The failure of public schools to impart even rudimentary knowledge of self-government principles, natural rights theory and the rule of law is compounded by the suicidal abandonment of civic education. As Stanford University education professor William Damon notes: "Our disregard of civic and moral virtue as an educational priority is having a tangible effect on the attitudes, understanding and behavior of large portions of the youth population in the United States today."
Add militant identity politics, a cancerous welfare state, entitled dependence and tens of millions of unassimilated immigrants to the heap, and you have a toxic recipe for what Damon calls "societal decadence -- literally, a 'falling away,' from the Latin decadere." Civilizations that disdain virtue die.
Independence Day sparklers will light the skies overhead this July 4th, but George Washington's "sacred fire of liberty" belongs in the breasts of Americans every day of the year.
How to rescue citizenship and civic virtue?
Let's start by sending a message to politicians in the nation's capital who imperil our sovereignty.
Citizenship -- good citizenship -- is not just a piece of government-issued paper. It is not merely a bureaucratic "status." It's a lifelong practice and propagation of founding principles. A nation of low information is just half the problem. A nation of low character cannot long remain a free nation.