Watching NBC’s TODAY program on Tuesday, January 23, 2019, there was anchor Savannah Guthrie demanding to know if Covington, Kentucky, Catholic High School student, Nick Sandmann, wished to “apologize” for his “actions” in front of the Lincoln Memorial when confronted by Indian activist, Nathan Phillips, on January 19. The scarcely-concealed bias that characterized Guthrie’s question and the continuing media narrative—proven to be built on a lie but still perpetrated by the Progressivist Left, was compounded by her next question: was Sandman’s now famous smile in reality a disrespectful “smirk,” a kind of “racist dog-whistle,” a symbol of “white privilege”?
Something had snapped: this small, what probably should have been insignificant event, brought everything, all that is occurring in our sick society, into stark perspective as little else had.
Is America finished? Is the fragile “experiment in republicanism” begun in Philadelphia in 1787 finally over, or at the very least experiencing its noisy death throes?
Certainly, since the defeat of the American constitutional system in 1865 there has been a pernicious and seriously destructive trajectory in our history which, now reaching unimagined and unparalleled frenzy, seems to indicate so.
Are we not living in a geographical entity officially called the United States of America where verifiably there are TWO Americas, TWO conceptions of what is real and what is not real, TWO ideas of what is moral and what is not, TWO views about Truth and Error, TWO visions about using whatever means is available to reach a desired and posited end (which for one of these groups is the creation of a brutal, vicious and soulless “utopia” that would make Joe Stalin’s Communism seem like Disneyland in comparison)?
Words—“devil terms”—now pop up with amazing regularity and frequency: “racism,” “white privilege,” “sexism,” “toxic masculinity,” “equality,” “democracy,” and so on. And these terms have been weaponized and are now employed by those on the Left—but also by many elitist movement conservatives (“conservatism inc.”)—to disauthorize, condemn, and damn anyone who would actually oppose the rapid Leftward spiral of what remains of this nation.
Not just the wide-eyed unhinged talking heads on CNN and MSNBC and on Twitter, but such “respectable” conservative voices as Bill Kristol, Hew Hewitt, and National Review and various Republican types, have joined in with the baying mob. Their hardly-concealed hatred for “middle America,” for that lumpenproletariat of hard-working, gun-owning, church-going, underpaid folks who still try to raise a family morally on a shrinking salary, knows no bounds.
Perhaps as many as one half of our citizens, those who over the decades have become the identifiable elites and financial, political and cultural “upper crust,” look upon the rest of us as mere rubes, a servile class who are not supposed to have a voice—this, you see, is now “American democracy.”
Those folks—our folks—were not supposed to get restive, not supposed to get off the “reservation” assigned to us. But in 2016 we did, we did because instinctively we knew that the old promises of this nation had fallen by the wayside, that an unelected managerial class—an elite more connected globally and more loyal to its own class and more concerned about conserving its power and authority—guided our destiny and did not give a damn about us, despite the constant stream of vomited campaign promises and solemn avowals we hear every election season.
Many of us were stunned at the unleashed and vile hatred directed at us. All we had done was ask—in the normal way at the voting booth—that the long-forgotten promises of the Framers be fulfilled. All we had done was ask that our elected leaders in Congress and in government (and those elites) finally acknowledge our just requests.
But those elites—the media, the entertainment industry, almost the entirety of academia, and not just the Progressivist Democrat Left, but also those supposed defenders of our interests, “conservatism inc.”—responded not only with undisguised and unrestrained anger, but with disdain, contempt and condescension…and with a steady diet of what, charitably, can only be described as lies, fabrications, assaults on our character, attempts to suppress our guaranteed rights to speech and expression, shaming us, and efforts (many successful) to destroy our livelihoods or get us fired from our jobs or dismissed from our schools.
What happened to those Catholic high school students from Kentucky who had been to the March for Life, who wore those MAGA hats, is only the latest—and perhaps the most scandalous and searing—example of this climate of venom and unconcealed hatred. And it is not a hatred that emits from our folks, not from the “deplorables,” but from that “other America” that feels threatened by the “natives”—threatened by those of us on the giant fly-over plantation between the million dollar mansions surrounded by walls in Silicon Valley and the paneled million dollar board rooms on Wall Street where the international globalists gather to plot the future of the world: a world enmeshed in slogans about “the fruits of democracy” and “equal rights,” where “racism” and “sexism” will finally be banished….but where, in fact, the very contrary will exist, where democracy will have become a totalitarian dystopia a thousand times worse than what George Orwell envisioned in his phantasmagoric novel Nineteen Eighty Four.
Even if these two Americas still use the same language they are increasingly incapable of communicating with each other, as almost weekly words and terms are redefined beyond comprehension. The new “devil terms” are fierce and nearly unstoppable weapons used to destroy and humiliate; they are the modern version of hydrogen bombs deployed by the Progressivists. They illustrate what political theorist Paul Gottfried calls a “post-Marxist” praxis that has actually moved beyond the assaults of cultural Marxism towards a new imposed narrative and what German philosophers might call a “gestalt.”
You cannot dissent from it, you cannot deny it. If it demands you call black, white; then you must comply, or suffer the consequences. If your eyes tell you one thing, but the collective media and elites tells you something else, “who you gonna believe, them or your lying eyes”?
Thus, the egregiously false and unspeakably evil reportage concerning those Catholic students in Washington this past weekend, the foul, even satanic attacks upon them…and upon that “smirk” that so provoked Susannah Guthrie. It was just a relatively small incident in the overall scheme of things, yet it became on nearly every news channel, on Twitter, on Facebook, everywhere, an archetypal case of “racism,” “sexism,” “white privilege,” “toxic masculinity.” Those boys were white, Christian, wearing those MAGA hats, and from a Southern state—obviously, they were guilty, no need to examine the facts.
The incident rapidly became a major cudgel not just for the Progressivists but also for the mainline conservative movement types, who are little more than eager foot soldiers doing the bidding of their bedfellows on the farther Left, and who see such opportunities as a chance to eagerly “virtue-signal” to their Progressivist buddies that, “hey, look, we aren’t like those bad uncouth right wing racists—we actually share your essential premises about America!” Hello Ben Shapiro, Jonah Goldberg, National Review, Bill Kristol, and company.
The immediate condemnations of those students came quickly and in the thousands via social media—death threats, demands to publish names and addresses, appeals to have them expelled from their school, encouragement to kill them, and worse…And all based on a totally and blatantly fake narrative, and the openly false statement of a Native American activist and revolutionary. No matter—it served the template, it served the created “gestalt,” it projected the vision and the thinking of that one half of America that is living in a counter-reality, lunatics who have turned much of this country into their own private asylum. But where the rest of us are now seen as the crazies. Is this not G. K. Chesterton’s definition of lunacy in all its aching misery, of being truly outside the realm of reality itself?
Back in 2015 ago I published an essay at Communities Digital News [“Pat Buchanan and the End of America,” in which I suggested, echoing on from writer Patrick Buchanan’s warning from the 1990s, that America—the American nation—was on the brink of fracturing irredeemably, broken apart on the then-still-not-clearly-seen rocks of political correctness, extreme multiculturalism, and the Hydra-headed monsters from Hell, accusations of racism (AKA, “white supremacy”) and sexism (AKA, “toxic masculinity”).
At the time I had a couple of friends whom I would call “regular” or establishment conservatives who approached me and informed me that I was simply exaggerating, that Buchanan was the extremist and fear monger. Later, when I began to write favorably of Donald Trump’s presidential run, and its potentially profound meaning for American (and international) politics and culture, some of these same friends again just shook their collective heads and, with deep concern, wondered how I could “deviate” from what they termed “conservative orthodoxy.”
I was not exaggerating; indeed, what I wrote back then was far too timid, far too mild.
In fact, I have come to the conclusion, fitfully and uncomfortably, and after witnessing the far, far greater meaning revealed by what occurred with those Kentucky pro-life students, that America in 2019 faces three choices for its future:
(1) Either there must be some large mass conversion of one side or the other (a “Road to Damascus” conversion?), probably occasioned by some immense and earth-shaking event, war, depression, disaster; (2) the secession of large portions of what is presently geographically the United States, including possibly enclaves within some states that would basically exit those jurisdictions—this secession could be peaceable, although increasingly I think it would not be; or lastly, and worst, (3) the devolution of this country into open and vicious civil and guerrilla war.
I am not at all comforted by this vision, but, frankly, given the present state of this nation, is there any other possibility? After all, despite the pious pinning of the Neoconservative publicists that America is the world’s “exceptional” nation, the new Utopia, God did not grant us national eternity, did not guarantee our future. And our leaders and many of our citizens have done their damnedest to undo and undermine all those original hopes and promises.
At present the last scenario looks like the one that is coming, and it will not most likely be what any of us expect. Our enemies, the Progressivists and their allies it is true, are growing in number and have demographics on their side. But we do have one advantage: they believe in gun control. We don’t.
This piece was originally published on My Corner on January 22, 2019.
Boyd D. Cathey holds a doctorate in European history from the Catholic University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain, where he was a Richard Weaver Fellow, and an MA in intellectual history from the University of Virginia (as a Jefferson Fellow). He was assistant to conservative author and philosopher the late Russell Kirk. In more recent years he served as State Registrar of the North Carolina Division of Archives and History. He has published in French, Spanish, and English, on historical subjects as well as classical music and opera. He is active in the Sons of Confederate Veterans and various historical, archival, and genealogical organizations.