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The evidence is mounting that 2023 will spell the end of twin plagues of our time, COVID-19 and wokeness.
The physical disease that killed more than 1 million Americans has subsided into a status like the seasonal flu in the U.S. While China is struggling with a huge spike in COVID-19 cases, its role in creating and propagating this deadly virus to the rest of the world is being exposed as potentially one of the great crimes in history.
The cultural disease that is CRT and wokeness, will start to subside, as well. The return of Bob Iger to leadership at Disney, and Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, are signals that the leftist madness that had seized America’s biggest corporations is starting to turn around. Americans are also more aware than ever that this systematic attack on American culture, history, traditional institutions and the American family has benefited communist China.
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It will take time before the main creators and transmitters of the woke disease, i.e., our teachers unions and leading universities, lose their power and influence. But meanwhile, rebuilding America’s strength and resolve will require bold decisive action, and a redirection of American energies toward creating and building something new as well as restoring what is traditional and valuable.
I would suggest that the key for doing this can be found in the virtues that brought the first Europeans to the shores of North America, despite the risks and uncertainties — namely the Vikings. The virtues that sustained those intrepid explorers, traders and settlers, in the world’s most dangerous waters, are precisely the ones Americans will rediscover in 2023.
First, the spirit of entrepreneurship, which led the Vikings to venture out and roam around the world, and brought Leif Erikson and his family to North America, and other Vikings as far as the Black Sea and Baghdad. In a more violent and primitive age, that energy took the form of robbery and pillage.
Later, however, it was channeled into an appetite for settlement and trade, making them the original harbingers of globalization. In addition, the harsh conditions of their Scandinavian homeland made them the original intrepid pioneers, inured to carving a life for themselves and their families out of bog, ice and forest. That was the perfect skill set when their Danish, Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish descendants arrived in this country.
The opportunities for entrepreneurship are very today, but they are still there. All it takes is the willingness to climb into our long ships with the crew we trust, and row out to the far horizon.
Second, the instinct of workmanship, which Norwegian-American sociologist Thorstein Veblen defined 100 years ago as the human instinct to constantly improve and perfect the things we make. That characterized Viking culture when it came to making a ship, a sword, a farm.
Today, it’s the instinct to make a technology or app better, as a regular workday habit. At a time when we have 7 million prime working-age males sitting idle on the sidelines; the heroes of 2023 America will be the men and women at their jobs every day, in order to build better lives for themselves and in the process rebuild the nation.
Third, commitment to family, community and nation: given the harsh conditions in which they chose to live, the Vikings found that solidarity and loyalty to family and community were essential to survival. That’s truer today than ever where our ties to family and local communities — what Edmund Burke called life’s “little platoons” — are the perfect antidote to the social distancing and isolation that COVID-19 and lockdowns imposed.
This is what families of Loudoun County, Virginia, found out last year, when they banded together to push back against the CRT taking over their schools. In 2023, that discovery will spread, as we learn these local commitments will be the secure building blocks for rebuilding the American nation, i.e., that by thinking small we can start to go big.
At a time when we have 7 million prime working-age males sitting idle on the sidelines; the heroes of 2023 America will be the men and women who go to their jobs every day, in order to build better lives for themselves and in the process rebuild the nation.
Fourth, meeting all challenges with agility and bold innovation. The Viking response to danger wasn’t to run away, but to meet it head on. Instead of the paralysis and passive victimhood imposed by COVID-19 and wokeness, this means our future depends on directing our energies toward bold and proactive solutions to our biggest issues, whether it’s illegal immigration, runaway crime in our cities, fentanyl in our home towns, and economic recession looming on the horizon.
In other words, there’s change in the air, change for the better. And the virtues the Vikings used 1,000 years ago to make themselves masters of their environment, and then their world; are the ones that can shape a post-COVID-19, post-woke future for America and for freedom around the world.
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