Yesterday ended up being a quiet day: we really didn’t have much to do. In the end, that worked out ok: a day relaxing is nice from time to time. Of course, “relaxing” to me is writing more of the books. So, I wasn’t entirely lazy. But I didn’t do much! And so I had some time to think.
One of my Twitter friends is an odd sort of person – generally of the right but no real love for the United States. He figures the concept was fundamentally flawed and that the jig is up. I don’t agree with him on either point, but it does lead to some interesting discussions. One we had yesterday brought up something that I have been thinking about for a while: the limits of liberty.
We on the right have always asserted there are limits to liberty: that there must be order, as well, or liberty-destroying chaos ensues. But something in the discussion yesterday got me rolling the concept over in my head. One of the points my friend asserted is that Americans learn a too rah-rah version of our history (don’t go thinking he’s talking about “stolen land” or such leftist drivel – he attacks it from the right). I rejoined that far from being too rah-rah, it wasn’t rah-rah enough. Even a hundred years ago, it wasn’t rah-rah enough.
Since 1776, there have been within the United States those who reject the concept. The Loyalists rejected it quite violently, but even among those who weren’t Loyalists there were those who felt we had got it all wrong, and from a variety of perspectives. Most famously, part of the Abolitionist movement called the Constitution a “covenant with death”, believing that because slavery was allowed to exist, the entirety of the United States was evil. In a sense, they welcomed the idea of Southern secession because that would allow them, in the North, to re-found a nation purified of the evils of the United States. So it has gone all along since we made our Declaration – now louder, now softer; now numerous, now few – people within the United States who have not loved the United States.
The problem is that if you do not love, you cannot help. It is as simple as that. What is really wrong with the Welfare State? Not the inefficient waste of resources and growing dependency among the poor. No: the failure of the Welfare State is that it is charity without love. The bureaucrat doesn’t see the poor person as a person. The bureaucrat doesn’t love the person. The bureaucrat eventually comes to hate poor people as they are in the way of the bureaucrat’s main end: doing as little work as possible for as much money as can be. If the bureaucracy was staffed with people who loved the poor, the Welfare State would work. Mostly because if the bureaucrats loved the poor they’d be putting in 80 hours a week trying to teach the poor how to not be poor any more. But even for those they couldn’t teach, it would still be better because love would insist that the money at least be spent in the wisest way possible. But there is no love. And so it doesn’t work.
It takes love. You can’t fix anything without it. Don’t like it? Don’t blame me. God set it up that way: go argue with Him. You must love if you are to offer any help. Let’s step back to the Abolitionists for a moment: the most Simon-pure of the Abolitionists was William Lloyd Garrison. He with his Liberator newspaper was insistent that the only proper thing to do was immediate, uncompensated abolition. He damned the United States again and again for having the foul sin of slavery within it. But, here’s the thing: if when the overtly anti-slavery Republican party had been formed they had adopted the Garrison view there was one thing certain not to happen: abolition. Garrison and those like him were far less motivated by love for the slave than hatred for slavery. And while it proved useful to have Garrison out there pointing out the evils of slavery, the bottom line is that if the North followed his lead, slavery wouldn’t have been abolished in 1865. It might never have been – because the only way to get to it was a coalition of people who ran from abolitionists to anti-abolition Unionists. As it turns out, we found just the sort of man to make that happen – Lincoln. And he was able to make it happen because he loved America. To him, the Constitution wasn’t a covenant with death, it was a ringing call to be better people in an ever more perfect union. Lincoln is damned by many these days – but without the love he had for this nation and her institutions, the whole thing would have run up on the rocks. It takes love.
And so my point about our education not providing a rah-rah enough version of our history. The thing isn’t to cover up sins, but to show why you should love. Sins, especially national sins, get out there into the public square. But it is far better if those who discover the sins deeply love the thing which committed the sin. Because without that love of the sinner, the likely desire once the sin is discovered is to destroy. And we all know this to be true: which of us would put up with some of our more difficult friends and family if we didn’t love them? Most families have that person who is simply a jerk. And that jerk is put up with and tolerated and helped and so on because the jerk is loved. If we didn’t love the jerk, we’d wash our hands and walk off. But, we don’t. We love, so we keep trying. See how it works?
The Antifa and BLM types we see running around these days weren’t taught, first and foremost, to love America. In fact, it is far more likely that in school they were specifically taught to hate America. And in hating America, they can’t help fix America. All they can do is destroy America. And that, of course, is what those who provided the hate-filled education wanted from the get-go. You don’t spend time imparting hatred of a thing without a goal in mind. The goal has been to destroy – and now they’ve got an army of people out in the streets, ready to destroy. Keep that in mind: we all laughed when “panty-fa” first arose, but I saw it from the start: these are Communist shock troops and what they’ve been doing the last two years is getting intensive training in becoming America’s Viet Cong. But first had to come the hate: first what was needed was a segment of the population so well-schooled in hating America that they’d raise the red banner and urge her destruction.
And then it came to me: if we are to survive, we will have to change. Especially we on the right have held that you can say whatever you want. We felt that in a discussion of ideas, only the best ideas would triumph. We were wrong. In fact, rather stupidly wrong. It isn’t a discussion of ideas which matters – it is what ideas are implanted via education. This is blazingly obvious and I’m stunned that we never figured it out. Our minds come into the world blank slates. They will largely become what someone decides to put into them. Sure, independent thought comes in…when you’re in your mid to late 20s you start to have such things. If you’ve paid attention, then by 50 your mind isn’t owned by anyone. But when you’re 18 or 19? All you’ve got in there is what someone told you. What we’re confronted with in Antifa and BLM is people who were taught to hate from 1st grade. They’ve never been told why they should love America. Not by the schools, not by popular culture…not even by their suburban wine-mom parents, who themselves barely received any pro-American instruction. No wonder we’ve got what we’ve got – it is what we paid for via our taxes for schools. We created a manpower pool for a Bolshevik revolution. And now the Bolsheviks are training it for battle. Good job, guys!
Will we win? I don’t know. I think we can and will. But, only time will tell on that. I have seen some really good pushback of late and it appears that we on our side are getting “woke” in the rightwing sense. We’ll just have to see. But what happens if we win? That’s the thing to understand: if we win, we have to win it all. No half measures. We take over, we take over completely – and part of that take over means that we don’t blithely allow America-hating ideologies to be broadcast in the public square. That is, we don’t let those who hate be on an equal footing with those who love. We teach the most rah-rah version of America that we can so that when we screw up, millions of people who love the country will sacrifice their lives, if need be, to fix the problem. That is what we have to understand – that we did get some things wrong, even before the poison of Communism came to infect our body politic. If we don’t make loving America a requirement for being in America, then all we’d be doing is spinning our wheels. Maybe beating back this attempt at destroying us, but just waiting for the next one to come along.