News & Politics

Cornell Professor: The American Dream Is a 'Hallucination'

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Cornell University’s Prof. Eric Cheyfitz isn’t a fan of the American Dream, it seems. The problem isn’t that he thinks it’s bad — it seems he believes the American Dream isn’t reality.

The Ernest I. White Professor of American Studies and Humane Letters spoke at an event hosted by the Institute for Comparative Modernities on Tuesday. During the talk, he referred to his latest book, The Disinformation Age: The Collapse of Liberal Democracy in the United States. In it, he takes aim at the White House.

Yet, oddly enough, it’s not the Trump administration he focused on:

Obama’s speeches, he said, are classic examples of what Cheyfitz defines as “disinformation,” or the “rupture of political rhetoric from political reality with fatal results.”

In other words, Trump and our current political situation are not, contrary to what many people may think, the causes of disinformation.

“Trump is not the problem — he is the latest symptom of the problem,” Cheyfitz explained. Rather, the country’s major issue is the overlapping, “imbricated pair of income inequality and climate change.”

Cheyfitz also said:

If I were to sum up the book in one sentence, I would say it is a historical explanation about how and why the United States is still trying to live a narrative, American exceptionalism, that fails to rationalize the state any longer.

“This story has always confused capitalism with democracy when in fact the two systems are fundamentally at odds.”

This nonsense isn’t surprising coming from an academic.

To be sure, capitalism and democracy aren’t synonyms by any stretch of the imagination. But who outside of Cheyfitz seems to confuse the two? Cheyfitz’s work is based on a flawed premise. Capitalism is nothing more than liberty, and no vote can take our liberty away.

Since it sounds like Cheyfitz’s issue with Obama is that the former president wasn’t leftist enough, it’s unsurprising that so much of what he’s said is socialist nonsense. Especially the implication that the American Dream is some kind of hallucination. In fact, America and the ideas it exported to the world have brought billions out of poverty.

The only disinformation is coming out of Cheyfitz’s mouth.