What, exactly, makes this nation "America"?
It’s not economics. Economic conditions are always the result of a nation’s culture and policies, not the cause. We need to ask what created the culture and policies that made us the most prosperous nation in history.
The answer tells us what we, as a nation, believe. Our Founders began by saying, "We hold these truths to be self-evident".
Our entire history flows from our belief in those self-evident truths.
In modern language, the truths of America’s heritage are:
God exists and is the highest authority. The American Revolution can only be justified if there was an authority above the King – an authority whose standards the King was violating. A government can only be wrong if there is something higher to measure its actions against.
Our Creator is the source of our unalienable rights. If there is no Creator, we are not endowed. We can only have whatever the government decides to give us. And what a government gives, a government can take. For rights to be unalienable, they must be beyond the reach of the government.
The voice of the church is a necessary part of a free society. It doesn’t matter what denomination, the presence of the church is a constant reminder to everyone that the government is not the final answer.
There are legitimate limits on the power of the state. If there is an authority above the state, and there are individual rights beyond its reach, then there must be limits on what the state is allowed to do. The United States Constitution clearly defines those limits.
The government is accountable to the people for its conduct. Government is the entity that the people establish to protect their unalienable rights. Since the people establish the government, the government is accountable to them. This is both a right and a responsibility.
Government functions should be handled at the most local level of government possible. In order for the people to hold the government accountable, every government function should be handled at the most local level possible.
Every person must be treated equally before the law. No one can be above, or below, the standards of the law. No person or group can be above, or below, both its protections and its requirements.
Every person deserves the opportunity to direct his own destiny. No government has the legitimate power to guarantee the success of its citizens, or protect them from their failures.
The fundamental unit of American society is the family. Strong families require the lowest level of government services or interventions; therefore, the most effective way to keep government within its legitimate limits is to preserve and protect the traditional family.
Church and community are the preferred providers of social welfare programs. We do have an obligation to assist those in need. Church and community programs provide that assistance without creating a mentality of entitlement.
There is an American culture, forged from a melting pot of ethnicities, and embraced by generations of settlers who came seeking to become part of this nation. They built the most exceptional nation the world has ever seen.
That is our American heritage. It has been paid for with the lives, fortunes, and honor of our Founders, and protected with the blood of generations of our military men and women.
Today, we are its guardians. Let history show that we rose to defend it!
Peg Luksik is the Chairman of the Center for American Heritage. Learn more about the heritage of this exceptional nation at www.centerforamericanheritage.com