Until this weekend, the leadership of most large cities, still facing the Covid-19 pandemic, were strategizing when and under what circumstances citizens may leave their homes. This weekend, most of those cities saw riots that resulted in violent deaths and injuries, burning, looting, and mayhem. In Portland, a mob beat a man for displaying the U.S. flag.
Who taught these young men to hate the U.S. flag? And not only to hate it, but to hate it with violent passion, and to beat and stomp the bodies of those who love it?
(With the help of other bystanders, the victim ultimately escaped. He never let go of the flag.)
For two-and-a-half months we have been watching nervous leaders, governing as though trying to read from the favorable history books they hope will be written about them, dither over whether or when we can enjoy our civilization ever again. Then in a space of 48 hours, vigorous louts burned much of our civilization down. Between the nail-biters who police our use of civilization, and the louts who burn it down, who is is going to rebuild our burning and decaying civilization?
The haunting feeling of Shelley's Ozymandias is not that hundreds of years should destroy the creations of a great builder, but that hundreds of years should fail to produce more builders. Any brute force can destroy-- time, moths and rust, the left. It is the will to build a civilization that is precious. The young fools who tear down our buildings are obnoxious, but the old fools who tear down the spirit of our civilization are absolutely poisonous.