Biologist and outspoken atheist Richard Dawkins coined the term “meme” in his 1976 book “The Selfish Gene” to refer to an idea that spreads and grows, and like the concept it represents it has grown and changed as it passes through various cultures and subgroups. Today the word is most often used to refer to a simple image, sometimes with some text, that communicates a deeper rhetorical idea. Long gone are the days of throngs of people gathering to hear Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas debate the merits of popular sovereignty for hours on end. Today’s political battles are waged with memes.
This is one of my favorites. In just a glance it captures the arrogance of the smug atheist that wants to use your own faith as a rhetorical weapon against you, despite having none himself. On any other day this atheist would be actively deriding your faith, your scriptures, and your God, but today he feigns respect because he thinks that appealing to your faith will get you to agree with his position (in this case regarding refugees and migrants). We see this phenomenon every day. Politicians and journalists bash Christianity and the Bible during debates on abortion or gay marriage but turn around and appeal to Scripture when talking about migration or welfare spending. Mainstream news publishes articles about how the Christmas story is just a myth but then turns around and uses the imagery of the Holy Family to push an anti-borders narrative. While most people used social media last week to wish a non-partisan “Merry Christmas” (or stayed off social media entirely), socialist media darling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted this image:
Joseph, Mary, and Jesus are replaced in this telling with a Hispanic family. Rather than fleeing Bethlehem to Egypt this new holy family is presumably fleeing their homes in Guatemala or Honduras for the southern US border. I am reminded of the Jewish socialist character Perchik in “Fiddler on the Roof” who interprets the story of Jacob and Laban as a biblical screed against capitalism. For modern-day socialists and atheists, the Scripture is not about universal truth but is instead a canvas onto which they can project their own political and social views. Most of these people do not see the Bible as a source of authority for their lives, but they know that we do, and so they use it as a tool to further their own ends.
This is a tactic that the American left has been practicing for several generations. Socialist activist Saul Alinksy published his “Rules for Radicals” in 1971, which sought to guide the young socialist movement into power. His fourth rule commands the young activist to make the enemy live up to his own book of rules. In the 1960s and 70s these young socialists were on the outside of American society looking in. The establishment, while moving ever leftward, was still more conservative than these activists desired. They attacked their establishment enemies using rhetorical guerrilla tactics. One of their most insidious methods was to portray their tactics as being in line with traditional principles such as freedom of speech. America has traditionally honored and protected freedom of speech – it is enshrined in the first amendment to the Constitution, after all. When young leftist radicals demanded the freedom to speak their minds on college campuses, the establishment eventually agreed. After all, freedom of speech was a principle for them, which means they protect speech that they might find distasteful or even seditious. “I disagree with what you say but will defend to the death your right to say it” and all that. Yet those same leftists who demanded free speech in the 1960s and 70s are now leading the charge to ban conservative expression by calling it “hate speech”. You see, freedom of speech was never their principle, only a tactic. Once they achieved the desired goal of cementing their power, they had no qualms about discarding it.
More than one conservative commentator has built an entire career on pointing out leftist hypocrisy. Unfortunately, while this tends to energize conservative readers it does little to change leftist behavior. Remember, we have principles while they have tactics. We think shaming the left for their hypocrisy will work because we find hypocrisy shameful. The left doesn’t care. They quite literally have no shame.
One of the reasons that this tactic of holding your enemy to his own moral standards while having none yourself works is because America’s traditional institutions are in severe decline. We, as traditional Americans, have lost confidence in ourselves. Americans in civic society once prided themselves on being the best and brightest country in the world. Christians once had the confidence of knowing that despite their faults, they were on the side of good and truth in a world of evil and lies. Yet our enemies chipped away at this confidence bit by bit. Using our own principles against us, the globalist guerrillas took over mass media and the education system, using them to capture the minds of the next generation. Moral relativism taught that all cultures and religions were equal, and that whatever truth we believe might only be true for us. Our society stopped believing that there was a such thing as truth. Conservatives believed that the left was acting in good faith, and so they compromised. They actually believed the left when they said they wanted free speech for all, or that diversity was our strength. They allowed the left to use past injustices such as slavery as a constant club with which to beat us into submission.
It is time for traditional America to stop backpedaling and apologizing. It is time to stop letting the dyscivic globalists set the premises of our public discourse. Too many Christians and conservatives think that the globalist left wants to live in peace with us. On the contrary, like all totalitarians, they want us compliant or dead. They will use any tool they can to accomplish their goals, including trying to hold us to moral standards that they neither believe in nor understand. The only way to win at this game is not to play. Don’t let your moral principles become the gibbet on which they hang you.