Eighty years ago (1931) the conservative philosopher Albert Nock made an observation. He believed that America was trying to force the current of its being through the narrow channel of one instinct only: the instinct of acquisition and expansion, resulting in a society that
"must inevitably be characterized by a low type of intellect, a grotesque type of religion, a facticious type of morals, an imperfect type of beauty, and an imperfect type of social life and manners. In a word, it is uncivilized."
Reading that again, I was reminded of this injunction from Wendell Berry:
"We must achieve the character, and acquire the skills, to live much poorer than we do."