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Why fewer adults are ‘extremely proud’ to be American: Experts warn people are focused on ‘individualism’

Experts warned a rise in individualism is one factor contributing to a decline in U.S. adults who say they are "extremely proud" to be American.

The United States has seen a decline in patriotism over the last few years, with fewer adults saying they are proud to be an American, and traditional symbols like the flag being viewed as controversial.

In June, only 38 percent of U.S. adults said they were "extremely proud" to be American, according to a Gallup poll.

Fox News contributor Kellyanne Conway said this trend is especially true, and troubling, among young Americans.

"It’s especially true among younger people who don't seem to have that same connection with what binds us together as Americans or patriotism or religious adherence than perhaps their parents and certainly their grandparents' generations," she told Fox News Digital.

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The number was even lower among young Americans, where only 18 percent of those ages 18-to-34 said the same. The number was much higher among older Americans, where 50 percent of those ages 55 and older said they are proud to be American.

Conway said the rise of individualism is partly to blame for the shifting trend.

"I think the rise of the individual, there's so much that we can do now just by ourselves. Work, go to school, have friendships, other kinds of relationships, exercise so much that we could do by ourselves that before really, really attracted, if not necessitated us to talk to other people and to really feel like we were part of a conversation, if not a country," Conway said. 

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Yeonmi Park, a North Korean defector who has spoken out about cultural trends in America, said she also has noticed the isolation and individualism across America.

"Even in America, people are isolated from each other, and they're in their own bubble," Park told Fox News Digital.

But former Navy SEAL Michael Sarraille said it is not necessarily surprising that there is not a majority consensus around love of country.

"During the Revolutionary War, only 45 percent of the population of the colonies at the time actually supported the war for independence. So, you know, if you're looking for a majority vote on whether… people love this country, respect this country, feel patriotic, you're going to be waiting a long time to get that majority," he told Fox News Digital. 

According to Arthur R. Miller’s book "Independence: The Tangled Roots of the American Revolution," at no time did more than 45 percent of the colonists support the Revolution, and a third fought for the British.

Support for American symbols, like the flag, has waned over time. Public figures, especially members of the liberal media, have increasingly voiced the belief that the flag has become too politicized and may no longer represent all Americans.

Last summer, MSNBC analyst Mara Gay said she was "disturbed" to see "dozens of American flags" during a weekend trip to Long Island, New York, feeling they had essentially been appropriated by Trump supporters.

Retired Green Beret Chief Michael Carmichael told Fox News Digital he understands those who feel disenfranchised by the flag, but this does not dispel the fact that it should be a unifying symbol for Americans.

"I completely respect the fact that a lot of groups feel disenfranchised from the flag. It doesn’t change the fact that the flag is our national symbol," he said. "I did 26 years in the army, 22 of those were as a Green Beret, and everywhere I’ve ever been, I always had a flag with me."

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"To me, the flag represents America, it represents all races, creeds and colors, all demographics, all social issues. It is the one thing that needs to unite us."

Conway added it is partly incumbent on elected officials to foster a feeling of patriotism within the public. 

"I do believe… it is incumbent upon [elected officials] in a very special way to be very vocal and visible about their love of this country, about what it means to be an American, about the value of patriotism is something that binds us," Conway said.

Park said she hopes more Americans begin to understand what it means to be patriotic, and to love their country. 

"I hope more people in America, really redefine what it means to be patriotic to their country and really understand the value of freedom, because the people who were born here haven't earned their freedom, they're born into it, and so they don't understand how hard it is to be free in other parts of the world and how other people, the billions of people who are oppressed, are dying to be free and because we are just given this freedom for free, they are throwing it around and thinking about throwing that away," Park said. 

"I really hope that they go back to reading books and history and not stepping on tiptoes and learning about human history."

For more Culture, Media, Education, Opinion, and channel coverage, visit foxnews.com/media.

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