Have We Squandered Our Cultural Inheritance? September 02, 2010 | View Comments By Timothy Dalrymple Believe it or not, Glenn Beck gets it. Whatever else Beck has right or wrong -- and I confess I have never watched or listened to him much -- it seems to me that he is correctly interpreting the present moment. Which is no small matter. And, as indicated by the "Restoring Honor" held before the Lincoln Memorial last Saturday, he might even be correctly responding to it. What does he get? Beck gets that there is a deeply and urgently felt conviction emerging organically across a broad swath of the American populace that the spectacular economic and political collapses of recent years were made possible -- even inevitable -- by a much longer Great Moral Decline. Americans' commitment to Judeo-Christian principles, secured for most by a belief in biblical authority, long served to fuel the engine and fortify the rails of our government and economy. Yet now, it is feared, that commitment is no longer powerful and pervasive enough to propel the American marketplace and constrain the excesses and abuses in private and public sectors. In the words of Dr. Alveda King: "Our material gains seem to be going the way of our moral losses." This is not an exclusively religious concern. Even secular scholars have long recognized that America's Judeo-Christian heritage supplied a set of ideals and principles -- such as the Protestant work-ethic and strong commitments to honesty, integrity, and compassion -- that encouraged and reinforced the habits and qualities that tend to help democracies and free markets flourish. Have We Squandered Our Cultural Inheritance?