Why America Is So Angry and Miserable
Blame our culture of entitlement, victimhood, and greed
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 23, 2010 8:53 AM CDT
Tea Party activists arrive with signs and folding chairs at the former McClellan Air Force Base, Sept. 12, 2010.   (AP Photo/Steve Yeater)

(Newser) – These days, America seems defined by a near-ubiquitous “simmering resentment, frustration, and anger,” writes Charles Hugh Smith on his Of Two Minds blog. Why is that? Smith blames:

  • A culture of entitlement: From Social Security recipients to Wall Street welfare queens, “most of us have to elbow our way to the crowded public trough” for government cash.
  • A culture of victimhood: We reward victimhood, and punish thrift and carrying one’s own load. And so we all feel inclined to get our claim on victimhood.

  • Unrealistic expectations: No one in America wants to do demanding physical labor—we all want to be entertainers, sports heroes, and wealthy web tycoons.
  • The hype and hypocrisy of politicians: “Soaring rhetoric about growth, recovery, the American can-do spirit … etc., have raised expectations that have repeatedly been dashed by reality.” But the powerful elite, and the mainstream media they own, keep trotting out these “glad tidings.” Didn’t you hear? The recession is over! Quit being so sour. Didn’t you buy Goldman Sachs shares at the bottom?
  • It’s somebody else’s fault: Pick your scapegoat.
  • The dying middle class: Earnings have been stagnant for 30 years, while living costs have risen. Even the fantasy that asset bubbles like dot.com stocks or housing could fill the gap has imploded.