From Gail Collins of the NYT, another assault on Americans’ benevolent sense of life , comparing it to day-dreaming. “Americans have always raised their children to believe in the power of the dream. This is probably why hundreds of thousands of young people are certain they are destined to become the American Idol. Or Next Top Model. Or marry a Jonas Brother. A few of these dreamers grew up to run oil companies.

They believed with all the power of their fierce, tiny hearts that they could drill farther and farther down into the ocean without ever having a really big accident.”

(Note: Ayn Rand coined the term “benevolent sense of life” to refer to the explicit or implicit belief that human beings, though their reason, are ultimately efficacious agents, capable of understanding, controlling, and exploiting their environment. She believed that this, though not an exclusively American attitude, was an especially American attitude. Perhaps, it no longer is.)

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