hyperindividual stars and stripes

eag4_3.jpg Prof. Lawrence Mitchel’s book Stacked Deck: A Story of Selfishness in America (America in Transition) got me thinking about how the United States has been harmed by an exagerated justification for hyperindividualism.  That is the sense that you owe no duty to the community, and that whatever you can take for your own you deserve.

This kind of thinking leads to a mis-reading of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations.  As David Korten  explains in his book When Corporations Rule the World, Smith’s book is based on small, locally-based businesses where capital and labor are both immobile.

This mis-reading is based on the same ethos that is shared by Wall Street arbitragers and Wall Street drug dealers.  It is the reason we can justify causing global warming for the whole rest of the planet.  This is the reason we feel we have the right to invade any country we want whether they have attacked us or not.

What does this have to do with the US flag?  Driving home I realized the American flag gives succor to this point of view.  13 individual stripes and 50 individuals stars, no single symbol on it, leven an eagle, to symbol a unified country.

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