Concerted efforts by violent left wing identity groups such as Black Lives Matter and Antifa to forcibly remove historic symbols mimic the large scale historical revisionism envisioned by George Orwell in his 1949 novel, “1984,” which anticipates a totalitarian future for Western civilization disturbingly similar to trends we are seeing in American political life today.
The novel’s protagonist works for the government’s Ministry of Truth, whose motto is, “Who controls the present controls the past. Who controls the past controls the future.”
It was a society whose history was continually being rewritten to conform to the politically correct ideas of the moment using the principles of “doublethink” to alter society’s view of reality moment to moment, which was capable of convincing people to accept such propositions as 2+2=5.
Those historical concepts that no longer fit the currently accepted version of reality were flushed down a “memory hole” to be purged from the collective memory of society.
That is the process American society has been undergoing for several years.
As President Trump correctly pointed out when he was publicly pilloried for suggesting that violence by thugs and racists on the left is equally deplorable to violence by thugs and racists on the right, the objection goes far beyond the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee in a public park in Charlottesville, Virginia.
He noted that leftists have been seeking to discredit the legacy of freedom and human rights enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights by attacking the credibility of their authors, citing their conformity with the prevailing social standards of their day and condemning them because they don’t meet the newly imposed politically correct moral standards of our day.
As Trump suggests, the same changing and subjective standards of morality the left has applied to Robert E. Lee could just as easily be applied to this country’s founders, up to and including George Washington. Are we to tear down his statues, too, and remove his face from the dollar bill?
The left preaches that the fundamental American ideas embodied in the Declaration of Independence may no longer be worthy of our respect because its author, Thomas Jefferson, owned slaves.
This has been seized upon by the so-called “anti-fascist” movement, now commonly called “Antifa,” whose goal is not to battle the forces of racism in America, as they portray themselves. In reality, they are using the same tactics of violence, intimidation and suppression that the fascists and Nazis used in Italy and Germany to systematically eliminate free speech, free assembly, and free thought by any means necessary, including violent protest, media distortion, and Orwellian revision of history. They are using these tools to impose a new, liberal set of values on American society that are in direct conflict with the classic moral and ethical values taught by the Judeo-Christian heritage.
RELIGIOUS LIBERTIES UNDER LEGAL ATTACK
For years, the right of Americans to obey their religious beliefs has been under attack by the federal government. For example, under the Obamacare law, federal regulations were issued requiring devout Christians to violate their conscience by forcing them to be complicit in what their faith teaches them are sinful acts.
Liberal political leaders mock those religious beliefs, as well as those who choose to exercise their constitutional right to bear arms. The traditional American teaching of religious tolerance has been replaced in these circles by intolerance for any kind of serious religious conduct or belief.
Now the left is stepping up its attacks on the icons of American history. The concept of American exceptionalism, and recognition of this country’s unique contributions and many sacrifices to preserve human dignity and freedom for people living in countries around the world, is no longer acceptable. Instead, old fashioned pride in America is being condemned as dangerously nationalist. It has been replaced by the globalist mindset of liberal political leaders like Barack Obama. They view the United States as no better than any other country, and feel obliged to apologize to our enemies for the proudest moments in recent American history.
HIDING THE LESSONS OF HISTORY
Once American history has been erased and rewritten, it is no longer possible to learn the necessary lessons from it. We have been seeing that process unfold for years, as liberal forces seeking to impose their standards of political correctness revise our children’s textbooks in order to alter our culture’s collective memory of who we are. As a result, our public schools now teach values and concepts to grade school children that would have been rejected as immoral by most American parents just a generation ago. Anyone who dares to raise objections is widely condemned for bigotry and intolerance.
We also see a double standard in the reporting by the news media. James Hodgkinson, the liberal Bernie Sanders supporter who shot Republican Congressman Steve Scalise and four others at an Alexandria, Virginia baseball practice, habitually visited an Antifa website, yet that association has been virtually ignored. However, the right wing associations of the perpetrator of the equally heinous car attack in Charlottesville, which resulted in the death of an innocent liberal demonstrator, was widely condemned as “domestic terrorism.” It launched a witch hunt and hysteria that has portrayed the racists and neo-Nazi groups which organized the rally in Charlottesville to protest the removal of the Lee statue as a threat to national security.
ORIGINS OF THE DANGEROUS ANTIFA MOVEMENT
In fact, their numbers are far surpassed by violent followers of the Antifa movement. It evolved from the leftist “Occupy” movement of 2008-2010, with generous support from extreme leftist donors such as billionaire George Soros. Today, Antifa is estimated to have more than 200,000 members, while the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks American racist groups, puts the total number of Ku Klux Klan members in this country at about 6,000.
While the post-Charlottesville media has concentrated on the relatively small threat from the extreme right, it has virtually ignored the violence and organized campaign of intimidation carried out by Antifa in American cities like Charlotte, North Carolina, Seattle, Washington and Boston, Massachusetts. Antifa also was a major participant in riots and violence during global economic meetings in Washington, D.C., that were hosted by the Obama administration.
Antifa has been doing more than tearing down offensive statues. They have also been burning the American flag, shutting down town hall meetings, destroying private property and looting. Yet they have been ignored in the news coverage of CNN, the New York Times and the Washington Post, which prefer to obsess over the much smaller, though real, violent alt-right threat.
One explanation for Antifa’s ability to evade criticism in the media is its success in hiding behind more legitimate political opposition to the Trump administration. This has enabled Antifa to promote itself as part of the so-called anti-Trump “resistance.” It gives Antifa the thin veneer of respectability which the mainstream media needs to excuse itself from reporting properly on Antifa’s violent anti-Americanism.
SILENCING FREE SPEECH
The story of Antifa violence is ongoing. On Monday, in Berkeley, California, home of the most famous liberal college campus in the United States, a gang of black clad and hooded Antifa members, armed with clubs and shields, attacked right wing demonstrators who had peacefully gathered in a public park. The right wing demonstrators were beaten mercilessly, as local police stepped aside, claiming that they did not want to provoke more violence. The attack was captured on video, which was only broadcast on Fox News. The rest of the mainstream media largely ignored the incident, preferring to focus almost exclusively on the hurricane responsible for record flooding in the Houston, Texas area.
Violent Antifa demonstrators have been allowed to run free on the Berkeley campus and in the surrounding community for years. They exercise a veto on the right of free speech on the campus by intimidating and silencing anyone holding even the most moderate right-wing political views. That pattern of free speech suppression has spread to other college campuses across the country, and is tolerated by left-wing professors who claim to be advocates of human rights. One of the right-wing views which is not being tolerated by extreme leftists on campuses is any public expression of support for Israel.
Ominously, Antifa has been upgrading its arsenal from baseball bats and axe handles embedded with nails to deadlier weapons. Daryl Jenkins, a national Antifa leader, said recently, “If we care about [our country], we’re the ones who need to go out there and do what needs to be done. More and more to the hard left, you start seeing people willing to bear arms. I don’t run with people who don’t care for guns all that much.”
A NEW MCCARTHY-STYLE WITCH HUNT
During the 1950s “Red Scare,” at the start of the Cold War with the Soviet Union, many innocent, patriotic American liberals were unfairly smeared and blacklisted by followers of Senator Joseph McCarthy because they were accused of supporting Communism. McCarthy made himself famous by accusing the federal government of harboring hordes of communist spies. A few real communist spies did exist, such as State Department employee Alger Hiss, but their actual number was tiny and totally out of proportion with the national hysteria triggered by McCarthy’s witch hunt.
Today, we see the same group hysteria coming from the left, which sees racists and neo-Nazis behind every door.
The full extent of this new McCarthyism was revealed last week by a leftist attack on, of all organizations, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which has long been famous for its zealous defense of constitutional rights. What was the ACLU’s offense? It had posted a fundraising ad with a picture of a young toddler holding an American flag and a doll with the tag line, “This is the future that ACLU members want.” The ACLU was quickly condemned for racism because the toddler in the picture was blonde and Caucasian.
Did the ACLU reject the criticism as wholly unwarranted and ridiculous? It did not. Instead it responded with an apology that said, “That’s a very good point,” and thanked its “followers” for “keeping [it] in check” and for adding the reminder that “white supremacy is everywhere.”
GENERAL LEE IS IN GOOD COMPANY
How far will this nonsense go?
Consider the Native American protesters who have been urging the removal of the “colonialist” statue of President Theodore Roosevelt from the front of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, which Roosevelt’s father helped to found, and to whose exhibits the president was a major contributor.
New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio has also refused to reject demands that Grant’s Tomb in upper Manhattan, the resting place of President Ulysses S. Grant, be closed. Grant was the Union Army general who defeated Robert E. Lee and accepted his surrender of the Confederate troops, ending the Civil War in 1865. However, there are those who object to honoring Grant’s memory because he once signed a military directive to expel Jews from three states during the Civil War.
There are no limits.