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.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

America - Still the Best Hope

                    The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is that the United States of America is still the best hope for the world.  The government of the United States was established on certain principles and truths, and those American values can and will bring lasting peace and prosperity to the world.

                    I recently spent a couple of weeks in Kansas with one of my daughters and her family.  We visited the city library while I was there, and I found a newly published book entitled Still the Best Hope - Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph by Dennis Prager.  I did not have enough time to carefully read the entire book, but I read as much of it as possible and glanced through the remainder of it.  I found the book to be very interesting and enlightening and highly recommend it to anyone who understands that Americans must return to constitutional principles into order for our nation and the world to survive and prosper. 

                    The author stated that he wrote the book "because I am convinced that there is a way to end most evil [deliberate infliction of death, cruelty, oppression, and other injustices on fellow human beings].

                    "The only proven way to achieve this on any large scale is the American value system.  These values are proclaimed on every American coin:  `Liberty,' `In God We Trust,' `E Pluribus Unum'" (p. 1).

                    Prager also stated that he intended the book "for several audiences":  1) "Americans who already affirm American values….  Few Americans can articulate what is distinctive about American values, or even what they are…" (p. 1).
                    2) "Americans and all others - who either do not believe that the American value system is as described, or that it is the best ever devised, or that there is even such a thing as a specifically American value system…" (p. 2).
                    3) Non-Americans:  "As this book goes to print, it is becoming obvious that the European attempt to create a welfare state alternative to the American model has failed.  Begun after World War II, the secular welfare state offered Europeans and sympathetic non-Europeans an alternate to American religiosity and to what the welfare state's supporters depict as cutthroat, heartless American free market capitalism.  But some fifty to sixty years later, it is clear that this state is economically - and … morally - unsustainable.  Of the two democratic models - the European and the American - only the American one works and can endure….  Americanism … wants all peoples to retain their national culture and allegiances" (p. 2).

                    One major goal of the author of this book "is to present as thorough a dissection of Leftism as has been written …. An overall explanation of the inherent moral and intellectual defects of Leftism, along with an explanation of why so many people believe in it despite its terrible track record…."

                    The author claims that he "almost never judge[s] the motive or the character of people with Left-wing views" because he has family, friends and acquaintances "who hold those views, and whom I adore."  He also claims that it is "easy to love friends" because "we choose them."  He gave a great reason for the importance of the family:  "It teaches us to love people with whom we may have major disagreements" (p. 3).

                    Prager explained the difference between the use of the world "liberal" and "Left" - which are often "used interchangeably."  "There was a difference between liberals and the Left for many decades.  In the United States, the distinction ended after the Vietnam War.  The John F. Kennedy-type liberal - anti-Communist, in favor of using American power to spread liberty, and for lower taxes to stimulate economic growth - essentially died with his assassination on November 22, 1963" (p. 4). 

                    The author explained that he was "interested in identifying Leftist positions" rather than "Leftist individuals."  Many people identify themselves as liberal but "actually hold many conservative positions" (p. 4).

                    Prager has the hope that "Islam can be reformed and become a major world force for liberty, justice, and goodness" "without dropping belief in the Koran or in Muhammad as Allah's messenger."  "There are hundreds of millions of good and decent people in the Muslim world who can use their Muslim identity as a force for good."

                    The author contends that "the future [of humanity] will be Leftist, Islamist, or American" and that "the three ideologies are incompatible."  By "Leftist" he means the "values" of the "Western welfare state, secularism … attitudes and positions identified as Left from Karl Marx to contemporary socialist democrat parties and today's Democratic Party in the United States…."  By "Islamist" he means those "who wish to see as much of the world as possible governed by Sharia, Islamic law…."  By "American" he means those values imprinted on every American coin.  He calls these values the "`American Trinity':  `Liberty,' `In God We Trust,' and `E. Pluribus Unum' (`Out of Many, One')" (pp. 7-8).

                    Prager wrote that even though "there are many good people in each group," these "three ideologies are incompatible."  "The question is … which of the three ideologies is more likely to produce better people and a better society" (pp. 8-9).

                    The author believes that there are both Leftists and Muslims who are good Americans, but "The fact is that the three ideologies are incompatible.  Any one of them succeeds at the expense of the other two.  All Islamists know this, and many Leftists, know this, but most of those holding American values do not.  This book explains why they are incompatible, but I will cite some examples here.  The American value of `Liberty' is at odds with a Sharia-based society and with the Leftist commitment to material equality; `E Pluribus Unum' is at odds with the Leftist commitment to multiculturalism; and `In God We Trust' conflicts with both the Leftist commitment to secularism and the Islamic ideal of a Sharia-based state…." (pp. 9-10).

                    Prager stated that American values "allow, even encourage, people to keep their religious, ethnic, and cultural identities" while millions of "Muslims are prepared to spread Islam violently" (p. 10).

                    The author believes that Leftism is a "religion" just as surely as Christianity and Islam are.  It is a "secular form of religion" which is being spread "much more vigorously" than Christianity, and its "beliefs and values" are being taught in "high schools and universities" (pp. 11-12).  "For the majority of people in the West, the Left's view of life is not considered only the Left's view, but in fact the only legitimate view of life."  It is considered to be "normal" (p. 12).  "Most of all, Leftism is a religion because those who believe in its tenets often do so as fervently as religious Jews, Muslims, and Christians believe in their tenets…" (p. 13).

                    Prager wrote "… America represents the last great holdout against Leftism in the non-Muslim world.  In this sense, America represents the same thing to the Leftist as it does to the Islamist:  the greatest barrier to its success.  Islam and the Left are ideological enemies, but as long as America is strong and neither Muslim or Leftist, both fundamental Islam and the Left are allied in one way - anti-Americanism."

                    The author argues that this is the reason why the Left always defends Muslims.  He gave the "Ground Zero mosque" as one example.  He also cited the large "demonstrations in Western Europe since 1980 that "always" involve "people on the Left and/or led by groups on the Left."  "It is difficult to cite a single Leftist demonstration against any of the worst evils since World War II.  Why?  Because all those evils were committed by Leftist and Islamist regimes or groups, not by America" (p. 14).

                    Prager made an interesting point that I had never previously considered:  "Leftist peace activists demonstrate against war in large numbers only when the United States and/or Israel are at war.  There were few demonstrations when Sudan's blacks were murdered in mass or the genocides in Rwanda, Cambodia, or Congo or China's crushing Tibet or when Saddam Hussein warred against Iran, Kuwait, and the Kurds in Iraq.  The Left seems to be much more vocal about America's wars than these greater problems.  The Left does not seem much concerned when atrocities are committed by non-whites.  Israel is the only other country besides America that gets boycotted by the Left" (pp. 13-15).

                    The author explained three different obstacles to spreading American values.  First, the United States is the only country that claims to be Judeo-Christian while both "socialism/secularism and Islam" "dominate many countries."  "That is why America goes it alone" except when conservative governments are in power in Israel, Britain, Canada, and Australia

                    A second obstacle to spreading American values is the simple fact that "neither Judeo-Christian nor individual liberty nor free market values are secure in American."

                    A third obstacle is that few of us are "teaching the next generation of Americans what constitutes the American value system, let alone what is superior, or even simply unique about it.  American children are overwhelmingly educated by people who believe in European, not American, values" (pp. 15-16).

                    Prager further explained that the only way the American value system can prevail is if more Americans are willing to fight and win the ideological war within the United States.  "But with America's universities, labor unions, mainstream news media, entertainment media, and one of its two major parties ideologically aligned with European socialist values and with big businesses frequently aligning" (p. 16), it will be very difficult to win this war.

                    Prager explained that he believed there were only three alternatives because he didn't think China would prove to be a fourth alternative.  "Either China will become a freer society or it, too, will fail.  And along with liberty, it will still have to affirm values beyond material success in order to succeed as America has" (p. 17).

                    As I explained earlier, I found the book to be extremely interesting and well-worth reading.  The author articulately explains how things are and why they are that way.  I am seriously contemplating purchasing the book in order to finish reading it as well as to have it as a reference in my home.  I highly recommend this book to any serious, constitutionally-based student of politics.


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