The American Contradiction – perfectly depressed

Perhaps it is common knowledge, but I was still surprised when I read, in the 29 Sept issue of New Scientist, that antidepressants are the most widely prescribed class of drugs in the USA. Considering that American spends more money by far on pharmaceutical dPaxiLexaProzacrugs than any other nation on Earth, this adds up to one hell of a lot of antidepressants. This is the real drug war the one that America lost decades ago. Whilst they hysterically seek to stamp out the smoking of herbs and psychedelic drug use, vast numbers of the population have drifted into long-term addiction to mind-altering drugs known to have damaging side effects associated with long-term use.

This just raises so many questions I don’t know where to start. For a start, I wonder what the implication are for the rest of the world, aside from the obvious disadvantage of having so much weaponry in the hands of such unhappy people? America has always set the bar for living standards throughout the world. They may not have had the best food or the finest clothes or the most brilliant design, but they had the highest disposable income, the biggest houses, the most food, most cars and roads, the best movies, the most doctors and lawyers and so forth, holding themselves up as the shining zenith of freedom and liberty and hard work. And now we find that America is, it would appear, the most depressed nation on earth; with the unhappiest people on the planet. I bet the people who run those pharmaceutical companies are not the least bit depressed about this state of affairs.

Meanwhile, it increasingly seems as if the “American Model” is that to which all nations of the world aspire. Worldwide dispersal of television has created a global desire for the American way of life, with access to clean water and plumbing, power and appliances, health care and medication, education and employment, transportation and housing, communications and computers, all now regarded as the natural birthright of anybody lucky enough to have been born a human being. We have only to go back a few generations to find few of these assumptions existing in a society that was perhaps, less depressed. Whilst I am not suggesting that any of these facilities create depression, it is quite obvious that they are not, of themselves, raising the enjoyment level of our existence. And we increasingly suspect that growing implementation of all the above is stretching our planet’s facilities past breaking point.

And if we should choose to do without all of the above, to live a simple life in harmony with the planet that hosts us, we would probably end up in jail, as I put forward in the chapter titled “Birthright Denied” in my first book, Uncommon Sense, the State is Out of Date.