ARTICLE: Slow Fade or Renewal of Spirit?

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George W. Bush delivering speech at Spirit of Liberty Forum. Source: George W. Bush Institute.

 

By Erin Rodewald // October 25, 2017

(This article originally appeared in Providence magazine)

America in the 21st century is experiencing an identity crisis of sorts. The nation seems caught in a cultural maelstrom that is producing a crisis of confidence here at home. Free speech is disputed on college campuses, religious freedom is challenged in the courts, and the press is criticized for fabricating news to drive a particular political agenda. Our civic decency and national discourse have been compromised.

Meanwhile, economic, political, and national security concerns have sparked a renewed appetite among many Americans—private citizens and elected officials alike—to turn a collective gaze inward. An apparent downturn in what was once an enthusiastic embrace of the basic tenets of democracy and open markets may be jeopardizing what has been a robust and longstanding foreign policy engagement.

Is the liberal democratic order that has provided stability, prosperity, and freedom across the globe for the better part of 70 years in peril? Is America witnessing a slow fade of its core values, or is the country at a tipping point that will lead to a renewal of the spirit of liberty? Continue reading