I suspect that my rate of posting will get me banned fairly soon, but here goes.
When I was a child, I used to dread the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s speech each year, as it meant that my scant few hours of entertaining television were reduced. Almost fifty years later, I can see the wisdom of explaining the shared misery, an approach which fit the quiet fatalism of the English.
Moving to the US in the 1970’s, I found an energy and vitality in almost all the people that I met here. However, this energy was always directed towards improving the individual, without consideration of the society as a whole.
After decades of acculturation that personal success is all that matters, and that ‘Americans have the best of everything’, it is a Truth that things are always supposed to go our way. Middle-class Americans that I have known are noticeably upset if anyone points out that things might just possibly be better elsewhere.
This is what prevents us from actually improving education or healthcare. It also explains why President Carter was vilified and quickly replaced by Ronald Reagan, who told the people that they could have reduced taxes, increased defense expenditures, and expanded and cheaper government services (except for the poor, who don’t deserve it).
It also helps to explain the following graph: