Alexis de Tocqueville wrote, “America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great” On Democracy in America
In 2016, a friend and former student asked what these “so called” historical values were that were held by Americans. I responded as follows. Tell me if you agree. The original response setting forth 25 basic American values is duplicated below
In response to a question from a beloved friend and former student, I am going to answer the question, “What historical values does Donald Trump appeal to in his push to make America Great again?”
Before fully enumerating them, let me make a disclaimer. My response will not appeal to authorities or sources, so do not look for them nor expect an answer to be a basis for them. They reside in my mind and heart from watching and listening over the decades – period. I am not, therefore speaking as an authority or expert. I am just a guy answering a question from a guy asking one.
So, what are the values that many think we have lost and would like to recover?
One more disclaimer. In listing these, I am in no way discounting that there have been and will continue to be pockets and strains of people and locations in this nation that have not reflected these and that sadly, many people have suffered because of the lack of living them consistently and thoroughly. Anyone can and will find exceptions to the values, but this does not negate the claim that they have been held by a majority of people in the nation. I iterate these 25 things:
- Human beings are incredibly special and precious. People are not just things to be used and manipulated. They are eternal souls with valuable internal thoughts, feelings, and experiences. They also have fallen natures.
- Human beings are not accidents of nature and do not exist by chance – they exist by divine design and act. They have purpose and meaning. They fit within a larger plan and purpose that goes beyond not only humanity and the natural world, but to a spiritual dimension. This plan and purpose is can be discovered in the Old and New Testaments.
- Because of #1 and #2, humans being deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Strangers and foreigners are included in this.
- Faith and the freedom to exercise it is highly esteemed, not to be marginalized or minimized as to its tremendous value to the society. Faith is a necessary and expected thread in the fabric of all aspects of society. Truths expressed in Judeo-Christian traditions are expected to be grasped by this faith.
- Humans are free to think and believe as they choose. How they act, however, since it impacts society, may be regulated if the behavior is deemed contrary to the moral fabric or safety of the society – which is to be expected amongst fallen people.
- The constitution is the political basis and foundation for the nation. Although it is self-enabled to be updated through amendments, it is otherwise unchallengeable and unchanged. All government operations should completely conform to its edicts.
- The constitution, although it grants certain rights of operations and duties to the three branches of government, the states, and the people, it is not the sole nor primary source of human rights. These come from the divine creator and government’s first priority is to protect these divinely-sourced rights. If the government does not protect these rights, the citizens retain the right to overthrow that government. The three branches exist because of a belief in the fallen nature of humans and the need to be kept in check.
- Because intimacy and coitus produce new human beings, they should not be treated lightly and existing solely for personal pleasure. The sex act, no matter safely engaged in, was designed to make new humans (that are eternal souls with valuable internal thoughts, feelings, and experiences) and thus should be engaged in responsibly and thoughtfully, and with another human that, should a new human be created, the other partner is someone with which they know well enough and are convinced would make for a good parent of the new human being.
- New human beings are the most precious entities on the planet and the family is the structure within which these new humans are best protected, provided for, and nurtured. Therefore, the family is the most important form of human structure – it should then be valued, protected, and nurtured. Although various other humans can come in and take the role of protector, provider, and nurturer, the parents who gave life to that new human are the first and best choice for that role. That biological parental role should be highly esteemed and protected by the society.
- Families are most healthy when they practice and teach self-sacrifice for the good of those we love and value. Self-sacrifice and coming to aid of the less fortunate and oppressed should begin with the individuals, then families.
- Families are best served by the society when they can provide for themselves and should only occasionally and rarely be provided for by others. When it is done by others, the strong preference is by extended family, friends, and others who personally interact with and care for that family. Children should be raised to be responsible to provide for themselves when they leave to leave their families of origin, and if they form new families, they should be responsible to those new families.
- Families are best served by the society when they are not overburdened by government, whether it be taxes or regulations.
- Local government is the best government. People of high character are the best people for governance. All those who serve in the government should be held closely accountable for all their public actions and decisions. When government and government officials are operating legally and morally, they should be treated with respect.
- Strong Morals are the basis for a well-functioning society. The more common the morals, the better the functioning. Morals which are rooted in religious beliefs are to be accepted and seen as strong options for governing morals. Morals that coincide with those taught in the Judeo-Christian tradition are highly esteemed.
- The corporate value system of the people of the nation, when built on, maintained, and is promoting noble character and valuable contribution of individuals makes the country a laudable nation. A nation of people of good character is a nation worth promoting, protecting, defending, and dying for.
- It is the common laudable values and good character of a people that makes a nation great. When others come join the nation, they are expected to join in the goals, values, and other cultural signs that have been historically tied to that pursuit to what has made the nation great.
- If there exists public education, this education should above all things, exist to teach and promote the good morals, and sounds value of the nation, its people, culture, and history. It should be locally controlled by and reflect the morals and values of the local communities.
- As long as individuals operate within the moral framework of the society, they should be free to self-direct their lives. Individuals should be free to aspire to any occupation, passion, level of education, and income level they choose. Humans who make little money are just as valuable as those who make much. Individuals should be as reasonably free as possible to use their individual efforts, ingenuity, and skill to produce as much wealth as they desire without interference from the government.
- The best human character comes from self-reliance, hard work, and careful planning. Society demeans individuals when they provide sustenance without also requiring commensurate work of value and a plan for the soon termination of that sustenance and support.
- Individuals should be able to lay claim to and own land, and live free and peaceably on that land when in submission to the laws of the land.
- Individuals should be able to protect their land, homes, and families by all reasonable means.
- The land we live on provides for us and therefore should be respected and protected. It is not, however, more important that human lives and human livelihood.
- The nation should be able to protect itself from foreign threats. The military must be populated by people of good character who are committed to maintain national sovereignty. The military should not be used to expand territory nor conquer other peoples.
- Freedom does not mean license to practice illegal or immoral activity. It primarily means the absence of undue government (foreign or domestic) intrusion and direction (foreign or domestic) allowing people to live out moral and productive lives.
- Freedom is not a gift, but a result of commitment, effort, diligence, and often death. The cost however great, is worth the price.
It is because our nation has stood for these values, and the people within hold and protect these values that our country is great, is worthy of respect and honor. Citizens are fighting to preserve the values, the people, and the nation who holds them, and these people are passionate to hold on to a once great America.
They acknowledge the mistakes and weaknesses of the past generations. They do not need to apologize nor pay for them. They wish it had not been so. They acknowledge that problems still exist and need to be addressed, but the solutions must not include abandoning these values. Abandoning these values is abandoning a once great America.
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For His glory,