America is not whatever you want it to be. America is not freedom from worry. It is not free stuff from the taxpayer. It is not a guarantee that you will be successful in life. It’s not even the flag or the troops or the fireworks. America isn’t “paying taxes.” It is not “never having to worry about your medical bills.” In short, America is not customizable to your fleeting whims or whatever you are “feeling” whenever the fireworks are sparkling in your eyes.
“Patriotism” is not difficult to define, as much as the Left would have you think it so. It is not a fluid thing. Torching the flag and crapping on the anthem is not patriotism. It may be a reflection of the freedom that makes America great, but it is not patriotism.
Patriotism in America means loving limited government. It is that simple. You love that America has a constitutionally limited government, or you do not love America. Saying you love America and do not want the government limited is like saying you love your car but hate the engine, seats, and interior.
Which means that, as you guys already know, we have one political party that not only despises America, but has worked tirelessly for nearly a century to “fundamentally transform” it (ahem) into the exact opposite of what it was intended to be. Yet some of us still balk at calling them on it—at speaking the plain truth about them, at acknowledging a self-declared enemy as…an enemy. It isn’t “civil.”
Well, y’know, fuck civility then.
As progressives continue to tear our social fabric apart by mobbing people in restaurants, calling for social upheaval to overturn elections, and so forth, they naturally provoke stronger and stronger reactions from the Right. As we grapple with this new reality, conservatives have to figure out how far is too far when fighting back. But while appropriate restraint is always a part of this consideration, we go too far when we decide that we must always adhere to every aspect of a dying civility no matter the cost. Failing to openly defy the Left’s blatant aggression does not preserve civility — it only emboldens the uncivil and betrays their victims.
Conservatives make a category error when we declare that we should rather lose the culture war than be uncivil. Like most such errors, this one is rooted in a powerful truth: On moral absolutes, we should absolutely rather lose than violate them. It really is better to fail than to succeed by murdering; it really is better to suffer than to enjoy adultery; etc. Nevertheless, the error creeps in because conservatives tend to put certain kinds of traditional behavior into this same category. Contrary to this tendency, things like courtesy and civility are not moral absolutes; they are social contracts.
Nowhere is this made clearer than when our rules of courtesy and civility permit or even enjoin the violation of true moral absolutes. Go back a little ways into our history and you’ll find that dueling was a civil and courteous practice — violent, sure, but rooted in exactly the sort of manners, rules, and traditions that mark courtesy. That doesn’t mean it was moral — or even a terribly good idea — but it was civil.
Oh, I dunno. Might be a good thing if we brought it back, seems to me. Ideally, it might give the Brat Left pause before offering insult to someone liable to call them on it in a serious fashion and “demand satisfaction,” as they used to say. The revival of dueling would also doubtless remove some of the detritus currently mucking up the gene pool. On the other hand, bringing back the “field of honor” is bound to prove a bit problematic when the people you’re dragging there have none in the first place.
Cochran goes on to make several good points, but his closer is key:
Like it or not, we are in an existential struggle with the social justice left. They do not want to compromise. They don’t really even want to merely get their way. They want to annihilate opposing opinions. The whole point of calling everyone who disagrees with them Nazis is that punching Nazis is a socially acceptable solution. The only common debate about whether it would be okay to kill Hitler is about whether it would still be okay to travel back in time and kill him as an infant.
It is therefore no great mystery why the left is becoming more and more comfortable with violence. You do not compromise with Nazis, you eliminate them. So next time one of them flips out about Chick-Fil-A, ask yourself something: If they can’t even stand the thought of Christians selling chicken sandwiches; exactly what place do you think they will allow us to occupy in society when they’re in charge? Are you really going to abandon your family, your friends, your fellow conservatives, and your fellow Christians to the left’s non-existent mercy simply because it would be impolite to do otherwise?
One doesn’t have to don a black mask and start throwing bricks at social justice warriors in order to fight them. Nor do we need to eject from our lives anyone who disagrees with us. We do, however, need to protect our families and our nation from the ones who do these things. So stop virtue signaling about how you’ll be polite to the very grave, and start deliberating about when its right to be civil and when it’s not.
Speaking strictly for myself, the time for even bothering about civility is long past. We’re closing in fast on the “throwing bricks” stage of the struggle now—in large measure because our side kept clinging to the archaic concept of civility too long, hoping for our courtesy to be requited by people who hold the very notion—and us—in contempt. We’re in a truly existential conflict now, a war to the knife against an enemy with no compunction against using every conceivable low-blow and eye-gouging dirty trick their fiendish imaginations can come up with.
Things have gotten ugly, and it didn’t happen overnight. They’re going to get uglier still before a victor finally emerges. Count on it. Be civil if you still think it worth the effort, by all means. But don’t let it distract you from loading magazines.