Live Free Or Die: America (and the World) on the Brink

BOOK: Live Free Or Die: America (and the World) on the Brink
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To God, the creator of everything.

To my family, I love you all dearly—especially my two kids, Patrick and Merri Kelly.

To the defenders of freedom, without whose sacrifice no book is possible.

INTRODUCTION
A Warning

I wrote this book to sound an alarm—as a warning to my fellow patriots about the left's undying commitment to turn America into a land our grandparents, founders, and framers wouldn't recognize. We must wake up to this reality and reject any notion it can't happen here. It
is
happening here. Many Americans already realize it, which is among the reasons they elected Donald Trump to deflate the Deep State and turn back the tide of this leftist juggernaut. He's done a spectacular job, but it's not finished. We have to ensure he is allowed to continue his work.

On my TV and radio shows I have often warned about the left's true intentions. I warned about Barack Obama's radical background as he was running for president in 2008. Everyone now remembers his vow to fundamentally transform America, but I was among the relatively few who told you he was serious and to take him at his word. In his eight years in office, he made substantial progress advancing his statist ambitions—a vision wholly contradictory to our framers' ideals and their carefully crafted structure of government. People wrongly say Obama was a moderate compared to today's crop of Democrats. In fact, without question he used his long presidential honeymoon and his phony patina of bipartisanship to push progressivism as far and as quickly as he could at the time. He paved the way for the rise of the
radical left that now rules the Democratic Party. There would be no Bernie Sanders movement if it weren't for Barack Obama. Never forget that, and don't say I didn't warn you.

The left falsely argues that conservatives have become more radical every year, when in truth they are no further right than they were to the “right” during the Reagan era. Prior to Donald Trump's presidency, their various efforts to stave off waves of leftist radicalism, such as the Tea Party, may have made them look more strident, but they were mostly fighting a rearguard action. By almost any measure, America was becoming more liberal, not less, from economic policies to social issues. Virtually every legislative compromise Republicans made with Democrats resulted in expanding the government. Temporary constraints on government, such as welfare reform, were chipped away over time, and the nation continued its long march toward socialism at an ever-quickening pace.

Even if unopposed, it's doubtful that conservatives would head in some radical direction themselves. Radical conservatism is a contradiction in terms. Conservatives favor smaller, less centralized, and less intrusive government. They believe the federal government should be vigorous in those areas over which the Constitution grants it power, such as national defense. Like the framers, they believe the government must be powerful enough to protect Americans from domestic and foreign threats. But they respect constitutional restraints on government, including the balance of powers, the doctrine of federalism, and the Bill of Rights. They would never support shrinking the federal government beyond what the Constitution mandates. We understand that our freedom is secured and preserved by maintaining a proper balance between the powers of government and the liberties of our citizens. But liberty is our watchword. Liberty is what makes America unique. The left, by contrast, has all but abandoned liberty in favor of government-forced outcomes, though their agenda guarantees not only less liberty but less prosperity as well.

While conservatism is inherently nonradical, progressivism,
especially today's version of it, is intrinsically radical. Left to their own devices, they would move the country wholesale into socialism and authoritarianism. Americans cannot afford to let our guard down for one moment if we hope to pass on the blessings of liberty to our children. Our work in shoring up our constitutionally guaranteed liberties will never be complete. We can never rest because the left will never rest. It's who they are and who they will always be. To save America, they must be defeated in the battle of ideas and the ballot box.

Just look at how disconnected the Democrats' current program is from the concerns and values of the American people. Does a majority of our countrymen want to elect self-proclaimed socialists to office? Do most Americans embrace radical environmentalist policies that would bankrupt the nation and eliminate all fossil fuels? Do they want a government-guaranteed universal basic income? Do they glorify late-term abortion, even post-birth abortion (such as Governor Northam's position on infanticide)? Are they demanding open borders and the abolition of ICE, welfare benefits for illegal aliens, and the elimination of private health insurance?

If the last fifteen or twenty years have shown us anything, it is that the left means business and their business includes wiping away American exceptionalism and the unique ideas that have made this nation the freest and most prosperous in history.

I cannot overstate the left's intentions and the devastating consequences we will face if Democrats regain control of the presidency and Congress in 2020. I can't emphasize enough how concerned I am by the unmistakable trends we can all now plainly see and how imperative it is that we reelect President Donald Trump in 2020 along with resounding Republican majorities in both houses of Congress. Our children's future depends on it.

CHAPTER ONE
“A Republic—If You Can Keep It”

I begin the book with a brief history of America's foundation. I start here because if we don't understand where we came from, how this country was designed, and the principles that founded two hundred years of success, we will never be able to reestablish American greatness. This is crucial.

Sometimes we Americans act like we take our freedoms for granted—as though we've lost sight of our history and the sacrifices our ancestors made so that we could be free. Have we forgotten what it means to be free? Have we taught our kids the importance of our founding principles? Have we shown them the direct connection between preserving our Constitution intact and maintaining our liberties? Do they understand why the United States of America is strong and prosperous while other nations aren't? Have we sufficiently explained the miracles of a free market system and the evils of socialism? I make a point of emphasizing all these things on my radio and television programs day after day and night after night. And I intend to elaborate on them here.

I make no secret of my love for America and for its founding tradition and documents. Americans are committed to the individual as well as the greater good, to liberty, and to virtue.
1
I often quote one of the great founders and pioneers of talk radio, Barry Farber, who
recently passed away: No country has ever accumulated more power and wealth, or abused them less, and, I would add, has used them to advance the human condition more than the United States. In the last twenty-five years, global poverty has decreased by two-thirds, largely due to free market capitalism that America has been instrumental in spreading.
2
Americans generously share our wealth with the world, both through government aid and private charities. America is still the world's beacon of freedom and the place where everyone wants to come, knowing they can pursue their aspirations and enjoy the guarantee of equal opportunity under the law.

This country paid the price for world freedom by defeating fascism, Nazism, communism, and Imperial Japan, and we are now leading the fight against radical Islamic terrorism. We emerged from World War II with far more power than any other nation in history, with the possible exception of Rome at the height of its empire. We had the world's strongest economy and a staggering superiority in military capacity, which included a monopoly on nuclear weapons and their delivery systems. Positioned to forcibly dominate the world, we instead exercised humble restraint.
3

After our costly victory over Nazi Germany, we could have implemented the Morgenthau Plan—a strategy devised by Treasury secretary Henry Morgenthau Jr. to eradicate Germany's entire industrial base. Instead, under the leadership of U.S. secretary of state George C. Marshall, America included Germany in the Marshall Plan, providing $13 billion in aid to rebuild European cities, industries, and infrastructure and to stimulate U.S.–European commerce.
4

America's critics deny our intentions were altruistic because we were also trying to shield Western Europe from Soviet expansion.
5
But protecting nations from the ravages of communism—a system responsible for nearly 100 million deaths worldwide in the last century alone
6
—
is
altruistic. Throughout the Cold War, the United States served as the bulwark for freedom and democratic principles against Soviet totalitarianism and its notorious slave labor camps, mass murder, and famines. Yes,
the spread of freedom and prosperity worldwide also benefits us, but that does not diminish the benevolence of our world leadership. “Americans are as self-interested as any other people,” writes historian Robert Kagan. “But for at least 50 years they have been guided by the kind of enlightened self-interest that, in practice, comes dangerously close to resembling generosity.”
7

Since the end of the Cold War, Americans have widely debated our rightful place in the world. Writing in 1998, Kagan observed that our generosity seemed to be fading—not due to arrogance but “because some Americans have grown tired of power, tired of leadership, and consequently, less inclined to demonstrate the sort of generosity that has long characterized their nation's foreign policy. What many in Europe and elsewhere see as arrogance and bullying may be just irritability born of weariness.”
8

Republicans are split on this question today, as many have indeed grown weary of America's protracted wars. President Trump reflects these tensions—he's no isolationist, but he clearly wants to reduce our global military footprint and prioritize our national interest in his foreign policy. As I've said many times, the president is tired of our country doing all the giving and getting little in return. He's tired of our brave soldiers sacrificing everything and other nations failing to contribute their fair share toward their own security, let alone ours. He is second to none in wanting the strongest possible military, and he has acted on his promises to rebuild our defenses. But he wants to use them wisely and efficiently. “Great nations do not fight endless wars,” he said in his 2019 State of the Union address. “I got elected on bringing our soldiers back home.”
9
Still, as shown by his victory over ISIS and his strike on Iranian archterrorist Qasem Soleimani, Trump doesn't hesitate to use military force when it directly strengthens our national security. And once again, these actions also benefit our allies and other nations.

America has been and continues to be exceedingly generous compared to any other nation in history. But according to the political left, nearly everything America does is selfish and oppressive. From John
Kerry's slandering our troops in Vietnam during Senate testimony in 1971 to Barack Obama's world apology tour, they blame America first and undercut this country at every opportunity. They are consistently trying to diminish our power and military.
10
They reject our nation's heritage, its values, and its very founding. They want to dilute our sovereignty by subsuming us in a larger international collective and by eradicating our borders.

This is the key to understanding the left today. They don't merely oppose specific American policies, they oppose our long-standing societal values, and they resent the institutions and culture that arose from those values. They have little use for liberty because it limits their ability to impose their political vision. They want to take more of your money and spend it on
their
priorities. And they want to dictate the most minute details of your life, decreeing what kind of straws you can drink from, what kind of lightbulbs you can use, and what kind of power your home can use.

The founders wisely worried that future generations might take liberty for granted. Going well beyond that, the left seeks to redefine liberty as selfishness. If you drive a car, or eat meat, or take a long shower, or fly to visit your relatives, or own a gun, you're not exercising your freedom, you're now sinning against our whole society. It's not easy to turn a nation against its founding ideals, but with its relentless assault on our liberty, traditions, and values, that is exactly what the left aims to do. This is a fairly new problem. Americans have always taken pride in this country's exceptionalism and its unusual goodness. But the left seems to be on a mission to erode our natural patriotism. As a result, Democrats increasingly denounce America in ways we've rarely heard from our leaders, such as New York governor Andrew Cuomo declaring that “America was never that great,”
11
former attorney general Eric Holder claiming, “This notion of [America's] greatness never in fact really existed,”
12
and Michelle Obama saying, “For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country.”

AN “INFORMED PATRIOTISM”

In his farewell address, President Ronald Reagan addressed the resurgence of national pride during his tenure in office, what he called the “new patriotism.” While he was gratified that patriotism was rebounding, he knew that for this positive attitude to endure it must reach deep into our national soul. He clarified that patriotism is not blind love of country or a stubborn sense that your country can do no wrong. “This national feeling is good,” he said, “but it won't count for much, and it won't last unless it's grounded in thoughtfulness and knowledge. An informed patriotism is what we want.”
13

This makes perfect sense. To maintain national cohesiveness, our citizens should unite in their love for the country based on the ideals that set this nation apart. Until relatively recently, this was not controversial. Immigrants seeking U.S. citizenship have to learn about our Constitution and our legal system so they'll develop an informed patriotism that ensures their loyalty to the values that underlie and guarantee our liberties.

The importance of an informed patriotism among our citizenry is one reason why I oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants and believe strongly that for America to retain a robust national identity, immigration should be a controlled and orderly process. The left, however, depicts this type of patriotism as racist and border enforcement as anti-American. They say a border wall contradicts who we are as a people. We should be an open refuge to all people at all times. Border enforcement advocates reject that notion outright, seeing the United States as a melting pot of different peoples united behind shared ideas—that is, assimilation.

A person does not have to be born in America to become American. Dinesh D'Souza became a citizen in 1991. Though born in India, he rightly considers himself American. He notes that an American could live in India for forty years and even become an Indian citizen, but he could not “become Indian,” and Indians wouldn't consider such a person an Indian. Being an Indian, he says, “is entirely a matter of
birth and blood. You become Indian by having Indian parents.” And that's the norm throughout the world, but America is unique because “becoming American is less a function of birth or blood and more a function of embracing a set of ideas.”
14

National pride is a natural, wholesome, and even necessary sentiment. Our national security depends on our common love of country—our collective commitment to the American idea and our firm recognition that America is worth defending precisely because it is exceptional. When you abandon the rule of law and grant amnesty to those who are here illegally, you undermine the legal and orderly flow of people into this country, their assimilation into our culture, the adoption of our shared ideas, our common commitment to our national interests, and our shared willingness to preserve and defend those interests.

But while our national ideals are universal in their truth, American patriotism involves more than a consensus about a set of principles, no matter how noble. It involves embracing our national identity as well—our history as a nation. “We must know… not only our creed but also our culture,” wrote historian Wilfred McClay. “We need to take aboard fully all that was entailed in our forbears' bold assertion that all human beings are created equal in the eyes of the Creator and that they bear an inherent dignity that cannot be taken away from them. But we also need to remember, and teach others to remember, the meaning of Lexington and Concord, and Independence Hall, and Gettysburg, and Promontory summit, and Pointe du Hoc, and Birmingham, and West Berlin, and countless other places and moments of spirit and sacrifice in the American past….”
15

Already in the 1980s, President Reagan was distressed by the inroads being made by “blame America first” types. He lamented the dissemination of anti-American messages in our schools, culture, and media. “Are we doing a good enough job teaching our children what America is and what she represents in the long history of the world?” he asked. He noted that people thirty-five years of age and older “grew up in a different America.” A love of country and for its institutions
was instilled in them. “If you didn't get these things from your family you got them from the neighborhood, from the father down the street who fought in Korea or the family who lost someone at Anzio,” or even from the popular culture. “The movies celebrated democratic values and implicitly reinforced the idea that America was special. TV was like that, too, through the mid-sixties.”
16

Reagan continued, “But now, we're about to enter the nineties, and some things have changed.” Younger parents, he said, weren't sure that it was right to teach their children to appreciate America in the same way. In the popular culture, “well-grounded patriotism is no longer the style. Our spirit is back, but we haven't reinstitutionalized it. We've got to do a better job of getting across that America is freedom—freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of enterprise.” Freedom, he noted, was the exception in history, not the rule, and it must be nurtured and defended. “Freedom is special and rare,” he said. “It's fragile; it needs protection.”
17

Yes, patriotism must be based on something more than a reflexive loyalty to country, and our appreciation for freedom must be cultivated. That's why I've spent considerable time on my radio and television shows focusing on history and explaining the importance of our founding documents. I'm grateful for this opportunity because I am fascinated by our nation's origins and subsequent history. I am convinced that the more information Americans have about our actual history—not the revisionist version spewed by leftist writers and academics who want to tear down this country—the more they will appreciate America. I want to help set the record straight to promote our informed patriotism.

As I've said repeatedly, we must fight harder to protect what makes this country great: our Constitution, our values, the equal application of our laws, and the American people, who work hard every day, pay their taxes, and love their country.

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