As Americans, we tend to romanticize the Revolutionary War, turning what was a bloody and horrific conflict into an underdog story that resulted in an unexpected and exciting triumph of freedom. The problem is that this view of history is absolutely true. America was founded through violent revolution against an oppressive dictator and our nation was better off for it. It’s difficult to look back on that period of time and not paint a rosy picture of it. We’re living the results of it today.
Unfortunately, the reality is that what those people had to go through to give us what we have now wasn’t a good thing. There were many sacrifices made, not just in suffering through war but innumerable loss of life on both sides. People were killed over ideology and a desire for power; Britain wanted to maintain control over its far-flung empire and they weren’t about to allow their wayward citizens to go their own way. Fighting back was the only option, and the cost was severe. As much as we appreciate and cherish those sacrifices that gave us the lives we now enjoy, we must never forget the truly horrific aspects of war.
Today, there are many people who look back on history and believe that the existing system is much like the imperial Britain of the past. Inequity and disdain for the public are rife in our society and it is the duty of these “progressive” minded people to tear down the structures of power that hold them back to implement a new way that is more “fair” and “equal”. To accomplish this, they are willing to go to almost any lengths to shift the balance of power from those who have it now to others who think they can run things from a better moral standpoint. Noble in theory, but there’s a real problem with this way of thinking.
A society is much like a building in that it has many components that are critical in preventing the structure from totally collapsing. The framing and foundation support everything else, and if those things begin to weaken and crack, there is a very real possibility that everything comes tumbling down. It is only when those components are strong and reliable that we can feel safe inside, and it is only through constant vigilance and inspection that we can be sure about them.
The problem we have today is that most of us forgot the vigilance part of maintaining our societal foundations and framing. We have allowed radical thinking to infiltrate things like our school systems and government, putting people in key positions who promised to make everything better without really thinking about what it was they were proposing. It was an easy mistake to make and we can’t really beat ourselves up too much for making it. We all want to believe in the general goodness of our fellow man.
In reality, however, human beings are NOT good; we only behave that way when it benefits us. There has to be some gain or consequence that forces us to act in a benevolent way before most of us are willing to make any kind of significant sacrifice. Of course there are some exceptions to this, and we recognize them when we see them, but most people are supremely selfish without some sort of external pressure to be otherwise. It’s just human nature. It doesn’t matter what that source of pressure might be; it could be laws or religion or whatever. The point is that left to our own devices, most of us would not default to being selfless.
Why is this part important? Well, when we understand a bit about basic human nature, we star to understand how certain elements of our society can be so recklessly insane as to want to tear down an entire society in order to put their own vision of the world into place. They aren’t content with how things are, regardless of how good they have it, and they want their way so bad that they are perfectly fine with harming others to make it a reality. If people happen to suffer along the way, then so be it. They aren’t fettered by the rules or morality that our society was built on. It’s an “anything goes” world in their eyes, and as long as they come out on top then the ends justify the means.
Revolution is not a good thing, even if the results turn out to be positive. Our own American Revolution was borne out of necessity, a choice made because it was the only choice available. It was a last resort option to break ourselves free from an oppressor who would never allow us to live our lives free from their control. It is not reasonable to look back on that period of our history and ever think that it was a good thing. It was simply a necessary evil because the suffering was worth the price.
In today’s world, we can’t say the same thing. The fight isn’t for freedom from the control of an active oppressor; it’s to gain control of the population to satisfy the ideological insanity of a group of people who believe they know better than the rest of us. It is revolution to return us to a time where an “elite” group of people are openly forcing the rest of us to comply with their wishes. Their revolution isn’t about equality or anything as noble as that. They want power.
What can we do about this? At this point, the infection has spread too far to just make small changes to fight it. We have to actively raise our voices against it. We have to stop being focused solely on our own lives and start paying attention to what’s going on around us. It has become critical that the non-political amongst us take up an interest in politics and start voting in people who align with traditional American values. Sitting by on the sidelines just isn’t an option anymore; not if you want to keep the country you grew up in.
In the end, there will always be conflict between groups of people who disagree. As much as we might hate it, the fight will come to us if we don’t go to it. There will always be people who want to gain control of others, whether to take what you have or simply to enjoy the feeling of being able to tell other people what to do. Whatever the reasons and whatever their ideology, freedom has a cost in blood and treasure. If you want to keep it, you have to fight for it, one way or another.