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American culture

Europe Sees America

He other day on the Champs-Elysees, I ran into an art critic who, like me, had just returned to Paris from America. "Well," he asked, "how about your recent trip? What do you think this time about things over there?" With a flicker of a smile on hi [...]

The Death of the American Dream

We confused the American Dream with simple accumulation. We spent vastly beyond our means in an attempt to give off a false impression of achievement, and that wild spending of borrowed money drove the current crash.

Ditching the Rubric on Gun Control: Notes from an American Moderate

Here's the trouble: in America, our unique history of rebellion (against colonial rule, against domestic tyranny), expansion (westward, etc.), and individualism (the Enlightenment and all that) leaves us a peculiar cultural legacy. Our gun control debate, like our ongoing discourses on race and our role as a superpower, is uniquely American in its construction; it depends on our on-going historical disagreements over the precise balance of power in the social contract, and over the idea of voluntary democratic rule.