By: J.B. Shurk
While most of us were busy surviving pandemic-fueled civil confinement and Democratic Party–led riots in the street, the shots over Fort Sumter were fired, and the war for freedom of speech began in earnest. Just as the mob outside seeks to control how we think and what we may say, Google, Twitter, and Facebook seek to do the same thing by targeting and discriminating against conservatives for their ideas. That there is now such a strong army of “Americans in name only” who have taken it upon themselves to tell others what they may learn and believe and write without being tormented or threatened by black-clad shock troops breaking windows and fire-bombing businesses or financially ruined by Democrat-aligned corporate oligarchs targeting conservative Americans’ livelihoods only serves as jarring proof that we have tolerated these attacks on our freedom and woefully appeased our attackers for entirely too long.
It’s not the rise of a charismatic leader in Sinclair Lewis’s It Can’t Happen Here that is hard to imagine. We’ve read about Julius Caesar and the fall of the Roman Republic, about the French Revolution’s Robespierre and Napoleon Bonaparte, about the post-WWI rise to power of Russia’s Lenin and Italy’s Mussolini. We’ve seen the film reels of Adolf Hitler gesticulating before crowds of thousands and Hugo Chávez using the power of television to seduce his countrymen with socialist dreams.
What has always seemed difficult to grasp is how so many millions of ordinary people could become mindless cult followers, all marching together and repeating the same phrases as if part of one unitary organism. How do you teach millions of people to throw a straight arm high into the air as part of a Nazi salute? How do you condition a populace to greet one another with an exclamatory “Heil Hitler!”? How do you teach law-abiding citizens that breaking the windows of Jewish businesses is not only acceptable, but also patriotic? How do you mobilize a nation, as Mao did, to destroy its own glorious history?
Or convince a prosperous country, as Chávez did, to trade the wealth of the free market for socialist poverty? How do you so effectively harness the passionate hatred of uneducated children that they turn on their parents and teachers, destroy their churches and religious temples and statues and historical monuments, and violently punish anyone who gets in their way? How can any of the sins of authoritarian dictators, socialist despots, or communist mass murderers ever become reality in America, where freedom and personal liberty reign?
Then I look at police officers lying prostrate before a crowd demanding their obedience. And I watch Mitt Romney prove his devotion to those who would control his mind by declaring, like a victim of Stockholm syndrome, that “black lives matter” in cadence with the “woke” mob. And I see statues of Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln toppled over and churches and synagogues desecrated. And I watch thousands of people all bending a knee together, lest they be outed as insufficiently devoted to the new state church of the super-woke and its ever-evolving requirements for remaining in good standing. And I realize that teachers and parents and ordinary Americans who know better are too afraid to speak up and against the demands of the Black Lives Matter and Antifa and Democratic Party–run mobs. And I watch Google and Facebook and Twitter actively conspire to deprive Americans of their free speech, especially political speech most in need of protection. And I finally realize that this is how it can happen here. Not because there are too few of us who care about free speech and personal liberty, but because too many of us decide to go along to get along.
Marxist socialist politicians, global government technocrats, transnational corporate boards of directors, and “woke” mobs have joined forces to scare and control everyone else. During this time of mass hysteria driven by the political exploitation of disease and racial grievance, a normal American who simply wants to be left alone to attend church and run a small business can find both his church and business destroyed, while the United Nations, state and local governments, and virtue-signaling corporate brands actively support those waging war and damn the victim for having the temerity to pray and make a living.
When arsonists on the street are celebrated for burning down history and arsonists at the major tech companies are celebrated for preventing points of view, it’s clear that the anti-Americans have gained the upper hand. When a celebrated and wealthy NFL quarterback retreats briskly from defending the American flag, you know that even those known for their courage have become too afraid to defend what is right. When your employment is threatened unless you learn to bow down before the mob and repeat meaningless slogans as if they were meaningful sacraments, there is nowhere left to hide from a war that will consume us all. We either fight and defend the free speech of every American now or no American will ever again be free. A middle ground no longer exists.
There is no more effective way to lead a nation to civil war than to deprive half of that nation of a voice. When politicians and privileged corporate giants and shock troops on the street all demand obedience to one point of view, there is no peaceful release valve for those who disagree. And when the strictures of political correctness are more threatening than their intended targets, then political correctness wages war on people of conscience.
The freedom to create ideas and release them into the world, to pray fervently and openly according to personal belief, to speak without worry of pain or punishment, is so essential to what America is that fighting for its preservation is nothing short of fighting for the survival of the American nation itself. If we lose it, everything else falls apart. Preserving free speech must be where we make our last stand.