Americans abandoning their country’s traditional values could mark the beginning of the end for one of the world’s greatest empires, a libertarian think tank founder warned.
“If the present trends continue, I think we’ll look back at the last few years as a real turning point in American history,” Brownstone Institute President Jeffrey Tucker told Fox News. “The end of the American empire.”
The importance of long-held values like patriotism, religion and having children are declining across America, according to a recent Wall Street Journal/NORC survey released Monday. Within the last 25 years, the share of Americans who said patriotism is very important dropped from 70% to 38% while the value of religion dipped from 62% to 39%.
SHIFTING VALUES COULD MEAN END OF THE AMERICAN EMPIRE:
While he finds the results “stunning,” Tucker said the declines made sense and blamed the government’s COVID-19 lockdowns for the “cultural crisis.” Although the survey results largely showed a slow, steady decrease in the importance of these values since 1998, the sharpest declines occurred after 2019.
“The decline of religion, of the importance of religion and patriotism is understandable,” Tucker told Fox News. “We lost a lot of affection for our lives and our routines and trust over the course of the pandemic response that has not been replaced.”
Tucker pointed to the mutli-faceted definition of patriotism.
“It can mean a love of a country, a love of homeland, a pride in its history,” he said. “But there’s also an element of trust that comes with patriotism.”
He added that growing anti-American sentiments across the country, combined with the failure of the country’s public institutions to uphold Americans’ expectations amid COVID-19, devastated trust.
“The lockdown period was a real shattering of all the things we had taken for granted,” Tucker said. “Childcare was closed, the schools that we could always rely on, that we pay our taxes to, were shut to us. The politicians didn’t stand up for us. The courts didn’t really work.”
“The Bill of Rights seemed to be a dead letter,” he added. “And at the same time that all the things you once believed in were taken away from you, the spokespeople for woke ideology were screaming at you that this country is corrupt, that it’s never been a good place, that it’s always been rooted in evil.”
Raising kids, which was deemed important by 59% of respondents two decades ago, is only a priority for 30% of Americans the Wall Street Journal/NORC poll found. Those who value community involvement plummeted from 62% to 27% in just the past four years.
“Human separation and isolation were the very first values of the pandemic response,” Tucker told Fox News. “Once people’s networks of social associations are shattered, it’s very difficult to put back together.”
By confining people to their homes, shutting down access to trusted institutions and limiting the ability to worship, Americans were robbed of their faith in the U.S., Tucker said.
“If you look at all the American patriotic hymns, they all refer to freedom and rights and self-government and pride and our institutions,” he said. “When those values are not upheld by most of the civic institutions and backed by the media or are otherwise taught in our schooling, when those values are trashed and put down … what are we supposed to think?”
“It makes them just irrelevant songs rather than true hymns to a natural life,” he added.
If this shift in values continues, Tucker predicted the country may never return to its former glory.
“Empires come and empires go, and this might be the period in which the empire goes,“ he said.
“This can be turned around,” Tucker added. “But it can only be turned around through a renewed appreciation of the genius of this country and its institutions and its history.”
To watch the full interview with Tucker, click here.