“America is the greatest, freest and most decent society in existence. It is an oasis of goodness in a desert of cynicism and barbarism. This country, once an experiment unique in the world, is now the last best hope for the world.”
While our story begins much earlier than 2015, the telling of the beginning of the great and dismal decline of our nation would require volumes of its own, however time is of the essence, so let us begin by acknowledging that the floor was already wet with the blood of our nation’s greatness long before the final stroke fell. In this moment of philosophical triage, it is the final assault that we must focus on, if there is any hope left of saving our civilization from those who seek to drag us all down into the madness of ignorance, superstition, and bigotry.
No individual epitomizes this great unmaking more clearly than Dinesh D’Souza, right wing film maker, career pundit, and evangelical Christian apologist. Dinesh once argued against the toxic incivility of the “new Atheism” championed by Charles Dawkins, Sam Harris, and the late Christopher Hitchens. He made poignant films about the growing threat of the socialism at the heart of the new Democratic Party and the underlying intolerance of leftist socialist ideology. Dinesh had positioned himself as a standard bearer of both the Christian worldview and the conservative worldview.
Yesterday, Dinesh posted this onto Twitter:
If Dinesh’s comment somehow represents that “oasis of goodness” he once spoke about, then one of us, either he or I, critically misunderstands what constitutes “cynicism and barbarism“, and, even though Dinesh has since offered a rather lukewarm apology for his statement, the fact that he made it in the first place demonstrates just how badly disconnected Dinesh D’Souza has become from the philosophies that he once boldly espoused. There is nothing Christian or conservative in his present mindset, because his mindset is, in fact, neither of those things.
His cancerous mindset at the heart of the unmaking of America has a name, and that name is Trumpism.
“America is a new kind of society that produces a new kind of human being. That human being—confident, self-reliant, tolerant, generous, future oriented—is a vast improvement over the wretched, servile, fatalistic, and intolerant human being that traditional societies have always produced…”
There was a time in the Republican Party that tolerance of philosophical disagreement and generosity of spirit were the core ethos of the party. It was that “big tent” philosophy described best by Ronald Reagan, when he said in a speech he gave in 1967, “The Republican Party, both in this state and nationally, is a broad party. There is room in our tent for many views; indeed, the divergence of views is one of our strengths… It is the duty and responsibility of the volunteer Republican organizations, not to further divide, but to lead the way to unity. It is not your duty, responsibility, or privilege to tear down, or attempt to destroy, others in the tent.“
Whatever once remained of the “tolerant” and “generous” Republican and, indeed, American ethos has clearly withered and died, becoming a “wretched, servile, fatalistic, and intolerant” exposed nerve of spite and cruelty, fueling constant antagonism of their countrymen on both the left and the right. The terrible irony is that I fundamentally agree with Dinesh D’Souza of a few years ago, when he wrote about the hopeful, the tolerant, and the optimistic American ideal. I believed that we were the “freest and most decent society” in the world.
I say believed, because I do not believe it is true anymore. Freedom, restrained as it is by the well meaning but misguided puritanicalism of the right and over a century of liberty killing progressivism of the left, remains as elusive and grossly misunderstood in America as it has ever been, and decency, the glue that holds any society together where people who may disagree at least pretend they are willing to share a country with those whom they disagree, is lying bleeding on the floor, thanks in no small part to Dinesh D’Souza himself and the Trumpism that he now espouses.
The long fight for freedom is the most important battle conservatives face, but that battle is pointless without a society to free. It is the duty of all conservatives and, indeed, all Americans to rescue decency from the clutches of Trumpism. Save decency, and we save our Republic.
Liberty is For The Win!