Letter to a Young Ideologue

You’re 17. You are not too young to think critically or have power such that your views may be taken seriously, but you are too young to know what you are advocating for when you say that fascism ought to be trusted. You are terrifyingly misguided. Take these hard words not as condemnation of your person but as a righteous challenge from an elder who cares: you are young and easily led astray by visions of grandeur. Our American ancestors fought fascism time and time again. You want to not witness our country fall: that if it did, “the sacrifices of our forefathers would be all for nothing”, you say, and that this thought genuinely frightens you. It frightens me, too, because young people burning for want of direction with unpracticed and uncontained passion are easily beguiled into falling for exactly the all-consuming ideologies which they nobly set out to combat.

It’s natural for all of us to believe that our beliefs will not change, but we must take the braver road of allowing ourselves to be challenged into seeing what we have not seen before. Our collective human proclivity to moral error can become murderous within us before we awaken to a bloodbath from which there is no return. Remember that liberty and tyranny are incompatible. I truly believe that no one sets out to live under tyranny: we set out to live in liberty and stumble into the trap of tyranny on the way. This lesson has been learned time and time again from failed revolutions the world over. I advise you to mistrust any ideology which asserts in absolutist certainty that “the system itself is corrupt”. It was by luck and wonder that our colonial American ancestors were able to overthrow their British oppressors in the American Revolution. Miracles do not strike twice.

These new cultural problems we face are nothing that can’t be overcome with the political and cultural tools which we currently have. It’s reassuring for me to know, if only for your own young spirit’s sake, that the authoritarian government which you imagine would be temporary, but you must understand that there is no such thing. No authoritarian government willing cedes power. Ask yourself whether you might feel it more ennobling and worthy of your passions to seek after the brilliance and power of our resilient Western republic as it lives and breathes among us.

And so you propose this “eco-fascism”; I understand that it’s possible that some facet of German policy still attempted to care for its country’s ecology during the 1930s and 40s. But fascism is no good way to preserve the earth, much less govern humankind. It is anti-American to the core: we are a republic, explicitly founded to counter authoritarianism. We should be proud of this and work to make our tradition better in all ways, including protecting the good earth. Surely you can see what horrific suffering was brought upon the people of Europe and elsewhere during the nightmare of 20th century dictatorships. You must learn about these histories, and grieve that such horror ever came to pasd, and gravely lose your dangerously innocent proclivity to follow, starry-eyed, after absolutism. You must forswear temptation to oversimplified solutions which are known to end only in suffering. You must bravely commit yourself to fight every tyranny which would destroy human lives.

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