"First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist; Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist; Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew; Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me."
This cryptic prose by German pastor Martin Niemoller in the face of Hitler's national socialism is poignantly relevant. Switch around the subjects and you'll get modern America, liberal style.
The United States was founded by intellectuals and enlightened thinkers, following in the footsteps of the likes of John Locke in England, who helped forge the philosophy of the likes of Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine and so many others, exploding with ideas there in Philadelphia in 1776 and 1787, a veritable sunburst of intellectualism. Through the centuries, there have been highs and lows of intellectual thinkers of both the left and the right. Some predominate, like William F. Buckley, H. L. Mencken, Victor Davis Hanson, Thorstein Veblen and Frank Meyer, but they are relatively few and far between.
Today, America is in deep trouble, for the intellectualism that helped move the country forward is now nearly barred from the public square. Critical thinking is barred from most public discourse. In its wake is a left-wing bloated and corrupt education system, a left wing and monopolistic entertainment industry, and a left wing, celebrity-fixated media oligarchy.
And it all starts with the American left. As instructed in Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky, the left either destroys or takes over institutions in order to gain control; power. Public education, while providing free schooling to America's children, is now under the thumb of the left and their labor unions, and our children are not learning, except to mouth leftist bromides. I am reminded of our children's grade school principal, years ago, an unthinking useful idiot, yelling at the Telescreen during the Five-Minute Hate, as in the novel, 1984.
The University of California, Berkeley was once a bastion of the Free Speech movement. In 1964, students in support of the Civil Rights movement and against JFK's Vietnam War marched on campus, holding signs and banners reading "FREE SPEECH" and "STAND FOR WHAT YOU BELIEVE."
Fifty years later, any prominent conservatives—Ben Shapiro, Ann Coulter even firebrand and provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos—are met with leftist-inspired fire, riots and destruction. Graffiti litters the buildings with profanity and death-threats, with a clear intent to shut them down and ban them from speaking.
The news made headlines across America, but it is hardly an isolated case. All education systems and all colleges have been infiltrated—and we use that word deliberately—by leftists who wish to silence the other half of America. One college in western Maryland, faculty included, was in the midst of civil war, all because the College Republican Club posted conservative quotes on a campus bulletin board. A couple of the quotes maybe crossed lines in tone but not belief, yet both students and staff rallied in an attempt to ban the club, citing hate speech. College students are taught that Republicans should be banned from campus.
From California to Maryland, it's not a simple prominence of leftist teachers; that is not the problem. It's a prominence of leftist teachers who believe and teach that only leftist beliefs are valid and acceptable. Allowing and mandating kids to skip school for protest marches crosses a line from education to indoctrination. Will you speak out?
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Craig Shirley is a New York Times best-selling author and presidential historian. Scott Mauer is his lead researcher.
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