The fate of our transformation into civic life pivots on our ability to place our freedom in the framework of the responsible autonomy offered by America and to take this freedom seriously. Indeed, made in America, we are expected to meet the demand not just for causal efficacy and competitive maturity but also for civility and for resilience when facing disappointment, frustration and loss.
It doesn’t make sense to compromise the integrity and effectiveness of the search for a rewarding life with a disturbed and disturbing second voice—the anxious, illusion-filled and antagonistic internal chatter. Radically detached from the rocks-are-hard actual world in which we dwell, this voice believes that the transformative rules that guide our behavior and upon which civic life pivots don’t apply to it.
In this illusionary world, we are its center. When others don’t grant us our due or right-of-way, our antagonism and anxiety are ignited and expressed as moodiness, anger, arrogance, self-righteousness, unapproachability, pessimism, etc.