Most of America's political elites misunderstand politics. They think elections, and the endless political skirmishing between them that has replaced governing, is about personalities. Or issues. Or policy.
That view is largely true in ordinary times when both Republicans and Democrats readily stand and cover our hearts during the National Anthem. Not so in this extraordinary time of existential challenge to the very legitimacy of America. These are the times that try men's souls.
Seeing politics as a clash of personalities or policies is counting trees, blinded to the forest itself. Today politics is fundamentally about who wields the power to support, or destroy, our esteem for America. Now comes one man, Thomas D. Klingenstein, [replace with , with whom I am professionally associated, chairman of the board of one of the most distinguished intellectual centers of the center right, the Claremont Institute.
From that commanding height Klingenstein unflinchingly makes the case for the goodness of America: "What the election is about is the character of America: Specifically is America a good country or a bad country." (Emphasis supplied.)
He indicts the fanatics who opportunistically infect the Democratic Party: "They have told us and what they have withheld (because it still sounds too radical) we can infer from their purpose. They want reparations, endless affirmative action, genuine socialism, open borders, hassle-free abortions, gun confiscation, and they want destroy, or radically restructure, those institutions that teach the values and principles that undergird the American way of life: family, education religion community life and much more."
And he strips away their sugar coating, "progressive," "social justice warriors," "political correctness," calling them out for what they are: "As is patently clear, this new society can only be imposed by a tyrannical government."
Tyranny? This indictment has power. The left's primary source document, The Communist Manifesto, unleashing the specter of a declaration of class warfare that has haunted the world ever since, explicitly calls for "despotic inroads" to destroy the middle class (the "bourgeoisie.")
Klingenstein makes a bulletproof case for his proposition that "Republicans should frame the election just this way." He is right both as to the only viable political strategy for 2020, and, come what may, the existentially necessary strategy for America.
My own writings, over years, have called out the "progressives" as totalitarians. As I put it most succinctly toward the end of Donald Trump's first year as president, "Is America beautiful? Or evil?" Just last month, right here at Newsmax, I stated, "The hard left is actively working to eradicate the classical liberal republican culture conscientiously created by America's founders. The left is attempting to obliterate, or at minimum create a revisionist, history to advance another political order. What order? Totalitarianism."
Do I overstate the case for Klingenstein's potential impact? By no means.
Moral clarity, consistently applied, is the most powerful force in politics.
Consider a previous Thomas: In 1775, the colonies that would become the United States of America were demoralized, confused, and ineffectual in opposing the oppressions of Great Britain. Then came one thin pamphlet by a previously obscure figure, Thomas Paine, titled Common Sense. History.com describes its impact as "one of the most influential pamphlets in American history. Credited with uniting average citizens and political leaders behind the idea of independence, 'Common Sense' played a remarkable role in transforming a colonial squabble into the American Revolution."
Klingenstein who recognizes, something the left is clear about but few on the right grasp, that we are confronting not a culture war but a cultural revolution, injects comparable moral clarity. The left is making "the long march through the institutions" to eradicate classical liberal (as in liberty) Judeo-Christian republican (as in representative democracy) capitalism with totalitarian, agnostic, radically undifferentiated equality and socialism.
What is crucial, what Klingenstein commands, is a cultural counterrevolution. Moral clarity will provide the winning tailwind to the cultural counterrevolutionaries much as Paine did the original American revolutionaries. That said, it's not "one and done."
After Common Sense, Paine wrote a series of pamphlets called The American Crisis to sustain the original revolution. The first issue, written by campfire light using a drumhead as a desk, began: THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.
Inspired by Paine's words, General Washington's ragtag army went on to beat the most powerful military force in the world. May Thomas Klingenstein go on to inspire today's right to make might … thus securing America the Good.
Ralph Benko, co-author of "The Capitalist Manifesto" and chairman and co-founder of "The Capitalist League," is the founder of The Prosperity Caucus and is an original Kemp-era member of the Supply Side revolution that propelled the Dow from 814 to its current heights and world GDP from $11T to $88T. He served as a deputy general counsel in the Reagan White House, has worked closely with the Congress and two cabinet agencies, and has published over a million words on politics and policy in the mainstream media, as a distinguished professional blogger, and as the author of the internationally award-winning cult classic book "The Websters' Dictionary: How to Use the Web to Transform the World." He has served as senior adviser, economics, to APIA as an advocate of the gold standard, senior counselor to the Chamber of Digital Commerce and serves as co-founder of and senior counselor to Frax.finance, a stablecoin venture. Read Ralph Benko's reports — More Here.
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