Profile of George Washington from Mount Rushmore
Profile of George Washington from Mount Rushmore

Washington’s Prophetic Warning

Published at American Thinker

President Trump paid tribute to George Washington when he recently delivered the 2020 convocation speech at West Point.  While congratulating the cadet graduates and reminding the world of the success of his defense modernization program that gives the U.S. unchallenged superiority, Trump missed an opportunity to mention that Washington’s “Farewell Address” was a warning to the nation that America’s greatest threat would be internal, rather than external military incursions.   

Prophetic in nature, the Farewell Address so gripped the American people at the time that it was read and reprinted more than the Declaration of Independence. It was a penetrating articulation of three sources of peril to freedom and the republican form of American democracy that citizens needed to guard against:

  • the failure of institutions to keep people informed and enlightened
  • the problems of party factions and hyper-partisanship
  • the decline of religious obligation and national morality

The recent urban chaos and violence reminds us how dangerous mobs can be and how critically important it is to have crowd control through appropriate and effective National Guard, police, and law enforcement action.  But what people really need to realize is that the devastation to cities and property in urban areas across the country is not a bad dream, but rather a glimpse of what America’s internal enemies want for the whole country.

It should be remembered that Antifa and Black Lives Matter (BLM) both have their ideological origins in Marxism, although they were both ostensibly formed under the banner of being anti-police.  BLM was established in 2013 after George Zimmerman was acquitted for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, and we all remember BLM’s street march refrain of “Pigs in a blanket, fry ‘em like bacon.” Recently, Black Lives Matter cofounder Patrisse Cullors said, during a media interview, “We are trained Marxists.”

Antifa’s roots go back further with some members coming out of the Weather Underground and others having been involved with the May 19th Communist Organization.  The ideology of both BLM and Antifa revolves around a core view of cultural Marxism that America was founded on white supremacy, and therefore needs to be destroyed.

By the language applied by the FBI to define terrorist organizations (such as ISIS, Hizb’allah and Al-Qaeda), as those that “employ the use of violence and intimidation in pursuit of political aims,” both Antifa and BLM should be deemed terrorist organizations; their activism employs violence and intimidation in pursuit of political objectives.  Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Executive Director Nihad Awad who openly supports Hamas — a designated terrorist organization — has publicly said, “Black Lives Matter is our campaign.”

In addition, to Antifa, BLM, and the “swarms” of lesser-known leftist and anarchist militants, many of the crazies in the streets are ignorant opportunistic hoodlums. The elected officials who have enabled the chaos created by the aforementioned in a growing number of municipalities are the product of higher education institutions that have failed to inculcate a basic appreciation of the American system and an understanding of the responsibilities required to protect freedom and rights in ways that maintain order, protect property and keep things working. Their views are reinforced and sustained by most of the media — in both traditional channels and the social media outlets — in ways that perpetuate false PC narratives being subliminally planted and taking root in a large portion of the population. 

The scope of our internal problem in need of a solution is succinctly stated by Kyle Shideler,  the director for homeland security and counterterrorism at the Center for Security Policy:  “With the successful promulgation of the radical message [the narrative] of America as bastion of white supremacy by presidential candidates, cable news anchors, and generations of tenured professors, Antifa is unlikely to lack for recruits and support — rhetorical or otherwise — any time in the near future.”

Make no mistake — the goal of these narratives promoted by the left in America is to reinforce and drive white guilt and self-doubt for the specific purpose of increasing demoralization and paralysis in American society. The harmful consequences of this is now on panoramic display in a number of large American  city jurisdictions with mayors, commissioners, and city councilmen failing to support the police in the face of hostile confrontation, which demoralizes the police and undermines their willingness to perform their job and enforce the law.  Little wonder that resignations and early retirements are on the rise.  But this is also part of the left’s plan to diminish public safety, increase lawlessness, and facilitate the end game. 

Compounding the problem of bringing about a corrective and restoring balance is the fact that competing views and alternative narratives are being increasingly marginalized, censured, and blocked. And we are now at a point when Americans who exercise their first amendment rights to express views that go against the dominant politically correct narratives are not just silenced through shaming and bullying and censored and defunded by social media giants, but increasingly they are being fired from corporate jobs, professional sports teams, and other employers and venues.  The First Amendment that is at the heart of our Constitutional freedom and differentiates America from almost every other county is under severe attack.  And when that freedom is gone, surely others will soon follow, and the transformation of America will be all but complete.

Is it all coincidence that the failed coup, the Trump-Russia Mueller investigation and Ukraine-impeachment hoaxes, the COVID-19 shutdown and attendant nullification of Americans’ Constitutional rights were followed immediately by an outbreak of urban warfare and assault on police and authority?  We may never know definitively, but it’s clear that the leaders of Antifa and BLM didn’t miss a beat in organizing immediately after the death of George Floyd, and in subsequent days, continued to work in a well-funded and highly coordinated fashion. They targeted cities, with their affiliates carrying out the logistics of transporting people, arranging for the delivery of pallets of bricks, bats and gasoline to break windows, facilitate looting, and ignite fires, knowing that the energy levels of non-affiliated urban hoodlums and opportunists after nearly three months of pent-up frustration from cooped-up sheltering would likely result in extreme violence, destruction and looting.  It succeeded.

What this period of urban chaos and destruction has revealed is that the narratives that have turned Americans against America have worked to increase both the number of street revolutionaries and anarchists as well as the numbers who are passive in the face of property destruction, looting and violence against resisters.  And then there are the corporate leaders who apparently think that virtue signaling and buying protection from the left is a wise choice.   Of course, the leaders of Antifa, BLM and other radical groups see all this as weakness and confirmation to move forward with next steps to seed the collapse of America and gain power.

As a result of  leniency — following the successful neutralization of the police and horrendous destruction of property, ransacking big box retailers and upscale shopping districts, and looting the very stores and brands that symbolize the fruit of what law and order and capitalist success bring — has only empowered the left to do more and bigger things that advance their long-term goal, which is the total transformation of America.

While they applaud concessions like shifting public spending and defunding the police, the radical left finds its greatest motivation in actions that move the country closer to the end game. A central part of that is to delegitimize American institutions of authority by erasing and deconstructing history, so as to further disorient and disconnect Americans from their heritage.  That’s why desecrating and tearing down national monuments has picked up momentum. 

In Wilmington, Delaware city officials removed the statue of Columbus before it was dismembered and destroyed. In St. Paul, Minnesota and Richmond, Virginia activist thugs gleefully toppled statues of Columbus. In Boston, the statue of Columbus was beheaded, jihadi-style.  It matters not that Columbus was a passionate explorer, evangelist, and practitioner of Christian kindness. Neither does it matter that he  never saw nor set foot on the North American continent, and never enslaved or abused any indigenous native Americans.

With the white supremacist colonial narrative having been long and deeply established in the psyche of many Americans, Columbus and Confederate generals are an easy targets.  But we already see that toppling Columbus and Confederate monuments are just steppingstones to desecrating and removal of even more high value targets such as the memorials and statues of founders George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison, who were slaveholders.

An important part of cadet training at West Point is the study of battle plans.  What  President Trump needs now are effective short and long-term battle plans.

The short-term battle plan should start with speaking to the nation about the nature of the real threat to the Republic.  Clearly a revolution is underway, and we need to get out of denial, and implement decisive counter-revolutionary actions.  That starts with naming our enemies and rigorously enforcing the law against them.  Reestablishing law and order is a prerequisite to even thinking about implementing the long-term plan to neutralize the three prongs of internal threat that Washington laid out in his Farewell Address.

A few ideas on the starting points to that long-term battle plan, which is absolutely necessary to save the Republic, would include:

  • Accelerated reform of and increased competition to the K-12 government-run school system, strategies that provide incentives to universities and media giants to provide more balance in the conveyance of knowledge and information, with requirements that all the protections associated with the First Amendment are upheld with legal liability and penalties for violations and violators.  
  • Second, the problem of factions and hyperpartisanship would diminish over time through the results of a more balanced media and more choice in better schools and educational curriculum.  The survival of any nation requires inculcating a certain amount of enlightened patriotism, and the United States is no exception.
  • And third, more can be done outside public policy initiatives to elevate the value of religious obligation and practice, which can bring surprisingly fast results by strengthening families, mitigating juvenile delinquency and crime, providing more genuine social connectedness and a higher purpose and meaning in life where bigotry has no place and tolerance is more abundant.

 All of this, implemented over time, would provide a more civilized, broadminded, and enlightened population from which leaders would arise and get elected — better informed and equipped for bipartisan cooperation around policies that actually solve problems — all of which would provide a powerful force for American renewal. 

The problem is the barbarians are not only inside the gates but have become the shock troops of the Democrat Party to intimidate and enforce compliance.  So the first step toward that long-term solution is to reestablish law and order, utilizing the powers of the federal government where necessary. The vast majority of citizens would welcome this. To the elected city and state officials who would resist and bow to the left, just remind them that the oath of allegiance of federal officials is to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. 

Scott S. Powell

Senior Fellow, Center on Wealth and Poverty
Scott Powell has enjoyed a career split between theory and practice with over 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur and rainmaker in several industries. He joins the Discovery Institute after having been a fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution for six years and serving as a managing partner at a consulting firm, RemingtonRand. His research and writing has resulted in over 250 published articles on economics, business and regulation. Scott Powell graduated from the University of Chicago with honors (B.A. and M.A.) and received his Ph.D. in political and economic theory from Boston University in 1987, writing his dissertation on the determinants of entrepreneurial activity and economic growth.