A Crisis of National Identity
Patriotism, we know it when we see it. Last refuge of the scoundrel, we cringe seeing it debased, diminished to mere platitude, shamelessly brandished by extremists of any stripe. Recently it has returned to the forefront of U.S. national conversation amid controversy over the new Advanced Placement U.S. History curriculum ( APUSH ) — or the framework for it — to be taught to our nation’s high school children beginning in 2015. Voices on both sides accuse the other of foisting ideological biases upon the impressionable minds of our nation’s children. Stepping back from it however, removing ourselves from the ideological fray, what appears is a controversy rooted in what can only be described as an identity crisis; not some sinister conspiracy by either party to poison the minds of their neighbors’ children, but a genuine crisis of national identity. A deep and enduring schism in the American psyche, this dichotomy constitutes a clear and present danger to our national security which may only be overcome through some extraordinary, widespread, sensational, even viral reaffirmation of what it means to be an American. Continue reading
… and Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing — Oh My!
So, this past Labor Day weekend we had the honor and privilege of helping the eldest of our two children move into her first college dorm room, at the university of her childhood dreams. Our first rodeo as they say, it was a proud day for us all, and heart wrenching too. Only six miles, and but a mere fifteen minutes down the road from our home — twenty minutes in heavy traffic — we missed her nonetheless, already.
Okay, one down, one to go. Now what? Oh… wait! That’s right… We still have to figure out how we’re going to pay for it all. For one however, I’m hardly convinced the anticipated benefit — little more than an ethereal promise of a brighter tomorrow — will ultimately outweigh the cost of a “private” university diploma. Don’t get me wrong. Of course much will depend Continue reading
Community, society, these are essential requirements of the human condition, but civil society is something possible only insofar as its population is vested with equal fellowship in it. In this regard, either we have allowed those files critical to the functioning of our social operating system to become corrupted, or there appears a flaw — either in its design, or our understanding and implementation of it. Increasingly, the system is failing to serve our mutual need. Whatever the cause, be it operator error, design flaw, or outright sabotage, tyranny is the unfortunate result. Restoring ourselves to a state of sustainable civil intercourse, we must foster a dramatic paradigm shift away from the now dominant inward fixation on individuation and narrow self-interest — the mores and values of the “Me Generation” with which we have imbued the mass of our society’s children now for three decades plus — turning outward to an emphasis on the greater good, and a new enlightened self-interest; for what manner of attainment is left to a man whose best hope is that his son might one day become a prince among the beggars, in a land ruled by thieves? Continue reading