You know, the more I consider it the more I think that the great and terrible thing about the American cultural ethos is the way in which its subjects are constantly enflamed with the desire for “more”. On the one hand, more power, more wealth, more pleasure; on the other, more freedom, more opportunity, more equality. Both sides of the coin engender a warlike mindset, a life of constant striving doomed never to live up to an imagined ideal; yet both produce world-changing developments. Americans never doubt for a second that simply by being alive, simply by being human, they are entitled to the best the world has to offer. It’s what makes them lead lives of perpetual alienation, anxiety and rage, yet at the same time what imbues them with the iron will to realize ambitions. Would that the ambitious capitalists and snarling social critics might realize they are fruit of the same spiritual tree; and that both in tandem make America the greatest – not the most good, perhaps, but the greatest – nation on Earth.
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