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Principled Ideas from the Centennial Institute

Volume 7, Number 3 March 2015


By Nick Adams
Its December 1985 in
Sydney, Australia. Two
parents are at wits end.
Something is not right with
their 16 month-old child.
For months, they have
visited doctor after doctor.
No one can tell them what
is wrong. On the night
before Christmas Eve, with
their child more unsettled
than unusual, they head for
the emergency room at Childrens Hospital.

Publisher, William L. Armstrong

Editor, John Andrews

Striving for Greatness

In 5,000 years of recorded human history, there has been
no nation even resembling the United States. The American
model has offered, and continues to offer, a greater chance
for dignity, hope, and happiness for more people than any
other system.
As Margaret Thatcher, the British prime minister, put it:
Europe was created by history. America was created by
philosophy. Lady Thatcher was right. The philosophy
is one of individual liberty, free-market opportunity, and
belief that its all a gift from God.
America is the best idea the world has ever had, the greatest
value system ever devised. What are these values that make
America exceptional? Individualism, not collectivism.
Patriotism, not relativism. Optimism, not pessimism.
Limited government, not the nanny state. God, not Caesar.
Faith, not secularism.

The ward is nearly deserted, but there is one overnight

E Pluribus Unum, not multiculturalism. Life, not
doctora young man with a smiling face and
an accent. As he looks the child over, the smile Your success death. Equality of opportunity, not equality of
outcome. Goodness, not moral equivalence.
evaporates: I think your son has neuroblastoma.
America is about being bold, not bland. Brave, not
Get him in for tests first thing in the morning.
meek. Striving for greatness, not mediocrity.
Next day, the parents worst fears would be
confirmed. It was Stage IV neuroblastoma, a rare
All the Right Enemies
type of childhood cancer. The parents were mine. The child
Tellingly, all of these values are aligned with whats called
was me. The doctor, it turned out, was an American.
today a conservative outlook. On every single count,
Its Why Im Alive
traditional America both viscerally and ideologically sides
with conservatism.
The cause of neuroblastoma remains unknown today.
Only 1 in 100,000 children get it. Notoriously difficult to
America thus represents the greatest impediment to leftist
diagnose, by the time it is, the tumor has usually spread. At
aims, and becomes the prime target of the progressive
Stage IV, an infant has just a five percent chance of life. For
movement in all its manifestations. It is easy to love America
three years, I underwent chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and
simply for the enemies she makes.
an operation.
American success, by design not accident, is the most
Through the healing hands of God, the master physician,
significant refutation of leftist ideals. Thats because
I defied the odds and lived. The instincts of the American
doctor, fresh out of college, only in Australia for an
internship, just in time, were crucial. So I havent only
Nick Adams (B.A., University of Sydney) became Australias youngest deputy
studied American exceptionalism. Ive lived it. In fact, Im
mayor at 21, and hasnt slowed down since. He is the author of American
Boomerang: How the Worlds Greatest Turnaround Nation Will Do It Again. This
alive because of it.
American exceptionalism is often derided as a phrase of
partisan polemics, or worse still a mere hypothesis, or
even a myth. But it is an incontrovertible reality, however
unwelcome or unpalatable this might be to those whose
ears are attuned to a different siren.

essay is based on his talk at Colorado Christian University on Dec. 8, 2014.

Centennial Institute sponsors research, events, and publications to enhance

public understanding of the most important issues facing our state and nation.
By proclaiming Truth, we aim to foster faith, family, and freedom, teach
citizenship, and renew the spirit of 1776.

America has fostered a society that allows its citizens the

widest latitude for creativity and innovation. It rewards
success without government approvals and bureaucratic
interference. It embraces religious faith, aspiration, and risk.
As a result, the people of America have been the most
enterprising, market-oriented, individualistic, and averse to
taxation and regulation that have ever walked the earth.
America has also shown uncommon valor against the sword
of tyranny. She has frosted the neighborhoods of tyranny
and oppression, by freezing
the sweat and chilling the
Virtue, faith,
bones of men harbouring
and liberty
such aspirations. From the
beaches of Normandy to
the sands of Iraq, America
has spread more freedom and fought more evil than any
other country, expending enormous treasure.
Put simply, the world is a better place for America being
in it. This is not to say America is
perfect. Shes not. But she is the
best thing we have.
Onslaught from the Left
The Lefts failures, by contrast, are
equally clear. They have created
economically unsustainable and
character-destroying welfare
states. They have undermined
Western military strength. They
have politicized universities and
the arts. They authored the culture
of complaint, and its close cousin,
the self-esteem movement.
Every area of our life in the world today is being downgraded
because of the Left, their agendas, and their stranglehold
on elite opinion. We are less free, poorer, weaker, less
innovative, less confident, and less family-oriented. We are
more divided and more faithless.
America is therefore in the fight of its life. Individualism,
patriotism, and libertythe unique properties of American
life and cultureare at diminished levels, beleaguered by the
anti-American virus prevalent in schools and universities,
entertainment media, and the arts.
The elites inverted priority of climate over jihad speaks
volumes of the problems that afflict the worlds pinnacle

nation. The readiness of many opinion leaders to allege evil

in the local police, but not in Islamic terror, stuns some of
us who watch from abroad. We see America weaker today
than she has ever been, making the world a more dangerous
place for everyone.
My earnest appeal is that Americans must not yield to the
stress of circumstances. Its time to stop the pity parties
and fight back. Its time to believe in breakthroughs,
turnarounds, and miracles.
Relearn the American Trinity
People still cross oceans to get to this country. They are as
willing as ever to empty their life savings to get to America,
legally or illegally. They are as prepared as ever to sell the
shirt on their back just to feel the American winds of
freedom and opportunity. Nowhere else can so many come
with nothing and achieve anything.
So Im convinced that an American renaissance is not as
distant, or as impossible, as many speculate. But neither
will it roll in on the wheels of
inevitability. We must revitalize
an informed patriotism across the
We must recover a common
recognition that the principles of
freedom and responsibility found in
the Declaration of Independence
and the Constitution are in
every Americans self-interest,
irrespective of identity politics.
This must become again, as it
once was, the lens in which all
Americans view cultural choices,
political candidates, and public policy.
Saving America requires bringing intellectual ammunition
to the battle of ideas. Too many people have forgotten or
never learned what makes America exceptionaland you
cannot advocate what you cannot articulate.
Reason and faith are the two wings by which the American
eagle took flight. The arithmetic of the American trinity is
simple: Virtue cannot be sustained in the absence of faith,
and if virtue is absent, then liberty must be as well. Yet
new generations of Americans are unable to write out the
formula, let alone balance the equation.

CENTENNIAL REVIEW is published monthly by the Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University. The authors views are not necessarily
those of CCU. Designer, Bethany Bender. Illustrator, Benjamin Hummel. Subscriptions free upon request. Write to: Centennial Institute, 8787
W. Alameda Ave., Lakewood, CO 80226. Call 800.44.FAITH. Or visit us online at
Please join the Centennial Institute today. As a Centennial donor, you can help us restore Americas moral core and prepare
tomorrows leaders. Your gift is tax-deductible. Please use the envelope provided. Thank you for your support.
- John Andrews, Director
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Centennial Review March 2015 2

But once that formula is relearned, confidence will return.

Consensus on the American identity, a prerequisite for any
renaissance, will re-emerge, and the syrupy indulgence of
cultural pathologies will lose favor.

Political correctness is to freedom as tuberculosis is to life.

As Western civilization gasps with the fatal symptoms,
America is the one nation that can reverse the prognosis.
You have the vaccine: the American idea itself.

Toll of Political Correctness

Reassert the individual freedom of self-responsible

citizens. Reclaim your confidence as the land of
opportunity and open discourse where no one is silenced.
Recognize that the unfettered American dream and the
regimented politically correct mindset cannot coexist.
Expose its agenda, puncture its pretense, make war on it.
Believe you can win, despite the defeatists who despair
you cant.

One of the worst of those pathologies, as I see it from half a

world away, is political correctnessthe cringing groupthink
that forbids certain plain truths from being spoken or even
thought, on pain of leftist obloquy and ostracism.
Nothing is more anti-American, anti-freedom, anti-truth,
and anti-reality than political correctness. It is a noose around
Americas neck, growing tighter each day. From identity
politics and secularism to the all-powerful welfare state and
the war against national identity, every problem in America
today is compounded by this suffocating regime of thought
Political correctness, when allowed to flourish, extinguishes
confidence, impairs judgment, inculcates victimhood, and
entrenches division. It makes a peaceful, cooperative society
impossible. It is oppressive, discriminatory, unjust.
Unless plain speaking is allowed, clear
thinking is denied. Political correctness
parrots messages that are more myth than
truth. It is more interested in sustaining a
narrative than asserting facts. It dulls the
moral sense, blurring good and evil. It is a
communal tyranny, not dissimilar to the one America fought
a revolution over.

Say no to

Political correctness is one of the major reasons why Europe

today is lifeless. The cancerous conformity has left it sickly,
pale, and limp. Fortunately, America is not Europe; not yet.
Its proud, historic traditions of freedom, patriotism, and
self-assertion make Western civilizations last redoubt.
Thank goodness that beyond the smug commentariat that
monopolizes academia, politics and the media, the American
frontier spirit remains strong. But your country, my friends,
is nonetheless on the wrong path. Admit it to yourself: even
here in the home of the brave, Americans are being bullied
by the anti-bullying mantra. Many that deplore it are still
cowed by it.
You Have the Vaccine
Without free speech, creativity is dampened. We have lost so
much already. Imagine the books well never read, the movies
that were never made. Lets not lose any more. Our grudging
equivocation with the thought police must be replaced by
fearless repudiation of them.
After all, to fear an idea, any idea, is unworthy of a free
society. America must stand up for freedom of choice,
freedom of speech, plain speaking, and the free marketplace
of ideas. These are the safeguards against tyranny. Their
retreat is tyrannys advance. We must wrench the pendulum
back toward free speech.

Through Foreign Eyes

Its a curious fact that on occasion in American history,
a fresh set of eyes visiting from distant lands has helped
Americans see themselves more accurately. As the adage
goes, sometimes a spectator sees more of the game.
Alexis de Tocqueville, the prescient French nobleman,
visited the United States in the 1830s when he was just 26.
His book Democracy in America praised your countrys lack
of a centralized government, deemed religion salutary
for democracy, and described how political freedom and
uninhibited commerce went hand in hand.
Likewise with Winston Churchill, the wartime British
prime minister and greatest figure of the 20th century,
who led the fight against Hitler and sounded the alarm on
Communism. Churchill genuinely loved this nation that
he called the Great Republic.
Churchills maternal family lineage no doubt assisted,
but it was the people and philosophy that sourced his
immense faith in the USA. Challenging his own countrys
predilection for consensus
and moderation, he displayed
American-like leadership with
indomitable will and bulldog
And both men remarked on
Americas resiliency. The
greatness of America lies not in
her being more enlightened than
any other nation, but in her ability
to repair her faults, observed the
Frenchman. The Briton jibed
affectionately: You can always
rely on America doing the right
thing, after it has exhausted every
other option.
Maybe it is an outsider thing,
but I immediately discerned
the same American comeback
capability as they did, vivid and
irrepressible, from the moment

Tocqueville: Prescient

Churchill: Indomitable

Centennial Review March 2015 3

America the Exceptional:

An Aussies Love Letter
By Nick Adams
As with such foreigners as
Tocqueville in the 19th century
and Churchill in the 20th, a
young Australian has words
of praise and caution for
Americans today. American
exceptionalism is real, says
Nick Adams: Ive lived it. But
leftism could undo us, he warns.

Centennial Institute
Colorado Christian University
8787 W. Alameda Ave.
Lakewood, CO 80226
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I set foot on US soil. That is why I am sanguine about

Americas prospects.

unable to do? Is it accidental that the dreams in my heart

all involve America? As a man of faith, I dont believe so.

Trying Times

Today, at age 30, I proudly call myself an Australian by

birth, a Texan by honorary appointment (thank you,
Rick Perry), and an American by choice. I love America
because it is confident, competitive, courageous, faithful,
idealistic, innovative, inspirational, charitable, and
optimistic. It is everything as a nation that I wish to be
as a person. Thats why I am devoted to
helping achieve an American renaissance.

Yet the current season in America is confusion and

uncertainty. Islamic storms, European winds, and secular
clouds are battering, drifting, and distressing American life
and values. Thomas Paines words from 1776 resonate with
Americans today:
These are the times that try mens souls.
The summer soldier and the sunshine
patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from
the service of their country; but he that
stands by it now, deserves the love and
thanks of man and woman.

Stay the course,


What does America have to do to come back in these trying

times of our own? How do we win this fight? How do
we vanquish the forces besetting us and restore American
We do it, I believe, as Americans always have: through liberty,
good constitutionally-limited government, free enterprise,
and traditional Judeo-Christian values. This must be your
countrys future. My book outlines a ten-point policy plan
to get us there:
End the waste, pay back the debt, limit the
government, axe political correctness, protect the
borders, preserve Judeo-Christian traditions, end
the culture of entitlement, cut taxes, exercise loyalty
to the Constitution, and keep the peace through
unquestioned military advantage.
Who can put the country back on that path? Who can
vindicate American exceptionalism? Patriotic citizens with
traditional values. People just like you.
Since almost losing my life before it began, I have firmly
believed God saved my life for a particular purpose. Is it
a coincidence that I have been drawn to the United States
for as long as I can remember? Is it chance that it was an
American doctor that diagnosed what others had been
Centennial Review March 2015 4

After freedom, inspiration is Americas

greatest export. To me, as it was to
Churchill, America is the hope that banishes
all hopelessness. As Americans, you should never be
intimidated into mediocrity or cramped into submission.
Youve been given so much more. For the sake of the world,
you must remain the dream-makers and the dream-keepers.
To whom much is given, much is required, said Jesus.
Ponder that, my American friends. You have been
bequeathed the high responsibility of continuing to support
and export the greatest value system ever devised. Stay the
course, America.

Students Age 16-20

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