Ken Connor

"[I]f you are dependent on people who do not know you, who control the value of your necessities, you are not free, and you are not safe." Wendell Berry, Sex, Economy, Freedom, Community

It's been almost two years since the financial collapse that precipitated the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and with no recovery in sight, America is faced with what might be the greatest existential dilemma of our time. Do we have what it takes to stop the corruption, recklessness, and greed that threaten to destroy our country? Are we willing to make the tough decisions necessary to regain our strength, or will we continue to plow obliviously ahead while our nation descends into economic insolvency and geopolitical vulnerability?

These are questions that all Americans are challenged to consider in a recent documentary entitled "Generation Zero." Based upon the premise that the indulgent parenting style of the Greatest Generation produced the self-centered risk-takers ultimately responsible for the collapse of 2008, Stephen Bannon and David Bossie's film "explores the cultural roots of the global financial meltdown – beginning with the narcissism of the 1960's, spreading like a virus through the self-indulgent 90's, and exploding across the world in the present economic cataclysm." As the documentary suggests, the consequences of our cultural decline are not merely economic. America's economic struggles are merely a symptom of a larger problem, a problem that threatens to undermine our national security and extinguish what's left of the American spirit.

America has, in some respects, become a soulless nation whose obsession with endless growth and unlimited material prosperity has displaced our sense of national identity. Even the most "patriotic" among us appear to have become addicted to a "quality of life" that is sustainable only by a kind of amoral, globally-scaled capitalism which has become allied with an increasingly pervasive nanny state. We are victims of what philosopher Richard Weaver dubbed "the spoiled child psychology," which affirms the notion that the ultimate goal in life is "happiness through comfort."

Ken Connor

Ken Connor is Chairman of the Center for a Just Society in Washington, DC.