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American values are a tricky thing It seems that the value set changes with each individual American pragmatism is actually rooted in deeply held anti-authoritarian individualistic egalitarian activist ideals which privilege personal choice flexibility and technical efficiency with the pursuit of success however success is defined Hall Lindholm pg 91 Basically an individuals values are what that individual decides they are The key to understanding this is realizing that above almost all else Americans prize value and recognize the sacredness of being an individual Certainly there are basic expectations of all people living in American society regardless of how the individual feels they must recognize that they exist in the US with a billion individuals Americans seem to think that nice people of good will as all true Americans are assumed to be ought to be able to reach a compromise and keep the social peace Those who keep on refusing the path of compromise are castigated as trouble-makers demagogues and even un-American Lipset pg 44 The rules are simple I am an individual trying to exist with lots of other individuals and we are all trying not to kill one another and still live a satisfying existence But how does understanding the situation affect how I choose to live It is still up to me to decide whether or not I will steal a dress from a store purchase it with cash or pay for it with a credit card What do I value most freedom - assuming I get caught stealing the dress outright ownership of something I can buy or willingness to owe someone for something I cannot currently afford Unfortunately understanding that I am an individual and am responsible for creating the list of what values I will abide by does not make living by my values any easier I feel as if I live my life trying to find a balance between two worlds that overlap
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