The Jaker

Mostly rational politics, with occasional rants about how a few crazy Republicans are ruining the country.


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Thursday, September 25, 2008
The False Comfort of Uber-Optimism
I consider this piece a must read in the NYT.

As a product of a European family, I've found the often-unbridled American sense of optimism and self-confidence (We're Americans, we can get through this, we can accomplish anything we put our mind to, etc etc.) to be strange, undesirable, and capable of producing unwanted outcomes.

Barbara Ehrenreich calls this "the delusional optimism of mainstream, all-American, positive thinking". I agree, and think it's a partial cause of the mess this country is in. We just assume that foreign banks will always want to hold the dollar, because America is, of course, the premiere business location. We assume that our healthcare must be the best in the world.

She's right that a dose of realism is urgently required as we face the extreme challenges of waking up to our reduced place in the world in the next decade or so.
posted by CB @ 1:34 PM  
1 Comments:
  • At 5:50 PM, Anonymous Jared said…

    I would disagree. The problem is not the fundamental optimism of the American People. That has been around since the beginning of the country - it's the American Dream, and mythologized or not, it's what brought scores of people to this country.

    The problem is not the optimism, it's how that optimism has been interpreted over the past 30 years. Or more precisely by the the baby boom generation, the first generation to come of age with the US as a superpower. And I think if you follow that generation from the 60's through today, you see a sense of entitlement as a common thread throughout the different period.

     
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