A distinctly American idea is that liberating oneself will result in the liberation of everyone else. This helps explain teenage rebellion (the whole system is broken so I’ll be a nonconformist and everyone else will follow), but also the behavior of anti-maskers (I value my freedom to decide what’s best so I’ll be loud about not wearing a mask and show everyone). While outwardly projecting a message that this is good for everyone, it’s deeply rooted in selfishness.
From personal experience, this explains reactions my mom (born and raised in Korea) had to some of my more rebellious friends—”they’re spoiled.”
- COVID-19 exploits this—American values are incompatible with managing the epidemic (now pandemic).