How America Became the ‘Pressure Cooker’ Nation

pressure-cooker-155114_960_720-300x291 How America Became the 'Pressure Cooker' NationIf there is an image that represents the present state of the nation, it might be a pressure cooker. Such cooking devices are not much used in these microwave days of instant everything. The hermetically sealed appliance uses steam pressure to penetrate foods and cook them quickly with a lower loss of vitamin or minerals associated with normal boiling. The key to successful pressure cooking is the proper functioning of the safety valve that can release excess steam and prevent explosions.

The situation inside America today is very much like a pressure cooker. The powerful forces involved in today’s events and debates build up pressure that quickly penetrates into the culture and political arena. As the conflicts between the diverse factions increase, the pressure is reaching dangerously high levels.

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The Need for Safety Valves

Differences are natural to the political life of any nation. People, groups and political parties will always disagree on some issues. However, there are usually shared principles, symbols, ideals or even pastimes or places that serve as safety valves to alleviate the inevitable frictions of living life in common. Every society needs safety valve institutions to serve as outlets for pent-up energy or emotion.

The problem today is that these safety valve institutions are under attack everywhere. In fact, they are now deliberately thrown into the pressurized debate and not allowed to function as they should. It is an explosive situation.

The debate over the national anthem in NFL football stadiums everywhere is a perfect example. The national anthem and flag always served as symbols of unity for the nation. They were like safety valves representing an ideal that transcended the pressurized tension of daily life. Everyone could identify with them. As symbols of unity, they calmed down the passions of political debate. Likewise, football was a safety-valve pastime that united Americans of all persuasions around a local team. The national anthem controversy has irreparably damaged these safety valve institutions.

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The Causes of Damage to Safety Valves

The causes of this damage are many and embrace all sectors of society.

  • When people become self-absorbed and insensitive to the interests of others, they block the safety valves of charity and civility. They are turning America into an uncivil nation.
  • When people indulge in the fantasies of self-identification, they abandon the safety valve notion of embracing reality. They then create a tyranny of unreality (and new English pronouns) to which all must bend their knee.
  • The frenetic intemperance of living a fast-paced life without restraint creates a brutal climate in which the safety valves of leisure and social interaction suffer.

Today, even places of entertainment, which serve as safety valves, are no longer safe. The Las Vegas and so many other shootings have made any venue where people gather a target for deranged killers.

Politicizing Safety Valve Issues

However, the greatest cause of damage is the fact that the left is politicizing these safety valve institutions. They see these calming safety valve issues as expressions of an oppressive regime that must be overthrown. Even the slightest recourse to safety valve traditions is decried as intolerable oppression that must be eliminated. The left understands that importance of the safety valve to stability in society. That is why they are using safety valve issues to advance their cause. These include the flag, political correctness, marriage, transgenderism, statues, leisure or even bathrooms. Everything must be challenged. Change must be brutally imposed.

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Pressures build in such a climate and can lead to radical social shifts. Indeed, life becomes impossible without safety valves. A pressure cooker without one quickly becomes a stovetop bomb.

That is why these small cultural issues which seem so insignificant are very important. They need to be defended to relieve the pressures that are mounting and tearing society apart. Many people think that the nation can be turned around by economic stimulus, populist rhetoric or legislative packages. They are mistaken.

America will recover only when it returns to a framework of principles under the protection of God. It must also return to a society bristling with calm stabilizing institutions that serve as safety valves to relieve the pressure of social conflict and to restore the human element of a truly organic Christian society.




  • KareemAbdul

    Football was already damaged irreparably.
    Look at pro-ball players. Most end up crippled from the violence and injuries of gameplay.

    Good riddance. America needed a better pastime anyhow.
    Can’t find a good one? Pray the Rosary.

    Want the outdoors? Do it outdoors too. 🙂

    • Dale McNamee

      Also, consider how many players have been arrested for felonies, including murder…

      Almost half of them have been…

      The NBA isn’t any better… College sports ? Nah…

      Maybe playing sports with your kids would be a great pastime…

      • KareemAbdul

        How to “uncreate the warrior” once the war is over?
        How to re-enter civilian life?

        You’re right: Toss a ball with your kids and both parent and child will be better off.

  • Mary

    As always perfectly stated!! Thank you John. I love receiving your emails. My country, Australia, is following the worse aspects of the US but not enough of the good aspects are here either to produce safety valves. But daily Mass is a great start – but if unable to get there there’s always the Rosary…

  • alcogli

    The entire cultural atmosphere has become charged with intimidation and fear. Orwell predicted it. Anyone guilty of defending traditional principles is accused of a “thought crime” such as “bigotry” or “hatred” and then mercilessly persecuted, perhaps losing their livelihood. The leftist revolutionaries have been transmogrified into the very oppressive bullies they claimed they wanted to defeat. But “freedom” apparently meant only THEIR licentious rights to overthrow the social order, not the liberty of anyone with the audacity to disagree with their agenda.

  • Guest

    Trump is leading the charge on this. Soon we will return to anti sodomy laws and tenfold increase of the death penalty. These laws will not only be for punishment but put fear in anyone who dares to behave the same way in that they will know a quick painful death will be their fate as well

    • Jimbo

      What are you talking about? Trump has never pushed for an increase in the death penalty. He has never said a word about anti-sodomy laws, either. Typical leftist post. You concoct a lie about Trump, then use the lie to condemn him. It’s exactly what Mr. Horvat is talking about. There can be no dialog or discussion if it doesn’t follow the leftist line of thought. Shame on you.


      This is the delusion of the left. They make up things to make the present administration (and conservatives) seem like they are out of touch with reality when, in fact, it is the left. We need to get back to God’s order so society can function the way it is intended. We need to get back to logic and common sense. We need to get back to Christian Society and civility. People need to become more selfless – not selfish. We need prayer and sacrifice to help bring it about.

  • ME

    This was really well said.

  • Tihana

    Society has lost its common sense, in America and elsewhere. Leftist ‘gender ideology’ and other mind enslaving issues are pushing it ever more so that man looses its freedom and is more easily manipulated. But HOPE is still here, helping those who believe… Safety valves are under pressure, but in some more traditional communities real values are still being preserved, people know what they should fight against or pray for.