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.