Think for a moment on the think pieces we’ve saw on the 4th and there is no clearer paradox than the progressive activist.
Someone standing on the shoulders of the Constitution, the pinnacle of Western Civilization, declaring that the entire system is irredemably racist, evil, classist, oppressive, violent and from which nothing good can come from and deciding that the solution is Marxism, which possesses all of the characteristics they claim to despise. Not only is the premise a bit absolutist, but their solution is made up entirely of what they claim is the root cause of all the problems here.
They will couch these ideas in saying they “love their country” and then go on about everything I just mentioned and how the system needs a fundamental restructuring. Whats more is that one doesn’t often see them addressing the concepts of freedom or how to maintain the inherent good of a system founded on the ideals of Locke, Mill and the Founders. It’s just all bad, all the time.
The activist also seems hopeful that people will take “good intentions” as a justification for authoritarian steps, understanding that we must break a few eggs to create the best omelette history has ever known, and, as Hilary Clinton said, once their objectives have been achieved, civility can return. But this hasn’t seemed to bear out in history, almost every revolution, save for ours, has begun with a guy from relatively humble beginnings (or not) gaining power and never surrendering it. The French Revolution failed to end in “liberty, fraternity, equality” and is instead symbolized by the Reign of Terror and the arrival of Napoleon onto the world stage. Castro’s revolution, Saddam’s, Chavez’s they all end the same way.
In his 2nd treatise on Government, John Locke observes that someone who is an authoritarian in the micro is almost guaranteed to remain an authoritarian in when they attain more significant power:
“He that in the State of Nature (meaning apart from any government, think private dealings, my note, not Locke’s), would take away the Freedom, that belongs to any one in that State, must necessarily be supposed to have a design to take away every thing else, that Freedom being the Foundation of all the rest: As he that in the State of Society, would take away the Freedom belonging to those of that Society or Common-wealth, must be supposed to design to take away from them every thing else, and so be looked on as in a State of War.”
In other words, dangerous people do not become good people, when they become powerful people. We see this in gun control all the time. “All we want are background checks” and 5 years later you have a bullet button and a rifle ban. The authoritarian would prefer to take everything all at once now, less work is involved, one assumes. However, little by little is acceptable as long as his ego is fed.
The progressive activist is not one whose views are to be silenced, nor feared in the sense that one should be afraid to face them. Their views are dangerous, but the ideals of liberty require them to be defeated in the arena of ideas and not censored by the hand of government. Good luck getting to that point however. The progressive’s beliefs render them, as Edmund Burke would say “ill men of ill design” or “weak men incapable of design”. To the former, they become authoritarians looking to create a system where they are protected from the evil they impose on others. To the latter, they become, effectively, the people of the CHAZ; idiots who talk a tremendous game and are found wanting when things get serious. They need to shut you down as a Nazi or racist or whatever because to give you any legitimate grounds would leave vulnerable the worldview they hold fanatically to but can’t defend worth a damn against even basic questions.
And it is these people who spent July 4th in a depressed haze, barely able to see the good in America, saying “this is a great country”, the same way a gun control advocate would say they “respect the 2nd amendment”; some conciliatory verbal tick that helps hide their true beliefs. They are just as miserable about the freedoms of the country as some of the people were about not being allowed to gather and shoot off fireworks (though it remains to be seen how many followed that order).
What the night of fourth shows me is that there may yet be a silent majority. There could be many people very aware that what they are seeing is not some well-intentioned movement desiring to maintain the freedoms we are celebrating and still barely holding on to, but a dangerous, raging fire bent on suppression (avoidance) of opposing ideals, with an inherent disdain for the country, either a willful misinterpretation or fundamental hatred of the concept of true freedom that either does not know or does not care that what they are proposing as the balm for what ails society has, historically, made everything infinitely worse and, once again, possesses ALL of the characteristics they claim to despise.