- - Wednesday, February 20, 2019

China tests America more broadly than the trade issues capturing the headlines. It is but one part of the left’s cultural assault on our nation’s founding ideals and that would restore Old World tyranny to American soil.

The United States was established by migrants from several European nations and Africans brought here against their will. They labored as farmers, merchants and craftsmen in small cities and rural settlements largely isolated from one another but gradually united by experiences that emerged from independent experiments in capitalism and local governance.

America emerged, defined not by a unifying ethnicity or religion, but from radical notions that free men seeking their fortunes or simple contentment in free markets and governing through the ballot box best serves prosperity and security.

America offered much but demanded a lot — self-reliance and self-discipline to accept the judgments of the marketplace and outcome of elections. Americans don’t take to arms when the other side wins.

After the Revolution, a few million settlers living within 100 miles of the Atlantic Coast scaled two mountain ranges, settled the West and built industries, cities and great universities. The country suffered a terrible war to rid itself of the scourge of slavery.

In 1876, Europeans flocked to the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition to marvel a bustling young nation’s technological advancements — American leadership of Western civilization had begun.

Now China confronts America, like a distant image in memory of our childhood — its youth restored and busting at the seams — but it is everything we never were.

A place where private business leaders are expected to serve the Communist Party’s agenda and the thoughts and movements of citizens are coerced through a well-tracked Internet and cameras and facial recognition in public spaces, it much resembles fascist Germany and pre-war Japan. Those had state-directed industry associations and extraordinary pressures for conformity with militarism and supremacist ideologies.

If the 20th century taught us anything, we can’t appease ambitious tyrants — Britain tried at Munich and nearly paid with extinction — or ignore them — the bloodshed of World War II might have been greatly lessened had we confronted Hitler and Tojo sooner.

At least Britain and America were united internally for the long dark war that followed but neither is today. With Brexit, too many Britons cannot see that short term pain is necessary to unshackle from the smothering consequences of the European Union.

In America, the left has captured the hearts and minds of many millennials and college-educated women with self-serving sexism, racism and romantic notions about socialism, which has failed in various mutations through much of Europe and Latin America.

The merchants of heresy would have them believe white men continue some grand conspiracy to subjugate women and minorities and capitalism has within it a relentless mechanism that centralizes wealth in the hands of Plutocrats.

All personal failures, other than those of white males, are the handiwork of some devilish collusion or dysfunction, and the coercive powers of the state must be marshalled to redress injustice.

Consider, the California Fair Pay Act, which requires even the smallest enterprise to explain hiring decisions in terms of rigid implicit quotas. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s proposals to ensure corporate boards are controlled by a combination employees and unelected representative stakeholders. And Sen. Chuck Schumer’s that would prohibit corporations from distributing profits if they don’t meet state-mandated goals.

As national policy, those would impose socialist decision making on virtually all employee contracts and investment decisions, and are more likely to happen than the Green New Deal if the Democrats get full control.

As for mandatory compliance with “left think,” that is now open sourced to the pervasive monitoring of Google and Facebook and the incessant demands of the media and employers that anyone violating their “values” be denied employment.

President Trump squarely stands in the path of the left’s agenda, and it responds with a state-organized campaign to discredit him and his appointees through endless investigations. I am waiting for special counsel Robert Mueller or the House Judiciary Committee to subpoena the grade school lunch accounts of Mr. Trump and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanagh.

More corrosive, by denying the legitimacy of his election, Mrs. Pelosi, Mr. Schumer, the women in white and the whole bunch are saying elections only count if they win — very totalitarian.

With all this, America is just one election away from capitulating to China.

* Peter Morici is an economist and business professor at the University of Maryland, and a national columnist.

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