Before attempting to respond to this week’s symposium question, one that strikes a particularly strong cord with those on the right apparently more than those on the left, it is incumbent upon us to review what is at stake. The question this week:
What, in your mind, represents the single greatest long-term threat to the United States of America, and what should be done about it?
The author of the question, limits our discussion to the single greatest threat to the United States of America, and challenges us to offer a solution. Threats to the US come in many forms, from within and without, from direct attack, unintended consequences and subversive undermining, and from the governed and the government. When discussing the threats, current or long-term, our view of what is at stake is reflected by our assessment of the threats. Should we look at the threat from the view of ending our nations existence, there are relatively few threats. Should we instead look at the nature and character of our nation, there are many threats and more significantly, these threats weaken our ability and willingness to recognize and defend ourselves against threats to our very existence.
So the answer was apparent. The threat of single greatest significance must be a threat to the character of the nation and its ideals. If you are so patient, let me add that I’ve included the list of current and possible long-term threats here, should you be interested in it.
Islamo-fascism – the perversion of Islamic thought and doctrine in support of a bigoted, intolerant, arabesque world-view. Primary concerns are the current militant Islamo-fascist of al-Qaeda and associated terrorist organizations, secondary concern is the enormous support of and adherence to the Islamo-fascist view of Islam held throughout the world, and dominant in the Middle East (whether Sunni or Shi’a in inclination). Affiliated issues include the propagation of anti-Semitism or anti-Israeli thought and action, an enormous amount of propaganda and a willingness to accept lies and conspiracies as truth, an inability or unwillingness to permit cultural assimilation, and a birth rate far exceeding European and North American non-Hispanic growth rates.
Nuclear Proliferation and Terrorism – the spread of nuclear weapons and technology to unstable, rogue and hostile nations possibly willing to aid terrorist in acquiring them or incapable of adequately securing them.
China – the increased economic and military reach of China and their attempt to construct a Chinese hegemony in Asia and beyond as a counter-American force in the world.
Indo-Pakistani belligerence – two nuclear capable nations with a breadth of immoral and unjust hatred and bigotry for the other. Socialist/Communist ties and the general inability of each state to extend liberty to their citizens creates the greater incentive for public dissatisfaction and instability.
Iran – essentially a theocratic oligarchy of Shi’a Islamo-fascist. The gravest threat here is the development of nuclear weapons and technology, the support for terrorist outside Iran and the open hostility towards Israel and the US.
Middle Eastern Kings and Emirs – the kingdoms and emirates of the Middle East have used islamo-fascist thought as a means to control their populations and are limited in their ability to reform out of fear of a true islamo-fascist take over as in Iran.
European Socialism – primarily in Western Europe, unlike the firm opposition to Communism, their Socialism has gained support over the years and influences all aspect their lifestyles, thought and culture.
Russia – Vladimir Putin and other remnants of the former Soviet Union continue to show a return to Soviet styled governance rather than encouraging Liberty and fighting the corruption that followed the fall of the USSR through rule of law and vigilant economic and intellectual openness.
Of course, there are other risks and areas of concern.
The single greatest threat to the United States comes from within. Not just within the nation, but within each of its citizens. As noted in a previous post, the course within is the most significant and it is measured by our understanding, acceptance and acting on a moral basis. Some respondents to the question will make the issue a religious issue, a possible cause for the reactionary steps of those attacking the foundation of our nation today; others will find a particular symptom of our weakened moral state and attribute the danger to it. We might instead seek to prevent the disease itself from further spread to future generations and to cure it among the many (millions) currently afflicted.
In a post on the danger of moral ambivalence, and others, we’ve noted that one must recognize that while religion is often a precursor to our understanding of moral or ethical issues, as a nation we must resist the religious argument as a means for establishing rules of governance. We have the moral truths of our unalienable rights, Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, and upon these we should be able to debate and determine the proper course of governance for a strong and moral people. The trouble, of course, is when we are no longer a moral people, capable of living up to the responsibilities associated with Liberty. The danger lies therein.
The larger the role our government, the federal government in particular, plays in our lives, the less we as a people are responsible to each other and to our progeny for our decisions and actions. Federal activism in education, health, social character and what should be state or local issues remains not only a symptom of our failing moral compass but a cause for its further decay. The solution is to aim for a return to the federalist approach of our founders and to re-establish the sovereignty of the state, the community and the family. The good news is that while we are falling toward complete moral irrelevance and the loss of the most basic of truths, we have far to fall before hitting ground, and the parachute, our Constitution, remains as a means to recover.
Other Homespun Symposium Responses
A Physicist's Perspective
Bill's Big Bloviating Blog
Ogre's Politics and Views
Mud and Phud
The Commons at Paulie World
Mad Poets Anonymous
In Search of Utopia
Mark Rauterkus & Running Mates
Addendum: We are, whether perilously or not may be debated, divided in our understanding of the nature of being American, of being a free people, and of the nature of our government’s responsibilities to us as citizens. We may, or rather will, debate, on many occasions, the extent and nature of the divide in our nation. Those who see a divide may lament its existence, while others likewise seeing it, will see it as a sign of our health and prosperity. Partisan we are, some by reason and principle, others for reasons neither they nor their counterparts can discern. In the end, the truth of the divide may be seen not by our debate or acknowledgement of its existence, but by our vocal and active support for altering the direction of the nation, whether our party, or the closest in similarity, is in power or not.