America’s or American culture’s great foundational problem is that our ancestors elevated ideas to sovereign status, forcing us since then to reconcile them with reality after the fact. The great examples being that we stated out of the gate that we hold certain truths to be self-evident, chief among them that we are free and equal.
Just as one thing leads to another, ideas have consequences. If I believe that somewhere north of Henry County, Tennessee there exist a tropical paradise and I set off on a great trek to find it, I will eventually freeze to death.
Or, I may say that people have a natural right to own property and that one of the state’s functions is to defend that right. On the other hand you may say that all property should be held in common and that the state should steward and distribute it. Two such ideas would produce very different results indeed!
The tasks then would be to measure those results and then assess them to see whose idea is best. But measuring and assessing consequences requires that we agree on values. I think that we would agree that freezing to death is bad. We’ll likely agree on the length of an inch and the span of a second. But how do we measure whether your or my idea of organising a government is best? That must depend upon our goal, right?
And goals are based upon what we value, right?
I would say that our goal ought to be to live well, humanely, and rationally within the comfort of our family and people, while working towards their security and well being, as well as that of the next generation, and thus the best government is that which expedites this goal.
Our government will reflect what we think our goal ought to be. It will emanate from our first principles, or what we hold to be sovereign truth i.e. the non-negotiables.
So if we stated from the beginning that freedom and equality are our first principles or that which we value most, then what shall our end be?
Well, that end will be what we have today, which isn’t all bad. But on the otherhand, that end also evidently includes feminism, sexual liberation, the weakening of the marriage bond, and the attendant erosion of the family, which has produced legions of semi-broken people and none too few that are unhinged.
Our worship of individuality, freedom, and equality has also produced the legitimisation of homosexuality and the legalisation of so-called gay-marriage and most alarmingly for our physical security the feminisation of the military.
And now on its bleeding edge it has produced men pretending to women beating the stuffings out of women in women’s sports.
All in the name of freedom, equality, and individuality.
I can pretend I am a bird and demand that you agree that I am in fact a bird. And you may do just that praising my fine aquiline nose and feathers. But I will never lay an egg, and if I leap from a cliff I will not fly far before falling straight down.
Ideas can be good and useful if they emanate from or are built upon a solid foundation of truth. And this foundation must include two and two equaling four, water being wet, and a common sense understanding of human nature.
Otherwise, we build upon the sand.
This piece was previously published at Look Away on Sept. 12, 2023.
Mark Atkins has six wee bairns who are all seventh-generation Henry County, Tennessee, and all from the same doe. It is the people of Henry County that he most wants to reach but writes to Southerners generally. He is without credentials but rather dares to speak by the same authority as the little boy who cried 'The king has no clothes!' His core belief and starting point is that like everything, we humans have a nature, it is not so hard to understand, and to pretend that it is other than it is, is to jump off a cliff. Which is what we Americans have in fact done.