The American Spirit __ Do We Still Have It?

Have you noticed, when talking to people on any issue at all, how difficult it is to get a definitive answer as to where they stand? That little word BUT keeps getting in the way. Brian Wilson, writing for LewRockwell.Com,  has some insights into what people really mean when they use that word, BUT.  It’s a very humorous article and it’s not very long. so skip on over and give it a quick read then come back and we’ll talk about a more serious aspect of this phenomena.

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Okay. Was it worth a few chuckles? I certainly enjoyed it. There is one sentence in Brian’s article that caught my eye and gave me pause to think. Let’s look at it together:

It’s amazing how scared people are of Freedom but quite comfy with soft tyranny and incremental socialism.

Now that is a pretty sad commentary, isn’t it? People are scared of freedom yet they are comfortable with a little tyranny mixed with socialism. Those words “soft tyranny and incremental socialism” have haunted me for several days now. They seem to explain so much about the character of the American people today. It is not the same character that was responsible for creating this great nation; not even close. What has happened to what we once proudly refered to as the American Spirit?

In an excellent article by John Carey of  the Sentry Journal blog, he asks the question: “Do we even know what liberty is anymore?” When I read those haunting words of Brian Wilson, I immediately thought about John’s article. This is an article well worth reading. Referring to the attitude of Americans today, I left a comment for John saying that if Americans in the time when the United States was all East of the Mississippi had the same attitude of Americans today,  the West would never have been developed.

Never has there been a time when people were more free than when the American West was developed.  Imagine that great expanse of unknown land where there was no city, state or, federal governments to tell people what they could or could not do. There was no social safety net. People were truly free to succeed or fail on their own merits. To me, these Americans personified what I refer to as the American Spirit.

Over time, of course, city, state and, federal governments came to the West.  And, with the governments came the ubiquitous restraints on individual freedoms. But the American spirit prevailed in spite of government’s interference.  In my opinion, this    ” can do” spirit of fierce independence continued to dominate the American character at least until the 70’s.

In the 70’s, the Great Society and War on Poverty programs began to take hold. This is when I believe things began to take a serious turn for the worse. Instead of taking responsibility for one’s own life, more and more people began to look to government to solve their problems. And how have these programs worked out? Do we have a bigger or lesser percentage of people earing their way and contributing taxes to support government? Do we have more or less people on welfare? Do we have more or less un-wed mothers?

For forty years now, this bureaucratic monster we call government has been growing faster and faster and demanding more and more to feed it. We are not producing enough to feed it. We have borrowed more and more to keep the monster satiated. We are facing the day of reckoning when we will not be able to find enough lenders to keep the monster fed. 

There is a terrible dark cloud hanging over America and I am wondering if there is sufficient  American Spirit left to meet the challenge that faces us. I believe that those that still have the  American Spirit burning in their souls are now a minority. So, my question to you, dear readers, is how do we rekindle this spirit in those that have lost or may never have had it? Without this spirit, America will no longer be America.

That’s what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?

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26 thoughts on “The American Spirit __ Do We Still Have It?

  1. We need to make sure strong leadership is elected Nov. 2012. As it stands now, Allen West is my choice. He is a True Patriot who takes crap from no one. I think we have a good crop to run the next administration. Some folks are starting to talk about Palin/West or Cain/West tickets. Cain/West would be a hoot – where would our ‘racism’ be then?

    It is my own opinion that, regardless of GOP/Tea Party ticket, John Bolton would make a helluva Secretary of State. Our best one in a long time. Michelle Bachmann and Paul Ryan fit in the next administration somewhere.

    Just a few thoughts.

  2. I think the American Spirit is lurking below the surface. When you see polls the lefties back the Dems, the righties back the Republicans, but more and more you see the big vast middle leaning to the right.

    People seem to be catching on that big government does not solve problems. Where government intervenes, even in a way one would consider at first glance to be positive, like welfare, or social security, government programs cause more problems than they solve.

    Government causes American dis-spirit. We are dis-spirited when we can’t start a business because of government imposed costs or difficulty in finding people to risk with us because of government rules. We are dis-spirited when we see government spending at such a rate that our babies are born with tens of thousands in debt, and even if we feel we’re benefiting in some way by that expenditure, we know we’re just outside the event horizon of the black hole.

    The great thing is, it doesn’t even take a majority of people with the American Spirit to get things moving forward. If unleashed, a small minority of people can be creative and enterprising and generate enough new wealth and capital formation that the majority will be swept forward with them because there will be more and better jobs, more demand, rising standards of living. That minority is out there. They’re waiting for an opening that can only be created when government is pulled back and the pall of uncertainty and the weight of dragging government along for every ride is lifted.

      1. Really? The polls I’ve seen are giving me hope.

        Could we please keep in mind that we are 17 months away from the election? The fact that people are already distracted by the horse race and less into the issues (I mean tv and radio pundits, not you, Jim) is very annoying. We have a LONG time to make our case. Did anyone read Ryan’s speech today? Good God! We WIN that argument every time because the other side is completely bankrupt of ideas and reason. People think Obama was strengthened by Bin Ladin being killed? That’s small potatoes next to the huge popularity of GHW Bush after the first Gulf War. His second term wasn’t exactly all it was cracked up to be.

        Obama makes mistake after mistake that hurts the poor and middle class. Anyone with half a brain knows that entitlements need to be reformed, and that it is only the gutless (read: Democrats) that refuse to do anything. Now, I’m not saying nobody will vote for gutlessness, but I firmly believe that under 50% will.

        Plus, the “blame Bush” clock is pretty much up. Try as he might, Barack O-blame-a can’t sound that tone much longer and have people believe him. This time, he’s got some explaining to do, and he’s VERY bad at that. Nebulous concepts like hope and change…. He’s a big winner. Why did his stimulus package cost us almost a trillion dollars and not produce sh_t? If his health care plan is so good, why is he giving exemptions to his cronies? If his foreign policy is so good, why have we made no progress with Iran or South Korea? How about this one I just read… If reaching out to our enemies works so well, why are the Germans reporting that Iran is building missile bases in Venezuela? This guy can not answer a single one of those questions. Why did he send a budget to Capitol Hill that was dead on arrival? Why did he not follow the suggestions of his own deficit commission? Why has he never hammered the the Senate for not passing a budget in two years, or hammer the Pelosi House for not passing a budget last year? Where is his leadership?

        We have time. We can educate. We have people like Paul Ryan. Have you noticed the guy actually hits back? How cool is that?

      2. I must say, John, that I appreciate your positive attitude. I need someone like you to jack me up every once in a while. I did read the Paul Ryan speech thanks to the link you provided. Ryan is one of the few who have demonstrated some backbone. Let’s see how many of the Republicans will follow him.

  3. I am not sure the spirit is there because the left has propagated this myth that the government can protect a person’s freedom by encroaching on those freedoms in the name of safety. People now feel as if the government is there to take care of them and provide for them if they cannot make it on their own and this makes them less willing and motivated to try to make it on their own. I don’t kknow how we can get out of this mess we find ourselves in.

  4. War on poverty=we purchased a trillion dollars worth of poverty. Of course, they are now dependent on the government, guaranteeing that they will always vote for the Democrats.

    1. That’s why I’m worried, Matt. One thing is for certain, the 2012 elections will be the most important elections in our history. Not so long ago I would have bet there was no way possible for Obama to win. Now i see how much work we have to do.

  5. With primaries on Tuesday, the Democrats are out there proselytizing like Hare Krishnas working off an amphetamine rush. I was accosted by a pair of ’em at the train station this morning whilst on my way to jury duty, but they hared off like vampires at sunrise when I began giving them my unvarnished opinion of their party’s policies.

  6. From my experience living in a country that’s a bit more socialized than America, it’s not the government that’s the problem. Yes government is screwing us over and dragging us down the toilet, but that’s not the root of the problem.

    The government we have is stealing from us to fund all these socialist programs because it’s what we want. Let me illustrate, if anyone were to run on a platform of tearing up socialized medicine, welfare and all the benefits we have in this country, he/she will never win an election. They can cut our taxes down to the bone so that those of us who work will keep almost 100% of our money, but it won’t make any difference.

    It’s sad i know, but we have the tyrannical, over-reaching and incompetent governments we have because that’s the way enough of us want it.

    The thing about Liberty that many don’t get is that it’s not just freedom, we all love the freedom, but it also comes with responsibility, that few of us care for or want. Hence our acceptance of government intrusion and control.

    1. I agree with you, MK. People, in general, get the government they deserve or that they thought they deserved. A funny thing about responsibility, it never ever goes away. Responsibility will eventually hunt you down and take its pound of flesh.

  7. First off Jim thanks for the mention. I believe the key to rekindling the American Spirit starts with education and in the home. We first must educate ourselves about the founders and the importance of liberty. If we’re going to promote a political philosophy that embraces liberty and freedom then we must have the same understanding of liberty as our founders did and this takes some research. Additionally we need to win the hearts and minds on the micro level in our sphere of influence. This means our spouses, relatives, and friends. It will take work. We’re talking about undoing 40 years of liberal propaganda. We do this by exposing their flawed ideology for what it is. Finally we must continue to support each other and stay engaged in the political process. Times will get rocky, but as long as we continue to support each other we’ll be fine. Strength in numbers. Great post Jim.

  8. I think the American spirit is still there, but it is being diluted every day. Everyone and anyone is being welcomed to this country now. “Border security is imperative for any country, but we must couple that with comprehensive immigration reform.” We could take the theme of that article and run with it for days.

  9. Loved the But post! People are apathetic. They are “busy” with their lives and pay scant attention to what’s happening in Washington, in their states and in their cities and towns. They plop down exhausted at night and watch mindless TV or find computer comfort with fluffy blogs, games and Facebook. Hey, nobody can tune into the political scene 24/7, we all need a break. But (now I’m going to hestitate everytime I use that word!) most people never make it past the headlines in the news. Is the American Spirit alive–yes. It’s just in need of serious revival. Freedom isn’t easy. It takes a lot of work to maintain. I’m up for it!

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