Since a young man named Franklin was cranking a printing press, Americans have believed in the supremacy of the individual over the elites and the masses. And more freedom from government has always been key to this ideal.
Young Franklin’s world was a distant outpost from the King of England and his minions. The sheer remoteness of their rulers gave colonists a picture of what life could be like with more personal freedom and less government interference.
The idea of the “American Experiment” was based upon a glimpse and a dream, the unique American dream. This dream was so real and so alluring that people were willing to fight and die for it.
And it worked. Through it all, for far longer than Franklin expected, the experiment survived. In fact, it thrived.
A big reason was that a Constitution and Bill of Rights were thoughtfully and judiciously crafted to nurture and protect this radical experiment: a government of, for and by the people. The founders hoped to craft a country where inalienable, individual rights were named and protected. They built a nation with a government specifically tailored to reserve as much power as possible to localities and individuals, and away from special interests and the halls of power.
The right to make personal choices in ones own best interests, and accepting responsibility for those choices, formed the very foundation of America.
This was a boon to productivity and creativity, not to mention happiness. With that freedom, capitalism became the economic engine that propelled the nation to the pinnacle of success, power and influence.
Capitalism and individual rights fit perfectly, hand in glove. There’s something very special about the achievements that magically happen when you marry individual freedom and opportunity.
This is the true meaning of the term “American Exceptionalism”.
Despite their fundamental fairness and proven success, both capitalism and self-reliance continue to have detractors. The mantra today has devolved into “you take care of me and I’ll stop disrupting”. That’s considered deep thinking in today’s America.
To this day, for countless groups representing nearly every conceivable grievance, their demands always seem to take precedence over the rights of mere individuals. Whatever their chosen cause, the inevitable result of every group’s demand for “justice” or “reform” is a loss of individual rights. These groups are childishly crying for Americans to throw out the baby with the bath water, all in the name of diversity and security.
The whole concept of American Exceptionalism stands in the way of these dissenters. In their view, to be exceptional is to disrespect commonly held interests. And to have a large mob demanding that respect helps add weight to their argument. After all, if all these people want something, isn’t it their right to have it?
Throughout history, organizing marches and promoting protests have been tactics of leftist movements and also essential ingredients of repressive governments. In America, this tried and true technique has not been lost on Democrats and their leftist sympathizers. Ironically, by taking advantage of the very freedoms they reject, they’ve been free to refine organizing into an art form. And they didn’t do this to defend individual rights.
Here’s a gallery of their recent works: the marches, the protests, the violence, the shadow-banning, the shutdowns of events, the control of information, the supportive media narrative, the celebrity vitriol, the Deep State collusion, the judicial activism, the education standards, the gun grabbers, the race baiters, the open borders people…there are many more. Feel free to add to the list.
Now, with the help of quick and easy communication, the leaders of the leftist resistance are building a coalition of coalitions. Interest groups with sometimes competing and often incompatible goals are being recruited with a simple goal of resisting the way things are. These groups are happy if they get to vent, chant and carry signs. The bigger the crowd, the better. And someone else is handling the logistics and picking up the tab. It’s a deal that’s too good to refuse.
The more groups the leftist power brokers can bring together in some common cause, no matter how nebulous that commonality may be, the more it helps those power brokers reach their real, unspoken goal. Whether the demands of each group are actually met is unimportant. They tell every faction they’ll get their way if they just band together. After all, the enemy of your enemy is your friend, they’re sure to add. And, after all, America has never really been great anyway. All these groups seem angry about that, so why not be angry together?
A motley crew of mindless malcontents is being assembled. These grievance brigades have been brought together for a fight. All that binds them is a common enemy, not common values.
To defend the nation against such an organized attack on individuals is not going to be easy. It’s hard to herd cats, as they say, and American patriots are similarly independent. But it’s been done before. Hopefully, and perhaps only with a miraculous mobilization, on the other side of the battlefield will stand one big army of individual Americans. Picture these patriots all dressed differently, proudly displaying true diversity for all to see.
It’s hard to imagine willingly rejecting the individual freedoms that made America the special place it is. But millions of Americans are willing, even eager to do just that. Perhaps this is the one threat that will unite the remaining half of Americans who still cherish the rights and responsibilities of the individual.
For so long, freedom loving Americans have shrugged off the threat. It’s been hard to imagine an army of grievance groups demanding respect for diversity, then banding together to defeat those defending individual rights. You can’t get more senseless than that.
But it’s happening, and sometimes, senseless battles must be fought, especially when fighting senselessness itself.
Ben Franklin famously said “Those who give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
It’s time to stop shaking our heads and start shaking our fists. Stop the presses. Mr. Franklin’s looking pale.