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.”

Click here to watch Goldberg’s interview and to see a recent Goldwater Institute book event where he discussed his new book.

Liberty in the News

Raffling off our rights
Imagine if your right to use your property was determined by a government lottery. It might sound farfetched, but it’s reality in Pacific Grove, Calif., where residents must win a raffle to enjoy the right to rent their homes. Read more from Goldwater Executive Vice President Christina Sandefur.

Entrepreneur vs. Big Government
Nashville entrepreneur Armand Lauzon created a unique business which connects customers directly with cosmetologists who can perform in-home or at-work services in Tennessee. But as soon as he found success, he butted heads with big government. Find out what happened.

30 Milestones for 30 Years of Success
The Goldwater Institute is celebrating 30 years of defending freedom. Here’s a look at some of our milestone accomplishments during that time.