In Care of Culture

“We have an obligation as Americans to lead the world in its quest for fairness, equal opportunity, and righteousness.”

The most important thing that a society can do for its own opportunity and the opportunity for the next generation, is to protect and care for its cultural identity. To do this, a people must first determine what defines them as a culture. The discussion must be reflective and considerate of all members of society. In defining the merits of culture, concentration of debate should not be on the elements that divide. Dialog should be conducted along the lines of what benefits all.

No society in the history of the world was ever united in all circumstances, opinions, ideologies, and philosophies. In all successful cultures, there was one central thread that united all members of that society in purpose. In the writings and literature of sustainable cultures, there was a specific determination that could be derived from their intellect and intent. A commitment that defined them as a people pursuant to their culture in that place in time and history.

We hear today the question, in its history was the United States ever really united? There were arguably two times when the peoples of the United States agreed universally, in premise. First, in 1776, it was the concept of freedom, limited government, and that birth is not destiny. It was an ideological consensus. Upon the declaration of independence from Great Britain, a third of the people were for independence, knowing that it meant revolutionary war. A third were undecided. And a third were Tories or loyalists. But all citizens agreed in the premise of freedom, less government, and the opposition to privileged birth. The war was complicated. The citizens supported it in different ways. But upon victory, all were united in purpose to form a new country based upon liberty and limited government.

The second time was World War II. The country was united in its opposition to Nazism and this evil from abroad. America rallied to defend what it saw as a direct threat to the principles that we as a people adhere to in the civility of nations. Yes, we were attacked by Japan, but we entered the world war to defend the right of sovereign nations and all people to exist pursuant to their defined cultures.

In 1776, the establishment of the United States of America fundamentally changed the world’s view of government. In 1940, the United States of America put its full force and effect into defending the principles of common decency.

Now we find ourselves today pondering the definition of our culture – a culture that binds us as a people. Perhaps we need a new declaration or statement of culture that will consummate a common purpose. A definition that will unite us even in our diversity, our religions, our government philosophies, and our individual feelings of opportunity and the pursuit of happiness.

The world today is spiraling into conflict. We most assuredly would agree that ISIS and irrational extremists who not only don’t recognize liberty, but are determined to eliminate it, are a common threat to our definition of human dignity. Europe and its debt crisis, resulting in confrontation with Greece, is a result of centuries of culture and government supporting the concept that the realm has all authority and must manage the affairs of men. The United States established the revolutionary idea that man is sovereign over government, and that government is of the people, to serve the people.

We have an obligation as Americans to lead the world in its quest for fairness, equal opportunity, and righteousness. No other country can be the light or beacon for this cause except the United States of America. The cliff of despair facing the world today cannot be solved by other countries steeped in the perils of thought that liberty is secondary to government power.

To be a lighthouse for the world’s ships of state, we must first reestablish our common bonds and purpose. What is it that defines American culture? What is it that unites us in purpose? What is it that makes us feel American regardless of race, creed, color or sex? The French personified it in their gift of the Statue of Liberty. A torch held high for all to see as a symbol that no matter what your origins, no matter what your state in life, freedom and equality are available to all through a belief that all men are created equal.

It is not our military might, it is not the strength of our economy, and it is not the wealth of our resources that make us strong. It is a commitment to a culture that defines common purpose for the dignity of all people. In 1775, Thomas Paine, writing in his closing chapter of Common Sense, reminded the colonies that they were great in number, they were great in wealth, and they were great in resources. But then he urged them to consider, “it is not in numbers, but in unity, that our great strength lies; yet our present numbers are sufficient to repel the force of all the world.” In other words, they were large enough to carry on the fight, but their success lay in their unity. We have heard since grade school, the words uttered by Founding Fathers John Dickinson and Patrick Henry, and quoted many times by many leaders, “United we stand, divided we fall.” This is a phrase that the Founding Fathers did not take for granted. It was a founding principle.

It is up to America to lead the world. It starts with a new commitment to a common purpose. It starts with taking care of our culture.

My name is Marc Nuttle and this is what I believe.

What do you believe?