I don’t know if the American Dream ever came true. I suppose it did, and maybe it still does sometimes for some chosen few, but regardless of whether it did or does, it is an enormously mighty instrument to keep up the central fiction of the ruling class, namely that their rule is due to merits.
The canonical version of the Dream is that, given enough effort and a bit of luck (but decidedly more effort than luck), everybody can make it from dishwasher to millionaire.
That’s not true. Dishwashers likely stay dishwashers and millionaires even more likely stay millionaires, but in order to keep it that way, it is important that everybody believes in the dream.
Didn’t make it? Bad luck, Buddy, you obviously didn’t try hard enough! And by trying hard and harder, people always work against each other, never in their common interest.
The American Dream also makes it possible to blame the victims. It gives an excuse to anybody who refuses to help the needy. This is something we hear so often: “Why should I give money to someone who chooses to be in that situation?”, even although people rarely choose to be miserable and dependent on mercy. The Dream explains it all: they deserve their fate, because they have not worked hard enough.
Hmm … I guess it’s time for the mandatory George Carlin now 🙂
The Song of the Day is “American Dream” from Marcia Ball’s 1997 album “Let Me Play With Your Poodle”. Hear it on YouTube.