The Virtuous Nation – Conclusion

Jupiter conjunct Venus conjunct Sun


Here we have both the Greater and Lesser Benefics conjoined with the Sun, representing the Spirit of the United States.  This is a powerful configuration, and while there is no evidence that the birth of the United States was planned for this triple conjunction, it certainly is very beneficial.  This triple conjunction only existed for two weeks centered  around July 4.  It is as if a halo of goodness surrounds  the United States, to protect it from misfortune, and to allow people looking at it to see a beacon of good.  



Triple Conjunction of Sun, Jupiter, Veenus for the USA

But this triple conjunction also effects the way Americans look at themselves, at their country.  They see themselves as virtuous.  This belief underlies much American behavior.  A vocalization of this was seen clearly after 9/11  when the common question was heard “Why do they hate us?”  This was often expressed with a mixture of shock and disbelief.   If you believe that you are virtuous, you can not understand why anyone would do you harm. If such an event occurs, one can either reassess one’s virtue, or consider the attacker mad.  While Americans believe themselves as uniquely virtuous, there is little evidence for this [I am not talking about personal virtue, which was much in evidence in the personal response to the catastrophes of 9/11 and Katrina, for example, but in national actions].  The Marshall Plan after World War II, an attempt to help rebuild war -ravaged Europe, is most often cited as an example of American generosity [See H. W. Brands, The Devil We Knew,  Oxford University Press, 1993 p  16-17 for a more balanced discussion of the Marshall Plan], but, in this author’s opinion,  the actions of the America Relief Administration, formed by Herbert Hoover, in the relief of the Russian famine of 1921-23 more clearly  qualifies as a noble and selfless act.

Virtue has always been important to Americans culture.  But because of a historical phenomena in which words remain the same but the meaning changes, virtue in the present has a different sense than it had to the founders of the country.  To the Revolutionary  Generation, virtue meant civic virtue, “the capacity of some men to rise above private interests and devote themselves to the public good” in the words of historian Joyce Appleby [Joyce Appleby, Capitalism and a New Social Order: The Republican Vision of the 1790s, New York University Press, 1984, p 9].  This can be seen as a Jupiter virtue.  Jupiter is a social planet, concerned with other people and the wider world.  This type of virtue still remains in the phrase noblesse oblige .  It is a concern for the commonweal, for the well-being of other people, a concern for the community.

Compare this to the type of virtue that arose in the United States  after 1800, and  especially after 1820 and the growth of what historian William Appleman Williams calls the Age of Laissez Nous Faire [William Appleman Williams, The Contours of American History, W.W. Norton & Company, 1988, p225 ff] — Leave Us Alone.  This was private virtue, described as “autonomous individuals freely exerting themselves to take care of their own interests” [Appleby, p94].  This can be described as Venus virtue, one more concerned with oneself and one’s family.  Venus is definitely not a social planet in the sense that Jupiter is, but is more concerned with one-to-one relationships and one’s personal well-being.  This change in the meaning of virtue in the early American republic was because of the belief that America was a great land of opportunity – as discussed above – and because of that all Americans could rise to a position of comfort, if not wealth, if only the government would stay out of the way.  This meaning of virtue has by now become the only one recognized by the majority of Americans.  The Founding Fathers were aghast at this change in the country that they helped birth [Gordon S. Wood, The Radicalism of the American Revolution, Alfred A. Knopf, 1992, p365,366].  This difference between virtues has  also been described  as a change from a democracy of fraternity to a democracy of cupidity [Richard Hofstadter, The American Political Tradition, Vintage Books 1989].

This change in meaning of a simple word was profoundly significant for the development of America.  Instead of a community minded country, America became a nation of individuals only interested in getting more for themselves [Wood discusses this in detail]. The government was considered the problem that prevented individual initiative from functioning, and so its role was reduced  for most of the history of the United States, in comparison to many other countries of the world. We can see this at present in, among other things, the attack on Social Security.   Social Security was  created at a rare time, the Great Depression, when America needed more Jupiter – perhaps because the country as a whole was feeling an extreme lack of Jupiter — and the program is one in which all  people are  supported by the community. The attempts to modify if comes from a more Venusian place, where  each individual needs to be concerned only with him- or herself.  We have seen where the Venus virtue operating within a laissez-faire economic system has offered great abundance to the majority of American people,  but the bill has finally come due. This conflict between Venus and Jupiter can be seen in several current controversies, such as health care,  where Venus insists that each individual should be accountable for their own health, while Jupiter believes that health care is so important that the community as a whole  should guarantee it to all citizens;  and global warming, where Venus believes that private, individual initiative will solve the problem, and Jupiter believes that only a larger social plan of  action will correctly address the situation.

The triple conjunction of Venus, Jupiter, and the Sun in the natal chart of the United States describes many fundamental features of the national character of the United States.   Ever since its founding, the country that was to become the United States displayed strongly Venus and Jupiter characteristics; at the beginning Venus and Jupiter manifested themselves in different ways than when America was a well-established country. This triple conjunction was extremely beneficial to the United States and its reputation around the world.  Currently, as America and the American lifestyle become attractive around the world, the Venus-Jupiter characteristics are appearing outside the United States as well  — the world  is becoming Americanized.  This virtuous country, that had its birth in 1776, has, partly because of the appreciation of this virtue, become the model for many other countries who try to emulate the United States.

One thought on “The Virtuous Nation – Conclusion

  1. Pingback: Jacksonian America | 500 Year Party

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