tagged w/ attirbutes
According to a study by the late Stanford Universtity social psychologist Alex Inkeles concluded in a paper presented to the American Sociological Association that 10 siginficant traits had continued in the American character for two centuries. Inkeles, an expert in national character, was a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a sociology professor at Stanford University when he died on July 9, 2010. See VFW Magazine June/July 2011, pp. 18-19.
Read the following ten traits identified by Inkeles, then ask yourself whether we, the American people, and our politicians, have forgotten what it means to be an American!
1. National pride in America’s virture and uniqueness. This pride, almost our national religion, has “persisted remarkably intact over the 150 years” since French political thinker Alex de Tocqueville published Democracy in America (1835 and 1840). “Nowhere else was there the extraodinary unanimity displayed by the Americans singling out their political and governmental institutions as special objects of pride,” Inkeles said.
2. Self-reliance. Benjamin Franklin extolled this kind of homely virture (including autonomy, independence, persistence and initiative) in pre-Revolutionary days, and de Tocqueville cited individualism and self-reliance as distinctive American traits in 1830.
3. Volunteerism. Americans are joiners. They feel obligated to take part in community action.
4. Trust. Many others reported on the openness and friendliness of Americans, their casualness and spontaniety in chance encounters. Inkeles said the evidence showing that “a high degree of interpersonal trust to be an outstanding characteristic of contemporary American is quite extensive and notably consistent.
5. “Can-Do” Attitude. A sense of being effective, or being able to improve the physical and social world prevails.
6. Optimism. Americans have confidence that striving toward a goal leads to success.
7. Innovativeness. Openness to new experiences and ideas is a hallmark of the American character.
8. Adaptability. The notion of welcoming and pursuing change is commonplace.
9. Anti-authoritarianism. This is an almost innate birthright, carrying no psychic need to submit to higher political authority.
10. Equality. A sense that one’s intrinsic worth is the same as anyone else’s in a basic American trait.
Inkeles also noted other American attributes, including restless energy, pragmatism, a tendency toward brashness and boastfulness, a preference for the concrete and a certain discomfort with aesthethic and emotional expression.
Editor’s Note.: Los Angeles Times writer Robert C. Toth summed up Inkeles’ findings in a newspaper article at the time of the study.According to a study by the late Stanford Universtity social psychologist Alex Inkeles... more
1 year ago