TACDA: I’m Defending An Unpopular Idea – America Is Good

Utah Rep. Chris Stewart writes this article for TACDA‘s Journal of Civil Defense – I’m Defending An Unpopular Idea: America Is Good.

Published in the Journal of Civil Defense 2020 Vol. 54, I-2, “Civil Unrest”

Why, then, are so many of my fellow Americans taking to the streets and the internet to express their hatred for our country and culture?

I want to defend a radical idea. An idea that is increasingly unpopular — mocked and sneered at by some: The United States of America is good.

In fact, this country has been the greatest force for good the world has ever seen. We have sacrificed blood and treasure to free hundreds of millions of people from oppression worldwide. Free markets and liberal democracy have normalized a standard of living unmatched in human history. Our defense of individual freedom has allowed genius to flourish and enabled generosity to the needy at home and abroad.

Three important things make this possible:

  1. The Declaration of Independence is the world’s definitive statement on human rights;
  2. The U.S. Constitution is the greatest document of self-governance ever written; and
  3. The Bill of Rights is the strongest guarantor of liberty in the history of mankind.

I do not praise our founding documents out of a sense of arrogance, but of gratitude. Americans have lofty ideals to live up to — ideals that drive achievements and course corrections that make the United States a force for good.

Why, then, are so many of my fellow Americans taking to the streets and the internet to express their hatred for our country and culture?

A growing number of people believe that America’s foundations are rotten to the core. While reflection and a dose of humility are healthy, we all must resist any calls to division and disdain. Choosing an ideological group over our country is tribalism. It’s alarming that it seems to be in vogue to condemn the U.S. as a hateful place founded on deep moral sin and oppression. Those calling for a complete systemic teardown fundamentally misunderstand, or intentionally ignore, what makes America worth fighting for.

The current popular condemnations are neo-Marxist in that they portray societal and individual struggles through a tribal dichotomy of winners and victims. Neo-Marxism disenfranchises people by telling them they have no power to improve their lives. Even important discussions on race have devolved into neo-Marxist diatribes about unequal outcomes rather than equality under the law. It would be more helpful to empower individuals by ensuring the Bill of Rights is applied fairly than to focus on past sins.

Our goodness grows or is diminished in direct proportion to our commitment to our founding principles of liberty, justice and equality. The Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, keep those ideas constantly in front of us as our guiding star.

I am not blind to the fact that a review of American history provides examples of moral failings. We have not always been led by perfect people. Some of them were not even good people — selfish, arrogant or power hungry. Slavery is a stain upon our nation. We have not always implemented laws, divided responsibilities, guaranteed religious freedom or instituted foreign policy fairly.

But, any fair reading of our history also reveals that things are getting better. By nearly every measure — racism, care for our environment, standard of living, protection of the middle class, human rights, education and many more — we are improving. I hope that future generations will build on our progress and be better than we are now. That is the great American promise.

Our Founding Fathers knew that imperfect people need noble principles to counter the human tendency toward abuse of power. We should be grateful that they recognized their failings and designed a system of checks and balances.

Many nations are unified primarily by ethnic identity and tradition. We are something different. Americans’ common bond is our commitment to our founding principles, our striving to uphold inalienable human rights, and progress toward a more perfect union. American patriotism is our love of and commitment to the process. We rally to liberty, justice and equality. We salute the flag — never a king, party or faction. American patriotism is the very antithesis of tribalism, and if we want to remain special, we must root out any tribal tendencies.

The U.S. is, and always has been, a symbol of opportunity. Opportunity is directly linked to capitalism. Without our economic system, the U.S. would not be a land of opportunity. Capitalism does result in unequal outcomes, but it has proven better than any other economic system at raising living standards for all.

If our common commitment to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution wanes — if we abandon our pursuit of opportunities for individuals or we divide into warring factions — we will cease to be exceptional.

All of us, therefore, must choose: Do we swear allegiance to a nation that is flawed but getting better? Or do we give in to tribalism, even while knowing that division and oppression have always left people destitute and disappointed?

I choose to defend the goodness of America.

Chris Stewart is the Congressman from Utah’s Second Congressional District. He is a multiple New York Times best-selling and national award-winning author, world-record-setting Air Force pilot, and the former owner/CEO of a small business.

FO: What Most People Get Wrong About Our ‘Civil War’

Sam Culper at Forward Observer has another piece in this series covering our ongoing domestic conflict, What most people get wrong about our ‘Civil War.’ It’s got some length to it, but it’s a good read with valuable information for you to understand.

…While a civil war, by definition, has not yet started, I do argue that a domestic conflict has already started (my specific thoughts are here, here, and here).

There are plenty of naysayers, and I understand their logic. They advise listeners or readers, “Go to your local Walmart or grocery store. Your local doctor’s office. Your local bank. Walk out your front door and talk to your neighbor.” They ask if Americans are at war with each other in these places, and use these anecdotes to explain that America isn’t locked into a civil war and won’t be.

They’re right in that regard. America isn’t at war.

But the problem with their argument is that it’s not all of America fighting the culture war, nor is it all of America fighting in the ongoing domestic conflict. It’s an ‘irate, tireless minority’. (The brunt of the ‘fighting’ in this conflict isn’t being waged by the average American, as two of my favorite thinkers people in the world — Victor Davis Hanson and Niall Ferguson — have alluded to. You can read my review of Ferguson’s latest book here.)

Another reason why most Americans — the overwhelming majority — aren’t engaged in our domestic conflict is because we’re still really early. Those engaged in establishing the battle lines of today’s culture war were ‘innovators’ in the 1990s. Those engaged in the culture war through the 2008 and 2016 elections were ‘early adopters’. But once the ‘early majority’ joins as soon as 2019-2021, the evidence of an active domestic conflict could be overwhelming. That’s a very distinct possibility.

My estimate is that we have maybe a few percent of the population pushing left or right extremes at the center of the culture war, but there’s an even smaller percentage (a fraction) that actually engages in political violence. There’s probably another 10 percent on either side actively engaged in political, information, and economic warfare. The remaining 75 percent is on the bubble, indifferent, or just plain stuck in the middle — a lot like other intra-state conflicts we’ve experienced.

So can we really have a domestic conflict with just a few thousand combatants?

Well, yeah. But we’re probably still very early.

To understand why we’re still in the beginning phases of our domestic conflict, we can look at three concepts…

Click here to read the entire article at Forward Observer.

Related:

The Organic Prepper: Are You Prepared for Lockdown? How to Stay Safe When All Hell Breaks Loose in America

…Add in the fiercely-fought midterm elections and the threat of civil unrest is high…

Strategic Culture Foundation: American Politics Is Now Just Civil War by Other Means

…Trump didn’t cause today’s polarization, he only exacerbates it because he punches back…

Monster Hunter Nation: The 2nd Amendment is Obsolete, Says Congressman Who Wants To Nuke Omaha

…We are so divided it’s like we are speaking two different languages. Hell, on this topic we are on two different planets. And it is usually framed with a sanctimonious left versus right, enlightened being versus racist hillbilly, unfailing arrow of history versus the knuckle dragging past sort of vibe…