, Uncle Joe?

Tracy Mills said...

Dave Miller said...
"Holy cow Z... you're being spammed by unidentified bloggers."


A suspicious mind is a sick one, and a paranoid mind is very dangerous. !
So remember: *every dog has its day just like every woman gets her own way*~* Flogging Molly