Fellow Patriot: The voluntary financial generosity of supporters like you keeps our hard-hitting analysis coming. Please support the 2022 Independence Day Campaign today. Thank you for your support! —Nate Jackson, Managing Editor

Kathryn Jean Lopez / July 22, 2017

Focusing Outward: On Others and Opportunities

You don’t even have to look at a newspaper or turn on the TV to know that the day-in, day-out slog of politics involves a near-total squandering of opportunity.

“Opportunity is built explicitly into the American social contract,” writes J.D. Vance, author of the best-selling “Hillbilly Elegy,” in his introduction to The Heritage Foundation’s upcoming Index on Culture and Opportunity. He highlights the nonpartisan nature of opportunity.

“We declared independence by noting a God-given right to pursue happiness,” he writes, “and one of the few philosophical issues that unite both sides of our political spectrum is the idea that we should have some measure of ‘equality of opportunity’ in our society.” It’s “one of the few contemporary pieces of evidence of our shared national identity,” he says.

You don’t even have to look at a newspaper or turn on the TV to know that the day-in, day-out slog of politics involves a near-total squandering of opportunity. But on the campus of Villanova University this past week, I saw something else budding. About 70 conservative college newspaper editors were at a boot camp organized by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI). One student told me how listening to an archbishop from Iraq last summer, at World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland, had rerouted his priorities and aspirations. He realized the impact the media can have by what an editor, for example, chooses to cover and highlight.

Another asked me how to avoid falling into the traps of “fake news.” The answer lies in telling the truth, of course, and in refocusing our lens on good stewardship, human dignity and the opposite of today’s constant avalanche of bad news. This is what so many of these students want to be about, if their questions and conversations were any indication: clarity in the midst of confusion. Rising above the noise and lifting people up.

Some cultural indicators show signs of improvement; others, not so much. As Dr. Aaron Kheriaty notes in an August “First Things” article: “Depression is now the most common serious medical or mental health disorder in the United States.” Also: “Suicide is now the leading cause of death among adolescents and young adults, and the 10th leading cause of death overall in the United States.”

The American Dream is in crisis on both spiritual and cultural levels, as Vance commented. “Culture,” he writes, “must serve as the beginning of a conversation, not the end of one, and proper conversation about culture will never be used as a weapon against those whom Christ described as ‘the least of these.’ It will be a needed antidote to a simplistic political discourse that speaks often about the vulnerable even as it regularly fails to help them.”

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, in a recent TED Talk on facing the future together without fear, pointed out that “when you tell a story and your identity is strong, you can welcome the stranger, but when you stop telling the story, your identity gets weak and you feel threatened by the stranger.” Sacks advises that the road to rediscovery of identity starts in overhauling today’s radical individualism – perhaps best symbolized by the selfie. Next time you’re tempted to turn the phone around, turn the eyes of your heart toward some other person who might otherwise be overlooked or forgotten.

In 1988, at ISI’s 35th anniversary dinner, William F. Buckley Jr. said, “We are basket cases of ingratitude, so many of us. … To live without any sense of obligation to those who made possible lives as tolerable as ours, within the frame of the human predicament God imposed on us – without any sense of gratitude to our parents, who suffered to raise us; to our teachers, who labored to teach us; to the scientists, who prolonged the lives of our children when disease struck them down – is spiritually atrophying.”

Being grateful for any and all opportunities may be the place to start, along with helping others see those same opportunities and soar in the possibilities. It will require fewer selfies, though, for sure.

COPYRIGHT 2017 United Feature Syndicate

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

★ PUBLIUS ★

“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2022 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.