What has been the cause of America’s downfall?

I first published my thoughts below on Jay Bookman’s blog on July 10, 2017: (Link: http://jaybookman.blog.myajc.com/2017/07/07/opinion-our-alice-in-blunderland-politics/ and followed up with this condensed version of my earlier version, as follows:

“Author James Baldwin: ‘I’m terrified at the moral apathy, the death of the heart, which is happening in my country.’

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The ‘death of the heart,’ has been occurring in growing momentum since the GOP took power following the presidency of Lyndon Johnson. Johnson, and Americans, cared about the less fortunate and supported LBJ’s ‘War on Poverty and his ideals demonstrated with his attempts to build the ‘Great Society.’ The GOP started the culture of personal greed in the early 1970s and that self-orientation at the expense of the less fortunate has culminated in the personal greed of President Donald Trump to the extent that we may lose our democracy if we do not have a change of heart in this nation.

Both Democrats and Republicans have become so jaded that they have lost the ability to love all humanity. Love is the only thing that will save this nation and this world, not intelligence, not one-upmanship, but love that is pure. That is the kind of love that loves even one’s enemies, not just those who think as they do.

We will not save our world by fighting, but by loving and opening our hearts to what is truth, forgiving and forgetting, and stopping the blaming of one another. We must, in other words, grow in spiritual consciousness, as Martin Luther King, Jr., James Baldwin, and Victor Hugo tried to show humanity through their work. We, in our present state of consciousness, are the “darkness which has preceded the sin” (Hugo).

There will ever be a philosophical and pragmatic pull within the hearts of each of us as to whether to lean more toward self-survival or lean toward altruism, and that pull has become extremely unbalanced toward survival of the fittest rather than containing some meaningful degree of altruism, based on love of all humanity.

This has been shown to be true for the America and Americans of today through the election of Donald Trump as our leader.”
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ORIGINAL AND LONGER VERSION: “Yesterday, I synthesized the ideas of three writers, given below, in order to make the comments, thereafter, that I had been thinking upon:

(1) On April 29, 2015, Jay Bookman wrote in Wednesday’s AJC, these words:

‘. . . (Dr. Martin Luther) King liked to turn to a quote from Victor Hugo, taken in turn from his novel, ‘Les Miserables’:

‘If the soul is left in darkness, sins will be committed (as in riots). The guilty one is not merely he who commits the sin but he who causes the darkness.’ ( bit.ly/JBookBallmer )

(2) On July 8, 2017, as quoted in the AJC, Leonard Pitts Jr., columnist for the Miami Herald, penned these words: ‘We are not, after all, divided because Americans pulled back from the center and retreated into extremism. No, we are divided because one party did. And, it wasn’t the Democrats. . . .We end up having mannered debates over whether to call the president’s dozens of lies lies. Meanwhile, America’s international prestige is eroding, its government is paralyzed, its friends are worried, its enemies emboldened. . . . How did the GOP get this way? How can the right right itself?. . . .’

(3) From the AJC reprint of the Washington Post’s article by Lavanya Ramanathan entitled, ‘In divided nation, Baldwin’s fiery critiques reverberate anew,’ James Baldwin is quoted, thus:

‘I’m terrified, he says in the video, ‘at the moral apathy, the death of the heart, which is happening in my country.’

——————————————————-

The ‘death of the heart,’ has been occurring in building momentum since the GOP was elected to power following the presidency of Lyndon Johnson, as I see it. Johnson, and Americans, cared about the less fortunate and supported LBJ’s “War on Poverty” and his ideals demonstrated with his attempts to build the “Great Society.” The GOP started the culture of personal greed in the early 1970s and that self-orientation at the expense of the less fortunate has culminated in the personal greed of President Donald Trump to the extent that we may lose our democracy if we do not have a change of heart in this nation.

I see, now, that both Democrats and Republicans have become so jaded in their hearts that they have lost the ability to love. Love, is the only thing that will save this nation and this world, not intelligence, not one-upmanship, but love that is pure. That is the kind of love that loves even one’s enemies, not just those who think as they do. We will not save our world by fighting but by loving and opening our hearts to what is real, forgiving and forgetting, and stop blaming one another. We must, in other words, grow in spiritual consciousness, as King and Baldwin and Hugo tried to show us. We, in our present state of consciousness, are the darkness which has preceded the sin.”

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Another poster to MES: “And what supports that assertion? Personal greed is as old as mankind or older.”
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Mary Elizabeth responds to that poster and to others:

“You are correct on that. Let me state the obvious, ‘. . . .in this present cycle, of personal greed, started in full thrust by the GOP in the early 1970s as a backlash to LBJ and FDR, with their ultraconservative think thanks and ALEC, and other groups dedicated to cutting our government to the bone so that we, as individuals, could have more of ‘our own money.’ ”

The ‘culture of darkness that created the sin’ was the ideology of selfishness that has permeated the nation since the early 1970s and that selfishness has created hatred and anger instead of communication goodwill in both parties, and not statistics and not studying the GDP.

There has been a thrust toward trying to cut the government to the bone (whether it was achieved or not) and that that ideology of selfishness has been the darkness (to which the majority of Americans have concurred) in our own souls which has created the sins of our present state in this world, whereby the two leaders of the strongest nuclear nations on Earth are more interested in accruing their personal wealth in order to demonstrate their own personal power than serving the needs of their people, including their nations’ most vulnerable.

There will ever be a philosophical and pragmatic pull within the hearts of each of us as to whether to lean more toward self-survival or lean toward altruism.

I am simply saying that that pull has become extremely unbalanced toward survival of the fittest rather than containing some meaningful degree of altruism, based on love of all humanity.”

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3 Responses to What has been the cause of America’s downfall?

  1. The crucial thing we are missing is not love but reason, applied to the most fundamental of issues, and working up from there to the foundations of ethics and to more specific things.

    So far, the world’s thinking has been dominated by the altruist morality, which demands self-sacrifice. This does not make sense, and very few people are suicidal enough to practice it with full consistency. As a result, people are left floundering, without good guidance that would help them know what to think and what to do. This has a variety of destructive consequences.

    A very brief summary of the principles we need is: It is right to pursue one’s own interests. We must identify WHAT is in our best interests. In particular, the rationally self-interested approach to others is that of the trader who seeks to exchange value for value, neither seeking nor giving sacrifices.

    Ayn Rand has done a lot of good work defining and developing these principles.

    • Our Founding Fathers would have been guilty of treason against Great Britain if our General and later Commander in Chief George Washington had lost the Revolutionary War, and they well knew it. They were willing to give up “their lives, their property, and their precious honor” to obtain that liberty. I call that love, though not love of a romantic kind.

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