I’m of mixed thoughts about this: The Claremont Institute’s Counterrevolution to Save America. Excerpts, with my comments, follow.
Claremont Institute president Ryan Williams says that American civic education faces an acute crisis. In his estimation, essentially every institution – the vast complex of media, Big Tech, Hollywood, Fortune 500 companies, and education and government bureaucracies – teaches “vicious lies about America’s Founders” and our nation’s “heritage, heroes, accomplishments, and people.”
No shit, Sherlock. But they have a worthy cause, and are going about their task methodically:
Williams argues that what passes for civic education today advances “the goal of wholesale revolution and the institution of a monstrous and unnatural tyranny.”
In light of these daunting circumstances, however, he counsels hope: “We at Claremont are happy warriors, and there’s no work we’d rather be doing with friends and fellow citizens.”
Williams describes The Claremont Institute, founded in 1979, as a think tank fomenting a “counterrevolution” to recover civic education through teaching, writing, and litigation. Its mission, he continues, is to restore the natural law and natural rights principles of the Declaration of Independence, the “ingenious political science of the Constitution,” and the “popular constitutionalism and reverence necessary for the maintenance of free government” to “their rightful, preeminent authority in our national life.”
Williams notes that Claremont’s fellowship programs offer “those who will go on to positions of leadership in media, politics, policy, law, speechwriting, and academia” the chance to learn the “true principles of government and their application to today’s policies.” Guided by distinguished scholars, fellows study American political thought, examine Abraham Lincoln’s statesmanship, and analyze the strengths and weaknesses of present-day liberalism and conservatism.
That’s great. It’s a laudable goal, and a clear statement of principle.
It’s also probably too little, too late. More on that here in a bit.
Claremont’s Center for the American Way of Life, a D.C.-based think-tank led by Arthur Milikh, works to preserve a nation “characterized by republican self-government and the habits of mind and character necessary to sustain it.” Through a creative, bold, and tough-minded approach, the Center and its affiliated scholars such as Joshua Mitchell and Scott Yenor confront woke “institutional centers of power” by publishing articles and essays and holding public discussions.
Founded by vice president of education Matthew Peterson, “The American Mind” is an online journal that engages in the “battle of ideas in a lively and intelligent way,” as Williams puts it. TAM features shorter pieces (memos), longer reflections (salvos), and symposia (features) that look to forge a political realignment based on restoring the sovereignty and self-respect of the American people. American Mindset, TAM’s Substack, (it will soon be subscriber-only) offers exclusive pieces and the daily “Tell Me What You Really Think” podcast, which features conversations between associate editor Spencer Klavan and TAM staff on a wide range of political and cultural topics.
Claremont offers several additional podcasts that can help spur thought and action. Hosted by Williams, “The Roundtable” delivers incisive political commentary from a regular panel of contributors; “The Close Read” podcast features Klavan discussing essays from latest issue of the CRB with their authors; and on “The American Story” podcast, senior fellow Chris Flannery highlights American heroes in short, compelling segments.
By reasserting Americans’ control over their political institutions, Claremont seeks to help recover republican government.
These are dedicated, thoughtful, committed folks. They know the task before them is a daunting one and seek to address America’s ills with education, with persuasion, with reason – and that is probably futile.
Take a look around at our major cities today. Take a look at Minneapolis, Portland, and San Francisco. Take a look at the Imperial City, and the armed camp that our Capitol has become. Take a look at the rioters and looters that swarm every time a court verdict doesn’t go as they would prefer, or every time some punk pulls a gun on a cop and gets blown away, or every time they feel like it.
Do you think these people are going to be persuaded?
More and more I think that there is going to have to be some sort of catharsis in this country before we see any resolution. Our major cities may just very well destroy themselves, as the people causing the trouble – criminals, vandals, leftist drones and various other assholes – have no intention of altering their present course, no matter what sops are thrown to them by elected/appointed officials. They will have to be forced to stop, most likely by the inevitable consequences of their own actions.
And that’s the end of the United States in any recognizable form.
The folks at Claremont are great folks – incredibly well-read, stainless principles, civilized, intelligent, dedicated, patriotic.
But I just don’t think they are going to sway enough people to make a difference at this point. We’ve gone too far down a dark, dark path.