It’s called the American Dream because you have to be unconscious to believe it.
For most of the world, America is the great entertainment factory. The New Jerusalem envisionsed by the Puritans has turned out to be the world’s leading manufacturer of amusement and cheap thrills. The colonists and their descendants did indeed build them a shining city on a hill — but they called it Disneyland. In the Declaration of Independence they enshrined, along with life and liberty, the inalienable right to pursue happiness. But happiness is hard. Happiness takes work. Even worse, happiness is a long shot. So America settled for fun, perfected it, and sold it to an eager world. Pop music, Hollywood movies, the seductive sound of ice chattering in a silver cocktail shaker — they are the tangible, consumable expressions of the lofty principles in the Declaration of Independence,
the free culture of a free people.
William Grimes, in
Straight Up or On the Rocks, The History of the American Cocktail