The American culture is very diverse with a mixture of customs and traditions that make the American people to be who they are. A culture is a person’s identity and is usually identified by food, religion, clothing, language, music, marriage, and our beliefs concerning what is right and wrong as well as how we relate with each other. When we think of the American culture a lot comes to mind like baseball, Hollywood, hot dogs and many other things. The American culture is made up of so much more than this and this is how you can distinguish and American from other people (Zimmermann). This essay aims to analyze the American individualism culture.
Individualism is an essential part of the American culture. It forms the basis of most of the values in America. This aspect of the American culture is very important as it influences main areas in the society like politics, culture and economics. Additionally, individualism has played a very crucial role in shaping the character of the American people. Individualism is about being self-centered as it mostly emphasizes on personal goals. The notion is normally that every individual has moral importance and specific rights that they believe is inborn to human nature. Every experience, thoughts, actions, perception and existence only exist in a unique time and space for each individual.
The individualistic culture gives people the perception that their life is their own and that they have the right to live and act as they wish. As a result, individuals are free to act based on their judgements and follow values of their choice. The strong basis of individualism is based on the ideal that was set forth by the American Founders. When the declaration and the Constitution was drafted, it created a nation where a person’s right to life, freedom and property was documented and protected.
Most Americans are thought to be individualists. They are brought up to be assertive, independent and strong. This is attributed to their motivation by what they consider right for them individually. As a result, most Americans put themselves first. This aspect of the American culture highly values a person’s uniqueness and self-resolve. An individual’s ability to make up their mind and work well independently is highly appreciated in this culture. This is very important as it encourages a person to pursue his/her own self-interest. Individualism also allows for fair moral judgement (Younkins). This is because value choices are attributed to the person making the choice. As a result, the person making a decision acquires credit or blame for his/her choices depending on the outcome. It is believed that morals are agent-comparative. Therefore, people end up making choices that they feel will positively impact their lives.
One of the most attractive element of individualism is independent responsibility. This culture facilitates people to view themselves as independent entities. As a result people are encouraged to have self-oriented standards and skills that can support their independent existence. Some of the values that are encouraged by individualism include self-responsibility, self-reliance, self-advocacy, self-competence, self-sufficiency and self-determination. All this values are very essential and they ensure that a person can comfortably live anywhere in the world without having to rely on people every time.
Individualism is also encouraged in the education of young children. Children in America are trained to have their own personalities and are also motivated to be self-reliance from a very young age. Personal achievements and responsibilities are highly encouraged especially when children are still young. For instance, most Americans give their babies their own room and crib from the first day they come home from hospital. As the baby develops, every personal achievement like making the first steps, dressing himself and feeding himself is highly celebrated and encouraged. In America, great importance is attached to personality development, refinement of creativity and imagination as this plays a very important role in the individualistic path of a child. However, as children grow older they tend to struggle with individualism. This is because their choices and actions now start to have more serious effects on their lives. They are then faced with the responsibility of making numerous decisions that may have major implications on their live and on the lives of people around them.
An individualistic society is influenced by the values of freedom and independence. High value is placed on the importance of personal rights and freedom. The United States government have a strong resolve towards individualism. They tend to control some of the decisions that people make. This is because some of the decisions that are made may have detrimental effects on the society and not just individualism. Nonetheless, most people are inclined to believe that they have personal freedom and right and this may explain their inclination to individualism. For this reason, it is sometimes very difficult to convince people that they should give up some of their self-interest, personal goals and freedom for the good of others. Freedom is like a natural condition of a person. Were it not for restraints like the government or compulsion by other people, most individuals would do as they please.
We can do it today.
Politically, the individualism culture implies that a person has a right to their own happiness and life. Although people are encouraged to unite with other people in order to preserve and protect institutions that protect that right, the government should stay out of personal affairs. Politics is seen as a market place where people compete for their own personal interest to use the system for their own gain. Most politicians are motivated by their own personal concerns rather than the interest to achieve a better society. Individualism has played a very important role in uniting the American citizens. The American unity is mainly built on people’s chase of values. The American nation is a nation where people do not sacrifice for another person but rather they trade with each other in reciprocally favorable ways. When the security and prosperity of the nation is threatened, individuals unite and rise to the occasion to protect what is of great significance to them.
In conclusion, although individualism is great aspect in the American culture, the American people should try to incorporate other aspects like collectivism. This will not only encourage people to be independent, but it will also allow people to put into considerations the interests of the society before making decisions. People will therefore be able to peacefully co-exist with one another since personal rights will not infringe on other people’s rights. Freedom is very important as long as it is respected and does not cause an individual to take part in unlawful activities.
- Younkins, Edward. “Individualism and Freedom: Vital Pillars of True Communities .”
- Zimmermann, Kim Ann. LiveScience. 13 July 2017. 2 November 2017.