But, after nearly a thousand columns and twelve years since my last book, I hope readers will forgive me for noting that today, April 24, 2012, HarperCollins is publishing the culmination of a lifetime of thinking and years of the most challenging writing of my life.
The book is "Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph." It is an argument on behalf of the moral superiority -- and universal applicability -- of American values.
There are three big ideas --n or religions, if you will -- competing for humanity's allegiance: Leftism, Islamism, and Americanism. I argue that the American value system -- what I call "the American Trinity" -- is the best system ever devised for making a good society.
The problem is that most Americans cannot identify these values, and therefore cannot fight on their behalf. In the meantime, the alternatives, Leftism and Islamism, have been spreading like proverbial wildfire, largely because their adherents know exactly what they are fighting for.
I do not fault Americans for not knowing their distinctive values. No one taught them what they are. And the problem is not new. Even the so-called "greatest generation," the World War II generation, had not been systematically taught these values.
I only came to realize what these values are in the way medical researchers sometimes happen upon a major discovery -- by chance. One night, as I emptied my pockets, I stared at the coins I had removed, and, lo and behold, there they were: America's values. The designers of all of America's money -- paper and coin -- had been telling me and every other American for well over a century what America stood for. And I hadn't noticed:
"Liberty," "In God We Trust," and "E Pluribus Unum" ("From Many, One").
No other country has proclaimed these three values as its primary values.
"Liberty" means the individual must be as free as possible. And this is only possible when the state and government are as small as possible. The freer the state is to do what it wants, the less free the citizen is to do what he wants. In sum, the bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.