Now then: From national treasure Dr. Victor Davis Hanson comes this piece on the current state of affairs. Excerpt:
In just a year, thousands of memorials and icons have vanished. Names have changed, words are banned. Careers were ruined. As new totalitarian rules were enshrined, old freedoms became despised.
Yet most of the country sat in lockdown quiet, as it was told that it, and its history, were toxic and culpable—and by whom exactly? Moralists like Labron James? Steve Kerr? Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?
Were Americans in their 244th year suddenly to write checks, apologize, and pay penance to their angry self-described moral superiors?
A few schools apparently are no longer to be named after Abraham Lincoln, the president who saved the Union, destroyed the slave-holding Confederacy, and freed the slaves at a cost of nearly 700,000 American lives. Now 155 years after his assassination, the present generation—the most leisured, entitled, and wealthiest cohort in civilization’s history—deems him unworthy and unfit for any commemoration. Do any of the street-brawling Antifa radicals seem tough guys in comparison to the Union troops at Gettysburg or those who marched with Sherman?
Who or what does the Left offer in place in Lincoln—Che? Fidel? Malcolm X? Cesar Chavez? Margaret Sanger? Xi Jinping? FDR? Barack Obama? All would fall well short of the alleged standards applied by cancel culture. So what are we left with other than nothing? Diversity Academy A? Equity High School No. 3? Inclusion College IV? Campus 1619?
By all means, read it all. You won’t come out of the far end of that exercise content or hopeful, but read it all anyway.
As a scholar specializing in the classical era, Dr. Hanson has a valuable perspective here. Ancient Greece and the Roman Republic (and later the Empire) collapsed through many of the same issues we see here, today, in the once and former Land of the Free. As Dr. Hanson asks:
I’ve done a fair amount of reading myself, particularly about the second Roman civil war and the tyranny that resulted from it. I’ve read a lot about the fall of the Roman Empire, too, and there are too many similarities to be comfortable with, from the debasing of the currency to the collapse of coherent Roman cultural values.
Granted the rest of the world has plenty of problems as well. The United States primary competition, Russia and China, are both sick giants, if not dying ones. Russia is a gas station with some nuclear weapons, while China’s economy is a massively leveraged house of cards. Both countries are about to fall off a demographic cliff.
The fall of the Roman Empire led to a Dark Age. I’m hoping we can avoid another. I’m afraid Dr. Hanson isn’t too sanguine about that prospect, and he’s studied the possibility a lot more than I have.