As true conservatives, most of us share a common set of values passed down to us by our parents. Now these values aren’t exclusively “ours”, many liberal-minded Americans would share these same common set of values, especially if they are 50 or older and raised in a different time, a different America. Those common values served many purposes in our lives: they gave us a common background, a common language to describe our dreams and wishes, a common heritage.
Unfortunately, those days have nearly passed.
Common virtues and values are now often...uncommon. And we are the poorer for that.
Eric Bolling’s recent book “Wake Up America” is a clarion call back to the virtues that shaped us as Americans. I read Wake Up America while on vacation recently, and I can’t get it out of my mind. Using his own personal -- and inspiring -- story, Bolling walks us through the nine virtues that set America apart from other nations.
The Nine Virtues from Wake Up America
Grit: the power to try, fail, and rebuild in a nation of endless possibilities
Profit: a system that rewards people for ingenuity, greed, and competition against others
Manliness: the rugged pioneer spirit that allowed men and women with guts (and guns) to carve a great nation out of wilderness
Thrift: the classic middle-American value of living within your means and avoiding debt
Individuality: the ability to think and speak and believe whatever you want
Domination: the notion that nature is under the control of humanity, and not the other way around
Merit: the idea that people should succeed based on their own skills and talents—not due to entitlements from a nanny state—and that effort and good choices should be rewarded
Pride: love of country and the abiding belief in America’s special place among the nations of the world
Providence: the belief in a role for faith in our own lives and the life of our nation—from a simple ballgame to America’s destiny—because there are things bigger than self or state
These ideas shouldn’t be controversial, and yet in today’s political climate, they are. Kudos to Eric Bolling for calling us out on failing to teach these basic building blocks to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Who Should Read Wake Up America
Well, naturally I would like to say everyone should read it. It’s a great book and its principles should be encoded in our national DNA once more. However, the realist in me knows that our time for reading and reflection is limited. So here’s my opinion:
Read this book if….
- You are feeling discouraged about the current social milieu of America
- You feel responsible to pass on cultural heritage
- You enjoy American success stories
- You are a product of our state educational system
- You are searching for words to articulate the angst and frustrations of conservatives in a liberal world
Favorite Quotes from Wake Up America
“The idea of “merit”—so fundamental to the American system of government and culture—is based on a simple formula: People should succeed based on their own skills, talents, and efforts, not because it makes somebody “feel good” or because of some arbitrary societal or governmental standard.”
“all along the way, a biased media, a morally bankrupt academy, and a clueless Hollywood have abetted this softening. Rugged manliness is denigrated—being “macho” is assumed to be the same thing as being a male chauvinist. Being a thug or an outlaw is cool, while being a soldier or police officer is a tool of oppression. And besides, crime is a result of social conditions, not personal choices. Children are taught that the world is full of dangers—which is true—and that they aren’t capable of handling them without government assistance—which is a lie.”
“to make a place for yourself, you have to be tough, take risks, and be willing to piss some people off. You need to chart your own path as an individual. Don’t be afraid of breaking away from the pack, even if you might end up looking like an idiot or losing what you’ve worked to achieve. Sadly, that’s exactly the opposite of what we teach people, including our children, today. Now we tell them “everybody wins!” In youth sports these days, they give out trophies to everybody. In the real world, though, only the winners get the trophies.”
“As a nation, we’ve forgotten what it means to live within our means. We’ve forgotten that a dollar spent by government is a dollar taken away from a family.”
“PROFIT noun prof·it \'prä-fәt\ (1.) money that is made in a business, through investing, etc., after all the costs and expenses are paid: a financial gain (2.) the advantage or benefit that is gained from doing something —Merriam-Webster’s definition (1.) value stolen from the working class and pawns of the robber-baron oligarchy (2.) a means of thievery through the peaceful and voluntary exchange of goods or services kept in place to maintain a permanent system of inequality and class exploitation —A Leftist’s definition”
“We literally have individualism in our DNA. Nearly everyone in America is the descendent of risk-takers who came to these shores to carve out a new life for themselves, or the descendants of slaves who had to fight for centuries to get the legal and social recognition as individuals that is their natural right. We’re a rough-and-tumble group of brawlers.”
“What the United States did in the Revolutionary War and after is nothing short of a miracle. Not only did we defeat what was then the most powerful empire on earth, we went on to deliberately form a democratic form of republican government. The elites of the time—especially George Washington—turned their backs on millennia of precedent and, instead of creating a new monarchy and nobility with themselves at the helm, devised a government of, for, and by the people. It was a rebellion against the collectivism and groupthink that had lasted for centuries—the idea of the “divine right” of kings and queens to rule their people without their consent. The courage—the cojones, really—it took for these men to take up arms and risk everything to overturn their rulers is nothing short of astounding when you think about it.”
“Elizabeth Warren, for example, was a Harvard professor before she was a Senator. Barack Obama was a community organizer. They’ve never run a successful enterprise in the private sector in their lives. Take it from someone who cut his teeth in the private sector of America: The pursuit of profit is an ugly and beautiful thing. And it is the cornerstone of what makes this country the nation it is.”
“Of course, not everyone was officially included in “the people” at the time. Yet as a democratic republic, we’ve continued to evolve, grow, and expand our understanding of freedom as essential to all humans, regardless of race, gender, or religion. All this progress, however, is denied by the progressives of today. They’ve come to hate America so much that they don’t even recognize the revolutionary character, individual strength, and preeminent historical role our nation has played in creating, spreading, and maintaining freedom in the world. Just look at the history of the twentieth century: Liberals seem to forget that the worst crimes of modern history—the Holocaust; the tens of millions killed, starved, or worked to death in the USSR and China; the “Killing Fields” of Cambodia, to name just a few—were all carried out in the name of one collectivist fantasy or another. Individualism is the direct opponent of tyranny. Today’s radical Leftists only care about individual liberty in the bedroom. They say they believe in “fairness” and “equality,” but only on their terms.”
“America is a nation of mavericks, not sheep. Our founding was defined by breaking the rules, tearing ourselves away from the colonial power of Great Britain, and forging a new country out of a vast wilderness. This could not have been pulled off by people who valued cookie-cutter conformism. Our Founders understood, like many Americans understand today, that bucking tradition is sometimes the only way to get things done.”
“America’s elite universities were once fertile ground for debate where students discussed ideas that were both classical and experimental, traditional and controversial. Students demanded the right to free speech. A generation later, students are demanding freedom from speech. Now, college campuses are places where coddled Millennials go to get indoctrinated by 1960s radicals. Ten years ago we worried about liberal bias on college campuses, but today students are demanding it, calling for protection from conversations and symbolism that they deem “triggering,” a catchall term for anything anyone anywhere might find mildly offensive. Censorship has long been a tool used by the politically powerful to stamp out dissent and stifle protest—yet today’s kids, ignorant of the past, are demanding it!”
“INDIVIDUALITY noun in·di·vid·u·al·i·ty \in-dә-vi-jә-‘wa-lә-tē\ (1.) the quality that makes one person or thing different from all others —Merriam-Webster’s definition (1.) dangerous deviation from approved standards and viewpoints (2.) a form of selfishness and self-centeredness that must be stamped out in order to create the emergence of a collective identity —A Leftist’s definition”
“Money can’t buy talent, in sports or anything else. Talent only succeeds when matched with an iron will—pain, sweat, and deprivation in the pursuit of a singular goal.”
We can spend our leisure time in any number of ways. This time of year, football is calling and the delights of a crisp Autumn are just ahead of us. Time is precious. Invest some of your time with a mug of coffee and Eric Bolling’s excellent book. It will leave you smarter, bolder, ready to go out and change your country for the better.