Excellent content from Isegoria:
"The premise of the book is simple: the US is a paradox composed of contradictions: its two primary values — freedom and equality — are mutually exclusive. It has many different cultures, and therefore no overall culture. And its market-driven society has given it economic riches but spiritual poverty. As he writes in the book, “American institutions, culture and values oppose the United States itself.”
"For Wang, the US’s contradictions stem from one source: nihilism. The country has become severed from its traditions and is so individualistic it can’t make up its mind what it as a nation believes. Without an overarching culture maintaining its values, the government’s regulatory powers are weak, easily corrupted by lobbying or paralyzed by partisan bickering. As such, the nation’s progress is directed mostly by blind market forces; it obeys not a single command but a cacophony of three hundred million demands that lead it everywhere and nowhere.
"In Wang’s view, the lack of a unifying culture puts a hard limit on the US’s progress. The country is constantly producing wondrous new technologies, but these technologies have no guiding purpose other than their own proliferation. The result is that all technological advancement leads the US along one unfortunate trajectory: toward more and more commodification."