It might surprise some folks that Socrates — one of the greatest Athenians ever produced — hated the idea of democracy precisely because it produced demagogues, which quite literally translates into “rabble rousers” or a political panderer.
The antidote prescribed by democrats was the same then as it is today, namely an education willing to lead children forth to become good citizens who could carry the responsibilities of self-government forward to future generations.
My oh my. . . did we fail to educate this generation.
Any cursory look at the BLM/Antifa riots around the country demonstrates two noticeable facts: (1) that most of the protesters are in their early to mid 20s and (2) nearly all of them hate what America is and what America represents.
This is from a generation who may not exactly remember September 11th, 2001 as vividly as my generation might have remembered the Challenger Explosion. But it is from a generation whose parents would have held them in their formative years while watching events unfold on television that cool and clear September day.
Fast forward to today, where NYPD veterans practically had to pry the hands of New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio open in order to allow them to commemorate 9/11 as we have always done — with two columns of light.
Many of us remember the call to “Never Forget” after 9/11. It was a call not just for the victims and the heroes, but for the values which Americans represent in the face of an enemy that hated us for who we were.
Today that very same idea of America is under attack. In our university classrooms, in our streets, by our own legislators and all the purveyors of compromise in the face of intransigence.
As for our heroes at present, this war on law enforcement has absolutely nothing to do with racial discrimination or police brutality (sic), but rather it has everything to do with eroding the rule of law in this country.
Some liberals believe that if we become a permissive society that the idea of America will somehow survive. That by offering no resistance, there can be no conflict. Yet as livelihoods burn in places like Portland, Richmond, Washington, New York and Kenosha, is that really the case?
When calls for “defund the police” come home to Virginia, is that really the case?
When calls to get rid of qualified immunity — which doesn’t punish bad cops in the slightest, but only creates an open season on good cops — is that really the case?
When we turn assault against a law enforcement professional into a mere misdemeanor, is that really the case?
When we appoint “citizen review boards” between actual citizen review boards we elect for the explicit purpose of creating laws as a politicized soviet,is that really the case?
When we ban no-knock warrants and give lawbreakers time to arm themselves, is that really the case?
Most people when they think of 9/11 will think of NYPD and FDNY rushing the building trying to get as many people out. Few will remember the Virginia State Troopers who did likewise around the Pentagon that same day.
These are the heroes whom Democrats are defunding.
These are the heroes whom we are asking to put in harm’s way.
These are the heroes whom we are allowing violent offenders to assault.
These are the heroes whom we are shackling with political commissars.
These are the heroes whom we are allowing criminals to arm themselves before a warrant is served.
These are the heroes whom the political left in this country forgot after 9/11.
These are the heroes whom Virginia Democrats are spitting upon in order to score a few points with their demos — their mob. Rather than asking this mob to think and reconsider, they are instead playing the role of demagogues, bending to the passions of their electorate in the hopes they can ride the wave of sans-culottes.
. . .and do they even really exist beyond Twitter and the media? Would anyone actually care about them beyond a few college classrooms? Beyond being a useful tool to pry out Donald Trump, does anyone think a mob educated in the virtues of critical theory and Cultural Marxism can actually govern a commonwealth?
Thus after arrogating the rights of parents, our elites failed to educate our children and made us susceptible to demagogues, who in turn have no tolerance for heroes past or present — 9/11 or otherwise.
That is a dangerous game.
Unfortunately for those of us living at present, the price of not having heroes is to live during a time of martyrs.
The good news is much more clear, namely that for as bad as things seem at present, it only takes a generation to correct the course towards socialism and restore the promise of freedom in America — those old “Jeffersonian conservative” values we once heard about so long ago.
America isn’t dead, folks. We are just sleeping. . . but not for much longer. But do not wait much longer, and do not forget why our enemies really do hate us:
Americans are asking: Why do they hate us?
They hate what we see right here in this chamber - a democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms - our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.
These terrorists kill not merely to end lives, but to disrupt and end a way of life. With every atrocity, they hope that America grows fearful, retreating from the world and forsaking our friends. They stand against us, because we stand in their way.
— President George W. Bush, Address to the Nation
September 20th, 2001
Today the question might be better phrased: “Are they winning?”
They still employ violence to achieve their political ends. They stand in solidarity with anti-Semites seeking to destroy the state of Israel. They continue to recruit useful idiots to go into the streets to die for an ideology they don’t understand.
They stand in solidarity with every enemy of human freedom. They are still in the business of destroying property in order to wreak financial havoc against America — the only difference is that today they just make sure there are fewer people inside when they do it.
Camp followers and compromisers continue make excuses in the hopes that by being valueless they will be passed over, but in the end? This Leviathan will simply eat them last for the very simple reason that they still hate us.
They’ve just trained a different generation to do it.
The totalitarian impulse never dies; it just takes different forms. Nazis, Communists, dictators and despots, the elites and the ignorant. They keep coming after the idea of America because what it represents really is the last, best hope for freedom on earth —and freedom has enemies.
All the more reason to never forget.
Shaun Kenney is the editor of The Republican Standard, former chairman of the Board of Supervisors for Fluvanna County, and a former executive director of the Republican Party of Virginia.