Because I have been thinking along the lines of American government, political philosophy, human development, and religion, I will attempt to "think through" in this post what would be the pros and cons to our form of government.
Our government allows for each individual to have rights before the law. One citizen is not know to "theoretically" have "special privileges". We are "equal before the law" The. Power to be a moral agent, independent from co-ercive power, whether government or religion. And this has its benefits because we are allowed liberty in our choices and values. "Self" can be developed in many ways. And "self rule" was the ideal of our Founding Fathers.
But, what is the downfull of such a government? Because each individual is allowed the freedom "to be" and "to do", there is not over-riding or over-arching narrative, other than liberty. Liberty is an important value, but it also can be damning if it undermines societal foundations or institutions. These insitutions are the framing of societal values. And societal values affect developing children within a society.
Family is the child's first frame of reference for every physical and emotional need being met, as well as societal values being transferred. Because our society has valued liberty and the pursuit of "gold" we have a society that has the value of work, prosperity, and human choice in vocation. These values are good ones, but have left the family stressed as to meeting all its obligations to the child.
The child is left with the sense that his value to and in society is dependent on his ability to find a successful career and make money. The endless cycle in pursuit of the "American Dream" has left the family struggling to find its identity and the child is left with the "leftovers".
The emotional needs of the child are of ultimate importance to meet, otherwise the child is not secure and will make the attempt to find security in ways that might be destructive. Obessession to be sucessful is just as much a driven and compulsive need to find acceptance and value, and deaden the pain of a negative "self", as the drug-addict driven to deaden his pain by using his drug of choice. An individual's choice of drug has as many faces as America has allowed liberties of choice.
So, while American government allows for the individual to "find himself" and to develop to his full potential on his own terms, America's values of family are not as important in our cultural values, except in conservative religious contexts.
Conserivative religious contexts, while good in defense of family values, have other obstacles to overcome. Their bias or prejuidice toward social problems in the family leaves them with little to draw compassion from their hearts, unless they happen to be compelled through thier own drivenness to be the "hero" to a particular family. While heroes are needed, if "self" finds their value and sense of self only within that context, it becomes an unhealthy one. "Self" must independent enough to evaluate reasonably what is of proirity and importance in a given situation. Religion can hinder such ;self assessment, because of it deadening affirmation of "what one believes or what one does", giving a doubly strong resitance to honest self assessment.
Maybe all humans are bent toward these tendencies to heroism, where the "self" is idealized and applauded by an attempt to cover over the deficiencies of one's past childhood memories of "self".
America has the ability to give room for diversity, but it allso allows enough room for denying values that might just be the foundations of society and a healthy functioning "Self".
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