Another of the experiences that got me thinking on my trip to the USA was the collective attitude of the American public. Whilst I met lots of really nice and friendly people on my trip, there was always an underlying belief that people there were superior simply because they were American.
Now I do not object to people being proud of their country. I now live in Turkey and I find the pride in being Turkish an inspiring quality that I sometimes wish was more clearly demonstrated by my own United Kingdom. The difference between Turkey and America is that the USA seems to attach certain personal and superior qualities simply because of where they live whereas Turkish people offer no such pretensions.
This attitude seems to be reinforced by a further belief that size conveys on them further rights and privileges, not to mention infallibility in all situations. ‘Might is right’ seems to be the overwhelming philosophy. Such a philosophy invariably has no place for ‘failure’.
What this does, of course, is to alienate the qualities that create entrepreneurs and innovators. What America needs is more people that see themselves as individuals not as a mass of automatic successes; more people that see themselves as different and are prepared to think outside of the box; more people that realize that small things have merit as well; more people that are prepared to question rather than to slavishly follow the rhetoric.
Unfortunately, if a child shows those qualities in America today they are likely to be diagnosed with ADHD and placed on medication. Indeed, the nearer one gets to the East Coast of America the larger the number of cases so by the time you get to Washington DC ADHD is almost an epidemic!
I have said many times that my study is primarily one of people and my questioning often leads me to some interesting discoveries. For example, I find it fascinating that the ‘Land of the Free’ put such great store in a Declaration of Independence that states that ‘all men are created equal’. Am I the only one to notice that a man who had 200 slaves drafted this declaration!
Perhaps it would have been better to recognise that ‘all men are created differently as individuals’. America needs to rekindle that spirit of individualism that all of those immigrants brought with them to build the country in the first place. It might also reduce the medical bill to drug our spirited young children.