Some of the values I found disconcerting and sometimes offensive. I recognize though, that you can’t take any of these things in isolation. For the many negatives, there are many positive things about American society. However, here are the points that are disconcerting:
- Quixotic libertarian-ism. E.g.: Lack of gun control – regardless of what you say about the debates.
- A widespread lack of respect for needy and older people. The number of old people left to their wits, or ignored, is sadly very high. Nobody’s involved in communities that help older people. Heck, Americans don’t even provide for their own old parents.
- The absence of a conservative family ethic where it would be beneficial, especially the proliferation of single mothers, rampant infidelity and lack of trust in close relationships, etc., despite the disadvantages of such things.
- Excessive political correctness in everyday conversation. This is not only a conversation and irony killer, but doesn’t allow for easy conversation with some people. The southern US doesn’t have too much of this, though, and personal interactions wise, I found the warmest folks there.
- Excessive use of lawsuits and for trivial disputes, domestic disputes or minor set backs. ( Don’t know if this story is apocryphal, but I once heard that a lady sued a caravan manufacturer for a few million dollars because they forgot to mention in their user manual that you have to use a parking brake when parked on a slope. The lady had a valid driver’s license.)
- Wheeling dealing. Home sellers, Used car sellers, etc. The loser culture, which is an offshoot of this. The belief that you can “stick a finger in the other guy’s nose” brashly in transactions. (Hard bargainers come from such a setting, yes, but assholes also do.)
- Fake it and make it. Despite this being the crux of American entrepreneurship, this “I too can” BS has led to more snake oil salesmen from the US than from any other country.
- “Americans know best” – despite fumbling in so many places, there’s a general expectation I have that Americans will ignore their own shortcomings or explain them away as some superiority.
- American social life is, by and large, shallow. Perhaps this is born of the lack of strong family and an overemphasis on wealth and social position (despite politically correct utterings to the contrary that you hear everywhere).
- An unwillingness to look beyond the US and America for ideas on how to live life. Demonstrated amply in widespread opinions people have on subjects like abortion, gun control, and other hot button topics in elections.
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