Day Two Of The 3 Day Quote Challenge: WHAT IS THE AMERICAN DREAM?

school.pngDay Two Of The 3 Day Quote Challenge

lafayetteangel got me started on this. She posted these rules, and she asked for volunteers.

  • Thank the person nominating you for the challenge.
  • Post a quote on your blog for 3 consecutive days.
  • Invite 3 of your favorite Bloggers to join the challenge.

Again, I thank . Here is what she put up as her second post: Day Two Of The 3 Day Quote Challenge: Eleanor Roosevelt. In it she provides simple, but excellent advice.

Are you interested in the challenge, then please leave a comment indicating your interest.

Do you understand and share the American dream?

Politicians, with their extravagant promises long ago corrupted the “American Dream.” Where did the expression “American Dream” come from? It seems that historian and writer James Truslow Adams coined the expression “American Dream” in his 1931 book Epic of America:.

“The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.”  (from here)

Was Truslow right? Well, perhaps, but those who made America in 1776 may have had something more bold in mind.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. (from here)

In 1776, Americans did not worry merely about their material stature before other men. True, they opposed taxation without representation. Yet when the people of America declared their independence, they dreamed of a society that had not heretofore existed. The dreamed of a nation which recognized each citizen’s God-given rights.

Even the Constitution, carefully crafted by thoughtful men shepherded by the likes of George Washington, James Madison, and Benjamin Franklin did not satisfy the Americans who had fought the American Revolution. In addition to a Constitution that prescribed strictly limited powers for the Federal Government, that People demanded a Bill of Rights that specifically limited the power of the Federal Government.

Consider the First Amendment. Consider what they listed first.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Many people came to America seeking their fortunes, but many risked their lives seeking religious freedom, the right to follow the dictates of their conscience without the interference of arrogant and powerful men. Ronald Reagan expressed that belief clearly.

A few people have even objected to prayers being said in the Congress. That’s just plain wrong. The Constitution was never meant to prevent people from praying; its declared purpose was to protect their freedom to pray.  — from President Ronald Reagan‘s Radio Address to the Nation on Prayer, September 18, 1982

The years, however, have allowed those who would twist the words of the Constitution some success. Now instead of protecting the free exercise of religion, those in power are using the First Amendment to create a wall of separation between church and state, forcing the exercise of religion out of the public square.

How do the arrogant and powerful get away with such schemes, slowly twisting the understanding of their fellow men? Consider what a tyrant once said.

He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future. — Adolf Hitler, speech at the Reichsparteitag, 1935 (from here)

Hitler made no great secret of his designs. People just looked away, half admiring — entirely fearing the man. They should have feared God more.

Don’t Proverbs tell us what we should do.

Proverbs 22:6 New King James Version (NKJV)

Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.

As parents, the Bible tells us to help our children find the way God has called them to go. We cannot do that by handing what is a personal responsibility over to a costly administrative nightmare designed by greedy, power hungry politicians, our public school system. When politicians want us to believe that the American dream is about material things, things they can “give” us, how can we trust them with the responsibility for educating our children? Has it been working, or is not each successive generation getting a worse education?

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free. — Ronald Reagan (from here)

Which generation shall be the one that loses its freedom. Will it be our children?

If we want our children to understand and experience the American dream, as parents we must make certain we understand it. We must read our Federal and state constitutions and study important documents written by the founders, like The Federalist Papers. We must do our best to understand how our government is suppose to work. Then we each must do our part.

Do we all have to become lawyers or historians? No, our government was never suppose to be that complicated. When someone tries to equate freedom of religion with freedom from religion, we just need to know enough to pity such ridiculous idiocy. Instead, someone is teaching our children to take such blithering nonsense seriously, and we are letting it happen.

21 thoughts on “Day Two Of The 3 Day Quote Challenge: WHAT IS THE AMERICAN DREAM?

  1. Another excellent, brilliantly researched post!

    Our freedom isn’t something that will be taken from us all of a sudden.

    With the advent of Progressivism, the long game of turning America into a tyranny began.

    That was over 100 years ago.

    Today, the governments (tyrannies) of the world are gathered in Paris

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What use is all the civil liberties a modern liberal–in the classic sense– democracy like the Framers intended when we are enslaved to ourselves? Is the ability to buy a double glup in New York City really freedom? Or have we conflated freedom with being libertines?

    Like

    1. @mastersamwise

      We never enslave ourselves. We are never even completely enslaved by another. Either we choose to be enslaved by sin, or we enslave ourselves to the will of God, and these are individual choices.

      Of what use are our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? What makes a man happiest? That is when he has acquired sufficient virtue — wisdom — to recognize the choice before him. Either he must choose sin or God, and he chooses God.

      When we protect each others God-given rights, we have the best opportunity to understand — to learn — the duty of man. When we have the opportunity to exercise our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, we have greatest opportunity to devote our lives to the love of God and our neighbors.

      Will every man and woman choose to do their duty, the duty of man? No, but it seems to me that when people know their rights are God-given they are more likely to love God and each other.

      Like

      1. What is sin but the choosing of our own will, enslaving ourselves to the basest passions of our nature?

        And yet, all is vanity.

        Like

    2. @mastersamwise, who wrote:

      What use is all the civil liberties a modern liberal–in the classic sense– democracy like the Framers intended when we are enslaved to ourselves?

      In other words, you don’t think freedom is a good idea, or of “use,” if it allows things you think are inappropriate. You make your intent clear with the next sentence:

      Is the ability to buy a double glup in New York City really freedom?

      In short, yes, it is “really freedom” to be able to enter into private voluntary transactions as one wishes.

      The freedom we are now in the process of losing is because we are insufficiently protected from you. Specifically, your mindset, one which decides (in your case, for evidently religious reasons) what sorts of liberty we mere Americans may or may not be allowed. You think that you know which decisions I might make that “enslave” me — but this is absolutely not for you to decide.

      And whatever you and your fellow masterminds come up with for decision criteria can always be modified to apply to you. This is the way of tyranny; the masterminds tend to be “first against the wall” when those bold enough to seize power do so. They just change the rules.

      I will do everything I can to prevent those of your mindset from gaining control in what was once free and proud America.

      ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You have a certain knack for making a person say whatever you desire them to say, whether they actually said it or not. I am not sure if it is a talent of sophistry or the sin of pride.

        And for what? To prove the superiority of your thoughts? To exert your philosophy over all who dare to propose that life is meant for more than simple indulgence? And yet, all is vanity. My words are vanity. Your words are vanity. Soon all our words will be dust, and what good will be your striving?

        So how you value monetary transactions as if they will matter later on. As if a big gulp, mighty though it is in giving one flavored corn syrup, can satisfy the true longings of human nature. As if exterior things were truly what concerns man most. And yet all is vanity.

        Keep your monetary transactions, your big gulps, you commitment to decadence. I reject the empty promises now as I did at baptism. If all your America can offer is wealth, power, and the indulgence of my baseness, then I prefer to remain aloof. Keep that liberty to be vicious. I shall fight to preserve the true liberty, the liberty to be virtuous.

        Like

        1. You’ve used a lot of words to say, as Hillary Clinton did, “we’re going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good.” You’ve just redefined liberty to make your elimination of it sound like “true liberty” to your ears, as you would keep people from “sinning” by being able to engage in voluntary transactions you happen to find undesirable.

          You are ostensibly religious; you might remember that even God in Genesis gave Adam and Eve the choice to make their own mistakes. He could easily have rigged the game to keep them on the straight and narrow, but that’s not how the story goes, is it?

          But you think you know better about human nature, and know what sins people should not have the opportunity to commit. You are absolutely wrong, and dangerously so, as many on the left think in the same manner.

          ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

          Like

        2. What words you ascribe to me! You are so bent on conflict that you will create one.

          “…God in Genesis gave Adam and Eve the choice to make their own mistakes.” As I am sure Tom will agree, God gave them no such liberty but rather the freedom to choose good, not evil. In allow man the freedom to choose evil, man can actually be said to choose the good when he does. For if not, then we cannot be said to choose what is not a free choice. In short, true liberty is not for the sake of iniquity but for goodness. This is what liberty has been since it was made. It is as unchanging as its creator since all liberty flows from him.

          You attack me for shunning immorality that you promise is essential human freedoms. I shun gluttony and you say I desire to take away rich food. I shun avarice and you say I want to take away money. I shun each human weakness for the weakness it is and you attack me. Why is that? Could it be that you are so consumed by worldly estimations that it is the measure of all things for you? You cannot think of anything without thinking of base and material pleasures because the quantities of them are you measure for good and full life.

          I am sorry, I believe man was meant for more than to glut himself on his own vanity. I believe that there is more to human life that the repeated numbing of the senses by exterior stimuli. Go on with your dissolution and take the country with you if you like. If you are so convinced of the inherent goodness of material pleasures, then go on. Go forward with all your beliefs and when at last you and your compatriots come to burn our houses for not believing in material things such as you do, I will not even then grudge you. Because unlike you, I don’t need petty pieces of vellum or legislation longer than a Tolstoy novel to secure my liberty. I always have it, whether I have a big glup in NYC or not. It is not tied to material things and material guarantees. Even when you are you fellows put us in bondage, we shall be free.

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        3. @mastersamwise

          You were deliberately provocative. So what is the point in taking offense at Keith’s words? When you choose not to explain yourself clearly, why get mad when somebody thinks that what it sounds like you are saying is what you are saying?

          I have no doubt that some equate freedom with being libertines. Yet God gave us each the right to choose. It is God to which we owe our all, not any man or creation of man.

          Some choose to make themselves accountable to various institutions run by men, such as the Catholic Church. So long as we remember it is God, not the church, to which we are to be held accountable, that is not a bad thing. Yet to be meaningful, to be made an act of obedience to our Creator, that choice to be held accountable must be voluntary or the result of appropriate due process of Law. When we lose sight of that, we pervert the choice God has given us.

          What we sow in sin, we reap in corruption.

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        4. I questioned what the point was to all these civil liberties when the prevailing philosophy for having them is to do as one wills regardless of its inherent goodness. It is especially provocative for Keith because he is still under the impression that somehow, free from any common moral principles, man can attain anything but dissolution and dissipation. Yes, it is provocative, as provocative as a mendicant or John Cassian. If it is provocative to hold that true freedom is not in what size drink you can buy, then I will be as provocative as possible.

          I did not get mad, and certainly not at Keith; that would be the very height of vanity. I simply wonder at how quickly he is able to turn phrases into whatever he desires in order to continue a conversation he appears to be having with himself. What have I said that favored government redistribution? I said that our civil liberties are the result of vanity, that fighting for big gulps is even greater vanity. Suddenly, that is translated into an alleged supposition that I a) believe in the regulation of big gulps and b) that I believe in central governmental forces regulating everything. In what way have I endorsed such things? I laugh at Keith because I can only assume he is joking and therefore don’t take him seriously enough to get angry at him.

          He alleges I have redefined liberty. This is false. It he and the philosophers of his school that have redefined liberty. When a supporter of Acton, MacIntyre, and Kirk gets called a socialist, there is clearly some soul searching needed in “conservative” circles.

          God gave us the faculties to choose, but not to choose evil. Anyone who says that God gave man free will so that man could choose his own destiny is a liar and is, if I recall correctly, anathema.

          “Some choose to make themselves accountable to various institutions run by men, such as the Catholic Church.” I’ll let the subtle dig slide.

          ” Yet to be meaningful, to be made an act of obedience to our Creator, that choice to be held accountable must be voluntary or the result of appropriate due process of Law.” I am not sure where this is going.

          Like

        5. @mastersamwise, who wrote:

          I questioned what the point was to all these civil liberties when the prevailing philosophy for having them is to do as one wills regardless of its inherent goodness. … If it is provocative to hold that true freedom is not in what size drink you can buy, then I will be as provocative as possible.

          He alleges I have redefined liberty.

          You have decided that the ability for people to enter into voluntary transactions with each other is only a “civil liberty.” And you don’t think there is a “point … to all these civil liberties” since they only lead to “dissolution and dissipation.”

          You don’t like the ability to enter into voluntary transactions without coercion. So you redefined this as merely “civil liberties.”

          You focus on one particular product — something you repeatedly called a “big glup” — as if this were a thing so repellent that decent people would be appalled that you could be allowed to make this choice. Somehow, you associate this with me, although I almost never drink carbonated or sweetened beverages. But you have clearly suggested, multiple times, that the freedom to enter into such voluntary transactions is not “true freedom.” Whatever “freedom” is in your mind, it is not the definition that H.B. Acton and others use. And you cannot support the Pope’s call for socialism as you clearly do and still call yourself a supporter of the author of numerous works showing just how wrong he is.

          You assert that Adam and Eve didn’t have a choice. When I suggested that the story in Genesis shows that God gave them the ability to “make their own mistakes,” you objected:

          God gave them no such liberty but rather the freedom to choose good, not evil.

          If God didn’t give them the chance to make a mistake, then they could not have made a mistake. But what, then, do you call the consumption of the fruit of of the tree of knowledge? Considering the punishment inflicted upon the pair, it seems clear that God at least thought the choice was a mistake and treated it as such.

          But you seem to have your own definitions for “choice” and “mistake” as well, ignoring the clear text of the Bible. I would commend to you the advocation from Proverbs 30:6: “Do not add to His words.”

          The essence of liberty in society is straightforward, and yes indeed it involves the ability to make choices and enter into voluntary transactions. These choices are constrained by two simple principles: Don’t hurt people and don’t take their stuff. Liberty is not “only free to make choices that the current gaggle of masterminds thinks are good for society/the soul/the community.”

          The free market has lifted literally billions of people out of poverty and misery, because it encourages people serving each other with ever-better products and services, and rewards them for doing so. That’s a pretty good track record that you so staunchly oppose.

          ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

          Liked by 1 person

        6. “You have decided that the ability for people to enter into voluntary transactions with each other is only a “civil liberty.” Seeing at it stems from civil society and not man himself–for there is nothing in man himself that transacts and man only transacts when he is in civil society with other men–then I do not see where monetary transactions are good per se or good in themselves. A monetary transaction has no inherent worth except in relation to the end which it hopes to achieve. It is by this scrutiny that we are able to call the purchase of necessary food items good but money laundering bad. The former is a monetary transaction that seeks to procure the necessary sustenance for the life of a person and is therefore just. The latter is a monetary transaction that takes goods due to another and add them to one’s own store. The end in the first is just while the end of the second is unjust, providing authorities with the power to legislate the wisdom to know the morality of each. To recap: Civil liberties are those freedoms gained through man’s participation in a given society and not from himself. The goodness of the transaction is based upon the justice of the ends, both immanent and ultimate.

          “You don’t like the ability to enter into voluntary transactions without coercion.” At what point did I make this assertion? Was it when I disparaged the goal of current American perspectives of civil liberties as being nothing more than the attainment of material pleasures regardless of inherent goodness of the pleasure being entertained? I don’t like institutionalized immorality. It doesn’t mean I believe in Big Brother.

          I disparage the sentiment that conflates human freedom with monetary transactions. This is the most subtle Marxism. It breaks man down to the base and meaningless distinction of a consumer and extends his dignity only so far as he is capable of buying. Self-worth is not measured by inherent dignity in such societies but in the size of one’s pocket book. Under the influence of such sentiments, we are led to believe that something as inconsequential as a large beverage could be an affront to our very dignity. Why? Because, as you keep pointing out, it prohibits our ability to voluntarily transact. You have merely traded the means of production for the means of consumption in your strange world of capitalistic materialism. To recap: I disparage the conflation of natural human liberties with material consumption.

          Lord Action said to the members of the Bridgeforth Institute, “By liberty I mean the assurance that every man shall be protected in doing what he believes his duty, against the influence of authority and majorities, custom and opinion. The state is competent to assign duties and draw the line between good and evil only in its own immediate sphere. Beyond the limit of things necessary for its wellbeing, it can only give indirect help to fight the battle of life, by promoting the influences which avail against temptation,—Religion, Education, and the distribution of Wealth.” This is consistent with what I have said before about the doctrine of subsidiarity with the moral imperative for the state to impose laws conducive to the common good according to the well being of the given community they have the duty to care. Lord Action, in the same address, speaks to what I am saying about the dissolution of a people given leave to be libertines. “It followed that the sovereign people had a right to do whatever was within its power, and was bound by no rule of right and wrong but its own judgment of expediency. On a memorable occasion the assembled Athenians declared it monstrous that they should be prevented from doing whatever they chose. No force that existed could restrain them; and they resolved that no duty should restrain them, and that they would be bound by no laws that were not of their own making. In this way the emancipated people of Athens became a tyrant; and their government, the pioneer of European Freedom, stands condemned with a terrible unanimity by all the wisest of the ancients.”

          “You assert that Adam and Eve didn’t have a choice.” No, I specifically asserted that Adam and Eve had the choice to choose God and failed. I will explain. God, being the creator of freedom and is not separated in his actions and attributes, is freedom itself. Adam and Eve, in choosing something other than God, cannot have chosen freedom but the deprivation of it since God is the source of all freedom. Therefore, in doing wrong, man does not choose freedom but slavery. In other words, the freedom of the will is not accomplished in the allowance of the will to do as it wishes, but in uniting with the Divine Will which is the source of freedom.

          “Don’t hurt people and don’t take their stuff.” You do realize that this maxim, being so thoroughly banal and passe in actually conservative circles, is so entirely relativistic that it renders itself entirely null? Define harm. Some would say that gay marriage causes harm while others say it does not. Define people. Some would say that a human fetus is not a person while others say it is. Define taking. Some say that social security taxes is unlawful taking while others say it is lawful. Do you see how these terms, without some objective and commonly held principles, vary not only from political group to political group, but even person to person? Even the maxim is arbitrary and based on your preconceived notion that civil society is, in fact, good. Now you may realize why I say it is all vanity. It is constantly trying to create a morality without actually creating any moral principles based in any objective principles.

          “That’s a pretty good track record that you so staunchly oppose.” And again you ascribe to me ideas and contention I neither held or asserted. I oppose the degradation of man and therefore the degradation of society. I find the economic system quite irrelevant when the first principles are geared not towards the building up of man qua man but towards the building up of mere material goods without a thought to the ethics of doing so besides the arbitrary principle you enumerated above. So long as we gear ourselves solely towards the building up of material goods, it doesn’t matter if we are capitalist, socialist, communist, or whatever. The condition of man qua man will be the same, namely consumed with the vanity of material wealth and inclined towards baseness and dissolution.

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      2. Are you certain that Americans are really free and proud today more than they once were?
        When I listen or reed the news, it appears to me Americans are more confused and disgusted about the path our politicians have taken in the last fifty years.

        Regards and goodwill blogging.

        Like

        1. On consideration of the exact wording of your question, I could indeed make the case that “Americans are really free and proud today more than they once were” — by picking a few particularly low points in history.

          However, to do so would be so misleading and non-responsive to your clear intent that you’d think you got the answer from *scout.

          ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

          Liked by 2 people

        2. I agree that the US is at a low point in history. I believe it is a result of lowering of hope for for the future by the average middle class American.

          The causes in my opinion is a lack of wisdom in leadership. Too many foolish decisions to discuss on a blog..

          Regards and goodwill blogging.

          Regards and goodwill blogging.

          Like

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