Saying Goodbye to America

 

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same. -- Ronald Reagan

After generations of enjoying liberty and prosperity in a great nation, many Americans take these blessings for granted. Because they don't know how hard these things were to win, nor how rare a situation this is in human history, it is assumed that they must be easy to achieve and simple to maintain. But their complacency is a dangerous thing.

We sense that our times are different, but when pressed, may lack a comprehensive argument for why our nation is in danger. It is not trivial to explain that the good things about America are not ordinary in human history, nor that they can be forsaken. After examining over 20 major (and now collapsed) civilizations, the historian Arnold Toynbee concluded, "Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder." This outline is my attempt to summarize our precarious situation, and briefly propose what we must do if we are to extricate ourselves.

Of course, it will be argued that older folks have always thought that younger generations were no good. There have (we are told) always been people saying the country was going to hell. While there is always a need to have flaws pointed out, one thing differentiates pre-1960 pessimism from today's: The complaints of the past were made against a backdrop of optimism which is absolutely missing today.

Much of what I am going to describe is in the form of directions in which we are moving as a nation. For some of these trends, there is a tipping point. For others, there is a brick wall—a point past which we cannot continue to slip. For instance, we live with a certain level of crime at all times, but there is a point beyond which authorities are unable to cope. (Recall the riots in London in the summer of 2011.) Or consider ever-increasing taxation to fund welfare: there is a point at which raising taxes on a shrinking working class to feed a growing non-working class becomes untenable. (See Europe today.) It does not matter exactly where we are on a particular continuum, but if we are moving steadily toward an unworkable end, there is valid cause for concern.

{{{ Anyone writing as I am will immediately be labeled a reactionary or worse. But I am not these things: I accept that our cultural clock cannot be turned back. I don't have any illusions that life was better in some vague way a hundred years ago. People died younger and suffered more. My point here is that it is equally foolish to think that everything was worse, and blindly reject all aspects of past American life. There are some characteristics of our past that are demonstrably, qualitatively superior to today. }}}

For brevity, my arguments are in outline form. First I present the good qualities we would surely like to preserve in our United States, plus the things on which these qualities depend. Then I present evidence that the whole system is in decline. I close with what we must do to remedy the situation.

I. The Good in America

Liberty

· Although the concept of liberty is now conflated with raw freedom, it is actually freedom coupled with self-imposed restraint out of respect for others. It cannot be mere selfish indulgence.
· Because there will always be external threats to liberty, it depends on prosperity and military strength. Today, liberty is also threatened from within.
· Liberty depends on our moral and political unity.
· If we want liberty or any good quality to remain, we must value cultural continuity.

Prosperity

· Prosperity requires that most people have a good work ethic, and that government remain small relative to GDP. (Government does not efficiently produce anything.)
· There are needs for wealth beyond mere self-gratification. Wealth educates our young, and sustains institutions that contribute to cultural continuity.
· There will never be prosperity for all, as people are not equally talented nor equally willing to work.
· Poverty means that people cannot move about to escape bad conditions; hence decreasing prosperity implies decreasing liberty.

II. What these qualities depend upon

Strength

· Military strength (to resist outside threats) requires prosperity and political unity.
· Internal strength requires wisdom to maintain cultural continuity, so that workable solutions remain in place, rather than being torn down at a whim. It requires leaders with vision and good principles.

Moral unity

· Moral unity is agreement on right and wrong, which means less effort is required to deal with challenges (civil, criminal, political, relational, etc.) Even when there is no open strife, we withhold support from those with whom we have deep disagreements.

Political unity

· Political unity means that in a time of crisis, people will pull together behind a solution, rather than fighting each other. Unsolved problems weaken a nation.

Vision

· A nation's collective dreams and goals are what propel them forward. They draw people to see beyond themselves, to invest in others and the future. A people's vision must consist of things higher than selfish gain and immediate gratification.
· Vision does not arise from the grass roots, but must come from a nation's intellectual, religious and political leaders.

Cultural continuity

· Without families, institutions and practices to pass vision, wisdom and workable ways of life from one generation to the next, any good aspect can vanish in a single generation.

III. Moral unity in decline

We are too geographically integrated to have another Civil War. But disagreements over issues such as abortion, crime, welfare, and terrorism divide us deeply, and they are more serious than those that propelled us into the American Revolution. We correctly sense that the moral environment of our nation can change rapidly, from one generation to the next, and even with each passing national election. As cultural change accelerates, divisions between generations over current issues become more pronounced.

IV. Political unity in decline

Again and again after freedom has brought opportunity and some degree of plenty, the competent become selfish, luxury-loving and complacent, the incompetent and the unfortunate grow envious and covetous, and all three groups turn aside from the hard road of freedom to worship the Golden Calf of economic security. The historical cycle seems to be: From bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to apathy; from apathy to dependency; and from dependency back to bondage once more. -- Henning Webb Prentis, Jr.

Self-reinforcing trends

The intersection of human nature and politics produces a collection of pathologies which have plagued us as long as there have been politicians. Many have limits on their extent.

· Vote buying via government departments, the welfare state, Social Security and private-sector firms working for the government is growing.

More Americans than ever are beholden to political parties for their jobs or their welfare checks. This makes solving problems more difficult, particularly when the size of government is one of the problems. "A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy." (Attributed variously to Benjamin Franklin or Alexander Tytler.) The more people find themselves in these positions, the harder it is to reverse the growth of government.
· Politicians funnel money to their districts to fund make-work projects that produce little of value, but which transfer money to union workers, who return the favor on election day.
· Flowing money is always a magnet to those of low character or a lust for power, who tend to direct increasing amounts through their own hands.
· The rougher politics becomes in terms of how much one can personally suffer for running and/or serving, the less likely it is that good people will run for office. They know that they and their families will be targeted by the media and their opponents. Only those able to endure such an ordeal will run, and they will make the environment even nastier for the next generation.
· Today's problems are too tough for politicians to solve while at the same time holding their power. Real solutions would alienate (or enrage) a significant portion of any politician's voter base. Therefore problems beyond a certain difficulty will not be solved.

Human psychology

· Illusory superiority, or the "above average effect". In politics, this says that people of below average intelligence always overrate their understanding of issues, and thus they have a disproportionate amount of bad influence.
· Demagoguery is easy, and proven effective at manipulating people. As marketers find better and more subtle ways to influence people, politicians pick up on the technology and use it to their advantage. The media willingly takes part. Those of average and below-average intelligence are not capable of recognizing and resisting such influence.
· Those drawn to politics have egos larger than most, and many are narcissistic. The political class is therefore disproportionately filled with people who have the potential to be tyrannical.
· It is easier to corrupt someone with money/power than with almost anything else. Yet these are what politics deals in.
· It is always easier to incorporate new information when it agrees with what we already believe. This is "confirmation bias", which effectively filters out discordant information. This makes it nearly impossible to correct misinformation in people's minds.

National self-loathing

· After the anger subsided over the 9/11 attacks, our nation was divided as to whether a military response was warranted. Half said no response was needed. (This is the "blame America first" crowd spoken of by conservative talk show hosts.) If the fraction who won't respond when attacked continues to grow, there will be a point at which we will not defend ourselves. Toynbee noted that self-loathing was a stage in a culture's decline.

Point of no return

· Dictatorships are very hard to escape. It helps if there is a stronger nation nearby to rescue you. Think of our liberation of Europe in WWII, or Kuwait in the first Gulf War. But this time it is us, and there will be no rescuer.
· Dictators must be dislodged by old age, capture or death. Their replacements are rarely better.
· Most revolutions are bloody, and do not result in a quick return to democracy-if to democracy at all. The American Revolution was an extremely rare exception, and its circumstances cannot repeat.
· Immigrants bring in the politics of their country of origin. Once enough gain the right to vote, they will elect representatives like themselves. Unfortunately, the bulk of our current immigrant population is not familiar with liberty, the rule of law, etc. (And they are certainly not being taught that in our inner city schools.)

V. Vision in decline

Some of the visions that have energized Americans:

· Finding religious and political freedom
· Taming the North American wilderness for human settlement
· Our "manifest destiny" to span the continent as one nation
· Ending slavery and maintaining the Union
· Defeating Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan
· Defeating Communism
· Landing a man on the moon

Since the missions to the moon and the defeat of the Soviet Union, our nation has suffered a glaring lack of vision

The only thing even remotely approaching a vision is "achieving social justice", which works out to little more than wealth transfer ("income redistribution"). This is not a goal that will pull people together, but rather one that pits us against each other for mere monetary gain.

Vision used to come from family, school teachers, preachers, journalists. Everyone got a steady dose of consistent vision. Today, we have no collective goals.

Evidence of lack of vision

A society's vision will show up through a number of means by which it expresses its ideals to itself and to the rest of the world.

· Heroes

A nation that is vibrant has heroes, whether they be military, intellectual, or creative. My own ancestors were taught about great American statesmen and inventors, writers and explorers. Their blemishes were not emphasized. Since the 1960's, those in academia have made a sport of tarnishing the reputation of any potential hero. We are allowed none today.

· Officiality

While our currency still bears the likenesses of our founders and sustainers, our nation's postage stamps now display a banality never before seen. Rather than celebrating the achievements, founders and institutions that made us great, a large percentage of today's postage now depicts our entertainment: cartoon characters, sports figures, actors and singers. It should not amaze us that the rest of the world sees nothing of substance in us.

· Music

Music can become popular just because of the melody. However, it will not become popular if no one can relate to what the lyrics are saying, nor if they offend the sensibilities. Music used to teach and uplift by pointing to the ideals we held, and to the transcendent (e.g., God). Songs such as "The Fatal Wedding" (Gussie L. Davis, William H. Windom) and "Then You Wink the Other Eye" (W.T. Lytton) taught lessons about life. Religious and patriotic music inspired us. Even death was treated with tenderness ("Danny Boy", Frederick Weatherly; "In the Gloaming", Annie Fortescue Harrison, Meta Orred), because its separation was only temporary.
Today, the range of topics covered by music has expanded to include violence, rape, torture, and welcome death, virtually all from a hopeless perspective. I am not saying that you can't find sentimental songs today, but that songs of today's negativity are not to be found among the songs of a hundred years ago.
Defenders of contemporary music will argue that dark themes merely bring attention to bad circumstances, or allow people to vent their negative feelings. But you don't solve the problem of filth by wallowing in mud; you advocate cleanliness! Postmodern music has it backwards.
The following are just a sample of lyrics from popular postmodern songs:

"This is the life of illusion, Wrapped up in trouble, laced with confusion…" ("Grease", Barry Gibb)

"I know it sounds absurd, But please tell me who I am…" ("The Logical Song", Supertramp)

"I built you this narcotic shell, I crucified you in your hell. Your life is not yours, you're just my slave; I am your messiah of pain." ("I'm Your God Now", Machine Head)

"I have stood here before inside the pouring rain, With the world turning circles running 'round my brain. I guess I'm always hoping that you'll end this reign, But it's my destiny to be the king of pain." ("King of Pain", The Police)

"They only hit until you cry, And after that you don't ask why. You just don't argue anymore." ("My name is Luka", Suzanne Vega)

"I have lost the will to live, Simply nothing more to give. There is nothing more for me, Need the end to set me free." ("Fade to Black", Metallica)

"But tied to that chair you won't go anywhere, There's a lot I can do to a freak. Maybe a cigarette burn on your arm Would change your expression to one of alarm." ("Cousin Kevin", The Who)

"All I want to do is have a little fun before I die." ("All I Wanna Do", Sheryl Crow)

· Literature for youth

A hundred years ago, the formulaic works of Horatio Alger were popular; today they are mocked. Yet works such as Alger's provided positive vision for the future, and praised a solid work ethic.
In contrast, youth literature of the last few generations has undergone radical change in terms of the topics covered. Works today include such subjects as self-mutilation (also called self-injury or just "cutting"), homosexuality, drug abuse, and mental illness. Such books were not available a mere 40 years ago.
Granted, there were books in years past that featured murder and other dark subjects. (See the works of Edgar Allan Poe, for instance.) The difference is that back then, such books were understood to be discussing the out-of-the-ordinary, and a steady diet of them was simply not possible.
Some will argue that today's youth literature addresses real and serious issues, and that by "dealing with them", they can help those similarly afflicted. But as with music, the books written today wallow in the problem, exploring it from every possible angle without promoting a solution. This is their failing. (Psychologists have evidence that behaviors such as suicide and self-mutilation, when discussed via the internet, have the ability to raise the chances of others engaging in the same behaviors. This is known as "contagion".)

· Art

In centuries prior to the 20th, art frequently depicted things higher than the mundane (religious themes, for instance), and almost always conveyed real meaning to the viewer. In the 19th century, the artist Edward Burne-Jones wrote, "I mean by a picture a beautiful romantic dream of something that never was, never will be-in a light better than any light that ever shone-in a land no one can define or remember, only desire."
Today, we are left with what may as well be an empty canvas, as our art no longer depicts the ideal, no longer points us to something higher than the mundane. This descent into nihilism has given us artists such as Pollack, Picasso, de Kooning and Rothko, whose information-starved canvases say only that the artist had nothing to say. (Contemporary artists such as Thomas Kinkade and Jon McNaughton are popular with some, but do not enjoy any standing with the intellectual elites who run our museums.)

VI. America is losing most forces of cultural continuity

Without families, institutions and practices to pass ideals, wisdom and workable ways of life from one generation to the next, any good thing learned can be forgotten in a single generation. Although rapid cultural change does not necessitate collapse, it does increase the risks to a society. And with the exception of a culture overrun in war, no time in human history has seen change as rapid as in our generation.

Formation of male/female relationships

In the last century, the process of forming male/female relationships has undergone dizzying change. Note particularly how it has accelerated in the last three decades:

· Early 1900's: Most practice some form of courtship with marriage as the goal; chastity before marriage and fidelity within marriage as the ideals. In rural areas, one is very likely to marry someone who lived close by.
· 1920's: As Hollywood's influence becomes pervasive, people are regularly presented with unattainable ideals of beauty, thus reducing satisfaction with those around them.
· 1930's: Dating common. Advice of previous generations regarding relationships still valued.
· 1940's: Families separated and scarred by WWII.
· 1950's: Men overseas during WWII are not expected to have remained chaste through that experience due to the trauma and long separation from home. To avoid hypocrisy upon their return, they relax standards for their children, giving rise to the ultra-rebellious generation of the 1960's. Practical means of birth control become widely available.
· 1960's: Free love. The idea of sex being enjoyed for its own sake becomes mainstream. Advice of preceding generations spurned as "old-fashioned".
· 1970's: No-fault divorce legalized. Divorce rates rise. Recreational dating. Traditional ideas about relationships are scorned and abandoned. Marriage is no longer viewed as the chief means of continuing one's culture, or civilization in general. Experimentation with "living together" begins on a large scale.
· 1980's: Youth entirely on their own to figure out male/female relationships, as their parents (from the 1960's) now have no solid advice to offer. Youth receive a melange of non-traditional ideas via TV/movies/peers. Awakening of homosexuality as an alternative. Living together before marriage acceptable for many.
· 1990's - present: Sex as mere recreation, marriage as a last resort. Female heartbreak and cynicism a part of life. Radical feminism completely mainstream. Absolute lack of conventions in forming relationships, leaving many out of the process entirely, and leaving many others clueless who would have benefited from some expectations. (Depending on the people involved, a first date might mean anything from just talking to engaging in intercourse.) Marriage for many is little more than extreme dating. Out-of-wedlock pregnancy and the acquisition of diseases are an ever-present risk. Homosexuality completely mainstream. World-Wide Web contains material describing, depicting and advocating pedophilia, beastiality, polygamy, multi-way marriages, prostitution, pederasty, transvestitism, transsexuality, open marriages, bisexuality, bondage, domination, sadism, masochism, etc.

The trend here is away from stability, toward radical selfishness and hedonism, with children having the most to lose. Today's youth are shown fewer examples of successful families, and are left to their instincts when making decisions involving relationships.

In past generations, such things as homosexuality and adultery received widespread scorn. Friends sympathetic to the transgressor were hard to come by. This tended to reduce the incidence of such choices. Today, we have passed a tipping point: Someone contemplating a non-traditional lifestyle can find new friends easily, and thus receive support for their decision. Nearly all scorn can be easily shut out.

(Yes, I know. This sounds as if I am suggesting a return to an environment of scorn, where adulteresses were forced to wear scarlet letters. I am not. I am only pointing out that societal conventions provide stability, something we now lack. In a time of rapid, uncontrolled cultural change, why would anyone assume that things will continue to become only more accepting and liberal? Why can't there be backlash at some point, ushering in something such as Islam, which allows for radically ostracizing the socially unconventional? Instability is its own risk.)

Decline of the Family/Marriage

The traditional family is the most effective means known for the transmission of culture. But as alternatives proliferate, fewer people are available for forming a traditional relationship, thus making culture-preserving ones even more rare. (Some will argue that the fellow next door who is into something non-traditional wouldn't have made a very good traditional mate anyhow. But this ignores the point that had the alternatives not been available, he might never have been drawn away.)

· Today, more men marry to have a reliable, safe source of sexual pleasure, and not to have a family.
· A person's career is more likely to take precedence over family.
· The divorce attorney racket. They make the most money when a marriage falls apart. Why would they be motivated to see marriages succeed?
· With fewer people than ever in satisfying marriages, more people are desperately looking for any type of love with anyone who can be tempted, including other married people. This is a growing destabilizing influence.
· "Kids are tough" is a rationalization to go ahead with a divorce.

Adults are tough; children are easily damaged and unable to correctly process major upheavals in their lives. Studies show that children of broken families have numerous problems in greater proportions: propensity to crime, mental and physical illness. They are far more likely themselves to experience divorce, as they lacked an example of stability in their parents.
· Fewer people are starting families when they are young. More men in particular are choosing to live with their parents longer, as marriage looks like a worse deal. (With divorce a greater risk than ever, why take the chance?)

Postmodern Feminism

Modern feminism obtained for women the right to vote, and made progress towards equal pay for equal work. Postmodern feminism is different altogether: Women are more easily hurt than men by promiscuity. Rather than addressing the root problem and finding emotional healing, postmodern feminism responds by supporting women as they steel themselves against further hurt by turning them against men entirely. Grudges are nursed, lesbianism is advocated as an alternative, and many women are thus denied the chance they deserve at a genuinely healthy relationship. As a direct consequence, civilization-propagating relationships are made even more rare.

Music

· Music was formerly a shared institution that promoted cultural continuity and social cohesion.
Many people could play an instrument, and did so for entertainment, socialization or celebration. In gatherings (church, social clubs, etc.) people knew a collection of songs that could be sung in unison. The popularity of many songs spanned all ages, allowing cross-generational participation. This sharing of beliefs and sentiments through song is no longer encountered by most people.
· The advent of inexpensive personal music players means that everyone can have their own favorites. Parents are unaware of what their children are listening to, and vice versa. Thus generation gaps are widened.

Growing Problems in Education

Each generation has to start anew with learning. Continuity is only achievable if the same things are reasonably consistently taught across generations.

· The inner city culture of "school ain't cool" is growing.
· We continue to funnel more money into schools, with the result being a less-educated people.
· We may have reached the point of diminishing returns in packing knowledge into people. The human brain is finite, and we should expect some practical upper limit for the average person.
· As we have attempted to measure progress (or the lack thereof) with testing, teachers have themselves begun cheating, by "correcting" students' answers. (Recall the Atlanta, GA school system scandal, 2011.)
· Rise of Islam in the U.S.; the more radical members don't believe in educating the female half of their population.
· Current average intelligences are insufficient to understand today's problems. This leads to politicians deceiving people, employing demagoguery, etc. Correct, wise solutions to problems cannot be explained to voters and implemented.

Shift to a more transient, recreation-filled, urban world

· In an agrarian society, chores occupied much of a child's time, and a significant amount of time was spent with one's family members. Today the largest influences in a child's life are things that originate outside the family: media, video games, peers, school. Naturally, this crowds out the influence of the parents, traditions, etc. This is the now pervasive "generation gap"-a term which did not come into use until the 1960's.
· Because of the great amount of leisure time we have available today, our children remain unacquainted with adult responsibilities until they are (in some cases) in their thirties. In former times, rural children became familiar with adult-strength responsibility in their early teens. This produced a better breed of adult.

Decline of Stable Belief Systems and Institutions

· The rise of Islam produces anything but stability in a culture. (Consider the nations where it dominates.)
· The rise of atheism. By definition, atheism denies any higher power than man. Therefore, any set of laws is just as valid as any other. The lack of a transcendent standard by which to judge them means that anything can become law. This is destabilizing.
· The trend toward breaking up institutions. Churches and other organizations built around shared beliefs have a right to remain insulated against ideas inimical to them. But increasing numbers of lawsuits force them to hire those who disagree with their fundamental tenets. This can only harm the cohesiveness of the organization. (No employee who hates what the organization stands for could be expected to do diligent work.)
· An increase in religious diversity increases the difficulty of finding a like-minded partner for marriage. Once married, it increases the likelihood that partners will find themselves at odds over fundamental beliefs. In this manner, religious diversity serves to weaken relationships.

Entertainment

· Our age is unique in human history in the amount of time we spend merely entertaining ourselves. Yet our entertainment, which comes from a philosophically homogeneous group (liberals in Hollywood), has the ability to influence culture very rapidly. (Yes, we are that easily programmed by what we watch. See Ben Shapiro's book "Primetime Propaganda.")

VII. The outcome if we do nothing

Our nation is large, and still has a significant population that holds high ideals. Our descent will be a slow one, marked by periods when it seems as though things are getting better. It may take another generation or even two, but I predict the following trends will continue:

· Demographically, we will continue to see an increase in the immigrant population. At the same time, with birth rates among native-born Americans falling, it is only a matter of time before our once distinctive American culture is diluted beyond recognition. This will include our devotion to liberty and other things uniquely ours. (Our ability to assimilate newcomers has diminished in recent decades.) This will be accompanied by a rise in poverty. Urban cores of large cities, starting with those in the Southwest, will grow to resemble Mexican shanty towns.
· The gap between the rich and the poor will continue to widen, and the majority of Americans will give up on the idea of their children having it better than they did. (Actually, they can do that right now.)
· U.S. government debt will continue to mushroom, resulting in one or more sovereign debt crises as nations in Europe suffered in the early 20th century and again in 2011. Those owning government debt (or those investing in those holding it) will suffer. If austerity measures are forced upon our government workers, expect riots such as those in Greece in 2011.
· Our government's size and scope will continue to grow, removing liberties steadily from the people. The removal of workers from the private sector will damage national productivity further.
· Rights such as speech, private property, and religion will continue to slowly erode from the top down.
· From the bottom up, religions with more machismo than Christianity has right now (such as Islam) will grow in popularity. This will further unravel what is left of Western civilization. (Note that Europe is already farther along this path, and shows no signs of slowing down.)

VIII. Turning the tide

Much could be written about how to fix our nation's problems; this is only the barest set of suggestions. You should note that it contains no proposals beginning with, "Pass a law that…" Decay begins with culture, and any reversal must also begin there.

· It is intellectually absurd to believe that an orderly universe can create itself. We must return to our religious roots (i.e., to God).
· We must realize that American culture and ideals are worth saving, because while they are not perfect, they are better than the alternatives. (Where else on earth would you gladly move?) There is no good reason why our children should inherit a worse world than ours.
· We must regain vision and purpose, as a nation and individually. We must live for things larger than ourselves and higher than the pursuit of pleasure. Nationally, may I suggest that we be about the business of spreading liberty beyond our shores, strongly encouraging and teaching the rest of the world about its blessings? As Abraham Lincoln said, "In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free-honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve." On a personal level, we should rediscover self-actualization, and abandon our silly devotion to seeking out more leisure.
· We must lose our postmodern illusions about human nature. Since the 1960's, we have been told by our intellectual leaders that welfare will fix poverty, that males and females are identical in every way, and that human beings are innately good. The overwhelming facts are that the only cure for poverty is liberty plus a strong work ethic, that men and women are vastly different, and that human beings are innately selfish. Our current extreme naivete on these and other issues can only lead to horribly wrong "solutions".
· We must return to praising and supporting the traditional family as the only vehicle for a sustainable society.

· We must rediscover the true meaning of liberty and its connection to personal responsibility.
· We must teach and expect good character of everyone, including the rich and poor, and minorities.
· We must turn off the television. We don't need the visionless teaching of Hollywood pumped into us. (Yes, we are what we put into our minds.)
· We must realize that there is virtue in self-sacrifice for the benefit of future generations. This means caring more about our children's education, aborting fewer babies, teaching underprivileged parents about basic parenting skills, preserving our marriages, and passing our wisdom to younger generations.
· We must reconsider the ideas of courtship, chastity, etc. (No, I'm not advocating anything so extreme as arranged marriages.) There must be greater involvement of older generations in relationship formation by the younger. No more of this "Let them find their own way!" Studies show that people are happier when they do relationships the traditional way anyhow.

If we cannot do these things, then we should begin our goodbye's. We will no longer be deserving of liberty or any other blessing.

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