Our Founders understood that human nature is what it is, and this fact alone was what made for a great nation. Their structuring of our government was to put men under the rule of law, so that tyranny would not lead the nation, nor barbarianism undermine society's order. But, today, there seems to be another opinion about humans and it is the "ideal of alturism".
Alturism is defined as selfless concern for others. Idealists, whether religious or humanists believe that men can become alturistic, by habit formation. These believe that Aristotle's virtues meet Kant's categorical imperative. But, what does this mean practically in light of our Founders view?
Our Founders view was a realist view, as they understood that men were not to be trusted with power over others, or power within government that was not balanced. They did believe that humans were to be self-governing, that is, not by outside authority, but inside character. And that character is illustrated by the commitments that one values
Parents were to train their children through every means available so that upcoming citizens would understand the needs of their nation, as well as their personal values of choice in vocation. American youth can choose where they will go to college and what they will study. There has been no tracking in American education, as a whole.
Because the individual is valued because of liberty, the child is able to develop to his full potential, as well as his understanding of himself in personal interests. The blossoming young adult's identity becomes an ego strength that does not define thesmselves by group identification, or familial determinations, but personal values of choice. These adults can withstand the diverse responsibilities of adulthood.
In oppressive societies, there is an overintending authority that superintends the child's life, as well as the adult's. Ego development is not the goal of such governments, but a denial of indiviudality and liberty of choice, value and conscience. These forms of government believe that power is needed for social order to be maintained and their amibitions to be accomplished.
Unfortuately, our "free society" has also undermined the foundations that are needed for children to grow into independent adulthood. Our society is fraught with social ills of divorce, child negligence, poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic abuse, and educational needs. These social ills affect the "ideals" that our Founders envisioned and inhibits societal flourishing. The problem becomes what to do about it.
Good government that allows liberty to develop is first and foremost, but the needs of the individual child is also important to value. Liberty cannot undermine society's need for stability, which social structures of marriage and family bring. We are in a crisis in America because the family is broken and there is no way to make it work. Many families are over-stressed by various commitments that are not easily dismissed. A father/mother is still responsible to their employer and must meet their demands. But, these demands also undermine family time and the child's need for a secure and safe place.
The needs of our society are not the "idealist" dreams and hopes, of happily ever afters, or in oppressive means of training citizens through outside authoritarianism, but real world problems and needs that aren't easily addressed by government or life in modern society.
Social ills should not undermine America's ideal of liberty, otherwise we will become pawns of a moralistic totaltalitarinism that would inhibit our very "way of life", in the name of the "common good" or "public interest"!