2016 WAS A GREAT YEAR — ACTUALLY,
By Lawrence Solomon, with permission of the author
My commiserations to those who found 2016 to be a horrible year. Horrible things certainly happened. But 2016 has also been heartening, a turning point — the first year in many that holds hope of a stop to more horribles, and their precursors.
2016 wrote the epitaph to political correctness, the most insidious of the evils facing society and also among the most toxic. To silence challengers to today’s orthodoxy, self-styled “social justice warriors” on the left have been quick to label dissenters as racists, sexists, homophobes or Islamophobes, unaware that in previous generations the dissenters from the orthodoxies — those who fought for emancipation of the slaves, women’s suffrage, gay and other civil rights — succeeded precisely because upholders of the orthodoxies were unable to silence dissent.
Political correctness is not benign, as many imagine. It hampers everything from fighting the war on terror, to acquiring energy independence, to alleviating poverty. Neither is political correctness popular with the general public — opinion polls show two-thirds to three quarters of Americans, including millennials and students — oppose it.
Thanks to Donald Trump, who identified the anti-PC demographic, unleashed it and rode it to a convincing electoral college victory, political correctness has lost much of its power. As the left comes to see it as discrediting and disempowering — after, all, it has alienated most voters and led to the rise of Trump — “PC” will lose what remains of its cachet. Offensive speech can then return to being dealt with civilly, as it historically has, albeit imperfectly, by appeals to good manners.
2016 represents the final blow to true believers in global warming. Even before the overwhelmingly sceptical Republicans swept to power in the United States last month, Western governments were slashing subsidies for renewable energy, while freeing fracking and other fossil fuel developments.
The Republican sweep will speed the demise of global-warming policies by gutting funding for its advocates and deregulating the energy sector, leading to a world awash in cheap energy – to the benefit of consumers and industry alike.
More good news in 2016 came from Brexit, which dispelled any doubt about the return of nationalism, so essential to ensuring the diversity of peoples and their cultures.
The European Union — a great homogenizer as well as a bar to free trade with other continents — has now had its fundamental weakness laid bare. The EU hegemon will need to loosen its grip on member states or die. Either option would be a boon to the world.
Israel also dodged a bullet in 2016, as was revealed in a drama this week at the United Nations.
Obama, who for eight years has undermined Israel, breached a longstanding American commitment to support Israel at the UN by failing to veto a damning anti-Israel resolution.
Trump’s team, meanwhile, though not yet in power, scrambled to somehow rescue Israel from Obama’s animus.
Had Trump not won the presidency, it is now clear, the knives would have been out as never before: Israel would have faced withering pressure from Obama — and likely also from an increasingly anti-Israel Democratic party under Hillary Clinton — to make compromises so extreme, they would have put Israel’s very existence at risk.
As it is, Israel is taking an immediate hit through the UN resolution, but with Trump at its back, its security remains assured.
2016 has also boosted America’s security, and the West’s, by electing Trump, a down-to-earth pragmatist, as commander-in-chief of the United States.
Obama’s ideology and idealism had created the migrant crisis.
By furthering the Arab Spring and attempting to overthrow the Middle East’s secular tyrants, Obama destabilized the region, leading to hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions of displaced people, the spread of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant to dozens of countries, and the infiltration of Western countries by terrorists.
Trump, who will now inherit this mess, is just the ticket to begin to clean it up, partly by destroying ISIL abroad and partly by deporting threats at home.
Unlike his predecessor, this politically incorrect president has the wherewithal to name the enemy — radical Islamic jihad — and to uncompromisingly, unapologetically eradicate it.
Those who see 2016 as an annus horribilis aren’t wrong. The tragic, often politically correct decisions made by the West in recent years have culminated in horrible results:
The slaughter in Syria, the migrant crisis, the terrorist attacks being but some of the recent examples.
In 2016 we are paying for these sins, but 2016 isn’t to blame. 2016 is merely representative of a new normal. The sinning occurred in years previous.
But 2016 should also be seen as an annus mirabilis; a wonderful year that heralds a return to the old normal. We in the West have awakened to our misfortune, to the box we put ourselves in, and we are now about to pull ourselves out – in part thanks to Donald Trump!
[ Lawrence Solomon is executive director of “Energy Probe”, a Toronto-based environmental group. You can contact him at: http://LawrenceSolomon@nextcity.com
This commentary originally appeared in Canada's only truly conservative newspaper, "The National Post"]