I came over to this thread, because you pinged me, and frankly, I do not have the respectful attitude that most have towards the writer. He does, indeed, show a very unconservative system of social values; but he does not stop with merely suggesting that some values may interfere with material progress. He embraces an absurd form of neo-Marxist interpretation of history.
One cannot stress the point often enough, that Culture does not create people, people create their own culture. A nation's culture reflects the aptitudes and personalities of its people. American culture has always reflected our people, not the other way around. The idea that you can remake a nation by artificially altering its culture--the grotesque experiments in Bolshevik Russia, Nazi Germany & Pol Pots Cambodia, come instantly to mind--needs to be laid to rest. It is the single most hideous error of socialist thinking. And whatever merits this article displays at some points, it seems almost calculated to promote another round of such madness.
That is really only a round about way for me to suggest that the writer has confused cause and effect, throughout the article--in addition to demonstrating where he stands in the fight to temper materialism with philosophy and a deeper understanding of the nature of the pursuit of happiness.
William Flax Return Of The Gods Web Site
Just a couple of observations on the some of the Seven Signs:
"Inability to accept responsibility for individual or collective failure."
I'm afraid that this is now a feature of American culture. It's always someone else's fault; it's television's fault that children are illiterate, it's tobacco's fault that people get cancer, it's McDonald's fault that people are too fat, guns are at fault for crime.
"The extended family or clan as the basic unit of social organization."
If the author is criticising nepotism, he should come right out and say it. And IF he is criticising nepotism, he has just condemned the American business community whose words to live by are "It's not what you know, but who . . . "(variant endings exist). Not only is our business community run by dynasties and the members of special clubs, but so is our government. Is George (II) Bush really the most qualified executive? Is Teddy Kennedy really the most qualified legislator?
"Domination by a restrictive religion."
Check. We got that, too. Our state religion is effectively Unitarian Universalism; it is enforced in our schools and our public spaces. And the sense of Amendment I has been mutilated so that it effectively forbids public displays that had been commonplace when the U.S. was still a Christian country. The first commandment of our established religion is: "I am the State Almighty, thou shalt have no gods before Me." Homosexuality is one of this new religion's sacraments.
"A low valuation of education."
OK. Let me stop laughing first . . . The U.S. is supposed to put a high value on education? (Insert raucous, gut-busting guffaws here) No! Stop, you're killin' me!
Has the author taken a look at what passes for a college graduate these days?
Oh, man. I needed a good laugh today!
" Low prestige assigned to work."
The U.S. is the land of get-rich-quick. Ralph Cramden could be our patron saint. We got state lotteries. We got OTB. We got real-estate pitchmen promising everybody a yacht and a Jaguar.
The objective of many, if not most American workers is NOT to do "work that's good enough to sign" but to do as little work as possible for as much money as possible. They pick up this bad habit from their managers who are themselves the laziest and most unqualified people on earth. What percentage of American managers could actually do their subordinates' jobs?
So that's five of the Seven Signs right there. Well, at least we don't subjugate women. Although I wonder how non-competitive a state is that allows its males to be subjugated BY women.