The need to restore lost spiritual values
The need to restore family education
The need to restore male valor
The need to protect our "exceptionalism"
The need to recruit top leadership
The need to strenthen carefully and utilize wisely America's power base
The need to live with – not against – the world
Ultimately – the need to make our national motto "In God We Trust" a truly operative dictum
The Boomer/Utopianist fantasy world
America needs to take a long hard look at itself – undertake a "reality check" of sorts. The huge cultural shift that the country took in the 1960s needs to come under intense re-examination. We need to be publicly vocal about the matter. We need to engage the nation in a deep soul-searching.
In our effort to fight a cultural Cold War with Soviet Communism in the 1950s we instituted some cultural strategies in raising America's post-War Boomer generation – strategies that had clearly begun to demonstrate a very dark side by the late 1960s (although those still caught up in these cultural strategies consider those days to be our "finest hour").
The worst of all of those strategies was to identify the wonderful concept of "freedom" with personal individual autonomy – not as a complement to collective social virtue but in opposition to it. We recast patriotism as a sin. We portrayed corporate America as the embodiment of evil. We made the American family a sad joke and turned it into an expendable arrangement. We re-imaged the Christianity of our ancestors as a religious tyranny which profoundly threatened our intellectual freedoms. And we did this all within one generation.
We unleashed a cultural morality and ethic which haunts us today. We lost sight of why America exists, and focused instead only on why we personally and individually exist – losing sight of the fact that personal identities are intimately tied up with where a person fits functionally into larger social groups or communities: as carpenter, wife, son, sister, deacon, supervisor, student. These are personal identities founded on how we relate to the larger social world around us. But instead of identifying ourselves socially, we began to suppose that our identities were to be found "out there" apart from everyone else, in a very competitive world in which we reigned victorious in gaining more material rewards and personal honors than others. As for larger society, we figured that it would just take care of itself – while we busied ourselves in building personal monuments to our own selves, to our own personal existences.
We recast male virtue as a source of of ugly and dangerous sexual tyranny directed against women's well-being – rather than in complement to it. We undercut the traditional male ideal at every turn in order to "free" women. Male virtue became oppressive "chauvinism." And yet we encouraged women to take up the same values that we accused men of possessing. We shut down male social groups and institutions – or we forced them open to women so that there was no longer a male world available for male development. We made men a joke (have you ever noticed how TV commercials depict men in relation to women?) And we have succeeded in diminishing the American male – as witnessed in the amazing turn-around of the male-female attendance rate at America's colleges and universities: an indicator of where we are headed a quarter of a century from now. And strangely few people see a problem with the statistics – or dare to raise the question of where this will put America amidst a future world of Islam, China and India.
We have bent over backwards to apologize to the "Native Americans" for the existence of the descendants of European immigrants on this continent – as if descendants (or partial descendants, those even only 15% tribally blooded) of the tribes are the only ones who are truly "native" to this land. The rest of us, by this "sensitive" logic, are mere illegal squatters. We are supposed to be ashamed of how our ancestors secured this land (by force). And we seem uncertain as to whether (by force) we should continue to protect our land rights – or, lacking a moral right to the land, give it over to others. We have come to feel that we have no right to insist that our cultural placement here be affirmed or protected. This is folly – but folly typical of Boomer social analysis.
We have attacked the Christianity of virtually every American generation before us as if it were some kind of grand mental and emotional tyranny. We have made our traditional religion out to be an illegitimate moral interloper in the shaping of the cultural values of up-coming American generations. With the help of the Federal courts we have banished our Christian legacy from the public training and education of our youth – reserving that cultural privilege to an atheism that poses itself as "science" and thus supposedly free of all religious value. We have recast the word "Puritan" from its original sense of being a high ethical and spiritual standard into a dark, oppressing, superstition that menaces the higher virtue of being free to pursue what "self" determines to be in its best interest.
This is in keeping with the Boomer's reaction to all notions of there being a standard higher than our instinctive sense of a personal usefulness of things and people (a hedonistic version of utilitarianism). To posit the existence of God is to place us under a judgment higher than our own – something Boomers were taught to resist at all costs. So the concept of God itself is an inadmissible idea in the Boomer world. No more acceptable is the notion of an "Intelligent Design" to our world, a notion that our forefathers praised as the undergirding of America's greatness. To the Boomer this is still "God," merely dressed up in different wording. To the Boomer, the only acceptable god is himself/herself.
True, there is a Boomer spirituality – but one which fits more this notion of "the god within." This god can be anything the Boomer conceives it to be and drawn from whatever inspiration the Boomer chooses. In no way does this spirituality affiliate the Boomer with anyone else's spirituality. It's all a matter of private spiritual entrepreneurship. It contributes nothing religiously or spiritually to the idea of community, to the idea of the nation, to the very idea of America itself.
So, all in all, the Boomer has banished from our culture the type of ideas that are foundational to every society, that are fundamental to the good health of every nation, that historically provide a people with the strength to exist and flourish in a very competitive environment. Somehow the Boomer believes that in abandoning these virtues we have brought greater freedom to ourselves and to the world. It is quite certain that in the long run it will prove to have done quite the opposite: in abandoning these virtures we will have brought upon ourselves weakness, decline, failure, and annihilation as a people.
Recover the lost spiritual values that brought this country to greatness
Spiritual Revival. America has faced situations similar to this before where the country has lost its considerable spiritual energy – only to suddenly be brought back to a renewed spiritual strength. The "Great Awakening" occurred in the 1730s/1740s to restore America from the effects of the gradual loss of its original Puritan values. The Second Great Awakening occurred at the beginning of the early 1800s to help head off a growing Unitarianist mindset that was beginning to make man the object of worship. In fact waves of revival continued right up to an through the American Civil War (1861-1865). The Pentecostalist revival occurred at the beginning of the 20th centuryright alongside a Christian-inspired Progressivist movement – to restore the nation's original democratic mindset which was being lost at the end of the previous century with the rise in wealth and influence of the industrial barons whose power was built on financial monopoly and tight control of the labor market. Spiritual revival occurred in the 1930s with the Great Depression – which brought an abrupt halt to the cultural drift of the 1920s and the moral and spiritual cynicism unleashed in America by World War One. We experienced a smaller revival in the 1970s/1980s with the rise of the charismatic movement and Christian evangelicalism – though it did not offset the loss of membership in the older mainline Christian denominations. Today, at the beginning of the 21st century, we need something of a more substantial spiritual revival to pull us back from the course of spiritual folly that we have put ourselves on since the 1960s.
The Mysterious Source of Spiritual Revival. None of these revivals were planned – though certainly they had their spokesmen and leading figures. The revivals seemed to have been "sent" by the hand of God rather than contrived as a religious program of man. Certainly after they were sent they were increasingly "programmed" by religious figures into a new religious liturgy of one sort or another. But in the heat of their first days, as revival broke out upon the American scene, they clearly were not the design of any particular individual.
Spiritual revivals never seem to happen exactly the same way twice. They certainly always happen outside of any particular religious context (a context frequently built up around the character or style of the previous revival!). This makes revival problematic in the sense that it is nothing that human hands or minds can contrive. It has to be granted the nation by God himself.
The Incredible Timing of Spiritual Revival. It is important to take note of the timing of these revivals. All of them occurred just before a great national test that the country was put through – some kind of war or intense challenge to our existence as a people, as a distinct national culture. The Great Awakening of Edwards, Whitfield and the Wesley brothers girded up the English colonies spiritually for the intense struggle for our independence here in America, a move to keep us free from the domineering hands of European royalty and a dying cultural Old Order in Europe. The Second Great Awakening stirred the nation to strength in the face of a test of the Napoleonic Wars in Europe and England's temptation to try again to recover America as lost colonies (the "War of 1812," as we call it.). Continuing waves of revival (especially the Finney revivals) stirred the abolitionists' Christian conscience to take a stand against the national shame of American slavery – and to see the cause through the horrible days of the Civil War (note the Battle Hymn of the Republic which was the war song of the North: "Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord ..."). The Penteostal and Progressivist movements restored America's vision of democracy in time for our entry into World War One. And the simple old fashioned renewal of America's Christian values during the Depression braced us for a horrible two-font war against the German and Japanese Empires in World War Two. It's as if a covenant our forefathers cut with God four centuries ago has been incredibly faithfully respected by God – who has moved on us time and time again to rebuild us as a people, as a nation.
But things have been rather flat since the 1960s. We got ourselves involved in Vietnam – at a time in which the spiritual mood of America was once again on the wane. A bit of a revival carried us into the Regan days of the 1980s in time to see the Soviet Empire dissolve. But in general we have gone now for two generations with only a rather scattered sense of the Christian spirituality to carry us as challenges build up in Asia.
Will God come through again for us? Is there anything we can do in the meantime?
Recover the family's right to set the moral foundations
of America's children and youth
The Secularists' Hold over the Moral Instruction of America's Youth. One thing that would certainly help would be the wresting away from the moral secularists the privilege – and responsibility – of determining the moral character of our nation's children. What has happened through a process of gradual advances has been the loss of that traditional right and responsibility of the American family. Part of it is due to the corruption of the family culture in America itself. Part of it is also due to the mission-mindedness of American secularists who have seen the public schools as the training ground for their moral ideas. They have succeed in taking oversight of American public education away from the parents (and the old local PTOs) and placing it in the hands national education bureaucracy, backed up by a powerful teachers' union, the NEA. This union not only is one of the major pillars of the Democratic Party – but through the politics of the party has (up until recently) been able to secure the judicial branch of the federal government as an ally in its educational mission, imposing by court decrees a monopoly of its educational vision in our nation's schools.
A National System of Educational Vouchers. A solution frequently proposed by those who are alarmed at this very situation has been the idea of educational vouchers put in the hands of parents that would let families choose the kind of schooling they would like to see their children have. This idea is fought bitterly by both the national education bureaucracy and the NEA – for clearly if the parents had a choice it would end the secularists monopoly in education of America's youth, moral and otherwise. For a party claiming to represent the little people, the Democratic Party's stand alongside this educational monopoly has no good excuse. In fact it reveals a tendency within the party to distrust the decisions of the little people, preferring to offer instead the direction and control of government professionals over the educational life of the nation. Therefore it is to the Republican Party that those who are interested in seeing reform of this educational monopoly will have to look for help.
The Complexities and Difficulties of Instituting a Voucher System. There is a bit of chicken and egg dilemma here. Part of this problem arose in our country because families were not doing their jobs and were glad to give over to public authorities these responsibilites that traditionally belonged to the family. They were/are so busy pursuing personal careers that they had (both women now as well as men) no time to oversee their children's education. And as educational powers transferred themselves to higher and higher public authorities they became even freer from such responsibility. Thus to move to a system of vouchers would put the responsibility back into the hands of the parents. And yet it seems that a growing number of parents want that responsibility back. Indeed, passing that responsibility back might be the very thing the nation needs to help families get serious again about their responsibilities.
Unfortunately today parents who feel this way have few options. They can take their chilren out of public schools where there are many attractive (and expensive) rewards forthcoming to those who stay with the system – and place their children in private Christian schools where such programs are lacking because the schools have to run financially on the basis of monies paid out by parents who at the same time are also paying for public schooling through rather heavy taxes. Money is a serious problem. But parents in an increasing number are willing to make the sacrifice because they feel that their children, despite all the enticing programs offered by public schools, will get the kind of education in private Christian schools that they want for their children.
Homeschooling is another growing option. For those not able to afford a private Christian school (which even then runs at about a third to a half of the cost that taxpayers put out to educate a student in the public system) homeschooling is an option. But few parents are truly able to undertake such a program – given the complexity of today's modern educational subjects.
Of course vouchers would solve all these financial issues. But they would raise other ones. Private schools would not be ready immediately to take on the shift in students and teaching personnel accompanying the freeing up of America's educational program simply because it would take years for the market forces set loose by eager parents with vouchers to be able to produce the financing necessary for the development of the physical facilities that would be required. And a shift would leave very expensive public facilities standing idle – unless the district school boards could work out a basis for leasing space to private (at this point they wouldn't truly be private, they would just be a more varied version of "public") programs.
Can America do this? Of course. It would take some leadership to help communities think this through. But that's exactly what leadership is for.
The Rewards of Instituting an Educational Voucher System. The rewards for this shift in educational programming would be truly a freer educational program, one more parent-driven (as education in America ought to be). This would also achieve a big step in the direction of the separation of church and state – in that public authorities would no longer dictate programming (which is always going to involve somebody's ideological-spiritual views or "religion"). Thus community educational authority would in fact finally be truly neutral in the matter of American education. Moral and spiritual values would be put back where they belong: out of the hands of public authorities and into the hands of families.
Restore male valor to its traditional place of honor
It is time to end the program of crippling male power in order to advance female power.
Great leaders – Are they born or made?
A moral guide to leadership
Understand that your life is not your own but belongs to others – and, most importantly, to God
You serve their interests before your own
Develop an honest love for those over whom you serve as leader
Defend and cultivate your sense of call, your sense of destiny
A devotional life is a necessary part of the discipline of leadership
Do not be discouraged by defeat – for this may be a vital part of your development as an outstanding leader
Do not be wooed by “history”: remember that history will offer a constantly changing verdict on you
Hold to the Truth as you honestly know it to be
Do not start using “Truth” as a political expedient – for public life will not long support a lie
Though a sensitivity to the opinion of others is good, do not be swept up by a spirit of populism
Remain highly self-aware of the moral/spiritual example you set
Discipline your own moral habits and even moral thoughts
You are a visible person – What you
do is as important as what you say
Select advisors on the basis of proven talent – and proven loyalty to the institutions and values you serve
Above all: Avoid the pitfalls
Hubris is the stuff of horrible Greek tragedy
Be ready to bow out and pass leadership
on to others
Select and prioritize your challenges – internationally and domestically
You can't do everything that needs to be done
Never lose sight of the actual size of your power base (do not over-extend)
Always keep a clear assessment of the material resources you have at hand
Always know how far and how long public morale will carry an action
Hold to firm (but not rigid) priorities in developing your material power base
Cultivate public morale – while avoiding populist crusading
This is not a pacifist vision – but instead a realists’ recognition that the problems that face America are also problems that face our very interdependent world
Be very clear in our self-understanding as to what we bring to the world
Be clear about what we mean by "Democracy"
Democracy does not exist in any meaningful way in any country in the world – yet all sorts of political systems use the term, quite in opposition to each other. Quite truly it means a government in which the people make all the decisions for the community. This is of course quite impossible in a large society. And it is totally impossible in our very busy world. Thus we have officials who exercise oversight over the government in the name of the people. How that actually works however varies widely from society to society.
In America and the West "democracy" refers to a political system which elects a number of its most important public officials – who in turn are accountable to the people in future elections for the conduct of the full government on their "watch." They thus may be replaced in a future election if the public esteems them to have failed in this public trust. This system works well when there is a wide consenus among the people as to what the general expectations of government are.
But such democracy is one of the worst systems of government when deep splits occur within the culture – as often happens to societies (note America during the mid 1800s when a civil war erupted between the North and the South). A democracy of public elections will only deepen the schism at such times – usually bringing in increasingly radical voices feeding off growing public anger – at a time when the society needs a leader who is able to stand above those passions.
It is also one of the weakest forms of government during a national crisis brought on by the looming threat of some foreign adversary or conqueror.
In fact we usually mean "personal freedom" when we say "democracy"
Tackle problems confronting the well-being of the entire human race
Population growth and land hunger
Manufacture, trade and financial issues
Play the diplomatic game cautiously but confidently (walk softly but carry a big stick)
Making and unmaking other players at the table is probably not a good ideaAvoid the expenses and unreliable results of nation-building
Work with allies and avoid “going it alone”
Deal with adversaries firmly – but with an understanding that one day they may be valuable allies
It is time to recognize that "Christian Civilization" (as Winston Churchill would have put it) is in a state of war with Jihadist Islam ... as well as Western Secularism
When Jihadists chant “Death to America” they mean just that
The destruction of the twin towers in 2001 should have been understood the same way we understood Pearl Harbor in 1941
Just because the enemy does not wear the uniform of some particular nation-state does not mean that a dangerous state of war does not exist
But as jihadism is more a mood pervasive in the entire Middle East than an organized reality (with some exceptions) we need to pick and choose carefully the points at which we take our stand
"In God We Trust" is not a religious issue – but an operational issue
Always remember that Divine Soul presides over all human soul and its doings
National prayer, worship and fasting must be an integral part of all strategy
Ultimately final judgment belongs to God alone