Those dedicated men who framed the Declaration of Independence once risked impoverishment and infamy to shape our new world. Citizens were to enjoy as priceless treasures the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This enjoyment has now become our blood-bought heritage.
In many lands multitudes are bent by bondage still, quarrying a slim survival out of the slave pits of a living death, while modern Americans today trample their costly inheritance underfoot. Many long for these same rights and perish without them, mocked by the cruel promises of deceptive tyrants, while free men at home are neglectful of them and pamper their bodies only to lose their souls.
Under the title, “The Pursuit of Status,” Look Magazine recently printed a preview of Vance Packard’s book, The Status Seekers (David MacKay Company, 1959). Mr. Packard’s picture of modern American life may be somewhat lacking in objectivity. For he borders on a dismissal of all cultural interests (antiques, art, books, hi-fi) as simply a snobbish effort to “keep up with the Joneses.” Apart from such nonsense, however, Packard’s warning against our growing idolatry of status symbols is timely. Instead of the “new car a year” or the “Cadillac-image” as a mark of class differentiation, we now covet a fashionable address in suburbia, a trip to Europe, private schools for the youngsters (each and all of which confessedly can be justified by good reasons without flashing them as success symbols). Whatever is done simply to impress the Morgans (who likewise may be more interested in overawing their own neighbors than in allowing themselves to be impressed), or to upgrade one’s priority on the social escalator and promote social acceptance, calls for Christian criticism ...1
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