On Monday, Americans saw firsthand how the Swamp punishes those who speak out against “Woke” culture. Space Force Lt. Col. Matthew Lohmeier was removed from his command for voicing concern about the new “Diversity and Inclusion” initiatives being taught to his fellow service members, which are full of highly contested political assertions. As Lohmeier stated on a recent podcast: “It teaches intensive teaching that I heard at my base — that at the time the country ratified the United States Constitution, it codified White Supremacy as the law of the land.”
If the military is truly indoctrinating America’s warriors with such ideology, as Lohmeier claims, it certainly presents concerning questions about our national defense priorities. After all, every American service member takes an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America”—the very document the military is now teaching to be a prime example of systemic racism.
As alarming as Lieutenant Colonel Lohmeier’s being relieved from his command is, his removal highlights a larger dynamic that is taking shape as the left-wing curriculum penetrates more deeply in the military and beyond.
At every institutional level, progressive elites are attempting to impose similar indoctrination programs, mainly based on Critical Race Theory and the New York Times’ widely discredited 1619 Project. Elementary school students and C-suite executives are expected to take courses grounded in the premise that America’s founding was irredeemably racist.
Yet, these fundamentally anti-American ideas are eliciting an increasingly strong—and unusually emotional—reaction from ordinary people all over the country.
Across the nation, even the most apolitical suburban parents have flooded schools with petitions and calls to reject Critical Race Theory from being taught to their children. Many states are also moving to ban its implementation in schools. The reaction that the new woke education is evoking in parents and citizens is beyond that of a normal political disagreement. Indeed, the powerful backlash against this indoctrination can almost be described as primordial. So, what is it about the left’s latest ideological crusade that is engendering such passionate outrage from ordinary Americans such as Lt. Col. Lohmeier?
In attempting to turn American youth against their own homeland, the left has tapped into something truly primal in the soul of the nation. It’s a phenomenon that the founder of Western Philosophy understood fully well more than 2,400 years ago.
Today, we remember the Greek philosopher Socrates as one of the fathers of Western Civilization and one of the wisest men to have ever lived. Socrates famously made a sport out of seeking the wisest men in all of Athens and engaging them in debate, only to prove their wisdom unequal to his. He was a provocateur who consistently challenged Athens’ citizens to question the very foundations of their society and culture. Nowhere did his provocation have a greater effect than on the youth of his city. Young idealists clung to his every word as he criticized Athenian democracy, sowed doubt about the gods of the city, and indeed undermined the very foundations of the state. Though no one could best him intellectually, ultimately, the city decided that such subversion and destabilization simply could not be tolerated.
Even though Socrates was a philosopher, not a political leader, and never professed to know how the city should be governed, the youth of Athens interpreted his ideas as a rallying cry for revolution. Twice in Socrates’ lifetime, anti-democratic youths succeeded in overthrowing Athenian democracy in bloody revolts. The leaders of both of these plots were pupils of Socrates; thus, he found himself in the crosshairs of Athens once democracy was restored. Socrates was tried, found guilty, and sentenced to death for his agitation of the youth and other crimes. But what happened next shocked so many of his contemporaries that it is remembered and studied to this day.
Socrates had many opportunities to escape his sentence. Even his critics recognized his greatness. He had allies who were willing to smuggle him out of the city. He also had the choice to pursue exile over death. Yet, he declined all of these options and faced his glass of hemlock willingly. He knew he owed the city his loyalty and obedience for all of his criticism of Athenian society. He knew that, though questioning assumptions is the foundation of philosophy, Athens ultimately needed and deserved the respect and support of its youth in order to prosper. In the end, he understood that the city could not and should not tolerate someone going around and turning its young people against their own home.
The death of Socrates is often portrayed as what can happen when the tyranny of the majority is left unchecked—in other words when democracy fails. Yet, if anything, in his willingness to accept his fate, Socrates affirmed the deeper truth that citizens have a duty of loyalty to the nation. A movement that successfully turns the youth against the gods of the city—or the founders and the foundations of a nation—will not be tolerated forever. Such a movement is likely to provoke a fierce and indeed primal reaction from the loyal citizens of that country, just as it did among the people of Athens and just as it is doing among Americans today.
Targeting school children with a philosophy that stresses not academic excellence but radical subversion has triggered an aggressive pushback from American parents all across the country. Indoctrinating members of the U.S. military to turn them against the Constitution is a fundamental threat to the security of the nation. That is why we are seeing the formation of a powerful political reaction based on instinct as old as Athenian democracy itself.
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