My sister-in-law is going back to school. This time, she’s getting a license in spiritual healing. I don’t even know what that means, just that it involves horseshoes and incense. This is her last chance, she says.
This time she’s going to live her dreams.
She’s going all in. She’s moving her family across the country. She’s taking out more loans. She has no plan, other than to sink herself further into debt (and to spiritually heal people). The irony is that she might actually make a lot of money. If there’s one thing we know about Americans, it’s that we’re all experiencing huge amounts of spiritual pain.
My family is a good barometer for what’s going on in America at the moment. We’ve got parents sailing into comfortable retirement who don’t understand why everyone complains so much. We’ve got clueless suburbanites getting angry over Disney reboots. We’ve got geriatric millennials struggling to get by, and dream chasers in denial.
We’ve got it all.
The American dream just died.
Let’s face it, the American dream has flatlined for good. Its biggest defenders are now building ponzi schemes and selling dream rocks or goop. Most of them don’t even live in America, although they’ll take a little time out of their day to tell you why you’re so lucky to be here.
These people have lost their grip on reality. Meanwhile, there’s plenty of books describing the situation we’re in:
- Evil Geniuses, by Kurt Andersen
- The Tyranny of Merit, by Michael J. Sandel
- Squeezed, by Alissa Quart
- Caste, by Isabel Wilkerson
- Broke in America, by Joanne Samuel Goldblum
- Poorly Understood, by Mark Robert Rank
- Nomadland, Jessica Bruder
- Utopia for Realists, Rutger Bregman
Taken together, books like these paint a vivid portrait of American collapse, and a system designed to keep us poorer than ever. They’re a stark rebuttal to the lies we’re told about individual effort. In fact, the next time someone tells you to stop complaining…