Paul Knox: Says it's time to recognize the changing definition of the American Dream

Historians in the News

A glance at the current issue of The American Interest: "The American Dream Extreme"

The "American dream" today is much different than it was in 1931, when the historian James Truslow Adams coined the term, writes Paul Knox, a professor of urban affairs and planning at Virginia Tech. As the term's meaning has evolved, he says, "suburbia" has transformed into "vulgaria."

The original American dream stressed "individual freedom and the possibility of dramatic upward social mobility through ingenuity and hard work," writes Mr. Knox. For the first quarter-century after World War II, he says, people flocked to suburbia to pursue the "dominant ingredients" of that vision: "American individualism, the single-family home, the automobile, and the wide-open spaces of America."

But by the 1970s, he writes, suburbia had become synonymous with "bland standardization and rationalization of 'placeless' subdivisions," as well as "environmental degradation, social isolation, and malaise." The disaffection forced the American dream to be recast, according to Mr. Knox.

"Fulfillment of the recalibrated Dream," as he puts it, with a capital D, "means that home ownership in an arcadian setting now has to be packaged with a significant degree of suburban bling: Bigness, spectacle, and affordable luxury have eclipsed mere residence." Mr. Knox calls it the "American Dream Extreme."...

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Randll Reese Besch - 3/21/2007

With the concerted efforts of the elite to reduce the USA to a corporate/theocratic beehive are rapidly replacing high paid techs to low paid wage slaves to a similar status or outright replaced by H1-B and L-1 workers,even to foriegn corps setting up businesses with all workers being foreign with only the CEO & a few officers are locals.
The exotruth is what Mr. Knox posits,the endotruth is little publisized in the corporate monomedia sphere.The carrot is promised but living with the stick is a given.