What’s in the RV?
This is not going to be about a recreational vehicle, sorry. This article is actually about Roots and Values, things that have gone into making us act and think like we do today.
How about we start by looking at the past?
I grew up in New England, so with Thanksgiving coming up, my thoughts go back to the first American Thanksgiving and the pilgrims in the new settlement in the Massachusetts Bay Colony they named Plymouth. Not quite 400 years ago.
The new pilgrims that arrived from Europe in 1620 were called Puritans in part because of their belief in human sinfulness which needed to be purified. To many of them, most of what we humans do is sinful and needs to be punished.
Some of that philosophy is still hidden away in the backs of the mind in Americans. For example, the idea that natural bodily functions need to be repressed and hidden behind closed doors – because it is dirty.
Think about it, topless beaches are acceptable in Europe, but it’s sinful and forbidden in most of the USA. That’s part of our “roots” in this country.
With colonies across the east coast of the new world, the English found a new source of revenue from taxation. The American colonists had grown rather independent thousands of miles away from England and with little actual support from the mother country. Many of them didn’t like being taxed without a say in the matter, let alone without some revenue coming back in the form of services.
This led to the American Revolution and, over time, to an independent nation. Rebellion and freedom are part of the roots we have inherited from our ancestors and they are a key part of American heritage.
Over time, settlements expanded beyond the original 13 colonies. The United States expanded with the Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803, the Florida Purchase from Spain in 1819, the Oregon Territory in 1846, Mexican Cessation in 1846, and the Gadsden Purchase in 1853 which completed the present states of Arizona and New Mexico. In 1867, Alaska was purchased from Russia, and in 1898 Hawaii, the Philippines and Puerto Rico were added as territories.
I have not forgotten Texas. Texas declared independence from Mexico as a new republic in 1836 with a population of approximately 30,000 Anglos and 7,800 Mexicans – an 80%-20% mix. Texas was annexed into the United States in 1845.
Did you know that between 1492 and 1965, 82% of all immigrants who came to American shores came from Europe? In line with our European roots, American values have been Christian-dominated for centuries, this includes the Jewish heritage from which Christianity emerged two thousand years ago.
It has always been an underlying concept that the freedoms we have in this country were earned by those who came before, and the citizens that are here now have the personal responsibility to continue, protect, and defend those freedoms.
A unique part of our value system has been independence and the patriotic concept that the country was worth dying for. I thought that was universal until I lived in Europe where most citizens thought in terms of Nationalism rather than Patriotism. The concepts are similar, except that Patriotism, at least in my view, includes a willingness to lay down one’s life to protect your country and her value system.
Throughout those expansion years, American pioneers brought with them their historic American values based on freedom, independence, risks, and love for our country; and new immigrants were welcomed and assimilated into the values that were here.
These roots have gone a long way to creating what us old-timers think of as our American values. Viewed from the highest levels, I see these values founded on independence, freedom, and Christian beliefs.
Now that we’ve looked at our own values, let’s stop for a minute and take a look at our neighbor to the north, where my wife and I lived before moving back to the USA and to Texas.
Back in colonial days, not all of the American colonists supported revolution; those that didn’t left and migrated north to Canada, which was also under English rule. To a great extent, this was because they supported the English or they were just pacifists and refused to fight.
To this day, those roots may help to explain why Canadians tend to be more attuned towards peacemaking than fighting for their rights. And why the English Queen is so important that she is also the Queen of Canada.
Did you know that new Canadian citizens must swear allegiance to The Queen? So do Members of Parliament and the Provincial Legislatures, the military and the police. They do not swear allegiance to an office, or to a constitution, or to a political entity. Rather they swear allegiance to a foreign person who, they hope, should embody all these things as well as their collective values as a people.
Whereas the USA has always prided itself on being a melting pot, where immigrants merge into a common culture, Canada is, by law, a multi-cultural society, meaning that immigrants are legally protected in retaining some or all of their existing culture and beliefs. As for God and Christianity, Canada has become a post-Christian, secular state, with Islam as the fastest-growing religion.
Our concept of a man’s home being his castle does not exist in Canada, nor does the concept of “grandfathering” existing conditions when making changes. They have government health insurance (by province) which is excellent if you are not sick, but with long wait times if something big is needed.
Like all things, the value system in the USA is changing.
In 1965, the year that I graduated from Boston College, American immigration laws were reformed to be less restrictive than before. Since then, 88% of new immigrants have been non-Europeans. And they have brought with them different roots, religious beliefs, and different value systems.
Together with these new value systems, we have seen the shift away from being a Judeo-Christian and patriotic society, a country where religious beliefs and country were worth dying for.
We have shifted away from immigrants assimilating American values, to multi-culturalism whereby immigrants retain their home values, even if that means conflicts with the rest of the country. We have moved away from personal responsibility to personal freedom without responsibility. We are becoming a society where our historic beliefs must now be compromised if there is any way someone else just might be offended by it. This is mistakenly called political correctness.
I fear for the direction these changes are taking our country. In the future, it will become as different and fast-changing as technology has been. And I, for one, do not think that is the best way to go.
I will share more detailed thoughts on the RV in upcoming articles, and I look forward to lots of comments from my readers.
- David Derosier consults with small business on planning and marketing issues, and provides web design and hosting services through OhainWEB.com, an accredited business with theBetter Business Bureau that is rated A+ by BBB. He can be reached at JDAVID@Strategy-Planning.info
Chris Kovatch This time of year is one of the most hectic for our family. In addition to my children’s... read more