It is important to review the state of values of Americans because of the fact that America is undeniably the most influential country in the whole world. Aside from the influence of Americas politics to other governments, the American media has a very large influence over the consciousness of pretty much the whole world. Despite of Americas influence with regards to values, many are accusing a decline in the levels of values Americans are upholding.
Moreover, some even consider Americans as the most egotistic society and the decline in moral values is becoming more of a trend. To start off, let us first have a brief definition of the word values so that it can serve as a guide word for the whole paper. According to the Encarta Dictionary, values are the accepted principles or standards of a person or a group. The word also comes alongside with its synonym principles and standards (Encarta Dictionary). Values are basically the belief system that we use to judge whether something is right or wrong.
According to Robert Khols in his book The Values Americans Live By, there are thirteen basic values that Americans live by which are: personal control over the environment, change and mobility, time and its control, equality and egalitarianism, individualism, independence and privacy, self-help, competition and free enterprise, future orientation and optimism, action and work orientation, informality, directness, openness and honesty, practicality and efficiency, materialism and acquisitiveness.
(Khols) What Khols had enumerated had been included in this paper to show that the present values of Americans is far from the more ideal values set by early Americans. Kohls had pointed out that Americans consider all of these values as positive values. There are many factors that can be considered primary causes of the decline in the level of moral values of Americans. One of these factors is the dysfunctional family that is becoming a trend in American households more and more.
It is important to consider that values of children are developed in certain places like school, church, and other social places, but values are heavily dependent upon the rearing that a child receives at home (americanvalues. org). Consequently, the negative values developed in childhood will be carried on to adulthood and the sadder part is that these will also be carried on when they start a new family and start a new cycle of declining values.
Another suspected reason for the decline of American values are the personalities that have much influence. Even the presidents influence can be accused of being a reason for the decline of values. Many are disagreeing with the American governments approach towards the Iraq issue. The Actions taken by the American government is relatively lacking moral values (Greenwald). Also, there are many personalities on the television that have much influence on Americans.
There are lots of rock stars deliberately expressing their dependence to drugs and alcohol, actresses who occasionally crash expensive cars, talk show hosts see the decline of moral values as material for their shows, these kinds of personalities are prevalent in the television industry. This becomes a real problem because American children nowadays are practically growing up with television. Aside from that, we can also blame the media for promoting materials that are lacking moral values.
Just like how the food industry is willing to spend billions of dollars so that they can brainwash Americans into eating unhealthy foods. Being the most influential country in world also has its drawbacks. It is undeniable that America is the country with the most number of foreign immigrants. As if the culture of Americans is not already declining, the introduction of new cultures just adds more to the confusion. The result of the introduction of new cultures is that Americans wont be sure of what values system to uphold, which is American and which is not?
Moreover, being the strongest nation in the world also has its drawbacks. Americans may have generated a nation that they are the superior race. This will result to racism and other acts that are lacking values. Americans are now being by some as the egotist, this is also not good for the values of Americans as humility is one of the most basic of values. Unfortunately, Americans are seemingly apathetic with regards to the issue of declining values. It seems like the economy, money, and all the things associated with comfortable living is much more important than values.
The worst thing that can happen is that although America is the richest country in the world, it may become the poorest in terms of values.
Greenwald, Glenn. Unclaimed Territory. 13 April 2008