COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado. Remember these names: Grandma Mercier, Leonard Peikoff and Dinesh d’Souza.
Right, Left, Capitalist, Socialist, Democrat, Republican, globalist, Objectivist, Constitutionalist. The march of time for those raised in the Fifties is producing today an increasingly frightening social discourse. The Fifties are well over and the Twenty First Century is underway with a vengeance.
As a consequence, nearly everyone, left, right and center, is worried. The rule of law today has been overcome by “feelings.” Life is tough and then you die. Unless, of course, you are a delicate college student encouraged by professors to take offense and embrace victimhood. Or, an idealistic adult who reacts to life’s built-in injustices and seeks to repair everyone by means of a utopian state. From each according to their ability to each according to their needs. “Animal Farm.” A soft life.
Many still recall the German ovens meant to eliminate certain human beings. The Star of David armbands for a group of people. The spectre of Adolph Hitler, making up his own rules to meet his twisted theory of genetic “perfection.” Under his new rules, Hitler’s thugs broke down doors, tore families from their neighborhoods, plundered their possessions, then finally placed them in highly efficient death camps.
The history of Nazi Germany sends chills up everyone’s back. But surprisingly, many of today’s politically active citizens call frequently upon its horrific images as justification for raising the rhetorical heat and accusing the “other side” of flirting with the dangerous actions from Europe’s past. Few, however, stop to analyze the past by investigating cause and effect. Few study the philosophical and legal basis of a country that’s gone way out of control.
Today, three impressive individuals may offer some answers to America’s current political quagmire: Grandma Mercier, Leonard Peikoff, and Dinesh d’Souza.
Listening to her heart: Grandma Mercier
This 85-year old woman living in Queens, New Yorkw with her daughter and husband can tell us a few things about history, having lived a long, courageous and intelligent life. For many, her name was simply “Grandma Mercier.” She was old old enough that her original country of origin was actually Prussia, a land now wedged today between Russia and Germany.
In Europe, her family shielded Jewish women from authorities. The door was answered in whatever language was being spoken by soldiers on the other side – Russian or German. Time passed, and Grandma grew into a young woman in Germany. Newly married, she noticed young men dressed all in brown marching in the streets. She approached them to ask why they were marching. They brusquely pushed her away. Their arrogance and sternness alerted “Grandma” to alarming changes in her country.
At that point, she went home to her new husband and announced they should move immediately to America. Clearly, she no longer felt comfortable in Germany. She correctly sensed that the country was about to go off the rails.
And so they moved, leaving family and country behind. Eventually, Grandma became a private cook for wealthy New York families. For making her impulsive move, she was amply rewarded. She was now far, far away from the Nazis and the world’s worst international trauma. She was able to raise her family in a country that was stable and free.
Listening to the lessons of history: Leonard Peikoff
Leonard Sylvan Peikoff is a Canadian-American philosopher. He is also an Objectivist and close associate of the late Ayn Rand. Writing from that point of view, Peikoff – in his first book, “The Ominous Parallels” – explains the rise of the Third Reich and the Holocaust. As an authority writing on that time and place and as a philosopher as well, he warned that America was being led down the road to totalitarianism. That dangerous turn was due to far-reaching philosophical and cultural parallels between Weimar Germany and the present-day United States.
Leonard Peikoff warned of the dangers of subjugating the self to the powerful state. Lord Acton famously observed that “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Peikoff feared that same all- powerful state. He foresaw the economic divisions in Soviet Russia, with the lion’s share going to the rulers, and the crumbs to the ruled. Peikoff also concurred with America’s Founding Fathers who, breaking away from a restrictive monarchy, insisted on the primacy of the individual over the group. Likewise, he advocated strongly in favor of work, freedom, and the ability to seek happiness with no one intervening to “manage” it all. The thoughts and observations of Leonard Peikoff remain widely available in print and via a series of online podcasts.
Listening to the patterns of history: Dinesh D’Souza
The old adage, “He who does not know history is doomed to repeat it,” was never more true than in today’s media- and social network-dominated world of spin, sound bites, propaganda and instant messaging.
Born in Bombay, India, Dinesh Joseph D’Souza is a conservative American political commentator, author and filmmaker who emigrated to the United States. He first came to this country as an exchange student and later graduated from Dartmouth College. He became a naturalized citizen in 1991.
D’Souza has studied the patterns of American history. Unsurprisingly, many of his conclusions, while troubling and threatening to some, are borne out by the past. He is an ardent lover of America’s freedoms and a student of the American political system.
“Death of a Nation”
In The Death of a Nation, Dinesh D’Souza connects America’s past to her present. He believes America was saved once, by President Abraham Lincoln. But he now believes that the country is in great need of salvation once again, and strongly emphasizes that point in his newest film.
“Not since 1860 have the Democrats so fanatically refused to accept the result of a free election. That year, their target was Lincoln. They smeared him. They went to war to defeat him. In the end, they assassinated him.”
“Now the target of the Democrats is President Trump and his supporters. The Left calls them racists, white supremacists and fascists. These charges are used to justify driving Trump from office and discrediting the right ‘by any means necessary.’”
“But which is the party of the slave plantation? Which is the party that invented white supremacy? Which is the party that praised fascist dictators and shaped their genocidal policies and was in turn praised by them?”
“Moreover, which is the party of racism today? Is fascism now institutionally embodied on the right or on the left?”
By means of stunning historical re-creations and a searching examination of fascism and white supremacy, this latest D’Souza film, Death of a Nation, cuts through progressive big lies to expose hidden history and explosive truths. Lincoln united his party and saved America from the Democrats for the first time. Can Trump—and we, he wonders—come together and save America for the second time?
The American Constitution vs. the Elite Establishment
Any American who not fully confused by the Obama/Trump Era, must not be paying attention to current events. The easy way out of our currently deepening historical morass is simply for individuals to accept one sect’s platitudes and claims at face value in an ever-louder voice. Above all, they must seek to “belong” to a group that remains absolutely and unquestioningly certain of its moral stand.
Today, one must choose carefully from a multiplicity of political options. Within the Republican Party, one can be a “Never Trumper,” or a red hat-wearing supporter. Within the Democrat Party fold, one can choose to be a traditional liberal or a progressive socialist.
What has become clear, however, – thanks to that political catalytic converter named Donald J. Trump – is that both parties now boast their own fair share of Ins and Outs. The Ins now have a new name. They are “The Establishment.” These are the Washington party elites who have held power for many years, and for whom flyover country is nothing more or less than a national bread basket, there to feed them and their above-average lifestyles in their sparkling and highly-priced Potomac mansions.
Yet history teaches us that if one small, exclusive, self-selected group of people, be they Hitler’s Youth or America’s Establishment Elites, gains total and absolute political power, things will not end well. Americans can help counter such trends in this country by treading carefully in contemporary politics, by meticulously reading about and learning the lessons of history, and above all, by thinking for ourselves. And above all, by questioning any power clique that would rule us without benefit of our highly protective, well-proven and long-lived U.S. Constitution. Great Americans like Grandma Mercier, Leonard Peikoff and Dinesh D’Souza can help show us the way.
Headline image: Screen grab from YouTube video film trailer promoting Dinesh D’Souza’s Death of a Nation. Fair use in article discussing the film.