Saving the Country from Its Own Government
Make no mistake. Removing statues and monuments related to the Confederacy, which is driven by the left, is not about redressing the legacy of slavery and racism, but rather it’s to advance the agenda to takedown the United States. There is, after all, enormous leverage for the left in transforming historic monuments of America’s past into symbols of racism and oppression. It’s like giving a new set of crowbars and sledgehammers to America’s internal enemies to help them further pull apart the unity of the American people, divide the electorate, and bludgeon their political opponents and particularly the present populist president, Donald Trump -- to arouse yet more hatred and animosity toward him.
This demolition campaign needs to be understood not only in the context of past and present politics, but also in context of the philosophy of those leading the agenda, the 50-year continuum of secular progressive accomplishments that preceded this, and most importantly why this stage may be the lynchpin in taking the country down.
Philosophically, the left’s secular progressivism has always been rooted in Marxism and its neoMarxist offspring that are predominantly focused on socialist redistribution, environmentalism and race, class and gender warfare. This not only puts them at war with capitalism and free markets, but also with traditional and family values, patriotic symbols, liberties and national sovereignty that are enshrined in and protected by the Constitution -- the legal basis of America’s democratic republic.
Historically, back in the mid-1960s the U.S. welfare system and particularly Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) was transformed by radical activist lawyers and community legal aid interest groups, filing hundreds of lawsuits, who succeeded in establishing a federal constitutional right to a minimum adequate income based on the number of children in the single-parent household. The unintended but predictable consequences began showing up fairly quickly in terms of fewer marriages and absentee fathers, as well as negative psychological consequences of robbing people of the dignity of work. Urban black communities became transformed into a new plantation system of patronage by the Democratic Party.
The dissolution of the family was broadened further through the 1970s sexual revolution and the explosion of divorce rates that followed, and within two generations four out of ten white children were being born out of wedlock. The mainstreaming of alternative LGBT relationships and legitimization of gay marriage further polarized the social fabric of the U.S., undermining the special place and central importance of traditional marriage and childbearing. The transgender agenda has been moving apace rapidly with a scope that ranges from encouraging children to question and even experiment with their sexual identities to transforming the armed services from their main purpose of fighting and winning wars. The conservation and environmental movement that is way more than 50 years old, has become so politically transformed by the left with dogma on global warming and climate change that it not only threatens to rearrange the economy with more government regulation and control, but it also seeks to deny skeptics and dissenters their First Amendment rights, prompting former attorney general Loretta Lynch to consider criminal charges and jail time for climate change dissenters.
This legacy combined with the last decade’s significant growth in food stamp entitlements, a 700% increase in government-backed student loan indebtedness, and the doubling of federal government debt to nearly $20 trillion -- all taking place in just two terms of Barack Obama’s administration -- has caused many on the left to feel the conditions for collapse and final transformation of the U.S. are at hand.
The reason that toppling and removing statues and monuments is a lynchpin in taking down America is simple: it serves to sever the present from the past and undermine the value and meaning of the sacrifice of our forebears. Early Americans’ failings in moral judgment regarding slavery were very real. But the nation paid a huge price for redemption from the sin of slavery by the shedding of the blood of some 800,000 Americans, who were killed in the Civil War -- the largest loss of American life of any war in our history.
The Civil War is remembered by most people as the seminal event that abolished slavery. But the Constitution was equally important, providing the legal mechanism for ending slavery, just as it provided the legal means to continue the process of advancing minority civil rights. In contrast to countries like Japan and Germany, which both made concerted efforts to expunge and cover up their egregious sins of imperialism and racial supremacy that led to World War II, America has faced its past mistakes without denial.
The removal of Confederate monuments and statues not only belittles and diminishes the lives that were sacrificed on both sides, but it also serves to expunge from the American memory the growth and learning that came out of these moral failings. A people who fail to learn from their past -- with all its struggle and sacrifice -- are generally not equipped to think about where they are going. When you sever people’s consciousness of their past, they’re more likely to become sheep who can be led to their own slaughter.
Indeed Americans are some of the most self-critical people in the world, which has shaped the nation in terms of its citizens learning from the nation’s failings. Facing failure with honesty is not a source of shame. Rather it is part of something we call, “American exceptionalism.”
Looking back on my public school education in the 1960s, I remember that most students were required to read George Orwell’s classics Animal Farm and 1984 by their junior year in high school. At that time, there was a heightened concern about the phenomena of totalitarianism as the nation came to terms with shocking revelations from scholarly works on Nazism and also with the equally shocking expansion of brutal communist rule in new Soviet satellite states in Eastern Europe. Reading Orwell, it was thought, would help students gain perspective and critical faculties so as to understand socialist totalitarianism and its institutionalization of falsehood and propaganda designed to destroy people’s grasp on reality as well as to understand the dynamics of group think and collectivism, which are anathema to critical and independent thinking -- the basis of a free society in America.
I remember most of my classmates found Orwell’s narratives entertaining, but preposterous -- especially as in a section in 1984, which read, “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, and every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”
We thought then it could never happen in America.
Fast-forward 50 years and we see that it has happened… in corruption and the concealing of corruption by the media and ruling elite like never before.
A trip down recent memory lane requires confronting the lies and cover-ups of the “Fast and Furious” arms sale operations to Mexican drug dealers, the wholesale denial by the IRS of conservative groups’ first amendment rights, the terrorists attack in Benghazi that killed four Americans including Ambassador Chris Stevens, and the national security breaches by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton resulting from her email communication over a private and unsecure computer server, that was itself put in place to mask her conflicts of interests involving pay-for-play fundraising for the Clinton Foundation and her simultaneous duties of being Secretary of State. A level of corruption that is breathtaking.
Then there was the unprecedented deficit spending that doubled the national debt to a staggeringly dangerous level in the Obama years without so much as a peep of warning out of the Federal Reserve.
The establishment media has been dominated by liberals since the Vietnam War, but it has now almost completely gone over to the dark Orwellian side -- showing no compunction at all about falsifying the record by omission, distortion, and even trying to stop history, “in an endless present in which the Party is always right.”
The concepts of “newspeak” and “doublethink” in Orwell’s 1984 are quite fully manifest in what we experience now as political correctness. Newspeak is the distorted reality accomplished by manipulating the meaning of language and words, while double think is the conditioned mental attitude to ignore reality and common sense and substitute and embrace a distorted or false narrative to the exclusion of other views. As Orwell notes, “the whole aim of Newspeak and Doublethink is to narrow the range of thought.” This is the goal of political correctness, and it explains why its adherents tend to be so intolerant -- even convinced that people with opposing views be arrested.
One measure of the establishment’s venality is in their denial of unresolved issues and problems that violate core principles of the Constitution and threaten the nation’s economic viability. Another measure of corruption is the establishment’s appeasement and accommodation with extremist anti-American groups on the left as though they have a legitimate role to play in the reform and influence on policy-making, whether in taking down of historic monuments, controlling the nation’s borders, police protocols in law enforcement, fighting wars overseas or restructuring the economy at home.
Americans sensed the hour was late in November 2016 when they took a chance and voted to elect outsider Donald Trump for President, with all his faults and shortcomings. Cut from different cloth than politicians, Trump was surprisingly transparent, sometimes expressing himself in raw human terms, putting substance ahead of form, connecting with working people across race and ethnicity, and never afraid of speaking directly and repudiating political correctness.
Even failing to get support to pass but a few of his legislative initiatives, President Trump will have a successful presidency with lasting effect if he continues the pursuit of five imperatives: 1) continues to make as many solid judicial appointments as possible; 2) completes the repudiation of the Orwellian media and the political correctness that envelopes the culture; 3) enforces existing laws that protect first amendment rights of speech and religion; 4) protects the nation’s borders and prescribes sensible limitations on immigration; and 5) selectively prosecutes serious law breakers from the prior administration and others still operating in the national security bureaucracies known as the “deep state.”
A fitting legacy for the Trump Presidency might well be: The man who came in from the outside and won the presidency against all the odds, and who took on his shoulders the mission to save the American people from their own government and media. Sounds a lot like “making America great again.”
Scott Powell is senior fellow at Discovery Institute in Seattle. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org