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What is "the American Dream"

H

HTColeman

I hear alot of people ranting on about fulfilling the 'American Dream', I might have even done it at one time myself. But what is the American Dream? I am not talking about a string of cliches that don't really mean anything, I'm talking about what is the AD in relation to the average person's life?
 

Old and wise

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HTColeman said:
I hear alot of people ranting on about fulfilling the 'American Dream', I might have even done it at one time myself. But what is the American Dream? I am not talking about a string of cliches that don't really mean anything, I'm talking about what is the AD in relation to the average person's life?
There is no relation between the American dream and the average person.

To live the American dream a person has to be intelligent and have the ambition to succeed. Those traits are not very abundant in this country.

A person living the American dream has used his/her intelligence and ambition to get ahead in life and has become successful in accumulating enough wealth to be able to live to the end of his/her life in relative comfort.

Not something that many Americans are willing or capable of doing.
 

Quid Pro Quo

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Old and wise said:
There is no relation between the American dream and the average person.

To live the American dream a person has to be intelligent and have the ambition to succeed. Those traits are not very abundant in this country.

A person living the American dream has used his/her intelligence and ambition to get ahead in life and has become successful in accumulating enough wealth to be able to live to the end of his/her life in relative comfort.

Not something that many Americans are willing or capable of doing.
I disagree. I don't think the American Dream has to do so much with tangibles, as it does with one's own complacency at the end of the road. If one can say he has little to no regret, and got everything out of life he needed (not always wanted)...that is the American Dream, IMO. Sorry if this was the cliche answer you didn't want.
 
H

HTColeman

Old and wise said:
There is no relation between the American dream and the average person.

To live the American dream a person has to be intelligent and have the ambition to succeed. Those traits are not very abundant in this country.

A person living the American dream has used his/her intelligence and ambition to get ahead in life and has become successful in accumulating enough wealth to be able to live to the end of his/her life in relative comfort.

Not something that many Americans are willing or capable of doing.
But to accept this means that anyone who doesn't get ahead in life has no ambition and is not very intelligent. That would say that everyone who is poor is poor because they aren't good enough to be rich or middle class. I find it hard to say that if someone can't reach "The American Dream" it is because of their lack of competency. It is because of a lack of opportunity, I really don't think that anyone lives in shitholes because they are lazy.
 

Brigand

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Scarface, is a good allegory of the 'American dream'.

The world is yours, man.
 

hawk2

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Old and wise said:
There is no relation between the American dream and the average person.

To live the American dream a person has to be intelligent and have the ambition to succeed. Those traits are not very abundant in this country.

A person living the American dream has used his/her intelligence and ambition to get ahead in life and has become successful in accumulating enough wealth to be able to live to the end of his/her life in relative comfort.

Not something that many Americans are willing or capable of doing.
You are indeed "Old and Wise". I will add a comment or two but I disagree that there are not many people in the US capable of living the American Dream. This country has a wealth of entrepreneurs, all of which are seeking and/or living the American. Capitalism provides the environment where innovation can flourish and innovation is the seed that creates the American Dream. It is the last product that we as Americans have in vast quantities and it is because we have the "can do" attitude which provides the engine that drives innovation and the personal freedome to be as great as we are capable of being.

No whiner has ever lived the American Dream. They are the ones who question whether on or not it exists.

The animals who destroyed the New Orleans dome during and after Katrina are the antithesis of the American Dream as are the jelly fish who never want to get off welfare.

Asking if the American Dream is well and alive is analogous to the Director of the US Patent office in 1898, who said that the Patent Office should be closed because everything that could be invented had already been patented.

Ask Bill gates whether or not the American Dream is well and alive.
 
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FinnMacCool

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the american dream is to have a good job that you like doing and have a wife a children a home and all that good stuff.
 
H

HTColeman

hawk2 said:
You are indeed "Old and Wise". I will add a comment or two but I disagree that there are not many people in the US capable of living the American Dream. This country has a wealth of entrepreneurs, all of which are seeking and/or living the American. Capitalism provides the environment where innovation can flourish and innovation is the seed that creates the American Dream. It is the last product that we as Americans have in vast quantities and it is because we have the "can do" attitude which provides the engine that drives innovation and the personal freedome to be as great as we are capable of being.
I am sorry, but I have been a bit pessimistic about such ideals as of late, ther are alot more living in poverty than there are successful entrepreneurs. Most entrepreneurs don't last a year on their own.

No whiner has ever lived the American Dream. They are the ones who question whether on or not it exists.
R u calling me a whiner? that's unnecessary just b/c I disagree with your beautiful painting of society.

The animals who destroyed the New Orleans dome during and after Katrina are the antithesis of the American Dream as are the jelly fish who never want to get off welfare.
whatever, that has nothing to do with this, no one has even mentioned anything about that

Asking if the American Dream is well and alive is analogous to the Director of the US Patent office in 1898, who said that the Patent Office should be closed because everything that could be invented had already been patented.
Many sociologists have said that those most likely to be prejudiced have
1) Been blocked from a goal and blame a group
2) People with an authoritarian attitude
-admissive to those in higher authority and negative to those below
3)Those who uber-believe in the American Dream
-see economic problems as personal

Ask Bill gates whether or not the American Dream is well and alive.
Bill Gates came from very well to do family that could afford to send him to Harvard, hardly rags to riches.
 
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The American Dream: politicized...

In political rhetoric it has become the desire to obtain just a little more than what you'll ever have. This reasoning makes the party not in power able to always use the "American Dream is dead" slogan to run on & place the blame on the party of power at the time. Primarily it's economics for political purposes. Life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness: these things mean different things to different people. Therefore, the American Dream is different for everyone. Find your dream & then work toward achieving that dream. The fact that is still possible proves that the American Dream is still alive & well.
 

hawk2

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Mark A Shrider said:
The American Dream: politicized...

In political rhetoric it has become the desire to obtain just a little more than what you'll ever have. This reasoning makes the party not in power able to always use the "American Dream is dead" slogan to run on & place the blame on the party of power at the time. Primarily it's economics for political purposes. Life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness: these things mean different things to different people. Therefore, the American Dream is different for everyone. Find your dream & then work toward achieving that dream. The fact that is still possible proves that the American Dream is still alive & well.
Thanks for providing some good logical support here.....I have no understanding for those who are willing sit on the sidelines and whine about not having any opportunity to live the American Dream, just as I have no time for the homeless who would rather live in the woods than get a job and try to confront their demons. NOTE: I am not speaking of someone who is disabled physically.......perhaps it can be said that all homeless people are mentally disabled but I would rather call it an unwillingness to face reality and who would rather beg for crumbs. All people are born equal in the eyes of God but I have not observed God helping those that are less equal in reality.
 
H

HTColeman

hawk2 said:
Thanks for providing some good logical support here.....I have no understanding for those who are willing sit on the sidelines and whine about not having any opportunity to live the American Dream, just as I have no time for the homeless who would rather live in the woods than get a job and try to confront their demons. NOTE: I am not speaking of someone who is disabled physically.......perhaps it can be said that all homeless people are mentally disabled but I would rather call it an unwillingness to face reality and who would rather beg for crumbs. All people are born equal in the eyes of God but I have not observed God helping those that are less equal in reality.
Well if you want to bring God into it, he has asked those who are more fortunate to help those who are "less equal", not condemn them and presume why they are "less equal". "He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward him for what he has done." (Proverbs 19:17). But that is just because you brought God into it.

Besides, I am not saying that the American Dream doesn't exist, it happens, but not very often. My question is what is the American Dream, owning a home, having a family, being wealthy, etc., etc.
 

hawk2

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HTColeman said:
Besides, I am not saying that the American Dream doesn't exist, it happens, but not very often. My question is what is the American Dream, owning a home, having a family, being wealthy, etc., etc.
Your question has already been answered by Mark A. Shrider with the following exerpt from his post and I agree:

Life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness: these things mean different things to different people. Therefore, the American Dream is different for everyone. Find your dream & then work toward achieving that dream. The fact that it is still possible proves that the American Dream is alive & well.
 
H

HTColeman

hawk2 said:
Your question has already been answered by Mark A. Shrider with the following exerpt from his post and I agree:

Life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness: these things mean different things to different people. Therefore, the American Dream is different for everyone. Find your dream & then work toward achieving that dream. The fact that it is still possible proves that the American Dream is alive & well.
That is a way to go about life, American Dream implies a certain goal. Would it be in your view, achieving that dream? So if someone does not achieve that dream, then have they failed as an American?
 

hawk2

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HTColeman said:
That is a way to go about life, American Dream implies a certain goal. Would it be in your view, achieving that dream? So if someone does not achieve that dream, then have they failed as an American?
Most people fail on their first try.......the trick is to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try again. Nobody said it was easy. There is no certain formula and there are no guarantees.

You could say it is similar to writing a book.........most people write several before they ever get one published. You seem to think you should be able to write a "best seller" the first time around.

You seem to think life is easy.......is that because you have had everything handed to you like my grandchildren?

America gives you the opportunity.......the rest is up to you.
 

Old and wise

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hawk2 said:
America gives you the opportunity.......the rest is up to you.
Hawk, you are absolutely right. I immigrated to this country from Germany at the age of 16 with nothing but the shirt on my back (so to speak).

I never received any help from the Government but I used my intelligence and ambition to make something of myself. I served my time in the service to this country. I made it on my own because I put everything I could muster into making a better life for myself. I raised 3 children, send them through college, and made enough money the honest way to be able to live the rest of my life very comfortably.

Anyone can do it if they put their mind to it.
 
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H

HTColeman

hawk2 said:
Most people fail on their first try.......the trick is to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try again. Nobody said it was easy. There is no certain formula and there are no guarantees.

You could say it is similar to writing a book.........most people write several before they ever get one published. You seem to think you should be able to write a "best seller" the first time around.

You seem to think life is easy.......is that because you have had everything handed to you like my grandchildren?
Wow, a couple of posts and you know what I seem to think? No, I am not spoiled, and no, I do not think life is easy because mine hasn't. Once again, do not patronize me, I have not disrespected you or discredited your age, I only ask the same.


America gives you the opportunity.......the rest is up to you.
But does America give everyone the same level of opportunity?
 

hawk2

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Old and wise said:
Hawk, you are absolutely right. I immigrated to this country from Germany at the age of 16 with nothing but the shirt on my back (so to speak).

I never received any help from the Government but I used my intelligence and ambition to make something of myself. I served my time in the service to this country. I made it on my own because I put everything I could muster into making a better life for myself. I raised 3 children, send them through college, and made enough money the honest way to be able to live the rest of my life very comfortably.

Anyone can do it if they put their mind to it.
Nice story Old and Wise.......you are to be congratulated for making your American Dream come true. There are millions of stories just like yours but there are still the cynics and the pessimists who want the American Dream to die so that they,as the losers they are, can feel vindicted in their failure.

Thank you also for your service to your new country......There are many young people on this forum. Perhaps your story will provide some inspiration to one or more of them.

Hawk
 

UtahBill

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I know what MY American Dream is, and have achieved it. Others have a higher level of American Dream, good for them. My younger brother's dream is to live alone in a run down house, well not completely alone, he has his dogs. But if he is happy, he has achieved his dream.
The trick is to set reasonably achievable goals. Certainly if my dream was to become a world famous pianist, I would fail at the onset. I can barely type. If it wasn't for spellcheck, this would be almost unreadable.
To each is own, as long as he pays for it himself......:2wave:
 
H

HTColeman

UtahBill said:
I know what MY American Dream is, and have achieved it. Others have a higher level of American Dream, good for them. My younger brother's dream is to live alone in a run down house, well not completely alone, he has his dogs. But if he is happy, he has achieved his dream.
The trick is to set reasonably achievable goals. Certainly if my dream was to become a world famous pianist, I would fail at the onset. I can barely type. If it wasn't for spellcheck, this would be almost unreadable.
To each is own, as long as he pays for it himself......:2wave:
That is a very reasonable response, thank you.
 

EugenicHegemony

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HTColeman said:
I hear alot of people ranting on about fulfilling the 'American Dream', I might have even done it at one time myself. But what is the American Dream? I am not talking about a string of cliches that don't really mean anything, I'm talking about what is the AD in relation to the average person's life?
You want the truth?

It's a UTOPIC lie that has been sold to the masses.
 

iamjack

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EugenicHegemony said:
You want the truth?

It's a UTOPIC lie that has been sold to the masses.
This isn't a Marxist country last I checked. In fact I can't remember the last time I ever heard a shred of American Utopian optimism. In fact I can't remember any American optimism that didn't result in the utter, seething outrage of some disgruntled liberal or foreign narccicist.
 

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iamjack said:
This isn't a Marxist country last I checked. In fact I can't remember the last time I ever heard a shred of American Utopian optimism. In fact I can't remember any American optimism that didn't result in the utter, seething outrage of some disgruntled liberal or foreign narccicist.
Where did Marxism pop up for?

And if he hates the current US govt. and Social system I doubt he's a liberal, they support most things of the current systems, same as republicans.
 

iamjack

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Comrade Brian said:
Where did Marxism pop up for?
I was reffering to false utopian visions force-fed to the masses. But indeed, I probably should have cited communism in general, as Marx's ideas were largely bastardized by the time they became mainstream.

And if he hates the current US govt. and Social system I doubt he's a liberal, they support most things of the current systems, same as republicans.
Well, I wasn't reffering to him exactly, but it seems these days liberalism has become somewhat bastardized as well. The neoliberal doctrine, it seems to me, has discarded the universalist morality that made it great and instead favors a sort of socially justified despotism (not unlike soviet socialism). How else would you quantify people of a political disipline that is supposed to promote liberty and social equality supporting Saddam's god-given right to maintain hold of a nation-state, or justify bigotry on the part of minorities?
 

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I think the American Dream deals with financial success, and having the opportunity to achieve such a materialistic dream and make one's life better. To achieve this, people must have the opportunity to achieve the dream, so freedoms also come into play. So basically, I think the end result of the dream is financial success, while the means are opportunity and hard work.
 
H

HTColeman

Hornburger said:
I think the American Dream deals with financial success, and having the opportunity to achieve such a materialistic dream and make one's life better. To achieve this, people must have the opportunity to achieve the dream, so freedoms also come into play. So basically, I think the end result of the dream is financial success, while the means are opportunity and hard work.
Hmmm...

that spurs some thought, just to ponder, I'm not criticizing, ideally, I somewhat agree with you.

So, if the end is financial success, and the means are opportunity and hard work....what if they reach the end by cheating and such. They are living the American Dream, but have they actually "achieved" the dream?

Or, what if they go about the means opportunity and hard work, but don't achieve financial success, then what is that considered?


Hmmm.....
 
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