Progressives are the Cause for American Decline
Two of the greatest insights from the philosopher Plato are that societies are structured around symbols of justice and unity. and that societies need stories to function in an orderly way without the chaos of tyranny.
For most of American history, those symbols of justice and unity were the Declaration, Constitution, flag, and churches. These symbols combined for a powerful unifying story: the story of American liberty and equality that was also inspiring the advance of liberty and equality around the world.
In the maelstrom of the chaos of 24/7 news, societal decay and violence, and media and political platitudes, it must be recognized that conservatives are not guilty of American decline. Conservatives are the ones defending, and conserving, the symbols and story of American unity. Progressives, on the other hand, have been demolishing these symbols and assaulting the traditional story and opting for a new one—one that is meant to destroy those symbols which had previously unified American life.
At least since the 1960s, American progressives have been taking a battering ram to the symbols of justice that served as the unifying force for American society. The Declaration is considered a fraud and the revolution it inspired equally fraudulent. The Constitution is belittled as “a piece of crap.” The American flag is said to be a force for evil and division. American churches are now assailed as pillars of white supremacy and racism.
Rinse and repeat.
In place of these symbols of justice and unity, progressives offer new ones. They have their martyrs, their documents, and their flags to which they can rally around. We know what they are. One need not look further than the little symbols pushed in Hollywood, or corporate advertising, or the streets of New York and Los Angeles to see the alternative symbols of justice and unity progressives have erected in the ashes of the Declaration, Constitution, Old Glory, and the cross and steeple.
Likewise, progressives have gone after the common story of unfolding liberty and equality as a lie. America is an unworthy republic, tainted to the core, and its story is one of violence, oppression, and tyranny. In desecrating the story of liberty and equality, progressives have substituted a new story: racism, misogyny, and imperialism. In attacking one story, they offer a substitute at the same time. The symbols once seen for justice and unity are symbols of racism, misogyny, imperialism, oppression, evil.
Progressives live by Plato’s truths. The problem, of course, is that progressives are waging war against the original symbols and story while pushing their own; they understand that conflicting symbols and stories cannot coexist. One set of symbols and one overarching story must triumph. Competitors must be destroyed. There can be no coexistence.
This is what inspires progressives to destroy America. Literally. They burn down businesses, communities, and churches. They burn flags. They tear up the Declaration and Constitution. In place of the evil America that their story communicates, the symbols of that evil America must vanish, and the story of that evil America must be eradicated. New symbols and a new story will take their place and a “new America” will be created.
The decline of the republic and mass violence we are witnessing is not because of the tyranny and intolerance of conservatives and Republicans, though the media and the leftist politicians claim that. The decline of our country and violence we are witnessing is because progressives understand Plato without having read him: we cannot live without symbols and a story. And if the symbols and story of existing society are bad, then those symbols and story must be crushed and destroyed and new symbols and a new story erected.
The decline of America pushed by progressives is to achieve their new society structured on their new ideological symbols and story that will be forced onto all who dissent. Intelligent and cunning progressives give their half-hearted speeches and statements about the Constitution, God, and the flag under which men and women have sacrificed and died; but it is not out of any fidelity to those symbols and the story to which those men and women have died. It is to present a mirage, a false front, a veil of continuity while the new symbols and story are erected behind the scenes that will replace what Americans cherish and hold dear to their hearts and homes.
This is the difference between “moderate” Democrats and progressives; progressives are upfront in their open in their disdain for America and want the new America now through the fires of destruction. So-called moderate Democrats want everything progressives seek—just at a slower pace. Too much violence and attacking America’s traditional symbols of justice and unity and the story they tell might cause a backlash. There is no such thing as a moderate Democrat anymore.
Do progressives ever disavow the vandals in their midst? No. They give apologies for why crime occurred. “Idealism.” “Youth.” “Righteous anger.” “Systemic racism.” These are all smoke and mirror tactics to stay on the same team as the barbarians.
Many Americans do have their eyes open and know that it is not they who are at fault for America’s decline but their rage-filled progressive neighbors who are. American progressives have been tirelessly waging a war against America in schools, in the media, and in politics. Now we see the fruit they have borne. And like the petulant children they are, they try to blame others instead of themselves.
Paul Krause is the editor of VoegelinView. He is the author of The Odyssey of Love: A Christian Guide to the Great Books, The Politics of Plato, and contributed to The College Lecture Today and Making Sense of Diseases and Disasters.
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