America: Land of the Human Soul
The assault against the United States of America is entering a new phase. The anti-American left, with its impoverished vision of the human soul, constantly bemoans the United States as a villainous nation founded on hatred and prejudice, crime and thievery, murder and imprisonment. The anti-Americans assert the entire American experiment is flawed, from the Mayflower Compact to the American Revolution itself. How, then, should patriotic Americans respond?
Narratives are power. This is something that conservatives have failed to grasp. For all the good of policy programs like lower taxes, deregulation, encouraging a spirit of entrepreneurship, and so forth, such policy slogans don’t tell a story. Humans are storytelling creatures and are captivated by stories. American patriots need a new story, one that honors the past and builds it into the future.
All nations thrive on noble stories. They are integral to our cohesiveness as story-making creatures. Our primary identities are, in fact, rooted in stories (called “narrative identities”). The stories we tell ourselves and the stories we pass on become part of an unfolding story that gives our lives meaning and purpose since stories have meaning and purpose.
Stories are the core of true culture -- something that the anti-American left understands and wields to horrific destructive power in their story of American genocide, oppression, and racism. By telling their story and propagating it from the organs of schools, media, even churches, the anti-American left causes people to hate their own heritage, history, and patrimony. Thus we see so many Americans denounce their own birthplace.
Throughout American history, Americans have had an overriding noble story gluing them together as one people out of many. From settlement to independence, America’s primary identity was forged through the noble story of the Pilgrims who courageously ventured across the unknown to find religious freedom, property, and self-governance. It was a story common to all, one of inspiration and emulation.
From 1620-1776, America’s identity was tied to the story of the Pilgrims. America, before 1776, was “God’s New England Israel,” as Cotton Mather proclaimed; a land, to paraphrase Winthrop, destined to become a Christian commonwealth -- that “city upon a hill” whose goodness, godliness, and religiosity would serve to inspire reformation back in the Old World and attract the lights of the Old World suffering from oppression into the new flame lit in North America. It was a destiny shared by many and gave meaning and purpose to the peoples who had ventured across the Atlantic to start a new life.
In fact, even at the end of the Civil War, Northern and Unionist newspapers celebrated the victory of Union as a manifestation of the Puritan spirit. The Boston Evening Transcript even proclaimed at the end of the war: “It is settled that Plymouth, and not Jamestown, is to be the nation’s watchword; the Puritan and not the Cavalier, to be the master pilot here.” That early spirit of liberty and self-determination was still part of the American story long after independence. Imagine the Boston Globe or some other degenerate Yankee newspaper celebrating America’s history and heritage like that nowadays.
Following the American Revolution, America’s noble story expanded from the Puritan identity to a newly forged democratic Americanism (while still retaining the Puritan genesis and inheritance as already mentioned). America was destined to spread the gospel of democratic republicanism across the North American continent and throw off the shackles and vestiges of European imperialism. The American experiment was the first anti-colonial experiment in the world.
This new experiment in democracy would rid, at least, the western hemisphere of autocracy and possibly inspire the rest of the world to do the same. Manifest Destiny was tied to an awakened democratic nationalism as George Dangerfield wrote in The Awakening of American Nationalism. Americans believed their exceptionalism as a democratic republic in a century when there were no other such polities in existence, it was an exceptionalism rooted in the country’s Puritan settlement that won such other victories as the abolition of slavery and the preservation of the republic during the Civil War.
The twentieth century is arguably the watershed moment in cultivating a shared American story in the new time the country found itself.
From 1941-1991, America was engaged in a deadly struggle against fascism and communism. America, in this new story, was the “arsenal of democracy” and the “last best hope” against the “evil empire.” America was the one nation, united in its past religious liberty and democratic politics, that would stand up against the spiritual and political tyranny of the dark forces that had swept Europe and were being exported around the world by the dictates of the Kremlin. While tried through fire, war, and domestic unrest, the United States triumphed and became a better, more perfect, union through it all.
The human soul yearns for liberty, freedom of spirit to find God, freedom of association to find companionship, and freedom of thought to unlock the mysteries of the world. The United States, more than any other nation in the history of the world, has been the land of the soul. That is what has made America exceptional.
The freedom of spirit to find God is firmly implanted in the soil of the United States with our pilgrim and puritan forefathers journeying to the New World to find the satiation of the soul. As Saint Augustine wrote, “Our heart is restless until it finds rest in [God].” Freedom of association is an enshrined right in the Bill of Rights. Freedom of speech, assembly, and worship all embody that spirit of association -- the need for human relationships and friendship. Freedom of thought is equally enshrined as a national right in the Constitution; this has spurred religious, scientific, and economic freedom and progress the world over.
America, as the land of the soul, is what makes the United States so magnetically attractive to people all over the world and has remained the alluring factor to those who live inside its borders. This is the true founding of America. It is not the American founding that is at fault for the derailment of American society. The enemies of the human soul are at fault for the desecration of the soul and the decomposition of the American spirit for rejecting the very impetus of the human soul in their collectivist totalitarian phantasmagoria.
The burdening of the spirit of liberty by the tentacles of the bureaucratic command-control state that leftists love creates a new class of servile slaves. The self-renunciation of tradition, roots, and heritage equally confuse the soul from its natural affections of the homeland, something that has disastrous consequences for civil society as everyone from Aristotle and Cicero to the Founding Fathers long saw.
It is necessary that Americans recapture their own self-understanding and story. Not a story of hatred, racism, and oppression, not a story of failure from the start, but the story of the human soul and its search for meaning and empowerment. It has been in America that the story and pilgrimage of the human soul have found its greatest fulfillment, meaning, and purpose. That is, and remains, the American story. It is time to own it, celebrate it, and cherish it once more.
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