Sunday, August 7, 2016

Our Great Hope Lies in American Ideals©


Most of my life I have been dismayed at the liberal propensity to loath America because of her failings.  This began for me back in the 1960s as I was arriving at adulthood. The late 1960s were a very difficult time for America, largely because of the opposition to the Viet Nam War.  Liberal ideals were in the ascendancy it seemed to me then, and they were epitomized by the famous trial of the “Chicago Seven,” led by arch-Liberal Abbie Hoffman who advocated “revolution.” Since then there has been a continual parade of liberal American self-loathing.

In writing this, I am not blind to America’s faults. But I believe America to be the greatest nation in the history of the world and it is largely due to her ideals. Sure, she falls short of her ideals, but what person, what city, state, or nation does not? Generally only those who do not profess ideals at all. 

Many young people today, nurtured on three generations of this self-hate and woefully ignorant of American’s great history and legacy, seem ready to throw over American ideals which they neither know or understand. Thus the popularity of the “Bernie” socialistic philosophy. He however, is at the far left of a far left liberal political movement and many if not most liberals promote many different forms of socialism which are inimical to the original American ideals which are so endangered.

Clarence Thomas on American Ideals

So, I now turn the microphone over to a black American man of some character, wisdom, judgment, and good common sense, to speak in behalf of American ideals for a moment or two. Read carefully, there are several really important gems in what he says below.

“Throughout my youth, even as the contradiction of segregation persisted, we revered the ideals of our great nation. We knew, of course, that our country was flawed, as are all human institutions. But we also knew that our best hope lay in the ideal of liberty. ...

I often wondered why my grandparents remained such model citizens, even when our country’s failures were so obvious. In the arrogance of my early adult life, I challenged my grandfather and doubted America’s ideals. He bluntly asked: “So, where else would you live?” Though not a lettered man, he knew that our constitutional ideals remained our best hope, and that we should work to achieve them rather than undermine them. “Son,” he said, “don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.” That is, don’t discard what is precious along with what is tainted.

Today, when it seems that grievance rather than responsibility is the main means of elevation, my grandfather’s beliefs may sound odd or discordant. But he and others like him at the time resolved to conduct themselves in a way consistent with America’s ideals. They were law-abiding, hardworking, and disciplined. They discharged their responsibilities to their families and neighbors as best they could. They taught us that despite unfair treatment, we were to be good citizens and good people. If we were to have a functioning neighborhood, we first had to be good neighbors. If we were to have a good city, state, and country, we first had to be good citizens. The same went for our school and our church. We were to keep in mind the corporal works of mercy and the great commandment: “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Being wronged by others did not justify reciprocal conduct. Right was right, and two wrongs did not make a right. What we wanted to do did not define what was right–nor, I might add, did our capacious litany of wants define liberty.   ...
America, was founded on the idea that liberty is an antecedent of government, not benefit from government.”(1)
Where would you rather live?  Where is there a higher ideal of government, ensconced in a constitution?  I'm with Clarence, we should "work to achieve" those ideals "rather than undermine them."

Let's think together again, soon.


1.  Clarence Thomas, “Freedom and Obligation–2016 Commencement Address,” 14 May 2016 at Hillsdale College, in Imprimis 45, nos. 5/6 (June 2016): 4, 5, emphasis in original.

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