Many Americans, especially those fresh out of school, really don’t like America.
So the executive editor of the Federalist (and LCMS member) Joy Pullman has found. From Dear Joe Scarborough: More Americans Hate America Than You Think:
Today, 4 in 10 Americans who are younger than 39 disagree that the United States “has a history we should be proud of,” according to a 2019 poll by FLAG/YouGov. The poll also found that half of all Americans agree the United States is a sexist and racist country, including two-thirds of millennials. Millennials showed the lowest level of agreement with the statement, “I’m proud to be an American.” Thirty-eight percent of “younger Americans do not agree that ‘America has a history that we should be proud of,’” according to the poll
2019’s annual poll from the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation found that 37 percent of millennials think the United States is “among the most unequal societies in the world.” . . .
The VOC poll. . . found that just 57 percent of millennials believe the Declaration of Independence “better guarantees freedom and equality” than the Communist Manifesto. . . .
Thirty-five percent of Americans ages 18 to 29 said in a 2019 Cato poll that sometimes violence against the rich is justified. . . .
In the FLAG/YouGov poll. . .more than 80 percent of Americans ages 39 and younger could not say what rights the First Amendment protects.
Pullman blames our educational system for replacing the teaching of American history with anti-American propaganda, a trend in the universities that has trickled down into high schools and elementary schools. Though some schools ignore history and civics altogether, leaving students ignorant of their heritage and thus susceptible to the propagandists.
She asks, “how can a nation whose education institutions use public resources to attack their own people, form of government, and history long expect to endure?”
Good question. And as the “Greatest Generation” who loved their country through World War II and us Baby Boomers who lived through the Cold War die out, the proportion of Americans who disapprove of their own country and what it stands for will increase. At some point, the nation might become so delegitimatized in the eyes of its citizens that it dissolves. This is what happened to the Soviet Union. A new nation would be established in its place, with the Constitution being repealed and a different kind of government devised to replace it. Since free, democratic republics are rare in human history, the new American order would probably be a reversion to some kind of authoritarianism or totalitarianism.
But even if a teenager or young adult today is critical of America–I myself am critical of America all the time!–that is not reason enough to turn against it.
G. K. Chesterton said that loving your country is like loving your family. You don’t love the members of your family for all of their wonderful qualities, as if you would stop loving them were they to lose those wonderful qualities. You love them just because they are your family. And you should love your country just because it is your country. Yes, you laud its good qualities, just like you laud those of your family members, and are especially aware of them. But if your family or your country go wrong, your love may even be intensified by your anguish.
What we lack today is not only good education about America–which will include the bad parts, like slavery and what was done to the Indians, but also America’s virtues, beliefs, and achievements–but also a sense of belonging to a larger community, for which we can feel affection.
Photo by Mark Dixon from Pittsburgh, PA / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0) via Wikimedia Commons