Realities of American Politics

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Many Europeans are surprised to discover that the mainstream American left is fairly centrist by global standards, and the mainstream American right is very far-right indeed by global standards. Democrats get painted as extreme leftists by their rivals, but Democrats rarely argue for anything that could be regarded as socialist in any way. Conservatives will regularly argue against most forms of collectivist efforts in favor of a very extreme sort of individualism. Their arguments in favor of the wealthy more or less completely holding onto their wealth has always made it clear what they prioritize and who they prioritize.

The idea that taxation is inherently bad is woven right into American culture. American children are raised with memories of the Patriots saying ‘no taxation without representation.’ The War for American Independence tends to be glamorized in the history classes of young Americans, which is often how it starts. Switching out of that mindset as an adult is tricky, especially since the idea that taxes are a burden is all over American culture.

America’s social programs suffer as a result, as does the sense that America is a nation in the first place and not merely a collection of autonomous individuals that happen to be ignoring one another most of the time anyway. Many Americans feel disconnected from one another in a society that tends to favor rugged individualism, for better or for worse. This sense of disconnection only gets worse when election season approaches and Americans are pitted against one another in what is always framed as a battle for domination.

Many American problems could be solved if more Americans had a greater sense of society. The fact that many Americans tend to internalize conservative rhetoric, regardless of their exact political affiliation, has helped the right-wing dominate in the United States, pushing the Democratic party to the center in the process.