Party Like It’s 1776 In America!

Recently a New Jersey High School principal apologized for “party like it’s 1776” on prom tickets. The principal wrote:

“I especially apologize to our African American students, who I have let down by not initially recognizing the inappropriateness of this wording.” Fox News

Party like it’s 1776

The facts do not support the idea that modern Americans should be ashamed of the founding of their country, nor should they be ashamed of the fact that slavery was still an existing institution in the new country, the founding of which is associated with the year 1776 and the Declaration of Independence.

Thomas Sowell summed up the impulse that drives many modern racists trying to cash in on racism when he wrote:

“Those who mine history for sins are not searching for truth but for opportunities to denigrate their own society, or for grievances that can be cashed in today, at the expense of people who were not even born when the sins of the past were committed.” Thomas Sowell: Poisoning present by distorting slavery’s past

To hear many today you would think that slavery was invented by white Americans and the sin of slavery in America somehow negates the great virtues of America in particular, and Western Civilization in general. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Although we cannot know with absolute certainty when human slavery was invented we can be fairly certain from the evidence that it was practiced at least from the beginning of the Neolithic age well over 10,000 years ago.

In centuries since people of every human race have practiced slavery, and been enslaved. Probably through the whole of human history as many Caucasians have been enslaved as people of African descent – see White Slavery and Slavery on Wikipedia. The very word “slave” comes from the name of the Slavic people of Europe who were a source of slaves to the Muslim empire of the Middle Ages.

It is true that slavery was still being practiced in America at its founding, but America was not unique in that respect – slavery was common throughout the world at that time in many places. Only a fraction of Africans exported as slaves went to North America. Many more went to South America and Islamic countries of the Middle East.

What makes America different is that it was part of the Western Civilization that by the 18th century was starting to think of ending slavery and in the end did end it, at least in the parts controlled by it. Quoting Thomas Sowell again:

“Of all the tragic facts about the history of slavery, the most astonishing to an American today is that, although slavery was a worldwide institution for thousands of years, nowhere in the world was slavery a controversial issue prior to the 18th century. People of every race and color were enslaved – and enslaved others. White people were still being bought and sold as slaves in the Ottoman Empire, decades after American blacks were freed.”

“Everyone hated the idea of being a slave but few had any qualms about enslaving others. Slavery was just not an issue, not even among intellectuals, much less among political leaders, until the 18th century – and then it was an issue only in Western civilization. Among those who turned against slavery in the 18th century were George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry and other American leaders. You could research all of the 18th century Africa or Asia or the Middle East without finding any comparable rejection of slavery there. But who is singled out for scathing criticism today? American leaders of the 18th century.”

“Deciding that slavery was wrong was much easier than deciding what to do with millions of people from another continent, of another race, and without any historical preparation for living as free citizens in a society like that of the United States, where they were 20 percent of the population.”

“It is clear from the private correspondence of Washington, Jefferson, and many others that their moral rejection of slavery was unambiguous, but the practical question of what to do now had them baffled. That would remain so for more than half a century.”

That question was finally answered by a war in which one life was lost [620,000 Civil War casualties] for every six people freed [3.9 million].

The Thomas Sowell Reader

Americans of all colors should be proud of America and of 1776. Go ahead and party like it’s 1776!

Was America perfect at its founding? No. Was it a step in the right direction? Absolutely!

History records the evils that men and women have done. It also records their difficult progress, step by step, to eliminate evil. In that story, the story of America is one of progress in that direction. It was not a story without error, or without evils, but it was a story of great progress, some of the greatest.

Men like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and others were slave owners in their lifetime, but their acts and their intellectual contributions certainly were key in setting the foundations for the elimination of slavery in America.

No American should ever apologize for 1776 to anyone. America inherited slavery from the past and among other countries in the West, especially Great Britain, America fought to abolish it. Black American slaves were not freed soon after 1776, but the fact is that 1776 was instrumental in getting to the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 and the final freeing of slaves in 1865.

Americans are not proud of the history of slavery in America, but they are justifiably proud of their country’s achievements in ending it, and the great sacrifices they made to do so.

Yes, let’s party like it’s 1776.

No Freedom For Hate Speech

Somewhere in America
Somewhere in America

Freedom of speech is not about protecting the right of free speech of those we agree with. It is about protecting the right to speak for those we hate and despise. It is the job of government, and of the police in particular, to protect and defend the right of all people to speak. Those who use violence and intimidation to silence those they dislike are Fascists in the exact meaning of the word. Fascists before WWII in Italy and Germany were famous for using violence to silence those whom they disliked.

The man holding up this sign is a Fascist.

Hate speech protestor
This is what real hate speech looks like.

Noam Chomsky, despite my personal disagreements with many of his beliefs and positions, put it very well.

If we do not believe in freedom of speech for those we despise we do not believe in it at all. Noam Chomsky

It seems to me today the sort of people who want to ban hate speech basically define “hate speech” as pretty much anything they disagree with or don’t understand (or don’t feel prepared to refute logically).

I had an interesting discussion with my son and daughter recently. They are millennials and were telling me that the Antifa folks were justified in physically attacking and beating up people at a public rally whom they characterized as white supremacists. They justified this with this line of logic:

“White supremacists like Nazis advocate the genocide of inferior people. They want to gas blacks like the Nazis gassed the Jews in WWII.”

I am fairly certain that the vast majority of so-called “white supremacists” don’t want to gas black people and, although some may hold views I find personally despicable, are not in the same league as the Nazis who really did murder millions of people in concentration camps.

I would say to these people, as I said to my son and daughter, “You need to find out what these people truly believe and then use rational arguments to refute them based on facts, not fictions based on your own prejudices.”

Using violence first is always the naked admission that you don’t have good arguments, at least good arguments that will win the hearts and minds of rational people. Are there bad people out there that hold bad views? Of course there are. But if your first response is to use violence against people exercising their constitutional right to free speech just because you despise them, well, then you are an even worse person than they are.

It is ok to fight Nazis and evil people, but only after those people stop talking and start using violence to get their way. Then by God get your gun and have at it, just like our fathers and grandfathers did in WWII. But not before.

 

 

 

 

 

Fascism Defined

The NAZIS or Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei in German which translated means National-Socialist German Workers’ Party. It is abbreviated in German as NSDAP – you can clearly see that on one of the flags in the far right side of this picture. Contrary to popular opinion the NAZIS were ideologically on the Left side of the political spectrum.

Historians seem to have a hard time coming up with a definition of Fascism that they can agree on. My suspicion is that a large part of the problem is that many of them come to the table with their mind already made up as to what they expect to find and are just trying to line up enough facts to superficially justify that conclusion and to hell with any inconvenient facts.

One of the more annoying symptoms of this inability to define Fascism in an objective and historically accurate manner is the chorus from the Left in America today that Conservatives and Republicans are somehow Fascists with a political ideology related in some way  to that of real Fascists like Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini.

As is often the case, especially when dealing with those on the Left, the truth is often just exactly the opposite. Modern day Democrats have far more in common with classical forms of Fascism than do those depicted as being on the right in America.

The terms “right” and “left” in regards to the political spectrum came from the French Revolution. In the National Assembly in France supporters of the king sat to the president’s right. The supporters of the revolution sat on the left. Although these terms are used in America it has little to do with the origin of the term. The American right has never supported a king or an aristocracy of birth.

Historically the American right has supported the traditional constitutional republic established by the Founders in the 18th century, a democratic form of government which now empowers almost all American adults with a say in their government, and most importantly the idea of inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

A really important point that distinguishes the right from the left in America today is that the right believes in a right to pursue happiness and the left believes that government ought to guarantee it. The right believes that it is important to protect the individual freedom to pursue happiness and left seems to believe that individual freedom should take a back seat to government guaranteeing happiness (or equal outcomes).

Individual freedom doesn’t seem very important to the left in America today. They seem more concerned with guaranteeing the outcome they feel is just and they are not in the least afraid to use the brute force of government to bend society to their will. As will see this is exactly what classical Fascists believed.

The secret of Fascism is symbolized in the ancient Roman symbol of the fasces from which the word “Fascism” comes.

Roman Fasces

The fasces is a bundle of sticks bound together around an axe. I wrote about this in “The Fascism of the Left Exposed Through Political Correctness”:

“There are at least two important symbols here. First is the idea that a bundle of sticks bound together is much stronger than the individual sticks by themselves. Like sticks in the bundle, people in the political body must be bound by a common ideology. The second is the ax which represents a powerful central authority.

“Strong central authority and a conformity which tolerates little if any dissent are the foundational principles of Fascism (as they are for all radical Leftist ideologies).”

In the two classical and best known forms of Fascism of the 20th century, the German Fascism or Nazism under Adolph Hitler and the Italian Fascism under Benito Mussolini, strong central authority was wielded under a charismatic and larger-than-life dictator. Many Germans and Italians literally worshipped these men as demigods.

Another relevant fact is that both of these men, Hitler and Mussolini, were clearly men of the Left to any extent that they held any principles at all. Probably their highest principle was that of power. They wanted that more than anything else. It is a fact though that Mussolini was a Socialist before he was a Fascist and the principles of Socialism and the power of the state were at the bedrock of his belief system.

It is less clear with Hitler which was more important, the achieving of a Socialist society or ridding the world of the Jews. National Socialism, or as Nazism as most know it, in German is Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei which translated means National-Socialist German Workers‘ Party. It was many of the ideas of Socialism that was used by the Nazis to rally party members.

In the final analysis the real religion and politics of both Hitler and Mussolini was pure and unadulterated power and they would use whatever means were available to get it. They would compromise with anyone if that led to a path that gave them power. But their rhetoric, their language, the ideals they set before the German and Italian people were ideals of the left and not the right.

Now we perhaps know enough to define Fascism. First and foremost it is a political system of strong central authority where everyone is expected to toe the line of what is politically correct in the regime. Dissent is not tolerated. This correlates very well with the Left in America today which wants a big and powerful state and sanctions on those who use “hate speech” defined as anything disagreeable to the Left, anything politically incorrect.

At this point there is very little difference between Fascism and Communism.

Where Fascism in its classical manifestations differed from Communism was in nationalism and ideas of national destiny. The Communist mindset was more of “workers of the world unite!” One thing is certain about both Soviet Communists and German Nazis. They both were responsible for the deaths of millions of human beings.

Contrary to most propaganda from the left,  racism is not a central characteristic of Fascism. Italian Fascism was not strongly racist. Genocidal racism was largely unique to Germany. The Italians only cooperated at all with the Germans in rounding up Jews after the Germans invaded Italy in 1943 after Mussolini had been deposed.

Nor is racism a characteristic of the right in America.

In America the one political party with the longest history of racism is the Democratic Party, the political party of the Confederacy, the political party of Jim Crow, the political party of the KKK, and now the political party that uses blacks as a political pawn to try to achieve political power.

The Republican Party is the party of Abraham Lincoln and the abolition of slavery. It was votes by Republicans that were crucial to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in America because so many Democrats voted against it.

Republicans and Conservatives do not support any of the ideas of the real Fascists. If in fact there is one political party in America today that most closely resembles Fascists then that is the Democratic Party and Leftists in general. They support silencing those that disagree with them. They support a strong and powerful central government under a charismatic leader. Again the only thing that keeps them from being out and out foaming at the mouth Fascists is their anti-nationalism.

In summary an accurate definition of the characteristics of Fascism would include:

  1. A strong central authority headed by a charismatic leader.
  2. No dissent that would make the “bundle” weaker.
  3. A strong sense of nationalism and national destiny.

At least two of those are characteristics of the left in America. Arguably only nationalism is a characteristic of the right, but in no way the nationalism of the historical Fascists. To love the principles that one’s country was founded on does not make one a Fascist, especially when those principles speak to individual freedom. It may have taken America a few centuries to more fully implement those principles in regards to race and gender, but it did, and that is America’s glory, not its shame.