I was thinking about the doom and gloom about Peak Oil. Given the lack of a strong, pre-modern unifying culture in the United States based on history or traditions or unifying religion or ethnicity (for the country as a whole, not individual enclaves or subgroups):
What replaces The American Dream in the post cheap-oil era? For the purposes of discussion, I am defining the American Dream as "progress" often over generations, with poor immigrants landing in the established working class, getting a college education, becoming middle class, etc. This is heavily predicated on material progress (suburban house instead of city tenement apartment, private car instead of bus or walking).
Admittedly, not everyone shares this definition-there are certainly of religious freedom, political refugees, etc. But, this is the basic theme of the American Dream that still holds true today.
So: post cheap oil, what replaces it? The frightening theocracy of Randall Terry (read his quotes in my hometown Newspaper. No democracy. No choice. Handmaioden's Tale come to life. Scary stuff). James Howard Kunstler states that the Southeast will be consumed with this kind of hardocre theocracy-I'm not sure it will extend far beyonfd the traditional South.
Or, will we localism-a loss of nationalism in favor of local patriotism similar to that found in pre-Modern Italy? That will likewise mean a lot of violence.
Any thoughts on this? ")