As we mark another Independence Day in America, it’s worth reflecting on the meaning of our country’s much-trumpeted exceptional status. The United States, after all, wasn’t ever conceived as an organic nation, but as a revolutionary construct, the herald of a dawning Novus Ordo Seclorum. And so its progress is always unfulfilled, its nature not being, but becoming, its vastness a continental-scale laboratory for social alchemy. Yet out of all attempts to identify the meaning of the American Dream, no one illustrated its essence better than the Orthodox monk Fr. Seraphim Rose:
One might take, as a symbol of our carefree, fun-loving, self-worshipping times, our American ‘Disneyland’; if so, we should not neglect to see behind it the more sinister symbol that shows where the ‘me generation’ is really heading: the Soviet Gulag.
Fr. Seraphim wrote these words in 1982, the year of his repose at age 48, and…
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