July 4, 2019

A Birthday Lament for America

On this 243rd anniversary of the birth of the United States of America, I cannot help but reflect on the ideological divide that currently has this country in its death grip. While some would consider this progress and reason to celebrate, others lament this as a sad state of affairs. But like the frog who will instinctively jump out when thrown live into a pot of boiling water, we have been willing to sit in the cold frying pan while the heat is turned up so slowly that we've barely noticed what's happening.

In 1973, Eric Sloane published a book entitled The Spirits of '76. It was written in anticipation of then upcoming bicentennial of the United States. In this book he identifies and laments the loss of ten qualities that could be considered the foundational American mindset at the time of this nation's birth. Following are a series of quotes from The Spirits of '76. They seem appropriate to reflect on today.

The Spirit of Respect

"Respect for family, respect for the nation and the land, respect for the flag and the law, respect for mankind and respect for oneself ---these have been outstandingly wanting during the last few years. Within the family, within the nation, and to all other nations, the only hope for the survival of civilization is respect or love for one another. In the end, this is all that matters."

The Spirit of Hard Work

"Once upon a time in America, hard work was a part of life; it was one of the pleasures and satisfactions of living. Even as I write these words they have a ridiculous ring to my ear, so conditioned am I to the popular American creed of seeking the most pay for the least amount of work. Hard labor is considered either drudgery or punishment, or, at best, a necessary evil. . . Retirement from labor has become a national aim, and the physical and mental pleasure from hard work has become a vanished American spirit."

The Spirit of Frugality

"Throwing things away has become an American habit. It has been estimated that we waste more in one second than our gross national economy earning of two hundred years ago. There were no garbage dumps in those days because all leftovers were reused. . . The spirit of frugality began its decline slowly until the last few decades of acceleration, when we have overcome the fine art of saving and finally established a unique economy of waste."

The Spirit of Thankfulness

"Pioneer Americans were rich in the spirit of thankfulness. . . It was the proper way of life in those days to be grateful often and express it openly. . . The art of being thankful in America has not progressed in spite of two hundred years of all sorts of amazing things to be thankful for. The gifts of life are more and more taken for granted and the general belief is that we constantly deserve more than whatever we already have."

The Spirit of Pioneering

"Without adventure, civilization is automatically in the process of decay. . .It has always given me wonder why ninety percent of the people choose to live in ten percent of America's landscape, subjecting themselves to the insidious debasement of overcrowding. Out there between cities, in mountains and prairies, are still hundreds of thousands of empty acres of adventure and health and meaningful living, being ignored by both people and government."

The Spirit of Godliness

"A religious regard for nature and the spiritual is an indispensable element of greatness. As man develops and disturbs nature's relationship with the Creator, not only does the quality of the landscape become mediocre but the same loss of character seems to occur to the disturber himself. . . It is strange that in an age of scientific greatness, there should be an increasing mediocrity in mankind."

The Spirit of Agronomy

"Farming was the classical way of American life. . . Push-button machinery and synthetic manures have pushed agronomy so far from nature that the modern farmer is seldom more than a businessman in overalls or a rural manufacturer. . . Farming is geared only to big business and the spirit of agronomy is a vanished American trait."

The Spirit of Time

"We have become artists at the business of going fast. . . Although people used to have a righteous contempt for anything done in a rush, speed has become today's fullest measure of efficiency. Time-savers are an obsession, but the time saved is only squandered; it is like hoarding money in order to be extravagant."

The Spirit of Independence

"Everyone knows about 'the American Heritage' but, when asked, few can say what that heritage is. Boiled down to a sentence, what made us different. . . was independence and total respect for the individual. . .  Already mass produced machinery has created a mass-produced civilization in which the individual often has less importance than the machine. Individualism is in the twilight of its favor: mediocrity finds both safety and acceptance in standardization."

The Spirit of Awareness

"The most important difference between the early American and his modern counterpart, if boiled down to one word, was awareness. The early life was saturated with the essence of awareness that made living a vital experience. . . The extent of unawareness today would be unbelievable to the early American. All the necessities of life being made for you or done for you by someone unknown from somewhere unknown, produces a dehumanized existence in which the only part left for us to play is to pay out money in exchange."

These are the values I learned from my grandparents and read about in books by authors like Eric Sloane, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Ralph Moody. Yet, I'd say most people today would view these ideals as antiquated or naive. Because they have all but vanished from modern thinking, I suspect that to many they make no sense, especially those who only know the rewritten version of American history.

But can you not imagine a nation (any nation) in which the individuals who lived there respected themselves and the rights, opinions, and property of others? Who respected the earth and the environment. Whose lifestyles created no waste. Who were willing to see hard work as creative and giving purpose. Who were grateful for what they had. This is the mindset we consider nostalgic and the lifestyle we consider backward. This is the spirit of America we have walked away from.

Most people would say we can't go back, and sadly, I have to agree with them. But if that's the case, exactly what are we heading toward? We are now a nation that makes demands with disrespect, tries to manipulate public opinion with political hysteria, and thinks it can force changes in behavior through restrictive laws. The problem is that these tactics do nothing to unite people in a common confidence of the proposed solution. They only deepen the divide. Is this really what we want?

What do you think?


Gorges Smythe said...

I believe that we DO need to go back, for the simple reason that leaving those things in the dust was NOT progress.

Leigh said...

Gorges, I absolutely agree that abandoning these principles is NOT progress. But the question is, HOW do we go back?????

Ellen Leigh said...

I agree with you wholeheartedly. Going back is impossible, we must move forward, but take these principles and work them back into our culture. Other nations are doing it/have done it. We need to get away from the wasteful practices of big business, big AG, Monsatan, big Pharm, medical 'insurance' and medicine for profit. Education is key in this, people are not being educated, they are being indoctrinated to continue this wasteful way of life without a thought for future generations. How do we do that? We start by a total change of political parties in this country and try to vote in representatives who actually have the welfare of all of the people at heart. They must be willing to work with other nations to save this planet, or we are doomed. We must all be willing to educate others with what we know of how to take care of each other and the Earth. We start where we stand, right here, right now.

Mama Pea said...

Anyone who can't see the disaster looming ahead of us either lives with his/her head in the sand because of personal choices or is of the younger generation(s) who has known nothing else but the ways of our doomed society. It's going to get worse before it gets better and we will pay a huge price, but I pray those who have studied and have the intelligence to make it through the terrible turbulence will enable us to "go back" to those same principles, values and beliefs you've set forth in this post.

Kathy said...

It's totally possible to "go back" to those values - one individual at a time. Teach our kids those values. Lead by example. Having politicians in office who care about those values would help, but it's not government's responsibility to legislate us into values (haven't they already done that?!?).
So Leigh, keep writing about your values and we'll keep sharing them and appreciating them! At the end of the day, it's about individuals living our values. All we can really do is work on ourselves and our values and lead by example. There are more of us than you might think if you listen to propaganda and fake news. I think people being tired of the "same old, same old" is what created the opportunity for current politician(s) to be elected. I think the pendulum will swing the other way at some point - hopefully not too far!
Losing hope for "old fashioned" values only feeds hopelessness. I choose to remain optimistic and live those values and model those values for those around me. That's a firm belief in karma! You get back the same vibes that you put out there!

Leigh said...

Ellen Leigh, you've pinpointed the biggest culprits - the industrialized mega-machines who profit enormously by our dependency on them. And that's the real problem, isn't it - there's little profit to be made from free and independent peoples. But we are so indoctrinated in thinking these entities are normal and necessary, that we fear we have nowhere else to go, that there are no alternatives available. I always hope my writing shows people that there are alternatives, and that's it's possible for even such as Dan and me to start working in that direction.

Mama Pea, it all boils down to hope for the best but prepare for the worst, doesn't it?

Kathy, well said. I agree that there is an increased dissatisfaction with this modern "normal," and I agree the key to change is by modeling the values that we've almost lost. People are so indoctrinated to accept "everybody else is doing it," that I don't think they realize there's another way. I always hope with my writing that I give an example of another way. That it's possible to start living differently. That it's possible to start THINKING differently.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Leigh, I was not familiar with this work, but this is a brilliant post.

Here is the odd thing (at least to me): I know any number of people who would read that list just as a list of items and claim that is what they want in their lives yet continually fail to live it out in practice. Up to this point, we have been essentially coasting on the deposits made by others so they can get away with it. In the not too distant future, I suspect, they will have to declare for one or the other. And if they declare for the way life is now - the way the view the world now - I fear they will not enjoy the consequences.

Florida Farm Girl said...

I think you're right. The development of "agribusiness" has been one of the worst afflictions to America. True farmers care about the earth, they care about the environment and usually they care about each other. I'll just be a throwback to prior times along with you.

Rain said...

Leigh, I loved reading this post. I was unaware of the Spirit of '76 and I'm so glad you posted those ten "spirits" for me to read about. My eyes actually watered up when I got to the Spirit of Frugality. I'm an Earth lover and I try my best to respect the Earth as much as is possible...I get better every year, but that wasteful attitude is rampant across Canada as well and it hurts my heart to be reminded of it. I think all of those qualities need to be revisited by people, is it too late? Yes for most. Not for some. I'm with you on this! xx

Ed said...

As a student of American history, it is fairly easy to go back through all 243 years as a country and beyond that, and find disrespect, manipulation of public opinion with political hysteria and forced changes through restrictive laws.

In terms of respect, how about a supporter of John Adams who suggested that were Jefferson to become president, "we would see our wives and daughters the victims of legal prostitution." A Jefferson supporter responded by saying Adams "behaved neither like a man nor like a woman but instead possessed a hideous hermaphroditical character."

When one thinks of forced changes in behavior through restrictive laws, I immediately think of prohibition. That was nearly 100 years ago. Polygamy comes to mind further back. I'm sure if I thought awhile, I could name a dozen more examples further back in history.

My point is that despite what people think, our country has seen worse and been more sharply divided in history. This decade isn't anything new. I think the great thing about our country is that we can be sharply divided even to the point of Civil War, and yet we still remain a country. I certainly wish things were more peaceful on the political front and perhaps someday they will be, but until then, I still think divided or not, there is no other country I would rather be a citizen of than ours.

My thoughts anyway.

Retired Knitter said...

I am not a student of history, but my husband is. His observation is that no government/country/way of life lasts forever. Looking at the big picture and history ... Ancient Greek civilizations, Roman Empire, the English Empire, Hitler's Germany just to name a few -(the good and the bad, the short or the long history) - they all cycle through a rise and a fall and the fall sometimes comes from internal forces.

In some respects internal forces seem to be working against our country now. I sincerely hope not, at least not yet. But looking at where we are now - we MAKE nothing, our farm lands are shrinking, we value quantity over quality, qualified citizens don't really want to run for office, we insert ourselves into other countries trying to keep the world safe for "democracy," we have not outgrown as a society our racial hatreds, and so on. Looks like a "slide downward" to me.

Looking at the big picture from 30,000 feet up - we could be looking at our country starting to slip or at a minimum plateauing while other nations (China?) are rising or advancing on the world stage.

Oh well ... a birthday is a birthday no matter how old or how dysfunctional. Happy Birthday, America.

I'd like to think our country could last as long as the Roman Empire! Ha! Wishful thinking. Only time will tell.

Leigh said...

TB, coasting on the deposits made by others is a good analogy. What always seems to happen, is that those who benefit from the struggles made before them are never able to truly appreciate the price that was paid. They (we) always seem to take the fruit of hard work for granted. That just seems to be human nature. We've already seen the line of political correctness drawn in the sand. It's a divisive line and I agree that sooner or later there will be no room for straddling the fence.

Sue, then I'm a throwback with you! Part of the problem is that farming is no longer a personal experience. Through satellites, sensors, and automation they are developing a system of farming which can be done from a desk in any big city in the world. And never a thought to the consequences for the environment. It boggles the rational mind.

Rain, thank you! The waste the modern world produces is ludicrous. The other day I opened something that had three layers of wrapping, all to be thrown away, plus the plastic container it came in. Some of it can be recycled, but some of it can't. I do find that they less I buy, the less I have to throw away.

Ed, that's true. There were forces at work against the spirits of this nation from the beginning. And they have been increasingly at work ever since. I think the current divide, however, is different and deeper than anything we've experienced before. There are emerging those who vociferously claim that our country should be destroyed or at least fundamentally changed so that it is no longer recognizable as the nation it used to be. Look at our political choices for 2020 - socialism or democracy.

Today's divide isn't just about ideas and opinion, it's a moral and spiritual divide. Ironically, only in a nation that values respect for the individual could this happen. Why would they want to destroy this?

RT, your husband is absolutely correct - no nation lasts forever. It's either destroyed external forces or destroyed from within. You gave some good examples about the internal conflicts that are weakening us as a nation. It's just sad to think we may be living in our final days.

Unknown said...

As a citizen of a Native American tribe I have a different view of this holiday. That being said, I am a student of history and I don't hold an enchanted view of the past. Research into various branches of my own family have brought to light lots of unprincipled people that lived 100+ years ago. I feel like we are the same as we have always been.

Leigh said...

Unknown, if I were a citizen of a Native American tribe I would have no regard for this holiday. As it is, I'm a 12th generation European American whose ancestors came here, some as indentured servants, to escape the same oppression that we have dealt with throughout the history of the U.S. and indeed, are still dealing with today. I agree with you that unprincipled people have always been around. But why these are the ones who insist on imposing themselves on others is beyond me. On the other hand, neither is it accurate to paint everybody with one brush. They are rarely notorious, but there have always been principled people as well. They are found in all cultures, along with their counterparts. Unfortunately, modern culture has gone in a direction that makes living by such principles difficult, if not impossible. It all boils down to personal choice. My aim is to encourage everyone to make these "spirits" their own personal choice.

wyomingheart said...

Thank you Leigh! What goosebumps I got while reading this post! I have been following your blog for many years, and the lessons you teach here and the knowledge you share … priceless! Your call to be self reliant is why we left Florida and now farm 8 acres on the ridge in Appalachian country. We don't have as much figured out as some folks, but we are gaining. The anxiety that I used to feel about the direction of our nation has quieted a lot, because I feel we are doing something more positive with our lives in being independent... that and we are not around a lot of people anymore. I pray everyday for our nation and the leaders that guide us. I also pray for the best while preparing for the worst. Much thanks and Happy 4th !

Cockeyed Jo said...

So long as there are folks like us around all these things are still alive. We lead by example and show others the way. Yes, there's a lot to lament in the name of progress when such words were things to be cherished, but then again, I'm seeing a renewal of things past in this new "Homesteading Movement."

People need fear to spur them into action. Lord knows, there's plenty to be afraid of now. I'm not a doomsayer, nor fear monger, I'm proactive. I'm a Daughter of the American Revolution, Daughter of the Civil War (both sides), a Daughter of VFW, and a veteran. My family have fought for these truths and paid the price in blood. I'll never forget. We hold these values up with pride. But whatever comes down the pike...I prepare for the worst and pray for the best.

Happy birthday America! Cockeyed Jo

H Mathews said...


Thank you for your post. To quote Thomas Paine,”these are the times that try men’s souls.” A statement fitting 243 years after it was written. It is folks such as yourself who can in a small way stem the tide and restores some of those ideals written of in “Spirit of 76.” Your blog and book serves as a living example for those of us tired of the current state of the world and a return to something else. That something else is a return to self reliance, working with nature not against it to survive, reviving and teaching old farming methods to a younger generation. Working with your hands and your mind to solve the problems in front of you. All the while, you are pursuing Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.


Leigh said...

Wyomingheart, wow, thank you! You've just blessed me tremendously with that. I don't think many of us feel like we've got it all figured out. But if we're willing to tackle the learning curve, then bit by bit we gain that confidence and freedom from anxiety of which you speak. I, too, pray for our nation and its leaders. I don't know what the outcome of that will be, but I completely trust that it's in God's hands.

Jo, you have a history to be proud of. That's very true about the increased interest in homesteading and self-reliance. It is the best way to prepare, but I have to say that the lifestyle all by itself is hugely rewarding, don't you think?

Matt, thank you! Eloquently put. You made my day! I had never thought of our journey toward self-reliance as the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness, but you are so right. That's exactly what it is.

Iris said...


Karen thisoldhouse2.com said...

Amen again - you hit the nail right on the head. I'm horrified by the state of the union. What have we become?

Leigh said...

Iris, thank you!

Karen Ann, that's a question many of us seem to ask almost daily. I don't have the answer, but I certainly plan to do my best to be the kind of American that lives up to these ten spirits.

Mike Yukon said...

Each 'Spirit' is so true today. I worry it will never turn around until a major economic collapse happens, but even then trying to recover may be impossible.
I also feel all of it is the result of bad parenting.

Leigh said...

Mike, I see the root problem as being our economic system. It favors the wealthy and is extremely unfair. My concern is that if it should collapse, people will want to rebuild it as before. And you have a point about parenting, too. I think the problem is that parents have turned over raising children to the government, which doesn't raise them to be responsible adults, but indoctrinates them to the political fancies of the time.

Chris said...

I take the points that have been made, about history has always been filled with such divides. But what I think is different about this generation, is how we're adulterating the land (more than ever before) to possess such divides. Which has far more reaching consequences, on the largest human population we've ever had.

What was outlined, in The Spirit of '76, were accountability measures. It was interesting (but not surprising) to see respect for land, mentioned, in the spirit of respect. For without healthy eco-cycles, we have no future. No matter what else we disagree on. Past generations didn't have the benefit of supermarkets to hang their untested ideologies on. Starvation was a very real prospect, and kept civilisations accountable.

This generation is very different. We have the largest population, which depends entirely on chemically derived food for survival. Demonstrating a fundamental lack of accountability. I'm an optimist at heart though, and encouraged by those who now see the mistake in the divide, between humans and natural cycles. No matter which country you happen to live. :)

Leigh said...

Chris, it certainly seems that the problem has escalated within our lifetime. I think a huge part of the problem is that modern culture is trying to build and shape itself completely divorced from nature. It wants to rely solely on technology for its survival. And that's an illusion because it is so far removed from the reality of the human connection to the earth. How can anyone respect something that isn't even real to them?

Personally, I think our agricultural systems are key and there have been a lot of people beginning to understand that. The planet absolutely has to get away from industrialized chemical farming. It's killing the planet. Natural farming, regenerative farming, eco-farming - the name doesn't matter so much as people waking up to the fact that the ancient patterns of nature are the only patterns that work. "Progress" away from that is global suicide.

Sam I Am...... said...

I can't believe I almost missed this post. I didn't even post on the 4th as I've been caring for my other dog who has now had a stroke. Anyway, what a wonderful post! I love all the comments too! I thought it was just me getting old and wanting to go back to "the old days" but it's true...those "good old days" are what I hope heaven is. Thank you, Leigh.

Leigh said...

Sam, so glad you jumped on into the conversation. I think the others are right, we need to keep these values alive by speaking of them and modeling them. Sorry to hear about your dog! You've had a rough time with your fur family.

Kristin said...

really makes you think. Here we are in 2019 saying the same things that the author did in 1973. But I also think that is why we are homesteaders. Or part of the reason why. We see value in living a less throw away life that is good for the environment, good for us, good for (and good to) our neighbors.

Leigh said...

Kristin, I think that's very true about homesteaders. It seems to be the only way to live a simpler, less wasteful life. I also have to say that in the years we've lived closer to nature and the land, the more these values make sense.

Kathy said...

Homesteading is one way to live "old fashioned" values, but not the only way. I see it all around me. Sometimes you have to LOOK, but good values and respect is out there (and in here...tapping heart and nodding to this forum). That's why I say you have to live your values and lead by example. There are lots of people all around us doing just that. Don't let the "non values" take over your vision or ENCROACH on your vision for your own daily lives. Energy flows where attention goes!! So put your energies (all of us here!) on where we'd like to see good things happening. Or put another way... Be the change you want to see.
I'm not putting anyone down at all. I see the same things you do. And it's fine to share those concerns. But I choose to not let "non values" take over my thoughts or invade my life because I firmly believe what I said. Energy flows where attention goes! So think good values, live good values, and you'll have a life of good values. Support others who have good values. Make friends with people who have good values. Cut ties with people who don't have good values. Support causes with values you care about (time/talent/money). Distance yourself from causes that don't share your values. Again... energy flows where attention goes!

Leigh said...

Kathy, I didn't mean to upset anybody! It seems to me that there is an increasing awareness of the lifestyle choices before us as a nation, which accounts for the growing trend toward self-reliance. We see that in the popularity of homesteading, small family farming, gardening, backyard chickens, farmers markets, frugality, simple living, and DIY blogs and websites. Encouraging people in these directions is the purpose of my blog, and if you've read much of it then you know this particular post is an exception rather than the rule. It's not that I go out looking for dissension toward my views, that comes to me. For reasons unfathomable to me, there are those who choose to criticize and make no bones about saying so (anonymously, of course!) Unfortunately, I think this will be increasingly in our face until after next year's election. If anybody wanted my advice about that (which they don't) I would tell folks to turn off their TV! Even so, I think these things need to be acknowledged from time to time, if only to let people know there are choices to be made and that some of us are making them.

Kathy said...

Leigh, I wasn't upset - just stating my viewpoint. I see all the propaganda and fake news and criticism/racism/sexism/ageism, disgusting politics, etc., just like you do. Just saying I choose not to give it my ongoing attention. I choose to focus on people like those who have posted here - and you! - and other blogs I follow with people who value simpler lifestyles, less STUFF, being (or working toward) debt free and not living on credit, downsizing, simplifying (daily routines, closets, obligations/calendars, homes, lifestyles), and valuing the planet, animals, plants, and people who populate Earth. I think we're all agreeing - just saying our thoughts in different ways. =)

Leigh said...

Thanks for following the comments and clarifying Kathy. I wholeheartedly agree! :)

Powell River Books said...

These are very troubling times. I don't know where we are going as a nation. I am very upset and even angry at times. - Margy

Leigh said...

Margy, those of us who are older remember what it used to be like, so I think it's more frustrating for us. We've seen the changes and know things are going from better to worse. The younger generations have been taught solutions that so far have only worked in the realm of idealistic theory, but fail in reality. I think the consensus amongst commenters here is to focus on doing what we each can do through lifestyle changes, which I know you and Wayne are doing too. It's comforting to know we're not alone.

M.K. said...

I read your post, and was not going to comment, but decided to come read how others had replied. I did not expect to find others who took exception, and I'm glad to find that the good ole American spirit of debate is still healthy :) Haha - we're all well-trained by facebook, aren't we?

I agree very much that these traits are our ideal -- they used to be the ideal of most, and currently they are considered by only a small percentage, I think. But I agree with the history buffs here that our nation has always been plagued by the lack of these traits as well. I'll mention only two ways in which our nation is woefully deficient.

IMO, a country that built its economy, particularly its agricultural economy, on the backs of slaves, cannot succeed until the all the effects of that choice (and it was such a choice) are purged from the national system. I've just spent 3 weeks in the Mississippi Delta. Believe me when I tell you that the racial effects of our nation's past commitment to slavery are still quite alive. Respect? Did we respect the black person? Hard work? From whom did we demand work with NO pay? The black person. Frugality it one thing; forced poverty is another, for the black family. So much of what we look back upon as "good" in our past was accomplished only because we had so much "free labor." Is black slavery eradicated in the U.S.? Yes. Are its effects gone? No. And an utter lack of respect between the two races is the best evidence of that. There's a lot of fussing on this topic nationally, but precious little healing.

The other area that strikes my mind is politics, and I do NOT mean one party or the other. (I'm an Independent, a nice way of saying that I'm royally fed up with both parties!) The way that both parties play the system -- play us -- for their own political advancement, is sickening to me. They damage the pioneer spirit. They approve horrible chemicals in our soil. They make it hard for the small farmer. They discourage Godliness. They rob Americans of their freedoms and independence. We have come so far from a noble practice of democracy, and we've handed our lives over to a bunch of scoundrels in both parties. I do not think it's possible to move forward in these areas until our political system is crashed to the ground and rebuilt with all grass-roots parties.

The area I feel we common Americans are still very guilty in, is that matter of Time. We are in a constant hurry to be productive, to squeeze more in a day, and we find the opposite happens -- there's little satisfaction in hurry.

Thank you for this courageous post, Leigh! It has given me food for thought.

Leigh said...

M.K. thank you for your courageous comment! I agree with everything you've said. While I've been terribly glad to see that so many people still value these character traits, it seems that disrespect of all of them is becoming all to common. Political squabbles (I agree, both sides are guilty) really highlight this problem, because now it seems to be not only acceptable, but expected to disrespect someone with whom one disagrees. The only answer I have is to be different. And if enough of us join together to be different, perhaps we can keep these ten spirits alive.

L. J. Lowe said...

I think maybe we're waning in a few of those things... but lost... no, I don't think we've really lost any of those things.

L. J. Lowe said...

I highly suggest watching Saving Capitalism and/or Inequality for All... or any lecture by Robert Reich. Here's a few on YouTube:

Why Worry about Inequality https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCWk_mKoYdI

Saving Capitalism for the Many https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jk4VCT5fo7M

We haven't "lost" these things you posted about. There are just a lot of layers as to what's going on in our country.

Leigh said...

L.J., thanks for the links. They sound interesting.

I think there is definitely a spiritual battle going on, each side with a different set of moral values. It's pretty much showcased in politics right now, not strictly along "party" lines, but there are two different views of how the world should be, how our country should be. I think many people would agree in principle with these values, but the only way to keep them alive is to live them, and teach them to the generations after us.