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The American Dream is Killing Us

Posted by Ponderer 
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 11, 2019 04:04PM
Congratulations, Olde Dude. Like Curt, you are enjoying a version of America available to those in a category well above the average American citizen. Good for you. I'm so happy for you.

You are also someone for whom the thesis of this article is utterly lost upon. But it's nice to hear that your lemonade stand is still doing so well.




Meanwhile, the average American.....



Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 11, 2019 04:48PM
Having lived on the East coast for 7 years, I saw many immigrants start businesses, have better schools than their home countries, and work their azzes off to have a dream that was unobtainable in their countries.

I was taught early (and often) that if you fail in the American Dream, it's your own fault. This coming from my grandfather, who escaped from Slovakia before WWI. He worked at whatever he could, forging a life that was impossible there. All of his children had his work ethic. That ethos says that if you are a person of your word and work hard you can get ahead. You believe that everyone else is "lucky." That's not the case. I just refuse to become a victim of my own decisions.
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 11, 2019 05:30PM
You really should read this article, Olde Dude. It actually addresses everything you are talking about.

The whole point is that this is not the America that you grew up in any longer. This traditional notion of The American Dream you subscribe to was actually quite possible to achieve back when we were young. Jobs were easy to get. College was easy to afford. The resources for making one's way up the ladder were largely unimpeded back in our day.

But the culture that spawned and supported the notion that "if you fail in the American Dream, it's your own fault" doesn't exist any longer. You're standing on the shore of an almost totally dried up lake that you fished in as a kid and are still saying, "if you can't catch any fish here, it's your own fault", just like you told your friends when you fished there as a kid. It might have been true back in the day, but it simply isn't any longer. Open your eyes for f*ck sake!

Those of you who early on managed through your hard work and luck to carve out a big, long lasting chunk of the American Dream are insulated in your cocoon of comfort and are not in any place to be assessing the state of what the bottom half of this country is having to deal with. You're locked in a time capsule, frozen in a time that is long passed and has been supplanted by a completely different system you don't even seem to be aware is all around you. You are alarmingly out of touch with what the real world is like out there as you still reflectively hurl your now obsolete, knee-jerk victim blaming at those who are struggling with today's reality in ways you seemingly aren't capable of understanding.

"If you fail in the American Dream, it's your own fault" is simply no longer a true statement. It sure used to be, but it just ain't no more. And this article explains very clearly and understandably why this is the case.

Please read the whole article, Olde Dude.

Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 11, 2019 06:47PM
"The whole point is that this is not the America that you grew up in any longer."

I agree with that. We didn't lock our doors until I was in high school. In the same town, we have to escort our elderly parents to the supermarket because of the number of daytime muggings. Are there opportunities? Absolutely. Are they handed to people? Absolutely not.

" You're standing on the shore of an almost totally dried up lake that you fished in as a kid and are still saying, "if you can't catch any fish here, it's your own fault", just like you told your friends when you fished there as a kid. It might have been true back in the day, but it simply isn't any longer."

Why am I at a dried lake to fish? That's pretty stupid. I would go to another lake and not whine about it.

You are right about one thing. It's not in my reality to be victimized by my own decisions, which is a very popular view now days. It's always someone else's fault for the work I didn't do and the expectations I expected. I knew my folks were not in the position to pay for three kids to go to college. I chose to make my own reality and not bankrupt them.
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 11, 2019 06:52PM
There should have been no need for your parents to pay your way through college. Back in the day, you could afford to pay for your own college expenses by working p/t, as I did. I have 3 brothers. We all graduated from college with bachelor's degrees, and my parents didn't have to foot the bill for any of us.
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 11, 2019 06:53PM
This would be an interestibg thread if the participants would identify what version of the American Dream they favour. The idealistic one of its genesis: not al that old, incidentally, or the materialist one that most think it is today. The original was one that I could wish for. The present is an alaboration of the Horatio Alger mythology.
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 11, 2019 07:35PM
"Are there opportunities? Absolutely." -OD

Of course there are. Want ads list hundreds of positions available all the time.

And thousands of people apply for them.

Again, this ain't the 60's or 70's, Olde Dude.


"Why am I at a dried lake to fish?" -Olde Dude

I didn't say you were there to fish. For purposes of this analogy, your fishing days are long over. Your den walls are full of mounted fish you used to catch there every time you threw a hook in the water. I said you were standing on the shore of a dried up, nearly fishless lake, blaming and disparaging others for not being able to catch fish there now like you used to haul in there when you were younger.


"I would go to another lake and not whine about it." -OD

Read the article. We're out of lakes. They all look more or less like your childhood fishing hole does now. This is the reality that your cozy cocoon of above averageness has kept you from seeing.


"I knew my folks were not in the position to pay for three kids to go to college. I chose to make my own reality and not bankrupt them." -OD

That's great! Good for you!

And how long did it take you to pay off your $30,000 worth of college loan debt and avoid bankruptcy yourself when it took you years after you graduated to even find a job in the field you had a degree in...?





Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/11/2019 07:37PM by Ponderer.
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 11, 2019 08:26PM
"Why am I at a dried lake to fish?" -Olde Dude

I didn't say you were there to fish. For purposes of this analogy, your fishing days are long over. Your den walls are full of mounted fish you used to catch there every time you threw a hook in the water. I said you were standing on the shore of a dried up, nearly fishless lake, blaming and disparaging others for not being able to catch fish there now like you used to haul in there when you were younger.

I understood your analogy and just continued it. Again, even if I caught thousands of fish at the lake, things change. I should look for either 1. a different sport, or 2. another lake. I believe the lakes may have changed maybe to "rivers" or "streams" but there are still fish. It may look different, it may seem strange, but opportunities are still there.

"And how long did it take you to pay off your $30,000 worth of college loan debt and avoid bankruptcy yourself when it took you years after you graduated to even find a job in the field you had a degree in...?"

No one "made me" go to college. Yes, my folks wanted me to be the "white collar" guy, but I chose not to. I chose to go to school (10 years after graduating high school). I chose to get a Masters' degree. I'm still paying for the Masters'. And I'm not whining about it.
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 11, 2019 08:40PM
The catch phrase "ok boomer" was created for people like OD (and Curt). smiling smiley
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 11, 2019 11:45PM
I simply disagree with Ponderer's analogy and explicit and implicit claims about The American Dream.

The American Dream is the ideal that ever American has the opportunity for prosperity and success, as well as an upward social mobility for the family and children, achieved through hard work in a society with few barriers. There is no guarantee of success, even for people who work hard and play by the rules. It's similar to the Declaration of Independence's "pursuit of Happiness". There is promise that we can pursue happiness; not a promise of happiness.

Ponderer also suggested that life today is tougher and crueler than it was for generations past. She didn't convince me of that.

The lemonade stand analogy didn't ring true to me either. Somebody's successful lemonade stand doesn't preclude my opportunities for success. Not only in other businesses that don't compete with the lemonade stand, but success could be in the form of a supplier to the lemonade stand. Somebody has to grow the lemons, build the squeezing machines, build the stands, supply the cups, etc.

Furthermore, the successful lemonade stand could create a greater appetite and demand for the citrus drink. Consider the ubiquitous Starbucks. Before Starbucks, there were hardly any coffee houses or a market for expensive coffee concoctions. Starbucks created an industry. Now there are plenty of Starbucks competitors and even appliances to make home brewed lattes, espressos and Americanos.




"White power! White power!" --Demented Racist Donald Trump


Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 11, 2019 11:56PM
"I simply disagree with Ponderer's analogy and explicit and implicit claims about The American Dream.

The American Dream is the ideal that ever American has the opportunity for prosperity and success, as well as an upward social mobility for the family and children, achieved through hard work in a society with few barriers. There is no guarantee of success, even for people who work hard and play by the rules. It's similar to the Declaration of Independence's "pursuit of Happiness". There is promise that we can pursue happiness; not a promise of happiness.

Ponderer also suggested that life today is tougher and crueler than it was for generations past. She didn't convince me of that."


Shockingly, ditto on everything.
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 12, 2019 12:23AM
"The significance is in the clear transfer of the bnefits of economic growth to the higher incomes and highest wealth owners. That inequality has reached a level that is socially dangerous."

That is the exact purpose of economic growth.

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"Build yourselves a wall of ships!" said the Oracle!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/12/2019 12:24AM by Kairos.
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 12, 2019 05:10PM
"The American Dream is the ideal that every American has the opportunity for prosperity and success, as well as an upward social mobility for the family and children, achieved through hard work in a society with few barriers." -Curt

So actually achieving prosperity and success for one's self and family is not the American Dream? Just having the opportunity for prosperity and success is the dream? Uh huh. So winning a lot of money in the lottery is not the dream of someone who buys a lottery ticket. Their dream is to merely have a lottery ticket that gives them the opportunity for winning a lot of money. Well then hey wadda ya know, they achieved their dream!

You're saying that being happy is not the goal of the pursuit of happiness? Of course happiness is not guaranteed merely by being in pursuit of it. But it's still the point of the pursuit. It's still what the pursuit is about.

So would you say that a person who had the opportunity for prosperity and success by working their asses off for their entire lives with nothing to show at the end of it but an eviction notice and bankruptcy from medical bills was living the American Dream? That working their ass off their entire life like that, regardless of whether or not they got f*cked up it, was their dream? What they were working their ass off for is immaterial?


"Ponderer also suggested that life today is tougher and crueler than it was for generations past. She didn't convince me of that." -Curt

Yeah, modern flat screen TVs make a pretty good case against me. Hard to argue against how much better everyone has it nowadays than their parents did because of cheap, modern flat screen TVs.


"The lemonade stand analogy didn't ring true to me either. Somebody's successful lemonade stand doesn't preclude my opportunities for success." -Curt

If that someone else's success leads to them buying up all the other lemonade stands around you, lowers prices and puts your stand out of business or stops anyone else from opening one it sure as hell does. Been on any derelict small town main streets lately?

Any analogy can be broken down, Curt. If you approach an analogy with the intention of tearing holes in it, you will win every time. I grant you that. It's probably why you and others do it so much. But you will have also successfully avoided the actual point the analogy was trying to make in the first place. And the point of the lemonade stand analogy does ring true with today's reality I am afraid. Deny it all you want to in your cozy little cottage in the trees.


"Not only in other businesses that don't compete with the lemonade stand, but success could be in the form of a supplier to the lemonade stand. Somebody has to grow the lemons, build the squeezing machines, build the stands, supply the cups, etc." -Curt

Now you're off the rails of the analogy. The lemonade stands represent all business and industry in this country, Curt. It's not just about the stands. It's happening to the suppliers of the lemonade stands, the growers of the lemons, the makers of squeezing machines, the stand builders, and the makers of the disposable cups. It happening with everything, Curt.

That's the point.


"Furthermore, the successful lemonade stand could create a greater appetite and demand for the citrus drink." -Curt

Sure. All everyone with a successful lemonade stand has to do to keep from getting pushed out by Big Lemon is just keep continuously coming up with new and popular innovations to their business and product. Easy peazy!

Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 12, 2019 05:41PM
"So actually achieving prosperity and success for one's self and family is not the American Dream? Just having the opportunity for prosperity and success is the dream? Uh huh."

The point is that we have the opportunity to achieve the American dream. What you do with that is not up to me or anyone else. It is up to the you.

"Yeah, modern flat screen TVs make a pretty good case against me. Hard to argue against how much better everyone has it nowadays than their parents did because of cheap, modern flat screen TVs."

I would say that because of the fluid culture, each individual has more of a chance to raise in both what they can do as an individually, and for their family. This fluidity is pretty unique in the world. Other than "comfort items" (the TVs, etc), I think there is easier access to necessities for a wider swath of the population.

In your lemonade analogy, a person has the capability to make a better lemonade to sell more. Some people will pay more for fresh squeezed, some not. Some will pay more for not using the same cup as everyone else. Maybe I make a lemonlime drink instead. That is the "opportunity" of the American Dream.

*editor's note; I was thinking about this, talking to my wife. Then it came to me. One of the reasons we differ so much is that I take a Buddhist's view. Basically, life is nothing more than suffering, sickness, and death (so basically, life is sht). It's up to me to make good happen to me. No one else. My expectations are that life is a continual set of trials. I can choose to lay down and let it run over me or I can look for the good things.
Re: The American Dream is Killing Us
November 12, 2019 07:02PM
"The point is that we have the opportunity to achieve the American dream." -Olde Dude

And the point of the article and the reality that we are living in that you and Curt refuse to recognize is that such "opportunity" is a perilously endangered, bordering on extinct species. It is simply completely different nowadays than it was back in our day. Deny it all you want to.

The traditional myth of the American Dream is gasping its last breaths. It's just that you and Curt can't see it because of the insulation your situations provide you.


"What you do with that is not up to me or anyone else. It is up to the you." -Olde Dude

Yeah. That myth. Today it's also up to outside forces that we never had to deal with in our day, back when you stqarted saying and believing that.

Olde Dude, your Buddhist outlook is great and all. I don't substantially disagree with it. But the point of this article and the reality we now find ourselves in is that there are more impediments and roadblocks thrown up for our dealing with all the suffering, sickness and death in people's lives today because of where it is all heading. Roadblocks that for an increasingly larger and larger percentage of the population make it impossible to ever make good things happen to them. Roadblocks we never had to deal with.

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