The time has come to…extol the preeminence of the individual, freedom of will, and the merits of assuming personal responsibility. The time has come to restore the American God, His natural law, and His code of ethics to their proper roles in everyday life.”
The United States of America is exceptional.
Most nations were born of bloodlines, battles, or historical accident. The American nation was conceived as an idea. Its founders united more than thirteen colonies; they united the concepts of freedom and responsibility as the basis of governance. The U.S. was born to prove to the world that individuals freed to make their own choices, permitted to reap the benefits of their victories, and empowered to learn the lessons of their defeats, could create a society that put to shame the best efforts of Europe’s kings and nobles, popes and prelates. That American idea would forever change the world for the better.
From the outset, America was conceived as a nation under God. It was, to be sure, a Deist God who set the world in motion subject to the laws of nature while freeing each American to adopt an individualized conception of (and relationship to) the supernatural. But it was a God whose laws of nature included basic ethical precepts, rights of the individual, and rights of nations—the common moral bedrock without which no free nation was possible.
The American covenant binds its people together with the laws of nature and nature’s God. It recognizes that individuals possess the rights of freedom, and that no government may legitimately infringe those rights. But it also recognizes that shorn of personal responsibility and basic morality, individual rights ring hollow. For without them, as our founders well knew, life would revert to its natural state—cruel, brutish, and short.
Americans have long enjoyed their own freedoms in large part because they trusted their neighbors to behave responsibly. Americans have minimized government by knowing that something can be wrong without being illegal—and that people of good faith will refrain from doing wrong without the heavy hand of government coercing them to do right. Americans have always known that with good choices, good neighbors, and the grace of God they would succeed.
That covenant also permitted America’s founders to devise a governing framework that drew upon the finest that the Europe’s Age of Reason had to offer: the scientific method. The utility of the federal system as a laboratory of democracy is well known. The separation of powers employs divide-and-conquer and checks-and-balances to diffuse true power until all authorities agree on the best way to serve the common good. The free market that the American founding enabled embodied the cutting edge of economic science. It permitted individuals to pursue any profession or occupation that the law did not specifically prohibit, and relied upon Adam Smith’s invisible hand to ensure production levels appropriate to meet demand.
But it was the overall structure of the American experiment that married natural law to the most basic and elegant of the sciences, mathematical logic. The American system, resting as it did upon Judeo-Christian ethics, the separation of powers, federalism, individual freedom, and personal responsibility could give rise to a complex and thriving society with a relatively small body of laws—and a consequently small government to enforce them.
Today, that American idea is under attack. A sense of entitlement has pushed personal responsibility deep into the background of our national ethos. A misguided clamor for social justice has cast individual freedom as an oppressive force.
Our elite, feeling entitled to remain elite, move to lock their advantages in place while reducing the social and economic mobility of others. Our poor claim entitlement to an ever-growing list of demands, while accepting no responsibility for their own fate and brooking no inquiries into their cultural attitudes or personal behavior. Our social justice warriors divide us into categories, pit the categories against each other in zero-sum warfare, and deny the dignity and rights of the individual.
Their progressivism seems to have gained the upper hand. We have allowed them to pervert our language, only to find ourselves tongue-tied in asserting our position. We have paid insufficient heed to education, to entertainment, and to the media—and thus lost control of our culture. If we cannot reverse those trends—soon—the American idea will pass into history.
The time has come to fight back. The time has come to return to our roots. The time has come to restore the American idea to the center of America’s consciousness.
The time has come to restore the American idea to all of its glory, to suffuse our politics and policies with it, to extoll the preeminence of the individual, the freedom of will, and the merits of assuming personal responsibility. The time has come to restore the American God, His natural law, and His code of ethics to their proper roles in everyday life.
The time has come to restore America.