In the great 17th century novel by Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote, the title character grows tired of his ordinary life, and he spends much of his days reading books about the great acts of chivalry performed by the heroic knights of his time. He becomes so enthralled by the virtue and gallantry of the knights that he longs to become one, dreaming of saving the innocent and vanquishing evil. His desire to be bathed in the honor and esteem from the world is so strong that he begins to live outside of reality. His delusions cause him to dub himself a knight-errant, and he goes out into the world looking to perform acts of great heroism.
In the throes of his delusions, he begins to see evil villains where none exist. He mistakes a field of windmills for a legion of giants, so he attacks them and is seriously injured by their spinning sails. He assaults a group of monks after falsely accusing them of kidnapping a princess. And he later believes a herd of sheep is an opposing army, so he charges and slaughters seven of them. Likewise, he is so blinded by his own virtue that he also fails to see evil that is right in front of him. Quixote accepts the promise of a sadistic farm owner not to continue to beat his young farmhand because the chivalrous code says that a promise to or from a knight is always kept. After he leaves, the owner beats the farmhand within an inch of his life.
Don Quixote exemplifies the power of the human will to ignore reality in favor of a preferred fantasy. Every step along the way, his belief in his own superior virtue warps reality to fit into that narrative, and his blind pursuit of his own virtue, ends up hurting himself and the people he believes he’s helping.
This is what we are witnessing in our country today. Too many people are so wrapped up in their own virtue that they see enemies where there are not any and fail to see the enemies staring them right in the face. Liz Chaney’s participation on the January 6th committee is a perfect example. She saw herself as the virtuous protector of our democracy and became determined to take down a giant of her own imagination. She labeled Donald Trump the “biggest threat to democracy in our country’s history”. That’s the way it works. The more-evil you can paint your opponent, the more virtuous you become in fighting him. So, Trump had to be an existential threat for Liz to maximize her virtue.
That’s why the Democrats always call Republicans racists, sexists, homophobes, fascists, Nazis, not only do these labels discredit Republicans, they also heighten the Democrats’ virtue when they are fighting to stop them. There is no virtue in fighting to raise the capital gains tax or to push through an appropriations bill. There are no evil villains to be vanquished in those fights, so no virtue to be attained. The political divide in our country is no longer a philosophical split on policy. It has become a fight between good and evil in the struggle for virtue.
When you’re living under the delusion of your own superior virtue as Liz Cheney does, it only makes sense for her to act the way she has. But she failed to realize that the people in our country who are the real threat to democracy are the people that she aligned herself with on the January 6th committee. They are the ones who assembled a Congressional committee whose primary goal is to prevent the leading candidate from the opposition party from ever running for office again. That, in and of itself, is a serious threat to our democracy.
So, her blind desire to be the most virtuous person caused her to fail to see legitimate threats, and she allied herself with those anti-democratic threats to defend democracy against a person who was not a threat democracy at all. Like Don Quixote’s interaction with the sadistic farm owner, Liz Cheney took the word of proven liars like Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff believing that her virtue would permeate everyone she dealt with. The people she allied herself with to defend democracy are the real threats to democracy; they want an unconstitutional federal takeover of our elections, to do away with voter ID and to implement universal mail in ballots, all of which will greatly compromise the integrity of every election going forward and almost guarantee that the Democrat party will win every major election for the next 100 years. She aligned herself with the party who is unconstitutionally working with big tech and social media to censor the voices of the opposition, to give themselves an unfair advantage in every election cycle going forward. So, Liz Cheney’s pursuit of her own virtue by defending democracy became a threat to democracy.
Virtue-driven behavior is not you unique to Liz Cheney. That is the mindset of the whole woke agenda. They are so wrapped up in their own virtue, in their own self-righteousness that they end up attacking all that is good and promoting all that is evil. Their anti-racism agenda embraces Critical Race Theory, which views and treats every person based primarily on the color of their skin or their ethnicity, while rejecting the concept of a color-blind society and treating people based on who they are and what they do, and not on the color of their skin. Their anti-racism has become the definition of racism.
Their assumed virtue and compassion lead them to implement woke criminal justice and homelessness policies in our major cities. Their virtue dictates that everyone should be treated as a human being, and to them, that means that people should be able to do whatever they want without repercussions. So, our cities are being overrun with homelessness and violent crime because it is inhumane to judge another person. Consequently, these humanizing policies end up dehumanizing everyone living in a city where human excrement is commonplace, where drug paraphernalia litter the streets, and where there is a continual threat to be a victim of a violent crime. Their pursuit of virtue, to treat everyone like a “human” has led to policies which dehumanize everyone, the law-abiding as well as the homeless and the criminals. Their blind pursuit of their own virtue causes them to do the exact opposite of what a virtuous person would actually do.
We’re told that the green energy agenda is the “morally superior” position to take, that it is “saving the planet”, so we must destroy the fossil fuel industry – the source of energy which is driven so much good in our society over the last 150 years and has enabled the prosperity, the medicine, the amenities that we benefit on a day-to-day basis that make our lives better, that have extended our life expectancy. And that is what the climate agenda is all about, people’s virtue, believing that they can save the planet. Don Quixote attacked windmills based on his pursuit of his own virtue, the far left is embracing windmills for the exact same reason, their own virtue, their delusional belief that they are saving the world.
So, the virtuous position now is to get rid of fossil fuels and turn our energy grid over to renewables which inevitably will destroy our economy and make China the world’s number one superpower. Our virtuous green agenda is essentially turning the keys to the world over to brutal, anti-human right authoritarians like the Communist Chinese Party, who will never act virtuous to the rest of the world and will destroy the concept of human rights. The virtuous are attacking fossil fuels which has brought so much good into this world, while they ignore and empower the real threat of China.
The woke’s virtuous driven mindset to affirm everything a child thinks and feels leads them to embrace transgenderism for minors. So, minors whose brains are ten years from being fully grown, whose prefrontal cortexes have not developed to the point to be able to make rational and reasonable decisions, are being enabled by these virtue-signalers to make the decision to undergo irreversible life-changing body altering surgeries. Somehow, exploiting and mutilating minors has become virtuous.
The left virtue-signals on illegal immigration, which has caused us to eliminate our southern border which has flooded this country with millions of illegal immigrants. As a result, tens of thousands of people have died on their journey to the United States; human trafficking has skyrocketed; the drug cartels control our southern border; overdose deaths are at an all-time high. Where is the virtue in record drug overdoses, in human trafficking, in sex trafficking, in the scores of people dying in the Central American deserts, in the increase in crime in our country, in bankrupting our social services? There is no virtue to the consequences of virtue-driven policies.
Much of this is a part of what we have seen far too often in the last six years which is called Trump Derangement Syndrome. Trump has been deemed not only wrong but evil. So, the people trying to stop him, the Democrats and the never-Trump Republicans, are not merely opposing a political candidate they disagree with, they are performing a virtuous act because they are stopping evil. So, they must be opposed to everything Donald Trump stood for regardless of the consequences. Liz Cheney made it very clear when she justified her participation in the January 6th committee by saying “Donald Trump should never be anywhere near the White House ever again.” That strong language should only be reserved for the evilest among us, but far too often it is applied to mere political opponents.
In her concession speech, Liz Cheney compared herself to both Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses Grant – not only does she see herself as the wise and principled Lincoln, but the fierce and courageous Grant. And that shows that Liz Cheney’s position on the January 6th committee was never about truth and justice and doing what was right for this country and the world, it was solely about Liz Cheney, her virtue, morally elevating herself above the rest. And when you ignore the truth for the sake of your own virtue as we see happen far too often these days, everything gets worse, not better, and the social fabric eventually gets torn apart.
Judd Garrett is a graduate from Princeton University, and a former NFL player, coach, and executive. He has been a contributor to the website Real Clear Politics. He has recently published his first novel, No Wind.