The secret to America’s success has always been simple. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s been simple. We were a nation focused on “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” That meant we valued people more than institutions.
Socialism, fascism and communism are grounded on the opposite set of values. Life is cheap in these systems. People are objects, not beings with God-given rights who have enormous potential for individual power and achievement.
As government institutions here in the U.S. have grown exponentially in the last fifty years we’ve witnessed a putrefaction of morals, families, work ethic, standards of conduct, mental health and physical infrastructure. No aspect of our lives has been spared from the corrosive impact of the state.
These failures are the result of both Democrats and Republicans forgetting that public policy should be life-centered. Life-centered policy poses the basic question, “will it help people live better lives or does it help government increase its power?”
History clarifies that in most cases life-centeredness and government expansion are mutually exclusive. When government institutions grow, the improvement of lives becomes a secondary mandate to the need for perpetuation of the institution, regardless of its effectiveness.
Our challenges as a society are getting more complex and we still haven’t applied a life-centered approach to the basics.
For instance, it’s not life-centered to throw countless billions of dollars into decrepit, dangerous public housing projects. Republicans ignore the problem and Democrats use these projects to win elections. Both should be looking for bold new ways to end the national disgrace of America’s public housing systems.
Abortion is the least life-centered policy in American history. More than 60 million Americans have been terminated since 1973. Those include more than 20 million Black children. Sold to the public as “freedom of choice,” and “empowering for women,” the practice is a gross perversion of both concepts.
It’s life-centered to help people to be productive and have the power that comes from financial independence. Welfare programs that are not effectively means-tested, ceaseless or incentivize people not to work, rob people of their dignity, worth and the opportunity to achieve the American dream. Open borders policies that thrust people into the welfare system, aren’t life-centered either.
Education policies used to put the needs of the student first. Today, the agenda of union bosses and politicians come first.
A life-centered approach, particularly in cities and underserved communities would mean a constant iterative process of adjusting methods to ensure better results. Less left-wing social indoctrination. More reading, writing, and communicating in English and developing critical thinking skills that will help kids succeed.
Then there is the issue of taxation. Today, public debt is our biggest legacy. With our focus on growing feckless institutions, Americans today spend more money on government than housing, food and clothing combined. That’s not life-centered and neither is forced redistribution of wealth. Where’s the courage to fairly assess and reduce spending so people can keep more of their own money?
It’s not life-centered to tell a confused teenager that may have the serious psychological condition that they’re fine to deny their biology or legitimize their mutilation. The life-centered approach would build that person’s emotional and spiritual wellbeing, however difficult, without an unnatural transformation.
The Left’s new racial segregation and divisive culture of blame isn’t life-centered either.
Lastly, it’s not life-centered to spend so much time worrying about the politics. If we provide good policy that actually helps people in need and fosters growth, freedom and human flourishing, the politics will follow.
As a basic Biblical and moral principle, you don’t serve others for the sake of receiving something in return. You do it because you genuinely want to make the other person better. When we align our values toward doing right by others toward life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness - right will be done to us.
America will see a true resurgence worth celebrating.
• Tom Basile, host of Newsmax Television’s “America Right Now,” is an author and adjunct professor at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, where he teaches earned media strategy.