The Loss of the American Spirit
By Jeff Small, SmallThoughts.com
When the American spirit was in its youth, the language of America was different:
– Patrick Henry
At a monthly meeting of a group of liberty-oriented people, when the subject of the recent election came up, the speaker asked the audience, “How many of you are still on suicide watch?” I believe he was only half joking. I have taken some time since the November 6th election to reflect on the outcome, while trying to formulate a new perspective on the state of this country and where I stand in relation to it. These are some of my thoughts.
Ayn Rand wrote about a person’s “sense of life” as being the integrated sum of their basic values. She also said:
|A culture, like an individual, has a sense of life or, rather, the equivalent of a sense of life-an emotional atmosphere created by its dominant philosophy, by its view of man and of existence. This emotional atmosphere represents a culture’s dominant values and serves as the leitmotif of a given age, setting its trends and its style. [The Age of Envy, 1971]Just as an individual’s sense of life can be better or worse than his conscious convictions, so can a nation’s. And just as an individual who has never translated his sense of life into conscious convictions is in terrible danger-no matter how good his subconscious values-so is a nation.This is the position of America today. If America is to be saved from destruction-specifically, from dictatorship-she will be saved by her sense of life. [Don’t Let it Go, 1971]|
In 1971, what qualities did Rand see as forming the basis of the uniquely American culture?
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