I just listened to Debi Ghate’s inspiring lecture on the life of Frederick Douglass. The man lived an extraordinary life as he rose from a slave who taught himself to read to a political leader and advisor to presidents. Through every crisis he was a principled individualist; this was the source of his strength and it also made him a lot of enemies among the pragmatists, moderates and appeasers. There will always be cowards and fools, it seems.
I intend to study Douglass more closely, not just because his story is a remarkable part of our history that every American should know, but because the lessons of his life will become increasingly important as our nation continues its descent into collectivism. Douglass fought the crude collectivism that is racism; today we fight the more refined and insidious collectivism of the welfare state.
One obvious lesson is that there is no substitute for courage. Look at how the left has fought the Tea Party protests with smears, and how it stopped Rush Limbaugh’s attempt to buy an NFL team with outright lies. The left wants to shut up its opponents with a climate of fear. In such a culture, courage will be dearly wanted. Douglass’s example is needed now more than ever.