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.