The Choice Before Us
Ladies and gentlemen, let’s not kid ourselves: the November 3rd election will be the most consequential election in the history of our nation. It will not be so much a choice between two individuals or parties for control of our government, but a choice between two modes of government, and even two histories.
Stepping back from the noise and contention, the concern and confusion, the riot and conflict of current events, and looking back with a thoughtful and critical eye on developments over the past number of decades, it becomes obvious that we are in the final inning of a struggle for the soul of our country. The choice before us is no less than the continuation of an independent, democratic form of government -- based on the concepts of liberty in thought, expression and belief, and rooted in adherence to constitutional principles constituting the Grand Pact between We the People and the government we formed to serve us (not the other way around) -- and a turn towards the principles and operating methods of socialism, in which government owns all and deigns to offer (and can withdraw) resources and privileges and liberties to its subjects. Make no mistake, the threat is real, and the signs are now on active display should anyone care to see them.
The effort started long ago in our schools and universities though concerted attacks on history. First, the universities eliminated Great Books courses, which featured classical treatises on government, freedom and the evolution of liberal society. The rationale was that they had been written by white, European males and perpetuated a European-centric world view which did not give equal treatment to other cultures and histories. Then began the assault on the concept of American Exceptionalism by focusing on the sometimes heinous and always regrettable failures of our government and our leaders from times before the founding of our country to present day, to the exclusion of any countervailing treatment of the many benefits – both to our country and the world – of American ingenuity, beneficence and leadership in times of crisis and against enormous odds and historical expectations. This ushered in the current Age of American Denunciation, replete with expressions of national self-hate emanating from even the very highest levels of our national leadership.
Grade school curricula was changed to reduce or even eliminate focus on American history, except to the extent of the aforementioned focus. Our children are now learning almost nothing of the basis of our founding, the importance of our Constitution or the contributions – often at the cost of paying the ultimate price – of our forebears. This has dreadful consequences for the future of our republic, for as Cabot Phillips states in a recent article, “People aren’t going to protect what they don’t understand.”
Phillips writes about the 1619 Project (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_1619_Project), which he characterizes as part of a “concerted effort to revise history to fit the modern social justice narrative and insert works of fiction in our education system.” The project, “an ongoing initiative of the New York Times Magazine,” seeks to redefine 1619, the year the first enslaved Africans arrived in the American colonies, at the true birth year of our country, as opposed to 1776 when the colonies declared their independence from Britain.
Phillips quotes a December 2019 article in the New York Times Magazine as stating that the events of 1619 “inaugurated a barbaric system of chattel slavery that would last for the next 250 years… This is sometimes referred to as the country’s original sin, but it is more than that: It is the country’s very origin.”
“Out of slavery – and the anti-black racism it required – grew nearly everything that has truly made America exceptional: its economic might, its industrial power, its electoral system, its diet and popular music, the inequities of its public health and education, its astonishing penchant for violence, its income inequality, the example it sets for the world as a land of freedom and equality, its slang, its legal system and the endemic racial fears and hatreds that continue to plague it to this day. The seeds of all that were planted long before our official birth date, in 1776, when the men known as our founders formally declared independence from Britain.”
Phillips then comments: “In other words, the Founding Fathers were a bunch of evil white supremacists and the most important thing they did was to institute and perpetuate slavery. Obviously, slavery was horrific and wrong. But it shouldn’t erase all the accomplishments of America’s founders and the good things about our nation – like our Constitution, representative democracy, Bill of Rights guaranteeing our freedoms, economic prosperity and so much more.”
I’ve written before about my consternation at the phenomena of the rising “Blame America First” outlook. I’ve also written about what I see as a concerted attempt (which I believe is related) to undermine our current social order. In my article entitled “What the H is Going On?” I write:
"To my mind, much of what we are experiencing these days derives from the struggle for power by people and organizations looking to undermine, subvert, tear down, oppose and deny the current social order. What they would replace it with is unclear, though history is littered with examples of failed social experimentation.
I would propose that the challenge is greatest, and the fight is fiercest, here in the United States precisely because of the historic nature of our government. Our Great Experiment differed from others – and has been surprisingly successful – because it is based on the concept of personal autonomy, liberty and the primacy of We the People over the government we hire to serve us. People, groups, movements, governments seeking power (the ability to bend events and other people to their will) absolutely hate this autonomy and seek to overcome it at every turn. Their tools include undermining respect for and adherence to the rule of law, promoting anarchy, delegitimizing religion and cultural institutions supportive of the concept of free will, promoting the false promise of rights uncoupled from responsibility, lying, cheating, stealing, intimidating, manipulating, denouncing, defaming anyone and destroying anything that stands in their way. We are in the midst of a Great Fight; not necessarily one between good and evil, though I believe that is a part of it, but a fight to preserve our personal liberties and way of life against those, organized or not, who would take them from us.
The signs of this struggle are, as I suggest above, all around us. I believe the reason that they are becoming clearer to see more recently is that the time of decision is fast approaching. The metastasizing group narrative, facilitated and given credibility by an agenda-driven national media -- that America is fundamentally flawed, unjust, irredeemable and unforgivable, that the Constitution is an irrelevant historic relic, that anarchy and violence are appropriate responses to perceived grievances, and that traditional bastions of support for law and social order like the police and the courts, are acceptable targets for insults, injury, arson and defunding – is teeing up the argument that America must be changed, and changed in most fundamental ways. This, I believe, is the fuel that drives the push for transformation of our society in the direction of socialism.
I truly believe that this nation faces an historic choice that will determine its fate and the future for ourselves and our children’s children. It is not a choice between two individual men or political parties. It is a choice between a constitutional republican form of government versus full-on socialism. The choice could not be starker. At this point we must hope and pray that the current citizens of this country think carefully and thoughtfully about the kind of society they want to have, and to pass on to future generations.