Monday, February 15, 2010

The Decline and Fall of Our Heroes

Has anyone else noticed the slow and gradual removal from our culture of heroes?

It first comes from the overuse of the word "hero." A "hero" does something remarkable, using their skills to achieve something positive, often at great risk to themselves. I don't mind calling police officers heroes. I don't mind calling fire fighters heroes. They do put their lives on the line daily. At what point does basketball become a life and death occupation though?

Great individuals need to be remembered and celebrated. Our schools do a terrific job remembering Martin Luther King Jr. He was a true martyr to the cause of individual rights. I do find it puzzling that students know who Martin Luther King was, but not Martin Luther who offered himself to be burned at the stake because he believed Christians had the right to freedom of conscience.

Probably the worst offender is "Presidents' Day." We used to celebrate Lincoln and Washington's Birthday separately until the universal adoption of Martin Luther King Day. Then governments felt three holidays in such a short period of time was too many (an exception being Virginia who already celebrated Robert E. Lee's birthday at the same time, and still do. The two are not so far apart as one might imagine.) Washington and Lincoln got lumped together.

Washington's Birthday was at one point a more important holiday than the 4th of July. More than anyone, he symbolized both the fighting spirit and the political wisdom of our Founding Fathers. He served as hero not just to Americans, but also to colonial peoples everywhere seeking independence. Every leader of a would be sovereign nation aspired to be a Washington for his people. Most failed to meet a standard set so high. Now Washington gets lumped in with the good, bad, and the ugly of presidencies.

Are all presidents heroes? Is the drunken incompetent Andrew Johnson the equal of George Washington?

Left wingers do not believe in heroes outside of their own kind. They tend to hate the idea that an individual can make a difference and change history for the better. History to them is a series of social movements, not alterable at all by the actions of willful, inspired men and women. They truly see little value in celebrating Washington or any other American hero and that is why they have labored so long and hard to eliminate him and other true heroes from our schoolbooks and curriculums. Martin Luther King Jr. gets to stay because it is inconvenient for the leftists to take on a major interest group.

Another left wing concept is postmodern philosophy that emphasizes that all opinions and points of view are equally valid. Postmodernism says that Jackson Pollock dropping pain onto a canvas from a three story building roof is equal to da Vinci and Michelangelo's greatest works. It says that Washington is as much villain as hero because someone, somewhere sees him as an evil usurping slaveowner rather than a symbol of liberty. Left wing academics worship in the religion of postmodernism; it's the only creed they accept on faith alone.

Being aware of these people and their intentions for our culture and country prepares us to battle them. We need to exalt the memories of Washington, Lincoln, Grant, George and John Marshall, George Patton, Andrew Carnegie, George Mason, Thomas Jefferson, etc. because they did great things for a great nation. Even Lee and Stonewall Jackson stood for an ideal of rights that is part of our experience and national identity.

Celebrate heroes. Teach our children about great Americans so that they believe they can achieve the same things. Then teach about other heroes from Britain, the rest of Europe, the Christian and Jewish faiths. You need to teach about these people or risk having children never hear about them at all.

No comments:

Post a Comment