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Daily Wire podcast host Michael Knowles said Thursday that America is suffering from an identity crisis.
In a lecture at Purdue University Thursday evening, entitled “Our National Identity Disorder,” Knowles said that the leftist fascination with liberation from all norms has not transcended societal norms, but replaced them. Liberalism has destroyed the American identity, said Knowles, and America must confront this crisis and assert her identity again.
Knowles began his speech by poking fun at protesters who had assembled outside the room he was speaking in for hours before, noting that there were two planned protests to his speech. “My critics are so confused, they can’t even agree on how to protest me,” he said.
The protesters posted flyers around campus that read, “no fascists on campus.” Knowles held up two of the posters, joking that they were “Italophobic” and remarking that fascism was “far too modern and progressive” an ideology for him.
The protesters were of course referring to Knowles’ CPAC Speech in which he called for the ideology of transgenderism to be eradicated from public life. Knowles defended his speech again. “We should not delude people who don’t know who they are, we should help them and correct them,” he said.
But the rise of “gender mania” is both a cause and a symptom of the larger problem, he noted. Because of a porous southern border, America “cannot be said to comprise a particular people.” Americans do not worship the same God either, said Knowles, citing a precipitous and continuing decline in religiosity. We no longer salute the same flag: conservatives venerate the Stars and Stripes, but liberals salute the “mitotic rainbow” of the LGBTQ movement. We no longer have a common concept of marriage, nor can we agree on the definition of man and woman, added Knowles.
This crisis of American identity has been “exacerbated by radicals who have exploited Americans’ traditional love of liberty, which they have perverted over time beyond recognition,” Knowles continued. “The early American promise of liberation from injustice today has devolved into a temptation to liberate us from any and all constraints: political, cultural, familial, all the way to liberation from our own selves.” But this is not really what has happened. “The liberals’ project is not really, as they insist, one of liberation, but rather one merely one of resetting standards,” he said. “That’s how it works in practice.”
Knowles then stressed that America must make a decisive choice between visions. “If we get our way, the preposterous ideology of transgenderism will be eradicated from public life,” he said. “If [liberals] get their way, the distinct categories of man and woman will be eradicated from public life.”
“Those are the choices,” he added. “There can be no middle ground or simultaneous establishment of opposing premises. We will live according to one view or the other. One view, one identity, must win, the other must lose.”
Unfortunately, for the past few decades, the liberal notion of American identity is winning. “Their vision of national identity is the same vision of total liberation that we see in the claims of transgenderism,” Knowles observed. “It is the claim that America can be anything because America is not really anything at all. It isn’t a people, it isn’t a religion, it isn’t a language. It isn’t even a geographic area hemmed in by a real border. If America is anything at all, it’s just an idea floating out there in the aether somewhere. But really, according to the liberals, it isn’t even that, it’s just nothing.”
Knowles concluded his speech by pointing out the choice that America must make. “Will we continue to rebel against reality?” He asked. “Will we degrade ourselves further into decadence and delusion, and drown out the facts of life by howling into the wind like the poor souls outside? Or, will we open our ears to reason and revelation and the wisdom of the Ages? Will we choose instead obedience to reality, which finds in limits, in duty, in servitude itself, the spirit of an exalted freedom?”