In 1775, a young Scottish merchantman named John Paul Jones was living in Virginia. When the Revolutionary War began, Jones wanted to be part of the fight. He envisioned great possibilities for the fledgling new nation. In a letter to Pennsylvania Del. Robert Morris, he wrote: “The situation of America is new in the annals of mankind, her affairs cry haste, and speed must answer them.”
Jones was commissioned a lieutenant in the Continental Navy, but his bold and decisive leadership saw him quickly promoted to captain. In 1776, he took command of the sloop Providence and captured 16 prize British ships on his first cruise. Throughout 1777 and 1778, the fearless young captain operated in the vicinity of British home waters — often launching daring raids on English shores. In 1779, he was given command of a fleet of five French and American ships.
On Sep. 23, 1779 — 242 years ago tomorrow — aboard the flagship Bonhomme Richard, Jones led his crew in one of the fiercest naval battles in history, against the British frigate Serapis. Hours into the fight, as the older and smaller American vessel was starting to sink, the British captain called for Jones’ surrender. The cocky American responded: “I have not yet begun to fight.”
In the end, it was the Serapis captain who surrendered to Jones.
John Paul Jones recognized the great potential of America. He fought against incredible odds to ensure that the Founders’ hopes of freedom, self-government, and individual rights — the great republican experiment — would come to fruition. And how they did!
Yet today, many of those individual rights and constitutional freedoms are under assault from a hard-left minority. Political correctness — or wokeness — threatens all who disagree with progressive plans to remake and redefine many of our institutions and policies.
Now is the time to stand up to the bullies in the media, academia, big tech, corporations, and Hollywood. If it seems daunting, remember that John Paul Jones and a tiny handful of other American and French naval officers took on the entire Royal Navy.
Conservatives must let it be known that they too have not yet begun to fight.
— Robin Beres, editor