Columnist, farmer and classicist Victor Davis Hanson has cast the 2020 election as a choice between civilization and a return to primitivism. It’s unfortunate that we’ve come to that, but here we are.
“I don’t want to get political,” Hanson, also a Hoover Institution senior fellow, told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson last week, “but this election no longer is about Donald Trump’s tweeting. It’s not about Joe Biden’s cognitive impairment. It has nothing to do anymore with a lockdown, the virus, the economy, foreign policy.
“It’s an existential question. A Manichean choice between whether you want civilization and you believe that America doesn’t have to be perfect to be good.”
Basement-bound Biden is the titular leader of America and the West’s regression from civilization. As the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee, it’s a position he has no choice but to hold. His party is now controlled by elements bent on tearing down hundreds of years of progress. He could make a difference. But he won’t. It’s too easy to tread along with the wave.
So where are we in America in June 2020? Standing by while threats to “burn it down” are put into action:
Riots, looting and arson. We’ve had both before. But there’s a sense that this time, too many in positions of influence are appeasing the criminals. They promise to defund the police, and blather happy talk about how a violent takeover of six city blocks in Seattle could bring a “summer of love.” Rather than condemn the violence and demand order through the law, the Democrats have both tacitly and explicitly approved the savagery. Trump adviser Boris Epshteyn reminds us that party operatives, “including more than a dozen staffers working for former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign,” as well as entertainers who think themselves serious thinkers, “have even contributed to groups that are bailing out looters and rioters who were arrested for their crimes.”
Earlier this month, Democratic consultant Douglas Schoen wrote in Fox News that “while Democrats can and should stand up for peaceful protests, they must draw a clear line at violence and civil disobedience, as well as looting, which we are seeing night after night.”
They must also, he continues, “emphasize that violent protesters should and will be punished, and the party needs to mediate far-left voices that say otherwise.” They have refused to take any of those actions and that in itself is an endorsement of the riots.
Meanwhile, New York Rep. Jerry Nadler has further empowered Anitifa by calling it “imaginary” even as a poll shows the Antifa candidate in Portland’s mayor’s race is within three percentage points of the leader and incumbent.
Statue and monument toppling. There are legal paths for the removal of icons that might be offensive to some. Tearing them down is mob behavior, which has been publicly encouraged by Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Sami Schalk.
The refusal by thousands of other elected officials, from local city halls to Congress, to condemn the crimes has only fueled the rampage. Carlson didn’t name names when he recently said on his show that “Democratic politicians don’t fear the mob. . . . They control the mob. The mob operates with their permission. These are their foot soldiers. This is their militia.” He didn’t need to. The Democrats’ connection is obvious.
Rewarding previously unacceptable behavior. London journalist Douglas Murray has the story on Cambridge University fellow Priyamvada Gopal. She was promoted to a full professorship after tweeting that “white lives don’t matter,” then presenting herself as a weak, offended victim after her tweet took some criticism. It’s just one of many instances of rancid conduct paying off because the perpetrator is a member of a protected class and the targets are part of a now politically maligned group, deserving of all the slurs thrown at them.
Cancel culture. We quote ourselves here: “Those who speak outside the narrative established by a hard-left mob that has marched through our institutions are blacklisted. … What was a non-controversial statement last week is grounds for a death sentence tomorrow. It seems every day we see someone caving in with a groveling apology, declaring they suddenly have a lot to learn, swearing they’re looking forward to the moment they can meet with their hostage-takers and work toward a resolution that will appease them.”
One recent instance among a boatload of infuriating examples is the firing of a professor from Catholic University for the sin of criticizing Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Compare his words to those of Gopal, who was rewarded for her clearly hateful statement. And then there’s Cornell law professor William Jacobson, under fire because he dared criticize Black Lives Matter.
Canonization of Black Lives Matter. This is not a civil rights group but a segregationist, marxist, anti-freedom, anti-speech band of radicals. Black Lives Matter is not the same as black lives matter.
Economic destruction. The Democrats are willing, even eager, to wreck the Trump economy if that will win them the election this fall and evict Donald Trump from the White House and Republicans from their Senate majority. They don’t care how much damage they cause, who or how many they hurt, just as long as they can increase their raw political power.
Pandemic lust. Every day we see headlines about the surges, explosions, and spikes in coronavirus infections is part of the march to backwardness. The objective is to divide, sow fear, raise the gloom factor, enfeeble us, and bury the Trump economy.
Nothing listed above promotes civility and civilization. Each is an ugly step backward, a loss of human progress, a turn toward a more tribal era. Yet we’re letting it happen. As Power Line’s John Hinderaker recently noted, it’s puzzling “as to why America is allowing itself to be bullied by people who are at best ignorant and hateful, and in many cases not in full possession of their faculties.” Pushback is nearly unheard of. We’re planting the seeds of our own demise because we choose barbarism by default when we fail to stand for a civilized society.
— Written by the I&I Editorial Board