Revolutionary Times

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.


st.-louis-tea-party-archEach anniversary, whether of a marriage or a nation, is marked by the time and place that it finds us. Anniversaries are not static. A wedding anniversary that arrives during a rough patch in a marriage changes the way that a couple looks back at that original date. So too it is with nations.

The 237th anniversary of our independence comes at a time when independence seems to be an illusion. Dispirited by two terms of a man who may well be the worst person to ever sit in the Oval Office, many of the most patriotic men and women of our nation are questioning whether their country can survive.

America is a relationship of peoples. A marriage of disparate groups brought together by common principles and needs. The relationship has been strained at times over the years and its future now seems grimmer than ever. Some among us have even given up hope.

But there is no emotion that is quite as Un-American as despair. There are peoples for whom fatalism and apathy are constant companions, but the American character has always been molded by optimism, not the rose-colored optimism of the fool, but the determined optimism of Valley Forge, the wagon trains and the frameworks of the first skyscrapers rising over American cities.

This young century of ours has been one long Valley Forge. For thirteen years we have faced wars, economic depressions and recessions and the larger sense that our culture and identity are slipping way. Like past generations, we have come face to face with our mortality, no longer shielded by the wide blue cloak of oceans or the might of an industrial superpower.

No generation in a hundred years has shared the same sense that everything the United States is could slip away. The setbacks of the last thirteen years can fill us with despair and convince us that there is no hope. Or they can strengthen us for the fight ahead.

We are living in revolutionary times. For two centuries we had the luxury of living in post-revolutionary times and celebrating the Fourth of July as an event that happened long ago. We no longer do. The old struggle between “absolute despotism,” in the words of the Declaration of Independence, and “unalienable rights” is no longer something that we read about in history books. It is upon us now.

If the spirit in which we encounter the Fourth is less carefree than usual, that brings us closer to the troubled time in which the Declaration of Independence was signed and printed. If we consider the United States endangered, imagine how endangered it was back then. If we feel a sense of national fragility, surrounded by enemies foreign and domestic, that state of mind puts us in touch with the emotions and arguments that animated the American Revolution.

Post-revolutionary times are balanced. They have their dangers and threats, but there is a deep abiding sense that most things will go on as they always have no matter what happens tomorrow.

Revolutionary times are turbulent. They are agitated by the common feeling that the balance has been lost and a tipping point has arrived. Even as we feel the sickening lurches of a nation that appears to be slipping toward the cliff, we should not despair. A revolutionary society moves easily because it is unmoored and can be turned around in the right direction. And when that happens, history changes.

The birth of the United States was not inevitable. It happened against incredible odds and a torrent of difficulties. Now it is caught between decline and rebirth. Which of these it will be, we will learn when enough men and women push one way or another until the next tipping point is reached.

Living in revolutionary times, we cannot idly celebrate a revolution of the past without also committing ourselves to changing the present. Independence is not a gift that was won once and never needs to be thought about again.

We are privileged to live in a time when we can no longer take freedom for granted. It may seem like an odd sort of privilege to watch and worry as our rights are taken away, but freedoms are won and rights are secured out of such difficult times. And the freedoms won are much more satisfying and enduring when they are snatched out of the teeth of tyranny because it is only in such difficult times that the true meaning of freedom can be understood.

Freedom is an intangible quality. Like health or light, we notice it most clearly in its absence. And so the only way to truly appreciate freedom is to be on the verge of losing it.

Our Fourth of July may be more troubled than it was a century ago, but those troubles have brought us closer to a day some 237 years ago that led to centuries of freedom.  Political revolutions can happen once, but revolutions of liberty must take place again and again to secure the precious commodity that is so easily swallowed up by the power of government.

Earlier generations were lectured on the danger of taking freedom for granted. We don’t need those lectures because the country we now live in does not allow us the luxury of taking freedom for granted. We can see the dark tunnel up ahead as right after right vanishes into the maw of the regulatory state.

Our celebration of independence may be less carefree, but that is because we feel what is truly at stake. Independence. Liberty. Freedom.  The freedom to think, to live our faith, to earn a living and to raise a family.

For us, the struggle for freedom is not some abstract thing. It is not something that people in other countries far away across the ocean do. It is our struggle. It is our freedom that we are fighting for.

We approach the Fourth of July in the same spirit as the men and women who were about to become the citizens of a new country did 237 years ago. Their struggle is our struggle and our struggle is their struggle. The Fourth of July commemorates that ongoing struggle and reminds us that the patriots of our nation have confronted domestic enemies who would snatch away our freedom and come away with victories of ideas before.

237 years later, the people of this nation are once again fighting to be free.

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  • bluffcreek1967

    Whether we can admit it to ourselves or not, the Old America – with its respect for individual responsibility, widespread patriotism, and admiration for the constitution – has died. It took about 50 years or so to accomplish it, but with the help of Communists/Leftists, feminists, gay rights activists, multiculturalists, most universities and colleges, and millions of apathetic citizens, the New America has managed to take its place.

    The Old America will not return. Our nation is much too divided, having accepted the lies of Leftist ideology and having allowed us to become flooded with third-world immigrants who have no desire to assimilate or even to continue the American experiment. They’re here for the payout, and nothing else.

    The American people, mostly whites, lack the collective will to change things. How can we, though, we’re much too divided? Most of us are asleep anyways. The Kardashian generation has other priorities.

    The only possibilities appear to be a nationwide revolution or some sort of mutual secession. I’m more inclined to secession. But either way, many tears will be shed in the years ahead. This is what the Left has done to us, and we’ve allowed it.

    • Danny

      I choose secession…but only for bluffcreep. Let’s see, where can he secede to? How about Bikini Island?

      • bluffcreek1967

        What an odd, childish thing to write. How about contributing something intelligent to the discussion?

        • Danny

          OK, I’ll bite. I know in my head and in my heart that this country will continue to prosper and serve as a model for the world, regardless of how many white people inhabit it, because its greatness comes not from a particular race but from the ideals that have driven and will continue to drive most Americans – those of freedom tempered with responsibility. individualism tempered with a sense of community, economic self-interest tempered with compassion for people of lesser abilities. And those like you who believe that its greatness will decline as its purely white population declines will eventually shrivel and die out, and leave the rest of us to produce and enjoy its riches. Which will be a blessing.

          • bluffcreek1967

            You are deluded indeed if you can dismiss the founding stock of this nation easily. The great principles of our nation are part and parcel to its racial heritage. It was not Mexicans, blacks, Puerto Ricans or Asians who penned the founding principles, Constitution, and Bill of Rights, but white europeans.

            The great concepts that emerged had their source in white, western, european and distinctly Christian values. This explains in part why no other ethnic or racial group has produced anything even remotely close to the grand themes found in America’s original documents.

            The ‘We’re a proposition nation’ is a half-truth that fails to take into full account the racial stock of our nation. We’ve maintain our ‘proposition nation’ status because whites have been the racial majority. But once they are gone, thing will change dramatically – and we’re already seeing it now.

            Moreover, it’s naive at best to image that all those third-world immigrants – whether from Africa, the middle east, or from the mountains of Mexico and El Salvador – are going to uphold our American values, culture and ‘propositions.’ They don’t think in such terms, and many have no genuine roots here. The can’t appreciate fully such ‘propositions’ because they are foreign to their culture, their own way of thinking (which is mostly socialistic), and their own experiences.

            But like many, you won’t recognize this until it’s much too late.

    • Barb3000

      What you are describing is basically Ethnic Cleansing. With our doors being thrown wide open to immigrants In 1964 and 1965 by the late Ted Kennedy and other politicians that believed what Ted was peddling that the country wouldn’t be changed by the new rules. With the census department saying that in two decades or less the white population will be a minority. The population that carved the US out of a wilderness and developed it into what it is today will thrown into the dustbin of history and forgotten. I have a good idea that the history books will be rewritten that eliminates all that the European settlers accomplished and the ones that came after them accomplished also. Our cities are beginning to look Calcutta with the crush of cars and people. This government acts like it is addicted to legal and illegal immigration.

      • bluffcreek1967

        Good points, and I think you’re absolutely correct. Americans don’t seem to realize that no nation can bring millions of non-assimilating, third-world immigrant-peasants and expect it to remain the same nation. Most people don’t even consider the practical implications of mass immigration. They go about their lives thinking things will always remain the same – and it’s only when it’s too late that they being to worry.

        This entire immigration debate should have been fought and won by 1965 when the immigration bill promoted by Ted Kennedy and others was signed into legislation. That year marked America’s doom and the countdown began. Now, we have reached critical mass . . . but it’s too late now to really do anything about it. Oh, perhaps we might have a few small victories here and there in the coming months, but the hordes of third-world immigrants will still continue to come.

  • DaddyJeb@hotmail.com

    Time to fly your Amerikan flag, upside down.
    I put mine out on my magnificent oak tree at midnight.
    We are, a nation in great duress.

  • Mo86

    This was beautiful and powerful and desperately needed by my soul.

    Thank you.

  • Texas Patriot

    The situation today is no different than when the Colonists dumped all the English tea in the Boston Harbor, except for the fact that the Colonists were very well aware that they were being taxed without adequate representation. Today the situation is much worse. Today we are under the illusion that we are being represented in Congress, when in fact our representatives routinely sell their influence to the highest bidders, both domestic and foreign, in exchange for generous political contributions, or promises of lucrative employment when they leave office, or generous contribution to their favorite charities, or all of the above.

  • gbyrneg50

    I think that America has slipped spiritually and morally and it is that which central to its decline. The nation has become very prosperous and comfortable. That is when decline sets in and it is very hard to prevent. People say that they no longer need God. Moral standards slip and before you know where you are you’re down the drain economically and militarily and it’s very hard to get back to where you were 20 years ago.

  • Jsjk

    Thank you, Daniel for this article. (Personally, I am finding it increasingly difficult to read/listen to non-Americans lambasting the United States — yes, we all know how abysmal Obama is — but his presidency is due to end in three years; it is NOT the end of America, unless we want it to be! We need to retain our optimism and not despair.) So, with that, let us all celebrate the glories of the Fourth of July and what this nation has given us!

    • bluffcreek1967

      I empathize with your optimism, and I hope you’re right. But I think it’s important to look at the big picture and consider the immorality, debauchery, apathy, and depth of sin which this nation has fallen. This won’t be fixed by one or even two elections or by having a conservative president in office. The problems are much too deep and widespread.

      Our founders, although far from perfect, made it clear that this nation’s founding was designed for a religious people and no other. In other words, the principles they established could only work in a context where its citizens were upright and moral. This is no longer the case, and hash;t been for many years. This nation is over in its original sense, although it will continue to exist as many nations do once they passed their greatness. Your optimism, while sincere and hopeful, fails to take into account the gravity of our circumstances and just how far we have fallen.

      If that’s not clear enough, let me put it another way: We’re under God’s judgment. He has lifted His restraining hand from our nation and allowed us to receive the fruit of all our choices for the past 50 years.

      Hey, have you ever heard the story of the Frog in the Kettle?

  • DeShawn

    Man, we need ANOTHEr revolution against the jewish tyrannts who control the US now. We are living as SLAVES to these jews, who use us all, black, white, etc. I would like to wish all my fellow goys a happy Independence Day, even though we’re not yet free. Only when these wicked satanic jews are kicked out of government, media, and banking will we be free again.

    • Gee

      Anti-Semitic scum need to be hung

      • AmericaFirst

        And what of you, my pickle-snouted friend? Perhaps a little Zyklon-B is in order…

        • HaLeviSHmuel

          Hi there,
          Don’t be afraid, you can use yer real label while we chat pal. Asy… Apparently you would like to try that, dont’cha?
          Come on over, you and that other one and we will take care of your inclinations. You will get back in one form or another, I assure you..

        • UCSPanther

          And what of you, my square-headed friend, perhaps a .303 British from a SMLE No.4 Mark 1 is in order…

        • defcon 4

          I think you should test it out first, on your family, friends and yourself.

    • UCSPanther

      The only way your little fantasy will end is with a hailstorm of .303 British, just like your Nazi forbears faced in WWII…

    • AmericaFirst

      Is this the DeShawn Williams who posts over at vnnforum? If so, good for you, my negro…keep on naming the jew until the goyim finally wake up,

      • UCSPanther

        I find it very ironic how you retarded American neo-nazis pretend to be oh-so-patriotic, but yet you worship an ideology that is no different from communism: Violently racist, expansionistic, antisemitic, and above all, an enemy of individual freedom. I doubt too many people in Germany could criticize the Nazis without a visit from the Gestapo…

        You neo-nazis should try talking to some communists. I’m sure you’ll find that you all have a lot in common…

        • defcon 4

          Godwin’s law, in action. It’s kinda funny to hear an islamo-nazi complain about anyone being a fascist, or a nazi.

    • defcon 4

      Maybe you would be happier in any typical islamo-nazi state, where there are few Jews, and the few there kept firmly under the thumb of islamo-nazi tyrants. The muslimes there will also subscribe wholeheartedly to your Jew hating delusions. You’ll fit right in.

  • dizzyizzy

    http://clarespark.com/2013/06/21/apocalypse-and-the-escape-artist/. I deplore those who have given up on the American idea, though I understand that they feel discouraged right now. The state is in a legitimacy crisis, which means the chance for renewal if we don’t lose our nerve. The blog I linked is “Apocalypse and the escape artist.” It condemns the nea-sayers who evade their responsibilities to take part in this ongoing experiment in equality under the law. Some call it “liberty.”

    • bluffcreek1967

      Americans, collectively, have already ‘lost their nerve.’ Nay, they’ve lost their very souls! Our nation has turned its back on God, and He has lifted His restraining grace from our nation. We are now plunging fully into the depths of our sin, and its results are clearly evident.

      This nation, whether we like to hear it or not, is in its death throes. Some of us have awakened, but most have not. There is little hope for the U.S. (although anything is possible I suppose?), and if one imagines that things can be reversed simply by winning a few Republican elections and elective a conservative president, they are very naive at best. The problems we face and the enemy we face – namely Leftist Americans – is massive. If anything is ever resolved, it will probably come by way of another revolution or secession. Either way, it won’t be pretty.

      • dizzyizzy

        There is no such thing as Americans collectively. There are individuals, more or less depressed, more or less violent, more or less capable of analyzing our problems and suggesting fruitful political directions and perhaps leadership.

        • bluffcreek1967

          Yes, there is. I think you’ve misunderstood what I was trying to convey. I’m saying that Americans, as a whole, as a group, collectively speaking, have lost their nerve. It’s not at all incorrect usage of the term. In other words, the problem exists with not a few Americans here and there, but as a group or unified whole we have lost our way.

  • Gee

    The current administration and government has strayed so far from what the founding fathers brought that it must be swept anew.

    “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” Thomas Jefferson

  • Immigrant_from_Socialism7

    Socialism can only survive by dividing the citizens and playing one against the other….but GOD must be diminished,eliminated,or marginalised.
    AMERICA and AMERICANS,both native born and emigrants like me,must be more proactive about our elections.
    The Founding Fathers would be just as proactive today recognising that if not for the Constitution the Socialists in Government are just as oppressive as the King.
    But I emigrated from a Socialist country..and I know it when I see it,and continuously hear it in the Presidents speeches…just as numerous as the Soviet Premiers,and certainly Hitler.
    Native born Americans,of all political parties,you must not believe the propaganda and do what you can to ensure that the American idea,dream,and opportunities are available for their kids and grandkids.
    Socialism ONLY benefits the politicians and politically connected…and PRAVDA will ensure the Party line is spread to the apparatchiks,and youthful idiots.
    Finally there is a book out this week”The Founding Conservatives” and I suggest you review the U.S Constitution with your kids and grandkids because they are not learning about it in school.
    Thank you America
    Happy 4th of July…Thank GOD!

  • richard sanders

    You don’t get it, do you. Those leftists, multiculturalists and others only have an audience due to America’s hypocrisy, its opportunity and freedom only apply to some. Until you get it, your side will keep losing. This site defending Paula Deen
    and George Zimmerman, please, and you wonder why people turn to the leftists?
    Nobody will tolerate being treated like crap forever by anybody, and they don’t

    care if you call yourselves America.

    • UCSPanther

      Quit yer whining, progressive…

  • tagalog

    We made a fatal mistake when we abandoned the pursuit of liberty to engage in the pursuit of equality of result. We had equality before the law, but that wasn’t enough. Equality of result rang the death knell for America.

  • tanstaafl

    This is no longer the country I grew up in.