Let’s summarize where we are today.
Some execrable, inexcusable Nazis stood under torches Friday night and hollered grossly offensive things for a few hours. The next day they assembled again, but were ordered to disperse before they said anything. They did. Counter-protesters were also present, but they received no orders from the police. In the mayhem that ensued, when the police made no attempt to contain the situation, a white supremacist used his car to attack counter-protesters in the street, killing a woman and injuring 19 others. Some political blather ensued.
Now, all across America, radical-left groups are destroying and defacing public monuments.
Destroying the monuments is utterly meaningless for addressing Nazism. The destruction is intentional and systematic, but its purpose is not to “stand up to” Nazis or hate. The purpose of frenzied vandalism never is.
The purpose of destroying public monuments is to attack. The purpose in this case is to attack America: to erase who we are, erase where we came from, and ultimately erase the truth entirely.
It’s a really lucky break for us that the radical left has turned so promptly to destruction. It reveals what these people are, and what their purpose is.
But many are still blind. I had to shake my head sadly on seeing that Apple CEO Tim Cook accuses Trump of suggesting a moral equivalence “between white supremacists and Nazis, and those who oppose them by standing up for human rights.”
No. Trump said there is moral equivalence between white supremacists and Nazis, and the radical-left thugs who show up intending to start violent fights and destroy things.
Trump’s comments acknowledge the reality of what radical-left “protest” thugs do.
Tim Cook’s posture is like thinking the Crips are on the side of good because they fight the Bloods.
The radical-left thugs are not fighting for your well-being, or for rights or justice or a better world. They are just there to destroy things.
The Nazis are no better. But the comparison that matters is not between the radical-left thugs and the Nazis. It’s between the radical-left thugs and the Nazis, on one side, and the positive-minded, self-governing, orderly, tolerant people of a civilized culture on the other.
It makes me profoundly sad to see the wave of attacks being made on America’s public monuments, obviously following a signal of some kind. This behavior is exactly what ISIS has been doing in Iraq and Syria. Now it’s being done in what looks like a planned campaign in America.
That said, the gouge to the spirit from these attacks goes much deeper than the mere revulsion at seeing statues toppled and memorials covered with spray paint. It strikes in a place where there are hardly words to articulate it. I think most people understand that at this point. We are seeing the end of something – but we don’t know the scope of it yet, or all that it may mean.
One thing I see clearly is that the statue-attackers are severing our bond with them, as regards any common idea of what America is for, or should be. As far as they are concerned, “America” doesn’t even matter. There is no commonality of purpose, between people who want to build, remember, and know the truth, and people who want to destroy, erase memory, and exchange knowledge itself for oblivion of the mind and spirit.
We are at an odd and profound moment, like nothing the world has seen in a very, very long time. An extraordinarily long time, even back to before there was a “West,” and a Western idea.
In very recent history, for Americans, our Civil War was a profound moment of reckoning for our founding ideas of federated government and due process. The moral evil of slavery was too great for those concepts to address satisfactorily in their plodding, procedural way. It nearly broke us.
But today’s conundrum is much deeper, revealing to us that we as a species cannot – we cannot – reconcile the nihilism of perpetual resentment with having hope and a future. In every way, across the board, throughout all aspects of human life, these things are irreconcilable. Trying to build a concept of virtue on incessant, carping criticism and resentment – the project of modern leftism, and quite literally the cultural offspring of “critical theory” – only turns us all into the walking dead. It isn’t possible to publish enough lies or chant enough slogans to negate that truth.
Politics, whether exercised through formal rhetoric, voting, or “protests,” cannot settle this problem for us. Law and government cannot adjudicate it. If the entire world spent the last century learning anything, it is that. We either get our own minds right about it, each of us, before we venture out of doors, or we perish.
The radical left has already made its decision to focus on organized resentment of the past. But the irony of what the radical-left groups do is that their viability depends on the continuation of the very order they attack. Once they leave the long-suffering ordinary people, the builders and creators, with nothing left to lose, they have signed their own death warrant. The future is not and literally cannot be theirs. They are an “anti-future” in every way.
The more they destroy, the less invested their hosts will be in the status quo.
And so the symbolism of this moment with the toppling statues could not be starker: we will not get to keep the America we have had.
But that reality frees the orderly, building-and-creating people from the constraint of trying to hang onto it.
In a way, the spectacle before us helps the intense pain begin to fade, as we see the America we love slip away. Hope actually begins to glimmer.
Because building and creation are stronger forces than destruction. If they weren’t, none of us would be here today. The statue-attackers can’t win this one. They disturb the present, but they will not dictate the future. It’s they who are a dead letter – not us. It’s we who will rebuild America – not them.
If you still think any of this is about Nazis, bless your heart. The Nazis, with their dark spirits and their pinched and divisive views on their fellow men, will not be rebuilding America.
Start thinking now about how we rebuild America. Don’t think about adjudicating the wrongs being done today. A few hours from now, today will be yesterday. Think about building. Take a walk with our Founders’ thoughts and think about liberty, opportunity, and hope. God isn’t done with us yet.