When I was in grade school, there was little question in the mind of the man in the street that communism was straight-up evil. Even in liberal New York, where I lived, most who would have been inclined to sympathize with communists, let alone support them, had the good sense to keep their mouths shut in mixed company. Anything that smacked of socialist doctrine was similarly suspect, despite the fact that even then, socialism had insidiously made significant headway into American society via entitlement programs.

By the time I was finishing high school, a lot of us had been convinced that communism might be “just another system of government.” It was different from ours, sure – but who were we to say it was wrong? Later, I had friends who routinely attempted to defend the policies of Jimmy Carter, the second-worst president America has ever had.

A lot of things are a matter of perception; if we were to get truly metaphysical about it, some say that perception is literally everything. For example, I could see how an intelligent, patriotic American might have given up all hope upon the election of Barack Obama in 2008. At the time, there were indeed those who knew what he really was (if not who); such an individual might have perceived that the American people had grown sufficiently dull and indolent that they deserved 80 years of Soviet-style rule, or even several centuries of a modern Dark Age. Amass what you can, prepare your kids as best you can for the hell on Earth that’s coming, and pray for a good death. …

While I’m not quite there yet, I do know a few who are.

If you’re a grade-school kid, or in high school, or even in college right now, chances are you have no idea of how radical Marxists used to be feared in America and how dedicated they were to tearing “the system” down. You wouldn’t know that some of the very radicals who conspired against America in dingy flats and tenements back then, reading Mao, making bombs and relishing the millions they would kill to gain acquiescence from the remaining masses, are in places of substantial power today, as are quite a few of their protégés.

It’s probable in such a case that you never even heard of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the Russian novelist and Soviet dissident whose multi-volume “The Gulag Archipelago” revealed the stark evil of Soviet totalitarianism for those in the West, by chronicling the development and implementation of same. Even if you’ve not been completely brainwashed by the left, or are a younger conservative, the unequivocal truth of the deep moral turpitude that goes hand-in-glove with socialism in general is likely to have escaped you. It’s like the conviction that child molestation is evil – another phenomenon about which we are currently being conditioned into moral ambivalence by liberals, incidentally.

People from Russia and former Soviet bloc nations aren’t given a lot of press anymore. Those who do manage to get a word in are accused by progressives of being Republican plants and CIA operatives. This might be because many have publicly drawn parallels between liberal Democrats and those people’s former Soviet overlords.

As I’ve said before, the developments in America are positively surreal when viewed by those over 40 (assuming they’re not fire-breathing liberals). Thus, I am asked quite often if there is even hope for this nation as a republic.

I believe there is.

What’s transpiring “on the ground” in America is continuing to have an effect on the political landscape, as well it should. A lot of this is happening in cyberspace. Although the tea-party movement has been demonized and to some extent overshadowed in the press by the Occupy troglodytes, the former will hardly live and die by what happens in America’s news bureaus. We should expect the political theater and disinformation emanating from the establishment press, and that it will continue throughout this election cycle. It will be aided and abetted by liberal Republicans, possibly even the eventual GOP nominee.

But that nominee hasn’t been chosen yet, and a lot can happen between now and the Republican National Convention. More patriots became engaged between 2008 and 2010 than were ever expected by the left and aforementioned liberal Republicans; this is precisely the reason for their calumnies toward and dismissals of conservatives. We would do well to remember this.

Most of these newly activated patriots are also of the generations that have a frame of reference for the evils of socialist totalitarianism. They are able to juxtapose what they are seeing against what they grew up with and what they heard radicals promise us decades ago. They have, for the most part, recognized that we have a political class that has sunk to the lowest common denominator, along with the power players in certain industries. These are the ones who will fight for our liberty in the literal sense if it comes to that.

And at this point, they may be the only ones with the experience, wisdom and faith to prevent it from coming to that.

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