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America at the Tipping Point: Please Help Us Call a Halt

(Piotr Zajda/Dreamstime)

The days of the year have dwindled down to a precious few. In the warm glow of the fire (if you do the fire thing when it’s 70 degrees outside — thank you climate change!), and among family and friends, we turn to that most special season: the National Review Webathon.

I’ve made my contribution, and I’m hoping I can persuade you to do likewise. You see, at no time since the founding of this irreplaceable conservative institution has “standing athwart history yelling ‘Stop!’” been more urgent than it is today. Even as we take a break from the everyday, hanging heavily over the Christmas holiday is anticipation of one of the most worrisome years our country has faced since the Civil War.

No, I’m not trying to do a Page One New York Times editorial here, although it is useful to reflect on the momentous crises of modern American history Jonah Goldberg listed a couple of weeks ago when, in its self-parodic grandiosity, the Gray Lady departed from nearly a century of precedent by plopping a formal editorial on the front cover — above the fold (if your monitor folds) and not to be confused with the informal editorials that thread the daily “news” coverage.

From depression and war through terrorism and cultural upheaval, it may be no exaggeration to say that crisis seems to be our default condition. Crisis is never to be wasted for the likes of former Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, though I’d wager he likes it rather less now, as Chicago’s embattled mayor. Crisis is a prime mover of the history against which National Review stands athwart.

The post-American Left is poised to consummate its fundamental transformation of our nation.

But it’s different now, and that’s why I don’t think the “not since the Civil War” rhetoric is over the top. For the most part, the crises of the past — even when they’ve been foreseeable, even when our politics have exacerbated them — have been spontaneous, a result of natural calamity or of nations or movements clashing as they pursued their interests.

Many of today’s crises, however, are not just manufactured; they are orchestrated and choreographed. And for a very particular purpose: Thanks to President Obama’s reelection, Republican fecklessness in opposing him, and the Democrats’ discipline in exploiting this failure, the post-American Left is poised to consummate its fundamental transformation of our nation. Their campaign proceeds by flooding the zone, overloading the system’s capacity to react to simultaneous crises on multiple fronts.

Our national-security officials refuse to acknowledge Islamic supremacism, instead targeting Americans for “Islamophobia” — a con-job grievance conceived by the Muslim Brotherhood and their leftist allies to mute opposition. As the threat metastasizes — with the rise of ISIS complementing the resurgence of al-Qaeda — our president prioritizes his petty political vow to shutter Gitmo by emptying the prison . . . thus replenishing the enemies’ ranks. Meanwhile, the heroic young men and women serving in harm’s way are endangered by irresponsible rules of engagement, and the enemy, sensing Washington’s want of will, reclaims territory won by our soldiers’ sacrifice.

The president won’t take the wraps off our troops, but he has recklessly empowered Iran, pouring billions into the coffers of the world’s leading state sponsor or terrorism, rendering Tehran a threshold nuclear power.

It becomes hard for the country to focus on the peril overseas, notwithstanding the murders of American officials in Benghazi and the ensuing cover-up in the Beltway, the aggression of Putin’s Russia, and the ascendant threat of China. After all, the homeland is under siege: beset by terrorist attack and an invasion of aliens over our southern border, aided and abetted by the administration’s refusal to enforce the law, and resettlement programs that the GOP Congress is only too happy to pay for.

In the interim, the lawless president continues to rule by executive order, imposing economically ruinous regulations and scheming to transfer U.S. sovereignty to international institutions notorious for their hostility to American constitutional republicanism and individual liberty. Obamacare is collapsing of its own weight, but in government by crisis, that is cause for concern, not relief. The collapse has always been the objective, the creation of a crisis that only government can solve, ushering in the Left’s long-dreamed-of panacea: single-payer socialized medicine.

The nation is at a tipping point. I mention the Civil War because it was a point when the crisis of the house divided made it inevitable that the nation was going to be transformed. The question was: Into what?

We are either going to save freedom and prosperity or we will never know them again as they have been in this country.

Back then, heroic Americans fought to create what became the modern United States, an unprecedented historical force for freedom and prosperity, even through crisis after crisis. Right now, we are either going to save freedom and prosperity or we will never know them again as they have been in this country.

President Obama has about 13 months left in the White House. He is wielding against the Constitution all the awesome powers the framers vested for its preservation in the executive branch. And the constitutional checks on abuses of presidential power that threaten our society — Congress’s powers of the purse and of impeachment — have been forfeited by an opposition party more worried about a hostile press than the performance of its solemn duties. The courts? By next year, Obama will have stacked them with close to 400 like-minded progressives. The “Change” juggernaut faces few obstacles.

Basically, we are it. There will be only as much resistance to Obama’s transformation as the conservative movement generates. National Review, where the modern conservative movement began, remains its essential presence at the helm. It’s a federal election year, when we tend to get more of the GOP’s attention — funny how that happens. But it is also a presidential-election year, when all eyes are on the candidates, and not nearly enough eyes are on a sprawling executive bureaucracy pushing the pedal to the metal.

When our founder, William F. Buckley Jr., forged National Review, the ruling class had failed the country. Now the ruling class is set about destroying the country as we know and love it. We continue to battle, but our capacity to fight back depends, as it always has, on the commitment of our readers, loyal lovers of the America we are determined to fight for.

This is a cause, not an occupation. So today, I’m making my contribution to continue this vital work. I hope you will, too. Meantime, here’s wishing our readers and their families a very merry Christmas and a spirited New Year!


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