Are The Elite Bringing an End to Our Freedom?

America's Founding Corruption and Lies Education History Liberty/Politics

What is the challenge of today? I have quoted Thomas Jefferson many times but again I will invoke his statement that the question for us today is very much like the question that exists throughout history. Is power to be in the hands of a favored elite or by “the people.” I think that this is very much the question that Dr. Victor Davis Hanson wants us to ask when he wrote the book The Dying Citizen, How Progressive Elites, Tribalism, and Globalization Are Destroying the Idea of America.

This scholar of history and the classics tells us that the history of the world and the present situation outside the Westernized nations is mostly the history of non-citizens and the unfree. Americans very often make the mistake of thinking that the rest of the world thinks like us and wants peace and freedom. Unfortunately, dictatorships, juntas, and military enforcers stand between the people of the world and freedom. There are those who think that an elite few will lead us into a utopia where we all hold hands in a circle and sing happy songs about how wise and great this elite is and how we are all much happier without that “dangerous freedom” but I am not one of them.

Welcome, Freedom Troopers, I commend this most excellent historian and professor to you as well as his book, The Dying Citizen. I believe he is one of the smartest and most perceptive men alive today, not only his interviews but this book of his have all greatly impressed me. This is the first book by Victor Davis Hanson that I have read but it most definitely will not be the last.

When last we met we talked about a loss of confidence in voting as a sign of sickness in a democracy and how the drive to ever more inclusion eventually includes people who neither have a common history with those who form the main society nor do they want to. As inclusion of citizenship expands and includes those who don’t care and don’t honor the same histories and stories upon which the democratic society is formed they embrace their own destruction.

Despite the progressive notion that everything gets better and better history has shown that success, and failure can appear in lurches and bounds. VDH tells us:

history is not static; nor does a people always progress linearly to an improved state. Civilization experiences descents, detours, and regressions – and abrupt implosions. So citizenship can wax and wane – and abruptly vanish. History also is mostly the history of non-citizenship.” p.5 The Dying Citizen by Victor Davis Hanson

VDH looks back:

It would be hard to imagine the career of a Socrates, Sophocles, or Cicero in any of these empires, just as today most Americans would find life in China, Cuba, Iran, or Russia stifling, if not dangerous. Instead order and law came down from on high from authoritarian hereditary, tribal, or religious rulers. The disobedient were crushed, the obsequious promoted. The code of survival demanded subservience to one’s superiors and haughtiness to those deemed inferiors. The harshness of the law hinged on the relative cruelty of a particular dynast….the succession of authoritarian rulers ignored popular will – a concept that itself did not formally exist. Rulers came to power by hereditary successions, coups, revolutions, civil wars, assassinations, religious revelations, and palace intrigues – as they so often do even today outside the Westernized world[!]

Dr. Victor Davis Hanson, The Dying Citizen, p. 5

There are an uncomfortable number of people who have been so poorly educated that they believe that white Europeans invented slavery and were the main perpetrators of it. No one has told them that it was America and Britain in 1807 that declared the international slave trade an abomination and banned it. It was British and American sailors who died trying to stop the slave ships from picking up slaves and carrying them out of Africa and even the Confederate States of America vowed to join the blockade when they had developed their own fleet. Of course, the Lincoln Administration blockaded Southern ports and so they never successfully developed a navy. But the stories of American history have been warped and it seems like too many in our public schools and universities attack America and its heritage – mis-educating rather than educating our people. Yet the same people who don’t understand America have even less of an understanding about the rest of the world.

I was watching YouTube and videos popped up in my feed of an ignorant young black American woman who went to Italy and then to Greece and decided they were racist because Italy was full of Italians and Greece was full of Greeks. She wanted to know where the blacks were. Seriously, there is a reason people think Americans are ignorant. These are our ambassadors – whether we like it or not. People have no way of assessing the importance of America when they don’t understand America’s place in history and in the world. Still, you cannot blame the youth for being uneducated. It is the fault of the Department of Education. Our school performance has steadily declined after this destructive and invasive bureaucracy was formed. We need to go back to school masters who actually teach what people need to survive and to be able to make decisions. See my articles on education:

From the very beginning the problem of freedom in a society that also had slavery was glaring in the West. And the Western Philosophers addressed this dichotomy. Victor Davis Hanson, classical scholar that he is, raised the story of Alkidamas an Elean orator and Athenian resident in the 4th Century before Christ. Alkidamas reminded Athenians of this contradiction when they spoke of “freedom” ELEUTHERIA and slavery DOULEIA. VDH speaks of Alkidamas and quotes him thusly:

“ “Nature,” Alkidamas railed, “has made no man a slave.” That declaration was no idles talking point. It would become a rallying cry that later resonated with the great Theban democratic liberator Epaminondas, who freed the Messenian helots from their indentured service to Sparta – a feat that made him preeminent among the most illustrious Greeks of the classical age. In sum, the nature of consensual government at its origins was constant self-critique and reassessment. When such perpetual introspection ceases, so does citizenship.” – V.Hanson, The Dying Citizen

Later, Christ would add to these philosophers and statesmen who spoke of freedom when Saint Paul taught his faith and stated, “In Christ there is no slave or free, Jew or Greek, rich or poor, but all are one [equal] in Christ Jesus.” There was no doubt of the worth of each individual life under Christian teaching when Paul said, “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and that God’s spirit dwells in you?” Each of us carries that Divine spark that was placed in us in our mother’s womb and we carry with us today. Our Western Culture is a unique mix of Enlightenment, Science, Christianity, as well as European and Greaco-Roman philosophers.

Railing against slavery is a peculiarly Western tradition. From Epaminondas, to the greatest slave revolt Rome had ever seen lead by Spartacus it was Western values that gave this yearning for freedom and equality. Down through the ages to America and Great Britain being the only nations to blockade the West African coast to interdict the slave trade.

On through the ages it was the Western World and its values that crusaded against slavery until every nation now at least gives lip service in condemning slavery. Even so it is still allowed (and ignored,) in far too many places in the Third World. But its Western values that taught the people they colonized that everyone is created equal with God given rights. Evil actors pretend that the West is all about colonialism and slavery and they NEVER take note that most of those countries that were colonized by Western powers are more advanced and have a better standard of living and many have the rule of law because of the values taught in the schools, hospitals, and administrative centers that were built by the colonizers. It is true that the colonizers brought white Western values to their colonies but when you look at those countries that never had or rejected Western values, they are not places most people would want to live in and I know of at least a dozen ignorant Americans that believed they could travers third world countries as safely as they can Western nations and died for that mistake.

But the roots of Western Civilization run deep and true. Victor Davis Hanson speaks of how the Middle Class is the glue that holds democratic republics together. He quotes Aristotle in his book on p.8-9:


Victor Davis Hanson, The Dying Citizen, p.8-9

Professor Hanson points out that this property helps tie the voters to the state and when it is combined with a common story for their community and similar aspirations they can lead the democratic republic to greatness. He says that it is these societies that are able to mobilize the greatest number of their citizens to build, contribute to and defend a free society. He writes:

“Citizenship, then, explains the Greek achievement of drawing on the talents and energy of a much-empowered resident and middle-class population. Why and how, after all, did such a numerically small number of people in such a small space as Greece nonetheless create the foundations of Western philosophy, politics, literature, history, and science? Once protected by laws, rather than the transitory goodwill and patronage of aristocrats and autocrats, in a practical sense the citizen has far more legal and economic latitude to paint, write, build, farm, create, discover, or litigate…and a free state taht does not employ armies of unproductive snoops, spies, and politically correct commissars does not have its most daring and innovative minds crippled or its economy hobbled by costly hordes by costly hordes of unproductive trimmers…

“Republican Rome expanded on the Greek idea of the Citizen (CIVIS) in a variety of ways. The Romans codified many rights and delineated the citizen’s responsibilities [like military service]. In time, those privileges and obligations became institutionalized systematically under Roman Imperial and Universal law – including everything from habeus corpus to a sophisticated and comprehensive digest of criminal and civil statutes and courts…most importantly, thought, Roman republicanism sought to ameliorate…the volatility and abuses inherent in radical, and especially Athenian, democracy. Rome was more influenced by the… constitution of Sparta, whose dual legislative assemblies (the Apella and Gerousia), two chief executives (parallel lines of hereditary kings), and judicial auditors (the Ephors) provided checks and balances on the use of power.

“Western constitutional citizenship ebbed and flowed through periods of retrenchment, oppression, and authoritarianism…slowly evolved through the Middle Ages, Renaissance, Reformation, and Enlightenment toward an ever greater array of rights and forevermore inclusion of the formerly dispossessed…by the twenty-first century, the Western idea of citizenship, after twenty five hundred years of evolution, neared its logical fruition with the full emancipation of the poor, women, and minority populations…progressive legal efforts to extend all the rights of full citizenship to newly arrived illegal immigrants, to felons, and to teenagers not yet eighteen years old, in a practical sense the privileges of Western citizenship are, in fact, diluting.

“Failure (of the republic) can occur at any time and results more often from what we, rather than others, do to ourselves – affluence and leisure often proved more dangerous to citizenship than poverty and drudgery.

“The farther we progress from our origins, both chronologically and materially, the more we blame our founders for being less and less as anointed as we see ourselves. It is as if, when unhappy with the oppulent present, we look to the impoverished past to blame our unhappiness on the dead, who faced daunting natural obstacles, rather than the living, who so often don’t.” – Victor Davis Hanson, The Dying Citizen, p. 10 -11

The quote by Edmund Burke was also proffered from The Dying Citizen. In our modern society, nearly everyone has a cell phone and/or a computer and a world full of information is therefore at their fingertips. So, while it is true that our education system has failed multiple generations by denying them a proper education it is also true that no population of humans has ever had access to so much information in their lifetime. In such a society ignorance is either willful or due to laziness. Unfortunately, the majority of Americans seem to have chosen ignorance.

How ignorant are we? Professor Hanson tells us:

“In a December 29 Harris Poll/Purple Project survey, for example, a vast majority of Americans surveyed – some 92 percent – believed that their rights were “under seige.” More specifically, the poll found that Americans are most concerned with their freedom of speech (48 percent), right to bear arms (47 percent), and right to equal justice (41 percent) are at risk.

“Earlier surveys had revealed similar discontent, especially over the decline of local autonomy in comparison with the growth of the federal government, the erosion of popular sovereignty, and fears of an expanding federal government…A Greek statesman of the ancient city state might interpret such discontent as the inherent result of a government’s becoming too large and powerful.”

“Yet, while Americans sense that their constitutional rights are in jeopardy, they are not always aware of what exactly they are losing. That confusion is understandable given the erosion in civic education in our schools. In a 2017 poll…most Americans appeared ignorant of the fundamentals of the US Constitution. Thirty-seven percent could not name a single right protected by the first amendment. Only one out of four Americans could name all three branches of government. One in three could not name ANY branch of government.

“In a 2018 survey…almost 75 percent of those polled were not able to identify the thirteen original colonies. Over half had no idea whom the United States fought in World War II. Less that 25 percent knew why colonists had fought the Revolutionary War. Twelve percent thought Dwight D. Eisenhower commanded troops in the Civil War….

“It’s harder to lament the loss of Constitutional freedoms when majorities of Americans willingly do not know what they are. When left-wing protesters began toppling statues in 2020 to denounce supposed icons of racism, their target list of hallowed memorials included those commemorating the Union enforcer of Reconstruction, General Ulysses S. Grant, heroic African American veterans of the Civil War, and renowned martyred abolitionist Hans Christian Heg. Apparently the young iconoclasts learned little about the Civil War in either high school or college but a great deal aabout the supposed unwarranted privilege of anyone who had earned a commemoration from a supposedly racist society…so in February 2019 protesters torched the statue of World War II major general William C. Lee, apparently confusing his memorial with that of confederate general Robert E. Lee.”

In addition, they vandalized a statue of Abraham Lincoln freeing slaves from their chains, destroyed some revolutionary war hero statues, and influenced the removal of statues of historic figures from their places by raucus demonstration. I remember an interview of some black men in Charlottesville, Virginia when the demonstrations to remove General Lee’s statue from a park. They asked him what he thought of the demonstrations. “They not from here man! We don’t know these people and they don’t know us. They from up North and came here in buses. They messin’ with our history and don’t know nothin’. This is our town not theirs.” Similar such statements identifying paid demonstrators abounded in local and alternate media sites but not in mainstream news services.

“Many Americans do not know or worry much about the consequences of radical demographic, cultural, or political influences for the status of citizenship. They are indifferent to millions of immigrants of uncertain status [illegal], veritable resident strangers in their midst. Similarly, many recent immigrants and many of the native born, for example, often have little idea of how American citizenship differs from simple residency or tribal grouping. Many arrivals believe that moving to and residing in the United States without legal sanction should nonetheless guarantee them all the benefits of American citizenship. Meanwhile, far to many citizens see no need to learn about the history and traditions of the United States or the civic responsibility of being an American. The contention that their country is irrevocably flawed becomes a justification for intellectual laziness and an unwillingness to learn about America’s supposedly dark origins and customs…some Americans prefer to be rebranded as ‘citizens of the world’. Oddly, that tired idea dates back to Socratic utopianism and has never offered any credible blueprint for a workable transnational state.

“I grouped the first three chapters together under the heading “Precitizens.” The notion of precitizenry reflects ancient economic, political, and ethnic ideas and customs that were once through antithetical to the modern democratic state. Yet…they are reappearing and threaten to overwhelm the American commonwealth…Chapter 1 “Peasants,” I review the ancient argument that to be self-governing, citizens must be economically autonomous…. Chapter 2 “Residents,” argues that states must privilege citizens over mere residents. Citizens live within delineated and established borders. They share a common history. Their sacred physical space allows them to pursue their constitutional rights without interference from abroad…shared values, assimilation, and integration…defines national character…Citizenship, however, is not indestructible. The more it is stretched to include everyone, the less the likelihood it can protect anyone.” …Chapter 3, “Tribes” reminds us why all citizens should give up their own ethnic, racial, and tribal primary identities. Only through such a brutal bargain of assimilation can they sustain a common culture in a century in which superficial racial and tribal differences, the fuel for many of history’s wars, are becoming no longer incidental but recalibrated as essential to the American character. In the absence of a collective civic sense of self, the inclusive idea of an American citizen wanes and fragments.

“The three chapters in the secon half of the book, under the heading “Postcitizens,” focus on the even greater dangers to citizenship posed by a relatively small American elite. These “postmodernists” know all too well the history of their nation. They feel the United States should conform to a European and cosmopolitan ethos rather than pride itself in being exceptional. They are well versed in the Constitution and therefore write eloquently about how it should be modified and its essence irrevocably changed to birth a truly direct equality-of-result democracy. [Despite scientific evidence that we as a species have been relatively the same for 400,000 years.] These elites believe that human nature has evolved since 1788, and the Constitution must catch up. In other words, it is now time to move beyond classical citizenship to accommodate a much different American and a now global community.”

[Today’s globalists seek to establish equity for all in our very own world-wide Neo-Marxist worker’s “paradise.” Despite the fact that communist countries killed over 100 million people in the 20th Century – making it the bloodiest form of government the world has ever seen.]

“Chapter 4 “Unelected,” chronicles how an unelected federal bureaucracy has absorbed much of the power of the US congress yearly creating more laws and regulations that the House and Senate together could debate, pass, and send to the president for signing…[we the people] lacks sufficient knowledge to control the permanent legions deeply embedded within the state. Elected officials come and go.

They proverbially rant about the “deep state.” But the bureaucracy outlasts all, knows best, and so grows and breeds, often at the expense of the citizen. We are reaching a point similar to the rise of a fictive robotic terminator that destroys its too human creators, as the bureaucratic elite believes that it can and should preempt any elected official who deems it dangerous. If the citten cannot elect officials to audit, control, or remove the unelected, then he has lost his sovereign power.

“Evolutionaries,” the subject of Chapter 5, are the unapologetic grand architects of dismantling constitutional citizenship, inordinately represented by political activists, media grandees, the legal profession, and academics. As progressives, they feel Americans are currently stymied by eighteenth century constitutional albatross strun around their necks, on far to redolent of old, white, male, Christian values that supposedly have no relevance today. They accuse the founders of lacking our mmodern wisdom, today’s enlightened education, and the benefits of a constantly improving innate human nature…

“A final Chapter 6, “Globalists,” explains the current fad that Americans are transitioning into citizens of the world. An ancient but unworkable idea of cosmopolitanism has reemerged, now driven by priveleged utopians empowered by twenty-first century global travel, finance, and communications… they rarely suffer from the real consequences of their own impractical ideas, given that their American generated power, wealth, and influence largely exempt them from their edicts, which fall so hard on the middle and lower classes – be it overregulating the economy in pursuit of environmental agendas or sacrificing the interests of American workers to foreign commercial and trade predation. On the one hand they are cynical critics of American exceptionalism and nationalism. On the other, they wish to extend American-style democracy and liberal tolerance across the globe – but without much thought about where such singular ideas arose or why so much of the world has always resisted them…

“In sum” Victor Davis Hanson writes at the end of his introduction, “I wish to explain why everything that we once through was so strong, so familiar, and so reassuring about America has been dissipating for some time. The year 2020, in the manner of other revolutionary years, such as 1848, 1917, and 1968, has peeled away the veneer of complacency and self-satisfaction. Contemporary events have reminded Americans that their citizenship is fragile and teetering on the abyss – and yet the calamities can also teach, indeed energize, them to rebuild and recover what they have lost.”

Greetings Freedom Troopers, I hope you have enjoyed these two articles about the introduction to The Dying Citizen by Victor Davis Hanson. I have allowed Professor Hanson to speak for himself rather than just giving you a summary and any other chapters that we cover will be more balanced.Still, he has a lot to say and I have found it valuable so I wanted to share it with you. Do to some troubles I was unable to get anything out on Sunday and this will initially post in a somewhat rough draft that I will polish up if I can get Thursday’s post ready easily and without mishap this week. Please share SabersEdge with someone you think may like it. You don’t have to even tell them you like it, just send a link to one of the articles you think will interest them with a note “this is interesting.” We are still not supported by any monetized medium because they don’t like what I say. But as the Romans said:

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