Thursday, October 7, 2010

The American Trinity: Three Pillars of American Values

Dennis Prager, the insightful political commentator, has discovered something astounding:

The key to American exceptionalism is inscribed in tiny letters in a form owned by all Americans -- it's probably in your pocket right now. He calls it "The American Trinity", the three pillars of American Values. Indeed, the thing that makes America great is our unique value system.

The unique essence of America are inscribed on every copper penny:

"In God We Trust", "E Pluribus Unum", "Liberty"

In the world today there are three competing, incompatible value systems:

American values, Progressive values, and Islamic values.

Islamic values are centered around the Quran and the life of Muhammad. Everyone can see how miserably those have worked out. But about 1.5 billion people subscribe to these values and they are fanatical about enforcing adherence to their beliefs. If Americans are not equally confident in our own values, especially if we don't even know what our values are, then we are in serious trouble.

In the west the competition is between Conservative American values and Progressive (aka "Liberal") values. Progressive values dominate Europe, but have become increasingly fashionable in the U.S., especially with the election of President Barack Obama. Let's explore what comprises our uniquely American values:

In God We Trust
America was founded upon a belief in God as manifested in the Bible of the Judeo-Christian tradition. We know this because a belief in God is enshrined in the United States Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
So in America we believe that our rights were bestowed upon each of us by our Creator, not by man. Because if any man can grant you a right, as progressives believe, then such a man can also take away that right. Americans trust in God; progressives trust in ruling elites.

Progressives trust rule by elites, because they believe that certain groups are inherently wise and good while others are ignorant and bad. Conservatives believe that every person is an individual, not an interchangeable member of group which determines his character. Conservatives believe that while people are basically good, human nature disposes us to act in our own self interest most of the time. Conservatives believe there is nothing wrong with acting in our own self interest as long as we have a well developed sense of fairness.

Fairness implies that we find it unconscionable to take something we don't deserve. The American Free Enterprise system only works when there is predictable fairness, based upon natural law. This brings us back to the need for a belief in God or at least a foundation in Judeo-Christian values. The most important lesson of Christ was the Golden Rule: "Do unto others that which you would have done unto you".

So the American free enterprise system can only work, if the vast majority of people are willing to offer something of equal or greater value, in exchange for acquiring the good or service that they desire.

The very first amendment of the constitution guarantees freedom of religion, but Progressives have perverted that to mean freedom from religion. With the help of the American Civil Liberties lawyers, Progressives have spent millions prosecuting exercise of religion or anything remotely religious on public property. Progressives essentially have declared war on traditional faith by arguing that freely-chosen religious expression somehow is in violation of the Constitutional prohibition against Congressional establishment of religion.

E Pluribus Unum (From many, one)
Immigrants of all races and cultures have come to America from many lands. America has always welcomed immigrants, as we find inscribed on the Statue of Liberty ("Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free...").

However, America also expects something in exchange from our immigrants: That they agree to become Americans and contribute to our greatness. We encourage all immigrants to remember their roots and revere their heritage. But we really don't care about their ethnicity. What we do care about is that they want to be one of us, to share the values which made us great, and participate fully in the grand American experience. That is why Conservatives reject multi-lingual education, because failing to learn English presents a significant barrier for immigrants to assimilate as Americans.

While Conservatives celebrate legal immigration, they are adamantly opposed to illegal immigration. This opposition arises largely because illegal immigration allows people to come into America without requiring that they learn our values. It allows illegals to keep their culture, their language, their values and live in barrios insulated from the rest of us. Illegal immigration builds walls instead of bridges.

Progressives promote "multi-culturalism", which is the permanent division of Americans into ethnic groups, based upon superficial characteristics such as race, national origin and language. Because Progressives don't believe America is anything special, they believe all cultures are to be equally celebrated. They send their children to college to learn about "Ethnic studies". They believe America is fundamentally flawed and mostly full of bigots, so they endlessly deconstruct American values, mock patriotic displays, and wouldn't be caught dead flying an American flag.

Liberty (freedom) is a political environment in which the ability, for each individual to exercise free will, is maximized. Conservatives believe freedom is paramount because free will -- the capacity for an individual to choose among alternatives -- represents the unique essence of humanity. Were it not for our ability to choose, then humans would be no more exceptional than ants scurrying around in a colony.

Progressives however, believe in equality of result, even if liberty must be sacrificed. This Liberal idea known as Socialism or "social justice" really appeals to an ugly human emotion: envy. As Al Sharpton succinctly put it:

"The struggle is not over until we achieve equality ... the dream [of social justice] was to make everything equal in everybodys' house."

Socialism is defined as the ownership of the "means of production" by the "people". How does wealth get owned by someone other than the person who created the wealth? It's done using legalized theft. Like robbing a liquor store at gunpoint, socialism involves taking something that doesn't belong to you. But Progressives believe that they are not stealing because everything you earn already belongs to government, and the ruling elites get to decide how to distribute the booty.

As a corollary, Conservatives would define "greed" as wanting something for nothing -- taking something that does not belong to you and being unwilling to give anything of value in return. In contrast, a Progressive typically defines "greed" as having more "than you need"; and they get to decide how much you need.

This also explains why Progressives typically are soft on prosecuting crime. To a progressive, theft is just another way to distribute wealth from the "haves" to the "have-nots". Conservatives typically believe in "three strikes and you're out" and death penalty laws; whereas Libs believe in endless attempts at rehabilitation.

As another corollary, Conservatives believe in individual responsibility, because Liberty does not work unless each person is willing to take responsibility for his own actions or inaction. Progressives believe in collective responsibility; if someone does something wrong they will not blame the individual. Instead they will blame the injustice of society or perhaps the weapon used to commit the crime.

"Communism" is the end-game; the ultimate goal of Marxists. Communism is the supposed elimination of social classes by forced redistribution, not only of income, but of accumulated wealth and property as well. This has always involved extreme violence, because no one wants to work hard to achieve material wealth, only to have it taken away by a police state.

"From each according to his abilities; to each according to his needs."
-Karl Marx

The reality is the some people will always manage to have far more wealth than others. The only question is who gets to the control the wealth -- the wealth producers or the politicians?

So while Conservatives believe that everyone is born equal, Progressives believe that big government must be used to enforce equality of results. In other words, Conservatives believe in freedom to pursue happiness; Progressives believe in mandated happiness through redistribution.

Each of us must decide what values we hold dear because we are at a historic crossroads which will decide the fate of America and the free world.

In November, choose like your life depended upon it, America. Study the penny in your pocket.

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