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I hear many statements about principles of the US, and "what the founders intended". It's a little difficult for me to see what has changed so drastically since Bush's presidency, as freedoms have been expanded in terms of gun rights and government surveillance, and we still (contrary to popular belief) have a very low tax rate. Government is no more corrupt than it has been in the past, deplorable though it is.
What is happening is our empire is declining. We are having more difficulty securing resources we once found at home, and are more and more dependent on other countries for our economic survival. No empire can last indefinitely with that formula.
Assuming you're referring the the United States, consider how far we've come in 200 odd years. The principles upon which we were founded are still in force. The main principle is freedom, which is the exercise of rights. Over time, freedom has expanded not only within the US but without the world. We have stood as a model, as a different way of doing things since our founding, and we have done so much so right for so long. We have also made grave mistakes. As the Founders understood, this form of government and the culture that evolved were and are an experiment -- the work is, and never will be done. "In order to form a more perfect union," in order to secure the most freedom for the most people over time, this is the mission of the United States. Utopia you don't get. But we can get closer all the time.
Your question is a bit ambiguous. What principles are you referring to? I think it would be hard to make the case that there was only one set of coherent principles with which American started. Also, if you dig into American history there were some ghastly things, such as unjust treatment of the native Americans, slavery, oppression of women, race riots, etc. So, I think you would need to be much more specific. If you are referring to the economic climate that we are facing with the over 10% unemployment, I would say that this situation is due to greed. Human nature usually wants a quick gain, even if there are great future dangers. Our banks have done this for the most part. However, the consumer is not totally innocent as well. Did we not overbuy and not save enough? In short, we live in a materialistic culture where perceived needs become essential for us all. I suspect America was not always this way. Finally, I'd like to end with a thought about progress by saying progress is as likely as the opposite. I hope that I am too pessimistic.
In my opinion, the United States live up to the principles on which the nation was founded more today than at any time in the past.
While the country is by no means perfect, it is in my opinion progressing. All Americans have a true right to vote in a way that they never did until the late 1960s. Women and minorities have many more rights than they did a few decades ago.
I guess I'd be interested to know which of the principles you feel have been abandoned. Because I see America getting closer to its promise, not farther.
The tone of your question assumes that America, that is United States of America, is no longer as great as it used to be. Whether this assumption is true or not will depend very much on your concept of greatness. For example, for someone who considers the adventurous life of the Wild West as the main measure of greatness, may not find USA today as adventurous or enterprising today as it was in the hey days of Wild West. However in general, USA today is much better off and much stronger than it has ever been in the Past.
All that may be considered negative about the USA today is the considerable fall in its growth rate. With this the difference between USA and some other counties has narrowed down. Also it is possible that if other countries continue to make progress at faster rate than they may over take USA in future. But that would still be a long way off.
Also the principle on which USA was founded - the ideals like freedom and equality are more real for USA citizen today than they were ever in the past.
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