Main American Dream Discussion

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ZombieAladdin
Topic
12:39:06 AM Nov 29th 2013
edited by 173.58.248.100
There was a professor I had who has an even more cynical view of the American Dream than was proposed here: She argues that the American Dream is a means of "cultural imperialism." That is, the American Dream is a way of Americanizing other cultures, thus making it easier for American businesses to take hold in foreign countries. The American Dream is part of a propaganda machine fed to people of other countries to show how great it is to live in the United States so that, if they choose to remain in their countries, will at least be more willing for Americanization of their lands.

She doesn't say that the American Dream is impossible, as there are ample cases of it happening, but she says that for an immigrant to do so, they must give up their ties to their homelands and become, well, an American. (Any time an immigrant willingly tries to be more American, she believes it's the aforementioned propaganda machine deceiving them. Needless to say, she values cultural conservation VERY highly, particularly those of third-world countries, and she sees globalization as the greatest threat to their existence.)

She is not the only one I've met who champions this viewpoint, but I've not heard it anywhere outside the San Francisco Bay Area. Is it worth including in this article, or is it so rare and so extremist that it's best left excluded?
MAI742
11:29:34 PM Sep 26th 2014
edited by 86.135.216.5
The view's very US-centric. There's nothing unique about wanting a just, equitable, prosperous, and democratic society. Anyone with an ounce of sense wants modernisation of their people and our world.

'Cultural Conservation'... there's nothing noble about preserving things that are bad for a society and its people. You don't see Europeans weeping over their lack of Witch Hunts, Indians mourning their lack of Widow-burnings, or Chinese mourning the dearth of foot-binding that abounds these days. Old Culture can be pretty cool, but only when it's at arm's-lenth. And we should all take pride in the Universal Culture of Modernisation and 'Globalisation' we're building together.

In short, your professor is very USA-centric and soemwhat full of nonsense.
SeptimusHeap
01:51:08 AM Sep 27th 2014
Anyhow, these viewpoints are best left out of the article unless works of fiction use them.
Wereboar
05:08:31 AM Feb 12th 2015
I don't think it should be included in the main article as the 'cultural domination' has actually very little in common with America. It was popular in any place the Industrial Revolution took hold, especially in Calvinist or, generally speaking, Protestant countries. I think that the professor mentioned was right, as the 'American Dream' requires a large, interconnected society as opposed to conglomeration of tightly-knit clans (or a high social mobility at a price of stability as opposed to traditionalist, stable societies at the cost of innovation).

In this respect, USA and Europe, Canada and Australia (or even India and, recently also China to some extent) are almost indistinguishable (I would argue that the cultural phenomenon we're talking about was born in Great Britain in the late 18th century), so I would be very wary of using the term 'Americanization' in this context. What we're speaking about is more a 'capitalist dream'. So support Septimus Heap in keeping such examples out of article unless they are invoked in a work of fiction.

On a side note, I think that both viewpoints are correct to some extent. The American Dream _was_ a reality in 19th and early 20th century, as USA sported a relatively free society, great amount of land for the taking and a poor or non-existent infrastructure that meaning great demand for almost anything. In the late 19th and 20th century this dream waned due to the stop of the territorial expansion, influx of new citizens and the saturation of the economy. Then only the will and hard work was necessary - not it is a skill and a bit of luck.
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