About a month ago I wrote a post about a book by Dennis Prager, “Still the Best Hope: why the world needs American values to triumph.” According to Mr. Prager, there are three ideologies competing for the allegiance of humankind. They are: Islamism, Leftism and Americanism. He defines American values as 1) Liberty, 2) In God We Trust and 3) E Pluribus Unum, the three expressions which appear on all American coins. His trinity of ideologies and values helps me understand my own political framework.
I consider myself to be a cultural Christian meaning that I identify with Christian values such as practicing the Golden Rule and trying to be a Good Samaritan rather than believing in any particular theological doctrines.
My social values are based on my moral and religious values. Americans have the good fortune to live in a very prosperous country with much personal liberty. But along with our freedom and prosperity comes responsibility. First of all, we are responsible for our own behavior. If we make bad choices, we have to accept the consequences and try to learn from our mistakes. We have greatly benefitted from the hard work of our forebears. In return it is our responsibility to leave the world a better place than we found it.
Just as my social values are consistent with my moral values, so do my social values determine my political values. I am a fiscal conservative and a social moderate. I consider it highly irresponsible for my generation to leave a huge, and growing, national debt for future generations. Either government should cut back on spending or it should raise taxes to pay for what it spends.
But I also consider it to be America’s responsibility, as well as in its own self-interest, to promote freedom and responsibility around the world. This is demanding, expensive and sometimes controversial but we need to be willing to do it. Likewise, we need to provide an adequate safety net for those among us who are truly unable to cope for themselves.
This is my first public attempt to describe the underlying values around which I organize and conduct my life. It’s a start but I’m pretty sure that I’ll be coming back to this theme again in the future!