The birth of a nation like the birth of a child celebrates unity and separation simultaneously. The child is born and exists outside the mother’s body as a separate entity and at the same time becomes a part of an expanded family unit. So it is with countries. When America was born in 1776 she became a separate entity existing outside of Great Britain. America’s Declaration of Independence celebrated the country’s separateness at the same time it established the unity of an extended family of American citizenry.
Most discussions focus on the benefits of unity – few examine the advantages of separateness. Our country is young but our Founding Fathers had centuries of European history to teach them the value of separateness.
In trying to form a more perfect union our Founding Fathers examined the political systems of their day and rejected them all. They said NO to monarchies, NO to totalitarianism, NO to authoritarianism, NO to theocracies, and NO to every form of collectivism that prioritizes the group over the individuals in it.
Separateness from Great Britain, separation of church and state, and the separateness of the individual were essential to American freedom, liberty, and upward mobility. On July 4, 1776 the Continental Congress voted to adopt the Declaration of Independence and declared their separateness as the United States of America.
For almost two centuries people came to America in search of religious freedom and the opportunity for upward mobility that was the American dream. Coming to America was a chance to be free of monarchies, theocracies, caste systems, and authoritarian, totalitarian political systems demanding subservience to the state. America was the land of opportunity because it was the land of individualism, the meritocracy, and upward mobility.
For almost two centuries, from the pioneer days until the end of WWII, American culture and institutions supported traditional American values of individualism and the meritocracy. America’s children were encouraged to grow up, work hard, and become productive emotionally ADULT members of society. Love of country was reinforced with history lessons and student recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. Love of family was supported with social norms that reinforced marriage and family life. Love of god was reinforced with the moral and ethical teachings of the church. Patriotic nationalism was the unifying principle of the extended American family that transcended differences among individuals, individual families, religions, and political views.
What made America great was the Founding Fathers’ insistence upon individualism and the meritocracy because together they incentivized growth and development. The harshness of the environment demanded that pioneers live in the adult world of objective reality and personal responsibility. If they did not work hard and till the soil they starved. If they did not build shelters they froze. America eventually became the most powerful country on Earth. What happened?
The Culture War on America that began in the 60s was the sinister plan to destroy America from within by targeting its infrastructure of self-reliance, emotional adulthood, and the meritocracy that produced American exceptionalism. The Culture War was designed to infantilize Americans and regress them backwards to a permanent state of childish dependence where they could be controlled. Collectivism was brought to America.
The staggering difference between 18th century America and 21st century America is reflected in the political bifurcation evident in the country today. Conservatives want to make America great again by promoting emotional adulthood, independence, personal responsibility, and objective reality. Leftist liberals want to regress America into a collectivist socialist state of eternal childhood, dependence, government responsibility, and subjective reality.
Collectivism appeals to the generation of dependent millennials many of whom still live in their parents’ basements. WHY? Because collectivism requires dependence and rewards dependence. Collectivism celebrates group identity – individualism celebrates adult separateness and independence. Socialism, the fashionable political system preferred by childish millennials, offers eternal childhood and escape from freedom, but requires total surrender to government authority.
Young people without coping skills who require safe spaces, Play-Doh, service dogs, counseling services, and censorship to protect them from opposing ideas are the fruits of the radical leftist culture war on America seeking to create a childish, unaware, compliant public. Temper tantrums, uncontrolled outbursts of profanity, and calls for violence are all symptomatic of underdeveloped children disguised as chronological adults. Thought precedes behavior. Thinking like a child produces childish behavior.
Aging into chronological adulthood is an involuntary biological certainty as long as that person is alive. Emotional adulthood is an expectation and was an essential part of the growth process in pioneer days. That was then and this is now. Emotional adulthood in the 21st century is no longer an expectation it is a choice. Here is the problem.
A nation of children cannot sustain itself – society requires the leadership of rational adults living in objective reality to make decisions. So, when people choose free stuff over freedom they must understand that they are paying for their free stuff with their freedom and independence. This is no small thing. The taker must understand that dependence on the government is like dependence on parents – the giver makes the rules not the taker.
The people who choose freedom over free stuff must understand that their individual freedom is paid for with their individual personal responsibility. Choosing to be an emotional adulthood requires personal responsibility and surrendering the dependence of childhood. Separateness is the essential element of adulthood. Millennials must choose to be the adult or choose to remain the child. They must choose independence and separateness or choose to remain dependent on the government.
Children are born into this world completely self-absorbed without a sense of “other.” They live in a state of infantile fusion until they can identify “other” and recognize their separateness. The task of childhood is to emerge from this state of fusion and mature into an emotional adult capable of nurturing so the cycle of life can continue.
Dear America: Who’s Driving the Bus? is a philosophy book written to help people understand why they do what they do. The universal paradigm it presents explains why the choice to become an emotional adult or to remain an emotional child is so complicated. Who prevails in this internal personal emotional struggle between growing up or remaining a dependent emotional child will determine the future of America.
Our nation celebrates its independence and separateness on July 4th. Our nation needs its children to grow up into emotionally mature responsible adults living in objective reality for our celebration of independence to continue. Nations have a cycle of life parallel to the human cycle of life. Independence is a choice and a struggle for nations as well as for children.
EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the Goudsmit Pundicity.