“Useful idiots” is a derogatory term, believed by some to have been invented by Vladimir Lenin, that describes people who are happy to spread propaganda for a cause despite having no idea what the real end goal is.BY KEVIN DOWNEY JR.
People who feel the need to “virtue signal” their support for the various victim groups seem obvious to what they are actually promoting. They claim to be fighting hate, when in fact they are undermining the unity of our country. It seems like hyperbole, but the real end goal of keeping us divided is to undermine western civilization. Calling someone that is aiding that cause a “useful idiot” is on point and yet not a strong enough denunciation.
Choosing how to fight back against this devious plot is hard. Step out of line from the narrative and the left has a vast array of ways to cancel you and your career. A recent editorial reminded me what a wonderful system our founding fathers gave us. Never giving up the fight to keep our country, as founded, might be our best weapon promoting and defending our cause. I’d like to quote from that editorial, George Korda does a great job expressing the importance of remembering what it is to be American.
In a conversation in his Washington office several years ago with then-U.S. Sen. and former Tennessee Gov. Lamar Alexander, I asked him what, in his opinion, was generating the seeming fury that dominates so much national political discussion.
He got up from his office table, walked over to his desk and picked up his smartphone. Waving it slightly, he said, “This.” No further explanation on that subject was necessary: social media is a culprit, but by no means the only one.
America in its history has often been divided along economic, racial, educational, religious, ancestral and other lines. But up to 1861 and since the end of the Civil War, “E pluribus unum” (“Out of many, one”) has described America’s makeup. These days, however, the anger and desire to “get” those who oppose correct thinking — “correct” being a subjective consideration — is almost tangible. And a growing number of Americans want to be separated from fellow Americans with “incorrect” ideas or opinions.
There have always been ideological divides among Americans. However, it’s possible that what’s fueling the present anger is the number of amplifiers to which Americans are exposed that trumpet political and social differences. Among these are amplifiers that condemn in increasingly strident terms anyone with ideas outside respective ideological silos. Examples are found daily on the internet, social media, national news media, cable TV news, talk radio and social media, the last being the issue to which Alexander referred.
Another divisive problem: If you’re trying to speak and someone puts a hand over your mouth, what happens? You get mad. And as more Americans see or feel themselves silenced, they get madder. This is happening as in important areas of society, support declines for the First Amendment. This decline has itself been going on for years, as evidenced by a March 12, 2018, Washington Post article spotlighting the trend: “College students support free speech — unless it offends them.”
Throughout the country we see daily examples of people losing jobs, banned from social media, ostracized, condemned and demonized, because they say something deemed “insensitive” or “bigoted” in the subjective judgment of an onlooker. When people are intimidated, bullied or denied the right to speak, some will find other, and more dangerous, ways to make their points.
A way out of this morass already exists. The rulebook that makes us “e pluribus unum.”
In the movie “Bridge of Spies,” actor Tom Hanks plays an American lawyer sent to Germany to negotiate the release of an Air Force spy plane pilot shot down over the then-Soviet Union. While talking to a U.S. intelligence agent of German heritage, Hanks, playing a character of Irish ancestry, gives an eloquent description of what makes Americans American.
Said Hanks: “I’m Irish, you’re German. But what makes us both Americans? Just one thing. One. Only one. The rulebook. We call it the Constitution. And we agree to the rules, and that’s what makes us Americans. It’s all that makes us Americans.”https://www.knoxnews.com/story/opinion/2022/04/12/play-rulebook-our-constitution-avoid-new-civil-war/7276944001/