Our country evolves from the philosophy of Aristotle flowing into biblical beliefs flowing into the Magna Carta and English Law. Then it mixes with the Reformation, Scholastic Philosophy and Rosseau Liberation of the Individual. ( There are many side roads but this is what I see as the main route to understanding who we are as Americans. )
I also point to Reformation which called for reform in the Catholic Church and Dietrich Bonhoeffer a Luteran Pastor and Theologian who did every thing he could to stop Hitler with it costing him his life. He said he would be a Catholic if he ever met one. Ghandi made a similar reference saying if he ever met a Christian, he would be one. So, evidently, many of us fail in our evangelistic efforts by example. However Christianity also stands on its own merits outside the example of others.
There is a another part of the Reformation where I get into trouble with some when I bring it up. When a universal doctrine is rejected, many bad things can flow from it. If you start tracing the writings of those who rejected a universal doctrine with can wind up with some sinister conclusions. Someone like Nietzche comes along and says power makes it right. This bring us someone like Hitler into the mix of human endeavors. It also influences things like abortion. Where the mother has the power and the baby has none but the objective truth he or she never get a chance to express.
The main question remains about the imbalance of individualism and personality. Our individuality secludes our judgements to our own being while our personality calls out to reach a common good for all in a society. Our individuality is more embedded in our matter while our personality in embedded in our form or ( call it spirit or soul ). Our personality calls our will to choose the highest good possible. In searching for the ideal life on earth we must seek out our creator and the perfect love of God. We must go outside of ourselves.
Americans go down two different roads. We isolate ourselves to the total freedom of the individual at the expense of universal common good. Pope Benedict in his economic encyclical suggests the use of subsidiarity which means to make all decision as the lowest level possible. This is the family. Liberal forces like to think it is some distant power of diversity which can rule over all. And when exceptions become the rule there is no rule left.
Now we have elite powerful forces too who have their own concept of one size fits all and try to force their ways upon us. Both conservatives and liberals are part of this grouping call for a one world government.
I believe our economic day remains the stumbling block in our seeking the ideal life on earth. Too many find it difficult to translate their day of worship to the rest of the week where we spend most of our time and efforts at work.
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