Americans are reportedly tired of political correctness run amok, yet the lunacy continues unabated. This scourge is particularly vexing when it seeks to sterilize or even eradicate our national history. So is it merely irony or a prophetic warning from the past that a 17th-century English republican who dedicated his life to fighting tyranny and was seen as a heroic figure by our Founding Fathers is now in the crosshairs of the PC bullies?
The Cambridge City Council in Massachusetts is urging changes to the commonwealth’s flag due to its alleged barbaric imagery aimed at Indians, er, make that Native Americans, Patch.com reports. The flag bears the official Massachusetts state seal, which contains an image of a placid Indian inside a blue shield holding a bow and arrow. The bow is lowered to indicate peaceful intentions. Above the shield is an arm wielding a sword. This image references the Latin text that wraps around the blue shield: “Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem.” Translation: “By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty.”
Fabric of our Founding
The quote comes from Algernon Sidney, a man much revered by this country’s Founders but mostly forgotten today. Sidney was a staunch English advocate of republicanism who was executed in 1683 after being controversially convicted of plotting to kill King Charles II. In an article for the Foundation for Economic Education, Chris Baker details how Sidney was admired by leading colonial Americans keen to revolt against the tyrannical monarch who oppressed them. “John and Samuel Adams, George Mason, James Madison, and Benjamin Franklin all acknowledged Sidney’s influence on American political thought,” Baker writes. “A group of Virginians (Patrick Henry included) founded Hampden-Sydney College in 1776 and named it in his honor.”
Baker notes that Thomas Jefferson declared upon the founding of the University of Virginia in 1825 that Sidney’s “general principles of liberty and the rights of man” expounded upon in his book Discourses Concerning Government, along with John Locke’s writings, “may be considered as those generally approved by our fellow citizens of this, and the United States.”
In short, Sidney deeply influenced the men who gave the world the greatest experiment in human liberty in its history. All this matters not, however, to those who wallow in the current Spirit of the Age, which is driven in large part by a cheap need to be constantly offended by those who built the very pedestals they stand upon. Latin text of bold words that fired the giants of 1776 means nothing to such people. All they see is a white arm holding a sword over a defenseless minority. Yes, this is the level of stupid to which we have descended in America today.
Imposition of Emotion
“Our first reason [in opposing the flag] is because it’s impossible to have peace with a sword. Our second reason is: It’s oppressive. Pilgrims are holding Native Americans down.” That is the babbling of one Linda Meisels, as she read letters from third graders she works with to the Cambridge council, as if they should mean something to a roomful of ostensibly responsible adults. But it is not only indoctrinated grade schoolers who see the flag in such childish terms.
Boston Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham in 2015 openly acknowledged that “flag scholars and heraldry nerds will tell you the sword is related to the motto, not to the man on the shield.” Without batting an eye, she then amazingly concluded that that does not matter since “that nuance long ago drained from the image.” Nuance?
“It depicts oppression,” Abraham quotes John Peters Jr., executive director of the Massachusetts Commission on Indian Affairs, as saying. “To have the sword over our head… it signifies a policy that has affected all tribes.”
Peters feels the flag embodies “an attitude of, ‘we are going to liberate your assets, your property, and we will do it peacefully but if necessary by the sword.'”
None of this is remotely true, as the slightest research into the Sidney quote would reveal and Abraham tacitly admits. Alas, attention to facts is only for “nerds.” Feeling carries all before it.
Sidney himself aptly captured our modern PC ogres in a passage from his Discourses that Baker quotes in his FEE article. “To retain its liberty a society must be composed of people who are willing to question the authority of ‘superiors,'” Baker writes in summing up Sidney’s beliefs. In the words of Sidney:
“Who will wear a shoe that hurts him, because the shoe-maker tells him ’tis well made? Or who will live in a house that yields no defence against the extremities of weather, because the mason or carpenter assures him ’tis a very good house? Such as have reason, understanding, or common sense, will, and ought to make use of it in those things that concern themselves and their posterity, and suspect the words of such as are interested in deceiving or persuading them not to see with their own eyes, that they may be more easily deceived.”
Is there a more fitting description of the logic-defying inanity of political correctness than this? No wonder Sidney was so respected by our Founders. Like him, they clearly realized that a free people could be destroyed by those who would induce them to refuse “to see with their own eyes” what is right in front of their faces. This is an absolute pre-condition for tyranny. The forces of political correctness are feverishly working to get American citizens to accede to things that they know are demonstrably not true. The more we do so, no matter how small the matter, the quicker we hasten our demise as a sovereign nation.
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