Home Up

 

 

 

American Expectations

By Roy D. Follendore III

Copyright (c) 2005 by RDFollendoreIII

January 14, 2005

I suppose that each citizen thinks of their country differently.  We Americans truly want to believe that America is made up of individuals who share their expectations about what it means to be American. We Americans are supposed to be the good guys.  We expect ourselves to be a people who come together in crisis. We Americans are also supposed to be powerful and vengeful. Americans are supposed to be tolerant and yet we also are supposed to believe that we should intolerant of those who would act against us. What is strange about us is that while Americans say we believe in democracy, we do not believe that citizens of other countries have the right to have a say on decisions that we make that affect them. America does not accept the concept of a world organization that would affect the authority of Americans to override world opinion. America is democratically hypocritical and in that respect we are an imperial enigma both to ourselves as well as to the rest of the world.  

America is a self righteous nation. The expectations of America are based on a form of manifest destiny. Some of us might even go so far argue that Americans are the 'chosen ones.'  We Americans expect that our leaders know the answers to all problems even when we know otherwise.  Americans seem to constantly project that the power of our nation to continue to grow forever, even though we know otherwise. There is no expectation of the reality of a declining America. America is the the expected standard for American leadership. It is for that reason that Americans expect other civilizations to act 'civilized,' 'like Americans.' 

We want to believe the myth that Americans to be the most competitive in everything that we do, even though we know this is also not true. In fact, we Americans expect our nation to be the driving force for everything everywhere. This is of course a crazy notion. We Americans elect leaders who perceive our interests in imperial terms; through them 'we,' seem to be essentially saying that our American wrongs are better than others nations rights. We have began to believe in our own myth. We have been saying to the rest of our world that it is moral, just and proper for one nation to take unilateral military action against other nations and against the desires of other nations citizens as long as it is  America dong the acting. 

Regardless of our self righteous intentions, and beneath the cloth of our red, white and blue flag there exists a certain 'American' brand of 'morality'; it is strangely presented to our fellow world citizens as our tendencies to support injustice through the acceptance and use of unilateral violence.  Our expectations of ourselves and our international actions is not tempered with the sense of understanding for the psychology of others.

Certainly our notion of ourselves as Americanas cowboys in white hats is entrenched within our psyche. As Americans we do everything we can to preserve the notion that Americans are the good guys. Our consideration of citizens of other nations range from inferior to participants in some sort of 'evil nexus.'  The reality is that there are tangible political, social, and military consequences for the differences between what we say and do; how we think and act.  When America deliberately and unilaterally chooses to use military violence we emulate the terrorists that we say are our enemies.  We take international law in our own hands. In the process we constantly create new enemies.

We may choose to paint our enemies in any light that we want, but the trouble with doing that is that if we don't recognize that terrorism is part of the human condition.  As a nation, we do not seem to be able to cure our own subjective condition, it is possible that we could treat and manage our objective understanding.  The essence of our true reality is that terrorists are human beings and whether we like it or not.  Each time our American government acts with unnecessary violence we become more like those we say we are against. In a curious way we actually begin providing support our enemies cause through our public displays of violent modern technologies.

Violence can be visualized as a cultural and technical exchange between enemies. Violence teaches both parties the justifications that make each more like the other.  In return for our escalation of violence, terrorists are becoming more resistant to our use of technologies being used against them for the same reasons bacteria becomes resistant to antibiotics.   When we use technology to perpetrate the escalation of violence as a solution we are directly and indirectly teaching our terrorist enemies. If terrorists were to be eliminated then obviously this might not be as much a problem. The trouble with the notion of warfare is that violence is not an answer but a reaction.

The root of our impending failure is our fundamental belief in the totality of a violent act we can reduce opposition.  But this is a actually a hollow argument.  Total war in the modern sense means that anything goes, and that means the total extinction of not only the enemy but the human race and possibly life on earth.  The total extinction of our enemies in this context not palatable.  This is definition of 'ethnic-cleansing' and genocide. The fact that our planet communicates means that through acts that involve less than total violence, America is teaching its enemies the strategic importance and morality of violence. The concept that our exotic weaponry can somehow eliminate terrorism while maintaining traditional democratic freedom is a curious American paradox. In the end the leadership of America and the terrorists is simply becoming an armed agreement that "since we can't kill them all, we shall terrorize our enemies into submission." The war that our President has described for for our nation is a state of perpetual conflict. It is a conflict where both both possess tremendous momentum for promoting mutual carnage without end. This was the greatest error of the Bush Presidency.  

In the eyes of world the philosophy of America has become extremist.  This is one very good reason why all Americans should become concerned.  America seems to have annexed total authority and responsibility for rest of the civilized world.  We are standing on what can only be described as 'conservative' philosophical quicksand.

From the historical view of other civilizations of our world, to be an American has always involved the act of taking on the philosophy of the extremist.  As Americans it is easy to forget that from an objective viewpoint our American Federal Government is ruthless precisely because it is democratic. Americans first seize and then repopulate the land of others and 'democratically' install our values against the will of the native, 'less civilized' population. The existence of the vastness of our American nation 'from sea to shining sea' is a historic reflection of the use of our 'democratic will' as our primary tool as foreign invaders. It is no wonder that other civilizations distrust American intentions. 

America constantly renegotiates its culture around philosophical obstacles like an amoeba. In the eyes of other citizens America is a nation of hypocrites. To accomplish our goals the American majority simply redraws the standards of what it is to be conservative and in doing so redefine the definition of what is extreme. Within America, the notion of 'conservative' is whatever American 'Conservatives' choose it to be.  In this manner America can never be perceived by conservative Americans an extremist nation.  Because of this, the ruling conservative philosophy has no true basis for defining 'compassion' and 'moderation.' America's philosophical sense of authority to react in extreme ways is derived from this indefinite and transparent standard.   

The average American is being told not to believe in the industry of the individual.  As career oriented employees, many Americans are becoming increasingly expendable. We are being told to go with the flow 'or else.' The efficiencies of the networked world is causing a an increased reduction in direct interactions between each other. Individual Americans are less personally involved and receive less personal credit for what they are able to achieve. Much of the incentive for personal industry has been relieved from the American worker because the measure of individual productivity has changed. The mechanical specification of automation enhanced organizations establishes the expected standards of productivity. The industrious American must accept the risk that what they are attempting to contribute will not be accepted with respect to the terms of organizational employment. Even if great success by an individual's industry can be achieved within the context of modern employment practices, there is then the issue of sustainability, and reimbursement. Those who believe in personal industry fly in the face of organizational policies of accountable authority.    

Can the individual American still make a difference?

Certainly more can be accomplished by individuals who have acquired the breadth of necessary intellectual skills because of the fact that modern personal computers are increasingly powerful, relatively accessible, affordable, and well connected. The problem is that our society does not really self organize well enough to handle large differences that so many individual Americans are now able to contribute. Real solutions to chronic problems come into existence every day from individuals but are never adopted because the expected cost of scalability is matched with the perceived need by organizations to receive an expected return on the projected investment. The American standards with respect to accounting practices has not seen fit to keep up with the ability of Americans to make a difference because it hasn't had to. As a result, the individual American can't make a difference because the difference isn't valued and is lost in the noise.

Should the average American expect that conspiracies exist?

Because conspiracies can and do exist, it would unreasonable for Americans to believe that they don't.  Human create organizations in order to conspire. Sometimes that conspiracy is for good and other times it is for bad. It would be a fantasy to believe in a world where organizational conspiracies do not contribute to productive as well as destructive actions. Conspiracies can be used to either cause or prevent some potential event from occurring. Each time a 'spin' is put on the new that Americans hear there is some form of a conspiracy involved. Americans do not like to believe in the existence of concepts that conflict with their view of themselves. It is the intent and the outcome of conspiracies that ultimately determine whether Americans are willing to believe in conspiracies. The denial of the possibility of conspiracies is a denial of plausibility and plausible denial is the cornerstone for maintaining secrecy.

Does the model that an average 'Joe or Jane America' carries around in his or her mind map accurately to the realities of our nation?

 No. The reality is that America in the twenty first century is connected and constantly communicating among ourselves and in accordance with the rest of the world.  To update our model of who we are, 'Joe America' needs to come to terms with the idea that the 18th century colonial premise that democratic elections define the majority of public thinking fails to consider the constant complexities of this kind of communication. America long ago built its societal infrastructure around criteria that has since become dysfunctional and invalid. Information constantly tells Americans that events that affect Americans occur simultaneously while our societal decision making has been based on the assumption that events occur as serial processes. We have not understood. The result is that we now use a model that is preloaded with noise. The implication is that the model that we Americans are using does not fit with our realities and as a consequence we are seeing gross errors that lead to catastrophic scientific, economic and political events. The average American's view of the world continues to be a the static colonial model while America still elects our officials using an out of date election model. The other side of the 2004 Presidential 'mandate' is the statistical message that more voters feel their vote was not worth anything than those that voted for and reelected  President Bush.  

Is America in decline.

Yes. In part, this is because as the rest of our planet becomes better organized, America as the standard for others is being replaced. The decline is also the result of America's tendency of depending on its ability to change standards for self benefit rather than the implementation of true changes to its infrastructure. America chose to depend on world economies and yet we continue to make political and economic decisions as though we do not. Through a nebulous specification of war our American leaders have made the growth of United States Government as our number one gross national product. America is in decline because the ethos of what it originally meant to be American has been displaced by fear, greed and compulsive distrust of creative ideas. America is in decline because of those who would completely and absolutely trust and depend on blind religious faith as the solution to our modern societal problems.     

 

 

.

Copyright (c) 2001-2007 RDFollendoreIII All Rights Reserved