When I was a teenager growing up in South Florida in the 1970s, there were some fellow Latin kids that didn’t appreciate my Anglophilia. No, it’s not a disease of the gastrointestinal system or a sexual deviance—Anglophilia is merely an interest in and affection for the British Isles. Growing up as a budding history geek, well, the U.K. has a lot of history. Ergo…
But, that didn’t sit well with my ersatz pals. So, they called me a “coconut Latin.” That meant I was brown on the outside and white on the inside. At first I blew it off. Then it became tedious. Eventually it became annoying. Thus at a later point I turned on them and said, “So amigos, let me get this straight. You want me to forsake my intellectual and cultural identification with the British and substitute it for what? For the Inquisition, for Franco, for most of an entire continent that veers between military dictatorship and socialism? No, won’t take that switch. The track record doesn’t hold up.”
They looked at me strangely and, having no idea what I was talking about, just continued their jibe until they grew tired of it. What’s that about trying to teach a pig to sing?
I don’t bring this up to only paint a scene from my storied adolescence, but to illustrate a greater point. What Black Lives Matter, Antifa, and their Democrat allies and sponsors are trying to do is pull a big switcheroo. They want us to substitute the civilized and enlightened values and history of Western Europe for empirically-challenged Marxism, granted, also a European import, and the glories of Third World despotic kleptocracies. But if we really take a hard look, the track records of these socialist wonderlands just don’t hold up.
That’s why Christopher Columbus must go in Chicago, that’s why capitalism must be trashed in Seattle, that’s why Jefferson and Washington statues must come down. But Jefferson and Washington weren’t Euros, you say. Not born there, yes. But certainly men of the Enlightenment.
Now, I’m not saying Western Europe or our subsequent value system that emanated from it were or are perfect. Slavery was a horror, the way we treated Indians was despicable, Jim Crow was an abomination, and some of our bumble-headed foreign policy and national security moves left more sagacious Euros shaking their heads in frustration and confusion. But we have paid for those mistakes in lives and treasure. We have learned hard lessons from them and have modified our behavior accordingly. The American South of 1955 is not the American South of 2020—and thank God for it. President Trump has had more than adequate provocation to go to war against Iran. But he has not pulled a Gulf of Tonkin maneuver to prime the pump.
Those are the facts and thus the West and the United States meet the empirical challenge. Our track record is not spotless. However, it is reformed to the point of honor. And our system, based on Western European values, can continue to stumble, learn, and reform. From Magna Carta to the Supreme Court decisions of today, it is designed that way.
But with what would the Marxism that Black Lives Matter, Antifa, and a large segment of the Democrats have us replace Magna Carta, the Declaration of Arbroath, the Declaration of Independence, and the U.S. Constitution? What of the Caliban’s Kingdoms of Africa and the Asian despots that Antifa lauds? Have they seen the error of their ways and reformed? No.
Are Cuba and North Korea of 1965 that different from those regimes today? No. Yes, the Chinese have adopted a mercantile authoritarian system. But is what they are presently doing to Hong Kong so different from the way Marxist regimes have cracked down on freedom since 1917? No. Are their appreciably more democracies in Africa today than there were during the tenure of Mengistu? No. Is the glorification of such regimes taught as holy writ on American college campuses that different from what it was 30, 40, or 50 years ago? No.
It is simple. The hard left wants to forsake freedom for brutal oppression because those who came up with our freedoms were, to them, of the wrong skin color. So we can add racism to the sins of the socialist riff-raff as well.
The rabble in the streets of Portland wants us to accept the substitution of Washington for Mao, Jefferson for Ho Chi Minh, and the Declaration of Arbroath for the latest befuddled mutterings of the Seattle City Council. Sorry, their track record just doesn’t hold up.