Our American culture is not something that automatically passes intact and fully functioning from generation to generation. The ethics, morals, principles, ideas, themes, mores and all other critically important aspects of a culture must be taught and demonstrated to each new generation.
Well, assuming the new generation is still receptive to such concepts after being inundated with “transforming” ideas that reflect a radically different perspective.
Despite that, there are ideas (some of which are unique to America and have helped make this country great), which have invoked tremendous antipathy, resentment, jealousy and outright hatred among many different countries, organizations, religions, and political groups. Primarily because the success Americans have achieved by putting such ideas to work on a daily basis seems unattainable to others.
Ideas that actually work.
American ideas like self-determining self-hood, personal responsibility, love of liberty, a strong work ethic, a willingness to make short-term sacrifices for long-term gain, embracing competition, righteous anger in the face of inequity and barbarism, and a dynamic ethical and moral belief that encompasses the greatest insights of human thought.
Such incredibly valuable ideas are not inherent or innate within the human mind. We are born neither civilized or conscious. We must be taught those values. We must learn.
Humans are born as beasts. We are animals, pure and simple. We must acquire the knowledge necessary to overcome that bestiality. Young humans must be taught how to become truly conscious people. The things that permit that (e.g., compassion, honesty, loyalty, respect, honor, et cetera) must be carefully and faithfully transmitted from generation to generation.
It is possible—indeed, one could argue it is happening now—that if the modes of such transmission (e.g., education, politics, entertainment, news dissemination and such) are subjugated to the will of a perspective that is not American in origin, then over the course of time American culture can, and will be, slowly lost.
It will vanish.
The current population of young adults—the next generation of Americans—is losing the connection to those distinctly American values that helped make this country an example of what humanity, working in a spirit of harmony and cooperation, could achieve.
A primary example is a complete disconnect from the intent and meaning of the Declaration of Independence, which was the loud and raucous cry of the human spirit seeking freedom from the oppressive yoke of despotic, tyrannical, centralized planning and unfeeling bureaucratic control.
Let’s make a brief examination of just a few of the most important concepts in the Declaration and how we desperately need to embrace and understand what that means if we hope to salvage what is rapidly wrecking our Republic.
There are many stately-minded people who will happily inform you that what was written in 1776 has no relevance for us in the year 2016. Nothing from the past could possibly be of value to the enlightened humans of the New Millennium. Such people seek only to transform the present to match their narcissistic visions of the future. To believe the wisdom of the past is of no relevance to modern humans is a belief that leads to tyranny. To believe that way is to negate and obviate every bit of human wisdom hard fought and gained over thousands of years of human struggling and development. It matters not what your individual belief structure is in terms of religion or philosophy – the fact is that ancient wisdom reflects manifest and obvious truth.
Are the Indic vedas, Buddhist thought, Talmudic formulations, Christic teachings, Quranic admonitions, Platonic or Socratic musings, Confucian advice any less useful because they originate in the distant past?
It would be the height of arrogance and foolishness to assume that no human in the past ever achieved a similar state of conscious awareness as someone currently alive.
Let’s look at just one small sentence—an absolutely vital part—of the 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.
The first thing that strikes me is the phrase “these truths” and I say this because there are many, many, people today who do not believe in truth. Certainly not absolute truth. They see truth as something malleable, flexible, ever-changing, subject to the whims and vagaries of whatever the ruling elite desires. Situational ethics. To such people, it doesn’t make any difference what you say or do. Either something works (it lets you succeed) or it doesn’t. Truth is not relevant and certainly not important—only results matter, without regard for the kind of ethics or morality that absolute truth demands. State-mandated pragmatics.
Truth is not relative. It is not situational. It is not flexible. There are truths—as we read further in the Declaration—that are “self-evident.” Now we really need to pause and take stock of what this critical concept embodies, for it is essential to our understanding of the whole.
The key here is obviously awareness and consciousness. Nothing is “self-evident” unless you are intelligent, awake, aware, and conscious enough to even possess a Self. To overcome the beast and become human. When you do possess such a Self, then it is obvious that there are—indeed—some truths which stand out.
They are, indeed, self-evident.
All men—all humans—are created equal. What we are taught, learn, experience, and discover as infants, children, adolescents and young adults ripples through our mature lives and is reflected in what we become. Since those things are unique to each of us, it means that — over time — what we achieve will be different, and the skills and talents we exhibit will be different, but in the very beginning the Equality that the Declaration is concerned with involves Rights.
At birth, you see, all humans are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” That is the basic equality. Of course, some individuals are born into good circumstances and some into bad—but those are human-created scenarios and ever-changing variables. The Declaration is concerned with absolutes. Such a significant statement about Rights requires some serious consideration.
Let’s start with the word “endowed.”
It means that you are provided with or have been given a quality, ability, or asset. One could argue rather convincingly that the genetic traits (internal and external) that you are born with constitute your natural endowment. According to the Declaration, this endowment flows from the “Creator.”
Ostensibly many folks immediately jump to the notion this means God or some external Supreme Being. Yet this misses a bit of the meaning here because every human being, past and present, is a created being, brought into existence by the unification of XY genetic factors. This is true whether this is handled the traditional way through the intimate relations of a man and a woman, or some odd new way engendered by technological “innovation” that fertilizes an egg in a machined environment. Either way, life is created and there is a Creator. Life has been created, no matter the methodology, and such life has “certain unalienable rights.”
There are now three big ideas as we move forward.
“Certain” is one of them, as in “certain unalienable Rights.” Not all rights are being addressed here, as some of those stem direct from the social structure humans choose to live in. They are granted, earned, or made available and—as such—are not necessarily similar to unalienable (inalienable) rights, which are rights that are absolute, innate, and should never be taken away from the individual.
Among these Rights — which implies there are others — the following are the most important: “…Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Once a life is created, it has a right to life. It is now a created being—whose potential is both unknown and unlimited. Barring medical, ethical, or valid legal reasons, a created life has a right to experience life.
Beyond the idea of the “right to life” is the simple idea that all living humans have a right to continue to live once they have an existence. That is to say, the other person’s right to life is inviolate unless they seek to negate your right to life. Defending one’s self is understandable.
Still, it’s difficult to embrace the sanctity of human life unless you have liberty.
Without freedom, life is nothing but a prison. Sadly, many people fear freedom. They want to be told what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. Prison is preferable to the hard work of freedom. That’s because freedom is painful. It requires great effort. It demands sacrifice. Most people are unwilling to make the effort to either earn, deserve, or even preserve freedom. However, self-aware and conscious people fully grasp the true meaning of freedom (liberty) and its inextricable and sustaining link to life.
With life and liberty in hand (hopefully secured by a friendly government) one now has the ability to make the “pursuit of happiness.”
A difficult concept, to be sure.
To Aristotle, the Greek philosopher, happiness depends on the individual and what they believe, and how they act in their daily affairs. Happiness is living a virtuous life, and is little like the Buddhist middle way—avoid excesses and do the right thing. However, the whole point is kind of moot because the fact is the Declaration does not really concern itself with the actual or specific meaning of Happiness, as ultimately it is a subjective state of being for each and every human. The Declaration is only saying one of those unalienable rights centers around the “pursuit” aspect.
With your life you have the liberty to choose the course of action (within the prescribed boundaries of acceptable conduct in a civilized society) to pursue happiness as you understand it. Such pursuit implies a dynamic and active participation—you must actually STRIVE to EARN your happiness. No one can pursue anything sitting on their butt, though the amount of money paid out in federal entitlements might suggest otherwise. It is sad that there are vast segments of our society that are told by their religious, political, and social leadership that it is pointless to work, pointless to strive for success, and pointless to strive for happiness because the system is stacked against them and they have no opportunities.
That is simply and absolutely not the case.
The “pursuit” of happiness is available for any American, but they must embrace that critically important sentence from the Declaration we have been discussing in order to achieve anything—by failing to endorse that distinctly American idea they are sounding the death knell to self-sustaining self-hood, personal responsibility, and any hope for the glorious vision elaborated by the Declaration that inspires humans to greatness.
A society of the people, by the people and for the people is fading away unless we revitalize what it means to be a real American and recapture the essence of our ancestors.
The idea of being an American is beyond all ethnic, racial, religious or other demographic boundaries. Being an American means embracing the ideas we have been discussing in this article. People in this country who do not endorse those ideas are not Americans.
Do not let our culture slip away. Do not let the mindless hordes destroy our heritage. Do not let barbarism become acceptable and endorsed by a society that has lost all respect for itself and others.
You must teach the children the truth. You must fight against ignorance and hypocrisy. You must rail against deception, fraud, and lies. You must stand up for what is right and true, or the great American dream will slide into an abyss of soulless bestiality from which it can never recover.
Do not let that happen.