It is always maddening for me to hear left-wingers criticize those toward their right of being “unAmerican” and “unpatriotic.”
It is maddening because the left, by its very nature anti-American, is by definition unpatriotic.
This is not meant to be a criticism, even though there are doubtless individual leftists who will take it as an insult, individuals who feel a certain love for and devotion toward their country. But this reaction is a function of refusing to embrace the logic of their ideology. That the left is and must be anti-American can be gotten easily enough by the following considerations.
First, the colonies that would become these United States of America entered into a union with one another via their Constitution, a document that expressly prohibited a national government. In allotting a specific, narrowly limited quantity of power and authority to it, the central government that the Constitution affirmed was federal in character.
The Constitution, to borrow a phrase from the conservative English philosopher Michael Oakeshott, expresses a “politics of skepticism.” It intrinsically frustrates the plans of the utopian visionary, of he (or she) who desires, as our leftist President Barack Obama openly desired, to “fundamentally transform” America.
The leftist’s agenda, in other words, can only come to pass by way of relegating the Constitution, one way or the other, to the dustbin of history.
Yet in repudiating its Constitution—or, what amounts to the same thing, in seating judges that will interpret it away—the left attacks precisely that which distinguishes America as the unique state that it was originally intended to be.
Second, America was founded by men and women who were white and overwhelmingly Christian. The economic system that powered it from its founding is what we customarily call “capitalism,” or the “free market. The Constitution and the Declaration of Independence were both authored by white men, and Southern white men to boot. The Constitutional convention consisted only of white men—affluent, property-owning white men.
In short, in terms of race, religion, politics, economics, class, and gender, the Founders represented everything that the contemporary left detests.
Third, James Madison, the author of the Constitution, Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration, and George Washington, the “Father” of our country, were all Southern white men who owned large numbers of black slaves.
If some other white Southern men, like Robert E. Lee, say, do not deserve to be memorialized with statues because they fought for the Confederacy and slavery was practiced in the Confederate states, then neither do Madison, Jefferson, and Washington deserve to be memorialized, for they actually owned slaves.
In fact, if slavery is to be the measure by which this present generation is going to determine which historical figures will be honored, then Jefferson and Washington are far more undeserving of being honored than are men like Lee. Lee inherited relatively few slaves that he freed in 1862, three years before the War Between the States came to a close. In dramatic contrast, Jefferson and Washington owned massive numbers of slaves that they arranged to be freed only after they died.
Jefferson, Washington, Madison, and every other Founding Father that owned slaves must be deserving of all of the contempt and more of that which the left is now unleashing upon long deceased Confederate heroes.
So too must all of America’s Founders stand condemned. While some didn’t own slaves, and while many opposed the institution in principle, the fact of the matter is that they allowed it to remain in existence.
Given that leftists spare no occasion to blast America for all manner of oppression, it is both logically and morally impossible that they should have any love for it. Quite the opposite: logically and morally, America—or AmeriKKKa, the “fascist” state whose flags leftists, and only leftists, are known to desecrate—warrant nothing but hatred and contempt.
America needs to be fundamentally transformed—another way of saying that America as it has always existed needs to die. It needs to be repealed and replaced.
Sometimes, we find those on the political left who are intellectually honest enough to embrace all of the ramifications of their vision. An illustration of this clarity became available just recently.
Wilbert Cooper, writing in Vice, a far left rag, confirms what some of us have known all along: Opposition to Confederate monuments has never had anything to do with opposition to the Confederacy per se.
The caption under the title of “Let’s Get Rid of Mount Rushmore” (originally titled “Let’s Blow Up Mount Rushmore”) reads: “Donald Trump says removing confederate statues is a slippery slope that could get out of control. Maybe he’s right—would that be such a bad thing?”
“More than ever,” the author begins, “old monuments to famous white American men are being threatened in the name of progress.”
It is telling that Cooper, first, acknowledges that there is indeed a movement of sorts to raze monuments to, not white men who fought for the Confederacy, but “famous white American men.” Period.
It is also revealing that, from the leftist perspective that Cooper represents, this movement to topple monuments to famous American white men is a mark of “progress,” something that only regressive ideological fanatics—“the far right”—could possibly oppose.
While conceding that Washington and Jefferson “were remarkable individuals who helped usurp British rule in America,” Cooper is quick to note that “they also enslaved their fellow man, committing special kinds of inhumane acts that should never be confined to footnotes” (as if anyone has tried marginalizing or suppressing these details).
A monument, like Mount Rushmore, say, “obscures the multifaceted nature of these old dudes, transmogrifying them from individuals with a capacity both for greatness and evil into pure deities.”
Cooper laments that it is “hard to be critical of a system when that system becomes an article of faith, filled with myths…deities…and notions of salvation [.]” It is at this point that Cooper makes the point that I’ve been at pains to make here—even if he isn’t quite as blunt as I have been.
“It’s going to be impossible to improve America if we can’t be honest about its origins and its past. Her fruit is born from violence and greed, watered by the blood of my ancestors [Cooper is black].”
Cooper maintains that “the only way we can help America fulfill her promise is by shedding the faith [in those famous white men who founded America] and facing the truth” [about the “horrible atrocities” and “evil” actions in which these white men engaged]. This, Cooper thinks, “involves taking those men we’ve placed so high and bringing them back down to Earth where we can judge them for who they really were.”
On August 17, five days after the riot in Charlottesville, two statues of Abraham Lincoln, “the Great Emancipator,” have been vandalized. One is the Lincoln Memorial, the other a bust of Lincoln in Illinois.
While there is as yet no proof of whether these acts of desecration belong to Cooper’s march of progress to bring down monuments to famous American white men, if you were a betting man, would you bet against it?