In America, Death Only Comes to Slackers

When I read the title of The Economist article The politics of death, i expected a different argument.

Rather than make a universal, fear-of-death argument about America’s struggle with healthcare reform, I thought Lexington’s blog would argue that American’s have a unique fear of death, as part of the Modern values that have governed this country in the 20th century.

In America, death only comes to slackers.To state the obvious, few cultures or individuals embrace death, unless we’re terminally ill and suffering beyond our resources to cope. I argue that the primacy of America’s masculine Modern values and our young-country status in an old-country world, make death an ironic end to life in the land of high achievers.

True, the extraordinary commitment that America makes to keep the select people alive at any cost reflects religious influences and politics, too. But our post WWII Modern values system — and the entire history of the country —  tells us that we can do anything, every mountain is scalable, success is possible, if only we don’t go on vacation.

In a country that shudders at the thought of being called “a slacker among nations”, death is an even more ‘unjust’ reality than it is in many other countries of the world. Anne