By Jonathon Van Maren
A couple of days ago, I watched a VICE News report on one of the latest episodes of America’s most pathetic trend: The furious temper tantrums of university students, who utilize fictitious oppression hierarchies to wield their fake victimhood as a weapon and get those who disagree with them fired. There’s something mildly nauseating about the scenes unfolding on campuses across the continent, as students work themselves into near-genuine hysteria, weeping and howling and cursing any authority figure, no matter how slight, with a ferocity that is jarring—Dr. Norman Doidge recently gave a lecture where he highlighted a few recent examples. This is what progressivism does to young minds: It turns young men and women in the strength of their lives, when they should be selecting a career and surging forward, into faux victims who emit babble indistinguishable to most normal people—mewling, profane, and ugly.
One of the defining characteristics of progressive activists is that they despise history and virtually everyone in it. It’s not hard to understand why—when you’re on the ideological cutting edge of what it means to be politically correct and have been the blessed beneficiary of queer studies or the Womyn’s Department, there are very few people who survive the analysis of the rapidly evolving post-modern pyramid scheme. History, it seems, is filled not just with flawed people, which we already knew. It is filled with heteronormative cisgendered white privileged homophobic chauvinists. Even devout feminist progressives like Germaine Greer, who was at the forefront of the fight for the Sexual Revolution, doesn’t get a pass. It turns out she doesn’t care for the idea of dudes with penises or dudes who had them lopped off pretending that they understand the female experience, which makes her a wretched transphobe.
As I was watching the VICE report, with these post-puberty babies caterwauling about privilege (in one of the richest nations on earth, during a time of unparalleled technological as well as medical progress, while pursuing an education denied to most of Earth’s population) I couldn’t help but think to myself: Yes, these students might be “ashamed” of the historical figures who built the nation that gave them the right to be such utter disappointments—if this rabble is even capable of shame anymore. But I wonder if they ever stopped to consider that the men and women of America’s past would be deeply ashamed of them, as well.
Let’s not kid ourselves. The Black Lives Matter crowd dedicated to the “destruction of the nuclear family,” radical gender ideology, and often violence? Martin Luther King Jr. would be ashamed of these students. Frederick Douglass would denounce them. Booker T. Washington would wonder what went so horrifyingly wrong. Not to mention the fact that these men were devout Christians, and Christianity drove their ideology. To progressives and the Black Lives Matter crowd, that makes these heroes heretics.
Let’s take this thought experiment a step further. What would Abraham Lincoln, the man who grappled in private prayer every morning for the boys in the blue and the gray, think of nearly-nude bondage fetishists and drag queens prancing down the main street of nearly every major American city? What would he think of the fact that as a politician, he would be called on to approve of such things, and pilloried far and wide in the press if he did not? Progressives might scoff at the white privileged Founding Fathers, with all their faults and inconsistencies. But one can only imagine what these great men would think of their sad, pathetic descendants, who actually think that men can get pregnant.
The contrast between then and now struck me last summer when I was exploring Plymouth with my wife. Near Plymouth Rock, I spotted a tall statue of an elegant Puritan woman. In front of the statue, several scantily clad teen girls were taking selfies. We walked behind it, and saw that there was a list of names, the women of the settlement who had braved the Atlantic on the Mayflower to regain the religious freedom they needed to worship God according to their own beliefs. Beneath the names was carved these words: “They brought up their families with sturdy virtue and a living faith in God, without which nations perish.”
Without which nations perish. Sobering, prophetic words. American democracy rests on a foundation of blood, sweat and tears, shed by men and women who built a nation unparalleled in human history for freedom and wealth. These very men and women are now spurned by the moral midgets who populate the once-great university campuses, who pipsqueak their retroactive rage at the ancestors who did what they never could. These students may be ashamed of their heritage, which has given them the time and money it takes to waste their lives and educations on such frivolities. But perhaps it would be wise for them to pause and realize that their ancestors would be profoundly ashamed of them, too—and it’s not very hard to see why.
For anyone interested, my book on The Culture War, which analyzes the journey our culture has taken from the way it was to the way it is and examines the Sexual Revolution, hook-up culture, the rise of the porn plague, abortion, commodity culture, euthanasia, and the gay rights movement, is available for sale here.