January 25th 2021
There is a suffocating feeling of dread in the air - a palpable fear among many Americans that freedom is on its way out. I truly get that. State and corporate authoritarianism has taken over. Little fascists patrol the public square looking for dissent to whatever contrived politically correct nonsense the cultural Marxists conjure up next. Members of Congress malign those who don't submit to the left's delusions as Hitler clones reborn, while the news media and tech behemoths goose-step right behind our Big Government overlords, finding new ways to demonize ordinary Americans who want nothing more than just to be left alone. And too many Republican Party officeholders (who were elected to fight the good fight) have hidden under their desks while the socialist monster grew, sprinted in the opposite direction far from the fields of battle, or already submitted their résumés and bona fides to the new Soviet class taking over.
Our tormentors will not leave us alone. Worse, we know that our children and grandchildren will be fighting once again the battles we hoped would stay secured away in the past. To fight for freedom is no easy thing, and we are now painfully reminded that preserving freedom is just as hard.
Some share of the human species always feels compelled to rule over others. Those who chase power are not content until they dominate every other human in body, mind, and spirit. Monarchical dynasties, philosopher-kings, banking oligarchs, proletarian vanguards, or Silicon Valley tech lords - it doesn't matter what you call them. At the end of the day, they're just people who desire to rule over other people.
The reason the growing totalitarianism in America feels so unnatural - and the reason why America has always been so exceptional - is that for two and a half centuries, one generation of Americans after the next has fought the human impulse to dominate others by empowering the individual at the tyrant's expense. Americans possess no better genes than any other nation extant or long dead, but they have built a system that swallowed unchecked power and fortified the spirits of free men. They endured British invasion, civil war, the Industrial Revolution, and a century of world wars and global terrorism while keeping the torch for human freedom lit, even if its light sometimes dimmed more than we would have liked. A nation built from the ground up that advanced both individual freedom and general welfare (and not merely the welfare of an aristocratic class) has succeeded only once, and in doing so, the United States of America has done more to destroy the shackles of class and unleash personal opportunity than any magic dreamt by the likes of Bernie Sanders and Karl Marx.
That so many Americans plagued by ignorance, malice, or spite are now dragging the rest of us back to an age when what you have, what you say, and what you may become will once again be arbitrated solely by the State and its agents is a tragedy felt by anyone wise enough to know how difficult and rare it is for humans to remain free. We can't help but mourn because to recognize what is being taken from each one of us is also to acknowledge that the long cycle in the struggle for human freedom has started over yet again.
But I beg you not to give in to despair's temptations and instead to remember that history is replete with moments such as these, when all seems lost just before all seems destined. Many of those moments occurred along America's journey. Is staring down the specter of global government today any more daunting than facing the British Empire at the height of its global power in the eighteenth century? Is fighting censorship today any more difficult than when quill pens and secret messages were essential in sustaining hope against almost certain defeat during nearly a decade of war for independence? Does the Supreme Court's last century of rewriting the Constitution's plain meaning seem more vexing than the reality of unifying a nation under the Articles of Confederation, throwing the whole thing out, and starting from scratch before the nation could even enjoy peace? Does China's ignominious control over too many of our politicians and corporations seem any more terrifying than the repeated British attempts after the Treaty of Paris - from the War of 1812 all the way to our own Civil War - to claw back its former possessions?
It is sometimes comforting to think of America's story as written in stone, but almost every leg of her existence has been threatened by those who would conquer her from abroad and those who would sabotage her from within. However insurmountable the rise of the new Sovietism in America feels, it cannot feel worse than the frostbite and psychological exhaustion of Valley Forge or Bastogne, or the fatigue and loneliness of Guadalcanal or the Pusan Perimeter. And in some ways, all of the struggles for freedom in America's past make it that much easier to continue the struggle for freedom in America's future. Unlike the Americans fighting the British at Yorktown or during the Battle of Baltimore thirty-three years later, we know exactly what extraordinary deeds America and Americans would go on to achieve. Surely, the men and women who sacrificed greatly for American liberty while knowing so little about its rewards endured more than us whose liberty is now threatened but who have already benefited greatly from its rewards.
Whenever the weight of what lies ahead feels heavy, I always place myself in the shoes of those who seem so intent on controlling us, and I ask myself this: would I really want to rule over a bunch of "live free or die," "come and take it," cowboy Americans who, now that they've finally awoken to the tyrannical threats all around them, will find a great deal of pleasure in sticking it to their tormentors every chance they get? Americans who fully understand the price of freedom are not easily domesticated beasts, and if I had to occupy any population on the planet, the last group of people I'd want to force into submission is a continent-wide mass of stubborn, contrarian liberty junkies who know that God's law, not man's, still rules the day.
Nothing about Marxist socialism is preordained. Subduing a population exposed to freedom is still no easy task. And attempting to rule a country of rowdy Americans for any length of time will still make fools of those who try.
Image via Pixabay, Pixabay License.