Do most Americans truly appreciate what it means to be free? In his new book Suicide of the West, author Jonah Goldberg writes that unless we develop a sense of gratitude for the values that sustain our independence, American democracy will continue on a path of decay.
“Anything made by man must be maintained by man or it will be reclaimed by nature,” Goldberg explained in a recent discussion with the Goldwater Institute. “Anyone who has owned a boat knows that if you don’t maintain the thing, nature will reclaim it. The same goes for human institutions. We constructed democracy out of Lockeanism and the English Revolution, turned it into law, and created these institutions. It requires upkeep. The key ingredient of upkeep for democratic capitalism is gratitude and we don’t teach gratitude in this culture anymore—we teach resentment and entitlement.”
Today, people are no longer taught to appreciate the fruits of democratic capitalism, Goldberg said. They are instead reverting to human nature by turning to tribalism, populism, and nationalism.
“As a culture, we are making choices that need to be reversed,” Goldberg explained. “We know how to turn these ships around, but it doesn’t mean that it’s not hard. The answers are all in front of us. We simply choose not to take the path that is hard.”
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