THE AMERICAN MINDSET – THEN AND NOW
American thinking about life, liberty and the rightful role of government has always been rooted in and driven by, the principles found in the Word of Almighty God. God is able to bless this kind of thinking and the behaviors that result from it, but only a curse can be upon nations that think and operate according to principles that are in opposition to the will of God for them that is clearly revealed in His Word.
Since the earliest days of our nation’s history our conquest militarily by a foreign power, resulting in the loss of our Republic and our liberty, has never been a serious threat. A weak military never been represented an “Achilles’ heel,” for us. In contrast, the weakening of our national mindset has always been our point of greatest vulnerability. Because this hasn’t been sufficiently understood and appreciated we now face the gravest threat to our liberty and way of life since our revolutionary ancestors fought, bled and died to secure these things for us.
The traditional American way of thinking explains, and is essential to, our well being and survival, and perhaps and most probably constitutes our greatest national treasure and “first line of defense.” But this has been pilfered away, leached away, from recent generations of Americans by a socialistic/Marxist academia, news media, entertainment industry and government propaganda and policies. This process, which has been going on over the last 150 years, began with the introduction of a godless intellectualism that is especially native to Europe, and has kept those people in varying degrees of bondage to government, spiritual and moral decadence, and material want. It has Europeanized and corrupted American thinking, and in large part explains why we are now losing our country and our freedom — “giving it up,” — as someone has said, “without a whimper.”
Historian Paul Johnson, in his book “Intellectuals” documents the sordid character of some of of Europe’s most famed intellectuals and the modern-day American intellectuals; people such as Jean Jacques Rosseau, Leo Tolstoy, Karl Marx, John Paul Sartre and Bertrand Russell, Ernest Hemingway and Lillian Hellman, all of whom held in common a hypocritical, hateful, immoral and generally twistedness of personal character and lifestyle. In chapter six of this important book he explains why it took so long for the United States to produce intellectuals of this kind (which didn’t really begin to occur until the early part of the twentieth century), attributing this to the basic goodness inherent in American thinking. Johnson writes:
“Although the United States grew in numbers and strength throughout the nineteenth century, and by the end of it had become the world’s largest and richest industrial power, it was a long time before its society began to produce intellectuals of the kind I have been describing. For this there were several reasons. Independent America had never possessed and ancient regime, a privileged establishment based on prescriptive possession rather than natural justice. There was no irrational and inequitable existing order which the new breed of secular intellectual could scheme to replace. On the contrary: the United States was itself the product of a revolution against the injustice of the old order. Its constitution was based on rational and ethical principles, and had been planned, written, enacted and, in the light of early experience, amended by men of the highest intelligence, of philosophical bent and moral stature. There was thus no cleavage between the ruling and the educated classes; they were one and the same.
Then too, as de Tocqueville noted, there was in the United States no institutionalized clerical class, and therefore no anti-clericalism, the source of so much intellectual ferment in Europe. Religion in America was universal but under the control of the laity. It concerned itself with behavior, not dogma, It was voluntary and multi-denominational, and thus expressed freedom rather than restricted it. Finally, America was a land of plenty and opportunity, where land was cheap and in ample supply, and no man need be poor. There was none of the ocular evidence of flagrant injustice which, in Europe, incited clever, well-educated men to embrace new ideas. No sins cried out to heaven for vengeance — yet. In fact, America’s early intellectuals took a dim view of European intellectual thought. Here, men such as Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), proclaimed that his object was to extract “the tape-worm of Europe from America’s body and brain, to cast out the passion for Europe for the passion for America”.
At the same time that Karl Marx was injecting Europeans with the poisonous, enslaving ideas of communism, collectivism and the superiority of the state over individual liberty, Emerson was spreading his personal and economic philosophy which echoed our founding fathers and the fundamental tenets of the U.S. Constitution saying: ‘The only safe rule is found in adjusting the meter of demand and supply. Do not legislate. Meddle, and you snap the sinews with your sumptuary laws. Give no bounties, make equal laws, secure life and property, and you need not give alms. Open the doors of opportunity to talent and virtue, and they do themselves justice, and property will not be in bad hands.’
European thought is fundamentally opposed to the concepts of personal liberty, property rights and all that is embodied in our constitution and heritage. No wonder that Thomas Jefferson (1743-1846) warned us that, “Nothing is so important as that America shall separate herself from the systems of Europe, and establish one of her own. Our circumstances, our pursuits, our interests, are distinct. The principles of our policy should be so also. All entanglements with that quarter of the globe should be avoided if we mean that peace and justice shall be the polar stars of the American societies.”