Democracy and despotism in a digital age.
Against the Blackpill
The good guys built this country. The good guys can take it back.
If there’s one thing conservatives are good at doing, it’s describing problems. And there are so very many of them now to describe. It’s an erudite doomsayer’s delight—and today, the Right is stuffed to the gills with explainers telling us why Trump is losing, why the culture war is forfeit, even why America is fundamentally misconceived. We’ve analyzed all that’s gone wrong so precisely that some of us are on the verge of throwing in the towel and declaring this election—or indeed, this country—hopeless.
Do not succumb to this icy breath of encroaching despair. #Resist. Buck up, kiddo.
It’s not that the problems aren’t real. On the contrary, the stakes in this election cycle are very high indeed. And we get it: after months of shuffling down distance-demarcated grocery aisles in the COVID-prescribed direction, and muzzling yourself under threat from the same politicians who danced in burning streets terrorized by BLM and Antifa, any red-blooded American is likely to feel demoralized.
How convenient for the Democrats. In her big speech at the DNC, Michelle Obama all but said that your demoralization is the point. The Left took the coronavirus ball and ran with it: our TVs tell us there’s now no way to stave off technologically enforced racial discipline, nationwide mask mandates, or chipper, eco-friendly socialism à la AOC. This has all gotten out of hand, say the broadcast Dems (who got us here) with a sanctimonious shrug. Nothing for you to do now except submit, submit, submit—or else. “If you think things cannot possibly get worse,” warns Michelle, “trust me—they can.”
In such a climate, despair plays right into your enemies’ hands. Don’t give them what they want. Not one shred.
The only effective response—from the highest levels of the GOP on down to the dinner table of every patriotic American family—is can-do defiance. Affirm joyfully, without apology or qualification, to anyone who will listen, that this is a great country. The good guys built it, and the good guys can take it back.
Because it’s true—still true, even after months of immiserated lockdowns and corporate struggle sessions: all it takes is a few brave men and women to put up a fight, and this whole thing will turn right on around. There never was a way around this labor of love. And when you commit to it, it works. Your forebears staked their sacred honor and their earthly goods to defend their liberty against what were then the world’s most competent bureaucrats and soldiers. The good guys dared to fight back, and they won. That’s not a metaphor or a pretty saying: that’s something they actually did. You can do the same.
But maybe you’ve really peered into the abyss—maybe, as they say, you’ve taken the blackpill. Maybe you suspect that this nation actually was conceived in error, that the cracks in its foundation must eventually come tearing asunder in a nightmare of libertinism and decadence. That the Constitution and the country are a sickly Enlightenment-era fantasy from which we are all now about to wake up with a splitting hangover.
Not so. As conceived, this country is a masterpiece. It is not racist, nor were its founders autocratic relativists who doomed us to drag queen story hour by neglecting our civic virtue. Rightly understood, our Constitution marries the West’s most ancient wisdom with the best statesmanship and prudence Europe ever had to offer. Our greatness—economic and territorial as well as philosophical—was hard won by the hard work of good and noble people, who still make up the backbone of our population.
This might not be the time for sorely needed political philosophy and history lessons. But wherever you stand on America, you live within it. This is your country. And to make it better, the only way out is through. There is no place else to go. Here, we make our stand.
So stop retreating into fantasy about the past before our founding, or some utopian future that might occur after it, is no more. The time for posing as a cool critic because you know how bad things really are is over. Everyone knows how bad things are now. Deconstruction is a thing of the past—it’s already been accomplished. We’ve deconstructed ourselves nearly to death. We want to live.
You now need to construct—to build—with what we have in the reality of the present moment. There are no other options. You need to clear a path for an American way of life that fulfills you here, in your country. Get thee to it. This means fighting for yourself, your family, and your way of life. Now.
The time for complaining about boomers, feckless Republicans, and the hollowness of post-World War II liberalism is over. You are a citizen of the United States of America, and it is now in the grip of a regime crisis and in danger of collapse. Be an adult and act—say what needs saying, create what needs creating, and do what needs doing.
This week at the Republican National Convention, our leaders must lead. They must stand up and testify—that ours is the greatest country on earth and the firmest foundation for flourishing in freedom. For living well. And we—you and I, in our homes and in our workplaces, among our friends who are hesitant to say what’s in their hearts for fear of woke retribution—must do the same.
Do we need better leaders? Of course we do. But they will not drop out of the sky ready-made to save you. You must save yourselves and each other. And in so doing, some of you will become the leaders we need.
Despair profits nothing and will fix none of the problems the despairing so exhaustively explain. There is no time remaining for the politics of self-pity. Cinch up your britches and do yourself proud. The time of the “doomer” and his regimen of black pills is over. The battle for America’s heart, mind, and soul has begun. Join it.
The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.
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