Are the Scales Falling from Our Eyes?
Rush has it right, as usual. Lately, El Rushbo has been commenting about how conservatives are beginning to wake up. I believe he’s used the phrase, “scales are falling from eyes.”
What’s dawning on conservatives is that fixing America is about more than fixing politics and government. It’s about the culture and society. Politics and government are subsets of the greater problem: a rotting culture that leads to a frayed and weakened society. In the absence of strong societal institutions and morality based on nature and reality, tyranny isn’t just possible, but likely.
Elect the most rock-ribbed conservative (say, Ted Cruz) as president and at the end of the day -- or after a couple of terms -- the country’s likely to be only nominally better off. Perhaps the word is “temporarily.” A renovated house standing on a bad foundation will collapse eventually.
That’s not to say that government isn’t a critical subset of society. The left uses government as a tool -- increasingly, as a weapon -- to impose its vision of a “progressive” society on us. Tyranny -- soft or hard -- relies on force. When arguments or glares can’t persuade, anything from punitive fines to battering rams work.
Ask Aaron and Melissa Klein about that weasel apparatchik, Brad Avakian. Avakian, a leftist flak, nailed the Kleins with a $135,000 fine for not baking a cake for two betrothed lesbians. Avakian, Oregon’s labor commissar, is going after the Kleins’ personal assets. Evidently, the Oregon labor commissar’s job is to ruin laboring men and women (a nice Orwellian twist). When faith and conscience run counter to leftist dicta, errant comrades need to be ground under.
Then this reported by David French for National Review in May:
“They came with a battering ram.” Cindy Archer, one of the lead architects of Wisconsin’s Act 10 -- also called the “Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill,” it limited public-employee benefits and altered collective-bargaining rules for public-employee unions -- was jolted awake by yelling, loud pounding at the door, and her dogs’ frantic barking. The entire house -- the windows and walls -- was shaking.
Why was Archer (among other Wisconsinites) targeted on the thinnest of pretexts for jackboot treatment? Explains French:
Yes, Wisconsin, the cradle of the progressive movement and home of the “Wisconsin idea” -- the marriage of state governments and state universities to govern through technocratic reform -- was giving birth to a new progressive idea, the use of law enforcement as a political instrument, as a weapon to attempt to undo election results, shame opponents, and ruin lives.
Let’s see. Progressive reforms, good. Conservative reforms, bad. In Wisconsin, union goons, court Robespierres, and cops without moral compasses are merely previewing what the left is willing to do to crush opposition. That sort of gussied-up thuggery is coming to your community soon enough, if not there already.
Is this your America, folks, the one you were raised to believe in? It’s the left’s Amerika, which brings us straight back to culture and society.
Government is a much better weapon if unrestrained by traditional American cultural and societal norms. Marx aimed to destroy marriage, family, and religion. Not transform them, update them or, in the cases of marriage and family, make them more “inclusive,” but destroy them. All three are bulwarks against tyranny. Weaken and then shatter the three and either tyranny or chaos and dissolution follow (and since tyranny loves to fill voids…).
Our founders got it. Wrote Scott E. Yenor, PhD, for The Heritage Foundation back in 2013:
The Founders’ occasional statements and their actions generally show that they held marriage and family life to be, in James Wilson’s words, “the true origin of society” or the first and most vital foundation on which civil society rests. Many states undertook modest reforms in family law during the Revolutionary period and the early republic. These reforms reveal how, for the Founders, the principles of natural rights affect marriage and family life and how marriage and family life support a republic based on the idea of natural rights.
The left, with Marxist cunning, has been corrupting the culture and society for decades. This corruption has been bearing fruit long before the high court’s homosexual marriage ruling, which was the handiwork of a Reagan appointee, Anthony Kennedy (a quisling).
Our side has been slow to grasp and engage the deeper existential threat to our liberties. Yes, we have social conservative warriors, but their ranks need plenty of reinforcements and more resources.
Politics and government have been the chief battlegrounds where we friends of liberty have fought the left. It’s understandable. Both are conspicuous and the misuse of government has the most obvious adverse effects on our freedoms and welfare. Moreover, the left engages in politics and expands government impressively. Yet, politics and government are just two battlefields in a greater war on American liberty. The left’s assaults on society have been insidiously gradual (since the 60s Cultural Revolution, that is).
The left has pursued societal deconstruction through indirection and the use of sophistry. The left debauches bedrock institutions under the cover of its mantra: “Fairness, equality, and compassion.” It corrupts the meanings of freedom and rights, for instance in the killing of the unborn or by promoting licentiousness.
Leftism is evil. That declaration makes many Americans recoil. Many Americans can’t intellectually or emotionally accept the idea that there are those among us who desire -- who strive daily with might and mien -- to subvert American society, thereby erasing the values and virtues that Western Civilization has bequeathed.
Yet stand back and look at the nation’s trend line. The degradation of America isn’t a transitory phenomenon. It began with the Progressive Era (which was increasingly populated by expatriate European socialists). It continued through the radicalized leftist student movements in the 1960s. Thanks to leftist control of key institutions today -- academia, the news media, and the arts and entertainment -- it spreads its cancer.
Let’s be brutally honest. Too many Americans prefer a “deconstructed” society, one of lax standards and an “anything goes” morality. Striving to live up to timeless virtues is hard. We’re all going to fall short, somehow, yet the mark of a healthy, vibrant society is one that sets high standards that we keep reaching for. Hedonism, to whatever degree, is always easier -- the broader road to perdition, if you prefer.
There are also the naïve, the poorly grounded, who take at face value the pap they’re fed by teachers, professors, pop culture, and sundry others. Marriage is archaic (unless you’re gay), self-fulfillment is preeminent, sex is for fun, unborn babies are optional, and any change -- however fringy -- is just progress.
The remedy? A liberty movement, a subset of which is a liberty party. A coalition established in communities across America, involving families, churches, synagogues, civic concerns, small businesses, and many others. A movement that evangelizes and fights for timeless virtues, values, and real freedom (freedom with responsibility; not license to indulge).
The goal of a liberty movement? Nothing short of America’s refounding. That certainly means reestablishing decentralized, limited government (thank you, Mark Levin). But it means recreating a society of transcendent virtues and standards that challenge us to rise above our meanest selves.
Ambitious? Audacious? You bet. But the times – and the perils – call for no less.