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The Birthday of the Modern World

July 4th, 2013 - 6:02 pm

Independence Day is an epic holiday. It commemorates the actions of revolutionaries who rebelled against the world’s superpower in the name of individual God-given rights, somehow won the ensuing war, and somehow stumbled through a series of blunders and created a model for the whole world.  It’s a heavy burden, and many Americans have run from it.  Lots of our intellectuals yearn for the status and stability of the Old World, the “realists” deplore our revolutionary energy and creative destruction, and the collectivists thrash to get free of “individualism,” a word Tocqueville invented to describe Americans.

If you look around today, you’ll find these defeatists and counterrevolutionaries in full moan.  They tell us we’re doomed.  We’ve lost our faith, they say, we’re badly led, they whine, our problems overwhelm us.  Woe are we, woe are we.

The defeatists and counterrevolutionaries have been around since the beginning.  If you sail around the Bahama Islands, you’ll find picturesque little towns with names like “Hope,” founded during the Revolution by Tories who “knew” it was only a matter of time–and not much time–before the silly revolutionaries were brought to heel by their proper lords and masters, and the faithful Tories could go back home.  Ozymandias has a winter home just outside Hope.

The Tories are still in the Bahamas, and Great Britain may well be a failed state, and while we have problems galore, and leaders who don’t seem to have the talent or even the inclination to get out of our way so that we can get on with the remedies, we’ve been through worse than this.  I was born a few months before Pearl Harbor, and my parents–who had survived the Great Depression–feared they’d brought a child into a nightmare world.  Events reinforced their fears, as the Japanese moved across the Pacific, and the Nazis wiped out our would-be continental allies.  Our armed forces were pitiful.  And yet…and yet, we defeated our enemies, who were real enemies with real armies led by brilliant generals and admirals.  We overwhelmed them with our incomparable energy and resolve.  Two generations later, we presided over the Soviet Union’s collapse, the life force squeezed out of it by American superiority and their own failures.

Today’s enemies are not in the same league as those of my first years, or those of the end of the Cold War.  The Muslim Brothers, said to be the Bolsheviks of the Muslim Arab world, didn’t (or haven’t yet, at least) put up much of a fight when they were shown the exit by a military they had purged and staffed with men believed to be loyal to the Islamist cause.  The Iranian regime is fractured, its opium-addicted supreme leader unable to impose order even when he gets to choose the candidates for the presidential election. The fall of the Brothers in Cairo cannot bring joy to his cold heart, for he does not welcome the spectacle of millions of demonstrators bringing down a radical Islamist regime;  he knows that his own people would love to do the same, and are looking for auguries that will unleash their revenge on him and his fellow murderers.  The Syrian dictator fights for survival, and regime success on the battlefield is not his, but rather of the hollow Iranians or the ruthless Russians, another state doomed to failure by demography and alcohol, a state where a majority of female college students say that prostitution is their preferred career track.

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Top Rated Comments   
There's doom and gloom, then there's being realistic. We don't face an external threat, we face an internal threat: our own cultural decay. And we keep thinking that the fix comes from the top down, and not from the bottom up.

The nation can survive an Obama. It cannot survive a people who would put him in office twice (and this includes those who sit out elections because they don't like the alternative).

It also fails to recognize that a corrupt government creates a corrupt bureaucracy. One of the problems Bush had was a state department filled with hostile bureaucrats.

We are going to be paying for the corruption Obama has put into the bureaucracy and the courts long after he is gone.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment


I was coming of age when Carter was elected, the "humble" peanut farmer who would have ridden us to our demise as a failed experiment.. Too selfish, to materialistic and too greedy, we needed to want less, expect less, and take our failure as a country with grace as he looked to appease those who'd gladly shovel dirt on our grave as a great power.

The day of Desert One, when a bloodthirsty mullah held the charred boot and foot of one of our men left behind up as a grisly trophy.. that day, I called a recruiter. If we were to go down,.. I meant to be in the fight and make my stand for the country my family had long served..

I wasn't alone, many of us enlisted because we were not going down without being in that fight, and we did not intend to surrender..

Then a miracle happened, and the perfect man for his time stepped up. We weren't in decline, and we sure as Hell were no longer ceding ground to a ravenous Russian bear... he showed us we could be better than we ever thought possible, reminded us, of the rightness of our cause, the place of America in the fight to make men free. The difference between being in the barracks during Carter's last months, and Reagan's first years were incredible.. We felt appreciated, renewed, something had definitely shifted, moral shot up.. re-enlistments.. training improved, newer equipment came online.. and we actually had enough live rounds to train properly again..

We were the fighting son's of Reagan.. and we were never giving ground again.

People forget the misery and desolation in the Carter years, when defeat and failure was the order of the day. The big three networks predicted our eventual demise to an ascendent confident communist empire.. better to negotiate our withdrawal from the world they said.. abandon our friends.. at home our economy a mess as stagflation destroyed our incomes.. interest rates soared, and people went hungry and jobless...

When Reagan took office, he asked more of us than we thought possible and damn if we didn't accomplish that. The first two years were harder at home as the last of inflation was strangled out of the economy, but we held on, because he believed in us, unlike his un-missed predecessor. Like Obama now.. his faith is in cold hearted bureaucrats playing God with our lives, giving out candy to friends of his, and "punishing" his enemies..

Wether it's that one crucial man, or woman... or a collective grass roots stepping up, we'll survive this feckless president too, and find our way,.. America has always been the dream of finding your personal freedom, for your wife, children, never about trends or ideology. The dream can't be killed by one man alone, we have to let them kill it, and I do not believe we're there yet.

The dream still lives.. it's quieter now, but still there. We can do this..

I had that dream spit on in my youth by the talking heads and a faithless president, it survived in spite of their best efforts, it will here too. If for no other reason than, God isn't through with us just yet.. not when there is so much to do..

He believed in us, Mr. Reagan, that was his great skill.. I still believe in us.. and I know most of us here still do too. Giving up and throwing up your hands is easy... fixing what's wrong is hard,. no one ever got stronger, by taking the lesser path.. come on everybody.. fellow Americans.. we can do this..
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
TT - I agree with so much that you say but there's another factor in Obama's re-election of which we were unaware until this past spring, the suppression of the Tea Party by the IRS. They knew exactly what they were doing in this regard, as they always do when it comes to negative activity. The suppression of conservative groups suppressed voter turnout and played a large, perhaps major, part in giving him a second term. And then there's this, too - if Obama had not won a second term we would be unaware of the breadth of the crimes committed during the first. Exposure of the depravity and corruption of the left is necessary if we are to regain faith in our government. God works in mysterious ways.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (131)
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We can survive if we rebel against Obamas and the practices of his administration. We are being conquered from within by the mal-informed who voted for him...some twice... and by people who want to ride on the gravy train. Regardless of what happens to the Tea Party and others attacked by the current administration, thee are plenty of Americans who will rise to the occasion. I don't think they will continue to work to support those who just take, take, take. .
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I am optimistic, because the liberals have only one of two aging leaders, St. Hillary of Benghazi the most important - or only - one, who by this time carries enormous baggage on her ageing back. The conservatives have a whole stable full of race horses, full of youth and vigour. At the moment I prefer Ted Cruz. Watch him! A brilliant, articulate, polished, and solid conservative who is full of energy for the fight. There are others.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
when else in our history were we committing suicide?
enemies don't have be strong when we have no spine or core values, unless abortion on demand, gay marriage and surveillance on citizens are values.
Obama won for a reason. Michael Ledeen's America no longer exists, won't be defended and will fall.
Wishing it was not so won't change that.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Although one suspects that if Geo. Washington had known what the American courts would produce,, he would have gone to Gen. Howe, placed his sword at his feet, and knelt before him apologizing for his treason to his king, asking only that his men be spared no matter what was done to him.

Until someone pointed out to him that England (what was left of it) was worse.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It's happened before. There was never anything as bad as the Watrgate Congress, except for the legislation that it passed that we still suffer under.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I tend to agree, althoguh one thing nags at me. Can a country where most children are born out of wedlock (and not even a common-law sort as is common in countries with a socialist heritage) succeed?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Michael, you are one of my favorite writers at PJM. However, I must disagree with you. There are no Reagan's out there. There are plenty of Charlies Crists, Chris Christy's, Jeb Bush's, and Marco Rubios. There are plenty of rent-seekers. political operators, and well heeled Republicans who represent the Beltway Class of political progressives. But, there are no conservatives.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I don't think Reagan was Reagan. Invading our embassy and taking diplomatic personnel hostage were acts of war. Carter half-*ss tried a rescue, but what did Reagan actually do? Nothing, After the hostages reached safe airspace, Tehran should have diappeared in a mushroom cloud. Guestimate the trouble that would've saved us. Reagan also let the bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon go. We should've rounded up the closest 10,000 Arab men and shot them. The best anybody can say about Reagan was that he was a welcome time-out from non-stop Leftism for 50 years, but he reversed nothing.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
People forget that our men were only in Lebanon, because Reagan for once believed the false reports of the MSM (he had a Pallywood picture on his desk) and blinked in his otherwise unwavering support of Israel, which was in Lebanon so that the children of Kiryat Shmona would not again have to sleep in shelters.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Reagan kept his eye on the real goal, the great challenge of his day, and was not distracted by lesser things. Pershing II's in Europe were far more important and effective than getting bogged down in a war of revenge in Lebanon. And that victory in Europe was sweet when it came.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Definitely true.

I don't think people recall what brinkmanship was like.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
But no one knew Reagan was Reagan. He was just some washed-up political joke. Even after he succeeded, it took research to find out he was a brilliant man with a near-photographoc memory, with the well-though-out political philosophy instigated by taking to countless American factory workers. Oh, and he outguessed both the economists and the geopoliticians.

As an actor, Reagan fooled almost everyone into underestimating him.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yes, and you are speaking profoundly on this. We are amused when school children and some adults discuss past wars as if the participants knew that the conflict would last 'x amount of years.' You are making the unseen seen again with your comment. I've not always agreed w/ your arguments, but this observation does you proud; you really distilled it down.

My hope(!) is that we are still a country from which such a leader may emerge. With all sincerity, God help us.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Thank you. (Although I note you got more likes than I did for the original!)

Actually, I usually doubt anyone reads any of my comments what with my dyslexic typing and no spell-check at work. (I'll even excuse the condescension. :-) )

Source, by the way: Dinesh D'Souza's biography of Reagan, plus what we later found out that he may have missed (Reagan in His Own Hand).
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Good lord, could we please focus on here at home. If you want to save the revolution of 237 years ago, look at saving it at home. We are at risk of losing our democratic republic, our ordered liberty, our free-market capitalism. The Iranians need to handle their own problems. Let us make ourselves Americans again.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I don't disagree, America is not doomed yet. I do believe strongly we are so far down the primrose path to socialism that it will take a lot of pain and determination to right the course.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I agree with Michael that America is not doomed. There is only one thing -- only one -- that can guarantee our doom, and that is if we assume that we're doomed, and seek only to negotiate the best deal we can with destruction.

There is actually a lot of positive activity both at home and abroad. The scope of opportunity is going to increase exponentially with the end of the post-WWII model of American power. I hate to see the last of the Pax Americana as much as anyone does, but there is no emerging superpower out there to impose a global order, of either a bad or a good kind. There will be chaos and injury, but America has time to right the ship.

One thing I learned from 20 years in Naval intelligence is this: pessimism is an attitude. It is not analysis.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Not sure if someone recommended this here or on American Thinker, but if you haven't read Igor Shafarevich's 'The Socialist Phenomenon', it's a real eye-opener on the leftist mentality in general. Progressivism is the
non-religion religion. And yes I will stay at home and pray, tony68, you bloody fool. http://robertlstephens.com/essays/shafarevich/001SocialistPhenomenon.html
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Leftists are always right. Weird, for a group that has shown itself, reliably, to be wrong in nearly every case, and to have caused the shedding of blood of others in staggering quantities. But it's left to adults, often those who have suffered grievous losses, to wipe it blood and go on.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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