In discussion, Fred Reed, Barely a Blog columnist and writer extraordinaire, offers insight that explains my overall experience:
“America has always had a strong economic back and weak cultural mind, being anti-intellectual and given to envy and resentment of the smart and cultivated.”
De Tocqueville, Mencken and others made similar observations. “Certainly Tocqueville in the 19th century, and Solzhenitsyn in the 20th, noted that conformity of thought is powerfully prevalent among Americans,” as Clyde Wilson has observed.
“A glorious commonwealth of morons,” Mencken called America. “The American moron’s mind”—this “mob-man’s” mentality—is that of a “violent nationalist and patriot,” to whom ideas are a menace, and who would always opt “to keep his Ford, even at the cost of losing the Bill of Rights.”
These are all Mencken’s words, not mine. See: “H.L. Mencken: Misfit In 21st-Century America.”
UPDATED (12/20): This Facebook reader has the right approach. Relax and enjoy The Difference. Don’t be an Enforcer.
* Image courtesy of Picture Quotes.