The writer Robert Ruark titled one of his novels after a South African proverb: “If a man does away with his traditional way of living and throws away his good customs, he had better first make certain that he has something of value to replace them.”
This Thanksgiving, many of us will express gratitude for the traditions and good customs of the United States of America: our freedom of speech and religion, our right to defend ourselves by force of arms, our respect for the individual man and woman and our commitment to the restraints on government that leave them free.
But many of our friends on the left — including some of those who aspire to be president — don’t share our gratitude. “America was never great,” says Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo echoes him: “America was never that great.” “This country was founded on racism,” says Beto O’Rourke.
The New York Times agrees. They tell us holidays like Columbus Day and Thanksgiving celebrate imperialism and genocide. They want to end free speech and instead censor hate speech — which is to say, any speech they hate. They want to penalize religion for not sharing the passing moral fancies of the present day. They want to strip us of our guns and leave us defenseless before their lust for more and more power.
No doubt our country, being full of human beings, is imperfect and can always improve. But what is the “something of value” that the left is offering us instead of our traditions and customs of freedom? With what do they plan to replace the country the rest of us love?
The left is ceaselessly on the attack against a fantastical network of intersectional oppression, a made-up world in which American women and minorities face systematic injustice at the hands of evil white men. But what can we look forward to when that wicked fantasy system is overturned? Can you ever imagine the left, with its victim mentality, announcing itself free of victimhood? Can you ever imagine social justice warriors declaring the war is over? It will never happen. They are offering to replace freedom — its challenges and delights — with an endless series of accusations, fueled by rage, envy and an unjustified hunger for revenge.
They call for reparations for past sins like slavery and segregation. But can you imagine some pay-off that will put an end to the bitterness that’s at the center of their philosophy? How much money will be enough? What bribe will convince those who never suffered to forgive us for sins we never committed?
The left wants to erase the unfairness of gender, that act of God that assigns different roles in the work of human creation and nurturing to each of the two sexes. But what utopian perfection do you think will arise when men no longer bear the responsibilities of men and women abandon the functions of women? The left has taken the chief consolation of life and turned it into a dysfunctional misery. With what do they plan to replace it?
The left’s relentless wholesale assault on this, the last best hope of earth, depends on our never stopping to ask what they are actually offering in its stead. American traditions and customs have raised this country to unimaginable heights of freedom, wealth and power. We should be grateful for them always and never abandon them unless and until we can truly replace them with something of value.