The Decline of American Exceptionalism
Two worldviews are fighting to claim the identity of America in the 21st century. One is centered upon Judeo-Christian morality and encompasses discipline, virtue, courage, and the dignity of being an American. The other promotes lawlessness, endless grievances, class-racial-gender conflicts, and plain name-calling. The former encompasses American exceptionalism, individual freedom with responsibility, and classic ideas and ideals of the rights of man as embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. At the same time, the left focuses on the negatives of U.S. history as well as upon vindictiveness and conflict to reach its goals. We see these hostile themes reflected in the public utterances of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, both of whom sucked the milk of radicalism from the famous community organizer Saul Alinsky. Additionally, since President Donald Trump's nomination, we have heard the nonstop screeds and vindictive words from the leadership of the Democratic Party.
Nowhere are these sentiments expressed more clearly than on America's college campuses. Charlie Kirk, founder of Turning Point USA, remarked, "One of the greatest threats to America is the fact that our school system is not teaching the next generation morals, American exceptionalism, free enterprise, the Constitution, the dangers of socialism, or the value of hard work." There can be no substitute for being a responsible consumer of one's education by doing one's own work honestly, forthrightly, and independently. Progressives have run education off the rails and well nigh ruined it. Colleges were once proving grounds for success in the professions. Doctrinally, students pay dreadful confiscatory tribute to progressivism where issues of race and political correctness form the foci of their consciousness. They are the bywords for error. Competition through self-expression is the means by which students achieve success and establish themselves in the world. It is incumbent upon teachers everywhere to set the example so that their students aspire to the cultural, moral, and intellectual grandeur to which they are capable.
Rather than embracing these traditional American values, progressives objectify race and political correctness as the centers of their worldviews and use them as pretexts to foment institutional chaos. No longer are they content to engage conservatives honestly and in good faith. Through heightened antipathy, they play the victim by antagonizing conservatives often along racial lines to garner public sympathy and thereby bolster their voter base. As repugnant the victim-grievance mentality has become, it has proven remarkably successful. Ever so much more, the very rule of law has become anachronistic. The growing reactions on the left against free speech and the right to bear arms are well established. Honest hardworking folks have been unfairly set upon by the malaise of relativism where the state becomes the final arbiter of not only their freedom but also of their wealth and privilege.
Through their intransigence on fiscal policies, which are presently our most pressing issues, the left alienated honest, hardworking folks by refusing to connect with them on tax reform, the productile need for which cannot be overstated. The folks have long felt ignored, abandoned, and forgotten by their government. They have groaned under the burden of rising taxes, which, over time, cheapen the products of their work. It is through the dignity of work that we celebrate our heritage as Americans and where we become part of a cause far higher than ourselves. Democrats believe forgivably that there exists a disparity of privilege between rich and poor. They less forgivably have missed an important opportunity to honestly engage with the folks on the broader issue of economic resurgence. They believe erroneously and altogether unforgivably that they are entitled to spend wealth that is not theirs. Work is not relative. Neither are earnings.
Philosophically, the entire progressive movement errs upon this relativism and abject disdain for capitalism. It should be noted that the beginning of socialism is progressivism. Communism, with all of its ghastly accoutrements, is its end. If left unchecked, chaos ensues where, in a climate of unparalleled polarization, President Trump is correct. The rule of law is especially needed. Democrats cannot be trusted to use freedom responsibly.
Democrats and even a few republicans have overplayed their hand through their evangelization of resistance. It will not avail, and neither will policing opinion with phony grievance- and protest-mongering. Through their oftentimes reckless abandon for the rule of law, the left have adamantly refused to come to terms. To wise up is the doom they must deem.
It takes more than pusillanimous behavior and siren songs of moral relativism to make government work as it does to make human life work, simple, messy at times, and altogether imperfect it may be. It consists not of vacuous bureaucracies where success depends upon the failure of others, as it so often does, and its object is measured ephemerally only in terms of riches and of privilege. Least of all, is it a strident encomium of vitriolic left-wing agendas where protest bordering on lawlessness is glorified as a societal good. American life is and should always be a renewal movement built upon the dignity of being an American – a living hope directed by discipline, virtue, and above all order. It therefore takes time, energy, and courage. Most of all, it requires character and a manifestation of moral truth to set the example. This, then, is the true business by which we as Americans aspire to greatness. Democrats must grasp this universality so in time, they may at last be grasped by it.
We are reminded of the first chapter of Genesis, whereby God set the example through the light He created in the midst of darkness and chaos. From this light came life and law. We would do well to mark them both for one cannot be had without the other.