What is America’s ‘Why’?

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Glenn welcomed Simon Sinek, author of Start With Why and Leaders Eat Last, onto his radio show for a extended conversation on the human brain, the origins of happiness and success, and fundamental right and principles. It was a rare opportunity for Glenn to have a conversation on air with someone who may not agree with him on politics on where people on the right and the left can find common ground. In the opening segment, they started off on why America exists in the first place and debating whether or not that idea has been lost over time.

“It was written for us in the Declaration of Independence. We know why we exist our country exists because we believe that all men are created equal. We believe that this country of equal men and women was endowed with certain alien rights amongst which include life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That’s why this country exists. We declared it ask that’s why we wanted to be separated from Great Britain,” Simon said.

“Do you believe we still even know that?” Glenn asked.

“As a nation, I think it’s gone fuzzy. And because that belief has gotten fuzzy, we’ve ended up fighting about the what it is the details right and the we’ve forgotten the context the details in which those exists. The debate is fine as long as we agree on why we’re here,” Simon said.

But do people still all agree on why America exists? Simon said that there have been moments in history when the ideas of “all men are created equal” gets reinforced, for example in The Gettysburg Address. But Simon also mentioned FDR’s Four Freedoms speech, which Glenn said wasn’t in line with the founding principles of America.

“The Four Freedom Speech in particular is a good example of the beginning of the twisting of the why. Because FDR did not believe in the Declaration of Independence,” Glenn said.

Glenn said that many progressive presidents – including Woodrow Wilson, FDR, and Barack Obama – have interpreted the Constitution as a document of it’s time and it needs to be reinterpreted to fit America today. They see the federal government’s role being one that ensures the citizens have freedom from fear and freedom from want.

“Let’s look at them: freedom from fear. I love that here’s a dad standing with a newspaper tucked under his arm. It says war tucking his son in. Okay. Freedom from fear. I don’t want my kids to have to worry about these things. But there is no guarantee that they’re never going to to be afraid. And in fact, it’s dangerous to say, you’ll never be afraid,” Glenn said.

“Of course. These are years old. These these are years old. They are things that pursue that we will practically never ever have, but it’s worth trying. You know, all men are created equal, endowed with these certain unalienable rights. For all practical purposes, we’ll never get to that perfection, but we’ll die trying,” Simon said.

  • landofaahs

    If we were just to separate from England in order to obtain liberty for ourselves, then why would it be wrong now? Just askin’.

  • landofaahs

    America WAS…a place where people could pursue their dreams and succeed or fail without interference from government.

  • redr0man

    Except all men aren’t created equal…it’s probably the worst assumption ever made since the American and French Revolutions…

  • Eric Moorehead

    ” We believe that this country of equal men and women was endowed with certain alien rights amongst which include life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. woah there…inaccurate quoteNOT alien rights. I cringe when i think how some would interpret that.

  • Eric Moorehead

    inalienable rights as opposed to what was then known as the “divine right of kings”
    Inalienable rights are those that cannot be rescinded by kings or laws.

  • WashingtomusPrime

    They should have explained it as: Negative rights are things that the government can’t do to you. Positive rights are things that the government must do for you. Very different.

  • E_Tex_Mom

    My church did a musical program on July 4, that included FDR’s Four Freedom’s speech as part. I had to seriously bite my tongue while we were doing it.

  • Linda B

    The word is “inalienable”.

  • Anonymous

    Obama and the Democrats don’t stand for FREEDOM

  • ANTHONY CLIFFORD

    FDR started our country down a dangerous path. He bought into Keynesian economics completely. He made people think that they have a right to retire. The he began the generational theft known as social security. He taught people that they don’t have to worry about the future, because the government will foot the bill for their shortsightedness. In schools all across our country, FDR is talk about in revered tones, even though nothing he did ended the depression. What got us out was that we were the only industrialized nation that still had an infrastructure after WW2 ended.

  • Anonymous

    That sentence doesn’t stop with the word ‘equal.’

  • ANTHONY CLIFFORD

    It was referring to equal rights, not equal ability.

  • Anonymous

    Perhaps you shouldn’t have bitten your tongue. Ignorance fuels the perpetuation of perversion.

  • Anonymous

    He also devalued the dollar; something according to many we will also experience. Oh, wait, inflation.

  • redr0man

    Isn’t giving equal rights to those of unequal ability what caused this mess in the first place? When you let anybody who survives to the age of 18 vote, regardless of their ability to actually make wise decisions, problems inevitably arise.

  • John Broom

    Actually the idea derives from the idea that we are equal before God and in that sense, yes we are all created equal. And in America until the emergence of the progressive movement it meant that there ought to be equal opportunity (please note the ought there; the founders and for 3 or 4 succeeding generations Americans were smart enough to know that we can never achieve heaven (perfection) on earth, it was only with the coming of the progressive movement that folks got foolish) not an equality of outcome. We’ve lost sight of the simple fact that America is not a destination it is a journey toward something with the full knowledge that we will never really arrive there, but the journey itself is worth the effort.

  • Take 2

    Ancient Rome Republic decayed over time.
    German Republic a mad man stole an election
    Americans Republic combination of 4 corners
    Wilson FDR LBJ BO. Serious Life Time Taxation
    that or whereby voluntarily American freedom
    to pay their portion was abused via Taxation
    Penalties ie in trade for no debtors prison.
    The amount of or increased percent of these
    four corners is a form of abuse ie Master and Slave.
    The Forced penalty Taxation phase X 4 is highway
    Robbery.

  • redr0man

    No, but it does begin with a dangerously faulty premise.

  • ANTHONY CLIFFORD

    Are you saying you want an oligarch? I am not as capable as some men. I think I’m smarter than most, but not all. Where do we draw the line?

  • Anonymous

    Whether progressive or not, when a government gets too big and entitled to power over the people, that’s when a country falls apart. That is what happened to the US. People don’t think they live in fear, but they are slaves to the government. The government is the power that changes a country and Washington is no different than any other government which rules for itself rather than for its people. FDR talked nicely, but that’s all he did and as soon as he realized he could get away with it, that’s when the leadership went against the majority of Americans. The government is the biggest money maker of all and is entitled to waste most of it without any accountability. Just imagine the millions coming in from fund raising alone, aye, maybe even billions. If the government ran like a proper business, America would not be in the mess it is in now. It is unfortunate that the honorable speeches from worthy leaders now fall on fancy speeches which hide the truth from the people.

  • redr0man

    I was thinking something closer to an absolute monarch, but I don’t think that would fly these days…However, severely restricting voting rights to where they were early in America’s history would be a good start. That would at least create an environment that would select for much more capable leaders.

  • Anonymous

    zero tax liablilty = no vote

  • Anonymous

    We are all created the same. Helpless and totally dependent. What happens to us afterwards varies greatly, but we all have the same rights to life, liberty and to pursue happiness.

  • zemla

    Our president actually did a good job explaining that

  • olf

    We can only move in a positive direction when we honor Gods laws, principles and percepts. That is truth, justice, love and mercy. Love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. If you don’t know how to do the first part, you will never know how to do the second part. If you can not do either, you will never understand the awesome joy of Gods perfect plan. We were not made to follow evil pursuits, sin brought that into the world. We were made to tend the garden and dominate (subdue) the things of this earth and all creatures there of. We are to tend His creation, not destroy it. That includes your family and neighbor. That verse really is the connection to all things. Jesus said : All the laws hinge on those two principles.
    God Bless America with wisdom, truth, love, mercy and justice. Amen

  • http://suzeraining.wordpress.com/ suz

    life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (and everything that flows from that) are the foundational ideals that have been set in stone in the Constitution. all the other stuff stems from morals.

  • Anonymous

    As a 30 year, retired Navy veteran. Listening to everyone argue about what the Constitution, and Declaration of Independence is, and means..by Americans who claim to be so knowledgeable…and they don’t, makes me want to PUKE.
    No wonder idiots like Obama take advantage of ALL OF US. Listen to yourselves, and think how Happy that makes people who lie like Obama feel.
    America is on the brink of being destroyed…and all of us are helping it happen.

  • BlueMN

    “… nothing he did ended the depression.” Incorrect.

    GDP had recovered to it’s pre-Republican Great Depression arc prior to the US involvement in WWII. Also note when the recovery began.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Depression#mediaviewer/File:GDP_depression.svg

  • BlueMN

    “However, severely restricting voting rights to where they were early in America’s history would be a good start.”
    No Blacks, no women, no poor voting, only rich propertied, white males get to have any say in the government. You are right, the only way the Tea Party could ever win anything is if as few people as possible could vote.

  • Anonymous

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  • Anonymous

    extend that “and to those that serve in the active duty military” and your proposition becomes a bit more interesting.

  • Anonymous

    The difference between a poison and a cure is the dose.

    To be overwhelmed with fear is to poison the mind and body into a state of useless paralysis.

    Motes of fear causes one to properly prepare and brace one’s self from the source.

  • Anonymous

    Let me say this about that:
    Our military men pay for more than any tax could in the form of blood, sweat and tears. :))

  • PeterMoss

    But Glenn thinks we’re living in the Biblical End Times, so why even bother with all this nonsense?

  • Anonymous

    The 16th Amendment helped change all that along with the debt being backed by the property of the people.

  • Jacque Davis

    When it says all men were created equal, that means they have the equal right to pursue their dreams, ambitions or what will bring them happiness on this earth in this country as long as they respect the rights of others! It does not mean that we all are born with the same things like family, money intelligence, etc. But each of us no matter what we are born into have the equal right to pursue that which will make us a better life or person!

  • Jacque Davis

    Also if we did away with term limits and took away the enormous pay that politicians get paid by our taxes, that would ensure men and women that run for office would have the motives of the people in most cases, and not just their own! There would be no political gain for themselves and also they would know they have a short time to represent those who elected them!

  • Anonymous

    Simon: “..endowed by their Creator with certain UNALIENABLE rights. not alien rights.

    “un-alienable” – not capable of being transferred to a new owner

    “un-a-leen-able” as it stems from “lien”

    “lien” – claim/security/collateral against personal or real property

    unalienable – cannot be securitized; (also non-chattelized?)

    1933: FDR and Congress created Fed Reserve Notes backed by the property of the people; i.e. the “people” are responsible for the payment of these notes.

    13Th Amendment:
    ‘Debt-servitude’ – or servitude implemented in order to force the repayment of debt is considered unconstitutional within the stipulations set forth within the
    13th Amendment – See more at:
    http://constitution.laws.com/13th-amendment#sthash.Dq9hGWLy.dpuf

    What happened to the 13Th?
    http://investmentwatchblog.com/new-hampshire-bill-introduced-to-re-instate-original-13th-amendment-the-truth-is-coming-out/

  • Anonymous

    It was “unalienable”

  • Anonymous

    Nature’s Law/God’s Law

  • Anonymous

    The Brits plotted to get us back under their wing.
    Even Carnegie wanted us re-united with Great Britain.

  • Anonymous

    Is it a self-fulfilling prophesy?

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

    No, the word is UNalienable; meaning not transferable, non-securitized. Check alien and lien and add the prefix “un” and suffix “able”

  • Anonymous

    Even, today the FED keeps moaning about the low inflation rate. They just need to wait until that “air” is pumped back into the economy instead of the market.

  • Anonymous

    Freedom requires a self disciplined society to exist.

  • Anonymous

    “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” – FDR

  • olf

    Why are you a racist ?

  • olf

    Correct.

  • soybomb315

    Notice that Glenn Beck did not correct him when this psych-babble guy started heaping praises on FDR and Lincoln for being Constitution stalwarts…..

  • olf

    That president is full of malice and not fit to speak on our behalf.

  • Anonymous

    All that bumbling and I still don’t know what the heck they said. America’s “why” was originally to shamelessly and selfishly kill most of the Indians and take their land. Then it was to break from Britain. Then it was to exploit slaves. Then it was to unite the country and build a great economy through education, opportunity, capitalism and freedom. Now it’s to allow Wall Street to party hard on the backs of “mainstreet” and corporations to shop everything out to China and India for their profit while the middle class disappears and talk show hosts exploit people’s frustration with having been sold out.

  • Anonymous

    You mean the GDP mostly created by govt money pumped into the economy? Remember his NRA (National Recovery Act) – some referred to it as the Nuts Running America

  • Anonymous

    Keeping Marx in mind who figured the “proletariate” will rise up, the socialists/progressives need to give them the chance to rise thru voting. And who wouldn’t vote for a politician who promises them goodies from the public trough?

  • Anonymous

    It’s an updated re-do of 100 years ago. The money masters need to rearrange some deck chairs.

  • Anonymous

    Amen! Well said.

  • Anonymous

    You are correct. I’ll bet the majority of the people who comment have never read it. That’s our problem. IGNORANCE, by choice. It’s there to read, but people have become lazy and don’t do their own research. They prefer to be fed by Obama, the media and crooked politicians.

  • Anonymous

    Well, at least the people on Social Security have paid into it. Maybe not enough, but at least something. Those on other government entitlements and free handouts don’t contribute a dime and complain about what they get.

  • Anonymous

    Good point. However, we can affect change.
    2 Chronicles 7:14 King James Version (KJV)

    14 “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land”.

  • Anonymous

    I think freedom requires a God fearing society to exist. Put Him first and all the other things fall into line. All things come from Him.

  • Anonymous

    Didn’t mean to imply you are ignorant, leaving open the possibility of a typo mistake. But it did open the opportunity to get people more curious about what the word really implies.