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Habits of the Heart Reflection

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An ideal society would be one in which every participant in the society seeks and finds happiness, while the society itself meets a certain criterion of success to stay relevant with the rest of the world. This definition does not help as the terms happiness and success are too broad to get an idea of what this ideal society would look like. In order to define both happiness and success, I have elected to compose my society using the ideals of mostly the Republican Tradition, a significant part of Expressive Individualism, and a smaller part of Utilitarian Individualism. The reason I believe that most of the Republican Tradition’s ideals are essential to an ideal society are its emphasis on a balance of the self and civic interest, education, and social justice. The balance of the self and civic interest is imperative to this ideal society. One should be able to pursue one’s own self-interest, unless one can contribute to a greater good of society. The idea of education and social justice go hand in hand. According to Thomas Jefferson, the model of the Republican Tradition, “the best defense of freedom was an educated people actively participating in government.” (Bellah 31). In order to establish the rules and governing bodies of this society, a wholly educated population that took an active interest in government affairs is critical to maintain equal freedom for all. This is where the leadership of the society emerges and falls in line with what James McGregor Burns termed as “transforming leadership.” The foundation of this is that “whatever separate interests persons might hold, they are…united in pursuit of ‘higher’ goals…tested by the achievement of significant change that represents the collective or pooled interests of leaders and followers.” (Burns 425-27). The government and its regulations are adaptive, as they reflect the changing needs of its educated population. This will ensure freedom for political participation, and ideally equality in all pursuits of life. Thus the Republican Tradition establishes the framework of this society. The part of the society that resembles Utilitarian Individualism is the driving force for the economic success of this society. The competitive nature and ideal of working hard is what draws me to include Utilitarian Individualism in an ideal society. Utilitarian Individualism argues “in a society where each vigorously pursued his own interest, the social good would automatically emerge.” (Bellah 33). If say, approximately 30% of the population of this society viewed success as their own economical drive and pursuit of wealth, then that could definitely help society as more corporations could develop, leading to more jobs for the society.…...

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