from the Congress Action newsletter
by: Kim Weissman
May 9, 2004
In the latter half of the 20th century there arose in America a self-loathing of the nation, especially prevalent among people who benefit most from the bounty and freedom that the nation provides and protects. There are exceptions, but for the most part we have become a hollow people who have lost all faith in any sort of elevating morality, lost all understanding of our heritage, lost all sense of duty to family, to community, and to country. Because of internal rot religion has become suspect; age-old beliefs are questioned, and often rejected in favor of pseudo-religion that doesn’t make any demands, or secular religions such as environmentalism. Humans in society naturally seek a sense of order in their lives, community with their fellows, and a sense of purpose beyond mere dissolution, but when the traditions of society no longer function, when civic institutions built up over generations are undermined from within and subject to sustained assault from without, when the roots that connect us with our heritage are severed, big government necessarily takes over to manage all facets of human interaction. And there are many who cheer that development, who look forward to the time when virtually the whole population will be dependent on the State for every aspect of their lives.
Our ruling class daily seeks to extend its authority beyond mere governing, and through the control of education and information, dictate the very beliefs and private thoughts of every individual. When traditional religious and ethical standards and values, the guardrails that distinguish individual liberty from personal licentiousness, are eliminated, compulsion must take their place if society is to continue. When the inner soul is corrupted, the order of society must be maintained by force of the State; and those to whom individual liberty means license to do anything they please are then outraged at the external compulsion they brought upon themselves. If the body politic cannot be persuaded it must be commanded, and many zealots are eager to do the job. Through lies, distortions, and manipulation of information by the media, Tocqueville’s “democratic despotism” becomes a reality.
Today we face an external threat as dangerous as any we have ever faced; in some respects, more dangerous. Over the last half-century we sustained a Cold War against the menace of worldwide communism; we had the national Will and character to defeat an enemy that sought to reduce us to a vassal state and was fully capable of doing so. Today we face an enemy also seeking worldwide dominion. The Soviet Union possessed an arsenal of the most devastating weapons ever devised by mankind; our enemy today strives to attain the same power, and in all likelihood will soon also possess such weapons. But the Soviets, for all their ideological stridency, were deterred from launching Armageddon because, as John Kennedy said in 1963, “…in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal.” At the end of the day, the Soviets, like us, wanted to live.
Our present enemies face no such constraints, and willingly send their children to die in their cause. Our present enemy does not eschew death; they welcome death in service to their ideology, as did the fanatical Japanese kamikaze pilots at the end of the Second World War. As any veteran who experienced those kamikaze attacks will confirm, it was far more difficult to stop a suicide pilot bent on his own destruction, than to stop a pilot who just wanted to deliver a conventional attack and return safely to base.
This is the face of the enemy that confronts America and the West today. As the depressingly routine suicide attacks in Israel have demonstrated for years, as September 11, 2001 in America confirmed, they, unlike our recent Soviet enemy, are willing – eager – to die to advance the cause of converting the world to Islam. Or simply to kill us.
Throughout our nation’s history, whenever we have faced an external threat to our existence, we have put aside our ideological differences and united in common cause until the danger was past. Everyone understood that our policy differences were meaningless if our nation itself ceased to exist as a free and constitutional republic. That comity no longer exists. There is today a rabid hatred among a sizeable portion of our population, including many of our elected representatives; citizens who hate this president more than they hate the enemy that wants to kill us, who hate this president more than the enemy that would drag the world back into the Dark Ages.
Three-quarters of a million people recently gathered in the nation’s capitol to protect their “right” to kill over a million unborn babies every year, and heard a noted feminist proclaim, “This government is the greatest danger on earth.” To those abortion champions, the choice is not between a conservative president who seeks to defend traditional values, and a medieval mullah-ocracy that would turn them into virtual slaves. The only choice they see is between a republic that requires voluntary consensus to institute national policy within the framework of a constitutionally limited government, and a global bureaucracy (or a national judicial aristocracy) that simply imposes whatever they demand. What they don’t see is that subordination of this nation to their beloved United Nations will eventually lead to the ascendancy of that mullah-ocracy anyway. Many among us, including, incredibly, members of our own government, recklessly undermine the morale of our military forces while they are engaged in combat against the nation’s enemies, in a craven – some might say treasonous – attempt to score political points against this president, in flagrant disregard for the good of the nation in wartime.
The left seeks to undermine our national Will to defend ourselves, and our resolve to win the war against the terrorism that would consume us all. And the stark reality is that the effort to undermine national resolve is not confined to the extremist fringe on the left. This effort was the primary appeal of a man who was, just a few months ago, the leading Democrat candidate for president; and these efforts are visible every day in a national media and a culture that demands suicidal adherence to politically correct self defense, and an oxymoronic expectation for warfare that does not offend anyone.
The present presumptive Democrat candidate has often stated his desire to subjugate America’s foreign policy to the United Nations, an inept organization that has repeatedly demonstrated its intention to override national sovereignty and to rule the world by diktat; a thugs club dominated by nations that despise this country. Nor is the U.N.’s lust for power limited to relations between nations; much of their agenda, slavishly worshipped by the left in this country (and too many on the right), would require abandoning our most fundamental constitutional foundations.
We can’t really fault the left for pursuing its radical agenda at the expense of the national good – hatred for the constitutional foundation of this country is what they are all about, it is their natural condition. And their passion could very well give them a victory in the upcoming presidential election. But if such an outcome ensues, we can and should also direct blame at holier-than-thou conservatives who sit out the election or who vote for some third party because Bush isn’t a pure enough conservative for them. That pretension to a higher moral vision risks returning left-wing dominance to the government once again; risks, in the face of a foreign enemy that blames America for every evil in the world, placing in power a political ideology that agrees with that assessment of American guilt, and that would seek to appease its advocates. But those moralistic conservatives are themselves simply a reflection of the self-absorbed arrogance and petty personal pursuits of our larger society. Far too many of us are more concerned with termites in the basement than with the raging inferno that is consuming the house around us. While the totalitarian left throws gasoline on the flames, the self-righteous right turns off the water because the fire hose isn’t the correct diameter.
Before 1914, France was a great world power. Then along came the First World War, and eleven percent of the entire French population was killed or wounded, decimating a generation and inflicting a cultural shock from which that nation never recovered. Before 1939, Britain was a great world power. But the exertion put forth by the United Kingdom and its empire forces in World War Two, plus the social movements unleashed by that war, inflicted a similar cultural shock on that nation. Almost immediately after World War Two the British voters dismissed their wartime lion, Winston Churchill, and embarked on a self-destructive path toward socialism that continues to this day.
Those great World Wars, while wreaking materiel and economic devastation on France and Britain, inflicted even more significant shocks to their populations’ willingness to meet future threats. After World War Two it fell to the United States to confront the next great threat to civilization: communism. It is possible that the Cold War effort of the United States inflicted a similar cultural shock on the population of this country. While we remain materially and economically strong, we may no longer have the national Will to confront the present great threat to western civilization, radical Islam.
When the extremist left sabotaged the American war effort in Vietnam, after the withdrawal from Southeast Asia the world witnessed “only” between 1 and 3 million slaughtered Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Laotians at the hands of genocidal communists. But they were “only” Asians, and their deaths were of no apparent concern to the smug leftists who claimed victory and cheered (and still congratulate themselves over) the defeat of the United States. The left is trying to recreate their “victory” in Iraq today, trying to force American withdrawal from Iraq and from the larger war against terrorism itself which, according to most democrats, should be handled diplomatically by the United Nations and not by the American military.
If the left should win another Vietnam-style “victory” in the war against terrorism – undermining our national resolve, resulting in a defeat for the United States – those 1 to 3 million dead (or more) will ultimately be Americans, dying from nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons used in American cities. But those same smug leftists will never blame themselves; no, it will all be the fault of America, atonement in the eyes of many on the left for our original sin: our very existence. Recall how many of them told us we got what we deserved on 9-11.
If the screeching harpies on the left get their way again this time, if we abandon our effort in Iraq (which will amount to a unilateral surrender in the war against terrorism, because Iraq is now the front line of that larger war), this nation will have proven itself the paper tiger that the Islamic fanatics, on the evidence of our lack of national Will to defend ourselves against their repeated attacks during the last decade, believe us to be. If that happens, then the most advanced and most powerful military force in the world will be reduced to nothing more than an expensive plaything for generals and admirals; because our policy makers, constrained by a weak, ignorant, and self-absorbed public, will be forever unable to use that military force decisively in the future. If that happens, then we might as well just adopt the agenda of Dennis Kucinich – disband the Department of Defense altogether and create a Department of Peace in its stead, turning our national defense, and with it our sovereignty and our liberty, over to the United Nations.
In 1801, Scottish historian Sir Alexander Fraser Tytler opined: “The average age of the world's great civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through this sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependency; from dependency back again to bondage.” We have had our 200 and we are already near the end of that progression. It could be that that’s all there is.
[TYSK note: for more on the phases of
civilization please visit
(Some formatting added by TYSK)
The above article is
the property of Kim Weissman, and is reprinted with his permission.
12 may 2004