The American Spirit and the Russian Soul



The American Spirit was founded upon a false and troubling premise: that competition and winning, a.k.a., conquest, is the royal road to happiness. In fact just the reverse seems to be the case for the great majority of peoples, and apparently for the planet at large. Yet we Americans have been conditioned over many centuries to believe in this fantasy — that the “democratic” ideals of equality, fraternity, and liberty somehow thrive in a competitive, capitalist environment — that competition leads down the road to universal prosperity, as if this were a “good in itself.”

About kulturcritic

With a doctorate in religious studies from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree from the University of Chicago, Sandy had a ten-year academic career, with appointments at University of Virginia and the Colorado School of Mines. He spent the next twenty years in executive ranks at several of America’s largest international firms, including Computer Sciences Corporation, Ernst & Young, and General Electric. He has traveled extensively throughout Europe and North America, as well as parts of Eurasia and Africa. For the past five years Sandy has been living in Western Siberia with his wife and young child, teaching at the Pedagogical University and the Altai Institute for Law and Economics in Barnaul, Russia. Published works include VERONIKA: The Siberian's Tale (a novel), (Islands Press 2011) Apocalypse Of The Barbarians: Inquisitions On Empire (Islands Press, 2010), The Recovery of Ecstasy: Notebooks From Siberia (Booksurge, 2009), Recollective Resolve: A Phenomenological Understanding of Time and Myth (Mercer University Press, 1987), Ethical Decisionmaking Styles (Addison-Wesley Press, 1986), and Gandhi in the Postmodern Age: Issues in War and Peace (CSM Press,1984).
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5 Responses to The American Spirit and the Russian Soul

  1. jackwaddington says:

    I, being British, and being brought up to believe that I should be proud of my country, proud of my heritage, proud of my family, my home town, and on and on. It was not until my late teens that I began to see the farce of all this “non-sense” I also began to realize that any kind of pride was a means to hide deep shame. Now I see both words as irrelevant and useless for any purpose.

    When I arrived in the United States some 34 years ago for the sole purpose to become engaged in a therapy that was only practiced here; I began to see the very myth of what seemingly is deemed by many Americans:- this is the greatest nation that was ever created … I knew there was a serious problem with this collective notion; I knew that it created a back-lash with many other peoples of the world. The so called American Spirit was a myth and was founded by peoples fleeing Europe in the hope of a better future, but in doing so had to rely on conquered lands and made even more inequitable by hauling African across the ocean to perform as slaves for a people that now considered themselves as some sort of superior beings.

    This notion is now in decline, but for many the fantasy remains. It is and will remain … whilst we have national boundaries and ethnic cultures desiring first ‘pride practice’ and enforced and holding desperately onto the fantasy.
    believes (irrationally) that competition is the driving force for all that’s good. As this current site article suggests; that IS the fallacy.

    Jack Waddington

    • eclectic skeptic says:

      I think that all people have the following as their driving force. “You have it, I want it”

    • Disaffected says:

      Whatever it is or isn’t, I think the American spirit morphed into something far more virulent, sinister, and deadly after WWII and the first great Depression. We forget now that Capitalism really was on the ropes there for awhile, and the “Russian bear” scared the shit out of American capitalist leaders. But the bomb and the fact that the American homeland completely escaped the ravages of war gave us a significant significant leg up on everyone else, and we leveraged that with cold war propaganda to become the great imperialist MIC that Eisenhower warned about just before leaving office. Having lived through all of it and rubbed elbows with all the major players, I believe his speech wasn’t so much a preventative warning, as a heads up on what was by then certainly coming our way, as JFK would find out the hard way only 2 1/2 short years later, his brains splattered all over his wife in full view of the public, for having the temerity to resist the mandate to follow the MIC’s marching orders. LBJ was no doubt in on the coup as well, but likewise, he knew the score full well too. Escalate Vietnam by hook or by crook or else! Even the poor sap Nixon continued the game, escalating the bombing secretly while telling the public he was winding the war down. Throw in all the “little wars” in South and Central America that the public knows very little about, and every presidential administration since then has harbored and largely been run by war criminals, some more than others. Of course with Bush/Cheney and 9-11 the gloves finally came off, a fact that Obama resoundingly confirmed. If Obama was the best this country could do to resist the impulse toward global imperialist war, then it’s game over for this country. The only question now is can such a country continue to survive with such sociopaths in charge. God help the human race if it can.

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