I received an interesting email from an Australian reader regarding my book, Return to Order. She correctly notes that the book deals with many errors that America has helped spread throughout the modern world. One of these is the spirit of frenetic intemperance which is criticized in the book as a source of economic unbalance. Another evil is found in the “Hollywood promotions of making sin something to hanker for.”
Rather than take an attitude of fighting for America, the writer asks if it would not be better to take a stand of great humility. Rather than use the rhetoric of American greatness, would it not be better to speak in terms of remorse and pardon? Still others, separate from my Australian reader, claim everything America represents is so bad that they ask if it is hardly worth fighting for the nation at all.
These are certainly valid questions that merit a response.
My first response in defending America would be to look at why she is attacked. The first and most vocal category of attackers consists of an array of leftists, liberals, terrorists and socialists. These attack America, not for her defects (and there are many) but for what she represents of good.
If these attackers, especially those in the liberal media or amid the Hollywood pseudo-elites, would target things like our materialistic or hyper-sexualized culture, I would be the first to join in on the attack and to express my remorse.
However, they do not. They target instead some excellent values that still exist in America. In the order of economics, they attack not the abuses of the sound principles of private property and free enterprise but the actual principles themselves. These principles form the foundation of our prosperity, which benefits everyone especially the poor. My reaction can only be to vigorously and unapologetically oppose those who, like the socialists, unjustly attack these sound and legitimate economic principles.
There are other reasons why this category of protesters attacks us. We are not socialist enough. We are too religious. We have not fully embraced the sexual revolution. America represents for them –however imperfectly and vaguely – the dying remnants of a moral order and the rule of law, much of which was inherited from Christian civilization. They hate us not so much for what we are but for that from which we came and might yet return.
Thus, I fight for America because these things are excellent and worth fighting for. We are unjustly attacked for the wrong reasons. We must therefore vigorously defend ourselves for the right reasons.
I am willing to admit there is a second category of protesters who attack us for the right reasons. They decry our immoral lifestyles and Hollywood “culture.” They condemn our liberal abortion laws and court decisions against traditional marriage. They criticize the growing secularization of society and education. They rail against the frenetic intemperance of our economy. In short, they see in us all the moral evils of the day.
It would seem natural therefore, that I would join together with all these protesters against America, abandon the fight for her, and humbly acknowledge our sins.
However, such a solution does not represent the whole picture. The most vocal protesters of all that is wrong with America are not found outside our borders but inside them.
Inside our extremely polarized country, there are vast numbers of Americans who grieve for the nation. They react against the evils of our times. It is in America, more than anywhere else, that vigorous social movements have arisen against abortion, the secularization of education and other moral evils. Not only are these Americans opposing evils but they are also searching for solutions based on authenticity, honor and order, whether it be found in the traditional family, home-schooling, or even micro-breweries. There is a groundswell of sizeable minorities, who with great passion and courage dare to defy the culture and say, enough!
That is why I join together with these Americans to fight for America not against her. These Americans represent much more the future of America than those who advocate the worldwide destruction of the remnants of the moral, economic and legal order we inherited from Christian civilization. Moreover, I unite with all those who fight for similar values in other countries.
I will not deny that many of us, including these Americans, have in some way participated in the culture against which we now fight. In this context, a note of humility and remorse is in order for the harm that we have done.
However, our focus should be on pursuing this struggle with fortitude and daring. Because the stakes are so high, the fight is one of almost biblical grandeur. We do well to use the rhetoric of greatness since we fight for a great cause and a great God. It is my hope that the same spirit that made America materially great might also be channeled to make her spiritually great.
Yes, we have sinned and we will have much to suffer for it. But the best way to atone for our sins is by standing up for the Christian principles and values, and engaging in this great battle. That is why I fight for America.