Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tattered Liberty

by Mark Steyn - March 23rd, 2010 - National Review

Permanence is an illusion — and you would be surprised at how fast mighty nations can be entirely transformed. But, more important, national decline is psychological — and therefore what matters is accepting the psychology of decline. Within two generations, for example, the German people became just as obnoxiously pacifist as they once were obnoxiously militarist, and as avowedly “European” as they once were menacingly nationalist. Well, who can blame ’em? You’d hardly be receptive to pitches for national greatness after half a century of Kaiser Bill, Weimar, the Third Reich, and the Holocaust.

But what are we to make of the British? They were on the right side of all the great conflicts of the last century; and they have been, in the scales of history, a force for good in the world. Even as their colonies advanced to independence, they retained the English language and English legal system, not to mention cricket and all kinds of other cultural ties. And even in imperial retreat, there is no rational basis for late-20th-century Britain’s conclusion that it had no future other than as an outlying province of a centralized Euro nanny state dominated by nations whose political, legal, and cultural traditions are entirely alien to its own. The embrace of such a fate is a psychological condition, not an economic one.

Is America set for decline? It’s been a grand run.

Nations are not great. People are great. However only so long as they think of themselves as great and work to live up to that greatness.

Nations are not free. People are free. Only so long as they think of themselves as free and demand that they be allowed to live free.

In both cases it is not required that everyone in a nation agree. Only that the majority agree. That is the problem. When the majority of a people no longer think of themselves as great and free, the nation ceases to be great and free.

For two generations the America hating progressives of the Democrat Party have been denouncing our country for what they see as the arrogance of living up to our ideals. They have criticized and denigrated this once great and once free nation until we are close to losing the majority who believe in those ideals. Even as we approach that tipping point, they are working to subvert the democratic ideal that the majority decides who we are as a people and a nation.

The health care debate that just finished was not won by the majority. It was won by a corrupt minority that hates what America has been and demands that their dream of a socialist utopia replace the freedom of our great people.

Our liberty lies in tatters if they succeed. We may still have a chance to avoid that fate, but it is becoming slimmer by every minute that passes. The question this article poses is an intersting one. Assuming we allow ourselves to drift into the corruption of abandoning our place on the world stage and settle for "bread and circus", what happens?

A quote from the article strikes me as far more likely than many are prepared to believe. "...if America were as centrally governed as France, it would break up. That theory is now being tested by the Obamacare Democrats, and, as we see with the wretched Ben Nelson’s cornhusker kickback or the blank check given to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, when American-style Big Government starts “buying off ethnic and regional factions,” the sky’s the limit. To attempt to impose European-style centralized government on a third of a billion people from Maine to Hawaii is to invite failure on a scale unknown to history."

As more and more people start to dream that their own greatness and freedom depends upon NOT being Amiercan, the willingness to dissolve this nation becomes not just possible, but probable. If for no other reason because it makes the smaller entity less inviting as a target to the coming nuclear club of little bitty but very bitter small nations with huge chips on the shoulders of their leaders.

Two horrible choices. The suicide of failure from without, by nuclear devastation. Or the suicide of failure from within as parts of this nation simply opt out. Unless a majority of our nation once again chooses to be great and chooses to be free, and are willing to fight to be both, it can happen here.


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