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The nature of our national founding has been under constant attack for what now has become more than a century. We are now closer than we have ever been to losing that struggle and becoming something entirely foreign to the basic concepts which have been the pillars supporting the single most successful and beneficial secular endeavor mankind has yet launched.
The crisis inflicted by illegal immigration is only one example of a many-pronged assault. It is only a piece in a mosaic but is certainly a destructive one. Like all the other pieces it strikes at some key values central to our success as a self-governing republic. One of these is, of course, culture. Another is the very necessary respect for rule of law.
The question of illegal immigration is also an example of a long-standing technique of the left to push their agenda while both distracting from the actual central issue involved and placing any opposition on the defensive. Many leftist arguments stir a false compassion presenting their ideology as an answer to some human misery. It certainly cannot be denied that there are millions upon millions all over the world who would benefit from living in a cleaner, safer and more prosperous United States. Everyone who looks into the face of a desperate, hungry and fearful child wants to do something for them, wants them to be fed, clean and safe.
And there are several ways that we can, as individuals, play a hand in such things.
But I will say that if the people of those other nations are to be helped as a group, their nations have to adopt some form of what I will call the American Model. The “magic” factor for these nations is not some form of international welfare or to take their poorest off of their hands. That factor is liberty.
Through a few thousand years of history, the vast majority of human beings on Earth have lived in poverty and under tyranny. It is only recently that vast amounts of wealth and across-the-board leaps in the standard of living for all has become common. The advances have been explosive and have pretty well been in proportion to how deeply rooted a nation or society is in this “American Model”.
Many of the components of this American Model were hardly invented by America. It was just in America that they were more fully planted in a soil of liberty and allowed to function more fully than any other place in history. It is a collection of man’s experiences, lessons, hopes and continual exploration of his own existence. It is the trial and error process of securing each person’s liberty and protecting him from tyranny, regardless of its form. It was here that those threads of man’s experiences were woven together into a system built around the vital elements of human liberty.
So what are the vital elements of this model? In the simplest form, it is to grow those things which enhance individual liberty and limit as much as possible those that grow tyranny. A small as possible, limited government as part of a federal system, a market of free exchange with secure, protected property rights for individuals, a commitment to natural rights, a moral grounding in Judeo-Christian civilization and a commitment to freedom of conscience, and a focus on the rights and responsibilities of the individual are all on the list.
But, for now, I will devote the rest of this space to the element which allowed all those threads to come together to form an American fabric whose pattern could be shared with the rest of mankind for its benefit. That is the “soil” which allowed those collected ideas and ideals from centuries to sprout. That soil is culture, a culture of liberty. A culture of individual liberty. Almost left alone on the eastern seaboard of a new continent, those small groups of scattered pioneers breathed life into those concepts far from the hand of kings, lords and even centralized clergy. Each area had its own distinct character, habits, and personalities but they revealed in their independence and the challenges it brought. Settlements grew into cities, all different from the others but united in the traits of independent souls.
All of those regions of the “old world” which contributed threads to this new fabric failed to complete the job. The Greeks, Romans, English and more all were a part of the traditions blended into this culture which could “sniff tyranny on every tainted breeze.” But none of these became what America would make of itself.
One of the great myths of so-called progressivism is the greedy, selfish image of a capitalist free market. This economic model has not just produced the wealthiest of nations in the United States. It has created the fuel for the most expansive humanitarian outreach the world has yet seen. We all are aware of the flood of American government funds which are sent around the world for various reasons, real and imagined. But few also realize that the humanitarian funds from private American donations far exceed the governmental foreign aid. And in almost every case they are far more effective in the real lives of those who need them most.
It should come as no surprise that far too much of the government-to-government “aid” is lost as it moves through one bureaucratic filter and then another.
The same is true of private “charity” within the United States itself. We are by far the most generous nation in the world, past or present.
But, still, one of the left’s constant ruses is to weaponized compassion and paint any notion competing with theirs as cruel and uncompassionate.
The cruelest thing we could do to the disadvantaged trapped in “the rest of the world” would be to lose our culture of liberty. I am afraid we are dangerously close to losing in among our own “home grown” people. Those who are allowed to join this “national family” have to be motivated by a true desire to “breathe free” as a part of that distinctive American culture and not merely better themselves.
This American model can fit into any corner of the world. Just as some parts of it may vary from state to state or town to town, so can it vary some from country to country. It is about the individual. Therefore, it can be personalized to its setting. This why it is so important that we do not lose our own distinctive culture of liberty. The world will lose its model, its clearest example. This is also why, in order to keep it for ourselves, we must decentralize so much of what has grown in the last century and return to the original vision of local powers.
When people are left to innovate they prosper. Hong Kong is now in a struggle to keep their self-control from the mainland Chinese. But they have been a shining example of how a tiny dot without any real resources except the drive and their own people can prosper beyond any expectations. They did so mainly because the British allowed them to during the time of “the lease”. They seized the chance and realized the rewards of economic liberty. The American Model is not just a Western thing or a “white man’s” greedy path. It is for all who realize that individual freedom is responsibility with consequences and are unafraid to plunge in. Perhaps Collin Kaepernick doesn’t grasp that, but Fredrick Douglass certainly did, just read his “Self-Made Men” speech. And then read it again – every week. It is a priceless statement about independent individual liberty. You might mail Collin a copy but due to some of his recent tweets I am not sure he reads Douglass any better than he did double zones in nickel coverage.
Individual liberty cannot survive where it is not understood. It cannot survive without the rule of law and a limited government. Centralized power is always a great threat to that liberty and government is the worst system for handling human relationships.
The most humane way for a strong America to help the oppressed of the world is not to water down the essential elements of its own success. Its most valuable export is the example of what a culture of individual liberty under the law can do when it is embraced, fought for and implemented by a population determined to manage its own affairs. To best help the world’s oppressed, you do not remake America. You reinforce it and its founding principles.
Mother Teresa certainly saw poverty at its worst during her life of service. But she observed that “the most miserable thing about poverty is the feeling of not being anyone, without personal worth.” That personal worth can best be expressed in this secular world by being able to live out the individual rights extended to us all by a divine hand.