Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
When voters go to the polls, they will be choosing not just one man over another. They will be choosing either freedom and self-rule based on the Constitution; or “soft” servitude and tutelage under the technocratic pretensions of a managerial elite.
In other words, the ancient political choice that arose with the creation of citizens rule 2500 years ago––a choice based on whether we believe that ordinary people have the practical wisdom and common sense sufficient for self-government; or instead are incapable of knowing what’s good for themselves and the country, and so their freedom must be subordinated to the greater knowledge of credentialed professionals and “experts.”
Technocrats need power to achieve their aims, and for the last century we have seen that power grow into the federal Leviathan that has spread its regulatory tentacles and oversight into ever greater parts of our lives at the cost of our autonomy. Indeed, in just the past year during the pandemic, under the guise of “following the science” we have seen many states restrict or outright cancel some of our unalienable rights such as assembling, bearing arms, and practicing our faiths.
Indeed, the very structure of the Constitution itself has also come under assault. The brilliant solution to the diverse and clashing interests of the American peoples was the system of checks and balances in which, to paraphrase James Madison, ambition would be set against ambition. The tyranny of the masses would be checked with institutional “filtrations” of their power like the Electoral College, and the tyranny of the elites would be checked by regularly scheduled elections and the voters of the sovereign states, as well as by the Bill of Rights. The political freedom of all would thus be protected and preserved.
Now progressives are seeking to undo the system that has kept us free for over 200 years. Rights like the First Amendment’s protection of speech, worship, and assembly, and the Second’s guarantee of the right to bear arms––long the targets of progressives–– have been under direct assault during the coronavirus pandemic. At the same, the Constitutional structures integral to checking tyranny of the majority, such as the Electoral College, equal representation of Senators, and a limited Supreme Court, are slated for revision or elimination.
But much, much more is at risk. Free speech, the right to stand in the town square and speak your mind without fear or punishment, is weakening even further than it already has under the regime of political correctness. Under the guise of “hate speech” and “sensitivity” to selected “victims,” universities, media, and tech industries like Google and Facebook are blatantly censoring disfavored individuals and media outlets, relying on formulas that blatantly favor one political side. Well-heeled and credentialed establishment insiders in politics and punditry invoke arbitrary standards of “norms” and “decorum” in order to delegitimize President Trump and his supporters, who comprise much of the working class and those without college educations. Racialist rackets like Black Live Matter wield a fabricated history and fake crises as tools for censoring and “canceling” political opponents even as they aggrandize their own power and influence.
Then there’s the deep corruption of the federal bureaucracies and agencies whose members, with some exceptions, have politicized their jobs under President Trump, and actively worked to undermine his policies and the administration for which they work. Most reprehensible are the security, justice, and police agencies that add lethal force and judicial sanctions to their already formidable powers of investigation. They spent Trump’s entire first term abusing their authority in order to bring down the administration either by forcing his resignation or impeachment. Nor have those failures stopped their efforts. Why else has the FBI sat on Hunter Biden’s laptop, a treasure-trove of evidence for international corruption that implicates Joe Biden in a pay-to-play racket involving communist China, our prime rival? And why has the legacy media sequestered this evidence from their daily reports, except to dismiss it by fiat as “Russian disinformation”?
These same Leviathan technocrats for over 70 years have also bungled our foreign policy on numerous fronts. They are slaves to the defunct idea of the “rules-based international order” that ceded U.S. sovereignty and interest to multinational institutions and their satellite system of NGOs and international foundations, all marketed as non-lethal ways to promote peace and democracy. Their greatest of many follies was the Iran nuclear deal that only enriched the mullahs and made a nuclear weapon more likely. But we can’t forget the miscalculation that turned two punitive wars after 9/11 into democracy-building projects at the cost of 7,000 dead (and counting), and $6.5 trillion, a total that includes money spent on misadventures in Syria and Pakistan.
Finally, over the past several months we have witnessed punks and thugs rioting, burning, looting, and killing in our cities. Citizens have been attacked, berated, and bullied into repeating the slogans of activists or kneeling before them in debasing rituals redolent of every violent, illiberal revolution in history. Businesses large and small, many owned by black people, have been destroyed. And all this mayhem has been enabled by mayors, governors, city-councils, media, and nationally by some Congressmen who have publicly supported the destruction, and demonized their own police forces even as they enjoy taxpayer-provided armed security.
So what do the Dems promise going forward if they should win? Rejoining failed and futile multinational agreements like the Iran deal and the Paris Accords. Implementing socialist policies like the Green New Deal and Medicare For All. Forgiving $1.6 trillion of student loan debt, raising taxes to growth- and job-killing levels, cozying up to China, deferring to the EU’s interests, and in general returning the kick-me sign to America’s back. Just remember the sluggish recovery under Obama, and his failed, appeasing foreign policy of “flexibility,” “leading from behind,” and apology tours if you want a preview of a Biden administration––only multiple times worse given how far left the party has veered in less than a year.
Or we can choose the same policies that have created historic levels of growth, wealth, and jobs that even the misguided, unscientific lockdowns haven’t been able to destroy; that have restored confidence in ourselves and pride for our way of life; that have prioritize foreign respect for us rather than contempt, and most importantly have reaffirmed our unprecedented freedom and ability to choose for ourselves and manage our own lives.
In short, we can restore the America of self-rule and independence, and not slip ever further into the “soft despotism” of a sort that is hardening in Europe even as we speak, and that our own progressives are eager duplicate in the land of the free and “the last best hope of earth.”
Those are the choices––freedom and self-government, or tutelage under the watchful eye of our technocratic overlords. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, “We must rise again to take our stand for freedom, as in the olden time.”