Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Confronting Bad Culture

Guess what people? I have another "guest blogger" to present today - except this time the author doesn't even know it! Ha!

I received an email from Newt Gingrich and thought it was so good (and badly needs to be read by all) that I have decided to post the whole thing here at Talk Wisdom.

Parts of it relate directly, or indirectly to several of the last few blog entries posted here. Comments welcome!



April 1, 2008
Vol. 3, No. 14

Confronting Bad Culture and Bad Government: The Key to a Healthier, Safer, and More Prosperous America

By Newt Gingrich

There is one critical topic for the 2008 campaign that is so far outside the elite mainstream that it probably will not be mentioned:

This key issue for America is how bad culture reinforced by bad government is crippling America and trapping the poor in disastrous situations.

To his credit, Senator Barack Obama began this conversation in his speech in Philadelphia, but this critical conversation is a long way from being finished. The coming months will test whether we can have an honest, direct dialogue about the disastrous cultural patterns and destructive government policies of the last 40 years.

Replacing bad culture and bad government with good culture and good government is the most important single challenge we face here at home.

The Need to Go from Preaching to Meddling

This is a decisive moment. Unquestionably, confronting bad culture and bad government will be threatening to most of our elites, our bureaucracies, our lobbyists, our political consultants, and our news media. Every effort will be made to avoid the challenge.

There is an old saying that someone has "gone from preaching to meddling." If we insist on a serious, candid discussion about bad culture and bad government, we will clearly have gone to meddling -- and our elites will resist.

Yet this topic is the key to creating a better future for all Americans and solving our major domestic problems.

Senator Obama Was Simply Wrong to Emphasize Racism in His Speech Last Thursday at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI)

I gave an initial response to Senator Obama's Philadelphia speech on racism.

For an hour, I emphasized that the key problem of poverty in America is a function of bad culture and bad government.

My point was that Senator Obama was simply wrong in his emphasis on racism.

In case after case it is clear that the number-one threat to poor people is not racism. Instead, the poor are trapped by bad culture and bad government.

Yelling racism is an attempt by the elites on the left to hide from this reality. After all, the bad culture and bad government trapping the poor are in large part a product of the efforts made by those elites and their allies.

The more I talk with people about the sorry state of our current dialogue, the clearer it is to me that both sides are missing this crucial point. This failure to confront reality has brought us to a decisive turning point in American history.

Senator Obama has opened the door for a fundamental conversation about why there are poor people in America and what we need to do about it. It is incumbent on us to have the courage to engage in that conversation without fear and without flinching.

It's Time for Right and Left to Follow the Lead of Bill Cosby

The Left is determined to blame all the current problems on President Bush and pass a series of programs that will actually make those problems worse.

But since the Left -- with its academic, Hollywood, trial lawyer, bureaucracy, and union factions -- is the cause of much of the bad culture and most of the bad government, it can hardly be expected to voluntarily start a dialogue about repudiating its own cultural values and reforming its own bureaucratic allies.

Sadly, however, the Right has been too shallow and too focused on raising money and developing clever tactics to engage in the level of fundamental conversation America needs.

Bill Cosby has been a lonely voice advocating a serious look at the fundamental patterns and the cultural crisis that underlie many of our most serious problems.

It's time the rest of us reinforced Bill Cosby and followed his lead.

The Founding Fathers Knew: Good Government Requires Good Culture

One of the amazing things about the generation that founded America was that they knew we as a people would eventually drift into a crisis of bad culture and bad government. And they had no doubt which came first. They knew that bad culture leads to bad government -- and good government requires good culture.

Consider just a few quotes from our Founders:

"...there is no truth more thoroughly established, than that there exists in the economy and course of nature, an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness; between duty and advantage; between the genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy, and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity; since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven, can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained..." -- President George Washington's First Inaugural Address

"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports." -- George Washington's Farewell Address

"Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." -- John Adams

"Religion and good morals are the only solid foundation of public liberty and happiness." -- Samuel Adams

"Reading, reflection, and time have convinced me that the interests of society require the observation of those moral precepts ... in which all religions agree." -- Thomas Jefferson

"Religion is the only solid Base of morals and Morals are the only possible support of free governments" -- Gouverneur Morris

"The only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments." -- Benjamin Rush

American Government and Culture Took a Wrong Turn in the 1960s
How did America go from Benjamin Rush's call for religion as the only foundation for a useful education to the amoral, do-your-own-thing, militantly secular culture and bureaucracy we have today?

America took a wrong turn in the 1960s, both in culture and in government.

The counterculture and the militant Left repudiated middle class values and assaulted the core patterns which had worked for 200 years, creating the most prosperous country in the world.

But we didn't stop there. Big bureaucracies were created at the federal, state, and local levels; and they have been decaying in efficiency and effectiveness ever since.

The result is that we now have red-tape-ridden governments that reinforce the wrong values and undermine the still healthy parts of the culture.

The Result? An America in Which a 13-Year-Old Is Arrested as a Madame

Bad government and bad culture reinforce each other. Bad culture preaches vice over virtue, getting something for nothing over hard work, and immediate gratification over saving and planning. Bad government then rewards all these destructive habits, fostering even more bad culture.

This pattern has created an America in which:

A 13-year-old is arrested as a "Madame" in Dallas.

One out of every four teenage girls has a sexually transmitted disease (including over 50% of African American teenage girls).

One out of every five eighth graders has tried an illegal drug.

We have a horrendous high school drop-out rate that will ultimately doom America in economic competition with China and India.

Atheists seek to use the courts to erase every element of God from public life.

Celebrities routinely make headlines for drug and alcohol addiction and other self-destructive behavior.

African American males who drop out of high school face a 73% unemployment rate in their 20s and a 60% chance of going to jail in their 30s.

We have the largest prison population in the world: One out of every 100 Americans is in prison.

A subprime mortgage crisis exists because greed, short-sightedness, and self-deception convinced both very sophisticated financiers and very unsophisticated home buyers to enter into commitments which were historically guaranteed to create a disaster. Now the nation is being asked to bail both groups out.

These Are Not the Patterns of a Society Prepared to Maintain Its Freedom and Prosperity

These are not the patterns of a healthy, wise society prepared to maintain its prosperity and sustain its freedom.

These are the patterns of a self-destructive, juvenile society that is putting everything at risk by ignoring the lessons of history.

I wrote Rediscovering God in America, Winning the Future, and Real Change to begin laying out the fundamental changes America needs if we are to remain the most successful country in history (and more recently, Callista and I produced the DVD version of Rediscovering God in America for the same reason).

We founded American Solutions and created the first draft of the Platform of the American People to begin a positive dialogue about the solutions and the policies that will bring us together as Americans. Our goal is to create a red, white, and blue dialogue of unity to replace the red-versus-blue screaming match of partisanship that has blocked real change in our federal and state capitols and in our city halls and county commissions.

Americans Are Ready to Talk about Bad Culture and Bad Government

Having watched the banal and trivializing presidential campaign for the last year, the speech by Senator Obama in Philadelphia struck me as the right invitation to begin a real dialogue about what is wrong in America and what needs to be done to put America back on the right track.

The initial reaction to my speech at AEI has been very encouraging. C-SPAN got such a strong reaction from broadcasting it live last Thursday that they ran it four more times in the next 24 hours. Since then they have continued to run it.

The emails and phone calls we have received have been very encouraging.

There are a lot of Americans who are prepared to begin a fact-filled dialogue about bad culture and bad government.

Over the Next Few Months I Will Have More to Say

There are even more Americans prepared to begin a dialogue about real change in every aspect of society and government that is currently failing.
Over the next few months I will deliver a series of speeches expanding on the need to confront bad culture and bad government and replace them with good culture and good government.

Watching the success of John Adams on HBO, I am convinced there are a lot of Americans eager to talk about the lessons of history and the permanent principles on which a healthy society and government (and therefore a healthy country) can be renewed.

Hopefully we can challenge the platform committees of both parties in August to consider bold new platform proposals that tackle the challenge of bad culture and bad government.

If you have ideas of your own about proposals and policies that could improve America, please share them with me at Newt@AmericanSolutions.com.

I look forward to your ideas and suggestions.
I will report more in the coming weeks.

Your friend,
Newt Gingrich


mike rucker said...

christine, you better be getting ready for the rapture - the end times are most certainly just a few days away if only because



i've judged newt in the past - and probably will do so in the future - i think he's waiting for the democratic and republican conventions, and the candidates to shoot themselves in the foot with the same ol' same ol', making the country beg for a 3rd party to spring up and save the day - with newt as the "independent" presidential candidate. more power to him. i have to concede that he does do more than just talk - he may have presidential aspirations as the main driver for doing all this, but he's still helping it get done.

i just wish he would distance himself from john hagee, and not keep seeing himself as revelation prophecy fulfilled... :)

it's going to be difficult to talk about these things - heck, we've seen it here on your blog. to use "culture" in place of "race" - the astute reader will look at that and realize they're talking about the same thing, but coming at it from different perspectives, with different intentions, and with or without historical baggage.

but a darn fine email. thanks for posting it.

mike rucker
fairburn, georgia, usa

mike rucker said...

you should check out this video clip at cnn.com. arrington is doing exactly what needs to be done. the problem is that the media and the politicians will start spinning it before we even have a chance to talk about it.

mike rucker
fairburn, georgia, usa

mike rucker said...

i just read the blurb at the top of your site.

He is our Savior, Lord, and King, and His love needs to be shed abroad in our hearts and in our world - now.

i'm guessing this was supposed to be shared, unless you really do believe in killing folks for their own good - and sometimes i think you far-righters really do... :)


Christinewjc said...

Heh heh heh...the end must be near because Mike Rucker and I finally agree on something!

Personally, I doubt that Gingrich will pull a third party presidential run - at least not in this election cycle. You might be correct that once the groundwork is laid down through his current organizational push for cultural revision, he might attempt to run in the future.

It is too bad that this brilliant man (IMHO) is so reviled by some, if not many on the political left side of the spectrum. Therefore, he would not have the chance to win the election like John McCain does.

I truly believe that Gingrich will do more good for our nation while working in the capacity that he has currently undertaken rather than as president. But that's just my opinion.

About the Hagee thing. I don't agree with everything that man says or does, either. In fact, I think he was once on track regarding biblical prophecy - but has now drifted away from it. Not sure why he has fallen for some of the heretical ideas out there. His views about the Jews and their role in end times prophecy is taken a bit too far (IMHO). Some of his comments in regards to this have been skewed away from true prophecy and therefore, not entirely reliable.

However, I have read some of his books and most of the time he has held close to proper and genuine biblical exegesis.

Sometimes, when a Christian preacher/author gets too successful, "worldly riches and lusts" get in their way...

Rick Warren is another example of this fact.

Christinewjc said...

No...I meant "shed." According to dictionary.com there are several different meanings when the word is used as a verb.

See the third definition listed here:

Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1) - Cite This Source - Share This
shed2 Audio Help /ʃɛd/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[shed] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation verb, shed, shed·ding, noun
–verb (used with object) 1. to pour forth (water or other liquid), as a fountain.
2. to emit and let fall, as tears.
3. to impart or release; give or send forth (light, sound, fragrance, influence, etc.).

David said...

It's so nice to hear our slave-owning Founding Fathers speak about the value of ethics and morality.

Quite the irony!

Mark said...

"Do not think that I came to send peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword" (Matthew 10:34)

Although the ultimate goal of the gospel is to restore the believer back to God, Jesus’ words recorded in Matthew 10:34 make it abundantly clear this will not be accomplished without divisions and conflicts.

When men turn to God, peace is assured - it has nothing to do with our fallen world, our leaders would do well in knowing that. Newt is a smart man, he'd make an excellent President in my opinion. I think he understands history in the context that God is active in it - and His hand is visible.

mike rucker said...

words recorded in Matthew 10:34 make it abundantly clear this will not be accomplished without divisions and conflicts.

context, context, context.

does the 2nd amendment cover shooting from the hip?

i've heard it said that if we outlaw bibles, then only outlaws will have bibles...

mike rucker
fairburn, georgia, usa

Mark said...

It's so nice to hear our slave-owning Founding Fathers speak about the value of ethics and morality.

I suggest to david, use that excuse before God - IF He is real. I have often thought Jefferson's work as well as Moses should both be expelled from history - they both have screwed up "morals" and "ethics".

Just for fun - david, what is a "slave" in your opinion? and where does a "slave" owner get morals and or ethics from? - your comment indicates you are concerend with morals and "ethics", right? I look forward to more "irony" in your answer.

Mark said...

context, context, context.

does the 2nd amendment cover shooting from the hip?

i've heard it said that if we outlaw bibles, then only outlaws will have bibles...

are you on medication?

mike rucker said...

of course i am. i'm an american! i helped hoist that sign over the statue of liberty's head that reads, "Drugs 'r' U.S.".

mark, whether you know it or not, in your own way you help give me a reason to live.

and blog.

thanks. i mean it.

mike rucker
fairburn, georgia, usa

Christinewjc said...

Mark and Mike,

You two are so entertaining...

You are Talk Wisdom's version of The Honeymooners characters of "Ralph Cramden" and "Ed Norton."

Ralph and Norton golf lesson episode:

Ralph: "Address the ball, Norton."

Norton: "Hello ball."

Mark said...

mark, whether you know it or not, in your own way you help give me a reason to live.

I have a wife already...knock it off man.

Christinewjc said...


More like Abbott and Costello! Yeah...that's it!

te he

Whose on first?

David said...

"I suggest to david, use that excuse before God - IF He is real. I have often thought Jefferson's work as well as Moses should both be expelled from history - they both have screwed up "morals" and "ethics"."

I'm confused, are you arguing that your God approves of slavery? That is an interesting admission is so.

Also, rather telling that you compare an American Founding Father with an Old Testament Patriarch.

Christinewjc said...

Sorry...the grammar policeman (GMPilot) would be unhappy if I didn't correct my last comment.

It's Who's on first?

Mark said...

I'm confused, are you arguing that your God approves of slavery?

ah, and I have not been let down.