In a thought-provoking editorial, David Brooks suggests that while the Wall Street Occupiers make visceral the widespread disgust with the worst excesses of the past three decades, other Americans are conducting their own quieter but equally significant movement. Americans, he says, are returning to a set of values that would have resonated more strongly with our grandparents, but that are deeply relevant in the face of “the new normal.”
More Americans are returning to a lifestyle where they spend within their means, where they admire those whose rewards are commensurate with their effort or contribution, and where loyalty matters once again.
This is encouraging, but it must be seen for what it is: a good start. As Dennis Prager notes in a speech from 2008 (regrettably seated next to Governor Palin), the greatest danger the nation faces is that we have stopped teaching the principles and values that form the foundation of our American civilization.
It is time we all start to recall what we believe those principles are, debating them if necessary. Is that not a more important debate than what happened in Las Vegas last night?