SELECTED PASSAGES … ‘Death to America!” is a common refrain from antifa rioters from Portland, Ore., to Kenosha, Wis. … Neither political party has been willing or able to end this anarchy. Extremism becomes more entrenched in American politics with each passing day.
These acts of violence encapsulate five decades of neo-Marxist indoctrination in American schools, colleges and universities. The left’s “long march” through the institutions is all but complete. Extreme intolerance has now replaced the liberal notion of negotiated compromise that is the sine qua non of democracy. America’s young, especially those raised in middle-class or affluent homes, have been so brainwashed that they no longer notice how absurd it is to call for the eradication of their own nation-state, ….
Their ignorance of history is the hallmark of the current crisis. Few seem able to grasp the complex, often painful, but on balance grand story of America—one that is an example of what a people committed to individual freedom can achieve. Instead, they have been indoctrinated to reduce American life to a racial binary of whites vs. “people of color.” It’s much like the communist binary of the bourgeoisie vs. the proletariat that the Bolsheviks used to seize power in 1917, with millions perishing in the totalitarian Soviet experiment that followed.
The violence suggests that tribalism based on group identity is poised to succeed the larger national community that for more than two centuries has protected and expanded freedom around the world. The American nation-state is a unique experiment, unparalleled in history: a political project that grew from an established Anglo colonial settler culture, and that forged a distinct national identity strong enough to acculturate the many ethnic groups that have immigrated, while preserving a strong sense of its unitary creed.
… the power of the American ideal offered millions something that no other culture could, namely the chance to reinvent and renew one’s life, advance one’s position, and create a better future for one’s children. The passionate nationalism of America has been rooted in the belief in exceptionalism as a people ordained for greatness, and that equality of opportunity under the law could constrain the base impulses of man.
It is a tragedy that the young seem to have jettisoned this foundational American ideal, or more likely were never exposed to it in the first place. The traditional view that political victory and loss are both part of the democratic process and the gist of a self-constituting polity has been replaced with a Leninist drive to nullify one’s opponent. …
Elites, especially the professoriate, bear much of the responsibility …. For decades… they laid the groundwork for the present moment. …
American free-market capitalism has been both the most destructive and the most creative framework for generating wealth and innovation. Yet historically, its destructive quality was tempered by the regnant nationalism of its people, one that ultimately superseded the idea of class. The Rockefellers, Fords and Carnegies—and more recently the Kennedys and the Bushes—saw themselves bound to their nation and the attendant principle of mutuality of obligation, giving back in money and service to the country that made their success possible. They saw themselves as Americans first, even though they had the means to be citizens of the world.
In contrast, among America’s corporate elite today, especially its financial plutocrats on the East Coast and digital aristocracy on the West Coast, … commitment to one’s country is seen as a sign of retrograde populism to be stamped out …
Corporate elites have pushed a self-serving vision of a world of transnationalism unconstrained by local cultures and institutions, many of which took centuries to establish and consolidate. The new credentialed oligarchy…feels an ever more tenuous sense of obligation to its fellow nationals.
The assault on the constitutional right of citizens to speak freely unless they affirm first the increasingly intolerant orthodoxy has been unrelenting. The nation’s freedom is being abridged by incessant charges of structural racism, white privilege, homophobia and intolerance, with few pausing to consider the effect on liberal traditions. Today the neo-Marxists control almost all areas of elite discourse in the U.S., and can thus cancel any opposition by hurling “populism” or “racism” at anyone who refuses to submit to their ideological line.
… the deconstruction of the American nation is coming dangerously close to completion. The Western nation-state as the irreducible unit of the international system is weaker than at any time since the end of World War II. The neo-Marxist left is separating the institutions of American democracy from their national foundations. …The stakes are in full view for anyone to see.
Mr. Michta is dean of the College of International and Security Studies at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.
From the opinion pages of The Wall Street Journal, critical perspective and analysis on developments from Washington
OPINION: POTOMAC WATCH
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