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REQUIEM

Below are the two final essays to be posted on Allegiance and Duty Betrayed. The first one is written by a friend -- screen name 'Euro-American Scum' -- who, over the past four years, has been the most faithful essayist here. He has written about everything from his pilgrimage to Normandy in 2004 to take part in the 60th–year commemoration of the invasion, to his memories of his tour in Vietnam. His dedication to America’s founding principles ... and those who have sacrificed to preserve them over the past 200+ years ... is unequaled. Thank you, E-A-S. It has been a privilege to include your writing here, and it is a privilege to call you my friend.

The second essay is my own farewell. And with it I thank all of the many regular visitors, and those who may have only dropped in occasionally, for coming here. I hope you learned something. I hope a seed or two was planted. But, even if not, I thank you for stopping by ... 25 March, 2010

3/11/2007


This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper. – The Hollow Men, T. S. Eliot


So here we sit, in the burgeoning decade of the 21st century. With the collapse of the Evil Empire, thanks to Ronald Reagan, America is well into its second decade as the undisputed heavyweight superpower of the world. We are the military, economic, technological and cultural center of our own universe.

Things are great and getting better than ever as we speak. We’re healthier than ever, rich beyond our wildest dreams of avarice, content (for the most part) with our lot in life, and hardly distracted by a global war for national survival, which, if we did sit up and take notice, would probably bore us to tears before the first commercial break. Where’s the remote, honey?

But at the same time, Americans are becoming increasingly uneasy with all the largesse we have accumulated. We’re a little bit disturbed by unsettling trends at home and abroad.

Campaign Finance Reform has set the precedent for the further erosion of our First Amendment rights. But, not to worry; the president only signed the bill to discredit the Democrats’ baseless charges that he serves the interests of international business. Besides which, the Supreme Court will strike down CFR due to its clearly unconstitutional content. Oh? It didn’t? Well, Dubya has an “R” after his name, so I’m sure everything will be all right.

Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) has reintroduced her latest and greatest version of the Assault Weapons Ban a few weeks ago. I must admit, it didn’t take long for the Democrats to start acting like Democrats again. Less than a month by my reckoning. But then, this only targets card-carrying members of the vast right-wing conspiracy, so why should the overwhelming preponderance of Americans be concerned? Who needs those evil black rifles with detachable high-cap magazines and pistol grips? No way do we need them to go deer hunting. Besides which, Kimberly Guilfoyle has the latest dirt on Anna Nicole tonight on Fox News, and she is really hot! (Kimberly, not Anna Nicole. At least not anymore.) So why should we be bothered with the trivialities of hard news when there’s real, honest-to-god tabloid journalism to sink our teeth into? Give me a retired lingerie model with a terminal case of blinding lip gloss syndrome masquerading as a real journalist and I’m one happy camper. By God, I need to Tivo Fox News 24/7. Hard news and soft porn in one fell swoop. What’s not to like?

One of the NAFTA provisions – you remember, the be-all, end-all, international trade agreement that was going to stem the influence of offshore economic competition and raise all boats – has mandated the opening of a super port at Lazaro Cardenas, Mexico, whose imported Chinese goods will be offloaded and transported to the U.S. through the soon-to-be built NAFTA Superhighway. And then there are the Mexican trucks which can now roam American highways with impunity. With the stroke of a pen, the Teamsters and Longshoreman’s unions can be broken, and a new state-of-the-art uber-interstate – built, no doubt by cheap, illegal immigrant labor – can rush these latest trinkets to market before we can say North American Union. You gotta love this one! Ayn Rand must be smiling in her frigid little corner in the ninth circle of hell as we speak.

Then there’s the oft-ignored, much-overlooked Supreme Court case of Kelo vs. New London, CT. Never heard of it, you say? Why am I not surprised? So what if your local city government wants to turn your private property into a Wal-Mart Supercenter? I’m sure they’ll offer you pennies on the dollar for what it’s worth. And that’s probably more than you deserve anyway. We’re conservatives, after all. Wal-Mart is good. We love Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is beautiful, baby! POWER TO WAL-MART!! (O.K. I’m calming down now. I just get carried away when I see little yellow smiley faces advertising everyday low prices.) And as far as private property rights go . . . well, in grand conservative tradition, as long as I got mine, who cares if you got yours. Nothing to see here. Move along.

And who can forget the ever-eternal, crowd-pleasing favorite – the ubiquitous illegal immigration issue? It’s such a comfort to realize we have literally millions of illegal immigrants (excuse me, undocumented migrants) in this country, all grimly determined to do the jobs Americans refuse to do: Mowing the lawns Americans refuse to mow, building the buildings Americans refuse to build, and causing the hit-and-run accidents Americans refuse to cause. And that doesn’t even take into consideration the Chinese manufacturing juggernaut that produces the goods Americans refuse to produce, or the Indian engineers who develop the technological innovations Americans refuse to develop. What a deal, eh? They do all our dirty work, and if they get sick, somebody else has to pay for it. Without them, America would cease to exist.

But . . . unless you’re a real estate agent, or a government worker, there might be some cause for concern. And so a kind of post-modern angst is starting to take shape among Americans between episodes of 24. People, some people at least, are starting to get nervous. A certain element of the populace is starting to realize that the good times may not last forever. And if they come to an abrupt end, they may never come back. Some are even losing sleep over the notion that perhaps our new Indo-Chinese/Latino/Islamic masters may not be as respectful of our constitutional rights as we are accustomed to.

And so, an interesting phenomenon is taking root. It’s taking shape mostly on the Internet, particularly in the blogosphere, and related political websites:

The concept of armed insurrection.

I must say, it may not have teeth, but it is sexy. The notion of individual, armed American patriots, taking to the streets as part of a grass-roots rebellion against a globalist government with no concern for the well-bring of its citizens, brings a tear to the eye and a spring to the step. American citizens leading a rag-tag guerilla force against an armed, industrial, high-tech army conjures up scenes from Red Dawn.

The problem is, it’s a fraud and a lie, and will never happen.

As Americans, we pride ourselves as being individualistic, iconoclastic, and independent. We see ourselves as leaders, innovative and bold, living the good life in a land committed to the principle that each and every individual American citizen has the God-given right to rise as far as talent and ambition will take them.

That’s certainly the ideal. And, as with most ideals, there is more than a grain of truth in it. But the sad fact of the matter is that most of us go along to get along. We follow leaders. We do not initiate leadership. And for a people who saw the radical concept of “All men are created equal” take root and bear much fruit, we are perhaps some of the least revolutionary people on this planet. We need only look to our history to find confirmation of this.

The Shot Heard Round The World

There is no doubt that the concept that “All men are created equal” was a radical departure from conventional socio-political thought in the 18th century. It was a natural consequence of Enlightenment thinking whose philosophy was taking root in Europe and America at the time. Scientific, social and political developments of that time which either improved the quality of life generally, or pointed to the value of individual human beings in particular, were ultimately going to take expression. And they did on the North American continent in the form of the American Revolution.

The problem is, while the concept was revolutionary – that the government served the citizenry, not the other way around – support for the cause by which these principles were put into effect was not. What began with a handful Massachusetts militia at Concord Bridge and the shot heard round the world later developed into the Continental Army. However, grass roots support, both for the army and the cause it represented, was mixed at best.

George Washington took command of a collection of rag-tag colonial militias in Boston in the summer of 1775. By the end of the year, he faced a mass exodus of “soldiers” whose enlistments had expired and promptly proceeded to go home. To be sure, a good many remained, and the army was infused with fresh volunteers in the early part of 1776. But the revolving door at the time, which the army’s leadership could do nothing to mitigate, suggests something less than unilateral support for the cause.

Certainly there were committed true believers. Nathaniel Greene, Henry Knox, and those who orchestrated the transport of heavy cannon through freezing weather from Fort Ticonderoga in New York to Dorchester Heights in Boston, suggest the value of passionate patriots, and offer dramatic examples of what they were capable of under the harsh conditions of the time.

But, the city of Boston contained patriotic and loyalist elements side by side. When the British evacuated the harbor, they took a great many loyalist residents with them.

New York City was a loyalist stronghold. When Admiral Lord Howe, along with Generals Henry Clinton, Lord Cornwallis and the British army landed on Long Island and Staten Island in the spring of 1776, they were welcomed with open arms by the local citizenry. When the Continental Army abandoned the city and retreated into New Jersey, New York sat out the war as a loyalist stronghold, and none of the remaining citizens there considered themselves any the less for it.

The victories at Trenton, Saratoga, Cowpens and ultimately the forced march through the Carolina woods resulting in the decisive blow at Yorktown to force an end to the conflict, were the mark of a committed, skilled fighting force. And such a force could not have endured the long winter at Valley Forge, the hardships of a long war, and the setbacks that occurred between the early days of the Declaration of Independence, and that long road to victory that followed without a level of support from the civilian population. There was grass roots support. There had to be. It was sufficient. But it was not unilateral.

An interesting side note: The American Revolution bore little resemblance to its French cousin a few years later. America saw nothing of the massive societal upheaval that occurred in France. There was no Reign of Terror. An American Robespierre never appeared. There was no guillotine. No Committee of Public Safety ever emerged. In France, such titles as “Madam,” Mademoiselle,” and Monsieur,” were abolished in favor of the title of “Citizen” – bearing a strange similarity to the ominously similar designation of “Comrade” which would emerge a century and a quarter later in Russia. This did not happen in America.

In France, an entire social order was swept away, the likes of which would not be seen again in Europe until the First World War. America experienced what amounted to a continuation of life as it was, only without the constraints of a mother country three thousand miles removed from the nation. The U.S. Constitution owed its roots to English common law. And while there were frequent incidents of persecution of loyalists following the war of independence, such incidents were not an instrument of national policy. Many loyalists set sail for England. Most people simply embraced the new order and went back to work.

This is not to denigrate the significance of the American Revolution. Quite the contrary. It was a significant, dramatic sea change in how human beings viewed themselves. But the process by which this came to pass was hardly indicative of a populist insurrection. It was top heavy, developed and led by the leadership of the time, many of whom were highly influenced by contemporary Enlightenment thinkers. It had enough popular support to succeed. But only just.

A House Divided

If there was ever an exception that proved the rule, it was the Civil War, particularly in the example of the Confederate Army. The soldiers of the Confederacy stand out in many ways, not the least of which was theirs was truly a lost cause that came oh so close to success. There are historians who argue that the entire weight and fury of industrialized warfare the North had at its disposal was never fully brought to bear against the South. And if there had been a lot more Southern victories, the massive hammer blow of Northern military power would have been fully unleashed.

The debate rages. As it turned out, a much smaller fighting force battled a much larger one to a standstill for four years, and only succumbed when the wherewithal to wage war, not to mention the Southern infrastructure to support it, was destroyed. Soldiers of the Confederacy knew disease, famine, death and defeat the likes of which few Americans could conceive, and fewer still have experienced. But they maintained their cohesion as a viable fighting force until they literally ran out of the resources to continue.

Most Confederate soldiers were not slave owners. Ownership of twenty slaves and/or $300 earned an instant deferment. Hence the phrase “Rich man’s war, poor man’s fight.” So the Confederate soldier had little stake in defending “The Peculiar Institution” as it was called. What he did have was a tremendous sense of community. As poorly-educated as many of them were, they understood the concept of a country of their own, and knew full well its inherent value.

What other explanation can be offered for the willingness of Pickett’s brigade to charge the entrenched Union positions on the third day at Gettysburg? These men were combat veterans, many of them having served at Chancellorsville and Fredericksburg a few months before. They understood the consequences of a frontal assault on fortified, well-defended positions.

Yet they attacked. And they failed. They were cut down by the thousands. Why? For Virginia. For Tennessee. For Georgia. For their country. Robert E. Lee himself declined command of the Union armies in 1861 responding to Lincoln that he simply could not draw his sword against his country (Virginia). Such was their devotion to their homes, their country, their way of life.

As the war dragged on, Atlanta was captured and burned. The Georgia countryside was devastated by Sherman’s march to the sea. South Carolina was ravaged when Sherman turned north from Savannah. And Lee lost men and materiel he could not replace at the battle sites of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania Courthouse, Cold Harbor and Petersburg. By the end of the summer of 1864, the trench line at Petersburg more closely resembled the western front of the First World War than the rolling plains of Manassas four years earlier (with ominous implications for future conflicts).

The South was starving. The army was in rags. And yet they fought on. It was, in my never-to-be-humble-opinion, the only instance in the history of this nation that a small, beaten down force could very well have engaged in a prolonged guerilla war.

Indeed, Jefferson Davis was calling for it as the spring of 1865 approached. Jay Winik’s book, April 1865 gives an excellent, concise account of the forces at work in the Confederacy at the time. Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Courthouse and Joseph E. Johnson, being run to ground by Sherman in the North Carolina countryside would not support an insurgency, although Johnston was waffling at the time. And so the war ended.

Could the south have won a 19th century version of asymmetric warfare? It’s a tantalizing question. Certainly, the political and social landscape would have been much different as a result, which begs a more significant question. What would winning have meant? Historians can debate this question as they like. The point of this commentary is that if there ever was a group of armed men capable of sustaining an ongoing guerilla conflict, it was the veterans of the defeated Confederate army. How successful they would have been, and what variety of social change they would have affected, remains to be seen.

But ultimately, it didn’t happen. For all the dedication, courage, élan and leadership the South brought to the battlefield, the Southern armies were defeated and the Confederacy destroyed. And the implications of that salient fact were to have huge consequences as the country moved into the 20th century.

Buddy Can You Spare A Dime

Franklin Roosevelt took office as President of the United States in March 1933 following what is considered by many as the rock bottom year of the Great Depression. During the Hoover administration, the stock market crashed, the Smoot-Hawley tariffs knocked over European economies like a row of tenpins, spreading the economic misery abroad, there were some 10 to 12 million Americans then considered to be permanently displaced, and as FDR took the oath of office, banks were failing by the thousands.

Roosevelt lamented in his private papers that if he didn’t do something, and do it with dispatch, he feared a communist uprising would overthrow the democratic form of government in favor of the Soviet system.

He need not have worried. With the exception of the Bonus Marchers in the summer of 1932, there was precious little in the way of overt discontent. President Herbert Hoover dealt with disaffected WWI veterans that summer by turning the hoses on the tent city at Anacostia Flats. And if Army Chief of Staff Douglas Macarthur had had his way, he would have turned the machine guns on them. The tent city was demolished and the Bonus Army dispersed. There was no public outcry

The New Deal did little to mitigate the circumstances, although it had a tangible psychological effect on the electorate. Finally, somebody was doing something, or so it appeared. It did not matter that Herbert Hoover was much more involved in active attempts to spur economic activity during his tenure in office. Neither did it matter that FDR’s radical redefinition of government’s role in American society had precious little effect on the totality of the economic collapse. FDR was the great communicator of his time. And Hoover was no FDR.

Still, there was no grass roots revolt. Americans endured their misery with a combination of quiet dignity and stony silence. Those who suffered through those years did so with a tangible sense of resignation. A sense of despair permeated the landscape.

The War Between the States ended with a committed fighting force which, although thoroughly defeated in a conventional war, was willing and able by all accounts to continue the fight as a guerilla force for years to come. For all the devastation to the infrastructure, there was arguably more than enough support from the civilian population to sustain such a revolt, whatever the outcome. The southern military leadership would not endorse such a conflict and so the war ended.

So what happened between the end of the Civil War and the Great Depression?

Well, for one thing, farms produced a surplus, and did so in a significant way. That oft-overlooked fact of history takes on a significance that cannot be overestimated. Without it, no large urban areas would have developed; neither would the factories that marked the Industrial Revolution in late 19th century America.

The effect this had on the American way of life was no less dramatic than its transformation of American commerce. Men who had previously worked the land – often with their wives and children by their sides – now migrated to the cities to take their place on the assembly line. Where previously they worked at home, they now labored in an environment at once harsh and isolated. And it quickly became abundantly clear that repetitive menial tasks performed on an assembly line where the workers were as disposable as the spare parts they were assembling only served to generate a sense of alienation and despair.

The Homestead strike against the Carnegie steel mills of western Pennsylvania did little to dispel this condition. Neither did the Pullman strike against the railroad a few years later. Labor leaders were quick to recognize the handwriting on the wall. As committed a labor advocate as Samuel Gompers was among the first to cut a deal with industrialists. And Eugene V. Debs, the Marxist activist whose vision of a socialist utopia emerging out of the oppression of the industrial workplace never materialized, went to his grave with a fundamentally flawed perception of the American character.

By the 1930s, this blueprint for the American landscape was firmly entrenched. Americans were well conditioned to selling their souls for a dry room, a full belly and a few dollars. If there was a revolutionary spirit which endured through and beyond the Civil War, it was long gone by the 1930s. If the concept that one man could make a difference endured through the mid-19th century, the factories of the Industrial Revolution put an end to it, and with it, any revolutionary spirit which may have lingered to that point.

For all the efforts of the New Deal, the Depression ended when the bombs fell on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. And while Americans were unwilling to rebel against their own government during the 1930s, they were more than willing to take up arms against a global threat to their country in the 1940s. And we can thank God they knew the difference between the two.

The Whole World Is Watching

Can any group of Americans match the baby boomers for sheer narcissism and self-absorption? We’d be hard pressed to find one. And I speak with authority, considering I’m a card-carrying member of the faithful in good standing.

At no time in American history has a group been raised up during a period of such largesse, comfort, stability and wealth as the baby boom generation. As time passes, we are beginning to see how this condition – so long taken as an article of faith among boomers – was more the exception than the rule. If privation, struggle and want are ultimately going to be the lot of the boom generation, they will endure it in their old-age in ways they never did during their youth.

Raised in the golden sunlight of prosperity, imbued with a gilt-edged purview that they were entitled not only to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but wealth, comfort and self-actualization, the inevitable collision between the boomers and their WWII fathers came in the 1960s, the catalyst, Vietnam.

What began with the Free Speech Movement in Berkeley, California and a general protest against the stifling of free expression on the Berkeley campus, quickly morphed into more specific protests at the University of Wisconsin against corporate involvement in the Vietnam War. From there, it was a short leap to outright rebellion against the war itself.

Vietnam was the flashpoint for the 60s student radicals in much the same way as slavery was to the abolitionists one hundred years before. Enraged student radicals rebelled against everything from free speech to the draft to women’s rights. And all the while, they gave no thought to the harsh reality of life simply because their insular upbringing (for the most part) gave them no appreciation for its difficulty.

Over and above their opposition to the war – which North Vietnamese officials have since cited as giving clear aid and comfort to their cause – their intent was to re-engineer the cultural landscape. All this came into sharp focus during the hinge year of 1968 in which the country experienced more history than it could absorb. For all the sound and fury, the results signified little more than a hiccup in the American experience.

Let’s look at a thumbnail sketch of some of the events of that year:

  • The Tet offensive, while a military disaster for the NVA and Viet Cong, totally discredited Lyndon Johnson’s “light at the end of the tunnel” mindset.
  • Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis in April of that year, further intensifying an already strained racial landscape.
  • Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles two months later, increasing the alienation of the already enraged radical anti-war student movement.
  • Radical campus activists turned the streets of Chicago into nothing less than a war zone during the Democratic convention in August.

But for all the convulsions, Minnesota senator Eugene McCarthy, the poster child for the anti-war activists in the wake of Robert Kennedy’s assassination, was ultimately defeated in his quest for the Democratic nomination. Hubert Humphrey – Lyndon Johnson’s vice-president and the one Democratic candidate most closely identified with LBJ’s war policies – secured the nomination. And in the end, Richard Nixon was elected president in a close fall election.

So for all the disruptions at the hands of the war protestors, very little changed in the way of national policy. Nixon began a gradual withdrawal from Vietnam, not because of the passion of the war protestors, but because in a post-Tet environment, any mandate of support for the war in grass roots America was gone. The silent majority of that time had spoken, and the word was “Get out. We’re fed up with this.” But for all the upheavals, there was no armed revolution in the streets.

During the next four years, Nixon mandated the 18-year-old vote. During the lead-up to the 1972 elections, many on the radical left anticipated a sea change in voter demographics. Here was the seminal moment when the youth vote would sweep the old guard from power and usher in the brave new world of liberal egalitarianism. Except young voters emulated their older cousins. They avoided the polls by the thousands and those who did show up, vote overwhelmingly for Richard Nixon.

But in a larger sense, the boomer radicals were more successful than they could appreciate as 1968 drew to a close. The postwar generation tore down much of what their WWII fathers had built. The home, the workplace, the family and the church all underwent significant transformations. Of course, they offered nothing in the way of better ideas with which to replace these institutions, but then, narcissism does have its limitations, short-sightedness chief among them.

Divorce rates skyrocketed as baby boomers moved into adulthood. Where the concept of divorce was infrequent and largely unthinkable but one generation removed, it now became commonplace and a widely accepted practice as the former student activists sought to throw off the shackles of marriage in pursuit of their self-actualization.

The unwritten contract between employers and workers that what was good for one was good for the other shattered in the brave new world of the postmodern world. Business owners soon came to offer nothing to their workforce but an ever-diminishing paycheck, and workers developed a sense of entitlement and currently have no sense of obligation for a job well done.

One of the strongest pillars upon which American culture was built – the Christian faith – has been attacked, eroded, watered down and secularized to the point that the Bible means anything anyone thinks it means, if it is taught at all. Once traditional denominations have embraced gay marriage, gay and lesbian priests, radical political activism and liberation theology as a means to further erode the American identity.

Richard Nixon abolished the draft at the stroke of a pen. It was a political masterstroke at the time. By doing so, Nixon immediately took the teeth out of radical anti-war activists, suggesting that the idealism of student protestors was rooted more in the practicality of saving their own skin rather than some ethical crusade to seize the moral high ground and usher in ideological world peace.

The long-term consequences are just now being felt. Every American president since that time has never failed to see the value in Nixon’s action. With an all-volunteer fighting force, there will be no grass-roots opposition to any regional conflicts that arise in the future. And so it has been. What protests that occur on university campuses pale in comparison to the explosion of the 60s. Why? Because college students no longer live under the cloud of compulsory military service, and as such, they don’t care.

But, the nation is working on its second generation of American men who have never seen the inside of a military base. They have never served their country. They have no sense of what that means, or that their way of life is something precious, valuable, worthy of being defended, and bought and paid for by the blood of those who preceded them. Freedom isn’t free. And every generation up to and including the men and women of WWII knew this hard fact of life, not to mention its deadly consequences. Sadly, the current generation – particularly the men – has little comprehension, much less appreciation for this simple fact.

As a consequence we see nothing of a country united and galvanized to defend itself against global Islamic terror. A handful of citizens – volunteers all to be sure – are engaged and committed to the country’s defense. But this is a far cry from the citizen soldier en masse, and more significantly, that every individual American citizen will be called upon to serve their country in some way when it is threatened.

Start The Revolution Without Me

So, with apologies to Bud Yorkin, Lawrence J. Cohen and Fred Freeman, forgive me if I just don’t buy it. Start the revolution without me. The idea of American civilians taking to the streets in open revolution is something I don’t expect to see. Such an insurgency would require organization, commitment, courage and above all leadership. And I just don’t see it. At least not enough of it. It would require outrage on an unprecedented scale that would ignite a flashpoint. And I don’t see that either.

Perhaps Thomas Paine said it best in his essay The American Crisis. We all know the famous few lines that resonate down through the centuries – “These are the times that try men’s souls. . .” etc., etc. But it was the next few sentiments that I believe are appropriate for this commentary:

“Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.” – Thomas Paine, The American Crisis

Strange indeed. And yet we’ve come to an age where Americans indeed do not rate freedom highly. At best, we take it for granted. At worst, we don’t give it any consideration at all. Keep our bellies full, a roof over our heads, and a steady diet of distractions, and we’ll cut a deal with anyone.

Americans have precious little idea of what an insurgency would mean. Veterans of Vietnam perhaps have as good an insight into its costs, albeit from the other side of the rifle sights. It means fear, hunger, heat, cold, privation, failure and above all, death and suffering in numbers that often defy comprehension. And above all, it would take total, complete, absolute commitment and the certainty that the cause is not only just, but worth sacrificing everything for. And America just doesn’t have that capacity anymore.

Our leadership is a reflection of who we are. In this, the second term of our second baby boomer president, the policies of George W. Bush reflect the values of the electorate that put him in office.

We have a global war for survival that the vast majority of citizens pay little heed to. Why? Because it costs them nothing beyond a few extra dollars at the gas pump.

Our southern border, or lack thereof, makes a mockery of the war on terror. And the invasion of the country continues unabated because people don’t care. Indeed, Americans are just thrilled to have their toilets cleaned and their lawns mowed on the cheap, and if the workers who do the dirty work get sick, somebody else has to pay for it.

If America makes nothing of value, well so what? Our gadgets are cheaper than ever, and who needs those dirty manufacturing jobs when the Chinese do it so much cheaper? We can be about the more meaningful pursuits of selling real estate, insurance, or if we’re truly blessed, trying out for American Idol.

Having trouble with your PC? No problem. Dell’s crack hardware support team from Bangalore, India will be happy to assist you. And if the military needs any smart weapons, I’m sure the Chinese will be happy to provide them with an uninterrupted supply.

During my college days, a very wise history professor told me not to put too much faith in historical analogies. He took exception to the idea that history repeats itself. Well, history may not, but human nature does. Never underestimate the power of sloth, greed and complacency. There’s a reason why they are listed among the seven deadly sins. And that theme resonates throughout the history of humanity. Generations of committed patriots can take centuries to build a monument to human freedom, for all its flaws. It can take but a few short years for it all to be swept away.

To bring this latest exercise in verbosity to a conclusion, I am reminded of a scene from Red Dawn. I know. That film has got to be something of a pop culture icon for conservatives of all stripes. But for all the bad acting, and sometimes hokie dialogue, there are a number of scenes that stand out, one in particular:

The American insurgent leader is faced with having to execute a Soviet invader taken prisoner, not to mention one of his own who sold the group out. (Note to the weak of stomach: an insurgency has no room for the taking of prisoners, nor the capacity for mercy to traitors. But I digress.) He is challenged by his own brother who offers the classic liberal observation as his brother prepares to execute the condemned:

“What makes us different from them?” This conveniently ignores the hard fact of life that all causes are not created equal and all killing is not on the same moral plane.

His brother is contorted with anguish, because, believe it or not, executing unarmed prisoners is not something for the weak-hearted, not to mention that it erodes the humanity of the executioner as well. For all the misery of the task ahead, he offers a simple and passionate reply:

“Because We Live Here!!”

And that is perhaps the final lament that would doom a real-world revolution to defeat. Americans don’t care about America. Our homes mean nothing to us. At least, not to the point that we are willing to sacrifice our creature comforts to preserve who we are. Or were.

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all convictions, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity. . .
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

– The Second Coming, William Butler Yeats


Upon first glance of The Second Coming – in its entirety, not merely this excerpt – one gets the impression Yeats may have seen too much combat in the trenches of the western front during the First World War. Or maybe, just maybe, Yeats was more farsighted than anyone dared imagine. Perhaps he had the ability to see the inevitable collapse of civilizations however vibrant and enlightened, because men are weak, and vigilance is a quality that cannot be sustained.

One thing is certain: The beast he wrote of is awake. That beast is hungry. And that beast is going to be fed.

God help us all.

by Euro-American Scum
(contributing team member of Allegiance and Duty Betrayed)

40 comments:

daveburkett said...

Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Allow me to figuratively shake the hand of a modern day Thomas Paine.

Anonymous said...

Generations of committed patriots can take centuries to build a monument to human freedom, for all its flaws. It can take but a few short years for it all to be swept away.

Of all of the truths discussed in this column, this is the unkindest cut of all. When we get to heaven what will we say to all of those Americans whose earthly remains have been lying under headstones all over the world because they paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom, and we decided it wasn't precious enought to keep paying attention to the threats against it?

Thank you for the excellent, thought provoking column.

Marcus Aurelius said...

Nice research, organization, and analysis. You are obviously a student of history, war and politics. There's much to digest here and all of it is understandably frightening because there is little upon which to base optimism for the survival of the free world.

johnsteever said...

The complacency you mention is much more of a threat to our survival than any terrorist organization. If our people were informed and interested, there isn't an enemy on earth that could defeat us. But that is just a pipe dream. For all the reasons you mentioned, and more, our days are numbered.

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for your kind comments. At the behest of Joanie, I have been encouraged to participate in the post-article discussion.

Tomorrow figures to be a busy day, so it will be late in the day before I get to it. But rest assured, I will be here.

Again, thanks for your kind comments.

E.A. Scum

kathymylnczak said...

If you're not a writer, historian, philosopher, or educator, you should be. I'd say that we need you in politics but there's no place for truth in politics these days.

lori_gmeiner said...

I have one complaint about your contributions here. There aren't enough of them. :-)

This is a wonderful wake up call even though it will fall on deaf ears with the general population. Most of the readers here agree with everything you said but not many of us could say it as well.

Anonymous said...

Spot on analysis!

Anonymous said...

A detailed look at the slow disintegration of a nation; The destructive influence of political correctness on the United States Of America

When Words Became Weapons

. . . . .


The US is currently engaged in an unconventional war, but it is not the war on terror.

It is a war of attrition, claiming millions of victims. Mass casualties are inflicted on American citizens regularly, yet no shots have ever been fired. It is the war of words.

The election of President Clinton is when words finally became weapons. Illegal aliens became "migrants" or "undocumented workers".

"Be all you can be. ", "The few. The Proud. The Marines.", and "Navy. It's not just a job, it's an adventure." were replaced with "Don't ask, don't tell."

"Is" didn't really mean is, and may have even meant "was", depending on who you "were"."Oral sex" wasn't really sex.

Supporters of abortion referred to themselves as"pro-choice", while referring to their opponents as "anti-abortion".
A holiday was named for Martin Luther King - and deservedly so, but at the expense of both Washington's and Lincoln's birthdays, which were replaced by a watered-down President's day.

In the 90s, there came a new definition of sacrilege. Elephant dung smeared on a portrait of the Virgin Mary and a photo of a crucifix submerged in urine were referred to as "art"; the latter referred to as the "Piss Christ", and paid for by your tax dollars through the National Endowment for the Arts.

Even a changing of the guard did nothing to end the assault on our culture and traditions. Under Bush, the war of words continues.
Status quo in Iraq is the key to "victory".

The President calls patriotic Americans who uphold the law and try to stop the assault on our border --because the government ignores the law-- "vigilantes".
It's suddenly far too stigmatizing for children to be "it", so the game of tag is disappearing.

Dick Durbin likened valiant US soldiers to Nazis;

John Murtha called Marines "cold-blooded" murderers.


After the nation's veterans began registering their displeasure at John Kerry's sense of humor, he first backtracked, and said he was taking a swipe at Bush's intelligence, not our soldiers. He blamed his predicament on Republicans. He not only insulted every military veteran living or dead, but then called us all crazy.

He said we would have to be crazy if we believe that he would utter those words in reference to US soldiers, as opposed to the President.

Maybe; maybe not. What is clear however, is that Kerry is an attorney and a US Senator who speaks for a living. At best, he called the President stupid. At worst, US troops. Yet, even when he apologized, he still couldn't resist taking a swipe at Republicans for a mess of his own making.

The war of words has also resulted in the dilution of terms that were readily understood until recently. Terms that can have dire consequences on how we approach our future enemies, if simply glossed over. Muslims who firebomb French buses with people inside are now referred to as "youths" or "teenagers".

Muslim terrorists in Iraq are "insurgents".
I'm sure it's easy to guess where this is headed.

The war of words will never be won, unless we refuse to accept these outrageous assaults on our sensibilities and demand a return to the plainspoken truth. If we don't this country will spiral into more and more confusion.

If we can't even agree that "undocumented" means illegal, or that one who boards a bus full of civilians and blows it to smithereens is a terrorist, and not a "martyr" or "resistance fighter"; If we can't reach a common understanding of the terms of the debate, how can we ever have an honest debate?

___________________________________

Sunday, November 5th, 2006

http://warofwits.org/0611/words.htm

Euro-American Scum said...

If you're not a writer, historian, philosopher, or educator, you should be. I'd say that we need you in politics but there's no place for truth in politics these days.

Kathy --

I'm an historian by education, although much to my eternal regret, I never pursued it before the tyranny of political correctness infected university history programs.

I've looked into education as a second career. But in recent years, with so many teaching positions being offshored to India, it's a pointless waste of effort to pursue such folly.

My only claim to philosophy as an avocation was a survey course in Philosophy taught by Dallas Willard at USC when I was an undergraduate there.

As for a political career, well, let's just say I'd rather hustle insurance for A.L. Williams. It would be a more reputable undertaking by comparison. -:)

Euro-American Scum said...

The complacency you mention is much more of a threat to our survival than any terrorist organization. If our people were informed and interested, there isn't an enemy on earth that could defeat us.

John --

This is one reason why I am no longer a passionate advocate against further confiscatory gun laws. As things stand, it won't matter if we're armed or not.

200 million guns in the hands of 80 million private citizens don't add up to an army. Especially with a citizenry that doesn't care about its country.

On a related note, I'm becoming increasingly convinced that both the radical liberal left, and the globalist neocon right are fast coming to appreciate there will be no need to confiscate privately-held weapons.

A populace that has no sense of its heritage, and no willingness to stand up against the erosion of its country will provide little threat to the ruling elite.

Still, if it comes down to it, there remains the choice all of us have -- to go out on our knees or on our feet. I'd prefer to exit this world standing up.

E. A. Scum

Anonymous said...

Well, at least we can still party in El Salvador:

(AP)Israel has recalled its ambassador to El Salvador after police found him on the streets of the capital blind drunk and wearing nothing but bondage gear, a foreign ministry official said.

Anonymous said...

"the globalist neocon right" huh?

You ever hear of the term

pompous gasbag?

calbrindisi said...

Hey "anonymous"---You ever hear of the term "too stupid to tie his own shoes"?

Bug off.

all_good_men said...

It is rumored that Albert Einstein did not speak until the age of five. That is not a rumor. His mother worried when their young Albert did not make a sound at two. His parents had him tested and there were no physical abnormalities. His hearing was perfect. He should have been able to talk. But he did not. He turned three, then four and still no talking. Many more tests and still nothing indicated anything was wrong. His fifth birthday passed and still no speech. Then one day at dinner time, the young Albert Einstein said, "This spinach is cold". His parents were both amazed and extremely happy. Then, with joy in their voices, they asked Albert, "We did not think you could talk." Albert's response was, "I've been able to talk for years". His parent's then asked, "Why haven't you spoke before this?" His response was, "Well, up until now, everything was just fine!" America's spinach is cold and it's about time we said something.

cw-patriot said...

A-E-S, there's not a word with which I disagree, not a word I would change. And I cannot even excerpt portions on which to comment. All of it is insightful and astute, and all points are equally important (and therefore virtually ignored by all but a small fraction of the citizenry).

Your state of mind regarding the bleak future of our republic appears to mirror mine. I am becoming nearly unable to speak with people about the many threats that are literally breathing down our necks, all of which can spell the end of life as we know it. They just do not care, other than momentarily.

And our 'leadership' keeps itself busy either manufacturing threats that are somehow more convenient to face, or facing-down other threats that pale in comparison to the deadly ones they choose to ignore.

Your 'God help us' is well intentioned, I know, but why would He anymore?

Again, as always, I am honored to include your rare insight, intelligence, analytical ability, and eloquence on this site. Your possession of all of the aforementioned renders you one of a shriking minority in possession of a patriot's heart.

~ joanie

Al said...

Proposal: Let non-citizens vote in local elections

Pioneer Press Mar. 12, 2007

http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/16888253.htm

A constitutional amendment introduced today in the Minnesota House would allow non-citizen residents to vote in local elections.

If the House and Senate pass the measure, 2008 voters would be asked: "Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to allow local units of government to authorize permanent resident non-citizens to vote in local government elections?" A majority of those voting in the 2008 general election would have to approve the measure for it to be written into the constitution.

Illegal immigrants would not be permitted to vote.

The measure is sponsored by four Twin Cities DFLers — Rep. Phyllis Kahn, Minneapolis, Rep. Jim Davnie, Minneapolis, Rep. Carlos Mariani, St. Paul, and Rep. Frank Hornstein, Minneapolis.

The measure comes on the heels of a Take Action Minnesota's move to ask St. Paul city council candidates their opinions on a similar change in the city. Take Action Minnesota is an influential political group in St. Paul's elections.

Al said...

CW patriot----

I too noticed the longwinded Mr. EuroScum's use of the term neocon.

That term has been used for several years now by anti-Semites as a code word for Jews.

What are your thoughts on this, if any?

cw-patriot said...

'Al',

First of all, I can’t help but wonder why you would ask me about another author’s intentions. It seems to me that the rational and up-front thing to do would be to inquire of the author himself.

Secondly, I will not sit in defense of the author of the essay other than to say that I know him, and his credentials and political/religious viewpoints, very well -- well enough to be able to laugh at your intimation. If you only knew how ludicrous it is. Whether he decides to justify your slur with a response will be totally up to him.

Thirdly, I find it very odd that, out of a six thousand word (‘longwinded’ by your definition, apparently perceived otherwise by the majority on this thread) essay, covering a myriad of subjects pertinent to the current state of our republic, your only response is to place one word in your cross hairs and suggest that the author may be an anti-Semite as a result.

Whether or not his use of the term ‘neocon’ is misplaced, or whether he sees its definition differently than you, I suggest that the next time you are uncomfortable with an author’s use of a term, you go directly to him for clarification, and that you do so before you publicly hint that he may be prejudiced against a religion, culture, or ethnic group.

~ joanie

trustbutverify said...

Your sarcasm is well placed and justified, Mr. Scum. I appreciate the hard hitting article and wish that more of our historicans and "political pundits" were as perceptive.

2ndamendmentdefender said...

Al and Anonymous,

Have you ever read Thomas Paine's "Common Sense"? You ought to. You'd probably think he was a long winded gasbag too.

http://www.ushistory.org/paine/commonsense/singlehtml.htm

2ndamendmentdefender said...

Euro-American Scum,

Are you the same "Scum" who defended the 2nd amendment often on "that other blog"? If so, pleased to make your acquaintance.

kathymlynczak said...

Thanks for the response, Euro-American Scum. I look forward to reading more of your writing.

johnsteever said...

A populace that has no sense of its heritage, and no willingness to stand up against the erosion of its country will provide little threat to the ruling elite.

Still, if it comes down to it, there remains the choice all of us have -- to go out on our knees or on our feet. I'd prefer to exit this world standing up.


I understand your point of view, but we have a better chance of exiting this world standing up if we have a gun in our hand. They'll not get mine while I'm still breathing.

Al said...

CAIR OK'd to meet in Capitol

By S.A. Miller THE WASHINGTON TIMES March 12, 2007

http://www.washingtontimes.com/national/20070311-113356-1660r.htm

A House Democrat has arranged for a conference room in the Capitol building to be used tomorrow by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim advocacy group criticized for its persistent refusal to disavow terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah.

The District-based group also is singled out by other Democratic lawmakers and some law-enforcement officials because of financial ties to terrorists.

Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., New Jersey Democrat, reserved the basement conference room for CAIR's panel discussion Tuesday titled "Global Attitudes on Islam-West Relations: U.S. Policy Implications."

"We just see it as a simple room request," Pascrell spokesman Caley Gray said. "We did receive a room request and evaluated it and approved it."

He said the forum "opens up an important dialogue about global public opinion concerning the United States."

snip

alexib said...

This piece might be called "longwinded" if it wasn't packed with so much information and valid opinion!

When all of that information is written into one article it sure does paint a gloomy picture, but one we all need to look at.

I'm sometimes ashamed to be a baby boomer. We've really let the founders and our own children down.

Al said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
cw-patriot said...

I told myself, when I began this weblog ten months ago, that I would attempt to keep it running for a year, and do so without comment moderation. We are just two months shy of that deadline, and it appears that I will need to institute comment moderation as a result of one poster’s insistent attempts to malign another poster’s character, behind his back.

To those of you who would like to post a comment over the next two months, I apologize for the ‘censoring nature’ of comment moderation. That does not align well with my, and most of your, political philosophies, but I want, more than all else, for the last two months of this weblog to be civil ones, without unfounded attacks on other posters.

'Al' -- Euro-American Scum made a pilgrimage to Auschwitz and Birkenau in 2004, and personally took the "death walk" at Birkenau death camp, to pay homage to the victims of the Holocaust. He wrote about it in his essay ‘Who Are We?’ here last June. He is a staunch defender of Israel, and has many more personal ties to that nation's defense than he would permit me to list here. If you had addressed him personally about his ‘inappropriate’ (to your mind) use of the word 'neocon', I am sure he would have explained his use of it to your satisfaction, despite the fact that your definition of the term appears to differ from his.

~ joanie

robmaroni said...

Moderation is fine Joanie.

Al said...

CW.

Not that I compare Mr Scum to him,

but Arafat made a tour of the US Holocaust Museum during one of his US visits to see prez Bill Clinton.

The head of the museum refused to escort Arafat and was fired. (The museum is somewhat under US State dept control.)

Montypython2 said...

Longwinded, yes. But it takes a lot of wind to sail a boat, and it's about time this boat left harbor. We need to get the word out that we all better start paying attention or we're toast.

Thank you.

yogi said...

Euro-American Scum, have you read Ayn Rand? If so, opinion?

SharonGold said...

We ought to put this article in a time capsule so that years from now when revisionist historians have distorted history so that it isn't what it should be future generations can read this and understand what really happened.

Great writing!

anonymous said...

This is an excellent commentary filled with observations that most people don't have the capacity to make.

I have enjoyed all of your contributions here. Will be looking for more.

JamesDougherty said...

Thank you for the email Joanie. This is a powerful "editorial" that I cannot take issue with. Kudos Mr. Scum. You know the sad score.

Euro-American Scum said...

My goodness! I go out of town for a short little business trip to take care of some loose ends and the civil war I predicted would never happen erupts right here on Allegiance and Duty Betrayed.

How could I have forgotten? I guess this is what happens when I turn off Fox News for any length of time. It’s like turning away from the Bible. I loose sight of some of the fundamental truths of life.

I had forgotten the incipient – no, not incipient, inherent is more like it – liberalism in the fraud that is neo-conservatism. Looks like I need to tune in and watch Shep’s folksy down-home humor, not to mention watching him flirt with Jane Skinner. Every so often I need a reminder of what’s truly important in life. Down-home country boys, hot news babes, and George W. Bush.

I had forgotten that anyone who remotely threatens the neocon Holy Grail – George W. Bush, Karl Rove, Dick Cheney and the whole smoke and mirrors dog and pony show in DC – must be a Jew-hating, Nazi bigot. Years ago, it was liberals accusing all Republicans of latent Nazism. Now it’s neocons (liberals really, one and the same) accusing anyone critical of the object of their worship of the same thing. That which we call a liberal by any other name would stink as much. But then a wolf is still a wolf, no matter how subtle the sheep’s clothing.

Looks like the Rules of Disinformation are alive and well these days. If you can’t critique the message, fire up your handy dandy straw man and attack the messenger. Just one more example of why an insurgency is but a pipe dream regardless of all the bold talk in the blogosphere. We hate each other so much, and are so accustomed to endorsing the candidate with the preferred letter after his name, that we’re prepared to follow that leader off a cliff without so much as a second thought. Kim Jong Il could win the presidential nomination if he registered as a Republican. We’re certainly not willing to get out from behind the safety of our high speed DSL modems and do anything about how the country is dissolving before our eyes.

Well, I’m off to San Diego on a business trip for the next couple of weeks for an advanced sales training workshop. And I must admit, Nixon was right about one thing: If you’re going to be dumped, California is a great place to be dumped in. I would add, that if you must be dumped in California, San Diego tops the list. Well, Santa Barbara might rank right up there too.

But, I’ll be back – just like Arnold Schwarzenegger – so be sure and leave a bomb burning in the window for me. It just wouldn’t seem like home without it.

E. A. Scum

Anonymous said...

Joanie and Scum, I respect both of you a lot and always look forward to your writing but I think you're both making a mistake with the way you're treating this disruptor. Why give him the attention he wants?

Joanie, by moderating this blog because of him you're changing the format here. Instead you should just ignore his ridiculous posts and let him show himself for who he is.

Scum, all of the comments here about your column are very positive except for the disruptor's, but his is just about the only comment you answered.

Let him rant. He only makes a bigger fool out of himself by doing so.

Kudos to you both on your excellent writing.

calbrindisi said...

I agree with "anonymous." No reflection on you cw, but you ought to rethink the moderation thing. Ignoring disruptors, unless they become profane or racist, etc., is always the best policy. By changing the format you're giving him what he wants---power over what goes on here.

John Cooper said...

Mr. Scum--

I sure do like reading what you write. You have a real knack for telling a story with a moral at the end.

I would like to quibble with one small thing, though. We all know that the founders of America were Christians, but that particular belief was not the foundation of the American form of government as I see it. The concept of *individual rights* was the foundation, regardless of whom they were thankful to.

It's my sense - obviously I don't know for sure - that the founders didn't care what men believed as long as they agreed not to violate the rights of others by force. I'd like to think that idea is the essence of America, not the Christian faith itself. Sure, the Bible preaches many of the same ideas, but the founders made sure that the government they formed was not there to protect one religion or another. It was there to protect individual rights.

Perhaps I'm trying to make too fine a point of it, but the Declaration of Independence used a very clever (I think) phrasing. Jefferson wrote "...endowed by their creator..." - which left room for the beliefs of *all* religions as well as those who believed that nature - not a supernatural being - was their creator.

Once again, thanks for gracing us with your well written and thought provoking essay.

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