Steve A. Stone
Dear Friends and Patriots,
I consider myself a patriot and a "Common Sense" Man. The patriot part seems intuitive, doesn’t it? The second part may as well. We shall see.
What is a patriot? Is it a person who declares they hold conservative values? Is it someone who flies the American flag from a pole in their front yard? Is it a person who will always stand tall when the national anthem is played and will always put their right hand over their heart and recite The Pledge to the Flag? Is it an individual who has duly sworn to “protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic”? Is it a Christian who believes this nation was conceived by a group of divinely inspired men who spent much of their time in the Constitutional Convention in prayer, a Christian who believes this nation is especially blessed by God? Is a patriot one who donned the uniform of one of our military organizations and followed the orders issued from the Commander In Chief on down to the best of their ability and would return to that uniformed status any time they were asked? Is it anyone who believes the United States is and should forever be a sovereign nation that is subordinate to no power outside its own boundaries? Are you a patriot by any of these descriptions, or are you a patriot described in another way?
Allow me to ask, can one be an American patriot and still adhere to a socialist or communist ideology? Can one be a lifelong progressive and still legitimately be thought of as a patriot? Is it possible for someone to participate in acts that seem obviously detrimental to the health and well-being of the people or our nation and still honestly call themselves a patriot?
I pose those questions for your consideration. Everyone needs to understand that words have meanings. Marx and Lenin certainly understood. Many terms and references we commonly use today were created by them or their adherents. Marx referred to average people as “the masses.” He was the most prominent user of class differentiation. Those references weren’t used in normal discourse in Marx’s era. In America there was no such thing as “the masses” and our forebears tended to laugh at class references. They understood them as European concepts that had no place in a nation where individuals were empowered to be whatever their talents and energy could make them.
A lot of people today consider themselves to be patriots. Many are being self-deceptive. They haven’t put any real thought into those questions. They’ve never put themselves to any test. Many are the very kinds of people Thomas Paine referred to when he used the phrase “summer soldiers and sunshine patriots” in reference to many who had joined the Continental Army, but either deserted or demanded release to go home and tend to their chores.
The full quote is:
“THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.”
Paine published this paragraph in Dec. 1776, but it is as germane today as then. Paine, the author of the “radical” pamphlet titled “Common Sense,” was telling us who he considered a patriot. It was a person who stood up, stood fast, did not shirk, and did not abandon the cause of freedom.
How many in our country are true patriots? It’s a question that can’t be answered. When only 3% of the entire population has ever served the nation in any substantial capacity, how are we to know? Of that 3% we have to admit there are some numbers who aren’t patriots. There are always people who serve honorably, yet they do so for reasons that have nothing at all to do with their love of country. Some are motivated by their need for material security. Some are motivated by need for status. It’s really difficult to know who is and who isn’t a patriot until things begin to go off the rails. That’s as true for civilians as it is for those in the military. The truth of who we are is never known until we’re put to a test. Until then … it’s just talk.
Please don’t misunderstand. There are many ways to be put to the test of patriotism. Some seem trivial, while others are extremely serious. The person who stands up at a city council meeting and protests a proposed ordinance that will have an ill effect on any group of citizens is doing something patriotic. The one who volunteers to speak at an Independence Day celebration and recites sections from the Declaration of Independence is also doing something patriotic. So is the person in uniform who refuses to carry out an order because they are certain it is illegal. It could be true that a patriot is one who volunteers to do something to benefit the nation, just because they understand it’s the right thing. A patriot is selfless. A patriot has the courage of their convictions. It’s a person who understands there are always going to be things bigger than themselves, and they willingly dedicate themselves to whatever demands are made to ensure that those things survive.
We are in a very dangerous age. It’s an age in which the young are taught that notions of patriotism are archaic and fascistic. They’re taught a kind of individualism that’s selfish in the extreme; a belief in self above everything else. It’s a wrong-headed ideology that those who are behind it don’t share. Our young are today’s and tomorrow’s sacrifices. They’re taught to stand between those who control them and the people of Common Sense.
Think of every aspect of the “woke” ideology you’ve been exposed to. From Critical Race Theory, to the perverse “history” of the 1619 Project, to Black Lives Matter’s racial hatred, to corporate ESG scoring, and on, and on. The people of Common Sense understand it as a systematic creation of a series of false idols being raised for the younger people to worship. Those with Common Sense, as well as the creators of those social idols – both camps understand what’s going on, and in the same way. We are engaged in international ideological warfare. Those who are willing to worship the false idols created by various perversities of “woke” reality are fully committed to fighting all semblance of Common Sense. It’s not generally a “shooting war,” but it is intense, and it definitely will result in winners and losers.
We, those who aspire to be people of Common Sense, believe we’re grounded in reality, logic, principles and timeless laws. We have a very hard time understanding why anyone else would commit themselves to another way of being. We look for answers to why the young people are drawn to things we know to be false – why will they willingly worship idols instead of understanding their false promises and rejecting them? The truth is, what’s happening is nothing new at all. It’s as old as humankind, and the remedy is as well.
When you studied literature in school you were taught several differences between the various kinds of written works. If you paid attention to the definitions provided for some genres of fiction you understand already that some things are purely products of human imagination. Fiction runs that gamut from reality-based fiction, where the story lines are purposefully kept within the realm of the known and demonstrable, to futuristic fantasies, where anything goes. In every genre of fiction there are works that are considered classics. To Kill a Mockingbird is a classic of reality-based fiction. There’s nothing in that novel that hasn’t happened or couldn’t. Meanwhile, great novels like Dune and Stranger In a Strange Land have elements to them we know are totally impossible. Why would we ever consider a representation of something so fantastic as great literature? How can such things be enjoyed? That’s one of the perversities of man. We have the remarkable ability to suspend our Common Sense; the ability to suspend our disbelief in a pure fantasy and immerse ourselves into something we know isn’t real. For most people, who are firmly grounded in Common Sense, our immersions into the realm of fiction are temporary. We allow ourselves to enjoy the fantasy, but we never lose contact with reality.
I consulted an authoritative reference on this subject. It had a very important consideration implicit in its explanation. The reference link is:
I captured the most germane part of the explanation, of “willing suspension of disbelief,” which was the very first line, “The concept that to become emotionally involved in a narrative, audiences must react as if the characters are real and the events are happening now, even though they know it is ‘only a story’.” The implications of the word “emotionally” in that single line are the most important.
We live in an age where children are taught that feelings are truth; feelings are far more important than facts; that the journey is vastly more important than the destination. Those concepts, which are now embedded in curricula everywhere, are appealing to children. Remember, those are immature brains we’re dealing with; brains where the amygdala dominates all functions – the center of emotions. Children create fantasies as part of their natural maturing process. As adults, we’re supposed to be nudging them away from fantasies and encouraging their brains to make all those connections that are lacking between the cerebral cortex and the frontal lobe. It’s the frontal lobe that fosters logic and reasoning in our thinking. In most human brains the transition from emotion-based thinking and logic-based thinking doesn’t complete until the mid-20s in age. That means there are a couple of decades where children can be at the mercy of their emotions. That’s when they need strong, Common Sense adults around to help them to always know what is real and what is not.
The people who are teaching “wokeism” to the kids – what is their problem? I’d truly like to see a scientific study of the brains of those people to know what’s going on inside their heads. It’s easy to just say they’re ideologues, but is that all there is? Could it be that a few generations back the curricula in the academic field of Education was change to one that contained an increasing level of fiction? Could it be that the students back “then” were encourage to explore “what if this was true” fantasies about education and were not subsequently guided back to Common Sense reality? Could it be that many of today’s teachers are mired in those fantasies and in “groupthink” to the extent that they no longer have the ability to understand what is real and what isn’t? I can pose such questions all day long, but am still left with a huge dilemma – what am I to do about it?
In a world ruled by Common Sense one might think all the nonsense that goes on inside our schools could be dealt with just by exposing it all. Surely, others with Common Sense will recognize the huge dangers in what’s going on and will rise up and demand changes. Surely? That might have worked 75 years ago, but it won’t work at all today. Today such scenes are mostly met by silence and blank stares. Teachers, school administrators, and school boards retreat from parents as if under attack. They are no longer Common Sense based. Their thoughts no longer seek the path of truth. They don’t give parents and children’s interest groups credit for being interested in the welfare of the kids. They see themselves in a squeeze play. On one hand are a bunch of angry citizens, who know things aren’t right. On the other hand are threats of a federal bureaucracy – threats of lawsuits and the withdrawal of funding. One thing bureaucrats are trained to do is protect their money. It’s almost their prime directive. Everything else can just go straight to hell, including those angry parents and the welfare of all those millions of kids.
The bureaucracies we deal with today are indulging in fictions. They appear to be bought-in to an ever-greater degree. Reality and Common Sense are becoming uncommon phenomena. Everywhere we look we’re faced with signs of the willful suspension of disbelief – the fictions that now rule our days. Everywhere we turn we’re confronted with more and more signs that the promoters of “woke” ideology are succeeding and pushing back those with Common Sense. Are they winning or are we? Allow me to pose a Common Sense question – how do we know?
What does the "common sense" man want? That’s the question. This Common Sense man wants to know the answer to the questions immediately above – are we winning or not? How do we know? I see where other people say we are, but I don’t see any sign that tells me that’s more than wishful thinking. Meanwhile, the Education Factory keeps turning out thousands of self-hating, confused, angry, uneducated, untrained, and undisciplined young people who believe the real problem of our nation is – it has way too many people who have Common Sense.
Something has to give. It won’t be me. Don’t let it be you.
Steve© Steve A. Stone
The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.