Twilight in America
Look out your window. What do you see? What I see when looking out my window is America. Outside my window is a Cape Cod style house, painted gray, surrounded by dogwoods, a maple in front, and an American flag proudly blowing in the wind. Inside this house sits a family. A mom. A dad. And their twins, a boy and a girl. They sit down for dinner, sharing their day, ending their night in a cacophony of laughter.
This is twilight in America. For millions of Americans, this dream is dead.
Reimagining this dream requires something new of us. My vision for America will not be an endless repetition of modern political orthodoxy. Rather, a reemergence of the common good, righteous governance, and a willingness to use just political power.
Government begins with good governance – a commitment to the common good and the importance of faith, values, and community. “These principles include respect for the authority of rule and of rulers; respect for the hierarchies needed for society to function; solidarity within and among families, social groups, and workers’ unions, trade associations, and professions; appropriate subsidiarity, or respect for the legitimate roles of public bodies and associations at all levels of government and society; and a candid willingness to ‘legislate morality’ – indeed, a recognition that all legislation is necessarily founded on some substantive conception of morality, and that the promotion of morality is a core and legitimate function of authority. Such principles promote the common good and make for a just and well-ordered society.”
The state, for its part, plays an important role in fostering morality and direction, helping all citizens to flourish. The idea of liberalism has failed. “It failed not because it fell short of its vision of the isolated and autonomous human person, and the effort to construct a society indifferent to questions of the common good – but because it succeeded in doing so.” Politics is not about each individual, rather the larger truth. The law is “a wise teacher,” and an old friend; “an inculcator of good habits.” To paraphrase political commentator Michael J. Knowles, we must use the power of “big government,” the power of the state, to wield the culture and ban things that are immoral and actively harmful to it. It cannot be our small government against their big government, it must be our big government against their big government. Indeed, a prudent and healthy use of censorship based on truth will be required in this vision. If we are to sustain our nation this is what is required of us: big, bold, unyielding action and the use of our political power. For far too long we have shied away from this. It is time our society takes the reins on its culture.
Freedom is a matter of limits. It is not the right to do whatever we want, but rather understood as doing what we ought to do. There is a difference between true freedom and licentiousness. If freedom is simply doing whatever we want, if we only give into our base passions and desires, then it is not really freedom at all – it is slavery. Without moral virtue, our republic cannot stand. Without it, we become our own dictators as we slide under the rule of our passions. This implies that we have duties far beyond our rights. There is no absolute right to do whatever we want, and therefore the cult of individualism must be put aside.
The cornerstone of civilization is the family. In pursuit of the common good, government must protect life at all its stages. Protecting the definition of marriage as one man and woman is critical to securing the integrity of our nation. Policies should be directed towards encouraging the growth and stability of families. The success of the family leads to the success of our country, as families instill values and a love of country.
Further, economic policies must reflect the success of the family. An unyielding allegiance to the liberal “invisible hand” of capitalism is not only dangerous, but naive. While free markets are critical for economic success, they cannot be limitless. They must be ordered to the common good. In the end, the economy must serve the interests of the worker, family, and community, so all may live and work with dignity.
This policy requires the government to protect citizens from perverse market forces. Similarly, Twitter, and other media organizations, which act as the de facto public square, are engaged in suppressing political discourse and prominent conservative viewpoints. It is not that there are no limits to speech, or that Twitter can ban no speech at all, it is precisely that they are censoring conservative, true speech, that is wrong. Twitter must be regulated.
Hand in hand with truth, is justice. Securing our cities and communities requires we reaffirm that justice is punitive, focusing on repaying the debt to society caused by crime and violence. Law enforcement is required to reform cities. Further, cities must rediscover the beauty that once existed – cathedrals, courthouses, and graceful architecture – instead of utilitarian warehouses and meaningless skyscrapers.
Part of securing our nation’s success requires supporting our domestic industries. In all matters of trade, our nation must come first. For decades, the global consensus has been to promote free trade. However, it has been disastrous for our nation, leading to the crippling of our home industries and outsourcing of labor. To counter this, we must once again embrace our national history of using tariffs and protectionism to secure the economic success of our country, forcing critical industries and jobs sent abroad back home. The object should be buying American goods and protecting American jobs and industries, both for national security purposes and the economic success of our own citizens.
Recently, America was energy independent. This is a state in which we need to return, focusing on our own production and needs domestically, and not being reliant on foreign governments or companies for our survival. Reviving key pipelines for domestic supply is critical. However, this is not a call to environmental destruction, rather a prudent examination of how best to provide for humanity, while fulfilling our call to be stewards of the environment.
Development of a proper worldview requires education to instill values and truth. The focus of education should not be on “academic freedom,” but rather an institution that fosters the idea that freedom and discourse is limited by truth. Academic freedom is a “hoax” that attempts to make all things neutral. As referred to by William F. Buckley, Jr. in God and Men at Yale, academic freedom is a “superstition.” Education is about values. By its very nature, it is coercive. There is a difference between right and wrong, and true and false. This requires limiting what can be taught in the classroom, from grade school to the university. Critical Race Theory and transgender ideology must be banned from the curriculum because they are dangerous and portray a false conception of the world. Further, educational institutions need to be held to higher standards to produce well-rounded and civic-minded citizens. Parents always remain the ultimate educator.
Finally, the United States is a nation, not an empire. Like other nations, we are a nation centered around community, family, and our own substantive culture that make us who we are. Our values and system of governance cannot be replicated everywhere. The West, and its offspring of nations, are unique. It is unjust and not the responsibility of the United States to be the “world police,” involve ourselves in endless foreign wars in the pursuit of nation building, or act as the protector of the world. The days of American imperialism must come to an end, which includes leaving certain international bodies and substantially reducing foreign aid. Similarly, securing our southern border from illegal immigration, and drastically limiting legal immigration, both for its economic and cultural consequences, is a must.
“If the United States is to continue in the western tradition which made it great, it behooves those of our citizens interested in the present and future of this nation to search out and support the…institutions which are striving to maintain that tradition. A tradition which was grounded on freedom limited by a belief in God, by faith in the omnipotence of truth and the benevolence of justice. In a word, a tradition that freedom springs from truth, but truth is rarely freedom’s offspring.”
For twilight to set on America once again, a firm reliance on faith, truth, and family is required. The next time your neighbor looks out their window, what will they see in yours?
 The Michael Knowles Show
 The Michael Knowles Show