A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet
Although it seems like a very long time ago, it hasn't been THAT long ago that the values held by a candidate for political office, especially a conservative candidate, was a really big deal.
Just a few short years ago, conservatives in America had not been suckered into to the moral relativism of political correctness, which, as conservatives, we understood had its birthplace in the deepest, darkest, dungeons of Hades, itself.
We still looked at a candidate's values, his or her value system, as a window into the very soul of that person.
But we dropped our guard and were swept up into the morass of moral relativism, of all things "gray," into the abyss where nothing is absolute. And we, too, were lost. We forgot about values and their immeasurable impact on the individual, on society , on business, on politics, and on the mores of a people.
So, what are "values" anyway? Before proceeding -- let me explain that normally I would not even proffer the question. But considering the times we live in and the oh, so, obvious lack of "values" today, it struck us that maybe folks really no longer understand what is meant by "values."
Simply put -- "values" is/are the beliefs of a person or social group in which they have an emotional investment (either for or against something) Example: One can be for or against abortion, for or against same sex marriage, for or against socialism, etc.
Values are the deep-seated beliefs that people, institutions, and societies share.
"A value is a belief, a mission, or a philosophy that is meaningful to one. Whether we are consciously aware of them or not, every individual has a core set of personal values. Values can range from the commonplace, such as the belief in hard work, self-reliance, and punctuality, to the more psychological, such as concern for others, trust, and harmony of purpose.
The deepest poise for an individual, business, or society are its values. When values are implemented or are newly developed, then outer circumstances can change ten times faster (and better) than merely trying to change things on the surface." SOURCE: http://www.gurusoftware.com/GuruNet/ValuesCenter.htm
Upon reflection, it seems to me that we need to inquire of ourselves if values actually change. Have yours? Have mine?
Looking back on well over seven decades of life, the most striking change of all -- to me -- is the change that has taken place in America.
There was a time in America when rugged individualism, for instance, was a value, a core value, upon which no price could be placed. Not so today! An individualist, rugged or not, is today an unwelcome component in a group, an organization, a political party, even a religious denomination. An individualist today is truly "a square peg in a round hole."
America has, over the past 60 years, or so, morphed into something of a "collectivist" society. I think this change sprang from the socialist inspired student movements of the 1960s, the environmental and feminist movements, and the peace and anti-nuclear movements of the 1980s. Each "movement' acted as a "collective." Everything was a group action conceived by group-think. Individualism was suppressed.
America's political parties are, today, nothing more than a collection of special interest groups. The "Big Tent" has all but crushed the GOP. Like adding water to soup, one gets more soup, but the soup loses its flavor, its strength, and is soon unpalatable. Simply put, we find ourselves with political parties that are confused, without a sense of direction, and quite often impotent. This situation, dear reader, places the country at risk.
There was a time, not long ago, when the values of America were clear and simple: hard work, personal responsibility, family unity, spiritual strength, patriotism, and believe it or not -- RESPECT for others.
Looking at that list above, one can be forgiven if it seems foreign and alien to what passes for America's values today. There is little resemblance to free-wheeling hedonist values of a declining country in the throes of terminal socialism.
Our young can be forgiven for believing they are truly free. They can even be forgiven their lack of values and, to some extent, their sociopathic/psychopathic attitudes and behavior. From their earliest days in the American public education system they have been indoctrinated and trained to become nothing more than useful idiots. At that one thing -- they absolutely excel.
How do we reclaim our lost values? I wish I knew. Oh, I could attempt to bedazzle you with reams of wordage and rhetoric but the truth is -- I simply don't know.
Two things I am fairly certain of, however. One is -- that it will require generations just to get back to square one. And two is -- we'd darn well better get started.
J. D. Longstreet