What is "The American Way of Life"?

brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 19,947
While shelving books today, I came across one written by Dick Morris.  I happened to read the blurb on the back and it said something about such-and-such threatening "the American way of life."  What struck me was not that such-and-such was supposedly doing something horrible to our way of life (that specific is probably irrelevant to this discussion), but rather, that an assumption was being made  implying that "the American way of life"  is somehow flawless. Yet at the same time, that so-called "way of life" is not something easily prescribed by a single set of parameters.  So just what the heck is "the American way of life" and who is supposedly following it correctly and is it indeed a system so flawless and well defined that it should never be tampered with?
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Comments

  • dankinddankind I am not your foot. Posts: 9,016
    edited July 6
    It's a bullshit prison construct of the mind.

    Fuck that!

    I live my way of life. America can go fuck itself!
    I SAW PEARL JAM
  • hedonisthedonist standing on the edge of foreverPosts: 17,777
    dankind said:
    It's a bullshit prison construct of the mind.

    Fuck that!

    I live my way of life. America can go fuck itself!
    Bolded part - we already are!  In some ways, at least.

    Italicized part - as do I, my friend.  Whether or not that is considered American...who knows?  Works for me, though :)
  • fifefife Posts: 3,020
    I don't know if there is a specific "american way of life" but I do believe that there is are some characteristics of a "Liberal way of life"  when i say liberal, I do not mean  as in liberal party or anything like that.  I mean Liberal in the historical view point.  Now does america follow that view point I would say no. 

    to answer your other questions, I do believe liberalism is well define but the issue is how people view the means to how to follow it.  for example, freedom of speech is a corner stone of liberalism but we see battles about what it covers.  for some all speech is allowable but for some not all speech is allowable such as hate speech. 

    hope this makes sense
  • dankinddankind I am not your foot. Posts: 9,016
    I will concede that there are likely more local ways of life (New Yorker, Angelino, New Orleanian, Portlandian, Masshole, etc.). America is too vast and, as Jedi pointed out, too busy fucking itself--although I'd say it's more akin to rape than fucking; there is no uniform consent--to present a unified way of life. 
    I SAW PEARL JAM
  • dudemandudeman Posts: 1,269
    IMO, the American way of life applies to individuals, not necessarily groups. In that way, the ideology can be interpreted as a the ability to reach whatever goals one wishes, limited only by ones own motivations and the laws that govern the land. 


    If hope can grow from dirt like me, it can be done. - EV
  • pjhawkspjhawks Posts: 7,910
    dudeman said:
    IMO, the American way of life applies to individuals, not necessarily groups. In that way, the ideology can be interpreted as a the ability to reach whatever goals one wishes, limited only by ones own motivations and the laws that govern the land. 


    I agree with this.  We don't have to conform to a certain lifestyle, job, education, etc. here.  You have many different paths you can take and that decision is an individuals own decision.
  • CM189191CM189191 Minneapolis via ChicagoPosts: 2,622
    edited July 6
    This American Life is a weekly hour-long radio program produced by WBEZ and hosted by Ira Glass
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  • Jason PJason P Posts: 16,355
    It's Foosball tournaments and ice cream.
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 19,947
    fife said:
    I don't know if there is a specific "american way of life" but I do believe that there is are some characteristics of a "Liberal way of life"  when i say liberal, I do not mean  as in liberal party or anything like that.  I mean Liberal in the historical view point.  Now does america follow that view point I would say no. 

    to answer your other questions, I do believe liberalism is well define but the issue is how people view the means to how to follow it.  for example, freedom of speech is a corner stone of liberalism but we see battles about what it covers.  for some all speech is allowable but for some not all speech is allowable such as hate speech. 

    hope this makes sense
    A bit confusing here, fife.  Are you saying you see liberalism as defining the "American way of life" exclusive of conservatism?
    We're living on the edge of something big. It's a fantastic time in history to be alive.
    AMT, 1.25.15, 00:36 hrs.
    ***********
    M.I.T.S.
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 19,947
    pjhawks said:
    dudeman said:
    IMO, the American way of life applies to individuals, not necessarily groups. In that way, the ideology can be interpreted as a the ability to reach whatever goals one wishes, limited only by ones own motivations and the laws that govern the land. 


    I agree with this.  We don't have to conform to a certain lifestyle, job, education, etc. here.  You have many different paths you can take and that decision is an individuals own decision.
    I interpret this to mean you guys see the American way of life as the freedom to be who or whatever you want.  I agree with that notion but only somewhat idealistically.  It's a lot easier to be who or what you want to be if you are born into enough wealth.  But what if you are born into poverty?  What if you are born a U.S. citizen but also happen to be Arabian or Hispanic, for example?  Equal opportunity for all?  Horacio Alger story?
    We're living on the edge of something big. It's a fantastic time in history to be alive.
    AMT, 1.25.15, 00:36 hrs.
    ***********
    M.I.T.S.
  • Go BeaversGo Beavers Posts: 5,370
    I think conservatives use it as code speak to rile up fear in the context that the American way of life is being threatened. I look at the term in how immigrants would probably define it: a place where you have opportunity and freedom of choice to become the person you want to be. 
  • dankinddankind I am not your foot. Posts: 9,016
    Compromise
    Conformity
    Assimilation
    Submission
    Ignorance
    Hypocrisy
    Brutality
    The Elite
    All of which are American dreams!
     
    I SAW PEARL JAM
  • F Me In The BrainF Me In The Brain this knows everybody from other commetsPosts: 9,347
    dankind said:
    Compromise
    Conformity
    Assimilation
    Submission
    Ignorance
    Hypocrisy
    Brutality
    The Elite
    All of which are American dreams!
     
    This played in my head when reading this thread. 
    Rob
    Seattle

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  • dankinddankind I am not your foot. Posts: 9,016
    dankind said:
    Compromise
    Conformity
    Assimilation
    Submission
    Ignorance
    Hypocrisy
    Brutality
    The Elite
    All of which are American dreams!
     
    This played in my head when reading this thread. 

    I SAW PEARL JAM
  • HughFreakingDillonHughFreakingDillon WinnipegPosts: 10,461
    same as the canadian way of life. just with less alcohol per volume. 
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  • Halifax2TheMaxHalifax2TheMax Posts: 7,746
    same as the canadian way of life. just with less alcohol per volume. 
    But way more calories and "consumption" in general.
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  • cincybearcatcincybearcat Posts: 8,585


    hippiemom = goodness
  • fifefife Posts: 3,020


    brianlux said:
    fife said:
    I don't know if there is a specific "american way of life" but I do believe that there is are some characteristics of a "Liberal way of life"  when i say liberal, I do not mean  as in liberal party or anything like that.  I mean Liberal in the historical view point.  Now does america follow that view point I would say no. 

    to answer your other questions, I do believe liberalism is well define but the issue is how people view the means to how to follow it.  for example, freedom of speech is a corner stone of liberalism but we see battles about what it covers.  for some all speech is allowable but for some not all speech is allowable such as hate speech. 

    hope this makes sense
    A bit confusing here, fife.  Are you saying you see liberalism as defining the "American way of life" exclusive of conservatism?
    sorry should have been more clearer and taken more time to write.  I do believe that liberalism does define the "American way of life" but its not exclusively American.  I don't know if I see America as conservatism in the classical sense.  
  • pjhawkspjhawks Posts: 7,910
    brianlux said:
    pjhawks said:
    dudeman said:
    IMO, the American way of life applies to individuals, not necessarily groups. In that way, the ideology can be interpreted as a the ability to reach whatever goals one wishes, limited only by ones own motivations and the laws that govern the land. 


    I agree with this.  We don't have to conform to a certain lifestyle, job, education, etc. here.  You have many different paths you can take and that decision is an individuals own decision.
    I interpret this to mean you guys see the American way of life as the freedom to be who or whatever you want.  I agree with that notion but only somewhat idealistically.  It's a lot easier to be who or what you want to be if you are born into enough wealth.  But what if you are born into poverty?  What if you are born a U.S. citizen but also happen to be Arabian or Hispanic, for example?  Equal opportunity for all?  Horacio Alger story?
    equal no but yes you have an opportunity to rise from poverty in America as well as or better than most countries.  that's getting a bit harder these days with the shrinking middle class and less middle class incomes but it's not impossible.  I would imagine that is the reason so many immigrants still want to come here.
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 19,947
    fife said:


    brianlux said:
    fife said:
    I don't know if there is a specific "american way of life" but I do believe that there is are some characteristics of a "Liberal way of life"  when i say liberal, I do not mean  as in liberal party or anything like that.  I mean Liberal in the historical view point.  Now does america follow that view point I would say no. 

    to answer your other questions, I do believe liberalism is well define but the issue is how people view the means to how to follow it.  for example, freedom of speech is a corner stone of liberalism but we see battles about what it covers.  for some all speech is allowable but for some not all speech is allowable such as hate speech. 

    hope this makes sense
    A bit confusing here, fife.  Are you saying you see liberalism as defining the "American way of life" exclusive of conservatism?
    sorry should have been more clearer and taken more time to write.  I do believe that liberalism does define the "American way of life" but its not exclusively American.  I don't know if I see America as conservatism in the classical sense.  
    We're a liberal nation yet with Trump as president and Republicans controlling the House and Senate?  The American way of life is peculiar indeed!
    We're living on the edge of something big. It's a fantastic time in history to be alive.
    AMT, 1.25.15, 00:36 hrs.
    ***********
    M.I.T.S.
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 19,947
    pjhawks said:
    brianlux said:
    pjhawks said:
    dudeman said:
    IMO, the American way of life applies to individuals, not necessarily groups. In that way, the ideology can be interpreted as a the ability to reach whatever goals one wishes, limited only by ones own motivations and the laws that govern the land. 


    I agree with this.  We don't have to conform to a certain lifestyle, job, education, etc. here.  You have many different paths you can take and that decision is an individuals own decision.
    I interpret this to mean you guys see the American way of life as the freedom to be who or whatever you want.  I agree with that notion but only somewhat idealistically.  It's a lot easier to be who or what you want to be if you are born into enough wealth.  But what if you are born into poverty?  What if you are born a U.S. citizen but also happen to be Arabian or Hispanic, for example?  Equal opportunity for all?  Horacio Alger story?
    equal no but yes you have an opportunity to rise from poverty in America as well as or better than most countries.  that's getting a bit harder these days with the shrinking middle class and less middle class incomes but it's not impossible.  I would imagine that is the reason so many immigrants still want to come here.
    No doubt, PJH.  Conditions are certainly worse in many other countries.

    But beyond the (shrinking) opportunities to improve one's lot in life, what is that way of life here in the U.S.

    I think it's hard to argue that this is not a big part of it:

    dankind said:
    Compromise
    Conformity
    Assimilation
    Submission
    Ignorance
    Hypocrisy
    Brutality
    The Elite
    All of which are American dreams!
     
    and if so, is this what Morris, et al, are afraid we are in danger of losing?
    We're living on the edge of something big. It's a fantastic time in history to be alive.
    AMT, 1.25.15, 00:36 hrs.
    ***********
    M.I.T.S.
  • oftenreadingoftenreading Victoria, BCPosts: 5,733
    pjhawks said:
    brianlux said:
    pjhawks said:
    dudeman said:
    IMO, the American way of life applies to individuals, not necessarily groups. In that way, the ideology can be interpreted as a the ability to reach whatever goals one wishes, limited only by ones own motivations and the laws that govern the land. 


    I agree with this.  We don't have to conform to a certain lifestyle, job, education, etc. here.  You have many different paths you can take and that decision is an individuals own decision.
    I interpret this to mean you guys see the American way of life as the freedom to be who or whatever you want.  I agree with that notion but only somewhat idealistically.  It's a lot easier to be who or what you want to be if you are born into enough wealth.  But what if you are born into poverty?  What if you are born a U.S. citizen but also happen to be Arabian or Hispanic, for example?  Equal opportunity for all?  Horacio Alger story?
    equal no but yes you have an opportunity to rise from poverty in America as well as or better than most countries.  that's getting a bit harder these days with the shrinking middle class and less middle class incomes but it's not impossible.  I would imagine that is the reason so many immigrants still want to come here.
    In studies that look at standard of living via ranking important parameters, including the ability for social mobility, the USA does not even rank in the top 10. Yes, immigrants want to come to the US; they want to go to lots of different counties where their lives might be better than what they have. Media also has a big influence on that. 
    my small self... like a book amongst the many on a shelf
  • OP
    Are you asking the masses, the board or Americans?



  • dankinddankind I am not your foot. Posts: 9,016

    I SAW PEARL JAM
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 19,947
    OP
    Are you asking the masses, the board or Americans?



    Not the masses because only 10 Club members can give an answer.

    Board members, yes.

    Board members who are not Americans?  Yes, in fact, yes, please.  It would be useful to know what people from outside the U.S. think our "way of living is".

    Also consider whether or not you consider the term "the American way of living" to make sense or have any relevance or to even be definable.
    We're living on the edge of something big. It's a fantastic time in history to be alive.
    AMT, 1.25.15, 00:36 hrs.
    ***********
    M.I.T.S.
  • SmellymanSmellyman AsiaPosts: 2,687
    edited July 7
    It's a subtle catchpharse to keep people under control.  Mostly to keep the ignorant republican base scared of things.


    Edit:  I see Go Beavers had the same notion.


    Post edited by Smellyman on
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 19,947
    Smellyman said:
    It's a subtle catchpharse to keep people under control.  Mostly to keep the ignorant republican base scared of things.


    Edit:  I see Go Beavers had the same notion.


    That sounds about right to me.

    The other thing is, it makes no sense.  Who gets to define what this "way of life" is and who gets to live it?  And what makes it so exclusively immune to change or improvement?  It's got to be one of the most ambiguous and misleading terms around.  And how many people would read it and simply knee-jerk react to it as though it has some awe-inspiring meaning and substance. 
    We're living on the edge of something big. It's a fantastic time in history to be alive.
    AMT, 1.25.15, 00:36 hrs.
    ***********
    M.I.T.S.
  • fifefife Posts: 3,020
    pjhawks said:
    brianlux said:
    pjhawks said:
    dudeman said:
    IMO, the American way of life applies to individuals, not necessarily groups. In that way, the ideology can be interpreted as a the ability to reach whatever goals one wishes, limited only by ones own motivations and the laws that govern the land. 


    I agree with this.  We don't have to conform to a certain lifestyle, job, education, etc. here.  You have many different paths you can take and that decision is an individuals own decision.
    I interpret this to mean you guys see the American way of life as the freedom to be who or whatever you want.  I agree with that notion but only somewhat idealistically.  It's a lot easier to be who or what you want to be if you are born into enough wealth.  But what if you are born into poverty?  What if you are born a U.S. citizen but also happen to be Arabian or Hispanic, for example?  Equal opportunity for all?  Horacio Alger story?
    equal no but yes you have an opportunity to rise from poverty in America as well as or better than most countries.  that's getting a bit harder these days with the shrinking middle class and less middle class incomes but it's not impossible.  I would imagine that is the reason so many immigrants still want to come here.
    In studies that look at standard of living via ranking important parameters, including the ability for social mobility, the USA does not even rank in the top 10. Yes, immigrants want to come to the US; they want to go to lots of different counties where their lives might be better than what they have. Media also has a big influence on that. 
    here is an interesting article.

    http://inequality.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/Pathways-SOTU-2016-Economic-Mobility-3.pdf

    concerning PJ comment, yes you are right anything is possible but looking at the stats it is more rare than what people believe.  but I will say this, looking from the outside of america, americans in general have a strong belief that they can be anything and anyone.  maybe more than any other country I have ever seen. 

  • HughFreakingDillonHughFreakingDillon WinnipegPosts: 10,461
    as a canadian, my perspective is that americans see the american way of life as freedom to succeed and prosper. they also see it as the best way of life. which is odd to me. I never have, nor will I ever, understood patriotism in that sense. how is the american way of life, really, honestly any different from any other first world country's way of life? I think the only main difference is other countries don't tend to brag about it. 

    in my mind, the whole idea of the american dream started out as a way to attract european immigrants so they could stack the labour force and help the economy. and over time, people bought into it, and it became a national source of pride. 
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  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 19,947
    as a canadian, my perspective is that americans see the american way of life as freedom to succeed and prosper. they also see it as the best way of life. which is odd to me. I never have, nor will I ever, understood patriotism in that sense. how is the american way of life, really, honestly any different from any other first world country's way of life? I think the only main difference is other countries don't tend to brag about it. 

    in my mind, the whole idea of the american dream started out as a way to attract european immigrants so they could stack the labour force and help the economy. and over time, people bought into it, and it became a national source of pride. 
    We are a braggadocio people, without a doubt. 
    We're living on the edge of something big. It's a fantastic time in history to be alive.
    AMT, 1.25.15, 00:36 hrs.
    ***********
    M.I.T.S.
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