It's all about the three strains in the American character. America was founded on the principle of rugged individualism, the pioneer spirit of self-reliance and "each according to his abilities." That's another way of saying that self-interest is woven into our national DNA.
That strain tends to narrow the prism through which individual Americans view the greater body politic, their position within it, and their responsibility to it.
There’s another strain, too—the one that came through
It burgeoned in religious and secular agricultural communities, where neighbors understood that raising a barn, for example, was not something that could be accomplished single-handed. Everyone knew that pitching in for everyone else was a matter of survival.
There has always been a tension between these competing strains in American politics, and we are seeing that tension manifested in the current negotiations over the “