America abandons the ideals that made us great

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by Fabius Maximus

Summary: This year we may have crossed the Rubicon, abandoning the ideals that built America. They will be difficult to recover.

America is an idea, or an assembly of ideals. Most of our strengths comes from these intangibles. If we lose those, we are just another nation. There will be nothing restraining our greed, factionalism, and the extremism inherent in the American character. This is the real story of America’s decline (not debt nor the other usual suspects).

Since 2003, my posts have warned about this – and reported signs that we were abandoning the Founders’ vision. Here are two large examples. I believe that future historians will say that in the past few years we crossed our Rubicon – and became a New America. Unless we change, the end will be bleak.

We abandon principles that took centuries to build

“It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.”
— The great English jurist William Blackstone in Commentaries on the Laws of England (1765–1769).

During the past decade the Left has embraced racism and sexism, abandoning the ideals of equality which worked so well for them for so long. Victor Hanson describes how the Kavanaugh hearings marked an ever larger change. It is well worth reading in full. Here is the bottom line from his analysis.

“The ‘process’ of memorializing Ford’s testimony involved a strange inversion of constitutional norms: The idea of a statute of limitations is ossified; hearsay is legitimate testimony; inexact and contradictory recall is proof of trauma, and therefore of validity; the burden of proof is on the accused, not the accuser; detail and evidence are subordinated to assumed sincerity; proof that one later relates an allegation to another is considered proof that the assault actually occurred in the manner alleged; motive is largely irrelevant; the accuser establishes the guidelines of the state’s investigation of the allegations; and the individual allegation gains credence by cosmic resonance with all other such similar allegations.

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“The lesson of the hearings transcends the Kavanaugh confirmation. We were presented with two radically different and now competing versions of American jurisprudence and due process, one traditional and constitutional, one fluid and revolutionary. It will be up to Americans, ultimately, to decide by which version they wish to conduct their lives.”

This is not just Washington DC. These new ideas have spread across America. See this Economist/YouGov poll, 18 September 2018. Note the loaded language: it says “victim”, which assumes this is not a false claim (false claims are common, although their rate of incidence is unknown).

In cases of alleged sexual assault, which one do you think is more important?
Protecting the rights of the accused .. .15%.
Protecting the rights of the victim . . . . 61%.
Not sure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25%.

The result is yet another fracture in the fabric of American society, with women seeing these matters differently than do men (YouGov poll).

The rise of political violence

Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) has led the call for mob action.

“For these members of his Cabinet who remain and try to defend him they’re not going to be able to go to a restaurant, they’re not going to be able to stop at a gas station, they’re not going to be able to shop at a department store, the people are going to turn on them, they’re going to protest, they’re going to absolutely harass them until they decide that they’re going to tell the president ‘no I can’t hang with you, this is wrong this is unconscionable and we can’t keep doing this to children.” (Said on MSNBC, 23 June 2018.)

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“Let’s make sure we show up wherever we have to show up. …If you see anybody from that cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd, and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.” (Speech in LA on 23 June 2018.)

Mobs have obeyed. Mobs confronted Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen at a Mexican restaurant in Washington and blaring speakers outside his homeMobs chanted outside the home of White House advisor Stephen Miller. A mob confronted Senator Ted Cruz in a Washington restaurant.

This comes after years of increasing violence at colleges (and elsewhere), as leftists prevent conservatives from speaking. Their success has encouraged them to take their program to a larger scale.

The future

We can only guess at what comes next? It will be good for Waters and other extremist leaders. If conservatives do not push back, they win. If conservatives push back, then both sides gain support as America polarizes – and fractures.

But whatever happens, it will occur only because we tolerated the changes in America. As the Roman said, qui tacet consentire videtur – “silence means assent.” More to the point, they added ubi loqui debuit ac potuit – “when he ought to have spoken and was able to.”

From here, the decline will accelerate. Unless we act soon.

Posts about the Kavanaugh hearing

  1. The Kavanaugh hearings’ warning: the Court is so powerful that extreme measures are appropriate to take control of it.
  2. Hidden knowledge: false rape accusations by women are common.
  3. Lies are a useful and appropriate tool to use for political conflicts.
  4. The Kavanaugh hearings: lawfare used against us.
  5. The heart of the Kavanaugh hearing is our bogus confidence.
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