Ian Welsh discusses how American culture seems to be mean to a degree that exists in few other Western countries. I think the underlying disease is the widespread nature of competition in American society. Or maybe competition is the result of American meanness?
One of the most striking things about much of American culture is the simple meanness of it. The cruelty.
Most of this seems to come down to three feelings:
* My life sucks. I have to work a terrible job I hate in order to survive. I have to bow and scrape and do shit I don’t want to do. You should have to as well.
* Anyone who doesn’t make it must not be willing to suffer as I do, therefore anyone who doesn’t make it deserves to be homeless, go without food, and so on.
* Anybody who is against us needs to be hurt and humiliated, because that’s how I see my superiors deal with people who go against them.
“Life is shit, therefore your life should be shit.”
“What you’ve got is what you deserve.”
There is also a culture of punching down, as commenter Lisa has observed. America has a high-violence, high-bullying society. As Lisa noted you can have a high-violence society in which it is considered unacceptable to attack the weak (doing so is viewed as cowardice), but that’s not the case in America.
In American culture, the weak are the preferred target. Failure is punishable by homelessness, suffering, and death. Sick people sure don’t deserve proper pain medication. Poor people are poor because they “don’t add value.” If you’re poor, you definitely shouldn’t have good healthcare, because if you don’t have money, you don’t deserve money, and that’s because you’re a waste of space.