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The Wall Street Journal Takes the Pulse of a Dying America

State of the Union: A poll released by the Wall Street Journal found sharp declines in the importance of patriotism, religion, and having children to the American people.


A poll released by the Wall Street Journal earlier this week found sharp declines in the importance of patriotism, religion, and having children to the American people.

When the Journal first started doing this particular poll in 1998, 70 percent of respondents said patriotism was “very important.” Today, that number has fallen to 38 percent. It’s a similar story for religion. 62 percent said religion was “very important” in 1998. Now, just 39 percent of Americans reportedly feel that way. The percentage of people who said having kids was “very important” was just under 60 percent in 1998. In 2023, just 30 percent felt that way.


The data continues: Only 27 percent of Americans believe community involvement is very important—a figure that has cratered since Covid-19. Just 43 percent think marriage is very important. Tolerance for others? Only 58 percent (though sometimes I have a hard time blaming them for that).

The only metric that has constantly increased in importance in the last 25 years in the Journal’s poll? Money. 43 percent say it’s “very important” today, compared to 31 percent in 1998.

Another fascinating tidbit from the Journal’s data: the average Republican today values religion, patriotism, procreation, and community involvement less than the average American in 1998.

What happened? Did the American people, which Alexis De Tocqueville once wrote, “constantly form associations,” all of a sudden decided to reject this tradition on their own accord over the course of just twenty five years? Of course not. Our political elite class, through their policies and preferences, has told Americans what should be important to them.

Chief among them is that Americans shouldn’t love America. Don’t you know America was built by slavery on land stolen from the Native Americans? they say. It’s only right that we give your job to someone in a historically oppressed group—a person of color or immigrant—or ship your job overseas to a previously colonized nation. It doesn’t matter that you or maybe even your ancestors had nothing to do with this—you and the rest of the country owe an unpayable debt to the rest of the world.


The regime also says marriage doesn’t mean much either—it can be with anyone. Therefore, being married certainly doesn’t mean you need to be open to having kids. Even if the biological plumbing is all right, there’s always the pill and abortion. And you certainly don’t have to wait until marriage to have sex. 

More recently, they barred social gatherings and other forms of community. They locked people out of their churches and into their homes—in some places for more than a year. With one voice, they shouted, You don’t need communion, you need the Covid jab.

It’s also no surprise that Americans believe the cultural value of money is on the rise even as the true value of the dollar declines. Policies of globalization prioritized capital over the common man; cheap goods and services over steady jobs and strong communities.

Tragically, it seems many Americans have listened to them. But hope remains, because not many people are very happy about it. The work continues to turn their attitudes into action.