So, I've been re-reading Lies My Teacher Told Me, a book about all the things you never learned about in high-school American History. And I'm on the chapter about where our western society is going (now that we've begun to re-learn where it has come from) and what may lie ahead for humanity. Prior to re-reading this I've re-read An Underground Education and once I'm done I'll re-read Guns, Germs and Steel. I highly recommend each book, for diverse, and ultimately, consonant reasons.
Here's my question. Let's say I'm America. Just me. Little old me, tooling along. I'm the entire country of The United States. If I deal fairly and legally with my neighbors, treating them as I would like them to treat me; if I overlook little foibles of theirs and speak to them frankly about what I wish they would do or not do and let them know that I want them to speak frankly as well, if I talk to them about problems before I let them get to the point where I want authoritarian intervention, if I communicate with them about what is important to me and to the neighborhood; we will have a good relationship, neh?
And perhaps I see that a time of economic want may be creeping up on me? I would surely put something aside to see me through it, so I don't burden my roommates or my family with having to "spot" me so I don't wreck my home and end up homeless, living out of my car. Wouldn't I? I mean, I'm not absolutely and idiot, am I? Or at the very least I'll economize and reduce my spending so I can sort of coast through the bad time.
And perhaps I'm in conflict with someone in my given or chosen family, surely I'll bring it up, talk it out, work it through, and come out on the other side with a stronger and more open relationship. A relationship that will see us through whatever will come ahead.
Or maybe I'll act like the real America. Maybe I'll drink too much every night and scream at or call the cops on my neighbors if they so much as fart loud, and I'll stockpile my "real" necessities while I sponge everything else off of everyone else; maybe I'll wake up with a hangover every morning and hate everyone and be evil to the people who make my life possible and tolerable, and dominate every conversation and sell my future short with intransitive pleasures and maybe I'll burn every bridge I see. Maybe.