Building Community Can Save America

Washington Examiner Editor Says Building Community Can Save America

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Time Carney Speaking at Benedictine College

Tim Carney, author and commentary editor for the Washington Examiner, told the crowd gathered at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, that building community could save America. Carney was a featured speaker of the college’s Center for Constitutional Liberty and his speech, “Connect or Collapse,” focused on his research into the American Dream and whether it was truly dead. That research is the foundation of his latest book, Alienated America: Why Some Places Thrive While Others Collapse.

“I wrote Alienated America and I enjoyed writing it. I think it’s an important book,” he said. “It’s a book about the American Dream and the widely held view that the American Dream is dead. So it’s a book about work. It’s a book about faith. It’s a book about family and it’s a book about community.”

His interest was sparked by a statement from Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign that the American Dream was dead. While investigating the subject, Carney found that much of the problem was because people were facing life’s challenges alone. He found that certain areas lacked the strong community, church or civic organization connections to help them, or the people simply weren’t engaging with them. He feels that these failing social connections are contributing to the divide in America today.

In addition to explaining the problems, he also talked about solutions. Some of this required wealth and the foresight of philanthropists like Ewing Kauffman in Kansas City, who brought the Royals baseball team to Kansas City and contributed to the construction of a state-of-the-art performing arts center. But he said it also required everyone to do the little things to help each other, small things to bring joy into the hearts of just a few people at a time.

“If you have the wealth, build gardens and libraries. Do what they did in Pittsburg. Do what the Kauffman’s did here (in Kansas City),” he said. “Not everybody here can do that, but because there is no one big solution, there’s a hundred thousand little solutions, it’s going to be on a very local level. That’s what’s going to turn America around. I hope, in a room like this, that there can be one hundred of those little solutions. That the people here can be the people who build community, who make everyplace they live a great place to raise kids, a great place to learn, a great place to study.

For Benedictine College, which is known for its strong sense of family and community and has a strong focus on service to others, Carney’s message was a rallying cry to continue its mission and strive to do more.

“At Benedictine College, we build community better than any other college in America,” said Benedictine College President Stephen D. Minnis. “It is one of our unique characteristics and our intentional efforts to enhance that feeling of belonging goes a long way as our graduates go out into the world to help change the culture.

The Center for Constitutional Liberty at Benedictine College provides students and the broader public a chance to immerse themselves in the foundational principles and values of a free society through an interconnected series of field work, speakers, public outreach, scholarly effort and leadership development. Carney is the second speaker for the Center, which launched in September.

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. The school is proud to have been named in the Top 10 in the Midwest of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report, the best private college in Kansas by The Wall Street Journal, and one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide. It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging. It has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.