A joyous Independence Day to all our American readers, one that may be more muted than days of yore in the land of our neighbours – or neighbors – to the south. There are any number of factions developing in the once-United States, but all can be traced back to those who accept the Christian principles guiding the foundation of the republic, from those who have rejected these principles, and want to start something, well, new.
This might have been predicted, for can a nation ever truly persist without being undergirded by the fullness of truth that Christ offers in the Catholic Church? Did the over-exaltation of ‘independence’ descend into individualism, sowing the seeds, however, subtly, for what we are now witnessing? Many of those who hold to ‘self-evident’ truth of the Constitution sent their children, at great expense, to universities and colleges where they were brainwashed that those truths are not self-evident, and that the only ‘truth’ is an insidious doctrine of nihilism, subjectivism, a catering to one’s identity, the passions of the moment, which leads inevitably in an enervated populace to a will-to-power, anarchy, a moral morass that leads only to destruction. De Tocqueville saw this coming in 1835. There are calls for a new secession from an increasingly tyrannical federal government, but how this would play out is anyone’s guess. Who gets the breadbasket?
We can only be independent if we are free, and only free if we live in the truth which ‘sets us free’. How many still actually want the difficult responsibility of freedom? Crisis magazine has a couple of intriguing articles this morning, one on the kind of people the founding fathers envisaged in their new nation – a people disciplined and virtuous, but who have now become dissipated and addicted to all sorts of easy food and pleasures, if not outright vices. In a democracy – insofar as such a thing still exists – such a people can always be bribed with baubles and free handouts. And this is only exacerbated by the millions streaming across the porous southern border (as the northern one remains a scarcely penetrable fortress). It is a question how many of them share the values, the ethics, mores and customs, of what we call ‘America’.
Whither do we go? The Didache, the early teaching of the Apostles, following that exhortation of Moses to the Israelite people, proclaims that there is a way of life, and a way of death, and a great divide exists between the two, as we are tragically discovering. Here’s hoping and praying that, with the symbolic fall of Roe v. Wade, the way of life wins out in the hearts of many.
For a bit of an uplift, as you are washing dishes or preparing a meal, is Mark Steyn’s audio celebration of a happier and more triumphant time in America – which is not that long ago, and what was, might yet be again. As our Faith teaches, we always have a choice, and freedom is ours, but we have to fight, especially against our own lower nature, to keep it.
God bless America, home of the free, and of the brave. As Pope John Paul II said to families, he might have said to the United States: Become what you are!