Once Great Nation?
by Doug Edelman
Issue 217– December 12, 2012
As I survey the landscape of America today; with our divisiveness and strife, our narcissistic generations, our nihilistic and hedonistic attitudes, our failure to accept or to assign personal responsibility and accountability etc, I lament that our nation is no longer that shining light that it once was.
Sure, America had its growing pains from the Revolution through the Civil War, Slavery, Westward Expansion and so forth. Yet the 20th Century saw the United States of America blossom into the jewel of the planet. There is little wonder why we were a magnet for immigration from all corners of the earth.
Not only was the USA a land of opportunity, where anyone willing to put forth an effort could make a life for themselves, it was a land of proud rugged individualists, who would thirst for a challenge to overcome. Our people were the most productive in the world, driven by a belief in American Exceptionalism, our people had a work ethic, pride, and self-sufficiency.
The Dust Bowl and Great Depression years brought hardship, but also showed our character. Out of those years came those who would later be called “the Greatest Generation”. Just a few years later they would be called upon to sacrifice in the struggles of worldwide conflict. Not only those who served in uniform, but all who served on the home-front.
We were a nation respected and appreciated by the rest of the world. Our military strength was relied upon by our allies and feared by our adversaries. Our economic strength bolstered the world economy. Our currency became the reserve currency worldwide. Our expertise was sought on almost every endeavor and we were the innovators and inventors that brought us in 65 years from horse and buggy to the moon. Our scientific, medical and technological advances improved life for mankind. We were the envy of the world.
Today many of those characteristics no longer describe our nation.
Opportunity was once celebrated; and it was freely acknowledged and accepted that with equal opportunity some would excel and others would underperform, and that there would be diversity of outcomes.
Today, equal opportunity has been supplanted in favor of enforced equality of outcomes. With diversity of aptitudes, attitudes and effort there remains a call for uniformity of outcome! They call this fairness!
Where adversity once built character and challenged people to achieve, today it fosters dependency and entitlement.
Today, instead of our being an immigration magnet for productive people looking for opportunity to build success, we are a magnet for those seeking the benefits and handouts we’ve too freely offered.
Our military’s purpose has been distorted. Warriors are an instrument to protect our vital interests by their efficient ability to kill people and break things. There is no sugar coating what the military has been and is meant to be from the time one Paleolithic tribe took up sticks and stones against another. The supremacy of our military might once stood as a deterrent against aggression by others against our interests. The Latin axiom “Si vis pacem, para bellum”, (which translates, “If you wish for peace, prepare for war”) is as true today as when penned in Roman times. ‘Peace through strength’ is more than a Reagan-Era slogan. It is a successful and necessary strategy for maintaining the peace and for safeguarding our interests.
Today our military are used as policemen, nation-builders, and social experiments. Today’s Rules of Engagement are so limiting to our warriors that we sacrifice our own lives rather than returning fire on our enemies, if there is even a hint of risk of collateral damage. We commit to long term occupations with no clear mission, no clear objective and no established exit strategy. There is a fundamental misunderstanding of the use of the military.
War is hell. War is brutal. War is tragic. War destroys lives of both combatants and civilians – the guilty and the innocent. Unless you are willing to unleash hell and commit to all out destruction of an enemy – don’t go to war. There is no such thing as a polite war or a gentler bullet. If you’re not willing to decimate and eviscerate an enemy – don’t bring the military into the squabble.
Today our economy is in a shambles. Our credit rating has experienced multiple downgrades. Instead of being the financier of the world, we’re a debtor nation. Our dollar is no longer the “gold standard” reserve currency.
Instead of self-sacrifice, we promote self indulgence. Instead of responsibility, we promote excuses. Instead of lauding the rewards of hard work, we teach dependency and entitlement.
Our nation is following a downward path which will lead to its destruction if it is not curbed; hence the inspiration behind this book.
That is why I wrote a book on the subject. It is hoped that by calling attention to the myths and to the undeniable truths, we can begin the process of restoration from the ground up – one awakened person at a time.
Doug Edelman is a conservative political analyst and commentator, writes for the St Louis Examiner, athttp://www.examiner.com/