The Americans are the living refutation of the Cartesian axiom, "I think, therefore I am": Americans do not think, yet they are. The American 'mind', puerile and primitive, lacks characteristic form and is therefore open to every kind of standardisation.
This reminds me very much of Ortega y Gasset's primal fear that America, far from representing "what was best in Europe" or being another focal point of civilization in a varied mode, actually was a barbarian superpower lacquered over with a thin veneer of technological apparatus.
America is not immune to history.
Raised Up and Cast Down
Archilochus, fragment 130 (tr. M.L. West):
It all depends upon the gods. Often enough, when men
are prostrate on the ground with woe, they set them up again;
and often enough, when men are standing proud and all seems bright,
they tip them over on their backs, and then they're in a plight—
a man goes wandering, short of bread, out of his mind with fright.
The same, tr. Guy Davenport:
Attribute all to the gods.
They pick a man up,
Stretched on the black loam,
And set him on his two feet,
Firm, and then again
Shake solid men until
They fall backward
Into the worst of luck,
Wild of mind.
The text is uncertain. The following is from M.L. West, Iambi et Elegi Graeci, Vol. I, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971; rpt. 1998), p. 51, with his critical apparatus:
τοῖς θεοῖς †τ' εἰθεῖάπαντα· πολλάκις μὲν ἐκ κακῶν
ἄνδρας ὀρθοῦσιν μελαίνηι κειμένους ἐπὶ χθονί,
πολλάκις δ᾽ ἀνατρέπουσι καὶ μάλ᾽ εὖ βεβηκότας
ὑπτίους, κείνοις <δ'> ἔπειτα πολλὰ γίνεται κακά,
καὶ βίου χρήμηι πλανᾶται καὶ νόου παρήορος.
1 ita cod. S (hic unicus): ἰθεῖα (sc. δίκη) Hoffmann: τοι ῥεῖα Schneidewin invito metro: τέλεια Hommel (Gymn. 58, 1951, 219): alii alia: possis πείθοι' ἅπαντα
4 κείνοις Blaydes: κίνουσ᾽ S: κλίνουσ᾽ Valckenaer (postea interpungens) δ' addidi post h.v. lacunam stat. Meineke
5 χρήμη S: χρῄζων C. Gesnerus gravem suspicionem movet quod statim in secundo versu proximi excerpti (= Theodect. fr. 16) stant verba minime corrupta φήμη πλανᾶται