The Progressive Left often casts itself as the manichean choice between their proffered utopia and a caricature of America’s past of being exclusively about oppression and discrimination by “Kyriarchs.”
America is not “oppression,” but has been the greatest force for freedom and prosperity the world has ever known. It is not pseudo-arbitrary mores and customs invented ex nihilo. Perhaps America can best be understood by that very American Essense that we are losing, and on the verge of losing permanently? As Peter Kirsanow points out:
“Increasingly, American policies seem to be shaped less by the consent of the governed than by the needs and inertia of the leviathan state. Tocqueville observed that ‘the species of oppression by which democratic nations is menaced’ produces a neutered populace where rugged individualism succumbs invariably to the dictates of the state. And even some conservatives rationalize that it’s all for the public good; move along, nothing to see here.
“So dispirited citizens are ordered to provide abortifacients to their employees and must disclose the content of their prayers to a government that seems to hold them in contempt for believing in something beyond a benevolent state. Government officials, on the other hand, needn’t deign tell us what they’re up to and why. They can send you into harm’s way and needn’t explain why they didn’t bother to rescue you.
“Free people never trust their government with power, regardless of who’s in power. Free people instinctively reject the idea that just because something’s legal, it’s a good idea for the government to do it. And while free people are willing to make considered, wise tradeoffs for security, they believe that freedom isn’t risk-free.”
The Progressive Left happily tears this all down, because they must if they are to create their vision of utopia, as foolish or doomed as it mat be. They are truly those who believe “…the function of the State was not merely one of the ruling the nation, but also that of recasting it in a given mold, of shaping the mentality of the population as a whole in accordance with a predetermined model and instilling the ideas and sentiments they though desirable in the minds of all.”
Perhaps America will decline and fall like Rome, whence virtue and liberty faded. As the character of Marcus Aurelius said in the movie Gladiator, “There was a dream that was Rome. You could only whisper it. Anything more than a whisper and it would vanish, it was so fragile.”
And all the while, the Progressives have been shouting and cheering for a new feudalism, with themselves as the lords…