by Newt Gingrich
As we watch radicals tear down statues, deface monuments, intimidate people who want to stand for the National Anthem, demand the firing of people who write or say something deemed inappropriate to the Leftist Anti-American Theology, it is utterly clear that many Americans today hate America.
People ask me how we’ve gotten to this point. All of this is the result of three generations of brainwashing going back at least to Herbert Marcuse, the German-born University of California, San Diego professor who taught young Americans the philosophical foundation of Marxism in the 1960s. As early as 1972, Theodore White was warning that the liberal ideology was becoming a liberal theology and dissent was less and less acceptable to the left.
We have watched the hard left, the America hating totalitarians who want to define acceptable speech, as they took over the academic world. The college boards – made up of supposedly sound community leaders – refused to fight. Public universities and colleges continued to hire vehement anti-American professors, the state legislatures and governors refused to fight. Alumni continued to give to schools, which were teaching their own children and grandchildren to despise them.
We did not think through the eventual reality that graduates who had been taught systematic falsehoods would take those falsehoods into their jobs. As President Ronald Reagan said, “the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant; it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.”
As I write in my upcoming book, Trump and the American Future, this educated ignorance has now infested our news media, bureaucracies, and corporate headquarters. These are sincere fanatics. It is this fanaticism which has been so visible in the last few weeks.
The uprising by the self-righteous fanatics of The New York Times got their opinion editor fired for the sin of publishing a conservative senator’s op-ed. The fanatics at The Philadelphia Inquirer got their editor fired for running the headline “Buildings Matter Too.” In case after case, the new fanaticism is imposing a thought police model reinforced by the Maoist tradition of public confession and group solidarity.
We were warned that this could happen. Having defeated Marxism in the Soviet Union, President Reagan was worried by the rise of anti-Americanism in our own country. He warned of the collapse of support for America in his farewell address on Jan. 11, 1989. It is lengthy, but I want to include it here, because it is important to recall now:
“There is a great tradition of warnings in Presidential farewells, and I’ve got one that’s been on my mind for some time. But oddly enough it starts with one of the things I’m proudest of in the past eight years: the resurgence of national pride that I called the new patriotism. This national feeling is good, but it won’t count for much, and it won’t last unless it’s grounded in thoughtfulness and knowledge.
“An informed patriotism is what we want. And are we doing a good enough job teaching our children what America is and what she represents in the long history of the world? Those of us who are over 35 or so years of age grew up in a different America. We were taught, very directly, what it means to be an American. And we absorbed, almost in the air, a love of country and an appreciation of its institutions. If you didn’t get these things from your family you got them from the neighborhood, from the father down the street who fought in Korea or the family who lost someone at Anzio. Or you could get a sense of patriotism from school. And if all else failed you could get a sense of patriotism from the popular culture. The movies celebrated democratic values and implicitly reinforced the idea that America was special. TV was like that, too, through the mid-60s.
“But now, we’re about to enter the 90s, and some things have changed. Younger parents aren’t sure that an unambivalent appreciation of America is the right thing to teach modern children. And as for those who create the popular culture, well-grounded patriotism is no longer the style. Our spirit is back, but we haven’t reinstitutionalized it. We’ve got to do a better job of getting across that America is freedom — freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of enterprise. And freedom is special and rare. It’s fragile; it needs production [protection].
“So, we’ve got to teach history based not on what’s in fashion but what’s important — why the Pilgrims came here, who Jimmy Doolittle was, and what those 30 seconds over Tokyo meant. You know, four years ago on the 40th anniversary of D-day, I read a letter from a young woman writing to her late father, who’d fought on Omaha Beach. Her name was Lisa Zanatta Henn, and she said, `we will always remember, we will never forget what the boys of Normandy did.’ Well, let’s help her keep her word. If we forget what we did, we won’t know who we are. I’m warning of an eradication of the American memory that could result, ultimately, in an erosion of the American spirit. Let’s start with some basics: more attention to American history and a greater emphasis on civic ritual.”
It would have been a struggle to win this fight for America 31 years ago when President Reagan warned us of the consequence of teaching falsehoods and anti-American lies. Now it will be much, much harder.
If we want America to survive as a constitutional republic under the rule of law, which protects the right of free speech and is dedicated to the belief that each one of us is endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, we have no choice but to fight to defeat the anti-Americans and reassert our nation.
Reagan would understand. Lincoln would understand. Freedom itself is at stake.
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Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich is a nationally syndicated opinion news columnist, host of the Newt’s World podcast, and author of the New York Times bestsellers Understanding Trump and Trump’s America. More of his commentary can be found at www.Gingrich360.com.