Thursday, May 26, 2016
Individualism–The Heart Of The American Spirit Which The Left Will Never Understand
Despite almost three hundred years of American individualism – that special character of God-conferred rights, ambition, and personal strength – the American progressive Left, rather than seeing it as the source of America’s greatness it condemns it as the root of all social evil. .
The first Americans were chased from England to Plymouth; and despite a punishing climate, an unforgiving environment and hostile native tribes, they persisted, built the first English colonies in the New World, and felt that through hard work, enterprise, and the grace of God they would survive.
The first settlers on Albemarle Sound were more privileged – a better class of Englishman seeking fortune and even fame; an Englishman of manners and royal connections - but the semi-tropical lands of North Carolina had their own unsuspected hazards – mosquitoes, disease, and a defiant indigenous population. Yet they, too, having survived a long and difficult crossing, and having left a settled and comfortable life back home, were as determined as their Pilgrim brothers to profit from the new trans-Atlantic lands.
Given these origins – one can never discount the new, ambitious, and enterprising gene pool that migrated to the New World – it is not surprising to see the quick stake to new territorial claims, the militant defiance of the native peoples who threatened them, and the progressive movement West.
It was not long before the first Americans had cultivated the Northern Neck, planted indigo and tobacco, moved north, south, and west to increase the wealth of the British Empire, consolidate political power, and of course plant the seeds of rebellion. In the years after 1776, both New England and the South grew exponentially. By the time of the Constitutional Convention, the new Republic had formed and consolidated its own rules and principles of governance.
The Founding Fathers knew very well where the new Americans had come from; and the Bill of Rights were meant to assure that never more would this new nation ever live under autocracy, divine right of kings, aristocracy, and feudalism.
America was a land of liberty, but more than anything a land of individualism and individual enterprise. Not only were Americans free to prosper by their own hand and thanks to their own initiative, but they were finally free to find God in their own terms. Calvinism, political independence, freedom from Old World prescriptions of class, status, and social position combined to create The New Individual.
This individualism was no more evident than in the Age of Jefferson – Westward expansion and Manifest Destiny – followed by what has been called The Second War of Independence, the War of 1812 when the British were, once and for all, sent home.
The taming of the West, the Mexican-American War, and the push to the coast finalized American expansionism and the consolidation of a country built on individual enterprise, God-endowed destiny, and survivalism at its best.
By the beginning of the 20th century, Euro-centric and socialist sentiments began to be felt. The Russian Revolution of 1917 was a victory for the working class, and American sympathizers, resenting the influence of the Robber Barons of New York , pushed through anti-capitalist and anti-individualistic reforms. The era of American progressivism was born.
Only a few years later the Great Depression consolidated the then disparate factions of progressive socialism. FDR, adopting a European statism enabled Big Government, and for decades liberalism ruled.
Only in 1980 with the election of Ronald Reagan did individualism have its resurgence. Reagan and his supporters claimed that government was not the solution but the problem; and in his eight presidential years, Reagan oversaw a drastic reduction in federal bureaucracy, a resurgence of the private sector; and most importantly of all, a restoration of the legitimacy of individual judgment, worth, and value.
President Obama has governed a period of radical progressivism in which the power of the state, civil collectivism, and radical anti-individualism have prospered. The Obama Administration has, in the name of civil liberties, rights, and inclusivity, done more damage to the Founding Fathers’ understanding of the Republic (individualism in the name of fulfillment and respect) than any previous president
It is no surprise, then, that Donald Trump has attracted so much support. His adherents are not just followers of his conservative philosophy, but radical anarchists hoping through is presidency to take down the venal, self-serving, elitist institutions of Washington and to replace them by a radical populism.
It is ironic to note that most progressives in their most honest moments will admit to wanting a firearm to protect their families from an increasingly dysfunctional and violent minority; will admit to their squeamishness if not revulsion when viewing videos of an abortion or homosexual sex; or who will reluctantly confess to heretofore submerged religious convictions.
In other words by publicly persisting in their support of a progressive agenda of gun control, gender reform, racial entitlement, reparations, and a secular and expedient view of human life, they admit to their own hypocrisy.
Like it or not, the individual’s personal, subjective views on the origin of life, the morality of abortion and/or the death penalty, convictions about sexual reproduction and behavior do indeed count in any electoral calculus.
Conservatives have never been bashful in expressing their convictions. They resent the overweening influence of the White House and a venal, corrupt Congress. Perhaps more than any other institution they resent the Supreme Court whose nine members have been selected and appointed on the basis of political philosophy and who vote party lines on almost all decisions.
It is time, conservatives say, to return political decisions to the people – to state legislatures, to popular referenda, and to the people themselves. There is no reason why any contentious issue such as abortion, transgender rights, or homosexual activity should be decided in such a restricted venue. It is time, they say to right the political ship, to neuter federal authority and to return important decisions to the electorate.
At the heart of this rebellion is individualism. When Obama by presidential fiat declares bathrooms open to all; when he defies the will of the people on religious liberty and dismisses the legitimate claims of The Little Sisters of the Poor; and when he champions the ‘disaffected’ in their specious and politically motivated claims to ‘justice’, he denies not only the will of the people, but the individual.
The claims to civil rights in what has become an anarchic if not chaotic society are not untouchable and inviolate. Who ever said that the supposed rights of a supposedly aggrieved segment of American society will always and indisputably take precedence over Constitutional precedent and principle?
The current campaign pitting an outspoken advocate for individual rights versus an old-fashioned, unreconstructed product of the defamed and discredited American Left, is no contest. Donald Trump has understood the zeitgeist of America. Hillary Clinton is scrambling to survive.
Individualism is now and has always been at the center of the American ethos. Especially in an age of increasing ethnic, religious, and linguistic separatism, individualism – the expression of deeply felt, personal, subjective convictions – has never been more important.
This election is far more than one between a conservative and a liberal, but between two fundamentally opposed political philosophies. Let’s hope that Donald Trump prevails.