The problems in American culture have their roots in its origins. I think it was intrinsic to the culture right from the start and has festered ever since.
The first pilgrims were religious fanatics and their fanaticism was instilled into the culture. It has permeated the culture and created guilt and hypocrisy.
The racism towards native Americans and then Africans through slavery and segregation was there from the start. It has caused these social divisions, prejudice and gross inequality.
The violence and hedonism of the frontiers culture had no bounds, law or control and has created this idea of a selfish individualism and misguided idea of freedom (society is about compromise). It creates a macho, gung-ho culture that accentuates misogyny, racism, patriotism, arrogance and nationalism. Couple it with the gun culture and you have a divided, hate-filled violent culture.
The gun culture came out of the war of Independence, this intrinsic distrust of government and the crazy idea that you arm to overthrow the democratic government you elect – instead of just voting them out of office – it’s madness.
The extreme capitalism, resulting in gross inequality, mass poverty and worker exploitation, comes straight out of the absurd American Dream. People still believe that anyone can become a billionaire through their own efforts – even though the evidence demonstrates that the wealthy and powerful control all avenues and channel the wealth straight into their own pockets, the dice are loaded, the odds are stacked, the systems are corrupt – yet people still believe and tell you that the wealthy accumulated their fortunes by fair means and deserve it all, and the poor are poor because of their indolence and attitude. It’s stupid.
The establishment war against socialism – exemplified by McCarthy, which sought to sell the idea to the people that socialists who wanted fairness and justice were an evil people who wanted to bring in totalitarianism and take away freedom. The very opposite was true. People are being controlled by the capitalists in a system they set up to promote themselves and keep them rich and powerful. Socialism threatens the establishment and they control the media – and hence the minds of the populace. McCarthy did a good job of brainwashing the public. People were told that Trade unions and the red peril are the biggest threat to the American people – when it’s really the establishment.
It created an American culture, based on a WASP puritan, conformist mentality that was racist, hypocritical, psuedoreligious and based on a lie.
It’s prosperity depended on slavery and wielding economic empires abroad through war, corruption, overthrow, economic castration and threat. The family values were a con. People worked themselves silly, drank, fornicated, practiced racism and went to church on Sunday.
The joyless puritanical hypocrisy had to crumble. When it did it released the pent-up underlying, festering problems – racism, violence, hypocrisy, inequality – and it all came out in the sixties.
People wanted a more meaningful, more honest, less destructive way of life – not based on warmongering abroad and the futile chasing of wealth. They wanted more fun and fulfilment.
Unfortunately the establishment won and reinstated the rat-race with all its inherent problems.
The vision of the pleasant family values of the fifties was based on a festering lie. The tensions and hypocrisy of the fifties is exemplified in Rock ‘n’ Roll stars like Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard – both of whom vacillated between obsessive religion and drugs, orgies and guns. The crew-cutted conformity did not sit easy with the idea of freedom. The WASP culture hid a thousand lynchings and slavery. The joyless work ethic belied the prostitution and drinking culture. The wealthy elite lived a life of drugs, alcohol and sexual excess with a thin veneer of civilised pretension. Under the surface there was a big lie.
It’s coming home to roost.