We are deeply divided.
On the one hand, there are those of us who believe Lincoln was right when he said this nation was conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. We insist that the fundamental character of this nation – grounded as it is in the transformative and revolutionary principles of the Declaration – is very good indeed. We concede that these ideals have sometimes been imperfectly realized. Nevertheless, that goodness has always been central to our national character and has been demonstrated by the great strides we have made over the centuries toward realizing the ideals of our founding charter.
On the other hand, there are those who believe Nikole Hannah-Jones’ 1619 Project narrative. They say Lincoln was perpetuating a myth, and the ugly truth is that this nation was founded in an oppressive system that has always been central to our national character. Contra Lincoln, they believe this nation was conceived in evil and dedicated to the preservation of that evil, and therefore it must be transformed at a fundamental level.
Those views are irreconcilable.
In 1863 Lincoln understood that the nation was being tested. Could a nation so conceived long endure? When he said those words, the answer to that question was still very much in doubt. Today, we are being tested again, and the outcome of that test is again very much in doubt. The 1619 Project is being taught in literally thousands of schools. How can a nation endure when half of its children are being taught that it has always been evil at a fundamental level? Will this nation endure? It is hard to be optimistic.
Calls for from the Left to suppress speech are especially alarming. But we should not be surprised. Neo-Marxists Herbert Marcuse, in his paper Repressive Tolerance, says that even the thoughts of those expressing belief in the ideas of The Enlightenment and individual sovereignty should be silenced.”
Some people see a great irony here, because the Left at one time was the greatest proponent of First Amendment rights. Be assured; there is no irony. Muad’Dib’s dictum: “When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles.”
The Left was never in favor of freedom of conscience in principle. They were in favor of freedom when it was useful for them. Now that it is useful for them to stifle freedom, they are in favor of that.
In the days before the Left achieved cultural hegemony, they wanted freedom of speech for themselves. Now that they have achieved that hegemony, they no longer have any use for freedom. Their intolerance of competing ideas and call to stifle the speech rights of their opponents is merely an application of Muad’Dib’s dictum.