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Posts Tagged ‘choice’

Choose Your Choice

We are entering the season of the Great American Choice, the quadrennial selection of our leader.

Choice  defines the freedom and the integrity of the individual in American culture. Except for perhaps the most God-fearing among us, the right and duty to choose trumps most other values . . . .

I pursue this topic in my column in the Boston Review, linked to here.

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Unique, Sovereign, American

It is as foolish to characterize a nation by only one trait as it is to characterize a person by only one trait. Yet such simplifications can be helpful. A “happy-go-lucky” person, for example, will regularly respond to a range of situations differently than a chronic worrier (and probably live longer, too). Identifying key traits provides expectations and explanations for behavior.

Libr. U. Wash.

If one had to characterize American culture by one basic, core trait, it would not be individualism, but something deeper: the assumption that people are unique and sovereign individuals. This belief is novel – even outlandish – in world historical perspective. Yet, it determines much of American distinctiveness.

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