Doug Smith: Is “who we are” worth defending?

17 Jan

nancy and chuck

(House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer)


doug-for-fsp

Doug Smith is an opinion columnist, historian and Associate editor for Free State Patriot

January 17, 2019


 

As a student of history, I have been asking myself, was there ever an analogous time in history, when leaders of a nation or empire, for whatever reason, gave more effort and concern to foreigners, to defending cultures hostile to their own, as the modern Left in the United States is doing now? What can explain the apparent, willful, blindness to real threats to our sovereignty, and security? What can motivate people like Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, let alone the radical new far leftists now infecting the People’s House to advocate for ideas that have failed horribly, again and again, and if fact are doing so at this moment in Venezuela, Iran, North Korea? What can motivate them to invert good and evil, to support dangerous people hostile to their own county, and ultimately, as anyone with logical reasoning ability can see, to them, once they have won?

The Romans permitted other, usually conquered, people to become Roman citizens. But they did not permit them to make Rome become Gaul, or Germania, or Britannia. Until, of course, they stopped being able to defend themselves and fell to the Vandals and Visigoths. The Chinese built a wall to defend against warring tribes to the South, with good effect. They neglected to deal with the Mongols, to the North, and before you could say Kublai Khan, the Yuan Dynasty had the Mongols ruling China. Historically, I can find no instance in which a people failed to defend their borders and their prevailing culture and had a happy outcome.

So, what motivates these people?

It is easy to say it is hatred of Trump. But that, perhaps, begs the question.  Democrat Ted Kennedy approached the USSR asking them to ease up on any military provocations to help him beat Ronald Reagan, the implication being that he would deal with them much more favorably once he won.  Coming at the height of the Cold War, when thousands of Nuclear Warheads were pointed toward both nations, and guys like me were stalking Soviet Ballistic Missile Submarines, ready at a moment’s notice to kill them before they could launch at our cities, it is difficult to see how this was anything but treason. The Special Prosecutor concluded, oh that’s right. There was no special prosecutor to investigate Ted Kennedy and the Russians. Or Mary Jo Kopechne. But I digress.

I am somewhat at a loss to understand the reasoning of a certain genre of Americans who find it chic and enlightened to enjoy the benefits of this society and culture, while simultaneously decrying it as unjust, immoral, and evil. Every time a Republican runs for President, there are a group of pampered elitists, actors, singers, talentless hacks whose wealth derives from marriage or pictures of their derrieres who loudly proclaim if X is elected, I’m leaving! But they stay. Or, as in the case of George Clooney, they buy a villa in the south of France with wealth they could not possibly have earned anywhere else in the world, and retreat there; safe in their wealth from the effects of French socialism and stupidity and criticize the very culture that enabled them to do so.

What a contrast between the patriots of WW1 and WW2 who lined up to put their lives on the line to defend what they believed was the greatest country in the world. Or, for that matter, between immigrants who escaped to the US from Cuba or Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, who listen to chic liberal rhapsodize about the merits of socialism and say Are you people crazy? It occurs to me the ideal candidate for Congress is one who was in the Gulags of the Soviet Union and managed to come here after that evil empire collapsed.

So what is it that makes these foolish people continue to whittle at the deck of the lifeboat in a sea of misery in which they ride safe and secure, all the while criticizing how the crew handles the oars?

Here are a few things that I observe as a part of it.

Ignorance of history.

Much of the ain’t it awful crew has either no, or a badly skewed knowledge of the history of the world or their own nation. For instance, it is easy to criticize the ancient Hebrews of Abraham’s time because of the status of women; essentially the property of a husband or a father, and very firmly relegated to the traditional roles of child bearer and household mistress. Compared to their roles in society in 2018, that was rather outdated. Until, of course, one really understands the history and the time and contrasts the Hebrews with other tribes. They did not sacrifice children to stone statues by tossing them alive into fires to burn to death. They relegated women to traditional roles as mother and homemaker, but they did not make them temple prostitutes to encourage fertility. Judged by 2018, people living in 2500 BC were primitive, but in the context of the world in which they lived, it is a different thing.

It is very chic to condemn the US for the institution of slavery. But once again, consider the context. In the 1400s to the 1700s, capturing and selling slaves was big business in African nations. It was common throughout the history of the world, and endemic in the Arab world. England, and later the US, went through great turmoil and even war in order to wipe out slavery as an institution. In the Arab world, and much of the socialist paradise our chic leftist critics admire, slavery is going on today. Right now. Iran and North Korea have among the largest populations of slaves in the world. Yet somehow there are those who find it appropriate to condemn the practice which was abolished 150 years ago in America but give a pass to those doing it right now.

Denying the excellent by demanding the perfect.

I am an unabashed American Patriot. By this I mean that I believe, with all my heart and intellect, that the United States of America is, hands down, the greatest, most prosperous, most free and desirable nation ever to exist in the history of the world. I challenge anyone, a challenge you will fail, to find another nation, or time in history, where it would have been preferable to live. The Tudor Kings of Medieval England never ate, or perched their behinds on a toilet, or dressed, or slept, in anything approaching the standards of living of a poor laborer in present day America. Unique among all times and nations of the world, America has gone to war and not conquered and occupied land and spoils but has liberated oppressed people and left them to determine their own fates. The Greeks, the Persians, the Babylonians, the Romans, the French, the British, the Prussian, the Russian Empires all together cannot make that claim. We have the luxury to criticize the failings in our country because we are so safe and prosperous.  Empirical evidence: we do not debate who may leave this country. We do not witness Americans shot down or drowning seeking to flee oppression and reach Germany, Vietnam, Cuba, or Russia. Or even, except for George Clooney, who found the lifestyle of a multimillionaire so oppressive that he had to flee: to France. And no one tried to stop him or keep him from taking his millions with him. There is a reason why millions have sought to feel TO America since her founding. We used to teach that reality in our schools, and around our dinner tables. Now it is often chic to complain about America with the same arguments as our bitterest enemies use, and the same distractions. Alexander Solzhenitsyn was happy to defend America, and contrast the early conquest of the continent, and the failures in our society against the 100s of millions starved, murdered, or imprisoned by Soviet Russia. There was and is simply no comparison. Only fools and useful idiots would advocate that the lowest and worst of in American ought to feel to the free air of Russia.

Left leaning teachers, and college professors, and parents have engaged in a dangerous, and potentially fatal game of finding the best to be bad because it is not perfect, while failing to place it in the proper context: the worst place to live, except for all other places.

So what is it we are, and wish to defend?

We are not, Leftist media aside, a nation of immigrants. We are a nation of ideas and laws. We welcome those who embrace our ideals and wish to obey our laws and work and contribute. Our open secret is that American is a place where hard work and thrift pays huge dividends. We are not stronger because we had an influx of Irish, Scot, German, or Japanese immigrants. We are stronger because we got immigrants from those shores who came already loving America and embracing her laws and her promise. Work hard and be rewarded. You can make it here.  We are not a nation of government handouts. We did not become great, conquer the continent, become the breadbasket of the planet, and set our feet on another one, by the promise of other people feeding you. We did it by embracing and encouraging work. As a people, we are more generous and helpful than the rest of the world combined. No desperate please go out to the Chinese or Russians when a Tsunami destroys homes and lives. It is American Carriers which show up and help.

We are a generous people who will gladly give a hand up to a struggling neighbor. We will always resent those whose charitable impulses consist of reaching in our pockets in order to bestow their largess on ungrateful recipients, who then go on strike demanding more. Americans will help you get back on your feet, they will bridle at helping you stay on your donkey. (You know the word I mean, but this is a family friendly article.) Isn’t it odd that the symbol of a certain political party is that same animal which spoke to Balaam and told him he was headed for destruction?

And we are a people, and a sovereign nation who have the right, and privilege, of defending our nation, our borders, and our identity. In case you have not heard it, we won or bought the land area we inhabit, and no one in the Southwest wishes to become part of Mexico. Nor do the citizens of Mexico want to be part of that failing state and culture. You have never seen, and will never see, a mass of people rushing Mexican border guards to get in. And we have every right and responsibility to take pride in our culture, though we recognize it as imperfect, because it is superior to all others you may stack it against. Our citizens do not stream to other countries or cultures for work, or education, great orchestras do not play the classical masterpieces of 3rd world countries which struggle for subsistence. We can work to adjust the edges, correct mistakes, and right wrongs, but for the Lefty elite who seek to wholesale reject our nation and culture, they are just as wrong as it is possible to be. They seek to destroy what we have in favor of some coffee shop dreams of their idea of a perfect society which does not, and never has, existed.

We need to take pride in America. There is a reason why so many wish to come here, and why so many volunteer to defend her. I make no apology for being proudly American. I take pride in my Irish heritage, but I AM an American. To the Elitist chic dandies who want to tear it down and find their Utopian society, a dream which has cause endless misery and death throughout history, I consign you to the other side of Chesterton’s Fence.

G.K. Chesterton used an analogy of a fence in the middle of a field. When you propose to me to remove a cultural barrier, or part of our way of life, like that fence, first you must tell me why it was built. If you do not know, you cannot remove it. Once you find out why it is there, then we can discuss whether to remove it. Who knows? Perhaps it is to keep wolves away from the sheep, even though standing next to it, you can see neither the sheep nor the wolves. Still, its purpose still exists, and so, therefore should it. If we permit you to destroy fences willy nilly and build without knowing the purpose of what you destroy, or what you build, the result we get will be anarchy and barbarism.

So, to answer my premise, yes. It is worth defending American, and the American ideals and principles. And that begins with our founding documents, not the fad of the day. If you are an American, chances are you have never, or not for a long time, read the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, or the Federalist Papers. I challenge you to make that a project for this year. They are readily available. They form the basis for the nation and the freedoms you have enjoyed. They also contain a number of fences. Understand why they are there, and how they protect and defend you.

 

 

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