A couple of weeks ago, a relative of mine posted a news item on Facebook from a news station in SC. A very patriotic pair who run a car dealership was offering buyers of a new truck a flag, a Bible, and an AR-15.
I thought to myself, “Good salesmen.” They know their market. Coming in contact with working guys every day in a hardware store, in a deep-red small town, I can clearly see the genius in running that deal.
But, knowing my relative’s political inclinations (Bernie Bro in one of the deepest blue parts of a purple state), I’m pretty sure he didn’t post it out of appreciation for working class culture. His wife was less reserved in her disdain of the sale. “Gross. And frightening,” she commented.
Still another one of his friends described it as “an atrocity.” I have friend who fled Vietnam in the ’70s who, being familiar with atrocity himself, would strongly disagree.
It used to be that the Left fought for the working class, and its values. That included arms ownership, as exemplified through the words of Eric Blair, who was a British socialist, writer, and essayist during the first half of the 20th century.
“That rifle hanging on the wall of the working class flat or labourer’s cottage is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there.”
He is more commonly known by his pen name, George Orwell, reknowned for his disdain for totalitarianism. No doubt his experiences fighting against the fascists during the Spanish Civil War reinforced these ideas in him.
I wonder what Orwell would think of his fellow Britons now, or how western socialists (including his ideological cousins across the Atlantic) have slouched closer to the authoritarianism he wrote so vehemently against.
Today, too many of them see 1984 as a prescription rather than a warning, infatuated with what government power can do, without considering the cost of doing it. Dennis Prager’s axiom, “The Bigger the Government, the Smaller the CItizen,” is unimaginable to them.
That power destroys to accommodate itself. It dismisses conscientious restraint–in the form of moral edification found in faith (namely, Christianity), the lessons of history (favoring revisionism), and logic and reason (preferring emotionalism). And, it will undermine the social cohesion of national identity by pushing the unrealistic fantasy of “global citizenship.”
It will disdain the economic freedom of its subjects, encouraging dependency on the state, and with it, the attendant political gamesmanship whose only real goal is the consolidation of power. Remember how much they’ve been hoping a recession will happen? What kind of sick misanthropy do you have to entertain to want others’ poverty for the sake of gaining power for yourself?
And, this lust for power will seek to strip physical power from its subjects, robbing them of the means to answer thuggery (and there is little difference between a street punk and a senator–we are all made of the same fallible cloth) in the only language it really understands: force. Once that voice is silenced, the thug can take what it wants at its leisure.
Which is why Patrick Henry gave this admonition at the ratification ceremony of Virginia’s state constitution in 1788–not just to people of one class nor political club, but for all Americans:
“Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined.”
This duty is not gross, frightening, nor atrocious. It is our birthright. God help us if we sell it out.