New Year, Old Fight

Susan Stamper Brown,

Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, and William F. Buckley Jr.

At the stroke of midnight December 31, old and new acquaintances will once again join hands to sing the words to Robert Burns’ old folk song “Auld Lang Syne.” “Should auld (old) acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and auld lang syne (for the sake of old times).”

How many times have we sung that most catchy Scottish tune having no clue what the lyrics actually mean? Burns’ seemingly harmless melody asks the sobering question – is it wrong to simply forget the past and disassociate ourselves from old ideas and acquaintances who, for better or worse, make up our past.

Sigmund Freud’s research suggests that humans repress memories to lessen anxiety and protect self-image – but sooner or later reality surfaces and past experiences must be addressed for what they are. And at that point we must choose – as the saying goes – to learn from our past mistakes or we will be doomed to repeat them.

The same is true of cherished American history that some would like to erase and replace with their own contrived version of reality that finds Conservatism irrelevant and outdated. The recent political battle during the midterm elections was in many ways a fight to reassert the significance and relevance of American Conservatism. But this fight is not new nor is it over….

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