- Sep 2022
Theidealized image of American society is one of abundant opportunities, withhard work being rewarded by economic prosperity. Consequently, those whofail to get ahead have only themselves to blame according to this argument. Itis within this context that America thinks of itself as a fair and meritocraticsociety in which people get what they deserve in life.
There is a variety of confounding myths in America which tend to hold us down. These include economic mobility, meritocracy, poverty, and the land of opportunity.
With respect to the "land of opportunity", does positive press of a small number of cases from an earlier generation outweigh the actual experience of the majority?
There was a study on The Blitz in London and England in general in World War II which showed that despite high losses in general, enough people knew one or more who'd lost someone or something to the extreme but that the losses weren't debilitating from a loss perspective and generally served to boost overall morale. Higher losses may have been more demoralizing and harmful, but didn't happen. (Find this source: possibly Malcolm Gladwell??)
Is this sort of psychological effect at play socially and politically in America and thereby confounding our progress?