Those who live in the far north in author George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” novels live by one principle: “We do not kneel.” They call themselves the “Free Folk.”
That used to be a label that was proudly worn by all Americans. But a still-too-unquestioned movement pushing guilt-by-associated-skin-tone has begun to undo one of this nation’s bedrock ideals.
The kneeling phenomenon demanded by the radical left in the wake of George Floyd’s death—and embraced by those guilted into submission—creates a two-tiered social stratification of “kneelers” and “those who refuse to bend the knee” that’s wholly un-American.
Mobs resulting from years of citizens saturated in “critical race theory” and grievance studies have pressured far too many into believing they bear guilt for the past sins of others. Now they kneel in fealty to that false reality or are exiled from society.
Unfortunately, it’s also moved beyond just kneeling.
A crowd in Webster, Massachusetts, recently forced Police Chief Michael Shaw to lie face-down on the ground for eight minutes. In Cary, North Carolina, a group of Caucasians washed the feet of black organizers to “ask for forgiveness.” Not to be outdone by the latest woke trends, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took a knee at a massive anti-racism protest at Parliament Hill in Ottawa.
Worse, kneeling—either figuratively or literally—doesn’t even satisfy the mob.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said all the “right” things to the radical leftists holding Guilt Court but was still heckled out of a public square for refusing to defund the police department. The truth is, even mobs tire of the readily subservient and easily obedient.
‘We Will Never Serve Your Gods’
Deep down, we know kneeling in submission to the whims of mobs or tyrants is wrong. Both our ancient stories and our modern myths reflect this truth.
Instead of bowing to the altar of collective guilt, our exemplars should be Hanania, Mishael, and Azaria—though most know them by their Babylonian names: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
When Neo-Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar II commanded all his officials to bow down before an immense golden idol, the three men refused. They knew the prescribed penalty, one that was far worse than mere social ostracization or bullying. Failure to bow meant incineration in a vast furnace.
Yet they also knew that to prostrate oneself before something other than God was wrong. And so, they did not bow. They did not kneel. They stood firm for what they knew to be right. Ultimately, though they were cast into the superheated flames, they were saved by their faith. We know who the heroes were in that episode, and it wasn’t Nebuchadnezzar or the henchmen that followed through on his tyrannical orders.
The One Who Stands
Fast-forward more than 2,500 years, and we witness a similar scene. This time, the proving ground isn’t in Babylon, but Germany. Instead of our reality, it’s our world as depicted in “The Avengers.”
“Kneel before me,” orders Loki, the god of mischief. “Is not this simpler?” he asks as the crowd of innocents complies meekly. “You were made to be ruled. In the end, you will always kneel.”
Everyone in the plaza kneels. All but one. “Not to men like you,” comes the defiant response from the solitary holdout. He’s an elderly German, one who has witnessed the tyranny that follows a population that kneels to the pressure of a mob.
“There are no men like me,” responds Loki.
The elder stares at Loki, “There are always men like you.”
It’s one of the most powerful lines uttered in the first 12 years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And it should have special resonance today.
We don’t applaud the people kneeling in suppression. We feel sorry for them. Loki is the villain, not the hero. The elderly German who resists Loki shows true courage, and he’s saved by the literal personification of America’s values.
While this is an example from the silver screen, it would not resonate if we didn’t know it to be true. The bravery of the elderly German wouldn’t place a lump in the throats of grown men the world over if they weren’t inspired; if they didn’t hope that there was at least a chance they could show that same level of courage if they had to.
Well, we need that courage now.
Showing the Way Out
One of the more frightening realities of the “kneel sessions” is that they represent the semi-successful takeover of an entire cultural narrative, which has now been thrust upon a temporarily cowed majority.
We must show people frightened by the collective guilt mob that, as Jordan Peterson once explained, “It is not virtuous to be victimized by a bully, even if that bully is oneself.”
Americans in a position to defy this nonsense must show their intimidated neighbors that peaceful resistance to the collective guilt mob is possible. Courageous men and women must rise and say, in one voice, “I empathize with all those who suffer, but I will not be bullied into accepting the sins of others. I bow to no earthy figures.” If that happens, then we will win.
Alexis de Tocqueville saw the potential for faltering democracies to create weak citizens who bow to social pressure. “There is,” he noted, “a great difference between doing what you do not approve or pretending to approve what you do; the one is done by a weak man, but the other belongs only to the habits of a valet.” Americans should reject both choices. Giving in will not abate the mob, it will only embolden them.
Tocqueville’s warning on what can happen under a soft despotism is eerily prescient:
It does not break wills, but it softens them, bends them, and directs them; it rarely forces action, but it constantly opposes your acting; it does not destroy, it prevents birth; … it represses, it enervates, it extinguishes, it stupefies, and finally it reduces each nation to being nothing more than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.
Since this nation’s inception nearly 234 years ago, hundreds of thousands of brave Americans have died to ensure we will never have to kneel—not to a movement, not to a cause, not to those who seek power over our minds and souls.
We don’t have nobility in this country, nor do we condone one segment of the population coercing or bullying another segment into silence or emotional servitude.
We did not kneel to British tyranny. We did not kneel to Nazi fascists. We did not kneel to ruthless, Japanese imperialists. And though it took generations to muster the required resolve, we did not kneel to the Soviet Union’s quest for global domination.
If we are worthy of our Declaration, our Constitution, our flag, and our highest ideals, we will not bow to a movement that has quickly become intellectually dishonest and morally bankrupt.
Americans do not kneel. We stand.