The Art of Being a Happy Warrior

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


When we celebrate Thanksgiving in a little over a week, after being thankful for family and friends, for health and comfort, for food and shelter, it may be time to be thankful for the left.

I have seen far too much despair and defeatism, too many comments that suggest there is no hope for America and the only thing left to do is pour a glass of wine and watch the sun go down. I understand the place of despair and pain that such words come from. But they also testify to how sheltered Americans are from the cold winds outside.

Eight years of Obama is bad, no doubt. But try sixty-nine years of Communism on for size. That’s what generations of Russians had to live through. Ask some of the conservative activists in Europe who have never had any of the freedoms that we still take for granted whether they’ve given up hope. Ask people from countries where criticism of Islam can mean a jail sentence and homeschooling is illegal whether they’ve given up hope.

There are countless tales of courage over the last century of men and women who did not stop fighting and did not stop teaching their children so that they would not stop resisting. And those stories have not ended. They are taking place today in Europe. They are taking place in South America. And those people would envy the conditions under which we fight without being shot or sent to prison. Where we are, compared to 100 percent of the rest of the world, still free.

We face a hard fight, not only for our freedom, but the freedom of the world. The international left has made America its special project. It knows that if it can extinguish the hope of liberty in this land then it will drive the rest of those who hope for freedom across the ocean deeper into despair. And it wants your despair. It wants you to give up so that the rest of the world gives up too and bows under its chains.

And yet this fight is a glorious one. This fight is our birthright. And we should be thankful for the fight.

It would be more pleasant if there were no Obama or Axelord. If Alinsky had never been born and Marx had never been whelped. It would be nice if we lived in a world where red were just a color and the Democratic Party were a rural movement suspicious of the federal government and dreaming of an agrarian utopia. But then so would never having to work for a living or getting up out of bed.

Life is challenge and we face all kinds of different challenges. We get up early out of bed in the morning and drive to work. We rise in the middle of the night when the baby cries and we go to the hospital when our loved ones need us there. And we do these things not only because they are our duty, but because these challenges make us who we are.

Besides these prosaic challenges, the daily routines and the occasional tragedies, there are uncommon challenges that we face when the foe comes to our gate and demands that we bow and become slaves. This is the challenge that we face as a society, a nation and a people. It calls to more of us and in that it also ennobles us. It makes us a great people and a great nation, rather than only another people who seek to live in comfort with no thought for anything else.

Good emerges in response to evil. We need our enemies to remind us of who we are and what we can do when our backs are against the wall. We need evil to remind us of the good that we are capable of. As a whetstone sharpens a sword, so evil sharpens us into a weapon against it. It makes us morally stronger and teaches us the stark truths that we cannot take refuge from evil; we must confront it.

If there were no left, would there be nearly as much patriotism among true Americans as there is now? And if there were no left, how many of us would really contemplate the core principles of freedom and free enterprise? If there were no left, how many of us would ponder what we truly believe and what compromises we are willing and unwilling to make? If there were no left, would we be the same people that we are today?

Would we value freedom as much if we did not have to defend it? Would we hold it as dear if we did not fear that it would be taken away? Would we even be aware of what freedom is and what a free people must be if not for the dark hand of those who wish to strip us of those freedoms?

It is the left’s opposition that has added urgency to a hundred issues, from the national debt to the War on Terror to freedom of speech and of religion. It has made us think about those issues, it has caused us to take them out of the back of our minds and hold them up to the light as a reminder of how important they are and what must be done about them.

War is the great teacher and this is a political war, short on bodies and heavy on minds, it is a war in which casualties are not taken in the chest or the arm, but in the mind, in reason and emotion, and against these weaknesses, we can and will prevail.

As we fight the left, we become stronger, more dedicated and more purposeful. We become the men and women that we were meant to be.

As you sit around your tables, thinking of all that you have gained and lost this year, remember and be thankful for the left, for though the winter ice gives way to the summer sun and bitter defeat gives way to sweet victory, it is defeat and hardship that teaches better than comfort and ease. We can learn more from our defeats than we ever could from our victories. Our defeats teach us endurance and fortitude, they teach us that defeat can be borne and that its sting can be turned into the weapon that unseats the foe. And our foes make us who we are.

Their evil teaches us to find the good within ourselves. Their strength teaches us to find our own strength. And their plots against what we have teach us how many treasures we have, not least of these being the full value of our freedom and our happiness that they wish to take from us. Their war on America is teaching us to be better Americans.

We should be thankful for the left, its assaults on us are teaching us how to fight and its plots against our freedom are teaching us how to be free.

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  • waterwillows

    Thanks, your words are both wise and encouraging.

    For as surely as they have laid out their traps and snares ….

    so has the Lord done also …. and they shall surely walk into them.

  • dougjmiller

    Daniel, thanks for putting it in a positive perspective. You gave me hope and made my day.

    • Richard McCargar

      I'm not sold.

      The Russians didn't pull themselves out of a tailspin that saw Stalin kill tens-of-millions of their own people. It was the U.S. that wiped out that monstrosity of a government.

      But we now have too many people who don't accept that socialism is bad, and that it leads to communism.

  • CALLEEGIRL

    Thank you so very much sir for writing this ! As I type this I am crying and praying that I can take the hate and fear from my heart and concentrate again on the continued fight for our shining star in the dark America. We all need to know that we are at the same fight during WW2 but sadly it is in our own country. I pray I have the guts and courage of the men and women who have died to keep our American light shining, because even though our own president wants Her lights to be dimed people around the world are depending on you and me now that it Never Happins!

    • Jim_C

      Boolsheet.

      • Western Canadian

        Strange, a post with a signiture, but no comment.

        • KTbythedoor

          LOL

    • Guest

      You won't be able to take any hate or fear from your heart if you agree with someone who calls his fellow Americans "evil" and "foes" who "plot" against you just because they have different political views. I'm sorry but those are words of HATE and FEAR, disguised as HOPE. I say this not as a Dem or Rep., Con. or Lib., but simply as an American who refuses to think even the most misguided of his fellow citizens is his "foe," or to think him "evil" just because he votes differently. This sounds like something Timothy McVeigh would say.

      • Another Guest

        I agree with your observation.
        That last paragraph in the piece jumped right out at me.

        I believe the Left should retain its unashamed monopoly on the use of that sort of calumny.

    • richie

      Bless your heart, dear. We are facing a spiritual crisis in our beloved United States of America. It's essential to remember that our freedom is based upon our creation by Divinity, and can never be taken away by worldly force. Leftists/Socialists/Communists start with well meaning ideals, but they reject Divinity and unfortunately wind up trying to "save the world" by force and coercion. They simply do not know any better. The time has come for us to work on our own spiritual and emotional maturity and evolution. What we are, when we are accepting and live with care and lovingkindness changes the world more profoundly than the use of force ever can. As Sean Hannity says–"Let not your heart be troubled!"

  • VA_Rancher

    Winston Churchill – "…this is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy."

    10/29/1941 @ the Harrow School…

    The whole speech is worthy of a read…
    http://www.winstonchurchill.org/learn/speeches/sp

  • stardust2013

    Great words sir, much needed for times such as these. I was beginning to wonder if there were any positive voices or thinkers left.

  • robkin20

    Just yesterday I was wondering …"Who will be our Thomas Paine and write our 'Common Sense'?" And this morning I read this! Wield the pen, Mr. Greenfield!

    • Guest

      Thomas Paine? You mean the one who wrote things like "Separate an individual from society, and give him an island or a continent to possess, and he cannot acquire personal property. He cannot be rich. So inseparably are the means connected with the end, in all cases, that where the former do not exist the latter cannot be obtained. All accumulation, therefore, of personal property, beyond what a man's own hands produce, is derived to him by living in society; and he owes on every principle of justice, of gratitude, and of civilization, a part of that accumulation back again to society from whence the whole came."

      • JoJoJams

        Yes. That same Paine. Of course, this shouldn't be taken to mean that he was for exhorbitant taxation of the successful among us. The Carnegie's and Rockefeller's (and Gates') of this nation contribute and donate billions in philanthropic persuits, freely giving of their own excess. It is just this type of philanthropy that Paine means – not overly zealous taxation by an out of control federal government, which continually spends more than it brings in. Don't go barking up the wrong tree with this Paine quote.

        • Guest

          Nope, wrong. He isn't talking about private philanthropy. This is from a treatise in which he is advocating for the establishment of an "entitlement" program (that's what Conservatives would call it) that uses taxes from the property owners (albeit at a modest 10%) in order to establish a kind of startup fund that would pay out to young men who are from the landless class to level the playing field, as we say now. Nice try appropriating his name to your own views, though.

  • PistolPierre

    Bravo

  • teq

    I'm going to print out this beautiful piece and read it out loud to my family at Thanksgiving Dinner. Thank you, Mr. Greenfield for reminding us what's really important in life and why our trials and tribulations are often necessary to building character and honing our strength.

    But there is one thing I can never be thankful for and that's the Hamas gang. I'm really worried that they're getting ready for another Infitada.And I don't believe that Israel needs these things to build charcter and fortitude. She's had enough trials to build fortitude for the next thousand years, and I wish She could catch a break and be left alone to live and prosper without these savages continually trying to destroy her.

    But this is where I suppose we must all remember that God is the captain of our ship and no matter how stormy our voyage, He has us in the palm of His hand and will protect us if we trust in Him. He will tell each of us how He wants us to help Israel, and all we can do is obey Him and try not to worry about what's ahead. The end of this story is already known and we know it ends well. What we don't know is what we'll have to go through to get there. This is where trust in the Lord comes in.

    God bless America and Israel and all men of good will.

  • tagalog

    Many people, especially early in life, are not leftists or rightists. They are mostly concerned with getting along with a minimum of discomfort to themselves. They instinctively act in their own self-interest.

    We MUST begin as early in their lives as possible telling that our system fosters their self-interest and acquainting them with the apparent paradox that patriotism for this country, whose system advances their self-interests, is in their individual best interests, while the apparent willingness of a giveaway government to give them things "for free" is NOT in their best interests. Once we were able to do that successfully in the grade schools and the high schools, and by the time they got out of high schools, they were prepared to be functional Lockean and Smitheans and not Marxists. We HAVE TO get back to that. Once we do that, there will be room for hope that we will survive as a true American nation.

  • tagalog

    Continued: We have to teach them American history as it was once taught. We can teach them the warts, but we have to teach them the beauty too. We have to begin the amazingly difficult chore of cutting back on "general welfare" programs because they rot our society; we have to retrench on issues like marriage and divorce. We have to foster religion, most particularly Christianity, we have to teach people differently about birth control. But most importantly, we must instill in our children a love of American values, and that means re-developing a set of values that we can all agree are truly American. In short, we have to win back the American culture.

    • pagegl

      Correct! I was dumbfounded when I learned that most public schools no longer teach the Constitution. No wonder so many people have no clue what our system is supposed to be and how it is supposed to function.

    • Jim_C

      I agree with you wholeheartedly on the education: I think what freedom means, from whence it is derived, and why our country is exceptional in that regard should be front and center in civics/history.

      Not sure how you do the welfare thing. Should probably be emphasized that government is not a magic king granting favors but that goes along with my last point about whence freedom comes.

      What are you talking about as far birth control?

      Religion–just statistically, we're probably the most religious of Christian nations on earth already; not sure what needs to change. As long as we're not teaching the outrageous b.s. that is Creationism in school, I'm all for religion.

  • clarespark

    If there was resistance in the Soviet empire, then can we please discard the term "totalitarian"? I asked for that here: http://clarespark.com/2012/10/15/orwell-power-and…. "Orwell, Power, and the Totalitarian State." Odd that Greenfield sees looming Communism as a salutary challenge, while I fear fascism, its racism and statism, and the silencing of all dissent. If we don't oppose this administration and the busy jihadists whom they either tolerate or stimulate.

    • tagalog

      What, the definition of "totalitarian" rules out the existence of internal resistance to such a regime? Is that what you're saying? That's utter nonsense if that's what you mean. And no, I'm not going to read your blog on the subject.

      • clarespark

        The term “totalitarian” is now under attack by the better historians. It arose because pundits and academics blamed mass media for the rise of Nazism. They overstated the role of propaganda.

        • tagalog

          I find it a bit confusing to talk about the "role of propaganda" when talking in the same breath about totalitarianism. In a totalitarian state, what need is there for the system to popularize itself with propaganda? It's a totalitarian state, propaganda not needed, eh? Do what we want, not because we tell you it's good, but because Big Brother is watching you…

          • clarespark

            For decades, liberal historians blamed propaganda for the seduction of the masses. There was implicit antisemitism in their critique, for it was widely believed in their generations that Jews controlled mass media.

  • Ar'nun

    There is a significant difference between giving up, and regrouping. If your platoon is over run by enemy combatants and you remain out gunned and out manned, there is no shame in falling back, regrouping, accessing the damage, and waiting for reinforcements, while allowing your enemy to push forward and expose themselves.

    From this I still declare that Republicans would be best served to fall back, regroup and protect the base. The base in this case being the Constitution. Keeping that intact, in 4 years after the enemy has exposed themselves, we can deliver a knock out blow when many from their ranks will have defected to our side, our numbers and message will be best served.

  • HiPlainsDrifter

    There is only the illusion of peace, Daniel…

    As America devolves in every important way, thru the continued unworkable policies put forth by the Left, you will see this illusion shattered…A 21st century Fort Sumter is right around the corner…

    But we are thankful for you…Daniel..

  • Puc

    Thank you for this inspiring article. This resonates with the words of a brilliant young woman Etty Hillesum who died in a concentration camp. " man suffers most through his fear of suffering" yes we must remember who we are and with what we have been blessed and face down the tawdry evils of our enemies both at home and abroad.
    Puc Canada

  • boon doggle

    It would seem quite extraordinary to say it, but the world is flirting with a replay of the C20th. The old refrain, we just didn't go far enough, seems to be the reason for this nonsense, along with some slick repackaging of the same old failed strategies. 'So', I guess they argue, 'if we have money behind it, and America, it will all go swimmingly this time round'. Well, it would give credence to the theory that we are caught in a vicious circle with no apparent exit point, but if they have their way, and it's play it again Sam, we better all belt up and buckle down, it will be one hell of a ride. Some of the parallels are just uncanny, there is the Axelrod who played his role in the lead up to the Bolshevik revolution, then the Arab Spring, and my posts are too long as it is, but the list goes on, it is all set up so it would seem. But the author is right, it is brain that will win this one, not brawn. Though there will be some cowards around who like to complain, but they'll be weeing themselves if you guys pack your bags and return home. But for those who like clarity, a target to aim for, and a fight, four more years of Barry is a prospect to relish, and a chance to get to grips with what he stands for. The modern day Churchill is Netanyahu. He has weight. That's who Barry and his band of merry international socialists will target next. Who's next up if Barry get's impeached?

  • Tanstaafl jw

    Still, you should buy guns and stock pile canned food.

    • tagalog

      Don't just buy guns; become proficient with them. It does no good to have a fine firearm if you can't hit what you aim at. Hitting your target takes work.

      Fortunately, the work is fun. At least it is for some of us.

    • Mary Sue

      and make sure that your can openers aren't all electric!

      • Another Guest

        Best can opener ever devised is the little p38 you can put on your key-chain.

  • mlcblog

    Today, happily, my devotional emails are all about not giving up, fighting on, such as Count it all joy when various trials come your way….because of the strength that can be built whence overcoming them.

  • Sean Boyle

    Daniel – you shooting star of eloquent Truth, will you set a trend of exchanging "War on Terror" with "War on Islam?" explaining that extremists are not responsible for a single act of terror, but any Muslim sincerely attempting to obey and imitate the horrific self enriching war mongering habitually violent life of that rapacious false lying sack of malevolent pig intestines – Mohammad? Many would appreciate it :-)

    To any who object to my writing I ask this: If we cannot demonize demons, whom can we demonize? Isn't the nature of justice to condemn and destroy that which kills? Islam kills.

    Love, http://SeanBoyle.comhttp://BanIslamNow.com

  • Tony Downing

    Great column, thanks for giving us a different perspective on the election defeat. Much appreciated and inspiring.

  • riverboatbill

    I'm Happy. I've got my musket over the fireplace.

    • wsk

      I'm happy too,. I have my Sig Sauer and my Desert Eagle next to my bed. Now if the low-eared man-child mesiah would only come skulking around my property at night….

  • BLJ

    Every night before I hit the sheets I drop to my knees and thank the Good Lord for being born in the United States. Even with an evil person like Obama as President this is still the greatest nation on the planet.

    That being said it would still be light years better if this troll and his minions were not in the White House. He is the true definition of the Enemy Within. We all can only hope that God strikes him down.

  • Jay

    I would be a lot more inspired if there was a legitimate way to fight back. I live in Chicago, so my vote counts for nothing. I am not going to take up arms, as I would be arrested immediately. And, I cannot publicly speak many of my opinions about entitlements or preservation of life without being labeled as a racist and a hatemonger. So, where do we go from here? the GOp clearly doesn't have any answers, so we do not have any representation in Washington…this is why people feel hopeless, because we are like a one-legged man in an ass kicking contest and we're tired of taking so many beatings.

    • BLJ

      I live in Chicago as well. Do not be afraid to speak your true feelings. Political correctness is the kiss of death.

      What is needed here is a way to get Madigan out of power. He is the boss of the Cook County Machine. The idiots here keep voting him back in despite him and his cronies have bankrupted the place.

  • fiddler

    We need more voices to repudiate the journalistic Left for the frauds they are.

    • Another Guest

      I hear you loud and clear.
      " In an age of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."- George Orwell

  • Shalrath

    It's nice there are conservative activists in Europe and people in Islamic countries fighting injustice. The problem is they don't look like they're having success. And like you said, communism in Russia lasted 69 years. You've shown the virtues of courage but done nothing to show USA will win this fight. We should fight, an maybe we to will win in 69 years. But first we're gonna have to enjoy decades of re-education camps, poverty, crime, injustice, famines and Agenda 21. And with modern technology that can be used by police forces to oppress on a scale not seen before we might not even escape this coming tyranny ever. So maybe instead of thanking the left we'll be thanking the solar EMP that resets human society.

    • Another Guest

      I don't see where Mr. Greenfield ever suggested that the good guys are guaranteed to win in the long run; quite the opposite, by my reading.

  • wsk

    Thankful for the left? This countrey needs an enema. Welcome to Amerika. Wecome to the new normal.

  • Western Spirit

    I hate to pour water on all the effusing but Daniel's article reminds me of an aching tooth being celebrated because when it is pulled it will be such a relief. If it is pulled, that is.

    • Another Guest

      Well said.
      The collapsing welfare state is seamlessly morphing over to requisite economic/political tyranny right before our eyes.

      Welcome to the Moochocracy.

  • Ghostwriter

    Thank you for those inspiring words,Mr. Greenfield. They're just what we need right now.

  • BAnnE

    I needed that and today. Thanks so much Daniel. I know what you mean because I felt it while I read it.