A National Paradox. A people who defy the laws of nature (or at least their social equivalent). That is how foreign observers have viewed Americans, from the very beginning to the present day.
Thomas Jefferson as Dr. Frankenstein. Jefferson and the Founding Fathers were astonished and appalled at the nation they had created. Their repugnance was directed at major aspects of its social life (business, politics, religion, culture, and manners).
Superficial Violence, Underlying Stability. President Nixon testified to the latter when he declared that America only needed a president to handle foreign affairs; domestically the country could run itself with nothing more than “a competent cabinet.”
The Benefits of Prudery. How middle-class values succeeded in dominating the entire society. Why sexual control was a crucial achievement and why it is no longer necessary.
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The Popularity of Religion. The religiosity of Americans has long been viewed as inexplicably incongruous, but it is not really the paradox that it seems.
American Conservatism (So-Called). Just as this nation molded religion to suit its needs and desires, it did the same with conservatism, which consequently conserves very little.
The Conformist, Anti-Emersonian Reality. How are Americans able to reconcile their idealistic belief in individual freedom with the social reality of group influence and control? The answer includes what is “possibly the most consummate manual of philistinism and conformity” ever written in the United States.
The Dark Side of the Reenchanted Workplace. Today’s employee is supposed to have the positive motivation of an entrepreneur, while facing an entrepreneur’s risks without the prospect of an entrepreneur’s rewards.
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Modernity and Its Discontents. What it means to be modern, including an explanation of why liberals and radicals love the people at the very bottom of society but loathe those on the level just above the bottom.
The Illusions of Multiculturalism. Minorities that were formerly shunned and ignored have been transformed into social celebrities and benefactors. Among those to enjoy this change in status are sharks.
The Essence of Postmodernism. When faced with adverse reality, this is the most audacious of defensive responses: demote the significance of reality. One might call it gerrymandering at a metaphysical level.