Cruising with Freedom and Hillsdale College in the Baltics
I'm on the Hillsdale College Baltic Cruise. Hillsdale has a special mission, especially for those of us who see the Constitution as the law that governs government consistent with the ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence.
This cruise is a lesson in freedom and how fragile it may be if we are not vigilant. We're traveling through a part of the world where freedom has been intimidated, stolen, crushed and sapped from the souls of people. It is also an area where people who long for freedom have shown great courage and determination in the face of oppression.
Some of us took a train to Moscow from our port in St. Petersburg, Russia. Standing in Red Square, I recalled the fearful visions of the military parades of the Evil Empire. In Russia, compared to our other stops, I saw the more long-term damage tyranny causes to the souls of people. Russians have not overcome the vestiges of Soviet rule, and may never. One bureaucrat customs employee even spoke to me without words that could be overheard and reported, but through the quieter safety of her expression and eyes. It was a silent but unmistakable plea that this American not forget what he saw as he boarded back to a freer life.
The cruise has helped reinforce the fear I have for my own country and the direction we've been on. Each day we see our own government disregarding our paramount law that is designed not just as a system of order, but to protect freedom, and too many Americans complacently accepting more government and less freedom.
Journalist and author Claire Berlinski, who currently lives in Turkey and spoke about Europe and Islam, may have said it best. We point to America as the great example for our European friends, but the anti-freedom activities by our government these days are an embarrassment instead.
The guest speakers on this cruise include, among others, the brilliant and witty John O'Sullivan and Stan Evans. Mr. Evans is concluding a book about the communist infiltration into American government, a follow up to his marvelous book, Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America's Enemies.
John O'Sullivan, once an advisor to the great lady herself, Margaret Thatcher, is able to regale about events we can only study. He lived the events saving America and Britain from the declinism of the 1970s, making his book, The President, the Pope, And the Prime Minister: Three Who Changed the World, all the better.
The speakers have been terrific and the cities fascinating, yet it is the Hillsdale team led by Dr. Larry Arnn, the college's president, who ensure this a cruise of great and compelling ideals. Hillsdale is serious about protecting freedom, and if you've not subscribed to Imprimis, the college's (free) monthly publication, or not inquired into The Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship, located in Washington, D.C., I urge you to do so.
We won the Cold War, but no victory is ever permanent. Many of the same forces remain aligned against us and our freedoms. Some even work in our own government.
(Disclosure: my agency does work for Hillsdale College.)