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Book Recommendations • Book Reviews • Center for American Greatness • Donald Trump • Free Speech • Government Reform • Greatness Agenda • Post • The Culture • The Media

A Man for This Season

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Disclosure requires at the outset that I mention Victor Davis Hanson wrote a very generous foreword to my book on President Trump, though from a somewhat different angle. I would have declined this assignment if it required, in all honesty, to write a less than favorable review. That is not a problem. This is, and as any Hanson reader would expect, an excellent book. The title is in some respects misleading, as the author does not make the case for Trump as an advocate; he neutrally presents the reasons why an adequate number of Americans, conveniently distributed electorally, chose him as president.

A review of The Case for Trump by Victor Davis Hanson (Basic Books, 400 pages, $30)


Trump pulled off an extraordinarily perceptive analysis of the areas of discontent—identified both intuitively and by polling carefully. Trump recognized that the post-Reagan presidency and Congress had alienated a large and ever-growing section of public opinion stretching, with rare dissident patches, from upstate New York and Pennsylvania to the Rocky Mountains, and apart from Minnesota and Illinois, from Canada to the border and Gulf of Mexico. This has become the great Republican torso of America, and Hanson limns in always interesting insights about the steadily increasing disaffection of traditional, white, working and middle-class Americans at what they consider the desertion of their interests by the Democratic Party and the disparagement of them and of their opinions by the leadership of the Democratic Party.

Tens of millions of Americans, not necessarily immensely politically sophisticated, but well aware of what they liked and disliked, were steadily more offended by President George H.W. Bush’s frivolous renunciation of his infamous Clint Eastwood-imitative promise: “Read my lips—no new taxes,” and by his, as they perceived it, post-Gulf War foreign policy that was overly deferential to America’s enemies and to free-loading allies. Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had been removed from Kuwait yet crowed that he had survived, was developing nuclear weapons and was the tip of the spear of militant, secular Islam. Bush’s support for continued Ukrainian and other ethnic republics’ adherence to the Soviet Union, and praise for the “confederation” of Yugoslavia, vaguely annoyed many Americans, especially when his son led us back into Iraq a decade later. The senior President Bush’s answer to a recession at home was just to spend more, even if it was borrowed, and even if doing so did nothing for the dwindling manufacturing sector of America.

In time, the people that Bill Clinton assured “I feel your pain,” evolved, in considerable measure, into the people that Barack Obama would asperse as “clinging to guns and religion.” They too were irritated. This was hard to take from a man who sat contentedly for twenty years in the pews of racist and anti-American pastor Jeremiah Wright, who dispensed his violent religion in fiery terms to the Obama family. The same loyal Democrats going back to the Roosevelt and Truman and Kennedy and Johnson years were singularly unimpressed by 2016 candidate Hillary Clinton’s consignment of them to the “basket of deplorables,” racists male chauvinists, rednecks, reactionaries, and bigots.

All politically informed people generally knew about this, but Hanson meticulously cites the Democratic leaders and describes Donald Trump’s cunning and well-thought-out pitch to what Richard Nixon called in a different context: “The silent majority.” Despite unprecedented media derision, Trump—once he got going as a candidate—exploited the rather muted proposals for tinkering with the decaying status quo of his talented group of Republican opponents, successful governors and former governors (Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee John Kasich, Rick Perry, Scott Walker), and prominent senators (Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz). They were a capable and previously respected group. 

But as the debates opened, Trump—though gratuitously abused by a vast echelon of the media—apparently was in the lead. In the early days, prominently placed among the contenders, only he dissented from the group-think of the other candidates of both parties. Only he wanted the NATO allies to pay more for their defense that the United States was providing, though it was distant from the possible source of danger, Russia. Only Trump called for the end to unequal trade deals, to a policy of truckling to China which enjoyed a $365 billion trade surplus with the United States and yet extracted exorbitant concessions from American companies to do business in China, and from disadvantageous trade agreements with Mexico, Japan, and Western Europe. Only Trump debunked the Palestinians as a serious interlocutor for peace.

Only Trump, among Republicans and Democrats, despite socialist senator Bernie Sanders’ supposed championing of the American working class, attacked globalism with its implications of supposed allies enticing American companies into their countries from which they would export unemployment back to the United States. All the other candidates in both parties were generally silent on these points, but Americans noticed, and as the primaries rolled by, the conventional wisdom than Trump was just brand-building and creating a great infomercial, gave way to hysterical attempts to “Stop Trump” on the Republican side, and then distance the party and its candidates at other levels from him.

Finally, in effect, they joined Hillary Clinton in protecting the United States from the “great ogre,” the unimaginable prospect of Donald Trump, blow-hard and checkered billionaire, sexist, racist, know-nothing, crook, tax-cheat, and ultimately Manchurian candidate-stooge of the Kremlin, being elected to the presidency. Most noteworthy, only Trump of all the candidates on both sides appeared to be serious about stopping the flow of millions of illiterate peasants across the southern border, contributing to a deadly influx of lethal narcotics. All the other candidates of both parties just repeated the tired platitude of “comprehensive immigration reform,” which everyone understood to mean, naturalizing millions of illegal arrivals and making purposeful (and inconsequential) noises about stopping the future flow of them.

Hanson makes the point very rigorously that Hillary Clinton was the one prominent Democrat who had a more dubious career than Trump’s, despite his less salutary business ventures, such as the unutterable hucksterism of Trump University. It was a fiercely nasty campaign, with both sides regularly charging the other with crimes. If there had been a Democratic nominee apart from the tainted Clinton and socialist Sanders, perhaps even the frequent blunderbuss Vice President Joe Biden, he might have won.

Hanson describes vividly the resonance of Trump’s key campaign arguments: “We don’t win anymore.” No one, he implied, was defending the national interest, and the middle and working classes had been put over the side and were overtly despised by the Democratic leaders over whose backs they had climbed to power, and they were selling America out to foreigners. How was the national interest served by allowing American allies to poach factories from the United States, export back into the country, creating more unemployment, and inducing the profit-making American corporations not to remit profits back to our shores, while Mexico in particular, made the arrangements even more one-sided by exporting illegally into the United States millions of impoverished and unskilled people, who then shipped back $30 billion to Mexico? Trump’s enemies replied that he was a racist, that providing in this way for the welfare of the underdeveloped world built international security and progress, and that it was in America’s interest and was its moral duty also. Only Trump realized that enough of the country was no longer buying into this to win an election with it.

Trump was running against the fading echoes of the Cold War, more than 25 years after the Cold War ended. Hanson, uniquely, makes the case that only Trump of the Republican candidates, could have made these points, (though Rand Paul approached some of them), and that only Hillary Clinton was more vulnerable than Trump was to the imputation of low ethics. When there is added to this the energy and careful targeting and tactics of the Trump campaign, his astonishing victory, the greatest upset in American presidential history, seems more comprehensible. He knew he had no chance in the states where the demographics militate against his positions, especially California and New York, most of New England, and Obama’s home state of Illinois. He focused relentlessly and ingeniously and with all the skills of populist communication he had learned in pulling more than 25 million viewers every week to his reality television production, on susceptible audiences with his very focused message.

Hanson recounts Trump’s generally successful record as president for two years, the astounding economic strength of the country, and his initial successes in facing down trade rivals and the North Korean regime. And he inserts the results of the midterm elections, where, in effect, NeverTrump pretend-Republicans were replaced by Democrats in the House, and the Republicans gained a seat in the Senate and replaced three Republicans hostile to the president with supporters. This enabled his supporters, who now thoroughly control the congressional Republican Party which was skeptical and uncooperative at first, to respond in the Senate to the much-heralded House Democratic investigations into every aspect of Trump’s life. The Mueller report’s benign conclusions for the president came after the book was finished, but only confirm the author’s views.

As only Hanson can, he muses on the possible destiny of this president as a tragic hero like Ajax or Oedipus, whose achievements could be made possible, but also limited, by his excesses. An interesting diversion follows, mentioning a number of literary and film figures.

But Trump could also be a successful president who is not a hero. Not every elevation to high office is a tragedy or a triumph of a hero. I think the betting must now be that Trump will be quite successful and will leave office relatively well regarded by most people. Appalling though it still is, the hatred of him is much less vituperative and self-confident than at the start of his term. And the changes he is seeking to the alliance system and the nature of international power alignments could be substantially realized, and be a stabilizing adjustment to post-Cold War conditions. Mideast peace, NATO, relations with China, all needed reassessment. And freed of the dirigisme and excessive taxation Obama had placed on it, the American economy is flourishing in a way that Trump’s predecessor said could only be achieved with a “magic wand.”

This is an exemplary, fair, and even-sided account of this president, his success as a candidate, and his prospects. It makes no pretense to being a biography and conveys almost nothing about Trump’s life until his emergence as a serious claimant on the presidency. But it is a much-needed and balanced perspective on the Trump phenomenon almost four years after he announced his candidacy to immense hilarity and ridicule.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

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2016 Election • America • Book Recommendations • Book Reviews • Center for American Greatness • Conservatives • Donald Trump • Post • The Declaration

From ‘Flight 93’ to Air Force One

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Michael Anton, author of the most consequential pro-Trump article written during the 2016 campaign, “The Flight 93 Election,” returns with a short, 97-page book, After the Flight 93 Election.

Besides his original 4,300 word essay—the entirety of which Rush Limbaugh read on-air to an electrified audience shortly after it appeared in September 2016—Anton includes new material in the form of both a “pre-statement” and a “re-statement” of his original article. Those who were paying attention in 2016 will recall that Anton’s  stark presentation of the consequences of a Hillary Clinton victory—charge the cockpit or die!—and the continuing failure of Conservatism, Inc. with its succession of Bushoisie, helped to galvanize Republicans and conservatives who were uncertain about whether Trump’s unorthodox political presentation was in line with their hopes for the country. Anton showed why Trump was not just the only choice but, in fact, a sound choice.

But the struggle that consumed us then remains today, and perhaps is more desperate than ever: the people must still repudiate a resurgent Progressive Left as well as the flabby accommodationist conservatism of Beltway denizens still pining for the days of the Bushes, Paul Ryan, John McCain, and the “gravitas” of Mitt Romney. Anton’s withering assaults on these so-called “conservatives” exposed their foreign policy of futile war, uncontrolled immigration, “free trade” dogmatism, and their meek submission to political correctness.

In the continuing civil war, the D.C. “conservatives” and their mainstream media allies snarl supercilious sneers at Anton, 49, who served 14 months on the Trump National Security staff. Nonetheless, even some on the Left cannot help but appreciate his wit. In his Flight 93 essay Anton gave the con-jobs plenty to be mad about, with his mockery of their Davoisie ways and his comparing them to the “Washington Generals” facing the “Harlem Globetrotters” of the Left, to name just two of his more cutting rebukes (because they’re true).

For a few months in the spring of 2016 Anton developed the arguments that would eventually become his “Flight 93 Election” essay in frequently hilarious posts for an online and pseudonymous blog, the Journal of American Greatness, which abruptly ceased publication as the increasing notoriety of its arguments threatened the anonymity of some of its contributors who feared professional repercussions if outed. But the work of JAG, nevertheless, was a major contributing influence to the magazine you are now reading, which was established shortly after JAG went dark.

The majority of Anton’s book consists of new material explaining the intellectual grounding of Anton’s spirited election rallying cry. In making his case for Trump, I regard his work as a spirited corrective to Allan Bloom’s Closing of the American Mind, the late professor’s best-selling 1987 attack on the soft nihilism of the modern mind on campuses.

Likewise drawing from the great books, Anton makes his case for a rational patriotism, following the model in the Declaration of Independence and Aristotle. But Anton, unlike Bloom, wants to develop an “American solution” to form a shield against violent forces abroad and misguided or hostile critics from both the Left and Right at home.

Deploying these philosophic and practical texts, Anton, with his teachers such as Claremont Institute scholars Charles Kesler, the late Harry V. Jaffa, Thomas G. West, and John Marini, produces a “political argument” outlining and then defending “the essences of conservatism, Americanism, and Western civilization.” While the struggle for the controls in the cockpit of our hijacked republic required only desperate courage (together with an Anton shake of the shoulders), the ultimate political war cannot be won without intellectual clarity. But now in place of hijackers at the controls, America has a pilot. Whether our pilot can right the plane safely and continue flying is still an open question. Hijackers are still at the door and, besides, they’ve already damaged the plane.

“The fundamental choice we face in our time,” Anton insists, “is whether to maintain the consensus in favor of self-loathing and self-destruction or return to life and the conditions of life….” This is the “American solution”—the affirmation of a life of freedom, civilization, and the common good against the clamorous claims of imperious identity groups.

Thus Anton sees in Trump a defender of constitutional government—an anti-authoritarian advocate of limited government. Trump and his supporters are really advocates of self-government. Though just as Abraham Lincoln was falsely branded a dictator by his scurrilous opponents, so too Trump bears the scars of their latter-day successors.

In what way are identity leftists and NeverTrumpers the spawn of Confederates? Because at the heart of their objection to America is the notion that their wills should be unlimited, that government by consent is a joke, that the rule of some can be justified on the grounds of credentials, race, or purity of heart. In other words, legitimate government does not rest on the principle of human equality and the consent of the governed that it demands, as the Declaration of Independence maintains. Instead, these pretenders claim to rule legitimately by virtue of their status as “chosen” elites whose superior wisdom and understanding gives them title to it. Constitutionalism and the rule of law rest on principles which refute such tyranny.

As I noted in my own reflections on 2016, following Anton’s, “FDR in his First Inaugural address compared himself to Jesus Christ and anointed himself as commander in chief, with citizens as conscripts in his personal army. In his 1944 State of the Union address, Roosevelt characterized 1920s Republicans as fascists”—see the sixth paragraph from the end. Democratic presidents since FDR have accepted his view of the presidency. Today’s leftists are simply more intemperate versions of FDR.

Both Left and Right, liberals and conservatives—and Anton would gladly escape these outmoded and conventional labels—reject the notion that equality so understood is the American principle. President Obama regarded the Declaration of Independence as a justification for laws covering everything the leftist heart desires, while Anton would urge that the Declaration produced a government energetic but limited by the principle of consent of the governed in what it could rightly do. (The opinions of Justice Clarence Thomas are often the clearest brief analysis of this principle as applied to a particular situation.)

To emphasize Anton’s scholarly intentions, this review cannot close without mention of the several pages Anton takes to reflect on the meaning of names—in particular the pen name he used to write his blog posts and the original Flight 93 essay, Decius, which comes from Publius Decius Mus, the name of two Roman heroes described in Machiavelli’s Discourses. A scholarly objection to his using the name permits Anton to elaborate on his understanding of Machiavelli and the new “modes and orders” he wished to institute as an innovator and patriot. Machiavelli, he argues, uses the Decii in support of his view that republics (and religions) that wish to renew themselves must ever return to their beginnings.

The argument calls to mind Anton’s first book, The Suit: A Machiavellian Approach to Men’s Style (2006). The brilliant satire about fashion, requiring its reader to compare these chapters with those of The Prince, bears as author the pen name Nicholas Antongiavanni. (Anton’s middle name is John.) Toward the end, he declares, following the original, “fashion is a harlot; and it is necessary, if one wants to protect oneself, to beat her back and spurn her enticements . . . .” In other words, “Young men, do not believe appearances!” His concluding, 26th chapter exhorts young Americans to “Seize Dress and to Free It from the Vulgarians.” For “if … American tastes have gone to hell, that only increases the glory, honor, and gratitude due to you for this marvelous deed.”

Michael Anton, defend us in battle!

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

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Book Recommendations • Book Reviews • Conservatives • Cultural Marxism • Identity Politics • Post • Religion and Society • The Courts • The Culture • The Left

during a confirmation hearing

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Since World War II, the war against Christianity that began in the Enlightenment has intensified across the globe. Every day, 11 Christians are killed, three-quarters of them in Muslim majority countries. In western European nations, Christians are marginalized, ignored, and mocked even as Muslim sensibilities and illiberal practices are carefully protected. And in the United States, supposedly one of the most religious of the developed nations, Christians are widely despised in popular and high-brow culture, and demonized by Democratic politicians like Senator Dianne Feinstein (D.-Calif.), who during a confirmation hearing insulted a Catholic nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals by scolding, “The dogma lives loudly within you,” recycling the old anti-Catholic smear that the nominee would be biased by her faith.

A review of Dark Agenda: The War to Destroy Christian America, by David Horowitz (Humanix Book, 224 pages, $26.99)

David Horowitz’s new book, Dark Agenda: The War to Destroy Christian America, is a meditation on this disturbing phenomenon and its dire implications for our republic.

Horowitz, a prolific author as well as the founder and namesake of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, is the most renowned bête noir of the Left and their progressive offspring. For more than 30 years of speaking, organizing, and writing he has been a scourge of their illiberal ideology and its totalitarian inclinations. An ex-radical leftist and Jewish agnostic, Horowitz defends Christianity because he understands the critical role it has played in the constitutional political order comprising unalienable rights and individual freedom. And as he explains, the serial assaults on Christianity have become a weapon for leftists to discredit all authorities beyond the state that pose a challenge to their bid for power.

Horowitz starts with the New Atheists of the 1990s such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. Like most atheists, their works bespeak the mentality of what George Orwell called the “embittered atheist,” one who “does not so much disbelieve in God as personally dislike him.” This “unscientific animus,” as Horowitz calls it, explains the Left’s crude, irrational ad hominem insults of and contempt for Christians’ intelligence and motives, which is ironic considering how often the atheist “brights,” as many fancy themselves, are unhinged in their vitriol.  One reason for this “hatred and loathing,” Horowitz says, is because “they have faith of their own”: their own status as the chosen and saved, and people’s “liberators––pioneers of a new human race.” It is no coincidence that the atheist creed is the same as the Marxist ideology driving the American Left, which believes that “science will usher in a utopian age of reason, enlightenment, and social justice.”

The atheist attack on faith, then, is one front in the progressive war against America’s constitutional political order. As Horowitz puts it,

It is a war against an imperiled nation––a war against this nation and its founding principles: the equality of individuals and individual freedom. For these principles are indisputably Christian in origin. They are under siege because they are insurmountable obstacles to radicals’ totalitarian ambition to create a new world in their image.

The progressive ideology ascendant today in the Democratic Party is “social justice,” like its Communist forbearer, a pseudo-religion that promises redemption not through God, but themselves. But as Horowitz points out, in fact they are repeating the primal sin of Adam and Eve, who believed Satan’s false promise that by rejecting God, they themselves would become gods. Contrary to the social and economic determinism of the Left, moreover, our free will to choose our innate vices and flaws instead of God accounts for the injustices and suffering that “social justice warriors” claim to battle. As determinists, however, the Left must delegitimize human agency and responsibility in order to eliminate the rival authority of religion, and justify the centralization and concentration of state power that progressives have pursued for nearly a century.

Horowitz argues cogently and with a wealth of examples that such attitudes are inimical to the Founders’ core beliefs.

First, humans are by nature flawed and vulnerable to the lust for power. Hence the Constitution’s dispersing, checking, and balancing of powers both to respect the factional diversity of the colonies, and to make it difficult for one faction to monopolize all powers. Second, they knew that these constitutional mechanisms for protecting freedom necessarily relied on faith in the creator who had bestowed on us unalienable personal rights like “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” that lie beyond the powers of government.

But with the European bloody wars of religion still fresh in their minds, they also understood that the denominational diversity of the American colonists meant that faith must be a protected activity of civil society. Hence the very first amendment in the Bill of Rights forbids a national state religion, the clause that has been corrupted into an unconstitutional “wall of separation” used today to banish Christianity from the public square and quarantine it in the realm of private life. But the amendment also “guarantees,” Horowitz writes, “all Americans the freedom to express and exercise their religious beliefs.” This Free Exercise Clause has been “the first casualty of the war against religion, and America,” for it stands in the way of the progressives’ need to delegitimize any authority over human life and action other than their own.

The bulk of Dark Agenda contains a history of several controversies that ultimately were settled by the Supreme Court rather than by Congress. Each directly and indirectly represented an attack on Christians and their rights enshrined in Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. This history also reveals the modus operandi of the Left and its penchant for ginning up “crises” and then relying on the unelected, unaccountable members of the Supreme Court to achieve their ideological aims.

The first is Engel v. Vitale in 1962, which banned prayer in public schools. The ACLU represented the five plaintiffs, one of whom was a founding member of its New York affiliate. Three courts had already rejected the complaint, the New York Supreme Court correctly noting that prayer in school was not a violation of the First Amendment, that no court in previous history had deemed it was, and that doing so “would be in defiance of all American history” and “would destroy a part of the essential foundation of American governmental structure.”

But the Supreme Court disagreed, arguing that it was a violation of the Establishment Clause because it did not recognize the belief of atheists. The pattern was set: a tendentious misreading of the Establishment Clause would over and over negate the Free Exercise Clause, justified not by legal and historical precedent, but by the ideological preferences of an activist faction. Subsequent decisions further chipped away at the presence of faith and Christian history in public schools. This purge created a vacuum that over the years has been filled with progressive and leftist ideology, leading to the intolerance and censorship dominating education today. As Horowitz writes,

As our freedoms are steadily diminished under the onslaught of “political correctness” and social justice fanatics, the true story of American freedom must be revised, rewritten, and censored by school officials, textbook publishers, and other tentacles of our “Ministry of Truth.”

Engel v. Vitale set the pattern for future attacks on the Christian foundations of the American order. Activists backed financially and legally by left-wing organizations would file suits that ultimately would be decided by the Supreme Court. Then the judgment would morph into a “constitutional right” that had never existed, or even been contemplated by the Founders. Thus was achieved a long-time progressive goal of revising the Constitution into a “living” document to be shaped by political ideology, and the creation of endless new “rights” to replace the natural rights bestowed by “Nature and Nature’s God.” The most powerful weapon for “fundamentally transforming America” had been forged.

Horowitz goes on to demonstrate this weapon’s success in subsequent decisions. Murray v. Curlett in 1963, a lawsuit brought by the unstable and troubled leftist firebrand Madalyn Murray O’Hair, founder and president of American Atheists. Her victory in the Supreme Court banned Bible readings and the recital of the Lord’s Prayer in public schools. The lone dissenter was Justice Stewart Potter, who wrote that the ruling was not enforcing neutrality toward religion, the tendentious interpretation of the Establishment Clause, but “the establishment of a religion of secularism,” which now, the Wall Street Journal added, was “the one belief to which the state’s power will extend its protection.”

Once again, as Horowitz writes, a “minority in America” relying on a minority that comprised the unelected, unaccountable Supreme Court “was able to impose its will on all Americans.” As a result, the critical mechanism of federalism, the check on the power of the Federal government by the sovereign people, their states and the powers delegated to those states, was weakened.

More Supreme Court decisions that undermined the Constitution’s protections of state and individual rights from overweening power followed. Griswold v. Connecticut in 1965 struck down state bans on contraception, weakening the Christian doctrines and beliefs of millions of Americans, especially Catholics. Nothing in the Constitution justified creating this new right of contraception. So the activist supporters of the plaintiff, Planned Parenthood, sold the Court on a new right, “the right to privacy.” The Court’s reasoning was torturous and vague, as it had to be to justify such a right. So they rifled through the Constitution’s “penumbras” and “emanations” and “spirit” of other amendments in the Bill of Rights, a process redolent of seances.

The ultimate point, however, of the attack on contraception laws was the realization of the Cultural Marxist goal of turning sexual license into a force for “liberation” from a “patriarchal oppression” that chained women to their reproductive function and subjection to men. Hence the institution of the family, as well as religion, came under attack. That goal was further realized in the series of decisions that legalized on-demand abortion, the most important being Roe v. Wade in 1973. As well as being a direct assault on millions of Americans’ religious beliefs, this decision became the most divisive national issue since the Civil War, and still today sparks intense conflict.

After Roe, for the secular Left, Horowitz writes, the Supreme Court became “an all-powerful instrument . . . with which it could impose its radical, anti-Christian agenda on an unwilling nation.” The goal was not just abortion, but also to remove one of the bulwarks against the totalitarian impulses of the progressive technocracy that wants to aggrandize authority over all Americans. And their purpose was and remains to impose undemocratically its vision of human nature and society without having to persuade their fellow citizens through the constitutional mechanisms of deliberation and election that allows all citizens to have their say, and to hold accountable those politicians who are supposed to reflect the people’s will.

These are just a few samples of Horowitz’s much more detailed analysis of how battles in the culture wars­ like gay marriage or the role of religion in public life are part of a larger conflict over the nature of America and American citizenship. Should we be free, as the Constitution intended, to participate in the decisions that affect our lives and our most cherished beliefs? And should disagreements over first principles be solved through political mechanisms like free and open debate and deliberation, and participation in free and open elections? Or, as the leftists and progressives believe, should we be clients who cede their autonomy to a technocratic regime of state agencies and functionaries who demand the power to determine how our lives should be lived and our profoundest beliefs should be expressed?

We know what side David Horowitz is on, for he has spent decades battling against the hubristic pretensions of progressives and leftists who believe they have the superior knowledge to assume control of their fellow citizens’ lives, and shape them to achieve the Left’s utopia of perfect justice and equality. Horowitz also knows the gruesome consequences of those fantasies: genocide and murder that follow when any group of flawed human beings who forget the lessons of history and tradition, and promise heaven on earth but produce only mountains of corpses.

As Horowitz concludes, the election of Donald Trump has for the moment slowed this decades-long process of dismantling the American order and its Christian foundations. Trump’s unabashed defense of American exceptionalism and his practical achievement in reforming the federal judiciary, have challenged the power before which too many Republicans have quaked. But at this moment a new movement of self-avowed socialists and identity-politics tribunes have intensified the conflict and elevated it to new levels of invective, contempt, and outright hatred of ordinary Americans.

The stakes are high, and we all must arm ourselves against a well-funded foe that dominates the schools, the culture, and the media. David Horowitz, a veteran of numerous battles against the Left, has written an excellent guide to the history and ideas that have brought us to this pass.

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