By Victor Davis Hanson | The Center For American Greatness
1. Money is a construct. It can be created from thin air. Annual deficits and aggregate national debt no longer matter much.
Prior presidents ran up huge annual deficits, but at least there were some concessions that the money was real and had to be paid back. Not now. As we near $30 trillion in national debt and 110 percent of annual GDP, our elites either believe permanent zero interest rates make the cascading obligation irrelevant, or the larger the debt, the more likely we will be forced to address needed income redistribution.
2. Laws are not necessarily binding anymore. Joe Biden took an oath to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed." But he has willfully rendered federal immigration laws null and void. Some rioters are prosecuted for violating federal laws, others not so much. Arrests, prosecutions and trials are all fluid. Ideology governs when a law is still considered a law.
Crime rates do not necessarily matter. If someone is carjacked, assaulted or shot, it can be understood to be as much the victim’s fault as the perpetrator’s. Either the victim was too lax, uncaring and insensitive, or he provoked his attacker.
How useful the crime is to the larger agendas of the left determines whether a victim is really a victim, and the victimizer really a victimizer.
3. Racialism is now acceptable. We are defined first by our ethnicity or religion, and only secondarily — if at all — by an American commonality. The explicit exclusion of whites from college dorms, safe spaces and federal aid programs is now noncontroversial. It is unspoken payback for perceived past sins, or a type of "good" racism. Falsely being called a racist makes one more guilty than falsely calling someone else a racist.
4. The immigrant is mostly preferable to the citizen. The newcomer, unlike the host, is not stained by the sins of America’s founding and history. Most citizens currently must follow quarantine rules and social distancing, stay out of school and obey all the laws.
Yet those entering the United States illegally need not follow such apparently superfluous COVID-19 rules. Their children should be immediately schooled without worry of quarantine. Immigrants need not worry about their illegal entry or residence in America. Our elites believe illegal entrants more closely resemble the "founders" than do legal citizens, about half of whom they consider irredeemable.
5. Most Americans should be treated as we would treat little children. They cannot be asked to provide an ID to vote. "Noble lies" by our elites about COVID-19 rules are necessary to protect "Neanderthals" from themselves.
Americans deserve relief from the stress of grades, standardized testing and normative rules of school behavior. They still are clueless about why it is good for them to pay far more for their gasoline, heating and air conditioning.
6. Hypocrisy is passé. Virtue-signaling is alive. Climate change activists fly on private jets. Social justice warriors live in gated communities. Multibillionaire elitists pose as victims of sexism, racism and homophobia. The elite need these exemptions to help the helpless. It is what you say to lesser others about how to live, not how you yourself live, that matters.
7. Ignoring or perpetuating homelessness is preferable to ending it. It is more humane to let thousands of homeless people live, eat, defecate and use drugs on public streets and sidewalks than it is to green-light affordable housing, mandate hospitalization for the mentally ill and create sufficient public shelter areas.
8. McCarthyism is good. Destroying lives and careers for incorrect thoughts saves more lives and careers. Cancel culture and the Twitter Reign of Terror provide needed deterrence.
Now that Americans know they are one wrong word, act or look away from losing their livelihoods, they are more careful and will behave in a more enlightened fashion. The social media guillotine is the humane, scientific tool of the woke.
9. Ignorance is preferable to knowledge. Neither statue-toppling, nor name-changing, nor the 1619 Project require any evidence or historical knowledge. Heroes of the past were simple constructs. Undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees reflect credentials, not knowledge. The brand, not what created it, is all that matters.
10. Wokeness is the new religion, growing faster and larger than Christianity. Its priesthood outnumbers the clergy and exercises far more power. Silicon Valley is the new Vatican, and Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Twitter are the new gospels.
Americans privately fear these rules while publicly appearing to accept them. They still could be transitory and invite a reaction. Or they are already near-permanent and institutionalized.
The answer determines whether a constitutional republic continues as once envisioned, or warps into something never imagined by those who created it.
Victor Davis Hanson is a distinguished fellow of the Center for American Greatness.
America at the End of Empire
By Mark Tapson | FRONTPAGE Magazine
Ascendant China is hell-bent on world domination and makes no apology for it. America, meanwhile, is suffering from decades of accelerated, corrosive, Marxist subversion that has saddled us with a power-lusting leftist regime, aided and abetted by an unofficial state news media; a school system that has jettisoned rigorous education in favor of identity politics indoctrination; a woke corporate culture showering hundreds of millions of dollars on support for Critical Race training and on the communist revolutionaries of Black Lives Matter; an obscenely decadent entertainment industry (itself in thrall to Chinese influence) that peddles anti-Americanism, anti-Christianity, anti-capitalism, and anti-white racism; and a politicized military establishment prioritizing “gender equity” over warrior readiness.
In short, America (and the Western world more generally), once the most prosperous and powerful civilization in history, is no longer operating “from a position of strength.” It is, in fact, bleeding out from self-inflicted wounds, and our enemies foreign and domestic smell the blood in the water. Gatestone Institute Distinguished Senior Fellow Gordon Chang believes Chinese leader Xi Jinping is confident in provoking a civilizational war between East and West, because he feels “America is in terminal decline.” Indeed, the Chinese state media are already openly celebrating the Alaska confrontation as a decisive victory in that conflict.
The problem is “civilizational fatigue,” the concept that at some point a grand world power – e.g. ancient Rome, 19th-century England, America under a desiccated Joe Biden – peaks and then implodes (“gradually and then suddenly,” as a Hemingway character once put it when asked how he went bankrupt). The empire succumbs to lassitude, corruption, and moral decadence, undone by its very prosperity and success. Having conquered the world, the fire in its belly that powered it to the top cools to ash. It can no longer muster the civilizational conviction and warrior spirit necessary to keep the barbarians at the gates from swarming the battlements.
In our case, the barbarians – i.e., the forces of anti-civilization – have been inside the gates for over half a century, making their Long March through the institutions. We allowed their Marxist poison and their postmodern anti-rationality to seep throughout our schools and universities, and their false but seductive narratives to be promoted in our news and entertainment programs, until they secured the culture and corrupted the political landscape as well – so successfully that we elected, twice, a President who denied American exceptionalism, explicitly declared his agenda to “fundamentally transform” the country, and inspired his followers to believe, "Yes, we can."
Meanwhile, the cultural corrosion continued, as insidious, cancerous concepts like “whiteness,” “Critical Race Theory,” and “gender fluidity” began metastasizing at light-speed throughout every institution in America, inculcated in schoolchildren as young as kindergartners.
Finally, those of us who love our heritage, our Constitution, and our country rallied behind a President who called on us to Make America Great Again. But it was too little, too late. The barbarians, who had long since infiltrated and taken control of all the cultural structures of society, launched a furious, violent resistance against the President, against his supporters, against democracy, against history, against truth itself. They seized political control and began the systematic marginalization of America’s defenders as white supremacists (regardless of color) and domestic terrorists.
And now we find ourselves where the barbarians wanted us all along: at the end of empire.
Is civilizational decline inevitable? If history is any measure, then yes. Only the kingdom of God lasts forever. The question before us now, though, is this: is America’s decline reversible?
The answer is unequivocally yes. Even in Donald Trump’s brief White House tenure we saw America gathering momentum toward greatness again after eight years of Barack Obama diminishing our leading role on the world stage. We can do it again.
But it will take a courageous commitment from every American patriot on every level: personal, local, national, even international. We must recognize that the flame of American exceptionalism is in danger of being snuffed out, that our God-given rights are being threatened; and once gone, we will have no leverage with which to throw off the totalitarianism that will fill the void.
If Americans (and the rest of the West) hope to restore our former glory, we must begin by ceasing to be, as Bill Maher labeled us, a nation of silly people. We must be as serious as our enemies. We must reignite the fierce, uncompromising, give-me-liberty-or-give-me-death passion for independence that drove our Founding Fathers and George Washington’s ragtag army to persevere against an occupying power. We must ruthlessly reject the evil ideologies that have subverted us, and begin re-instilling our Judeo-Christian values, our love of country, our devotion to Constitutional rights, and our zeal for liberty in the next generation.
This will be an uphill battle. We will face violent leftist resistance, even more than we witnessed in 2020. But 74 million Trump voters make a formidable army. Can we make America great again? Yes, we can.
Mark Tapson is the Shillman Fellow on Popular Culture for the David Horowitz Freedom Center.