What Has Been Lost
Most if not all of the problems we face as a nation are rooted here — loss of a common value system. As with other pages in this site, explaining that concisely is not possible. Our departure from what was originally a common value system has been in progress for a very long time — some [including some of our Founding Fathers] would say, since the very birth of our nation. Without getting too technical and letting my minor in Mathematics dominate what I’m writing here, let me just say that when there is no absolute standard, there is no standard — and that Statistics theory in its simplest form demonstrates this clearly [see brief explanation below*].
The phenomenal success of America was initially achieved through the efforts of people who wanted to be Americans, not just live in America but leave their loyalty with the country of their birth [or elsewhere]. That success continued and multiplied through several generations of people born here and brought up in an environment fostered by that same sense of identity. In more recent times, some would say “modern times”, that sense of identity has degenerated into a sense of entitlement and a “What’s in it for me?” mindset. Millions of people don’t LOVE their country any more — they LOVE their causes; and their country [because, ironically, of the freedoms their predecessors fought and died to provide them] is simply the platform on which they can champion their causes.
Being an American should mean to all of its citizens today what it meant to generations of Americans, including mine, who were brought up in an environment in which loyalty to God and country was an integral part of our very existence. Unfortunately, for tens if not scores or, God forbid, hundreds of millions of Americans today, that is not the case. I hope and pray that our rapidly-accelerating digression from that environment has not already taken us so far down that path that it is too late to restore it.
In a nation of 320 million people, if one could find just a hundred people who could agree on a set of ten [or twenty, or a hundred — this number really doesn’t matter in this context] principles and concepts as being “absolute truth” or “agreed-to standards”, the number of resulting “absolute standards” throughout the nation would be essentially infinite — i.e., there would be no standard. The math, if you want to look it up, is the number of combinations of “x” things taken “y” at a time, “x” in this case being 320 million and “y” being 100 [in my example — as with the number of standards, this could be 1,000, or almost any number; it really doesn’t matter in this context].