Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Are American's self obsessed?

I've received many interesting posts to this blog over the last few weeks. Several of them, I think, bear repeating here in order to foster further discussion.

This one from an unnamed blogger:

Reinventing citizenship? You are missing the point I think.

Sociologist Robert Bellah wrote a book titled "Habits of the Heart" Bellah examined the values of several hundred average, middle-class Americans. He came to the conclusion that the reigning ethos in American life in the 1980s was what he called "ontological individualism." This is a radical individualism where the individual is supreme and autonomous and lives for himself or herself. He found that Americans had two overriding goals: vivid personal feelings and personal success.

Bellah tired to find out what people expected from the institutions of society. From business they expected personal advancement. Okay, that’s fair enough. From marriage, the wanted personal development. No wonder marriages are in trouble. And from church, personal fulfillment! Unfortunately, the personal became the dominate consideration.

This self obsession destroys character and without citizens with character, our democracy is doomed!

What do you think? Please share your comments here.
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