Robin Williams argues that American society has 12 major values that are basic to that society. They are:
- Individualism. We think that people can and should rise or fall on their own merits.
- Achievement and Success. We think that it is important to succeed and to achieve big things. It can be important to be more successful than others.
- Activity and Work. This is like the Puritan work ethic. We think work is good for its own sake.
- Efficiency and Practicality. We think it is important to do things as efficiently as possible.
- Science and Technology. We prefer to use science and technology to solve all of our problems.
- Progress. We think everything should constantly get better.
- Material Comfort. We expect to have a very high material standard of living.
- Humanitarianism. We think it is important to be kind and helpful to others, particularly those in need.
- Freedom. We feel it is important to be able to do whatever we want.
- Democracy. We think everyone has the right to be heard and that the majority should rule.
- Equality. We think that it is important for everyone to be equal in the eyes of the law.
- Racism and Group Superiority. Paradoxically, we think some groups are better than others.