During the early morning hours of Monday, March 31, an unidentified person or persons smashed out the window of a ten-year-old Honda Civic parked on Cumberland Street in the neighborhood of Montford in Asheville.
The car is registered in my name. My son, who works here in Asheville, had used the car for several years and, having purchased a new car, had parked the Civic in front of my apartment building in Montford so that I could turn it over to my youngest son for his use at college.
The vandals took nothing from the car. They didn’t even bother to unlock the door of the window they’d smashed. After shattering as well the mirror on the driver’s side of the car, they fled the scene.
The garage I visited today has set the cost of repair at $1000 to replace the door and the mirror.
Why would anyone, on a street in which many residents park their cars, pick a run-down Civic, whose name I now see as a classic case of irony, as a target?
The answer, I believe, is simple. My son had applied a sticker to the bumper of the Civic depicting the 2012 Obama campaign logos surrounded by a question: “Seriously?”
As I swept up the debris from this assault, dumping it into the splintered glass in the child’s booster seat by the missing window, an incredible rage flooded through me. I wanted to roam the streets of Montford that night and key the vehicles bearing a pro-Obama sticker, easy pickings in a neighborhood in which 80% of the residents support the “progressive” cause. For that quarter hour of sweeping—a broken window leaves a lot of glass—I contemplated carving out a smiley face in the vehicles of my liberal neighbors.
Eventually, of course, my rage subsided, and I stood back from what had happened and tried to understand why someone would do such a thing.
Coincidentally, that week I was rereading parts of Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism, a profound book linking the American Left—progressives, liberals, whatever they want to call themselves—to the policies of Mussolini and Hitler. In this book, Goldberg proves decisively what any reasonably dispassionate student of history knows, that fascism was not some sort of reactionary or conservative movement but a strain of radical socialism promoting the state over the individual, tearing apart the ideas of family and faith, controlling the economy by merging the government with corporations, and social policies and controls on its citizenry.
American progressives, like fascists, are bullies. Theirs is a softer, gentler compassion: they use words and laws rather than truncheons to beat people over the head, propaganda and the courts rather than jackboots to kick people into line. You smoke cigarettes? They will help you kick the habit by outrageous taxation. You’re too fat? They help you by scorning obesity and trying to tax fast food establishments. You have more than two children? You are an object of ridicule, a “birther.” As a small business owner, you don’t want to take photographs of a gay wedding because of religious principles or pay for your employees’ contraceptives and abortions? You’ll be bankrupted in a court of law. You form a political party based on constitutional principles of restrained government? Your organization will be investigated, audited, and refused certain tax breaks while enduring the merciless sneers and lie of a media that welcomes a government of controls, a government which sets itself above individuals, a fascist government.
Six years ago, Newsweek magazine, now thankfully defunct in its print edition, ran a cover proclaiming “We Are All Socialists Now!” The magazine only got it half right: we are not just socialists, but in deep danger of becoming fascists as well. We won’t click our heels, but we will heel like dogs when commanded by masters who keep us on a very short chain indeed.
Once upon a time America was the “land of liberty.” Those who still believe in liberty and freedom know its dangers. They know the responsibilities inherent in the word liberty. They know the limitations of human beings, including their own limitations. They know about failure, but continue to believe that we as human persons own a right to failure. They also know, as our Founding Fathers and several generations of Americans once understood, that government is a necessary evil, a potential monster capable of misrule and corruption.
To those who still believe in such concepts as liberty, natural law, initiative, and private charity, I urge you to continue fighting the good fight. To those tempted toward violence, like the person who smashed up my car, I urge you to reconsider the effects of your criminal act. You are acting as fascist thugs, not as Americans. You won’t win even the battle, but will instead raise up yet another person more determined than ever to resist criminals like you.
And to those who voted for President Obama and his ilk in 2012—I can understand voting for him in 2008; you desired a change—I have only one question:
Jeff Minick lives in Front Royal, Virginia, and may be found online at jeffminick.com. He is the author of two novels, Amanda Bell and Dust on Their Wings, and two works of non-fiction, Learning as I Go and Movies Make the Man.