You Must Love America to Save America

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.

Tyranny is Our Future

One way or another, the end of freedom as we’ve known it is coming – the only question before us is what sort of tyranny will replace the freedom we used to enjoy. And I mean “used to” in the sense that what you think of as freedom – what older folks, especially, grew up understanding as freedom – is already gone. You already can’t say or do quite a lot of things that you or our parents and grandparents used to do.

This is in the nature of things, after all: freedom always breeds license and license creates a chaos which begs an end to liberty. Human being are very bad at keeping an even keel over the long term. It isn’t that most of us tend to an extreme but that enough of us do that a corrective has to be applied to everyone. This time is a little different from the historical precedent, though, in that some of the chaos-generators are doing it precisely to make freedom intolerable as preparation for the imposition of the tyranny they prefer. These are the people of the Left.

And our choices will be a Left tyranny, or a Right tyranny. The possibility of returning to the level of freedom we had in, say, 1960, is extremely low. I actually believe it is impossible – mostly because that level of liberty was only possible because most people alive in 1960 were still keeping to the old moral code: they tolerated those pushing the boundaries in 1960. They shouldn’t have, as it turns out – but, there you go: it happened. Because in the 60 years since the old moral code has been discarded by nearly everyone (most especially those charged with maintaining it), we simply can’t get back to that level of liberty. There’s no basis for it: there is, that is, no stable, moral society as a base from which the experimenters can dare to stretch out.

Naturally, I prefer a Right tyranny. Not least because Right tyranny normally develops into ordered liberty. Left tyranny, especially now, looks to be both permanent and increasingly insane in it’s demands. We’ve seen the rapid trajectory these past ten years where what was completely out-there stuff is now being enforced in our institutions as the most ancient and settled dogma. They won’t stop: the whole thing of the Left is that it must always go further Left, mostly because the Left always fails and the Leftist cannot conceive of any reason for failure other than they didn’t go far enough. Attached to this – and sometimes dominating it – is the need for enemies. You have to go ever further Left so that you can have someone around who didn’t go there fast enough and so can now be built up as an enemy to be destroyed. So, I want a Right tyranny not because it is better than freedom, but because I can’t have freedom and so I’ll pick the least offensive poison.

And part of the reason we can’t have freedom (for a while: a right tyranny will eventually produce freedom, though it may take a while) is because we made one very crucial mistake, as a civilization: we presumed that liberty was an end. It isn’t. It is a means to an end: the end being a just society. Our trouble on the right has been our assumption that if we just defend liberty and give people an example of the happiness and prosperity that freedom generates, they would naturally drop their non-liberty ideologies and join us. It didn’t work out that way because we didn’t realize the most crucial aspect of human nature: we are Fallen. Rather astounding that those on the Right could forget this, but it was forgotten. I mostly put it down to those on the Right since, say, WWII, not being true Rightists. They were really Liberals who were in a rearguard defense of the 19th century. Be that as it may, the fact that humanity is Fallen was forgotten and left out of all calculations and so we weren’t prepared for people who can see, with their own eyes, the happiness and prosperity and reject it in favor of something else. Not because the something else was superior, but simply because it was something else…and most importantly, something else that they would be in charge of.

We always needed a corrective to unfettered liberty. We needed a way of stopping those with an evil idea from suckering the ill-informed into joining their evil idea. We needed, in the end, something like the Inquisition to root out heresy (in this case, political heresy) to simply make sure that when a Maoist came to town, he was run out of town on a rail before he could use slick marketing to convince the citizen of a free and prosperous Republic that what was needed was a bit of murderous Cultural Revolution. If we get a Right tyranny, this will be the main mark of it: a complete assault on all Left ideas to expunge them from the public square. That is what will actually justify the Right tyranny and what will cause it to cling to power beyond it’s time: the necessity of excising from the polity the idea that the ideas of a 19th century lunatic German are superior to 2,000 years of Western, Christian civilization.

We’ll see how this comes out. I will still work as if we can preserve freedom and maybe by some miracle we are able to do so…but the most likely outcome is one side or the other scoring a big victory, and then simply imposing itself on the other side. Both sides will be forced to this: because they cannot coexist. One or the other will eventually have to go.

Freedom is Dying in America

Earlier today a family member told me they were leaving a social media format – because others this person works with are liberals and as this person does not toe the left wing party line, having the liberal co-workers find out about heterodox opinions could be costly. Meanwhile, Erick Erickson details how he is living under threat for being anti-Trump.

Last year a cousin of mine found out that my grandfather – George Childs Noonan, Sr. – was a bit of a “blood and guts” Noonan during World War One. His battalion was attached to a British force assigned a vital task in piercing the Hindenburg Line, grandpa (per a unit citation) was one of a group of men who, surrounded by the enemy, fought doggedly, killing and wounding large numbers of the enemy before being forced to surrender when they ran out of ammunition (it was late in the war so grandpa only spent a short time as a POW). Grandpa was fighting for freedom – and he gave it his best. He and all 7 of his brothers fought in World War one – and two of his sisters served as Red Cross nurses in France. All 8 of the brothers were wounded to one extent or another…and so determined what that batch of Noonans to fight for liberty, that one brother actually joined up with the British Royal Flying Corps before the United States entered the war. And now, 100 years later, we’re finding out at the all the dedication and sacrifice was completely wasted – the great-grandchildren of those men and women are getting to be opposed to freedom, as such.

It is just bizarre how little the young know of history, or of what liberty is. A fellow Conservative on Twitter retweeted a youthful, liberal comment about Trump…the kid was wondering why the government hasn’t already gotten rid of Trump! Say what you want about Trump – and I’ll say a lot – but it never occurs to me in the slightest to try and stop Trump from doing what he wants to do. Nor Sanders or Hillary or anyone out there. Free country, right?

Not any longer.

And I think it must be because we’re not teaching young Americans about history. Oh, to be sure – there’s something in school which is identified as a history class, but I’ll bet the whole thing is nothing but a screed about how lousy the United States has been along with a few identity-politics plugs for selected “in” social groups. I feel pretty confident that in and among all they are teaching, why we went “over there” in 1917 isn’t covered…and I’m frightened to think about what I might find covered in World War Two. Probably something about the internment of the Japanese and the Atomic Bomb…I’ll bet a lot of schools even steer away from the Holocaust because that might offend Islamist sensibilities. I suspect it because I see the results – plenty of young people are getting suckered into neo-Nazi ideology because they don’t know the truth, and so easily fall to Nazi imagery and those out there who have crafted elaborate Holocaust-denial narratives.

Freedom is never more than a generation away from being lost – so said Ronald Reagan a generation ago, and he was right.

Now, can we recover? I’m not sure – it might be that various stripes of tyranny battle it out until one wins and suppresses everyone else. I hope freedom can still prevail – but I worry that time to do so is rapidly running out.

Ain’t No Trump Gonna Get Me Down

I just refuse that office – that is, the Office of Being Hysterical About Trump and the Mortal Absolute Danger He Poses to All That is Good and True. Trump is what Trump is. Yes, he’s clownish. Yes, he’s vulgar. Yes, he is bringing out some bad elements. But it is not like Trump created the overall situation – that has been created, rather relentlessly, by others over a 50 year or more period. Trump is the result of our national infirmity, not the cause of it.

Over Friday night I watched as Twitter became ever more absurd – to the point where Conservative posters were lauding the likes of Rachel Maddow and MoveOn!. I admit I was shocked by all that – if there’s anything a Conservative should know it is that it is very risky to ally with the left. They’ll take our help in destroying part of us…and then when that is done, they’ll just turn around and destroy the non-left which just helped them out. What I’m waiting for now is for some of my fellow righties – those who, say, hold that “social issues” are bad for Conservatism to emphasize – to simply join up with the left. I’ll be watching and waiting, because I know it will eventually happen. They’ll join, they’ll be lauded by all their swell, new friends…but then the Leftwing Party Line will require EVERYONE to assert a certain false thing as true, and they’ll be caught in a vise…they’ll have to assert what they know is false, or lose all their nice, new friends. My bet is that those who ditch the right over Trump will be found to be willing pawns of the left – if you can’t see who your opponents are, then your opponents will eventually take you over.

This is not to say that all the Trumpsters are with the right – in fact, a very large portion of them are distinctly non-right. They are, in just a slightly different way, as much authortarian Statists as the avowed left. In the end, it matters not to me if you’ve identified foreigners or devout Christians as your “other” that has to be suppressed…that line of thinking always ends badly and I’m absolutely, foursquare against it. Those who want to get the foreigners out or get the Christians out are, in my view, just arguing for different forms of tyranny.

And that brings me back to the vitriol emanating from Trump/Trumpsters and flowing back towards same. This isn’t new, guys. The only thing new about it is that someone is pouring out vitriol and it is being reported on – and it is being reported on because the person doing it has put an “R” after his name. If Trump were running in the Democrat primary you simply wouldn’t be hearing about it (unless it was temporarily needed to ensure that Hillary gets the nomination). What, after all, is the slogan “no justice, no peace” but a threat of violence unless the protesters chanting it get their way, law be damned? And that is one of the more calm and reasonable slogans of the left. “Get in their face”. “Bring a gun to a knife fight”. “The police acted stupidly”. “If I had a son…”. These are rancorous, inflammatory words just as bad as anything Trump has said…and they have encouraged other people on the left to get more and more extreme in their actions and demands over the past 8 years…and all of them are from President Obama…and he’s just repeating what has been said on the left since the 1960’s.

You can’t give those who are anti-freedom so much as an inch. And I was happy to see some people do the right thing on Friday – that is, defend Trump’s right to speak whatever he wants to say. As I’ve said before, I don’t care what a person says – if it ever comes to pass that some words are considered out of bounds, then it is certain that eventually merely stating Catholic dogma will also be out of bounds. I defend everyone’s right to speak for my own sake – and so should everyone else who has the least understanding of what human liberty actually is. And you who read here know that I also condemn asinine speech…while the world as all “je suis Charlie” after the Paris massacre I was saying that it was wrong for Charlie Hebdo to print pictures disrespectful of Muslim beliefs…and also wrong for them to print pictures disrespectful of Christian beliefs (which now they will keep doing – but have decided, out of an abundance of understandable caution, not to print any more anti-Muslim pictures). You should never write, say, print, paint, sculpt or sing anything which is insulting – fine and dandy to launch valid, informed criticism of the beliefs of others, but crude insults are a negation of liberty…but we must allow them because the entirety of the human race is incapable, individually and in toto, of deciding just where the line is between criticism and insult. Once try to do that, and all you’ll do is set up a situation where those who are most easily offended will have a veto over all speech. Nothing doing. Everyone gets to say what they want. Period. End of story.

But on Friday, plenty on the right – including, no doubt, many who were “je suis Charlie” a short while before – were out there applauding the shut down of Trump’s speech. This isn’t about whether or not people should protest Trump – heck, if you want to protest Trump I might even show up for your demonstration. But if you want to shut down Trump, you’re opposed to freedom. Once again: period. End of story. I understand a deep, visceral dislike of Trump – but now that some on the right have joined in the effort to shut down Trump, all the anti-freedom left (which is, these days, most on the left) has to do (and they’ll do it, endlessly, for the next 20 years) is claim that any non-left speech is Trumpism and thus illegitimate. The cure for Trump is to talk about Trump – not to shut him up. Even if you happily then get rid of Trump, you’ll just find yourself in a position where certain speech has been deemed (with your joyful cooperation) entirely illegitimate and where is you defense when your erstwhile allies turn on you and call your speech illegitimate? You have none – you’re naked, and probably alone. Good luck with that.

As I said in the title, I’m not going to allow myself to get worked up over Trump – in the United States in 2016 after 50 years of our political life being poisoned by anti-freedom fanatics, Trump is just a ripple is a rather noisome ditch. I’d like to drain the ditch – but the plumbing contractor necessary for the job can’t include those who filled the ditch and made it nasty. I had a little debate last night with a very dear friend who is pretty darned liberal – but we’re friends and it’s all ok. After all, if Justices Scalia and Ginsburg can be friends, anyone can be friends across the political aisle. I will, actually, accept help in restoring freedom from anyone interested in the project – but it has to be an all-in sort of thing. Not even the slightest dissent from liberty. I don’t care if you are in favor of a completely socialist society – if you are also bound and determined that everyone shall be free to say and think what they want, then I’m on your side as far as that goes. But if you are in favor of the most Conservative policies imaginable but harbor even the least trace of a desire to suppress “bad” speech, then you are no ally of mine. Freedom first – because if I have that, then eventually (I believe) my views will prevail…but even if they don’t, then at least I’ll be able to safely be entirely out of step with everyone, and that is ok, too.