Sunday, February 1, 2009

The American Dream

Here's a follow-up to my random thought below.

Zogby International has published a new survey of our view of the "American Dream." While definitions of the American Dream vary, the gist is that the American system of capitalism allows anyone with the determination to improve their lot the ability to do so. The results of the poll show a fundamental difference in viewpoints.

For those, the 56%, who still believe in the American Dream, their top reasons were:
59%: "I'm intelligent and work hard, so I should succeed."

52%: "America is the land of opportunity."

25%: "I am an optimist."
For those opposed:
44%: "The powers that be don't care about people like me."

29%: "Americans shouldn't think of themselves as special and entitled to an ideal life."

27%: "Where I live, it costs too much, and the American Dream is just out of reach."
Notice that the latter are collectivistic ("the powers that be don't care about me"), anti-American, and pessimistic; the former are individualistic, pro-American, and optimistic. Who do you think is more likely to advocate statism? Freedom?

[HT: Russ Roberts.]