If we’re on the wrong track, why go left?

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - DEN­NIS PRAGER

To­day’s most widely ac­cepted po­lit­i­cal be­lief is that be­cause an un­prece­dent­edly high per­cent­age of Amer­i­cans — 81 per­cent — be­lieve the coun­try is headed in the wrong di­rec­tion, the Repub­li­cans are headed for a ma­jor de­feat this com­ing Novem­ber.

If this is the case, it can only be be­cause the Amer­i­can voter trans­lates “headed in the wrong di­rec­tion” as “be­cause the Repub­li­cans have had their way, so it’s time to let the Democrats have theirs.”

That should not be the case. I count my­self as one of the 81 per­cent who be­lieves Amer­ica is headed in the wrong di­rec­tion, and that is pre­cisely why I am vot­ing Repub­li­can. More­over, I sus­pect I am not alone among the 81 per­cent in as­crib­ing the wrong track to the left­ist, not the con­ser­va­tive, in­flu­ence on Amer­i­can life.

But if “headed in the wrong di­rec­tion” re­ally does mean for most Amer­i­cans that vot­ing Demo­crat will put our coun­try on the right track, it is hard not to con­clude that Amer­ica has be­gun the de­cline that has ended all great civ­i­liza­tions. For if the Demo­cratic Party — given how far left it has be­come — comes to con­trol Congress and the pres­i­dency, Amer­ica’s val­ues will soon stray so far from what they have been since its found­ing that it is dif­fi­cult to imag­ine ever be­ing able to undo the change.

Given that “on the wrong track” is de­fined as un­hap­pi­ness with the econ­omy, with Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush, and with the war in Iraq, let’s an­a­lyze all this.

First, are the 81 per­cent un­happy with their own eco­nomic sta­tus or with the eco­nomic di­rec­tion of the coun­try? They are ob­vi­ously not the same things. But which­ever it is — and it may well be both — why do most Amer­i­cans be­lieve the Democrats’ pre­scrip­tions are go­ing to help? Why will a huge tax in­crease on all Amer­i­cans earn­ing over $200,000, on cap­i­tal gains for all Amer­i­cans and on so­cial se­cu­rity (if Barack Obama is elected) help the econ­omy?

When have tax in­creases ever helped an econ­omy? Why will Amer­ica al­most alone among the in­dus­tri­al­ized democ­ra­cies move in the di­rec­tion of higher taxes? Are all th­ese other coun­tries that are low­er­ing taxes harm­ing their economies?

Fur­ther­more, the eco­nomic plans of the Democrats to have the gov­ern­ment take over health care and in­crease taxes will ex­pand the power and reach of the state more than ever be­fore, and will there­fore make more Amer­i­cans de­pen­dent upon the state than ever be­fore. Th­ese are earth­quakes in the Amer­i­can value sys­tem. If there are any val­ues that can mean­ing­fully be called “Amer­i­can,” self-reliance and lim­ited gov­ern­ment are among them. The move­ment from self-reliance to reliance on the state is truly “un-Amer­i­can.” For those who re­coil at the use of this term, it must be noted that it in no way im­plies less love of Amer­ica, let alone lack of pa­tri­o­tism. It sim­ply states the ob­vi­ous truth that self-reliance, in­di­vid­u­al­ism and lim­ited gov­ern­ment have been ba­sic and dis­tin­guish­ing Amer­i­can val­ues, and the Democrats and the left aim to undo those un­der­pin­nings of Amer­i­can civ­i­liza­tion.

Sec­ond, re­gard­ing the un­prece­dent­edly low pop­u­lar­ity of Presi- dent Bush, this, too, needs ex­plain­ing and may not re­flect well on the cur­rent state of Amer­i­cans’ val­ues.

Ge­orge W. Bush has passed leg­is­la­tion — such as pre­scrip­tion drug ben­e­fits for the el­derly — that Democrats would pass; he is a per­son­ally de­cent and hon­est man who has led per­haps the most scan­dal­free eight years in mod­ern Amer­i­can his­tory; he has kept Amer­ica free from ter­ror since 9-11 — some­thing no one, left or right, ex­pected; pro-Amer­i­can lead­ers have been elected in Euro­pean coun­tries most iden­ti­fied with anti-Amer­i­can­ism — Ger­many and France; and un­til the sub-prime loan-in­duced credit cri­sis, the econ­omy has been among the most ro­bust in Amer­i­can his­tory.

Now, un­doubt­edly the left will re­spond that this man is nei­ther scan­dal-free nor de­cent since, in its view, he is a liar. “Bush lied” has been re­peated by Democrats and the lib­eral me­dia so of­ten that they have both come to be­lieve it. But it is the charge that is the lie. Pres­i­dent Bush’s claim that Sad­dam Hus­sein was de­vel­op­ing weapons of mass de­struc­tion (WMD) was a mis­take, not a lie. Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton said the same thing when he was pres­i­dent, as did ev­ery ma­jor West­ern intelligence agency at the time of Amer­ica’s in­va­sion.

It is hard to be­lieve that “Bush lied” is the pri­mary rea­son for his low pop­u­lar­ity rat­ings. If it is, we are in deep trou­ble. It means Amer­i­cans have been ir­ra­tionally in­flu­enced, al­most brain­washed, by the me­dia.

As­sum­ing, then, that “Bush lied” is not a pri­mary rea­son for the pres­i­dent’s un­pop­u­lar­ity, the over­whelm­ing ex­pla­na­tion is pre- sum­ably the Iraq War. But if so, that, too, rep­re­sents an un­for­tu­nate de­cay in Amer­i­cans’ val­ues. What­ever mis­giv­ings an Amer­i­can has about in­vad­ing Iraq and re­mov­ing Hus­sein, the facts are that Amer­ica is win­ning now; that Iraq is be­com­ing the first free and demo­cratic Arab coun­try; that Is­lamists are los­ing what they them­selves call their most im­por­tant war; and that, as a re­sult of their bar­baric cru­elty in Iraq and their los­ing the war now, their pop­u­lar­ity among Mus­lims (ex­cept Pales­tini­ans) is in de­cline.

Do most Amer­i­cans re­ally pre­fer Mr. Obama’s and the Democrats’ pledge to leave Iraq to the Repub­li­cans’ pledge to win this war? No mat­ter how hor­rific, even po­ten­tially geno­ci­dal, the con­se­quences would be to Iraqis? No mat­ter how ad­versely it would af­fect po­ten­tial U.S. al­lies who will no longer trust our com­mit­ments to them? And no mat­ter how much it would weaken Amer­ica’s do­mes­tic se­cu­rity, given an Is­lamist vic­tory in Iraq? If so, we are in deep trou­ble as a na­tion.

If the an­swers to all th­ese ques­tions are that, by “wrong di­rec­tion,” Amer­i­cans think we are too Repub­li­can and con­ser­va­tive and that a rad­i­cally left­ward turn — the Democrats never had a left­ist (as op­posed to lib­eral) can­di­date win the pres­i­dency — is what the coun­try needs, we re­ally are in de­cline.

On the other hand, per­haps most of the 81 per­cent think that “wrong di­rec­tion” means, among many other things, the fol­low­ing:

• Forty years of left-wing con­trol of the news me­dia, of Hol­ly­wood, of the pub­lic schools, of the univer­si­ties and of nearly ev­ery big city gov­ern­ment have nearly ru­ined those in­sti­tu­tions.

• Forty years of a lit­i­ga­tion ex­plo­sion has had ter­ri­ble so­cial and eco­nomic ef­fects.

• Chil­dren are be­ing pre­ma­turely sex­u­al­ized through early sex ed­u­ca­tion.

• A gen­er­a­tion of chil­dren is be­ing fright­ened about too much — from see­saws to dodge­ball to ringa-levio to sec­ond­hand smoke to the de­struc­tion of the world caused by global warm­ing.

• The left’s war against JudeoChris­tian val­ues as the bases of Amer­i­can val­ues is leav­ing us morally rud­der­less.

• Redefin­ing mar­riage to in­clude peo­ple of the same sex for the first time in his­tory, while com­pas­sion­ate to gays, will be dis­ori­ent­ing to young peo­ple when form­ing their sex­ual iden­ti­ties.

• Mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism is de­stroy­ing the con­cept of an Amer­i­can cul­ture and peo­ple. Mr. Obama and the Democrats even op­posed declar­ing English as Amer­ica’s na­tional lan­guage.

So 81 per­cent of Amer­i­cans are right. We are on the wrong track. But the fu­ture of Amer­ica en­tirely de­pends on what track it is most Amer­i­cans think is wrong, and if they re­ally be­lieve that the rad­i­cal “change” Mr. Obama and the Democrats ad­vo­cate will be the right track. If so, it may mark the be­gin­ning of the end of the Amer­ica that our par­ents and their par­ents and their par­ents back to Amer­ica’s found­ing lived in. The left, given its de­mo­niza­tion of Amer­ica’s his­tory, would wel­come that. Would the Amer­i­can peo­ple?

Den­nis Prager is a na­tion­ally syn­di­cated colum­nist.

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