In any conflict, understanding ourselves is as important as understanding the enemy.This is classic Sun Tzu, who wrote that the general who knows himself and the enemy will always be victorious, if for no other reason than that general will know how and when to fight.
But here is the problem, I think Americans know themselves (but don't know the enemy). I think Americans believe they are at heart consumers and don't care. I think they will freely admit to being self-centered--for the most part.
Like the teenager, the problem is that despite our consciousness of it, we don't see any benefit to making any changes.