The loss of national sovereignty, the loss of our history and the loss of national exceptionalism.
(Page 3 of 4)
If the Hodgson thesis has any meaning, it is as an exemplar of a new genre of historiography called “American Declinism.” Rather than admire American accomplishments, the revisionists like Hodgson emphasize the flaws. Rather than see national greatness, Hodgson sees only arrogance. Rather than fulfill The Promise of American Life, to borrow a title from Herbert Croly, the declinists see delusions.
Should the Hodgson thesis gain traction it will be yet another nail in the national coffin by those convinced that history must pass into an era of transnational loyalties. Somehow I don’t see how that vision can inspire Americans. I may be wrong, but either we come to appreciate American exceptionalism or we end up with American mediocrity.
In thinking about this Spenglerian impulse now so evident in the U.S., I recently came across a speech by Lavrenti Beria.
4. Why Is This the Case?
Here are excerpts from a speech by Lavrenti Beria, the head of the NKVD, who made the following argument to a group of U.S. communist students at Lenin University in 1953:
Degradation and conquest are companions. To be conquered, a nation must be degraded… degradation can be accomplished insidiously… and effectively by consistent and continual defamation… continued and constant degradation of national leaders, national institutions, national practices and national heroes must be systematically carried out.
By attacking the character and morals… by bringing about, through contamination of youth, a general degraded feeling, command of the populace is facilitated to a very marked degree. The attack on the mind of a nation involves changing loyalties, we must have a command of their values. In the animal, the first loyalty is to himself. This is destroyed by demonstrating to him… showing that he does not remember, cannot act or does not trust himself.
The second loyalty is to his family unit… this is destroyed by lessening the value of marriage, by making easiness of divorce. The next loyalty is to his friends and local environment… this is destroyed by lowering his trust. The next is to the state…and this is the only loyalty (once the State is founded as a Communist State…)
In re-arranging loyalties we must have a command of their values… supporting the propaganda to destroy (all trust in established institutions) will in the end create the chaos necessary to communism. By making readily available drugs of various kinds, by praising (a teenager’s) wildness…by stimulating him with sex literature and advertising… the psychological operator can create the necessary attitude of chaos, idleness and worthlessness into which can then be cast the solution… if we can effectively kill the national pride and patriotism of just one generation we will have won that country… therefore there must be continual propaganda abroad to undermine the loyalty of the citizens.
By perverting the institutions of a nation and bringing about a general degradation… a population can be brought psychologically to heel…
4. What Do We Do to Restore Our Precious Liberty
Culture counts. Toynbee noted that civilizations die by suicide not murder. Cite Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, the most popular textbook in the nation, teaches the smearing and degrading picture of the U.S. despite the unprecedented sacrifice, courage and achievement of this nation. Zinn ignores the obvious condition that civilization is the answer to barbarism even if the barbarians are flourishing at the moment.
We must reclaim the culture in our schools and universities. We must teach the romance and achievement of our civilization. We must deliver the wisdom and consolation of the Western tradition despite the widespread arrogance and cynicism. And we must do so recognizing that this is an uphill struggle that requires dedication and patience.
Despite all it blemishes and imperfections, this is the greatest nation on the globe, the one that has contributed more to liberty and prosperity than any other. This is nothing to apologize for. We should honor our national tradition of self criticism, but never, ever engage in anti-American sentiment that degrades our heritage.
We must reinstitute patriotic fervor, not out of contemporary jingoism, but because we have an obligation to tell the truth about our nation and our past. America is not only a nation “becoming,” it is a nation that “has been.” It has been to the future; it has been on a quest for liberty and it has been a model for freedom loving people everywhere.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?