I recently read The 5000 Year Leap, and was surprised that there was nothing earth shattering or some great conservative (or libertarian) secret waiting to be learned. What I did learn was that our country is in trouble and without some type of paradigm shift America will be lost to us as we know.
The overarching theme I have seemed to discover through my reading of book on politics, philosophy, religion etc. I have finally recognized that we, as Americans, as a general rule are missing something so simple, so obvious that we should slap ourselves for missing it.
Our nation was founded as a society of virtue, children were instructed how to be virtuous from their parents and from the elementary schools they attended. America was a place were religion was encouraged and was proliferated throughout society as a whole. Children were taught to be industrious and generous, as their parents practiced it in everything they did.
Alexis de Tocqueville said this about America during the time he visited:
"I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers, and it was not there. In the fertile fields and boundless prairies, and it was not there. In her rich mines and her vast world commerce, and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits, aflame with righteousness, did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great."
So where does that statement leave us? This is the point where Ayn Rand and I diverge, man needs to fill his spiritual hole in his heart to be complete. It can be argued that the founding fathers thought it important for Christian men and women to be involved in government. The founding fathers dictated freedom of religion for all, not the absence of Judeo-Christian principles being instilled into our government through its elected representatives.
I have thought on this for a long while, I believe that the word that comes to mind is balance. Balance in everything spiritual, emotional, intellectual, and physical balance. It is well and good to excel at making a living, but at the same time if you emotionally or spiritually deficient chances are you will not be happy or you may not be generous to your neighbor when he or she is in need. Is it your responsibility to help you neighbor? In America it isn't, but if you wish to and you feel led to help your neighbor then by all means do so.
An example of the virtue vacuum: Why does everyone get angry when corporate greed is exposed?
It is because greed in itself is wrong (it should not be construed as making a profit). When an example like corporate greed comes to mind, people scream for more government regulations and therefore more restrictions on the market. This in turn hampers the economy and so on and so forth. People have not realized what they have done to themselves. In asking for government protection they erode the very system that sustains them. If that corporate greed, in whatever form it manifested itself, had not occurred, the extra regulations would not have been levied and the free market system would have been left alone and allowed to function as it should. In a virtuous society (in America that usually means one espouses some type of Christian beliefs) greed is frowned upon, hard work is encouraged. Helping a neighbor in need is honorable whether it be giving aid yourself or directing them to a church with more resources than yourself.
Balance and personal responsibility are the answer to America's problems. America's churches and other not for profit organizations, no matter the religious affiliation, are the answer to solving the poverty question, not by giving the poor everything they need but giving the poor what they need to become productive members in society. Business on all levels would be cleaned up because business men and women would be concerned providing good and services for their customers while exhibiting honesty and integrity while making a profit. Government would be less involved in regulation and in taxing the citizenry and business. Government would be more fiscally responsible and accountable to its citizens.
As of now there is rampant spending by the government when there is no money in the treasury, massive entitlement programs that do not work or about to be bankrupt with more programs on the way to help the "poor" in our country, the continuous attempts by a socialist congress to cause the complete abdication of personal responsibility to the federal government, government officials involved in criminal and morally irresponsible scandals among other things.
Alexis de Tocqueville also said this:
"Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude."
I say, "Liberty and Freedom through Virtue instead of Restraint and Servitude through Socialism!"