The force behind Bond, Potter, the Beatles; Of murdered Israeli athletes and the banned Greek.
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Which is to say, using freedom to pursue their dreams and talents.
There’s nothing new in all of this. And one does not have to be the author of the Harry Potter series or a Beatle to have benefitted.
Freedom has been directly under assault down through the ages.
Certainly it is safe to say, speaking of Brits, that the small interlude in history that we know as the American Revolution — launched in part by those original tea partiers in Boston — was nothing if not a war for freedom. So too was the Civil War and the divide over slavery a continuation of that American war for freedom. In the 20th century alone freedom had to fight off wars hot and Cold against German Nazis, Italian Fascists, the Japanese Empire, and the Communist Soviet Union as well as Communist North Korea and its Chinese ally — all designed to exterminate freedom. Let’s not forget Vietnam. Today Islamic Supremacists reject freedom because they want the world to bow down to the totalitarian strictures of sharia.
Towards the end of 2009, the first in the Age of Obama, National Review’s Jonah Goldberg wrote a wonderfully perceptive piece on the influence of Richard Ely, the late 19th-century American academic who served, in Goldberg’s words, “as a mentor to or major influence on many of the most important progressive thinkers and activists” of the early 20th century. That group including, among others, Woodrow Wilson, Robert La Follette and Theodore Roosevelt. Goldberg pointed out the obvious: that while Ely is mostly unknown today, his influence on what Americans know as the “progressive movement” is still palpable today.
The irony here is that the supposedly more authentically American tradition of reform also has a heavily European lineage. Indeed, American progressives saw themselves as the U.S. franchisees of an international effort. “We were parts, one of another, in the United States and Europe,” proclaimed William Allen White. “Something was welding us into one social and economic whole with local political variations.”
By “local variations” of progressives White meant local as in places as near as his native Kansas and as far afield as the Socialists of France, Germany, Belgium, and Holland. Which is to say, Europe — precisely the place where freedom had already had a tough go of it with such small moments as the French Revolution and Napoleon, not to mention what loomed with two world wars and Communism.
And as was true of their philosophical ancestors in the days of the French Revolution, Nazis, Fascists, and Communists — anti-freedom movements one and all — progressives and Leftists today, whether in Europe or America, reject the American concept of freedom. Why? Because they believe in a world that is run somewhere along the yard stick of leftism from Richard Ely’s top down “coercive philanthropy” to Marx’s world of hardline class warfare.
Or, as Goldberg put it succinctly, these are people who believe that “if experts can glean which way social betterment lies, who is the individual to object?”
A better description of, say, Obamacare could not be found.
Which brings us back to the Olympics and what we actually saw with our own eyes in that Opening Ceremony:
The vivid contradiction of freedom stunningly on display, the consequences of an enemy that will boldly murder Olympians to extinguish freedom, and the creepy — and creeping- anti-freedom censorship of the Greek Olympic Committee callously snuffing out an athlete’s chance at Olympic medals in the name of political correctness.
Decades ago, Whittaker Chambers wrote of an epiphany had during one of his darker moments in his struggle to confront Communism. Chambers wrote:
In those days, I often moved about or performed tasks more or less blindly from habit, while my mind was occupied with its mortal debate. One day as I came down the stairs in the Mount Royal Terrace house [the Baltimore home where he lived with his family], the question of the impossible return struck me with sudden sharpness. I thought: “You cannot do it. No one can go back.” [To freedom from Communism.] As I stepped down into the dark hall, I found myself stopped, not by a constraint, but by a hush of my whole being. In this organic hush, a voice said with perfect distinctness: “If you will fight for freedom, all will be well with you.” The words are nothing. Perhaps there were no words, only an uttered meaning to which my mind supplied the words. What was there was the sense that, like me, time and the world stood still, an awareness of God as an envelopment, holding me in silent assurance and untroubled peace. There was a sense that in that moment I gave my promise, not with the mind, but with my whole being, and that this was a covenant that I might not break.
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?
H/T to National Review Online