Hillary’s supporters are certain that Trump will be a Hitlerian nightmare of totalitarianism, with women, blacks, Hispanics, LGBTQ+-ers, and Muslims thrown into dire concentration camps somewhere in the middle of Kansas. Meanwhile, the less loopy #NeverTrump crowd is worried that Trump will be something along the lines of a Huey Long-esque American demagogue.
I fall into a third category: Trump supporters who believe that he’s the last gasp chance to restore American notions of freedom and law. I have to admit, though, that I’m a afraid he won’t succeed — not because he’s incapable of being a good president, but because several generations of Americans have been trained away from those very American notions.
I’ll walk you through three scenarios here, and then wrap back to my thesis.
Scenario One: Germany, Italy, and Japan go full fascist. We bring them to democratic principles by (a) grinding them into the dust; (b) taking over their political systems; and (c) spending the next six decades spending an enormous amount of money and a fair amount of manpower trying to inculcate in them American notions of law and liberty.
Japan and Germany grasp the law concept, while Italy almost gets it. When it comes to liberty, they’re a bit less clear. They cannot shake off the socialist notion of liberty, which is “I’m free from worry, because the government takes care of me.”
The American idea of freedom — free to speak, free to worship, free to choose a career, etc — is harder for them to grasp. In all those places, the government feels free to impose barriers between citizens and these freedoms, something true even in our ally England, which brought those notions of freedom to America in the first place.
Scenario Two. After al Qaeda attacks Americans on American soil, President Bush decides to bring the war to al Qaeda, and concludes that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq is a good place to start. Bush’s choice of Iraq is influenced, in part, by a second idea: Because democracies seldom go to war against each other and because Iraq is not a full Muslim theocracy, but has a more modern, civil infrastructure, after we defeat Iraq, let’s introduce its citizens to American style democracy, one predicated on individual liberty.
As we know, that didn’t happen. Mistake number one was Bush’s, which was the failure to understand that we managed those “democracy building” exercises with the Axis powers because we ground them into dust first with all-out warfare. We weren’t willing to do that with Iraq, so we never convinced many Iraqis that following America and American values was the only available option.
Mistake number two was Obama’s, which was to withdraw American troops and money without sticking around to teach and monitor the elevation of American-style liberties. It would have been bad enough if America’s summary withdrawal had resulted in a return to Hussein’s style of governance. What happened, though, was worse: We created a vacuum that ISIS and Iran filled. The Iraqis are trying to recover their country, but it’s never going to be an American-style democracy.
Scenario Three. I’m visiting friends in The Villages in Florida. It is an amazing place. It is a vast retirement community about 45 miles NW of Orlando. Rather than being one giant community, it is a series of little communities, each with a town square and a theme. We spend part of today in the Western-themed part of The Villages. It’s as well-thought out as a Disney park. Indeed, I suspect The Villages hired some of the same designers.
Anyway, we did two main things today. First, we visited the Eisenhower Recreation Center, which is a community center that’s been turned into an homage to America’s military. The displays are incredible because they are a century’s worth of men’s and women’s personal memoriabilia — photos, ration books, clothes, awards, enlistment and discharge papers, and souvenirs, including my personal favorite, which is a Japanese flag recovered from Iwo Jima covered with signatures from the men who won it.
The second thing we did was to watch some of the entertainment for the Sadie Hawkins celebration. Flags were much in evidence. Patriotism was simple and unaffected.
So, what have we got: American liberty is a fairly unique institution that can, at best, be fitted only uncomfortably onto other cultures. People who came of age more than 40 years ago have a good grasp on it, especially those who spilled blood to protect the world from totalitarian dictators.
Now think a minute about the last several generations, people who are under 40 or so. In a wave election rejecting Hillary and her Leftist politics, this is how the young voters went:
Younger voters voted “drastically differently than older voters,” a new study by CIRCLE, which studies youth voter trends, found Thursday.
They supported Hillary Clinton more than any other age bloc. But there were differences depending on race, gender and geography.
National exit polls found Clinton with 55 percent of the 18- to 29-year-old vote to 37 percent for Donald Trump Trump. Voters over 40 gave Trump majorities, and he won 53 percent of people over 50.
These are the same young people who think socialism is a good system, or at least not a bad one:
In May, YouGov polled 1,000 individuals about their support for capitalism and socialism. The YouGov poll found that younger people have a more favorable view of socialism than older individuals and that, in general, younger people are approximately split between their support for socialism and capitalism.
According to the YouGov results, 36 percent of individuals polled between the ages of 18 and 29 had a “very favorable” or “somewhat favorable” view of socialism. In contrast, only 15 percent of individuals above the age of 65 had a “very favorable” or “somewhat favorable” view of socialism.
These young people don’t believe in the Constitution, or the rule of law, or the peaceful transfer of power, or individual conscience, or the free market, or free speech, self-reliance, or religious freedom. All those things have been taught out of them by generations of Leftist education in public schools and almost all American universities.
In other words, today’s young people are Iraqis. At a fundamental level, they truly are not longer Americans with their practically instinctive patriotism, and their intuitive understanding of freedom.
All of which leads to a question: No matter what type of president Trump turns out to be, is he going to be leading a traditional American population, invested in principles of liberty and the rule of law, or is he going to be trying to teaching liberty to a population the majority of whom cannot understand traditional notions of individual liberty and the rule of law?
Photo by edenpictures