The Defining Spirit of America

The Enlightenment era of the 18th century was one of the most dynamic in history and brought forth breathtaking advances in science, industry, and the humanities, all of which contributed to a phenomenal increase in economic prosperity in the Western world. It was fueled by a spirit of boundless optimism emanating from a culture-wide respect for the human faculty of reason and paved the way for three cultural revolutions with the last of these leading to the birth of the United States of America, the world’s first constitutional republic. In the years  prior to America’s birth, that spirit served as the fuel for the Scientific and Industrial Revolutions that demonstrated nature’s  laws could be understood and utilized to greatly enhance human life. The American Revolution completed the Enlightenment metamorphosis of the Western world by demonstrating that mankind needs rights to flourish in a social context and a government whose primary function is to protect those rights.

Although many celebrated the outlook of optimism and the dynamic changes occurring in the age, some feared those changes and sought to undermine its philosophical and moral foundations:

“Everything that is now most admired, The effect is certain, the depravity is real, and our souls have been corrupted in proportion as our sciences and arts have advanced toward perfection.”  – Jean Jacques Rousseau

Unfortunately, although Americas’ Founding Fathers were political innovators, they were not philosophers and were unable to provide the moral grounding needed to defend their political positions against skeptics who attacked its foundation of individualism. Because of this, inadequate definitions for important principles such as “general welfare,” “common good,” “equality,” and “rights” were exploited over time by those opposed to the dynamic culture that the American Revolution had brought to life. As a result, the Founding Fathers views on the sovereignty of the individual as expressed by Thomas Jefferson

“. . . eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man”

were undercut and by the early 20th century had largely yielded to an opposing sentiment:

“We are turning away from the entrusting of crucial decisions . . . to individuals who are motivated by private interests.” – Rex Tugwell

The anti-individualist ideas and actions expressed in the early 20th century have increased in recent years with demands from political and cultural leaders for politically enforced so-called “equality,” not an equality of opportunity by providing an atmosphere of political freedom, but rather an equality of outcome fueled by envy and class warfare.

At ROAR we challenge this outlook and promote the restoration of a dynamic and unfettered republic in America anchored by a foundation of individualism by promoting ideas and actions to:

  • Re-establish the understanding that America is a Constitutional Republic, not a democracy where the rights of the individual are subject to the majority’s whims.
  • Provide the moral foundation to effectively challenge ethical belief systems contending that life is about duty rather than the enjoyment of one’s own existence, and thereby provide the necessary prerequisite for a full-fledged defense of the political principle of rights.
  • Communicate principled, effective ideas and actions to initiate political and cultural reform from an individual rights perspective.
  • Correct the flawed ideas that contend compassion, goodwill, and benevolence are somehow incompatible with the accumulation of wealth and affluence that is an outgrowth of a robust, dynamic, and unfettered free-enterprise economy.
  • Expose the erroneous assumptions underneath the contention that humankind’s efforts to utilize the earth and its resources to serve human life may harm or destroy our planet’s physical and biological systems and therefore should be treated with suspicion and viewed through the filter of “guilty until proven innocent.”
  • Demonstrate the superiority of principle-based over rule-based approaches to laws and regulations.

For those individuals living in America—as well as those beyond our shores—who wish to learn more about how the spirit of youthful and dynamic vitality of the Enlightenment can be restored and serve as a gateway to a cultural renaissance in present-day America, please click here to find out more about ROAR’s mission to Restore Our American Republic.

–Mike Gemmell, Founder and President

(For information on my professional background, please click here.)