The Common Wealth
Mark DanielsMark Daniels's Weblog
- 2013 Oct 14
As the battle over the nation's economy rages in Washington, I think it’s important that we step back and look at the bigger picture of what’s happening here. Republicans are taking the lion’s share of the heat for the shutdown, and—even though most people personally have no skin in the game—the overwhelmingly liberal news media help build the illusion that it’s just another nail in the coffin of a party whose time has come and gone.
We’ve mentioned many times on this program that the postmodern age is over, and is being replaced by post-postmodernism. Not only has an entire generation of Americans lost faith in the institutions that built our nation, they’re impatiently looking for ways to get around—and past—those institutions. Schools are being replaced by cyber education, the post office is being replaced by FedEx, the traditional church is being replaced by satellite and house churches, and now: it’s government’s turn.
Favorability rankings for the traditional two-party American government are at an all-time low. Young people are frustrated with our broken system, and are frankly looking beyond it. Many are threatening to never vote again, others are looking for grassroots opportunities to effect change. My fear, though, is that we’re throwing out the baby with the bathwater, mostly because we’re misreading the situation. Thanks to our simplistic news media, we’re conflating exasperation with politics and politicians, with a ill-perceived rejection of Republicans and their conservative values.
I strongly believe that, at the end of the day, most people are conservative in their beliefs about money and morality. NO, don’t read that wrong. I’m not saying most people identify as conservatives, or Republicans. I just believe that, should we remove the label of party affiliation and simply ask people what they believe at their very core, most will reflect a traditional perspective on life.
But whatever worldview we claim to possess, I believe most Americans would agree that we can’t keep putting our future on a credit card, simply to raise our own borrowing limits as we see fit. I believe most Americans understand that taxpayers can’t extend 60 thousand dollars’ worth of entitlements to millions of individuals and families every single year, with no end in sight. I’m convinced that most Americans don’t really want to burden their children and grandchildren with paying the bills for our failed social experiments. And I think most Americans agree that the American dream is about more than power and money.
In fact, it’s about precisely the opposite. Power and money, when misused, will enslave the powerful and rich, as well as the powerless and poor. The America dream is about building the common wealth, which is not some scheme for complete economic equality. The term “common wealth” is derived from the old English “common weal,” which meant common “well-being.” It’s about caring for our neighbors and communities in such a way that we build the common good—something much larger than mere money. I think our Founding Fathers knew that, and—as is often said—would not recognize America today.
But even more so...I believe they wouldn’t recognize Americans.