America at 238–what’s to love?

The United States of America is 238 years old today.  And, arguably, feeling its age.  The country is polarized, but nearly every faction (though for different reasons) distrusts the government.  Nearly every faction also (for different reasons) criticizes the culture.  The patriotic legends of our history have been replaced with shame about slavery and how white people treated the Indians.  The rest of the world seems to have little respect for us anymore.  Our intellectual and artistic contributions are dragging.  The one bright spot is technology, but we use it mostly for trivial reasons, and it comes at the cost of hacking, identity theft, and privacy violations.  Most people would agree that America is very messed up right now.  America is in the doldrums.   And yet. . . .

Chesterton said something to the effect that we love our country in the same way that we love the members of our family.  In spite of their faults, which we know all too well.  In fact, a family member’s faults and problems properly bring out more love, since we want so badly to help.

So as a Fourth of July exercise, bring up things that you still love about this country.   I’m not looking here for “how great we are” statements.  Greatness is not necessarily a reason to love something.  What are some characteristic things about America that, despite everything, make you love your country?   I’ll go first, after the jump. [Read more...]

“Up to now, I’ve given nothing for what I have taken”

Peter Wehner shares a letter written by his wife’s uncle, Frank Keaton, shortly before landing on Omaha Beach.  It makes very good reading for Independence Day. [Read more...]

Unaccompanied minors pouring into USA

The Obama administration has a policy that children of illegal immigrants can defer deportation.  Though the policy applies only to those who have been here before 2007, the word on the streets in Latin America is evidently that the USA won’t deport children.  So now unaccompanied minors are pouring into the country by the tens of thousands.  Those rounded up are being housed in makeshift detention centers.  Some are attempting to reunite with parents already in this country, while others are sent here to escape conditions at home.  The massive child immigration  is being described by all sides as a “humanitarian crisis.”  These are children, ranging in age from 3 to 17! [Read more...]

Anti-American conservatism?

Conservative think-tanker Peter Wehner cites recent speeches by Wayne La Pierre, Ben Carson, and Michelle Bachmann that describe America as a fundamentally corrupt neo-Nazi police state.  That is exactly what the New Left of the 1970′s said.

Read Mr. Wehner’s warnings against this mindset and this rhetoric after the jump.  And then consider. . . .Certainly, conservatism used to be associated with patriotism.  But is there something healthy about conservatives losing that America-right-or-wrong nationalism?  How can we strike a healthy balance between love of country and being able to criticize it? [Read more...]

The Bible in American life

A major study has been released exploring the role of the Bible for contemporary Americans.  It’s entitled The Bible in American Life .  You can access it here.  Among its findings:  48% of Americans report reading the Bible sometime during the course of last year.  29% believe it is inerrant, with 48% believing it is inspired.  African-Americans read the Bible more than just about anybody.  And “Nones”–people who claim no religious affiliation– read it quite often, considering.

One of the most surprising findings:  the most popular and fastest-growing Bible translation by far is the King James translation.  After the jump, details about that. [Read more...]

The happiest & unhappiest states in the union

Gallup has compiled various statistics about “well-being” (health, work, emotional satisfaction, etc.) and has come up with a ranking of  states according to how happy they are.  The most happy states, according to this study, are North Dakota and South Dakota.  The least happy is West Virginia.  In general, the happiest states are those of the upper midwest, and the least happy are those of the deep south.

Now I grant that such studies are very limited and that happiness is not all it’s cracked up to be.  But let’s use this as an occasion to discuss regional differences.

See the top 10 and the bottom 10 after the jump, and go to the Gallup site for more details.

How would you account for the differences?  Some preliminary observations and questions:  The least happy states are poorer than normal, though the wealthiest states are not necessarily the happiest.  Is there something about rural economies, wide-open spaces, and/or natural beauty (especially mountains) that correlate to happiness?  What about the religious differences  (Lutheran strongholds vs. Baptist strongholds)?  What else?  And maybe someone who lives there can tell us what’s so great about the Dakotas. [Read more...]


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