A New Year’s resolution for America

We begin 2017 as a nation governed by fear. Campaign 2016 proved this, as both candidates appealed primarily to our fears. I believe we have become fearful because we have forgotten who we are. American is different, like Athens more than our neighbors, as explained in this excerpt from Allan Bloom’s Closing of the American Mind (it should be at the top of your reading list):

“For the ancients the soul of the city was the regime, the arrangements of and participation in offices, deliberation about the just and the common good, choices about war and peace, the making of laws.  Rational choice on the part of citizens who were statesmen was understood to be the center of its regime.  …Pericles {in his Funeral Oration, as given by Thucydides} says nothing about the gods, or the poetry, history, sculpture or philosophy of which we think.  He praises Athens’ regime and finds beauty in its political achievement…”

This is even more true of America than Athens. We are not famous for our philosophy, art, or culture. Our contributions to history have been political — from the Declaration of Independence and the preamble of the Constitution (“We the people…”) to the magnanimous settlement of WWII and creation of the United Nations.

The Americans who sat through the long hours of the Lincoln-Douglas debates understood this. The mad festival of Campaign 2016 showed how we have abandoned this tradition, as we were yet again forced to choose between bad and worse.  To see where this leads, read Christian Meier’s biography Caesar.  He describes how the Roman people grew tired of governing themselves, finding the burden too great to bear.  Inevitably, strong men came forward to take this load from them.  People who will not govern themselves have no right to complain about the decisions of the elites who rule them.

That is our future if we continue on this path. Let us resolve in 2017 to start the political reform of America by getting involved. Organize, participate, donate, work — each of us can contribute in some way. Left or Right, polls show our dissatisfaction with today’s politics. If more Americans get involved, each in their own way, I have confidence the result will be a better and stronger America. Without confidence in our collective action, there is no reason to believe or even hope for a better future.

For More Information

Other ways to make 2017 count: This New Year, let’s resolve to face the future with care, not fear.  Resolve to begin the reform of America in 2017!

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about the new industrial revolution, about shockwaves, about good news for America, and especially these…

  1. Is America’s decline inevitable? No.  — Why be an American if you have no faith in the American people?
  2. Rebuttals to the big list of reasons why America will fall.
  3. A crisis at the beginning of the American experiment — Looking at the problems looming before us, it is easy to forget those of equal or greater danger that we have surmounted in the past.
  4. For the New Year, let’s shed our fear of flying into the future — Reasons we need not fear the future.

Books to begin the New Year

Closing of the American Mind
Available at Amazon.
"Caesar" by Christian Meier
Available at Amazon.

6 thoughts on “A New Year’s resolution for America”

  1. A ‘call to arms’ and much appreciated. Considering “Our contributions to history have been political” in the most recent context if this doesn’t energize it’s not clear what will.

    Thank you for the offering!

    1. Bart,

      I’d like to see some supporting cites for that, esp for American culture “100 years or so” ago (1916!). The more usual view is that people from other cultures tend to regard American culture as infamous, a virus or contaminant. As Allan Bloom said in Closing of the American Mind:

      “A Charles deGaulle or, for that matter, an Alexander Solzhenitsyn sees the United States as a mere aggregate of individuals, a dumping ground for the refuse from other places, devoted to consuming; in short, no culture.”

      Others hold far more negative opinions of American culture. Sayyid Qutb was a leader of the Moslim Brotherhood in the 1950s and 1960s, helping shape it to its current revolutionary form. His visit to America helped shape his views.

      “The impact of western culture on Islam was clearly foreseen by Sayyid Qutb, Egyptian intellectual and Islamist (1906 – 1966) when studying in 1949 at the University of Northern Colorado at Greeley, Colorado. Established as a utopian community in 1870, the city proudly maintained in the 1940’s the moral rigour, temperance, and civil-mindedness that were the hallmarks of its founding fathers. Greeley’s highly touted civic virtue, however, made very little impression on Qutb. In his mind, the inhabitants of Greeley, far from representing a kinder and gentler population of Americans, carried within themselves the same moral flaws of materialism and degeneracy that were characteristic of Occidental civilization in general.

      “He recounted how he once attended a church dance and was scandalized by the occasion’s “seductive atmosphere”. As Qutb wrote, “the dancing intensified,” and the “hall swarmed with legs”. … Qutb’s American writings are laced with such anecdotes, which reveal a strong concern with moral issues, especially concerning matters of sexuality.”

      — “Sayyid Qutb in America,” ISIM Review, newsletter of the International Institute for the Study of Islam, March 2001 (PDF here).

      For more detail see Brynjar Lia’s Architect of Global Jihad: The Life of Al-Qaeda Strategist Abu Mus’ab Al-Suri (2008) — or the summary in “Laptop Jihadi” by Adam Shatz in the London Review of Books.

    2. Pull your head out of your ass. Like it or not, American art, music, films, fashion, cuisine, what have you has had an incredibly outsized influence on the rest of the world, for better or worse. To ignore that because it’s not up to your sources standards makes you a snob.

      1. Bart,

        “what have you has had an incredibly outsized influence on the rest of the world, for better or worse.”

        Look up the meaning of famous vs. infamous.

        “To ignore that because it’s not up to your sources standards makes you a snob.”

        Re-read what I said (assuming you read it a first time). That’s not remotely what I said.

        “Pull your head out of your ass.”

        Good-bye. Life is too short to listen to people who think talking like that is rational or useful.

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