The Right Take is a weekly short video commentary on the intersection of politics and culture, from TruthRevolt editor Mark Tapson. In this video: who is on the right side of history?
Welcome to The Right Take – I’m Mark Tapson.
In George Orwell’s novel 1984, Winston Smith works for the Ministry of Truth, which is responsible for propaganda and historical revisionism.
His job is to rewrite past newspaper articles so that the historical record always aligns with the current party line.
Orwell understood that totalitarians must constantly refashion the past in order to control the present. You can see that strategy at work today in the progressive left’s manipulation of history to suit their agenda.
In order to reinforce their anti-capitalist, anti-American grievances, the left has worked hard for decades to undermine America’s historical exceptionalism and the moral status of Western civilization.
We’re not allowed to judge today’s Islamic barbarism, for example, because the Christian West committed atrocities during the Crusades or in the Inquisition.
America has no moral authority in the world, the left says, because we waged genocide against Native Americans and stole their land.
Progressives don’t respect the Constitution, because the Founding Fathers owned slaves. Of course they did – slavery was the universal norm hundreds of years ago, and still would be except that Christian European men eventually ended it in Europe and America.
History is an evolution – usually two steps forward and one-and-a-half back. Sweeping changes don’t happen overnight. World-changing ideas need time to take seed and grow.
The Founders owned slaves but laid the groundwork for their ultimate freedom, which came remarkably quickly in historical terms.
As for Europeans conquering America, history is largely the story of endless conquest. Virtually every territory on earth, including what is now the United States, has been conquered at some point by invaders from other territories, some places more than once.
That may be a harsh reality, but it’s reality nonetheless. History is what it is, and there is no undoing it, nor is there any point in feeling guilt over it.
As much as social justice warriors today would like to hold white Europeans collectively accountable for the sins of their fathers, no one today is responsible for actions committed in the past by people who inhabited different moral universes from our own today.
As an example, people today who were never slave owners and who find the notion of slavery morally repellent owe nothing to people who were themselves never slaves.
That is a Gordian knot that no amount of grievance-mongering will unravel. There is no way forward from the past but to move on.
Progressives like to claim that they’re on the right side of history and conservatives are on the wrong side. “The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice,” Martin Luther King once said, and President Obama is fond of repeating this as smug confirmation that the progressives have a monopoly on morality and their social justice agenda will ultimately prevail.
Conservatives, of course, beg to differ. We naturally consider ourselves to be on the right side.
But history is indifferent to our notions of right and wrong. History is only the record, not the guiding hand, of competing, colliding, clashing human forces. It does not favor anyone’s side, and thus we conservatives cannot be complacent about the judgment of history, either.
Victory is not guaranteed to the forces of the true and the good, but to those who fight harder and longer and with greater conviction.
That is why we must be eternally vigilant, and cannot allow the totalitarian left to subvert our moral authority in the present by manipulating the past. The future depends on it.
And that’s The Right Take – I’m Mark Tapson. See you next time.