Skip to comments.Gallup: 50% Believe America’s Best Years Are Behind Us
Posted on 01/02/2013 10:40:35 AM PST by chessplayer
(CNSNews.com) Fifty percent of Americans now believe the countrys best years are past, according to Gallup, while 47 percent still say Americas best years are still to come.
The other 50% have their heads in the sand.
I agree with your post except for the Space program getting scrapped...that is a good thing. We can’t afford it and quite frankly should be scrapping much much more. Sorry if your personal pet project got kicked to the curb, but more should be...we SHOULD be paying 7 bucks a gallon for milk. Oh we are going down hill and fast. I just wish people would stop complaining about their little projects getting slashed...that is 100 percent of our problem. Nobody wants their pet cut....well it all needs cut. This post was not directed at you, but everyone!!!
So only half of Americans can see what is plainly there in front of thier faces? I’m not surprised a bit.
"A good constitution is the greatest blessing which a society can enjoy." So said James Wilson, in his oration at Philadelphia on July 4, 1788, celebrating the adoption of the Constitution of the United States. Wilson, who signed both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, preached startlingly democratic theories - more democratic than the ideas of any other delegate to the Constitutional Convention.
Yet Wilson emphasized the duties, as well as the rights, of citizens:
"Need I infer, that it is the duty of every citizen to use his best and most unremitting endeavours for preserving it [the Constitution] pure, healthful, and vigorous? For the accomplishment of this great purpose, the exertions of no one citizen are unimportant. Let no one, therefore harbour, for a moment, the mean idea, that he is and can be of no value to his country: let the contrary manly impression animate his soul. Every one can, at many times, perform, to the state, useful services; and he, who steadily pursues the road of patriotism, has the most inviting prospect of being able, at some times, to perform eminent ones."
Wilson's argument is quite as sound now as it was two centuries ago. The success of the American Republic as a political structure has been the consequence, in very large part, of the voluntary participation of citizens in public affairs - enlisting in the army in time of war; serving on school boards; taking part unpaid in political campaigns; petitioning legislatures; supporting the President in an hour of crisis; and in a hundred other great ways, or small-assuming responsibility for the common good. The Constitution has functioned well, most of the time, because conscientious men and women have given it flesh.
The Framers' first assumption was that all just authority for government comes from the people, under God; not from a monarch or a governing class, but from the innumerable citizens who make up the public. The people delegate to government only so much power as they think it prudent for government to exercise. Government is the people's creation, not their master. Thus, if the people are sovereign, it is the citizens' responsibility to take upon their shoulders the task of seeing that order, justice, and freedom are maintained.
The Framers' second assumption was that American citizens would undertake responsibility for the ordinary functioning of the civil social order and that local communities would manage their own affairs. Under their system, the roles of the various levels of government would be minimal and would not unnecessarily intrude into the day-to-day lives of the citizens.
In the matters which most immediately affect private life, power should remain in the hands of the citizens, or of the several states - not in the possession of federal government. So, at least, the Constitution declares. Americans have no official cards of identity, or internal passports, or system of national registration of all citizens - obligations imposed upon citizens in much of the rest of the world. This freedom results from Americans' voluntary assumption of responsibility.
In matters of public concern, it was the original intent to keep authority as close to home as possible. The lesser courts, the police, the maintenance of roads and sanitation, the levying of real-property taxes, the control of public schools, and many other essential functions still are carried on by the agencies of local community: the township, the village, the city, the county, the voluntary association. Citizens' cooperation in voluntary community throughout the United States has been noted and commended in the books of Alexis de Tocqueville, Lord Bryce, Julian Marias, and other distinguished visitors to the United States, over the past two centuries:
America's citizens, most of them, have believed in a moral order ordained by divine wisdom; and so they have assumed moral responsibilities, including personal responsibility for constitutional government. The more thoughtful citizens have seen society as primarily moral in origin: a community of souls. Behind the outward forms of American political structure lie the old convictions that citizens have duties toward a Creator and toward other members of the society, and that a just government must recognize moral law.
In family, church, and school, until the middle of the twentieth century, the rising generation of Americans were taught that they must be personally responsible for their own welfare, for the care of their aging family members, for the security and prosperity of their community, for their patrimony of order and justice and freedom, A sense of responsibility is developed by severe lessons, by private risk and accountability, by a humane education, by religious understanding, by knowledge of the past. Once upon a time, this sense of responsibility was diffused throughout the American nation. If it drains away, the consequences will be dreary.
A republic whose citizens - whose leaders, indeed - are concerned chiefly with "looking out for Number One," and ignoring their responsibilities of citizenship, soon cannot "insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare" - or carry on the other major duties of the state. When the crisis comes, the people may turn in desperation to the hero-administrator, the misty figure somewhere at the summit. But in the end, that heroadministrator will not save the republic, although he may govern for a time by force. A democratic republic cannot long endure unless a great many of its citizens stand ready and willing to brighten the corner where they are, and to sacrifice much for the nation, if need be.
For the past five or six decades, several perceptive observers have remarked, an increasing proportion of the American population has ceased to feel responsible for the common defense, for productive work, for choosing able men and women to represent them in politics, for accepting personal responsibility for the needs of the community, or even for their own livelihood. Unless this deterioration is arrested, the responsible citizens will be too few to support and protect the irresponsible. By 1978 there were more people receiving regular government checks than there were workers in the private sector.
What follows, if we are to judge by the history of fallen civilizations, is described by Albert Jay Nock in his book Memoirs of a Superfluous Man (1943):
"... closer centralization; a steadily growing bureaucracy; State power and faith in State power increasing; social power and faith in social power diminishing; the State absorbing a continually larger proportion of the national income; production languishing; the State in consequence taking over one 'essential industry' after another, managing them with ever-increasing corruption, inefficiency, and prodigality, and finally resorting to a system of forced labor. Then at some point in this process a collision of State interests, at least as general and as violent as that which occurred in 1914, will result in an industrial and financial dislocation too severe for the asthenic [weak] social structure to bear; and from this the State will be left to 'the rusty death of machinery' and the casual anonymous forces of dissolution."
Modem civilization offers a great variety of diversions, amusements, and enticements - some of them baneful. But modem civilization does not offer many inducements to the performance of duties, except perhaps monetary payment, and certainly it does not teach people that the real reward for responsible citizenship is the preservation of a free society.
It is not money that can induce citizens to labor and sacrifice for the common good. They must be moved by patriotism and their attachment to the Constitution. And patriotism alone, ignorant boasting about ones native land, would not suffice to preserve the Republic.
Thus it is that on the occasion of the Bicentennial celebrating of the Constitution, a mighty effort ought to be made to restore the American public's awareness of the principles of their government, of their responsibilities toward their country, their neighbors, their children, their parents, and themselves to be sure that their patrotism is based on this solid foundation. No one knows how late the hour is; but it is later than most people think. Love of the Republic shelters all our other loves; and that love is worth some sacrifice.
Nearly all of us are quick to claim benefits, but not everybody is eager to fulfill obligations. We have become a nation obsessed with rights, forgetful of responsibilities. In an age of seeming affluence, a great many people find it easy to forget that all good things must be paid for by somebody or other - paid for through hard work, through painful abstinence, sometimes through bitter sacrifice. Below we set down some of the causes for the decline of a sense of responsibility among some American citizens.
The growth of an American welfare state, over the past half-century, has produced in the minds of a good many men and women the illusion that somehow somebody in Washington can provide for all needs: so why make much effort to fulfill what used to be considered personal responsibilities? As Alexis de Tocqueville remarked, a century and a half ago:
"Democracy in the United States will endure until those in power learn that they can perpetuate themselves through taxation."
In other words, the temptation of public men in Washington is always to offer to have the federal government assume fresh responsibilities - with consequent decay of local and private vigor (it might be argued that, at least in part, a failure in the proper exercise of citizens' responsibility permitted the development of the welfare state syndrome - that the government owes them a living. In any event, once it got under way and the welfare state grew, the sense of citizens' responsibility and rugged individualism deteriorated).
The increase of the scale of society and the size of government has bewildered many Americans, inclining them to think that the individual can accomplish little or nothing in a responsible way, engulfed as he seems to be by the overwhelmingness of it all. It was easier to see ones personal responsibilities in a Massachusetts township or next door to a Virginia courthouse, in 1787, than it is to perceive what one's duties to country and community may be in the New York or Los Angeles of 1987. When one contemplates the enormous size of the federal government, then the exercise of individual citizen responsibility seems almost hopeless.
Until the 1930s, and in many schools later than that, young people learned their responsibilities through the lively study of history, government, and especially imaginative literature that taught them about human dignity and human duties. But in recent decades, especially during the 1960s and 1970s, the disciplines of history and government have been supplanted by a vague social stew," and the study of great literature and philosophical ideas has given way to anthologies of relevant" - and often depressing - third-rate recent writing. So the function of the schools as places where responsibility would be taught - an expressed hope of several of the Framers of the Constitution, John Dickinson among them - has been ignored.
Of all social institutions, formerly the family was most active and successful in teaching young people their responsibilities. But since the Second World War particularly, the American family has been weakened by economic changes, both parents being gainfully employed (often to pay for increases of taxation, in large part), the triumph of the television set over family conversations, the influence of periodicals read by young people, and a considerable range of challenges to parental authority - many times encouraged by judicial decisions and actions of the education establishment. At the same time, the influence of school teachers and of the clergy in perpetuating this strong sense of responsibility has diminished. So, in some degree, the restoration of a sense of responsibility depends upon the family's recovery of authority.
The fundamental impulse to accept responsibilities and perform duties, in every society, has been religious in origin. Individuals obey moral laws and do their duty because of awareness of duties toward God. Religion teaches that there exist natural laws; and that if individuals try to ignore those natural laws, they find themselves in peril, individually and as a society. People who deny the reality of the Divine tend to shrug off their responsibilities to other men and women. Thus, weakness in religious awareness commonly leads to the decay of personal responsibility in many walks of life.
These are only some of the reasons why a 'permissive" society speaks often of rights and seldom of responsibilities. A time comes, in the course of events, when abruptly there is a most urgent need for men and women ready to fulfill high and exacting and dangerous responsibilities. And if there are no such citizens, then liberty can be lost. It must be remembered that the great strength of the Signers of the Declaration and the Framers of the Constitution was that they knew their classical history, and how the ancient Greek cities had lost their liberties, and how the Roman system had sunk to its ruin under the weight of proletariat and military state.
What may be done by way of remedy? Although America's social difficulties are formidable, probably they are less daunting than those of any other great nation today. The economic resources of the United States remain impressive; and the country's intellectual resources are large.
This essay cannot offer, in its small compass, a detailed program for the popular recovery of devotion to duty. Here we can only suggest healing approaches:
Like moral virtue, responsibility is first acquired in family and home. Nobody does more to injure a sense of responsibility than a parent who abandons children to the television set and the peer group, "liberating" them from household chores and study at home. Assigning and enforcing duties within home and family, though it may seem stern at first, is kindness to everybody in the long run.
In the family, as well as in the school, the imagination and the intellect can be introduced to the literature of responsibility - for such does exist, and young people are much taken with this literature if they have not already been absorbed into a juvenile "counter-culture." It was not many years ago that boys read, for instance, Theodore Roosevelt's and Henry Cabot Lodge's Hero Tales from American History, with its stirring descriptions of George Washington; of George Rogers Clark conquering the Northwest; of the battles of Trenton, Bennington, King's Mountain, and Stony Point - to confine ourselves to Revolutionary fighting - of Gouverneur Morris, the most brilliant delegate to the Constitutional Convention, with his one leg and his crippled arm, refusing to flee from the Jacobins in Paris. In such true tales one learns what responsibility requires. And it was not many years ago that girls were reading about the heroines of ancient times and modern - about Hypatia, Joan of Arc, Abigail Adams. We learn our duties from learning about men and women who did theirs. One recalls James Wilson's words, quoted at the beginning of this essay: "He, who steadily pursues the road of patriotism, has the most inviting prospect of being able, at some times, to perform eminent ones."
In schools, the pupils need to be rescued from the sham subjects of "social studies" and "civics," ordinarily the most boring and empty disciplines in school curriculum, and introduced instead to real history and to the Constitution and American political institutions. From studying genuine historical figures and genuine politics and literature of the past, young people can come to apprehend what a citizen can do for his country.
Perhaps the best way to renew responsibility in American society is to assume responsibilities one's self. It may be difficult to find the time, and painful to fight one's way into politics at any level; nevertheless, some honest men and women must do so if the Republic is to endure another two centuries - or perhaps to the end of the twentieth century. From running for Congress to campaigning for the office of drain commissioner; from publishing a newspaper to writing a letter to the editor - there is no end to the responsibilities that may be undertaken, to the general benefit. The apparatus for doing one's political duty still exists, thanks to our Constitution.
To fulfill one's moral responsibilities through the agencies of a church, neighborhood, and personal charity may not be exciting; yet the example of duty does win converts, and one lays up treasure in a place unaffected by manipulated currency. To give aid and comfort to fugitives from Communist lands, say, is such an act as the Signers and the Framers would have approved heartily; and it teaches moral responsibility to one's children.
Ultimately, the recovery of a sense of responsibility is bound up with the recovery of the old concept and virtue of piety - gratitude toward God for his gift of life, gratitude toward one's ancestors, concern for one's children and descendents. Such a sense of responsibility is in keeping with the philosophy upon which the nation was built - Creator-endowed rights and responsibilities.
In your own circumstances, you may encounter opportunities for the renewal of responsibility more promising where you live than any suggested here. In any society, it always has been a minority who have upheld order and justice and freedom. If only one out of every ten citizens of the United States of America should vigorously fulfill his responsibilities to our civil social order - why, we would not need to fear for the future of this nation.
In all previous cultures, children ordinarily accepted responsibility for the well-being of their parents in old age; and in various societies, the children were so held accountable in law. Why has this form of responsibility decayed in the twentieth century? Can you think of political and social causes for the care of elderly parents being turned over to public agencies?
Can you name seven or eight voluntary associations or organizations, not subsidized or directed by government, that perform important services in your community or in America generally? Explore the benefits from this kind of involvement as opposed to "letting the government do it."
Responsible citizenship sometimes brings risks - all the way from unpopularity in some local dispute to pushing forward under enemy fire in military action. How may schools help to teach the rising generation the high importance of performing duties that may be dangerous?
Are you and I personally responsible for our decisions and actions, or are we simply creatures of our environment, "conditioned" to respond in one way or another to events and challenges? Marshal the arguments on either side of this question, and then consider the probable social consequences of believing in freedom of the will, or believing that society, rather than the individual person, is responsible for citizen's actions.
What are you doing to help preserve the great principles on which this nation and your personal freedoms are based?
Our Ageless Constitution, W. David Stedman & La Vaughn G. Lewis, Editors (Asheboro, NC, W. David Stedman Associates, 1987) Part VII Essay (Dr. Russell Kirk & La Vaughn G. Lewis, Co-Authors): ISBN 0-937047-01-5 Read more, or download a copy of the essay here.
Ubama and his fellow travelers plan on being in charge.
They can't be in charge if they are room temperature.
to the moocher class its all coming up roses. However, over just the last 4 years I have watched everyone around me get layed off and got hours cut back as I sold off everything I accumulated until now its down to a short sale and retraining for another career, maybe as a truck driver or burger flipper if the mexicans will let me in
YUP! That's really all that needs to be said. 50% are paying attention and the other 50% is collecting goodies from Santa Claus. Their time will come. When Santa is out of business, they'll wonder where the next gift is comming from.
There is romney’s 47%.
47% of Americans of whom, 120% voted for Obozo, pay no taxes. 50% of us carry the tax burden for those on the dole.
Welfare for the chronic unemployed has been extended another year.
More Obama cell phones and good phone service is on the way for them.
Most get free health care.
Their food is paid for via EBT cards which can be used at most fast foods.
Illegals get all of the above and more to come.
The 50% of us who pay for the above see the reality, that our side is on a down hill slide into hell on earth.
The United States of America is in the same stage of decay that the Roman Empire found itself in so long ago.
The people of this society have started to demand ever more services without the ability to pay for them. Our most popular, and fastest growing sport is MMA fighting: a bloodsport.
The parallel to the Gladiatorial fighting in the Roman Circus is quite obvious.
America does not have long left as a political entity.
Can it be reborn? I would like to think so, but it will only be rebuilt after a generation or two of terrible hardship.
It pains me to express this opinion, but I believe it to be the most likely outcome.
I came to this realization a few months ago. We have reached the tipping point and I don't see a way back until something REALLY big happens. The USSR collapse was hastned when Reagan seduced them to spend dramatically beyond their means. Here, we need to hasten this collapse so we can start over. Otherwise we dwindle to nothing as is happening in Europe (and has been happening for the last 50 years).
I agree, we'll not see a better America in our lifetimes. The dream is over for most of us (it is for me anyway). I'm focussed on training my kids for this new America. Part of that is learning several different languages (Spanish and Manderin at least). I am also teaching them to live poor and never be in debt. Hide their money and legally evade the Federal government.
Of course, that 47% can live without breaking a sweat on OPM. If I could just take money and never work, I’d think they best days are ahead too.
Think of it as winning a perpetual lottery.
The 47% who pay no taxes and believe that Hollyweird celebrities stand with them in seeing that Big Sugar gives them lots of "free" stuff.
Indeed - the 50% who pay taxes
Response: The election of the current occupant of the White House conclusively proves that America's best years are behind us.
The shuttle and the space station were wasted funding but the Space program itself helped to give us our onetime monopoly on Super Power status. We must cut the socialist entitlement programs... there is the real goblin that is eating us alive... just like the cancer that it is. Food stamps cost us more than NASA does. NASA had a 2012 budget that asked for 18.2 billion and got about 16.2 billion.
"WASHINGTON, Aug 13 (Reuters) - The U.S. Treasury Department has said the auto industry bailout will cost taxpayers $3.4 billion more than previously thought.
Treasury now estimates the 2009 bailout will eventually cost the government $25.1 billion, according to a report sent to Congress on Friday.
That is up from the last quarterly estimate of $21.7 billion.
Acorn got 2 billion. This is chump change compared to the real problem.
Federal Spending by the Numbers - 2012By Alison Acosta Fraser
October 16, 2012
The federal government has closed out its fourth straight year of trillion-dollar-plus deficits, and the imperative to rein in spending has never been greater. Because all government spending gets paid for through either taxes or borrowingboth of which burden the economyspending reduction is an essential condition for promoting economic growth.
As this 2012 edition of Federal Spending by the Numbers shows, total federal spending for fiscal year 2012 reached $3.6 trillion, or 22.9 percent the size of the entire U.S. economy. In the past 20 years, federal outlays have grown 71 percent faster than inflation. The average American households share of this spending is $29,691, roughly two-thirds of median household income. This relentless growth is projected to continue, pushing total government outlays to $5.5 trillion a decade from now, and to about 36 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in the next 25 years.
Federal entitlements are driving this spending growth, having increased from less than half of total federal outlays just 20 years ago to nearly 62 percent in 2012. Three major programsMedicare, Medicaid, and Social Securitydominate in size and growth, soaking up about 44 percent of the budget. All three programs are growing faster than inflation, andwhen joined with $1.7 trillion in new Obamacare spendingwill drain about 18.5 percent of the nations total economic output by mid-century. Because that is about the historical annual average of total federal tax revenue, it means all other government programsnational defense, veterans health care, transportation, federal law enforcement, and otherswould effectively have to be financed on borrowed money.
Other entitlements continue growing as well. Anti-poverty programs have surged by 49 percent in just the past decade, even after adjusting for inflation. Spending for food stamps alone has more than tripled since 2002. Health programs, including Medicaid, have increased by 38 percent, and housing assistance by 48 percent.
Although these entitlement programs have dominated the governments spending growth, discretionary spendingspending authorized by annual appropriations billsalso has grown by 40 percent more than inflation, to $1.289 trillion. Spending on non-defense programs has grown 29 percent. These outlays peaked in 2010 due to the stimulus bill, but remain 7 percent higher than their pre-stimulus level of 2008.
The result of this increasing deficit spendingwhich is financed by borrowingis growing debt. If current policies continue, debt held by the public will approach 90 percent of total economic output by 2022, and will be twice the size of the entire economy 25 years from now.
There is still time to change coursebut that time is growing short. The Heritage Foundations budget plan, Saving the American Dream, reforms entitlements to make them affordable and sustainable, reins in other spending while adequately funding defense, and balances the budget in 10 years. The budget can be put on a stable, sustainable course if policymakers act soon.
Overall Budget Trends
■Over the past 20 years, federal spending grew 71 percent faster than inflation.
■Entitlement spending more than doubled over the past 20 years, growing by 110 percent (after adjusting for inflation). Discretionary spending grew by 60 percent.
■Deficits have pushed up the debt each year since 2002 as federal spending exceeded revenue. Fiscal year 2012 marked the fourth consecutive year of $1 trillion deficits.
■Although debt held by the public surged from 33.6 percent of gross domestic product in 2002 to 73 percent in 2012, net interest costs have held below 2 percent of GDP because interest rates have fallen to all-time lows.
■In 1962, defense spending was nearly half the total federal budget (49 percent); Social Security and other mandatory programs were less than one-third of the budget (31 percent). Two major entitlement programs, Medicaid and Medicare, were signed into law by President Johnson in 1965.
■In 2012 entitlements were nearly 62 percent of total spending, while defense dropped to less than one-fifth (18.7 percent) of the budget.
Without space... we will all be speaking chinese in 20 years.
With spending on Space, we will be speaking Chinese even sooner.....although you have some valid points in your posts.
hmmm...looks like mr. gallup was intrigued by my screen
name and tagline.
When the world is running down/
you make the best of what’s still around
Just like when Carter roamed the earth.
I never thought I’d say it, but I wish he was prez.
-— I am 58 and I would give up BOTH if the government would GTF out of my life. -—
I’m with you.
Our slogan: GTGTFOOML Catchy!
Merle said it best... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxLtXJzo3Ew
Don't be too surprised when they come at the other 50% with malicious intent.
Keep yyour powder dry,
I like it!!!!!!!!!!!!
And, the current state of Europe. We are sitting on a house of cards. And, so is the European Union. It could be 2013 or 2023.