My friend linked this article today.
I responded to it myself saying:
I have heard liberals being accused of being “…allegedly bent on inserting government into every aspect of our lives and suffocating individual responsibility and effort.” However, I have not heard conservatives being accused of being “…beholden to the rich, committed to “survival of the fittest” and indifferent to everyone else.” I have heard the “beholden to the rich” part, but “survival of the fittest” makes no sense unless you are assuming that those that do not succeed in the U.S. are “unfit” and that there are masses of “unfit” people that need to be payed attention too.
I have no doubt this is what the author hears ALL THE TIME – but that’s because he is a product of a privileged class under the delusion that his economic success was a product only of his fitness and not his privilege – and hangs out with both liberals and conservatives who think the same way.
However, I was lucky to go to the article at a time when this comment was on the top of the piles and piles of comments (1301 at the time of writing this). This comment makes my point (better than I did) as well as many other ones; from a perspective that puts these issues into global context for American peeps like me:
10:12 AM CDT
Looking at America from the outside – with frequent visits – it’s clearly not a land of liberty. It has the highest per capita prison population of any country in the world. Moreover, oppression, like most things in the US, has been privatised, so that many US citizens are relatively free from their govt but live in a quasi-totalitarian relationship with their employer, who reads their emails, taps their phones, compulsorily tests their urine, in many cases makes them wear humiliating uniforms, and only lets them out for 2 weeks a year.
For most of us in the developed world, our employer intrudes far more on our freedoms than government does … and no employers are more draconian or oppressive than American ones.
As for America being a land of equality, it has neither equality of outcome nor of opportunity. The OECD measures social mobility in member states by comparing people’s incomes to their parents’ incomes and looking for variation. On this scale, only Italy has less social mobility than the US. In America, if you’re born poor, you die poor. Born rich, you die rich. Even class-ridden Britain actually has more vertical movement between social classes. The American dream is just that – a dream.
So what values does America represent to the world? To most of us, America really defined itself when it attacked Iraq for no reason. Its astronomical military spending and its incessant drive for global military domination are what make it stand out. Militarism is the salient feature.