ME people versus WE people!

New York Times columnist, David Brooks, in his July 15, 2016 column "We Take Care Of Our Own"( analyzes American society has having two competing factions in terms of their attitudes towards their society. There are those who are parochial nationalists and moral particularists and those who are globalists and moral universalists.


 The first group is parochially  tribal and subscribes to a type of us versus them philosophy where they "circle the wagons," so to speak, to protect themselves against outsiders. The second group are sort of global citizens and have a universalism which allows them to empathize and feel part of a global community.


 America is torn between these two attitudes,  Brooks argues. He would like to see some kind of balance between these attitudes (without giving any plan to achieve that.)


 The attitudes that Brooks describes are very similar to the private versus public citizen attitude which is a key concept for "An Action Manual." This concept takes a psychological/economic perspective on people different from the most popular differentiations, like the 1% versus 99%, liberal versus conservative, red state versus blue state, Republican versus Democrat, and the like


 The book explains how those categories are mostly 18th-Century ones and that the most relevant category to understand American society (at least)  is the private versus public citizen attitude.


 The private citizen attitude underlies our individualist/capitalist social ethos. The public citizen ethos represents a balancing of individual and collective interests and perspectives.


 Brooks is right that  the parochial nationalist/moral particularist attitude represents division, conflict, and the status quo. The combination of attitudes which he discusses is not much different than the public citizen attitude of "An Action Manual."  That's the attitude that will allow America to become a 21st-Century nation, unified into a Team America, minimize identity/tribal conflicts, and facilitate collective identity and fairness and rational governance.


 See Chapter 2, particularly, of "An Action Manual" for an extensive analysis of these two types of citizen attitudes.

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