Another day, another video of “peaceful protesters” engaging in violent behavior.
This time, the place is Portland, the victim a young man beaten repeatedly despite his plea that he wasn’t trying to hurt anyone.
The images are disturbing, to say the least. Even if the man was intentionally trying to hurt protesters – which early reports seem to indicate was not the case – are violent beatings the way America metes out justice? They never used to be.
Yet somehow, such behavior is now deemed acceptable in a land where political correctness abounds, Antifa rules, and Black Lives Matter but other lives don’t. Such violence, we seem to be told, is permissible because the country is full of systemic racism and white supremacy.
Are there white supremacists in America? Sure. There are always going to be a few crazies out there. But to say that white people as a whole have a white supremacist mindset? I have a hard time buying that.
Unfortunately, “white supremacist” seems to be the new branding casually handed out to many with less melanin in their skin. That’s likely because white supremacy has a new definition. As Edward Welsch writes in the August edition of Chronicles, the definition of white supremacy peddled by those who “bow the knee to the radicals’ cultural Marxist ideology” is someone who lives a Middle American lifestyle:
[T]o them, white supremacy means Middle Americans—Christian patriots, the residents of flyover country who love God and America. It is these hopelessly retrograde persons, who still cling to the ideals upon which America was founded, that Antifa and BLM are determined to wage war upon until they are completely subjugated.
But as Welsch goes on to elaborate, this is not so much about skin color as it is about ideology:
If being white—a descendent of Europeans—is in itself evil, then it logically follows that the civilization that whites created is evil and must be extirpated, root and branch. That civilization is Western civilization, which created modern technology, transportation, and medicine, as well as the greatest art, philosophy, literature, and culture that has ever existed. Practically everything that is good in the world today owes a debt to Western civilization in some way. It is a civilization that deserves to be respected, preserved, and continued.
Yet Western civilization has been bashed repeatedly in recent years. It is the civilization of the “old dead white men” who need to move over and make room for a more diverse set of characters. “Smash the patriarchy!” we are told, yet we take little thought as to what the side effects will be when we abolish our civilization.
The late author and historian Russell Kirk took the time to consider some of the implications we’re ignoring. In his 1974 work, The Roots of American Order,he wrote:
During the past half-century, the center has failed to hold in many nations. Yet once revolution or war has demolished an established order, a people find it imperative to search for principles of order afresh, that they may survive. Once they have undone an old order, revolutionaries proceed to decree a new order—often an order harsher than the order which they had overthrown.
Are we not at this place now? A place where we see a new order taking hold through violent means? An order which seems harsher and more brutal than even the supposed society of inequity which we’ve been living in for years?
Kirk continues by implying that younger generations have wanted to right injustice through new orders for years… but they often fail to realize how necessary the orders of the past are in their quest to build that new order. Yet when the younger generation “repudiate[es]… the experience of a civilization,” they follow in the steps of “those of the concluding years of the Roman Republic, the age of Marcus Tullius Cicero.”
As disorder washed about him, Cicero examined the causes of private and public confusion. ‘Long before our time,’ he wrote in his treatise The Republic, ‘the customs of our ancestors molded admirable men, and in turn those eminent men upheld the ways and institutions of their forebears. Our age, however, inherited the Republic as if it were some beautiful painting of bygone ages, its colors already fading through great antiquity; and not only has our time neglected to freshen the colors of the picture, but we have failed to preserve its form and outlines.’
Like Plato before him, Cicero understood that the problem of order is simultaneously personal and social: Roman men and Roman justice had declined together. It is so still.
If the videos coming out of Portland are any indication, then it’s hard for us to deny that American justice has declined right alongside the morals of the American population.
Is that the kind of culture we want? I think a vast majority of Americans would emphatically say “No!” If you are one of them, then perhaps it’s time to defend Western Civilization, defend our system of justice, and condemn those that seek to usher in a new order filled with chaos and brutality.
Flickr-Lorie Shaull, CC BY-SA 2.0