Liberal Fascism Recap

Below is a recap of the Liberal Fascism series by Jonah Goldberg that appeared in the Glenn Beck email newsletter...

Feb 22: Emulating FDR: A horrible idea


Feb 21: Government Knows Best


Feb 20: What Hillary and Barack have in store


Feb 19: The facts your liberal friends need to hear


Emulating FDR: A horrible idea


By Jonah Goldberg

Liberal Fascism

"America has a dictator," Benito Mussolini proclaimed, watching FDR from abroad. He marveled at how the forces of "spiritual renewal" on display in the New Deal were destroying the outdated notion that democracy and liberalism were "immortal principles." "Roosevelt is moving, acting, giving orders independently of the decisions or wishes of the Senate or Congress. ... A sole will silences dissenting voices." That almost sounds like Harry Reid talking about Bush.

Mussolini reviewed FDR's book, Looking Forward proclaiming the author a kindred spirit. The way Roosevelt "calls his readers to battle," he wrote, "is reminiscent of the ways and means by which fascism awakened the Italian people." "Without question," he continued, the "sea change" in America "resembles that of fascism." Indeed, the comparisons were so commonplace, Mussolini's press office banned the practice. "It is not to be emphasized that Roosevelt's policy is fascist because these comments are immediately cabled to the United States and are used by his foes to attack him."

The German press adored FDR. In 1934, the Vlkischer Beobachter, the Nazi Party's official newspaper, described Roosevelt as a man of "irreproachable, extremely responsible character and immovable will" and a "warm-hearted leader of the people with a profound understanding of social needs." Hitler sent FDR a letter celebrating his "heroic efforts" and "successful battle against economic distress." Hitler informed the U.S. ambassador, William Dodd, that New Dealism was also "the quintessence of the German state philosophy."

The New Dealers were not so much mimicking the Soviet Union, Fascist Italy or Nazi Germany. They were attempting to recreate what they had built -up under Woodrow Wilson's war socialism. Today we have no historical memory of how brutal the Wilson Administration was, nor do we realize that many Progressives supported the war not so much because they championed its foreign policy aims, but because they yearned for the "social possibilities of war," in the words of John Dewey, the 20th century's premier political philosopher.

The war provided an opportunity to force Americans to, as journalist Frederick Lewis Allen put it, "lay by our good-natured individualism and march in step." Or as another progressive put it, "Laissez faire is dead. Long live social control."

It was this spirit which informed FDR's administration. By 1944 he made good on Wilson's conviction that the US constitution was outmoded and in need of replacing with a new "living constitution." FDR's proposed innovation was a new "economic bill of rights" which included:

>The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation.

>The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment.

>The right of every family to a decent home.

>The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation.

You read correctly, the right to 'recreation'.

With the intellectuals on their side, Wilson recruited journalist George Creel to become a propaganda minister as head of the newly formed Committee on Public Information (CPI).

Mr. Creel declared that it was his mission to inflame the American public into "one white-hot mass" under the banner of "100 percent Americanism." Fear was a vital tool, he argued, "an important element to be bred in the civilian population."

The CPI printed millions of posters, buttons, pamphlets, that did just that. A typical poster for Liberty Bonds cautioned, "I am Public Opinion. All men fear me!... [I]f you have the money to buy and do not buy, I will make this No Man's Land for you!"

Meanwhile, the CPI released a string of propaganda films with such titles as "The Kaiser," "The Beast of Berlin," and "The Prussian Cur." Remember when French fries became "freedom fries" in the run-up to the Iraq war? Thanks in part to the CPI, sauerkraut become "victory cabbage."

Under the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918, Wilson's administration shut down newspapers and magazines at an astounding pace. Indeed, any criticism of the government, even in your own home, could earn you a prison sentence. One man was brought to trial for explaining in his own home why he didn't want to buy Liberty Bonds.

The Wilson administration sanctioned what could be called an American fascist, the American Protective League. The APL - a quarter million strong at its height, with offices in 600 cities - carried government-issued badges while beating up dissidents and protesters and conducting warrantless searches and interrogations. Even after the war, Wilson refused to release the last of America's political prisoners, leaving it to subsequent Republican administrations to free the anti-war Socialist Eugene V. Debs and others.

The left claims that president Bush seeks to do something like this with the war on terror. But look at the evidence. No newspapers closed down, a sum total of three detainees water-boarded, two hard core terrorists who happen to be American citizens have had their habeus corpus rights "infringed." After 9/11 President Bush asked the American people to go shopping, not to give up capitalism.

Meanwhile, on the left, self-styled progressives keep trying to recreate the New Deal and the progressive era. New York Times columnist pines for a "new progressive era." Barack Obama gushed about how he was re-dedicating his campaign at the University of Wisconsin where the Progressive movement was born. Hillary says she's not a liberal but a "modern progressive."

Now, obviously, none of the current crop of self-described progressives are eager to replay the darkest chapters of the past. But we make a mistake when we assume that we can cherry pick only the good parts of our past to re-create.

Jonah Goldberg is the author of the New York Times bestseller Liberal Fascism.


Government Knows Best


By Jonah Goldberg

Type "New York City Council" and "ban" and "2007" into Google. Here's some of what you find:

A New York Times story: New York City Council Approves Ban on Metal Bats

A BBC News story: "Racial slur banned in New York."

A CNN story on how New York is considering banning "ultrathin" models.

A New York Sun article on how New York City is contemplating banning feeding pigeons.

A link to the Humane Society's effort to ban horse drawn carriages.

And that's on the first page alone.

These sorts of stories trickle-in almost hourly. Sometimes we hear them and are briefly distracted by them, other times we tune them out as background noise. And, most often, we simply forget them, these little human interest stories that amused us for a moment on talk radio or in back pages of a newspaper.

Sometimes we giggle about what's happening in other countries, without long pondering that places like Canada and Britain often blaze the trail we are on. For example:

In Britain, in a perfectly typical event quickly forgotten, police tracked down and nearly arrested an 11-year-old boy for calling a 10-year-old boy "gay" in an e-mail. This was considered a "very serious homophobic crime" requiring the full attention of police. In 2006, the coppers fingerprinted and threw a 14-year-old girl into jail for the crime of racism. Her underlying offense stemmed from the fact that she refused to join a class discussion with some fellow students because they were Asian and didn't speak English.

In England, traffic cameras are now trained on drivers to arrest them for eating in their cars. And in both Britain and Canada, the old Hitler Youth slogan, "Nutrition is not a private matter!" has taken on a new life. One expert this week argued that obesity must now be treated like Global Warming, requiring stern government intervention.

Health experts in Britain and Canada insist that the government has every right to meddle in the private life of its citizens since the state is picking up the tab for their healthcare (never mind that it's not the "state" but the taxpayers themselves). As Tony Harrison, a British health-care expert, explained to the Toronto Sun, "Rationing is a reality when funding is limited." So fat people and others can't get surgeries if bureaucrats or doctors don't think they're worthy of surgery. Now, of course, there's a certain logic here since the taxpayers are picking up the tab and someone has to make the hard choices about priorities. But it never occurs to these people that maybe the fact that the government is slowly being put in charge of many of the most important and personal issues in peoples' lives is in fact an argument against socialized medicine. It doesn't occur to them that refusing to unload seriously ill patients from ambulances, sometimes for hours at a time, just so emergency rooms can meet government quotas, is a sign that something is seriously wrong with the way statists handle medicine.

Woodrow Wilson proclaimed that the goal of Progressivism was to have the individual "marry his interests to the State." "Government" he wrote in book, "The State," "does now whatever experience permits or the times demand." "No doubt," he wrote elsewhere, taking dead aim at the Declaration of Independence, "a lot of nonsense has been talked about the inalienable rights of the individual, and a great deal that was mere vague sentiment and pleasing speculation has been put forward as fundamental principle."

He was hardly alone. "[W]e must demand that the individual shall be willing to lose the sense of personal achievement, and shall be content to realize his activity only in connection to the activity of the many," declared the pioneering progressive social activist Jane Addams.

The old story of the frog who doesn't jump out of the pot because the heat is turned up so slowly comes to mind.

On countless fronts, the natural pastures of daily liberty are being paved over by bureaucrats, politicians and other do-gooders. They aren't merely fixing problems as they come up. They are laying-down a path to a world where people like them are in charge of our lives, in large ways and small. And when you realize it, the funny stories we so often hear, aren't so funny anymore.

Jonah Goldberg is the author of the New York Times bestseller Liberal Fascism.


What Hillary and Barack have in store


By Jonah Goldberg

The most common left wing definition of fascism is "when business runs the government." Historically, this is basically nonsense. But that hasn't stopped liberals like Robert F. Kennedy Jr. from saying it over and over again.

But if we are going to go by that definition, conservatives in the U.S. are hardly the fascists. The principled conservative position is that the free market should rule the day. Businesses are never "too big to fail" and corporate welfare is folly. In all honesty, we must admit that many Republicans fail to live up to these conservative principles. But what are liberal principles? They are simply this: corporations should be "progressive." Government should regulate corporations heavily as a means of using big business as another branch of the state. Hillary Clinton wants "public-private partnerships." She believes that businesses must collude with government in providing universal healthcare to the point where it's impossible to tell where the government begins and business ends. She has contempt for entrepreneurs and small business. When it was pointed out to her that "Hillarycare" would hit small businesses while enriching big corporations, she replied that she couldn't worry about every under-capitalized business in America. Barack Obama, meanwhile, talks incessantly about how government must police the "patriotism" of corporations. His definition of "patriotism" in this regard seems extremely elastic.

We've seen something like this before. Woodrow Wilson implemented a form of "war socialism" during WWI. Big Business and government worked seamlessly together under the auspices of the War Industry Board. Industry rigged the system for its own benefit, with the approval of government. When the war ended, the American people rejected Wilson's war socialism, but Progressive intellectuals didn't. They proclaimed "we planned in war" and, hence, felt they should be allowed to plan the economy during peacetime as well. They looked enviously at Fascist Italy and, even more so, the Soviet Union. These were the sort of grand "experiments" they wanted to conduct here at home. "Why," Stuart Chase asked in his 1932 book, A New Deal (which many credit with originating the phrase) "should the Russians have all the fun of remaking a world?"

They finally had their chance under the New Deal, where FDR - a veteran of the Wilson Administration - tried to recreate what the Progressives had wrought during the war. When Hugh Johnson -- the head of the National Recovery Administration, the centerpiece of FDR's New Deal - took office in 1932, one of the first things he did was hang a portrait of Mussolini on his wall and started handing out pro-fascist literature to FDR's cabinet.

The left has told us that the New Deal rescued the little guy, the "forgotten man." But in reality it prolonged the Great Depression and served as a boon to Big Business.

For example, Clarence Darrow was charged with studying the effects of the NRA. In "virtually all the codes we have examined," he reported, "one condition has been persistent . . . In Industry after Industry, the larger units, sometimes through the agency of . . . [a trade association], sometimes by other means, have for their own advantage written the codes, and then, in effect and for their own advantage, assumed the administration of the code they have framed." We may believe that FDR fashioned the New Deal out of concern for the "forgotten man." But as one historian put it, "The principle seemed to be: to him that hath it shall be given."

The fundamental mistake Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards and company make is that they assume "clamping down" on corporations will lessen the role of big business in politics. The reality is exactly the opposite. Microsoft had nearly no lobbyists in Washington DC until Washington DC decided to go after Microsoft. Now, Microsoft has an enormous lobbying operation. Walmart is the same story. Once big business discovers that it's profit margins are determined in Washington, big business focuses on Washington.

Perhaps more importantly, really big corporations like regulations. Coca-Cola can pass its costs onto the consumer. But smaller business are not only hurt by regulations, they are also prevented from competing with the big boys because those regulations serve as a "barrier to entry."

The great "fascist bargain" with big business goes something like this: The government promises corporations market share, a lack of competition and reliable profits in exchange for compliance with its political and ideological agenda. Today big corporations hold up their end of the deal. They buy into global warming (often at a profit) they agree to all the tenets of diversity-mongering and affirmative action. They cast themselves as "Progressive" corporate citizens and in exchange we get economic policies that punish entrepreneurs and inhibit free markets.

This is as it should be according to the Progressives, the New Dealers and today's Democratic Party. And whether you want to call it fascism is up to you, but it fits what liberals have been saying about fascism to a T.

Jonah Goldberg is the author of the New York Times bestseller Liberal Fascism.


The facts your liberal friends need to hear


By Jonah Goldberg

Liberals, perhaps more than anyone, believe that we should be vigilant against the threat of fascism. Now, they also believe that fascism can only come from the Right--I think they're wrong. But, what liberals - and everyone else - very much need to understand is that whatever direction fascism comes from, it's popular. Fascism succeeds in democratic countries because it convinces people that it's the wave of the future, it's progressive, it's young, it's vital, it's exciting. Fascist promise to fix what's broken in our democracy, to heal our wounds, to deliver us to promised lands. So if you think fascism comes from the Right, fine. But at least keep in mind that it won't sell itself as dull, or uptight, or old-fashioned.

Let me take a moment to give you a concrete sense of what I mean.

Fascism appealed to youth activists. Indeed, the Nazis and Fascists were in major respects youth movements. In 1931, 60 percent of all German undergraduates supported the Nazi Student Organization. "Their goal," the historian John Toland wrote of the young idealists who fed the Nazi rise to power, "was to establish a youth culture for fighting the bourgeois trinity of school, home and church."

Meanwhile, middle and lower class Germans were attracted to the economic and cultural populism of Nazism. The Nazi party began as the German Worker's Party. The Nazis economic rhetoric was eerily similar to John Edwards "Two Americas" talk. The Nazis promised to clamp down on Big Business - particularly department stores, the Wal-Marts of their day - and end the class struggle. Theodore Abel, an impressively clever American sociologist, gives us insight into why working class Germans were attracted to Nazism. In 1934 Abel took out an ad in the Nazi Party journal asking "old fighters" to submit essays explaining why they had joined. He restricted his request to "old fighters" because so many opportunists had joined the party after Hitler's rise. The essays were combined in the fascinating book Why Hitler Came Into Power. One essayist, a coal miner, explained "Though I was interested in the betterment of the workingman's plight, I rejected [Marxism] unconditionally. I often asked myself why socialism had to be tied up with internationalism-why it could not work as well or better in conjunction with nationalism." A railroad worker concurred, "I shuddered at the thought of Germany in the grip of Bolshevism. The slogan 'Workers of the World Unite!' made no sense to me. At the same time, however, National Socialism, with its promise of a community . . . barring all class struggle, attracted me profoundly." A third worker wrote that he embraced the Nazis because of their "uncompromising will to stamp out the class struggle, snobberies of caste and party hatreds. The movement bore the true message of socialism to the German workingman."

Nazism's appeal to the professional classes was just as strong. Raymond Dominick, a historian specializing in the history of German environmentalism, found that by 1939, 59 percent of conservationist leaders had joined the Nazi party, while only 10 percent of adult males had. Forty five percent of medical doctors had joined and roughly one quarter of teachers and lawyers had. The two groups of professionals with the highest rates of participation in the Nazi Party? Veterinarians were first and foresters were a close second. Dominick found a "unique nexus between National Socialism and nature conservation."

The Nazis and Italian Fascists won-over big business, cultural elites, the youth and the lower-classes because they portrayed themselves as heroically on the side of progress, protecting the environment and the poor. Fascists preached unity, togetherness and an end to division.

Liberals need to ask themselves where do they hear this rhetoric the most?

I'm not saying that merely being for the environment, the poor or national unity makes you a fascist. But what I am saying is that if you're concerned about spotting fascism on the horizon you can't just look at people you don't like. That's like only looking for your lost car keys where the light is good. Huey Long reportedly said that if Fascism comes to America it will be called "anti-Fascism." Liberals can still make their arguments that fascism comes from the right. But until they understand that wherever fascism may come from, it never arrives save in a form that the best and the brightest are willing to accept with open arms.

And if liberals don't know their history, they won't be equipped to spot it when it comes knocking.

Jonah Goldberg is the author of the New York Times bestseller Liberal Fascism.

From the moment the 33-year-old Thomas Jefferson arrived at the Continental Congress in Philadelphia in 1776, he was on the radical side. That caused John Adams to like him immediately. Then the Congress stuck Jefferson and Adams together on the five-man committee to write a formal statement justifying a break with Great Britain, and their mutual admiration society began.

Jefferson thought Adams should write the Declaration. But Adams protested, saying, “It can't come from me because I'm obnoxious and disliked." Adams reasoned that Jefferson was not obnoxious or disliked, therefore he should write it. Plus, he flattered Jefferson, by telling him he was a great writer. It was a master class in passing the buck.

So, over the next 17 days, Jefferson holed up in his room, applying his lawyer skills to the ideas of the Enlightenment. He borrowed freely from existing documents like the Virginia Declaration of Rights. He later wrote that “he was not striving for originality of principle or sentiment." Instead, he hoped his words served as “an expression of the American mind."

It's safe to say he achieved his goal.

The five-man committee changed about 25 percent of Jefferson's first draft of the Declaration before submitting it to Congress. Then, Congress altered about one-fifth of that draft. But most of the final Declaration's words are Jefferson's, including the most famous passage — the Preamble — which Congress left intact. The result is nothing less than America's mission statement, the words that ultimately bind the nation together. And words that we desperately need to rediscover because of our boiling partisan rage.

The Declaration is brilliant in structure and purpose. It was designed for multiple audiences: the King of Great Britain, the colonists, and the world. And it was designed for multiple purposes: rallying the troops, gaining foreign allies, and announcing the creation of a new country.

The Declaration is structured in five sections: the Introduction, Preamble, the Body composed of two parts, and the Conclusion. It's basically the most genius breakup letter ever written.

In the Introduction, step 1 is the notificationI think we need to break up. And to be fair, I feel I owe you an explanation...

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…

The Continental Congress felt they were entitled by “the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" to “dissolve the political bands," but they needed to prove the legitimacy of their cause. They were defying the world's most powerful nation and needed to motivate foreign allies to join the effort. So, they set their struggle within the entire “Course of human events." They're saying, this is no petty political spat — this is a major event in world history.

Step 2 is declaring what you believe in, your standardsHere's what I'm looking for in a healthy relationship...

This is the most famous part of the Declaration; the part school children recite — the Preamble:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That's as much as many Americans know of the Declaration. But the Preamble is the DNA of our nation, and it really needs to be taken as a whole:

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

The Preamble takes us through a logical progression: All men are created equal; God gives all humans certain inherent rights that cannot be denied; these include the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; to protect those rights, we have governments set up; but when a government fails to protect our inherent rights, people have the right to change or replace it.

Government is only there to protect the rights of mankind. They don't have any power unless we give it to them. That was an extraordinarily radical concept then and we're drifting away from it now.

The Preamble is the justification for revolution. But note how they don't mention Great Britain yet. And again, note how they frame it within a universal context. These are fundamental principles, not just squabbling between neighbors. These are the principles that make the Declaration just as relevant today. It's not just a dusty parchment that applied in 1776.

Step 3 is laying out your caseHere's why things didn't work out between us. It's not me, it's you...

This is Part 1 of the Body of the Declaration. It's the section where Jefferson gets to flex his lawyer muscles by listing 27 grievances against the British crown. This is the specific proof of their right to rebellion:

He has obstructed the administration of justice...

For imposing taxes on us without our consent...

For suspending our own legislatures...

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us...

Again, Congress presented these “causes which impel them to separation" in universal terms to appeal to an international audience. It's like they were saying, by joining our fight you'll be joining mankind's overall fight against tyranny.

Step 4 is demonstrating the actions you took I really tried to make this relationship work, and here's how...

This is Part 2 of the Body. It explains how the colonists attempted to plead their case directly to the British people, only to have the door slammed in their face:

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury...

They too have been deaf to the voice of justice... We must, therefore... hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

This basically wrapped up America's argument for independence — we haven't been treated justly, we tried to talk to you about it, but since you refuse to listen and things are only getting worse, we're done here.

Step 5 is stating your intent — So, I think it's best if we go our separate ways. And my decision is final...

This is the powerful Conclusion. If people know any part of the Declaration besides the Preamble, this is it:

...that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved...

They left no room for doubt. The relationship was over, and America was going to reboot, on its own, with all the rights of an independent nation.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The message was clear — this was no pitchfork mob. These were serious men who had carefully thought through the issues before taking action. They were putting everything on the line for this cause.

The Declaration of Independence is a landmark in the history of democracy because it was the first formal statement of a people announcing their right to choose their own government. That seems so obvious to us now, but in 1776 it was radical and unprecedented.

In 1825, Jefferson wrote that the purpose of the Declaration was “not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of… but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm… to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take."

You're not going to do better than the Declaration of Independence. Sure, it worked as a means of breaking away from Great Britain, but its genius is that its principles of equality, inherent rights, and self-government work for all time — as long as we actually know and pursue those principles.

On June 7, 1776, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania State House, better known today as Independence Hall. Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee introduced a motion calling for the colonies' independence. The “Lee Resolution" was short and sweet:

Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.

Intense debate followed, and the Congress voted 7 to 5 (with New York abstaining) to postpone a vote on Lee's Resolution. They called a recess for three weeks. In the meantime, the delegates felt they needed to explain what they were doing in writing. So, before the recess, they appointed a five-man committee to come up with a formal statement justifying a break with Great Britain. They appointed two men from New England — Roger Sherman and John Adams; two from the middle colonies — Robert Livingston and Benjamin Franklin; and one Southerner — Thomas Jefferson. The responsibility for writing what would become the Declaration of Independence fell to Jefferson.

In the rotunda of the National Archives building in Washington, D.C., there are three original documents on permanent display: the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence. These are the three pillars of the United States, yet America barely seems to know them anymore. We need to get reacquainted — quickly.

In a letter to his friend John Adams in 1816, Jefferson wrote: “I like the dreams of the future, better than the history of the past."

America used to be a forward-looking nation of dreamers. We still are in spots, but the national attitude that we hear broadcast loudest across media is not looking toward the future with optimism and hope. In late 2017, a national poll found 59% of Americans think we are currently at the “lowest point in our nation's history that they can remember."

America spends far too much time looking to the past for blame and excuse. And let's be honest, even the Right is often more concerned with “owning the left" than helping point anyone toward the practical principles of the Declaration of Independence. America has clearly lost touch with who we are as a nation. We have a national identity crisis.

The Declaration of Independence is America's thesis statement, and without it America doesn't exist.

It is urgent that we get reacquainted with the Declaration of Independence because postmodernism would have us believe that we've evolved beyond the America of our founding documents, and thus they're irrelevant to the present and the future. But the Declaration of Independence is America's thesis statement, and without it America doesn't exist.

Today, much of the nation is so addicted to partisan indignation that "day-to-day" indignation isn't enough to feed the addiction. So, we're reaching into America's past to help us get our fix. In 2016, Democrats in the Louisiana state legislature tabled a bill that would have required fourth through sixth graders to recite the opening lines of the Declaration. They didn't table it because they thought it would be too difficult or too patriotic. They tabled it because the requirement would include the phrase “all men are created equal" and the progressives in the Louisiana legislature didn't want the children to have to recite a lie. Representative Barbara Norton said, “One thing that I do know is, all men are not created equal. When I think back in 1776, July the fourth, African Americans were slaves. And for you to bring a bill to request that our children will recite the Declaration, I think it's a little bit unfair to us. To ask our children to recite something that's not the truth. And for you to ask those children to repeat the Declaration stating that all men's are free. I think that's unfair."

Remarkable — an elected representative saying it wouldn't be fair for students to have to recite the Declaration because “all men are not created equal." Another Louisiana Democrat explained that the government born out of the Declaration “was used against races of people." I guess they missed that part in school where they might have learned that the same government later made slavery illegal and amended the Constitution to guarantee all men equal protection under the law. The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments were an admission of guilt by the nation regarding slavery, and an effort to right the wrongs.

Yet, the progressive logic goes something like this: many of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, including Thomas Jefferson who wrote it, owned slaves; slavery is evil; therefore, the Declaration of Independence is not valid because it was created by evil slave owners.

It's a sad reality that the left has a very hard time appreciating the universal merits of the Declaration of Independence because they're so hung up on the long-dead issue of slavery. And just to be clear — because people love to take things out of context — of course slavery was horrible. Yes, it is a total stain on our history. But defending the Declaration of Independence is not an effort to excuse any aspect of slavery.

Okay then, people might say, how could the Founders approve the phrase “All men are created equal," when many of them owned slaves? How did they miss that?

They didn't miss it. In fact, Thomas Jefferson included an anti-slavery passage in his first draft of the Declaration. The paragraph blasted King George for condoning slavery and preventing the American Colonies from passing legislation to ban slavery:

He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights to life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere... Determined to keep open a market where men should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce.

We don't say “execrable" that much anymore. It means, utterly detestable, abominable, abhorrent — basically very bad.

Jefferson was upset when Georgia and North Carolina threw up the biggest resistance to that paragraph. Ultimately, those two states twisted Congress' arm to delete the paragraph.

Still, how could a man calling the slave trade “execrable" be a slaveowner himself? No doubt about it, Jefferson was a flawed human being. He even had slaves from his estate in Virginia attending him while he was in Philadelphia, in the very apartment where he was writing the Declaration.

Many of the Southern Founders deeply believed in the principles of the Declaration yet couldn't bring themselves to upend the basis of their livelihood. By 1806, Virginia law made it more difficult for slave owners to free their slaves, especially if the owner had significant debts as Jefferson did.

At the same time, the Founders were not idiots. They understood the ramifications of signing on to the principles described so eloquently in the Declaration. They understood that logically, slavery would eventually have to be abolished in America because it was unjust, and the words they were committing to paper said as much. Remember, John Adams was on the committee of five that worked on the Declaration and he later said that the Revolution would never be complete until the slaves were free.

Also, the same generation that signed the Declaration started the process of abolition by banning the importation of slaves in 1807. Jefferson was President at the time and he urged Congress to pass the law.

America has an obvious road map that, as a nation, we're not consulting often enough.

The Declaration took a major step toward crippling the institution of slavery. It made the argument for the first time about the fundamental rights of all humans which completely undermined slavery. Planting the seeds to end slavery is not nearly commendable enough for leftist critics, but you can't discount the fact that the seeds were planted. It's like they started an expiration clock for slavery by approving the Declaration. Everything that happened almost a century later to end slavery, and then a century after that with the Civil Rights movement, flowed from the principles voiced in the Declaration.

Ironically for a movement that calls itself progressive, it is obsessed with retrying and judging the past over and over. Progressives consider this a better use of time than actually putting past abuses in the rearview and striving not to be defined by ancestral failures.

It can be very constructive to look to the past, but not when it's used to flog each other in the present. Examining history is useful in providing a road map for the future. And America has an obvious road map that, as a nation, we're not consulting often enough. But it's right there, the original, under glass. The ink is fading, but the words won't die — as long as we continue to discuss them.

'Good Morning Texas' gives exclusive preview of Mercury One museum

Screen shot from Good Morning Texas

Mercury One is holding a special exhibition over the 4th of July weekend, using hundreds of artifacts, documents and augmented reality experiences to showcase the history of slavery — including slavery today — and a path forward. Good Morning Texas reporter Paige McCoy Smith went through the exhibit for an exclusive preview with Mercury One's chief operating officer Michael Little on Tuesday.

Watch the video below to see the full preview.

Click here to purchase tickets to the museum (running from July 4 - 7).

Over the weekend, journalist Andy Ngo and several other apparent right-leaning people were brutally beaten by masked-gangs of Antifa protesters in Portland, Oregon. Short for "antifascist," Antifa claims to be fighting for social justice and tolerance — by forcibly and violently silencing anyone with opposing opinions. Ngo, who was kicked, punched, and sprayed with an unknown substance, is currently still in the hospital with a "brain bleed" as a result of the savage attack. Watch the video to get the details from Glenn.