Scope: I want to investigate why in a highly patriotic country like the United States, aggression is so prevalent. My focus will be mainly on the United States, and I will look at the way social media and consumerist ideology play a role in an increasingly aggressive nation. The most recent headlines tell of dishonesty and violent behavior. The frequency of shootings and of other destructive acts has increased to a daily occurrence, yet very little has been done to put an end to it. The United States is a highly nationalistic country, and while that may not necessarily be bad, the combination of its nationalism and narcissism is. The fastest growing generation in the United States is the millennial generation, who have been raised simultaneously to great technological advancements. Yet the Internet has enhanced the image of people, creating a society of self-absorption. Somehow this conceitedness has worked its way into the country’s identity. By examining that identity, and thus the values of the United States, perhaps the cause of the increased aggression will make itself known.
Analytical Questions: According to an eMarketer report in 2013, about one in four people in the United States use some type of social media regularly, and this number is rising. Social media is simply a way in which people are able to show off what they have done or are doing. It is a mechanism that promotes thoughts of only one’s self. If over a quarter of the United States’ population is encourage to think about themselves, it creates a society of callousness. How does a child’s development change in an insensitive society compared to one more compassionate? Does this result in aggressive behavior? Moreover, it isn’t as if the United States is the first patriotic country on the planet, so how does their patriotism compare to the patriotism of other countries? Furthermore, how do American values differ from other countries, and what are the results? Finally, does this make the United States more dangerous than other countries?
Originality: Historically the United States has promoted ideas such as the American Dream which are about an individual’s success. These ideas focus on one person, not on a general group of people or an entire population. These thoughts have not changed, nor has the country attempted to let go of these ideals. Narcissism, however, has led to an insensitive culture, yet this is something that has been embraced by the country. Why does a country that has so much power in the world pride itself on being callous and self-absorbed? It is as if the country is unaware of its own problems, as it is so focused on the disputes outside of its own borders. But the Unites States simply cannot attempt to solve issues in other countries if it cannot control its own problems. Especially not if the country is one of the most powerful in the world.
Practicality: There are definitely enough sources to back my argument. Already I have found a couple sources discussing the various aspects of my paper (i.e. aggression and self absorption, nationalism and narcissism, and the current American values). These sources have just been through a brief search on Dickinson’s Library catalog, so I am positive there will be many more. Moreover, the New York Times and other major newspapers will be a key source as I must refer to the headlines to see if the frequency of shootings remains the same.
Caldwell, Wilber W. American narcissism: the myth of national superiority New York: Algora Publishing, 2006.
Black, Percy. “Review of The American People. A study in national character.” Psychological Bulletin 46, no. 1 (January 1949): 89-93.
Lunbeck, Elizabeth. The Americanization of Narcissism. Harvard University Press, 2014.
Davies, Paul G., Claude M. Steele, and Hazel Rose Markus. “A nation challenged: The impact of foreign threat on America’s tolerance for diversity.” Journals of Personality and Social Psychology 95, no. 2 (August 2008): 308-318.
Jahromi, Parissa. “American Identity in the USA: Youth Perspectives.” Applied Development Science 15, no. 2 (April 2011): 79-93.