The American Spirit – Do We Still Have It? Jim challenged us to consider that very question.
Have you noticed, when talking to people on any issue at all, how difficult it is to get a definitive answer as to where they stand? That little word BUT keeps getting in the way. Brian Wilson, writing for LewRockwell.Com, has some insights into what people really mean when they use that word, BUT. It’s a very humorous article and it’s not very long. so skip on over and give it a quick read then come back and we’ll talk about a more serious aspect of this phenomena.
Okay. Was it worth a few chuckles? I certainly enjoyed it. There is one sentence in Brian’s article that caught my eye and gave me pause to think. Let’s look at it together:
It’s amazing how scared people are of Freedom but quite comfy with soft tyranny and incremental socialism.
Now that is a pretty sad commentary, isn’t it? People are scared of freedom yet they are comfortable with a little tyranny mixed with socialism. Those words “soft tyranny and incremental socialism” have haunted me for several days now. They seem to explain so much about the character of the American people today. It is not the same character that was responsible for creating this great nation; not even close. What has happened to what we once proudly refered to as the American Spirit?
In an excellent article by John Carey of the Sentry Journal blog, he asks the question: “Do we even know what liberty is anymore?” When I read those haunting words of Brian Wilson, I immediately thought about John’s article. This is an article well worth reading. Referring to the attitude of Americans today, I left a comment for John saying that if Americans in the time when the United States was all East of the Mississippi had the same attitude of Americans today, the West would never have been developed.
Never has there been a time when people were more free than when the American West was developed. Imagine that great expanse of unknown land where there was no city, state or, federal governments to tell people what they could or could not do. There was no social safety net. People were truly free to succeed or fail on their own merits. To me, these Americans personified what I refer to as the American Spirit.
Over time, of course, city, state and, federal governments came to the West. And, with the governments came the ubiquitous restraints on individual freedoms. But the American spirit prevailed in spite of government’s interference. In my opinion, this ” can do” spirit of fierce independence continued to dominate the American character at least until the 70?s.
In the 70?s, the Great Society and War on Poverty programs began to take hold. This is when I believe things began to take a serious turn for the worse. Instead of taking responsibility for one’s own life, more and more people began to look to government to solve their problems. And how have these programs worked out? Do we have a bigger or lesser percentage of people earing their way and contributing taxes to support government? Do we have more or less people on welfare? Do we have more or less un-wed mothers?
For forty years now, this bureaucratic monster we call government has been growing faster and faster and demanding more and more to feed it. We are not producing enough to feed it. We have borrowed more and more to keep the monster satiated. We are facing the day of reckoning when we will not be able to find enough lenders to keep the monster fed.
There is a terrible dark cloud hanging over America and I am wondering if there is sufficient American Spirit left to meet the challenge that faces us. I believe that those that still have the American Spirit burning in their souls are now a minority. So, my question to you, dear readers, is how do we rekindle this spirit in those that have lost or may never have had it? Without this spirit, America will no longer be America.
That’s what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?
Original Post: Conservatives on Fire