Modern industrial technology joined with the crooked timber of humanity to make the 20th century the most destructive century on record. Totalitarian states clashed with the free world in a titanic struggle for the soul of humanity.
Freedom won, but the fragile victory requires constant upkeep. The world is not short on intimidating bullies, petty tyrants, and aspiring dictators. Oppressive would-be despots will always be with us, and it is incumbent upon each generation to defend liberty and the rule of law.
This is true in the United States as it is for the rest of the world. Indeed, America had its own flirtations with authoritarianism in the modern era: President Woodrow Wilson’s Committee on Public Information launched a propaganda campaign that manipulated the habits and opinions of millions of Americans; President Franklin Roosevelt detained tens of thousands of Japanese citizens; state governments throughout America strictly enforced segregation and other policies designed to crush the spirit and livelihoods of minority Americans.
These sins haunt our collective conscience.
The stakes of our current battle against totalitarian tendencies may not yet be as significant as those of past decades, but today’s authoritarians can still act in deeply pernicious ways.
Some of these contemporary authoritarians take the form of cultural elitists, casting themselves in messianic roles promising that they know what is best for the American citizen. Skeptics of their “enlightened” ways are castigated as degenerates. And when new information emerges, which challenges the position of the enlightened few, that information is repressed, sacrificing truth on the altar of politics.
As Senior Republican Leader of the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor, I see examples of these deceptive assertions weekly.
Democrats cite science to enforce mask mandates in schools, steamrolling parental rights and ignoring the harm masks inflicts on young children’s learning.
No issue is small enough to escape Democrats’ pernicious grasp. Anonymous federal bureaucrats demand disgustingly low levels of salt and fat in children’s school meals even though dieticians acknowledge these ingredients are an important part of a well-balanced diet.
House Democrats passed a bill that would skim the top off workers’ paychecks to line the pockets of union bosses even though those workers are not even union members.
And most recently, Congressional Democrats are pushing a $3.5 trillion socialist wish list, which the New York Times said, “would touch virtually every American’s life, from conception to aged infirmity.”
These are but a few recent examples of the rise of the cult of technocratic elitism. There are hundreds of more ways the intolerant Left seeks control over our lives. If we tacitly go along with their plans, we will find ourselves with a country we no longer recognize.
Wielding government power as a cudgel against political or cultural adversaries is one of the most ancient forms of bullying. American citizens do not take kindly to being told what to do, and sooner or later, the voters will inform politicians that they will not permit their personal liberty to be devoured by power-hungry elitists.
While Democrats are busy finding new ways to interfere in your personal decisions, truly dangerous totalitarian nations like China, Russia, and Iran plot to overthrow the peaceful world order. There are serious threats to the future of Democracy, individual liberties, and global prosperity. Democrats ought to turn their attention to these existential concerns instead of seeking opportunities to shove their lifestyle down unwilling throats.
Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”I share his commitment.
I hope you join me.
• Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) is the Republican Leader of the Committee on Education and Labor.