In a recent conversation I said something interesting:
“The U.S. is starting to look like a bunch of children arguing over who gets the inheritance from their parents. This inheritance, of course, is the American glory created after WWII, of the economic rise, the materialism, of wealth, innovation, prestige, fame, etc. Everyone is fighting to ‘have a piece of the pie’ that was created after WWII.”
What I am seeing in the U.S is, really, a variation seen in the plot of the movie called “The gods must be crazy”. In that movie a small group of Bushmen (primitive people in Africa) find a Coke bottle, something they’ve never seen before. What ends up happening is that everyone starts fighting for it. They start to argue and fight among themselves. Eventually, they decide to throw the bottle away.
To me, this is very similar to what I’m seeing in the U.S. Basically, the “post WWII glory” was so big that many of the people brought up after this “glory time” think that they should get their share of this “inheritance” that their parents or grandparents created.
THE “INHERITANCE” . . . THE “POST WWII GLORY”
The post WWII world created things unprecedented in history:
- Economic growth
- Material well-being
- Fame and prestige
- The opportunity to do things you normally wouldn’t do
- New things and ways
This world was created by the WWII generation and the one that followed it. The glory time was from the 1940’s to the 1960’s, I’d say. It carried on into the 1980’s to some extent.
Many people, nowadays, are looking at “relive” something created decades ago in which they played no part or had no involvement, of a “glory” they can’t replicate. As a result, they see themselves as removed from the “glory”. But, living in the U.S., they think they should have that glory, too, as if it is some sort of right. This has created an environment where people are scrambling and fighting to gain and relive the past “glory”. To me, it almost looks like siblings arguing at times. In some respects, this conflict is splitting this country apart not much differently than an inheritance dispute can pull families apart.
This fight for “inheritance”, I think, is mistaken for things like plain greed, selfishness, and materialism. Its definitely similar but its not quite the same, at least in my opinion. It has a whole lot more to it. Its associated with things like:
- A sense of pride.
- Things are looked at from the context of society and where they stand in society and other people.
- A seeking of an already existing image of what is wanted showing that they are seeking to have something that already exists.
- People often are willing to suffer for it.
- They often don’t get any real benefit from the “inheritance” . . . they just think they do.
- There’s a lot of imitation or re-enacting of the things of the past.
- They try to force things to go a specific way.
- They use American ideals, law, and politics in their fight for “inheritance”.
- There’s a lot of deep feelings associated with it.
In ways, such as these, it gives the greed, selfishness, materialism, etc. a greater social and nationalistic quality. This suggests, at least to me, that there is more behind it.
FORMS OF THE FIGHT FOR THE “INHERITANCE”
Some of the ways this fight for the “inheritance” of this “glory” appears include:
- An attempt at trying to re-enact the “American glory”
- A sense of entitlement, that they “deserve” things
- An attempt at forcing things to go a certain way . . . usually, that they receive their share of the “glory”, their “inheritance”
- An arguing over who has what and/or feeling “left out”
Many people, in their quest for the American “glory”, try to re-enact aspects of American history. Much of this re-enactment is based on the idea that if they re-enact it they will gain the glory.
In one version they try to re-enact the American Revolutionary War. In doing this they tend to do things such as:
- Create an “oppressor”
- Feel that they are “oppressed”
- Claim that they are “fighting for the freedom against oppression”
The problem with this is that this re-enactment is seldom founded on a truth and, as a result, they tend to cause a fabrication of events and things that aren’t happening. That is, a whole false fantasy world is created that doesn’t exist. As a result, some things happen, such as:
- Someone has to be made out as an “oppressor”, whether they’ve done anything or not . . . the whole philosophy depends on it. This is often the white American male.
- An “oppression” has to be created, whether it exists or not. Often, this means that they do not have what the post WWII generations, and especially the white American male, has created (such as money, material objects, achievement, consumer products, etc.).
- They end up fighting for a freedom that doesn’t exist. In other words, they are fighting for nothing. My observation is that many peoples fight for so-called freedom is really, in actuality, an empty fight.
In America, today, things are being falsely fabricated like this left and right. People are finding oppressors and oppression coming out of the woodwork. Its even got to the point that some people find it in simple everyday things, such as a glance or a statement. I see this almost everyday it seems. I often compare it to the witch hunts or the McCarthy era. I often wonder how far this is going to go.
Many people try to re-enact previous American events that are associated with some form of an already accepted American “glory”. That is to say, all they are doing is repeating something that has already been done and is acknowledged as being a “glory”. This is done with the principle that, by repeating it, they gain the “glory”. I would even venture to say that a lot of what people do in America today, and what is considered “prestigious”, consists of this. As a result, there is a “push” for people to do things such as:
- Accomplish something
- Go to College or University
- Get a great high-paying and glamorous job
These all reflect “American success and glory”. As a result, it must be re-enacted. This “push to re-enact the glories of the past” has been so heavily pushed onto the kids these past 30 or so years that, at least in my opinion, it has become an abuse at times. My observation is that it has put great and unnecessary strain on the younger kids of today and has caused many problems for them.
In this way, one could say that America has become a land of “re-enactors”, of people trying to re-enact, replicate, relive, and imitate things that have already been done and which has been considered a “glory”.
Ironically, one form of glory is innovation, which is one of the “glories” of America. Because of this, many people are trying to re-enact the innovation of yesteryear. But what they are really doing is re-enacting or, rather, imitating what has already been done in the past in the guise of “new” innovation. In other words, a lot of the motivation of innovation is not to create something new but to repeat the glory of innovation past! We must remember that a lot of the innovation of yesteryear was motivated by some necessity or need. Much of the so-called innovation of today is done in imitation, not by necessity or need. As a result, much of the innovation of today is “frivolous” and unnecessary. In a way, we’re “creating things just to create them”.
Since the “glory” of America is based in creations of the White American Male (see below) there is a lot of what I call “White American Male want-to-be’s”. Many people are running around acting like the White American Male, trying to replicate what he has done, and expecting that they will gain the same glory that had (females are becoming particularly bad “White American Male want-to-be’s”). Its common that if they don’t get that glory, for some reason or another, they make a political issue out of it – its “racism” or “sexism” – and blame it on the oppressive tyrannical White American Male. The problem, in actuality, is that the glory has come and gone. They can’t just re-enact it and get it.
This tendency to re-enact a “glory time” after the glory has fallen is not new in history. A good example is the Holy Roman Empire. This is something like an enigma as, in actuality, no Holy Roman Empire was really created. It was “supposed to be” the new Roman Empire, recreated from the ashes of the old. But, in many ways, it was a fantasy, a “pretend Empire”. To me, this is much like we are seeing in the U.S. today. People are trying to recreate the old past “post WWII glory” by trying to recreate what happened in the past (such as the American Revolutionary War). By recreating it they think the same glory is going to be replicated as a result.
I’m often stunned how many people think they are “entitled” to things here in the U.S., as if things are supposed to be handed to them on a silver plate. Many people think that they should receive special treatment and privilege, even though they’ve done nothing to deserve it.
Generally, a person feels that they are justified in their entitlement if they do several things:
- They try to reflect the American ideal in some way
- They imitate what the White American Male has done in some way, as he caused the “glory” (see below)
Any one of these seems to justify a claim of entitlement correct for many people.
Examples of following American ideals include:
- Pursuing success and achievement, such as having a business
- Using political theory in some way, such as that they are fighting for their rights
Imitating the White Male often includes replicating things he has done in the past. As you can expect, these are things that have an already established “glory” associated with it. Hardly any of the things these people do is really “new” but, rather, almost pure imitation. This shows that their imitation is nothing but a seeking of this past “glory. Some examples include:
- Having a fancy job, such as being a fighter pilot
- Some form of success or achievement, such as climbing Mount Everest
- Being famous in some way, such as an action hero in the movies
In short, people think they are entitled by imitating something that has already been associated with past American glory. By imitating it they think that they are entitled to receive it.
In the pursuit to have “post WWII glory”, whose time has past, there is a tendency where people are trying to force it to happen. They are trying to make it so that “anyone can have post WWII glory”. This includes things like:
- Giving people who did not have access to “post WWII glory” special privilege so they can receive it (such as in Affirmative Action)
- Lowering standards and qualifications
- Altering how they test or the rules
- Favoring certain people
- Excluding certain people
This same technique of forcing things to happen was used in Leninism, which is really a “forcing of Communism onto society”. In other words, instead of letting Communism naturally happen (as Karl Marx said would happen) they tried to jump-start it. That, of course, did not work. Its not surprising that this “forcing of post WWII glory” is not working as well.
Forcing things to happen causes a condition where things do not happen naturally. In many ways, a “glory time” is created when things “just happen”, everything just happens to line up and work. You can’t really force a “glory time” to happen. In this sense, this forcing of things to be a certain way may be hampering any new “glory time” from happening.
What the attempt at forcing things to happen is doing is stuff like this:
- It creates a new form of discrimination to develop
- It creates a new form of favoritism to develop
- It creates a situation where things are not happening naturally
- Because it hinders the natural happenings in society it ends up hampering the growth of society
- It creates a society that is “false” or “phony” in quality, as its a society where we are all “pretending” things are a certain way
Forcing things to happen would be like trying to force a new Einstein to be brought up (which I think many parents are trying to do, by the way), or having a new astronaut to land somewhere new for the first time (just to do it), and so on. We’re forcing things to be a certain predetermined way.
There is much arguing over things, often over who has what. In addition, many people feel “left out”. America has become a country where everyone “wants” what the post WWII world created. Its a society of endless greed and seeking for this. These include things like money, material objects, prestige, status, power, and such. I would almost describe it as a “mad scramble” at times. In some respects, it looks like a bunch of kids arguing over who has what. There are those who “gain” and those who “lose” and there is a lot of bad feelings as a result.
THE USE OR, RATHER, ABUSE OF AMERICAN IDEALS
It seems, to me, that much of this conflict is caused by some American ideals, such as the ideals of “justice for all”, equality, and such, which is used by many people as “proof” that they should receive their “inheritance”. In other words, these ideals have become a “leverage” for some people claims of “inheritance”. This effect of this is that it tends to not only prolong this conflict but also brings in a self-righteous cause in their claims. Its like people think that the American Constitution guarantee’s them their “inheritance” which should just be handed to them . . . they just have to claim their “post WWII glory” and they should receive it!
Things they think should just be given to them include:
- A glamorous job
- Great opportunity
- Material wealth and well-being
- Consumer products
- Fame and glory
If they don’t receive these then they use or, rather, abuse American ideals and say things such as that they are being discriminated against. All their doing is using American ideals to get their way. What particularly bothers me is that nothing is done about an abuse so obvious. Many of us can see what’s going on. I find the obvious abuse and manipulation of American ideals appalling and unacceptable.
THE “POST WWII GLORY “AND THE WHITE AMERICAN MALE – THE CREATION OF ENVY
I am under the impression that much of the conflict, hatred, and disputes brought up in this past election and presidency is rooted in this fight for “inheritance” (I speak of the 2016 election the presidency of Trump – see Thoughts on a media-induced mass hysteria . . . the “Trump panic”). One thing that was brought up in this recent election/presidency is a White American Male versus females/minorities stance. This point of view reveals an important aspect of things . . . the envy of the White American male and what he has created. This is because the post WWII glory is largely a creation of the White American Male. As a result, he is associated with it. More specifically, it is a creation of a Western European Male culture (who have become the white males in America). This culture, of course, began in Western Europe and is really a reflection of “Germanic” or “Teutonic” culture. Some qualities of this culture include:
- Its a war-based culture. It has root in Germanic warring society of the Vikings, the Barbarian invasions of Europe, and the Crusades.
- It is an organizing culture. There is a great sense of order in this society, from politics to ideas.
- It has a sense of a cause. I tend to feel this has origins in a sense of the protection of the “tribe” initially. This would eventually grow with the Crusades with a sense of fighting for Christ. It would even grow further with the rise of the state.
- Its a unified culture. I tend to feel this has origins with the unity of the “tribe”.
- Its an exploration culture. It puts great emphasis on exploring things. This could be exploring places and exploring ideas.
- There is much emphasis on intellectualism. This, it seems to me, has origins in the Christian conversion (which emphasizes the need to “learn Jesus”). This would spread to the rediscovery of Greek and Roman classics (the Enlightment) which would eventually lead to things like science.
These all combined to create a unique culture in Europe and the U.S. After WWII many things as if came together and made this “flower” in the U.S., causing the “post WWII glory”. The society that this created was very powerful and had many new things associated with it, that had never been seen before. It created both good and bad things ranging from miraculous to horrifying.
But one of the things caused by the success of Western European Male culture is a great envy of the White Male and what he has created. This is quite rampant nowadays. I often call this WAM Envy (White American Male Envy . . . see my article Thoughts on the ‘WAM envy’ – a success story turned bad). The envy I see of the White Male is almost unreal.
Some ways this envy appears include:
- A feeling that the White Male “has” everything (which isn’t true)
- A dislike or hatred (that has no justification)
- A feeling of being “slighted” or “taken advantage of” (even though we are also “slighted” and “taken advantage of” as well, but nobody seems to care)
- A desire to be like the white American male (everywhere I turn I see white male want-to-be’s)
Because of things like these the White Male has now been turned into some sort of a “bad guy” to many people. Many of us white American males have noticed this and have been appalled. What many of us can see is that people seem to have a wrong image of the White Male. The bulk of it is unfounded and untrue. For example, as a white American male I see no evidence that we get any “special privilege”. The white American males I know have to fight and work for everything, just like everyone else. Not only that, a lot of white American males that I know don’t make that much money.
But what the post WWII glory created is a myth about the White Male, and this myth has created a great envy. One group of people that feel a strong envy are females, believe it or not. In fact, they often feel a particularly strong envy (see my article Thoughts on the female and Victorian society – “being Victorian green” – the females envy of the male and the ‘female envy culture’). I often simply call it Male Envy. I’ve been stunned at the extent of female envy and think its utterly ridiculous. Many minorities feel this too, as well.
Some of the effects of this envy are:
- Many people are trying to be like the White Male
- They think they should have everything the White Male has
- They want to duplicate everything the White Male did
According to my observation, the envy of the White Male plays a big role in this whole “inheritance” conflict primarily because he is associated with “post WWII glory”.
THE PROBLEM OF INHERITANCE
Watching this “inheritance” issue over the years has made me feel that its not good to leave too much of an inheritance to children or the people of the future. This is even supported by the many problems created when people receive an inheritance from their parents.
Inheritance often creates problems such as:
- It deprives people of having to do things for themselves.
- Its “too easy” . . . they don’t work for it. This causes a lack of appreciation. It can also create something like a laziness to develop.
- It makes people get “wound up” with insults, “hurts”, and such if they don’t get what they want or if someone else gets more.
- People think things are supposed to be “handed to them”, often without working or deserving it.
- People may become underhanded and manipulative in order to get what they want.
- If the inheritance is large it tends to overshadow the person and, as a result, tends to become undermining to them as a person. In this way, inheritance often makes people “small”.
In these ways, inheritance isn’t the great thing it may seem. Personally, I think some peoples lives have been ruined by it. Families have definitely been divided by it and a lot of bad feelings have been created by it. It seems, to me at this time, that the U.S. is experiencing this.
Remember the saying of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe:
“What you inherit from your father
must first be earned before it’s yours.”
Copyright by Mike Michelsen