As American patriots head into Independence Day of 2021, many find themselves questioning the basic premises of the underlying themes of that day. The 4th of July is a celebration of American’s founding as a free nation. But what is the state of the American state today? Thomas Jefferson, enshrining our liberties in the Declaration of Independence, stated that governments must be formed that protect our rights:
“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 … [And] that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
These rights, our founders declared, allow us to protect our values and our way of life. Two hundred forty-five years later, how are we doing?
There is a 1% in America that wields powerful influence over the rest.
Let’s take a look at the scoreboard. In the oft-cited issues of the day, we discuss censorship in public spaces, corporate and military institutionalized wokeness, Critical Race Theory indoctrination of our youth in publicly-funded government education centers, upending traditional cultural norms, domestic surveillance of political opposition, an election no one is permitted to question, enormous spikes in murders and drug deaths across every major American city coupled with the demonization of law enforcement, a financial sector that is increasingly working against the interests of working and middle-class Americans, and a manufacturing base that has been sold off to our greatest world rival, the People’s Republic of China (who bears responsibility for a deadly worldwide pandemic that likely emitted from their dangerous lab experiments in Wuhan).
If you dare to speak out about any of the above, you risk ostracism, reputational attacks, career termination, banning from public discourse, removal from payment processors, and in the most extreme cases, prosecution.
Why is this happening? Because there is a 1% in America that wields powerful influence over the rest.
After college, I spent several years living and working in China. In China, the rules are actually quite simple. The elites are in control, and everyone knows it. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) accounts for 92 million members who oversee a population of 1.4 billion people. It’s not a political party in any meaningful sense. In essence, the CCP functions as both the ruling elite and the government itself. It is not a monolith; there are many aspirants for power, political factions, family ties, and competing regional interests. But what CCP members all share is that they, 6% of China’s population, are the “1%” that controls the rest.
How often do elected officials seem to merely offer a sort of window-dressing or performative entertainment layer over the actual power structure of the country?
While there are strong moral arguments to be made about the CCP’s dangerous schemes and disastrous history, there is something else that can be learned by Western observers of the CCP’s form of governance. Through the lens of the CCP model, we can understand many truths about America that may otherwise be obscured.
Yes, the United States has popular elections, and China does not (“consent of the governed”). But how often do elected officials seem to merely offer a sort of window-dressing or performative entertainment layer over the actual power structure of the country? It seems that almost no meaningful change can occur, regardless of which major American political party is in power. For a time, the election of Donald J. Trump served to upset this state of affairs, as the real estate mogul gained entrée to political power without gracing the channels of the ruling class—yet the personnel of the 45th administration still bore an all-too-familiar connection to the elite families of the country.
In China, the CCP’s various factions and sub-factions compete for political influence, to control public spending, over the direction of national narratives, and to institute personal fiefdoms in the government, military, academia, and the corporate world. These inter-factional disputes create just enough friction in the system that China’s 1.4 billion people are distracted from the fact that a small, ruling minority has been consolidating power for the past hundred years.
State-run media in China serves at the behest of the CCP’s factions, with little daylight between them. In the United States, we also have factions within our ruling class, and these factions hold the same sway over American corporate media. In many cases, the elected (read: visible) officers of American government take their cues from corporate media itself, not the other way around.
The power flows the same way, between our 1% and theirs, albeit under different naming conventions.
This Independence Day, let us reflect on the current state of our nation. In 2021, we are being asked to exchange classic American values for a new set of moral rules under which patriotism and national pride is now defined as ”problematic.” In America, a “generalized hatred of Western civilization” is being proliferated by ruling elites—a hatred the CCP is all too willing to take advantage of.
In America, a ‘generalized hatred of Western civilization’ is being proliferated by ruling elites—a hatred the CCP is all too willing to take advantage of.
CCP members attend National Party Conferences and elite think tanks to flaunt their power over society, plan their next steps, and remind each other of their successes and influence. So too does the American ruling elite, who attend national and international conferences and research institutions for the same purposes: from the Aspen Institute, to the Atlantic Council, Brookings Institute, the Center for a New American Security, all the way to Davos and the World Economic Forum.
The CCP maintains firm controls on what conversations are able to be held in public spaces through bans, censorship, The Great Firewall, and constant sentiment analysis of public opinion. So too do America’s ruling elite, backed by the new tools offered by Silicon Valley. The CCP indoctrinates youth to their various political programs, institutes (and enforces) social and cultural policies, surveils religious minorities, and in the past has unleashed street thugs on dissidents. (The similarities between the Red Guards of the Chinese Cultural Revolution and the Antifa of today are there for all to see. They are the shock troops of the system.)
America’s cultural and economic decline came about in the 2000s due to the severe mismanagement of our ruling elites. The backbone of our manufacturing industry was sent overseas while they lined their pockets— as were our troops while, again, the elites lined their pockets. Of course, the CCP took advantage of this, too—everyone else certainly was.
As major deficits in our social policies towards children and their families stunted and delayed American family formation, the elites instituted open borders policies rather than deal with the consequences of their mismanagement.
Schools and universities ceased their yearning for scholastic progress and instead became indoctrination centers for the new theology of Marxist-based Critical Race Theory, giving the ruling elite a pass to maintain their privilege at the expense of working and middle-class Americans who have been engulfed in identitarian tribalism.
It isn’t just the fact that we, the governed, are being failed by our ruling elites. It’s that these failures have paved the way for CCP’s values to dominate the world. It’s no wonder then that our system of government-by-elites is beginning to closely resemble theirs. Instead of the West influencing China to become more open, the CCP has shown Western elites how to become more authoritarian.
It isn’t just the fact that we, the governed, are being failed by our ruling elites. It’s that these failures have paved the way for CCP’s values to dominate the world.
The last 20 years of appeasement and elite exchange with the CCP has not caused China to become more liberalized, it has caused America to become more authoritarian. This is the dynamic which needs to change, and it will not do so until the American people begin demanding a return to the values which made America great, rather than the ever-changing whims of a disconnected ruling elite.
The Declaration rightly states, “mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves.” It is time to right ourselves.
This article is part of a Human Events Opinion Special Collection released July 4th, 2021: “INDEPENDENCE DAY 2021.” You can read the other pieces in the collection here.