Not Robots

“The American Dream” trope exists to implant the notion that this is a unique nation that is uniquely dedicated to the greatest happiness of all its residents. That claim is pure rubbish.

Yet, it turns out that when people are asked what they want “the American Dream” to mean, the clear majority give rather decent answers:


Of course, the actual society, being rigidly dedicated to making the rich ever richer, is dreadful at fulfilling these majority desires. But more proof that the commoners aren’t the dolts so many greens and lefties assume.

6 Replies to “Not Robots”

  1. I like the point, but wow–25% of people weren’t able to see the connection between “happiness” and “having basic needs met”? That’s like one of those old trick questions where you ask someone the most important few things they need, and if they select “car” and “shelter” near the top of the list, they don’t have enough for “air,” hidden near the bottom.

    There’s also the issue of whether or not people are embarrassed to admit that they want wealth when the other questions sound much wiser, or if they’ve long ago given up on the idea of wealth. Still, though, your point is made. <3

  2. That 75 percent identified it with having the basic needs met is actually remarkable, considering that the marketing portrayal of the American dream depicts something FAR IN EXCESS of any reasonable definition of “basic needs”

    The large discrepancy between freedom and health is sufficient to make the point, even with the wording shortcomings. Especially if we dig deeper into what personal freedom really means. Which is not having the ability to go to the beach if you have the time and the money.

  3. Yeah, that’s really nice, and it’s certainly important, but (again) as MLK observed, freedom is illusory in a marketplace where everything is free so long as you can pay for it, and almost all people can’t pay for it (and/or have the free time for it). We have this post-generational obsession with literal freedom, when it’s the subtext of freedom that effectively bars us from everything.

  4. Of course, there is also the disturbing possibility that “having basic needs met” is equated with affluence. If a two story house two cars, two vacations per year are now interpreted as basic needs, there might be a problem.

    And the beach trip precisely illustrates this illusion of freedom – even if you can actually afford it, as time and money, the clock is ticking on that ‘freedom’ – once you bank account reaches zero, you can’t even park at the beach before getting LEO on your case. How’s that for freedom?

    I’d prefer the scenario where I just take off, get what I need for free along the way, and in return clock in a few hours of labor here and there, as necessary.

    On the other hand, absent the violent economic compulsion who will produce the scuba diving equimpent I enjoy so much in the couple of weeks I manage to slice off of my own slavery?

  5. Of course, “achieving affluence” received less than 25%, so I’d say your worry is a bit exaggerated. Indeed, I don’t get the left attraction to misanthropy. Remembering and cherishing the positives doesn’t require overall optimism. But if every piece of good news is really bad news, why bother?

    As for scuba gear, etc., I don’t quite get that worry, either. It took us a century to get into this commodity-cluttered mess, and we certainly can’t just make it all go away overnight. And scuba gear is shared, right, and also hardly the nub of our conundrum?

  6. Marla, you answered your own question, namely, who would produce the scuba gear–people working a few hours here and there because they felt it contributed to the greater good. That’s a mindset we can reach once we move by transient atomized pleasure maximization.

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