Angela and I enjoyed a fantastic week aboard the MS Eurodam of the Holland America Line fleet as part of the Media Research Center Alaska cruise. This was my fourth ever cruise, second time aboard the MS Eurodam. I must be honest. I joined the Army, not the Navy, so being aboard a ship for a week can be rather confounding. However, the accommodations were stellar, the ship’s crew and staff were highly professional, the MRC crew were fantastic, and Alaska is truly our last great frontier – utterly beautiful.
During the cruise, I did cheat and tune into the news back home on occasion, and it led me to ponder something I wish to share. Also, I took the book “Ameritopia” by Mark Levin to re-read, and am glad that I did. It put a lot of things into perspective.
As we steamed north into the inner passages of the Alaska panhandle to Juneau, Glacier Bay, down to Sitka, and lastly to Ketchikan, I thought about those pioneers who long-ago preceded us. What we covered in a week would have taken months. The provisions and comfort they had onboard undoubtedly paled in comparison to that which we had. Yet, they embarked upon a journey into the unknown wilderness in search of gold and other adventures. They braved the toughest and harshest of conditions. And many of them risked all that they had for a chance, an opportunity, and undoubtedly, there were those who succumbed to the elements and the dangers. What those early pioneers represented is that which defined America, that rugged individualism and spirit that emboldened those pioneers to take the plunge and accept the challenge.
They left the ports of Seattle, Los Angeles, and elsewhere on the west coast as strong, sturdy men and women, determined to pave a way and make good of their ambitions. They possessed a drive and determination that is part of our DNA, and when you walk the streets of Juneau, Sitka, and Ketchikan, you still see that will in the eyes of those who reside there today. But the question we must ask ourselves as Americans, especially down here in the “lower 48” as they say, is whether we still possess that rugged individualism, will, determination, and resolve to embark into the unknown, conquer our fears, and face the challenges before us?
Well, if you listen to the likes of Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and this growing chorus of those declaring themselves to be Democratic Socialists, we do not. While reading Levin’s book, I was reminded of Sir Thomas More’s writings on utopia. Sure, utopia sounds great, a society where everyone’s needs are met, but at what sacrifice? The sacrifice is, and always has been, individual liberty.
You see, what the progressive socialists who have found a home here in America believe is that there is no rugged individualism. There is only the collective. They do not believe that we can care for ourselves, and that we need them to determine our outcomes and redefine who is a “dreamer” and what our hopes and aspirations can be. These charlatans, deceivers, and manipulators try to convince us to surrender our will, indeed our freedom, to them, in return for all that they claim they will provide under the guise of “free.” And just as More wrote, we become part of a collective with a certain elite class – his book called them the Phylarchs and the Tranibores – who made all the requisite decisions on the lives of the minions. It is no different than the system of lords who granted rights to the serfs. Hence why a fine gentleman named Friedrich Hayek wrote a brilliant essay entitled “The Road to Serfdom.” I would offer that one could simply replace the word “serfdom” with “subjugation” or even “subservience.”
The progressive socialists would have never inspired those early pioneers to set sail for Alaska. They would have degraded, denigrated, and demeaned the individual spirit that burned inside of them. If anything, they would have tried to set up government-run establishments, instead of allowing free men and women as part of a free market system to strike out on their own. The progressive socialists would have tried to lessen the possibility of failure. It is often failure, adversity, and hardships that make us stronger, enabling us to stand on our own – not seeking the statist vision of an equality of outcomes.
I have always loved salmon, and boy howdy, fresh Sockeye – yummy. And to see the people there in Alaska with their boats set sail. Or to see folks casting their lines into the seas to get their catch, that is what rugged individualism is all about – fishing for yourself. The progressive socialists would prefer that they provide you the fish, and then they would ration it based upon what they determine your needs to be.
Alaska is our last great frontier because the progressive, socialist leftists have not been able to destroy that indomitable individual will, as they seek to do in the lower 48. And yes, the left has overrun the island paradise of Hawaii. Perhaps the good folks of Alaska are not looking to be subjugated? Could it be that there is a reason why you find so many American Bald Eagles there in Alaska soaring high? Could it be that there is a reason why you find those massive, fearless Brown and Grizzly bears in Alaska? Could it be that there is a reason why there is a striking pure beauty, unimagined, in the wilderness of Alaska? Could it be that Alaska is what a real “utopia” is all about: rugged scenery and terrain matched by rugged individualism – not constrained by the absurd rantings of delusional socialists?
The lesson learned for me during the Media Research Center Alaska cruise is that America needs to embrace the ruggedness, grandeur, and splendor of Alaska, and not the trappings of mad men and women spewing forth the destructive blather of democratic socialism. Alaska reminded me of liberty. These avowed socialists remind me of tyranny.
Allen West is a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army. Mr. West is a Senior Fellow at the Media Research Center to support its mission to expose and neutralize liberal media bias and is author of the forthcoming book from Brown Books Publishing Group coming this fall, “Hold Texas, Hold the Nation: Victory or Death.”