This week I published a podcast and an essay about the spread of Critical Theory in our society. This dishonest ideology teaches that white men are the source of everything wrong throughout history, and that we have built social structures that reinforce our racism and white supremacy. Christopher Rufo has been digging into the use of Critical Theory in federal government employment, and last week Tucker Carlson had him on his show. We all know that President Trump watches Tucker, so this is one of the best ways to expose the president to information that his staff might otherwise shield him from.
Tucker gets results. Yesterday evening, the Director of the Management and Budget Office Russ Vought issued a statement saying that federal agencies must cease spending taxpayer dollars to force their employees to sit through seminars based on Critical Race Theory and so-called white privilege:
It has come to the President’s attention that Executive Branch agencies have spent millions of taxpayer dollars to date “training” government workers to believe divisive, anti-American propaganda
The President has directed me to ensure that Federal agencies cease and desist from using taxpayer dollars to fund these divisive, un-American propaganda training sessions.
Cultural Marxists have been using Critical Theory to divide Americans and weaken Western Civilization for nearly a century, and the fact that it has become embedded in employee training programs throughout the federal government is an indictment on conservatives who should have nipped this in the bud decades ago. This is a great start, but the rot runs deep, especially in our K-12 and higher education systems. We have a long way to go.
Just a quick note to let you all know of my future plans for the blog and podcast. Starting this month I will be taking on some additional responsibilities, which will reduce the amount of time I have to create weekly podcasts. Therefore I will be scaling back, and will try to release one podcast each month for the foreseeable future. On the flip side, however, I will try to post more often to the blog, with shorter essays and posts that might not necessarily be enough for a whole podcast.
Last month, CNN aired video of buildings on fire in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Rioters had torched several used car lots and vandalized dozens of businesses, and several people were dead after clashes between antifa and those who were defending private property. Over the top of this video, CNN displayed a ribbon of text explaining that these were “mostly peaceful” protests. This now-common occurrence on cable news goes beyond the gaslighting that I have mentioned in the past; it is an assault on reason and truth itself.
The foundation for any rational discussion is the concept of truth. There can be no honest debate between one side which says that the sky is blue, water is wet, and fire is hot, when the other side disagrees with those basic truisms. Nearly twenty-five hundred years ago, the Greek philosopher Aristotle put it this way: “A is A”. It seems obvious, and something that goes without saying, but the idea that there it is possible for human beings to understand real concrete rational truths is at the basis of all philosophy, science, mathematics, and history. While there is room for debate about the value of money, the effects of increased taxation, or the relative greatness of Shakespeare’s works, there can be no debate that A is A, or that two plus two equals four. Yet it is exactly these fundamental truths that are under attack as a result of a generation of postmodern critical theory propaganda.
“Two plus two equals four” is one of the very first ideas we teach our children, because everything else builds from that basic truth. On one level, the ability to do higher math and to apply it to real world problems requires knowledge of basic arithmetic. On a deeper level, having understanding that certain things are always true no matter the context paves the way for understanding abstract things. Rational thinkers have long known how important it is to base empirical claims on solid truth and have often used this little equation to demonstrate that concept:
“Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two equals four. If that is granted, all else follows.”
It seems inconceivable that there could be any possible disagreement on such a basic fact.
Last week I reread Orwell’s famous novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four” for the first time in twenty years. When I read it in high school, I found it interesting but not very applicable to modern society. Indeed, in reading Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” at the same time I found Huxley to be the more accurate prophet. As Neil Postman wrote in “Amusing Ourselves to Death” in 1985, “What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley fears was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much those that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance.”
For most of the 90s and even the early 2000s, I agreed with Postman’s view that our world was more Huxley than Orwell. The fact that Orwell’s iconic Big Brother, the semi-mythical leader of the Party who watched your every move, had became the name of a reality TV show seems to have proven Huxley right. We did not need pervasive government surveillance, because we were held captive by our own devotion to mindless entertainment. Yet something has changed in the last five years. While information is still being diluted by mindless nonsense, the world of “Nineteen Eighty-Four” has been slowly converging upon us. Mass surveillance is indeed becoming commonplace. Corporations, rather than government, are unpersoning people who says things that are deemed hate speech. Yet the worst part is what Orwell feared the most: our very language, and even the concept of reality itself, is being redefined before our eyes.
Nearly a century ago, German philosophers at the Institute for Social Research, better known as the Frankfurt School, came up with a concept called Critical Theory. The driving force behind Critical Theory is a desire to tear down every philosophical idea in human society, deconstruct it, and rebuild it through a lens of oppression. In the 19th century, Karl Marx had redefined economics by reconstructing it as a constant struggle between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat classes. What Marx did for class and economics, the Critical Theorists of the Frankfurt School did for everything; many on the right call the philosophies of Critical Theory “Cultural Marxism” for this very reason. By recasting every social interaction as based on oppression, Critical Theory not only identifies the issue but also proposes its solution, that is, that human society must be completely deconstructed and rebuilt from the ground up. That means every structure of our society that we take for granted – history, philosophy, science, math, language, the family structure, political systems, etc. – must be torn down in the name of freeing humanity from so-called oppression.
Over the past few decades, Critical Theory has become the foundation of higher education in America. It has even spawned spinoffs such as Critical Race Theory, which preaches that all human society is built on white supremacists oppressing people of color, and feminism, which preaches that all human society is built on men oppressing women. All of these offshoots are built around the idea that one group of people is oppressing another group of people, and that this system of oppression is at the heart of every social structure on earth. Intersectionality is the idea that all of these systems of oppression are intertwined, and so the end result of Critical Theory is the demonization of one particular group of people – heterosexual white male Christians – as the perpetrators of everything bad that has ever happened in human history.
I have mentioned the 1619 Project several times over the past year, because it is a perfect example of how Critical Theory is not only used to reinterpret the past, but also to rewrite it. The 1619 Project says that the entire American Revolution was all about maintaining slavery and white supremacy in the New World. Boston Tea Party? White supremacy. The Battle of Lexington? White supremacy. The alliance with France? White supremacy. The Declaration of Independence itself? White supremacy. This reductionist view of history is not only wrong but dangerous, as it teaches black children that they are justified in using violence to take back a country that was “stolen” from them, while teaching white children that they have no claim on the land their fathers lived and died to build.
The traditional historical view of American independence is that the thirteen colonies had developed into separate nations from the mother country of Great Britain. They chafed under British taxes and regulation and resented the rule of a King and Parliament half a world away who saw the colonies as nothing more than raw materials. The colonists initially desired reconciliation and negotiation, but once open war came to America, t hey declared their independence and founded a new nation. Contrary to what many people now believe, slavery was a huge issue. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson recognized that slavery was incompatible with their belief that “all men are created equal.” They knew that a reckoning would happen someday. But the Critical Race Theorists do not think too deeply about their positions, because they disagree about the fundamental concept of truth itself. It is hard for rational people like you and I to understand this, but the authors of the 1619 Project honestly believe that they are creating truth in their writing. They would say that what we consider to be the true historical record is just “our truth,” and that our truth is based on oppression and white supremacy, therefore we are morally bound to discard it in favor of their superior truth.
We on the right are accustomed to debating people with whom we agree on the fundamental truths of the universe. For example, when John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon debated in the summer of 1960, they both agreed that America was a great nation that was a force for good in the world, much less that two plus two equals four. Their disagreements were built on top of those premises. We have a hard time debating the modern left, because we find little common ground, even when it comes to empirical facts. The modern left not only believes that America is a bad country, and always has been, but they are even trying to convince us that two and two do not necessarily equal four.
A few months ago, mathematician and critic of social justice James Lindsay posted sarcastically about how Critical Theorists would dismiss two plus two equals four as a Western imperialist colonialist concept. This innocuous statement started a firestorm on Twitter, attracting hundreds of people who believe just that. A PhD student and self-described “teacher, scholar, social justice change agent” named Brittany Marshall tweeted “…the idea of 2+2 equaling 4 is cultural and because of western imperialism/colonization, we think of it as the only way of knowing.” She was not alone. Numerous social justice activists in academia and media jumped on the train, each one explaining exactly how two plus two does not have to equal four and that saying that it always does is an example of oppressive white supremacy in action.
Yet the idea that two plus two equals four is not, as these people believe, inherently western, colonialist, or white supremacist. Universal truths such as this are the foundation of all knowledge. How can we know anything if we do not know what is true? Without basic math, we could not build a horse-drawn wagon, much less a spaceship that can land on the moon. As Orwell said, “Physical facts could not be ignored. In philosophy, or religion, or ethics, or politics, two and two might make five, but when one was designing a gun or an airplane they had to make four.” Perhaps this abandonment of empirical truth is partly to blame for the shoddy engineering we have seen in our country over the past decade, from collapsing bridges to derailing trains to faulty airplanes. Like a Cargo Cult, we have forgotten how our ancestors built things, and just assume that is just happens organically.
Yet even a philosophy that says two and two can make five is doomed to failure as well, because it is built on a lie. In “The Soul of Science,” authors Nancy Pearcey and Charles Thaxton argue that basic mathematics are necessary for understanding the deeper truths of the universe:
“In mathematics, it appears that we have access to truths that go beyond experience. Upon what, then, are they based? For Pythagoras and later for Plato, the answer was that mathematics is part of an ideal world – a realm of abstract principles that gives rational structure to the material world.”
Saying that two plus two equals four might be obvious to us, and heretical to Critical Theorists, but there is something profound contained in that simple phrase. Without it, we would lack any basis for rational thought at all!
I wrote a long post last year about how the United States has become a post-truth society. Nowhere is this more evident than in how Critical Theory has warped our education system. The same people dismissing the idea of concrete truth as just a “western colonialist perspective” are the ones teaching our teachers, the ones who ultimately decide what is taught to fifty million public school students every year. These poisonous lies have wound their way through every facet of our society. Public universities are forcing white students to sit through classes that berate them for the color of their skin. Government agencies are paying millions of dollars to corrupt consultants and forcing their employees to go to seminars where they deconstruct their “whiteness” and learn to take the blame for all the problems in our country. Television, Hollywood, and news media build their ideas on the basis of Critical Theory, without necessarily saying as much, so anyone who watches them is subtly and continuously propagandized.
The effect of dismissing empirical facts is becoming obvious throughout society. Words have lost all meaning, causing discourse between opposing sides to be pointless. Media calls left wing violence “free speech” while right wing speech is labeled “violence” that makes people feel “unsafe”. Our media constantly calls the massive riots that have engulfed our cities this summer – riots that involve vandalism, property damage, arson, theft, assault, and even murder – they keep calling them “peaceful protests”. President Trump gave an Independence Day speech at Mt. Rushmore about the greatness of America, and the New York Times called it “dark and divisive”. Iowa Congressman Steve King spoke in favor of western civilization and the media called him “racist”. These definitions are fluid, of course, being applied unequally depending upon one’s political positions. Joe Biden can call Barack Obama the first African American who was “bright, clean, and articulate” and rather than being accused of racism, the media laughs at good old Joe. On the other hand, people on the right are assumed to be racists and white supremacists by virtue of our very existence.
This systematic redefinition of words was explained by George Orwell more than seventy years ago. The heart of his novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four” is not necessarily the totalitarian government or constant surveillance, but the way in which the ruling party uses language to control thought. The Party is continually recreating language into what is called Newspeak, the object of which is to reduce the vocabulary of its citizens until they cannot even conceive of an unpermitted idea because there is no word to describe anything outside of Party authority. Orwell explains that Newspeak renders such ideas as “freedom” or “democracy” entirely meaningless, while a word such as “love” can only be applied to one’s loyalty to the Party rather than feelings of affection for family or friends.
See how this is happening in our culture today: Free speech by someone on the right is redefined by the media and the left to mean violence, while leftist violence is redefined as free speech. When Ann Coulter or even the milquetoast Ben Shapiro visited college campuses to speak, they were denounced by the left as having committed violence and making minorities and so-called marginalized people feel “unsafe”. Yet when mobs of antifa and BLM rioters torch a business and assault anyone in their way, our concerns about safety are dismissed as racism and white supremacy, and we are told that rioting and looting is the “language” of marginalized and oppressed people, and are therefore protected speech. This is literally Orwellian, and straight out of the Critical Theory handbook. Antifa and BLM activists have recently taken this to a new level, chanting that “silence is violence!” Even trying to stay neutral is not good enough for the vanguard of the socialist revolution.
As I record this, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is accusing President Trump of “inciting” these nationwide riots. When we hear the word “incite,” we picture a rabble-rouser firing up his followers to commit acts of violence. Yet President Trump has done nothing of the kind. In fact, it is Trump’s followers who are on the receiving end of most of this violence. Indeed, the real incitement has come from people like Biden’s vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris, who said that the riots should continue, Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters, who called for her followers to confront and harass conservatives in public, leftist media outlet NPR which is promoting a book called “In Defense of Looting,” and professional blackface-wearer Shaun King who called for blacks to attack churches, deface Christian statues, and threatened every police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Yet the left and our media blames Trump. This is literally blaming the victim. Saying that Trump has “incited” these riots is like when they said a cartoon “incited” Muslims to attack foreign embassies a few years back. This is no different from blaming a woman in a short skirt for being raped. By this logic, the very existence of conservatives, Christians, and unapologetic white people literally “incites” violence from the left, and we are to blame. This is Orwellian.
One of the most obvious redefinitions in recent memory has been the word “racism”. The idea of racism is fairly recent; before a century ago it was natural that people of different ethnic groups would have preferences for members of their own group. When the Baby Boomers were growing up during the Civil Rights movement, racism came to mean unfairness toward one group, or having negative stereotypes about other ethnicities. Most conservatives still hold to this definition. When they hear the word “racism,” they picture the Ku Klux Klan burning a cross to intimidate a black family, or some slack-jawed southerner using racial slurs to describe African Americans. Many of these good-natured conservatives do not realize how completely the left has redefined that word. There is a strain of virulent leftism that began in the Frankfurt School, was nurtured in college campuses across America, and has now taken control of most of our corporations, news outlets, and even government organizations. The official dogma of these people is that all white people are racist. They also say that black and other so-called marginalized people are incapable of racism, because they do not have “institutional power”. Even coming off of eight years of a black president, with a black attorney general, in a world where every major corporation obediently intones that “black lives matter,” even as being black in America opens doors to massive subsidies in the name of affirmative action, we are still told that we have white privilege. Simply existing as a white person makes one guilty of racism under this new definition.
James White of Apologia Church in Arizona has taken notice. On one of his recent livestreams he said, “Obviously we live in a day, once again, we all know it, 1984, completely fulfilled, take every word, redefine it to mean its opposite, but then use it amongst people who are still using the old vocabulary, with the new meaning, so as to create utter chaos in society.” This is exactly what the left has done. They accuse us of being racists according to their new definition while counting on rank-and-file conservatives of hearing the old definition. When they call Congressman Steve King, or Nicholas Fuentes, or Michelle Malkin, or anyone else who dares to notice something politically incorrect “racist,” too many conservatives assume that these people must be on the same level of the cross-burning KKK of a century ago, and they rush to denounce these horrible racists lest they too be tarred with the same brush. This is cowardice, plain and simple.
As I explained last year in my essay on the post-truth society, the left is always engaging in “motte and bailey” arguments. Remember that motte-and-bailey was a type of castle that was popular in Europe about a thousand years ago that consisted of a stone keep built atop a raised earthwork called a motte, surrounded by a walled courtyard called a bailey. The inhabitants of the castle lived and worked in the bailey, but when an enemy attacked, they could retreat to the relative safety of the motte. In a motte-and-bailey argument, someone can argue from a very liberal definition of a word or concept, only to retreat to the safety of the motte when defending their argument. You see this in the example of racism that I just mentioned. When on the attack, they define racism as white privilege, an original sin that all white people are born with. Yet if they ever have to defend themselves, they retreat to a linguistically conservative definition of racism, which is the same one that political conservatives have believed all along. This is not discourse, rather it is verbal sleight-of-hand. This is Orwellian wordplay.
Like Big Brother in “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” the modern left is redefining language to the point where reality itself is malleable. After all, according to Critical Theory there is no such thing as objective truth, only conflicting narratives of oppression. Without even realizing it, we are being conditioned into our own version of Newspeak that prevents any meaningful discussion of political or social ideas. We cannot talk about racism when everyone has a different definition of the word. We cannot have a national discussion about the root causes and possible solutions to this summer’s riots when we all have completely different views on the nature of incitement. This is the goal of the left, and of the Frankfurt School: to deconstruct language to the point where we have no ability to express thoughts that stray from the party line:
The word gay once meant happy, now it means homosexual.
The rainbow was once a symbol of beauty, and for Christians, a reminder of God’s promise after the flood. Now it means homosexual.
Conservative, reactionary, traditionalist, and nationalist all used to mean varying flavors of political theory. Now they all mean “racist” or “Nazi”.
For that matter, “Nazi” once referred to a specific political party in 20th century Germany that had very specific views, but now it means any white person more conservative than Bernie Sanders.
A liberal used to mean someone who believed in individual freedom, but now it is barely distinguishable from totalitarianism and socialism.
Even the words “male” and “female” have lost all meaning in the modern era. We are told that a big ugly man with makeup and a dress is just as female as a feminine woman, and if we disagree then we should be censored, fired, and maybe even imprisoned as punishment for our wrongthink.
Again, this is literally Orwellian.
In “Nineteen Eighty-Four, the protagonist Winston Smith is captured by the Thought Police and tortured until he conforms to their image of reality. His torturer explains:
“You believe that reality is objective, external, existing in its own right. You also believe that the nature of reality is self-evident… But I tell you, Winston, that reality is not external. Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else. Not in the individual mind, which can make mistakes, and in any case soon perishes; only in the mind of the Party, which is collective and immortal. Whatever the Party holds to be truth IS truth.”
In other words, reality is whatever we say it is.
One of the most striking characteristics of the Party in “Nineteen Eighty-Four” is the concept of doublethink. Party members are trained from birth to have the ability to hold on to contrary pieces of information and to recall each one at will, reciting and believing it with all sincerity. For example, early in the novel Winston is dismayed to have learned that the ration of chocolate from the government was going to be dropped to thirty grams per week. However, the Party later cheerfully announces that the chocolate ration would soon be raised to twenty-five grams per week. The citizens of Oceania, rather than noticing this obvious lie, buy into it completely, cheerfully thanking Big Brother for his generosity. The ability of Party members to engage in doublethink is called crimestop by Orwell:
“Crimestop means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments…”
The American left has gone all in on doublethink. To be a Democrat today means:
Saying at one moment that there are no riots, merely peaceful protests, and the next, with a straight face, that the riots are all Trump’s fault.
Not only having been anti-war in 2006 but pro-war today, but pretending that you have had a consistent position the whole time.
Believing that homosexuality is genetic and unchangeable, while transgendered people can change their sex through drugs and surgery.
Believing that the Democratic Governor of Virginia Ralph Northam’s blackface picture in his yearbook is not disqualifying, but that former GOP Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott’s harmless compliment to centenarian Senator Strom Thurmond in 2002 was.
Being able to criticize the Chinese travel ban in February as racist and xenophobic and then turn around in April and say it did not go far enough.
Believing that masks were useless in March of this year, but required now, with no realization that you have switched opinions.
The left engages in Orwell’s crimestop every day. If you show a leftist a picture of a man claiming to be transgender beside a picture of a real woman, they will not be able to articulate a difference. Perhaps they are not even pretending – crimestop comes as naturally as doublethink once you have trained yourself. This is why arguing with the left about crime statistics, for example, is so difficult. You can show them plainly that blacks commit a disproportionately higher number of violent crimes per capita than whites, and they will act as if you are talking gibberish. No matter what facts you employ, their answer is always the same: You are racist.
Doublethink is a natural side effect of the erosion of truth. Once you discard truth as a foundational concept, and replace it with competing narratives, then there is no reason to be bound by any one idea. Switching between contradictory premises is as simple as changing the channel on the TV. Like the Party members in “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” many of our elected officials and media figures have so completely internalized this modern doublethink that they do not even realize they are doing it. They have zero cognitive dissonance. Truth is whatever we say it is at any given moment.
The final component of the thought control in Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four” is in the way the Party constantly rewrites the past. The main character of the novel, Winston Smith, is a worker drone for the Ministry of Truth, which is (as he says) concerned with lies. The job of the Ministry of Truth is not only to broadcast daily propaganda, but also to continually go back and “fix” past newspapers, books, and other media to make it match current doctrine. For example, if Winston’s nation of Oceania goes to war with Eurasia, then Winston must go back and alter records to say that Oceania was always at war with Eurasia. Eventually they make peace and go to war with the other superpower, Eastasia, at which time Winston has to go back again and change things to match the new situation. “Who controls the past controls the future,” the Party says. “Who controls the present controls the past.” Without any documentation to back up their memories, citizens are forced to accept the new reality and alter their thinking to match. Anyone who disagrees is obviously insane, right?
This too is going on in America today. The 1619 Project is one example of rewriting the past to fit today’s narrative. Even recent events are being memory-holed. The truth that Michael Brown was shot after assaulting a shopkeeper and attacking Officer Darren Wilson has been replaced with the lie that he had his hands in the air when he was murdered by a racist policeman. The truth about the virtues of our Founding Fathers is being replaced by a narrative that they were all horrible people because of the existence of slavery. On the other hand, the truth about black criminals such as George Floyd and Jacob Blake are also being erased in favor of a narrative that paints them as innocent and wonderful human beings who were attacked by racist police simply because of their skin color.
It is not only facts that are being reinterpreted. Everyone has an inner sense of beauty and aesthetics, but those too are being twisted by our cultural content creators. Truth, beauty, and love are all being perverted. In “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” Orwell explains that in the ultimate socialist utopia, “There will be no distinction between beauty and ugliness.” In America today, marvelous marble statues of our heroes are torn down by angry mobs, while graffiti and vandalism are promoted as authentic art. Former first lady Michelle Obama, who is… homely by any objective measure, continues to appear on fashion magazines, while First Lady Melania Trump is blacklisted, despite being a literal supermodel and one of the most objectively beautiful women on earth.
Traditional feminine beauty is despised, while three-hundred-pound land whales are held up as a new standard of beauty. White nuclear families are called Nazis, while dysfunctional homosexual relationships are put up on pedestals. The great works of Rembrandt or Michelangelo are dismissed as white colonialist culture, while the farce that is modern art is praised. Modern architecture seems deliberately made to kill your soul, while classical buildings make one feel proud to be human. The difference between ugliness and truth was displayed during the competing National Conventions last week. The Democrats trotted out aging drug-addled rockers and disgusting young pop stars who seem obsessed with bodily functions, while the Republicans capped off their convention with a magnificent performance by an Italian opera singer. Do not let anyone tell you that beauty is purely subjective.
Once you dismiss empirical truth, all you have left is narratives, and the left believes that their narrative is superior. Many on their side truly believe this, that there is no such thing as truth, and so when they see us arguing for what we call “truth,” all they see is a narrative of oppression. In their minds, the only reason anyone would promote such oppressive narratives is out of selfishness and greed. St. Antony, a Christian monk of the third century, once said, “A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him, saying, ‘You are mad; you are not like us.’” Postmodern discourse is utter madness. Critical Theory is working to remove all traces of truth, facts, and even beauty from society and replace them with their preferred narratives.
G.K. Chesterton saw it coming a century ago:
“We shall soon be in a world in which a man may be howled down for saying that two and two make four, in which people will persecute the heresy of calling a triangle a three-sided figure, and hang a man for maddening a mob with the news that grass is green.”
Yet this is not just about propaganda. They are not just seeking to convince us that we are wrong, and they are right. English writer Theodore Dalrymple explains:
“Political correctness is communist propaganda writ small. In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control.”
If we accept the lie that George Floyd was murdered by racist cops, then we are divorcing ourselves from the truth. If we go along with the absurd lie that a castrated man is a woman, then we are killing part of our own souls. We become complicit in the insanity, and eventually we become part of the system itself, turning and pointing at thought criminals and demanding they be punished for not joining us in the big lie. A perfect example of this phenomenon is superstar NFL quarterback Drew Brees, who tweeted out support for the American last spring. Brees, a white man, father, and patriotic American, did not realize that the paradigm had shifted this year and was quickly attacked by the left for daring to oppose the BLM movement. He retracted his statement, gave an apology, then did penance by attacking President Trump for continuing to support the flag.
Like Winston Smith, we torture our brains until we actually believe that two plus two can equal five, if we want it enough. During his mental reprogramming, Winston cries because his logical mind cannot conceive of two plus two being anything but four. His torturer responds, “Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane.”
George Orwell did get everything perfectly right. He thought the government would ban sex to control people, but today we are flooded with sexual imagery. Huxley was more correct here – sex is not banned, but rather is made meaningless. Orwell also thought the government would control all information, but today information is controlled and manipulated not by a central government but instead by a multi-headed leviathan consisting of government departments, so-called hatewatch groups like the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center, and Big Tech monopolies like Facebook, Twitter, and Google. It is these Big Tech companies that are the modern-day Ministry of Truth. During the panic over COVID19, these companies appointed themselves the arbiters of medical truth and banned anyone who suggested treatments such as hydroxychloroquine that were considered politically incorrect. After a young man named Kyle Rittenhouse shot two antifa thugs in self defense in Kenosha, Wisconsin last week, both Facebook and Twitter banned users for expressing support for Kyle, while allowing or even promoting support for the violent antifa rioters. While these companies are not the government, they have become nearly as powerful, and can easily ruin one’s business or one’s life without a second thought.
What Orwell got right, however, is the way in which Critical Theorists are redefining language so as to control our thoughts. The endurance of “Nineteen Eighty-Four” is a testament to how accurate Orwell’s observations of the socialist mindset have been. Consider that words and phrases that I have used in this essay such as “Thought Police,” “Newspeak,” “unperson,” “memory hole,” “wrongthink,” “doublethink,” and the “Ministry of Truth” were all coined by Orwell in his book; yet they have become common in our vernacular.
Truth exists and it matters. Two plus two will always equal four, no matter what Twitter, Facebook, Google, Harvard, or the SPLC say. The lesson of “Nineteen Eighty-Four” is that human beings are easily malleable. If we do not have a foundation of truth, we can be made to believe anything. We must maintain that foundation. Build a library of old books. Download copies of articles and videos before they are inevitably altered or destroyed. Teach your children the empirical truths of the universe. Our fathers built the greatest society in the history of the world because they believed in truth. We are the heirs of a civilization that was built upon the twin pillars of Greek empiricism and the capital T Truth that God revealed through His Scripture. Those pillars are under heavy attack today from the socialist left, the Critical Theorists, and all the other enemies of God and truth. When the dust settles, truth will still be truth. A will still be A. Two plus two will still equal four.
Fake news and propaganda are more than just lies, rather they are an assault on reason itself. Chesteron, Kipling, and Orwell all warned us against those who would try to convince us that two plus two does not necessarily equal four, yet today we face that very challenge.
Everybody has heard the parable of the frog in hot water. Supposedly, if you toss a frog in a pot of boiling water, it will feel pain and jump out. However, the story goes, if you put a frog in cold water and slowly raise the temperature, it will continually acclimate itself and not realize that the water has become dangerous until it is too late. A real frog would probably notice the increasing temperature and leave the pot before being scalded to death, but human beings often lack that sort of foresight.
Consider the changes that we have experienced in the United States of America over the past century. If Rip Van Winkle fell asleep in 1920 and awoke today, the world would be nearly unrecognizable. Technology has changed, for sure, but even greater changes have happened at the cultural level. Society’s views on marriage, family, religion, immigration, foreign policy, the value of work, and basic decorum has undergone tremendous shifts over the last hundred years. Sometimes public opinion and morality evolves naturally, but sometimes it is pushed with purpose. Consider that just twelve years ago a large majority of Americans were against gay marriage, so much so that even the Democratic primary candidates all agreed that marriage should remain between a man and a woman. This was followed by a massive propaganda barrage coming out of politics, media, entertainment, and academia, to the point where a majority of Americans today support so-called gay marriage.
We, the frogs in the pot of water, often do not notice these changes, or the speed at which they take place. We are distracted by our daily lives, the tremendous amount of entertainment options before us, and the minutiae of day-to-day politics. Sometimes it is helpful to step back and see exactly how much has changed, to compare today with a picture of yesterday. Only by being honest with ourselves about the state of our culture can we seriously prepare to restore it. Come with me on a journey back in time:
Imagine for that it is the year 1955. You are a young family man, a veteran of World War II, living a quiet and happy life. Television is just entering the zeitgeist, and you are considering purchasing a set for your family. You sometimes worry about nuclear war, considering the Soviet Union is testing their own atom bombs, but that is a distant care. You go to work each morning in a factory putting bolts on car frames, then you come home to your modest suburban house and spend the evening with your wife and three children. On Saturdays you mow the lawn, repair minor household issues, and play with the children On Sundays you take the family to the local Methodist church and spend the afternoon with friends and family. Life is good.
Science fiction books and movies have really become popular lately, and you cannot get enough of them. You fondly remember seeing War of the Worlds in the theater just a couple of years ago, and The Day the Earth Stood Still before that. You have a stack of books by Asimov, Bradbury, and Heinlein that you read before bed each night. The future looks amazing – in just a few years, humans will surely discover space travel, computers, new medicines, and by the end of the century they would no doubt be colonizing other worlds. Human potential seems limitless.
Some of the books you have recently read suggest a more depressing future, however. Robert Matheson’s “I Am Legend” was just published a few months ago, telling the story of a sole survivor of a global pandemic. Reading that had left you shaken. You wonder… what if things go wrong? What if technology proves too powerful for mankind to control? What if the old human vices of greed, anger, and envy override our desire for a better world, and plunge us back into another genocidal war? What if a new disease destroys 90% of the population? What if a totalitarian government comes to power and uses modern technology to oppress their people? What if the good times are just a temporary aberration in the long human history of poverty and conflict? It seems far-fetched, no?
Imagine you pick up a new science fiction book written by a famous author. This book takes place 65 years in the future. In this telling, mankind has not yet colonized the stars; rather we turned our attention toward making life as convenient and comfortable as possible for the people of earth. Technology in this book is amazing – men, women, and children all have handheld devices that connect them to a global information net, allowing them to instantly recall any piece of data, from song lyrics, to historical pictures, and even to live video of events happening on the other side of the world. Cars are sleek and fast, with computer-controlled autopilots and satellite-assisted navigation. Washing machines, refrigerators, coffee makers, thermostats, and doorbells all connect to the worldwide info net to operate as automatically as possible. People can order any product that is manufactured anywhere on earth and have it dropped on their doorstep the next day. You think about the vacuum cleaner that you just bought for your wife last Christmas. In the novel, those have gone out of style and now everyone owns a robot that cleans the floors all by itself during the night.
Work has become simpler in the future. As you crack your knuckles, sore and raw from turning wrenches all day, you read about how most Americans work behind desks now, or even from the comfort of their own home. The info net makes it so a man can earn a living from anywhere, carrying an impossibly tiny computer screen with him wherever he goes. Many Americans do hardly any work at all. Some go to school for years upon years, others do odd jobs as taxi drivers or food couriers, and some are just paid by the government simply for existing. You wonder how such a culture could come about – after all, none of the other men you know would be shameless enough to give up working for a living.
As you continue reading this story, you are struck by how soulless this future world has become. The government requires everyone to wear face masks, even in the privacy of their own homes. They say it is to protect people from a deadly virus that is sweeping the globe, but some characters wonder if this is actually true. The author himself does not seem to come down on any solid position. Yet most people dutifully follow the rules, making grocery stores look like hospital wards. Everywhere they turn, characters are reminded to maintain a certain distance between themselves and others. The result is a sterile public square, where you are unable to see facial expressions, and people fearfully keep their distance lest they catch the virus, or worse, be admonished by government agents and shamed by millions of people watching live video. This sterile, antiseptic world feels like the far future of Clarke’s “Childhood’s End,” where humanity has made enormous technological advances but lost any reason for living. You suddenly feel a new appreciation for the warm social interactions that make up your day – the firm handshake of the pastor at church, the smile on the faces of children you pass in the street, the hugs from family members visiting from afar. We would never allow things to go that far, you think.
You remember feeling unnerved by the idea of the ubiquitous Thought Police after reading Orwell’s “1984” a while back. This novel seems to have the same idea, without the catchy name. People are told to watch what they say, not only in person or in print but also in the millions of messages that are passed back and forth across the info net. Saying the wrong thing can get one banned from the net or even fired from his job. Huge corporations maintain an ever-shifting list of thoughts that are considered wrong, and if you are found to have ever had one of these wrong thoughts you are blacklisted from society. The net remembers things you said years or even decades ago, and specially trained informants will often dig through your history to find something incriminating. This leads people to guard their thoughts carefully, and it is often difficult to determine what someone genuinely believes. For many people, socially approved slogans have completely replaced independent thought, and breaking this conditioning is nearly impossible. Public discourse has been reduced to discussions about television shows and sports games, while any subject of value has been made off-limits.
The family is unrecognizable as well. You look around at your household – you, the husband and father, are the breadwinner, while your wife keeps the home, raises the children, and takes part in social events in the community. Your three children attend a good school where they learn science, math, history, and grammar. Yet the hypothetical future you are reading about has discarded that structure, calling it backwards, racist, sexist, and wrong. Men and women both go to work, often leaving their children with a nanny or in a centralized care center run by other women. Few men and women even bother getting married anymore, rather they have sexual relations with whomever they please, and sometimes live together before separating. The few who still live in the traditional manner are sneered at as backwards and prudish. Children now grow up in families of two mothers, or two fathers, or even three or more people. They often have numerous half-siblings, or sometimes no siblings, as many parents specifically want only one child. Children are taught that sex is just a social construct, and that if they want, they can take drugs or have surgery to change themselves into the opposite sex, or something in between. Parents have little control over what their children are taught, sending them to schools that force this new and modern worldview on them starting at age five. You shudder at the thought of your children’s school turning into the nightmarish propaganda machines that you are reading about. Thankfully, it seems impossible that such a world could ever come to be.
News media is unreliable in this future world. According to the author, the United States triumphed in the Cold War without resorting to nuclear annihilation, yet American journalism became its own version of the Soviet Pravda, where the only way people knew something was true was when news media officially denied it. Citizens instinctively distrust the news, and they only read and listen to stories that support their existing biases. There are hundreds or even thousands of channels on the info net delivering news and entertainment, but the line between those two things is blurred. You would think that in a future where everyone has the ability to record and to watch live video at any given moment that the truth would be easy to discern, but the opposite is true: media spends much of their time telling you not believe what you just saw.
You are confused about a few things. The author said in the introduction that America won the Cold War in this timeline, yet there are outspoken politicians in America pushing for socialism. The author said that black people gained equal civil rights in the 1960s, yet racial strife seems to be a driving factor in for future strife. Future citizens have instantaneous access to the sum of all human knowledge, yet the process of learning, philosophy, and science has degenerated into name calling, accusations of excess privilege, and endless deconstruction. None of this makes any sense.
The streets are not safe in this future world either. Big cities, which in your own time are places full of wonder, demonstrating the heights of human architectural ingenuity, are now broken down, dirty, strewn with trash and feces and leftover hypodermic needles. At night, roving bands of angry young people come out and burn down buildings and fight with police officers, who seem powerless to stop them. Sometimes a character in the story makes a wrong turn while driving through the city at night and finds his car surrounded by these feral youths, who surround him, hit his vehicle with rocks and clubs, and demand he stop and allow them to beat and rob him. Panic runs through his body, and he wants to floor the gas and escape, but he remembers the story of the last man who did that – he went to prison for life. Where are the police to keep order, you wonder? Where is the government?
Government in this world is entirely broken. You think of your own government – President Eisenhower is a calm and fatherly influence on the country, and despite being of the opposite party, Senator Johnson and Speaker Rayburn work together with the president to maintain peace and prosperity. Despite their disagreements, Congress is full of serious adults. Not so in the novel you are reading. Politicians are childish and vain, going on the info net and calling each other infantile names and using gross profanity and vulgarity. Politicians abuse their authority to investigate and undermine their opponents rather than engaging in serious debate. Politics in the future is full of hatred and violence, and it feels like open warfare is primed to break out at any moment. You are almost afraid to turn the page. Is the author already planning a sequel where America is plunged into a second civil war?
You think about how far humanity has come in your own lifetime. You remember growing up in the Depression – times were hard, but families stuck together and helped each other, and they made it through okay. You remember marching through France in 1945, seeing the depths of human depravity in war and even genocide. That was behind you now, and both you and the world were recovering from the experience. Why would anyone choose to go backwards, to return to a time of violence, of wanton destruction? Why would anyone want to read about such a depressing future?
You have had enough. You close the book and toss it in the trash can. None of the conveniences of life promised by this vision of the future are worth the soullessness and social destruction that has been wrought upon the country you love. Why bother reading this garbage when all it will do is depress you? You look out your bedroom window, feeling wistful. The last hints of sunset are fading on the horizon, and the stars are beginning to appear in the sky. You can still hear children playing in the summer twilight, children without a care in the world. It is 1955, and America’s best days are ahead of her. She has conquered tyranny, created unlimited prosperity, and there is nowhere to go but up.
Now, return to the present day. Take a look around. Check the headlines. Take a walk to the grocery store and look at the faces of the shoppers. Drive through downtown Portland, Detroit, or San Francisco – if you dare. Do not bother asking if such a situation can happen here – it already did. What would have been a dystopian horror in 1955 is our reality today. Consider the world that we have lost; the world that was taken from us. Consider how we can build that world again.
This post has been a long time coming. It has been sitting in my drafts folder since January of 2019, just a few weeks after I first created this blog. I have long believed that a blind faith in the continued existence of the indivisible United States of America is a weakness that prevents us from doing what is necessary to prepare for her eventual fall. The message of this blog and podcast is not hopelessness, but preparation. Those who do not read history are condemned to repeat it, while those that do are condemned to play the part of Cassandra.
Nearly two years ago I had the idea to start a blog and a podcast that chronicled the decline and fall of the United States as it happened in real time. I remember reading stories about bridges collapsing and trains derailing and I wondered how future encyclopedias would write of this era in American history. I realized that they would sound just like our own entries on the end of the Roman Empire, or the Ottoman Empire, or many other bygone civilizations. I was not the first to notice this trend, of course. Aaron Clarey wrote his magnum opus “Enjoy the Decline” nearly a decade ago, and many other pundits and thinkers have been writing about the downward trajectory of American culture for even longer than that. Vox Day famously predicted that the United States will have collapsed in some fashion by 2033. I have humbly tried to add my voice to the chorus, to create a contemporary record of the decline and fall of a once-great nation, and to give whatever advice I could to those who would preserve her memory when she is gone.
Every empire, every great civilization rises and falls. Sometimes that fall is gradual, as when the Western Roman Empire slowly collapsed, leaving Europe a patchwork of formerly barbarian tribes that eventually grew into the kingdoms of the medieval era. Sometimes it is sudden, as when the French Revolution toppled the ancien regime seemingly overnight. Sometimes it is gradual, then sudden, as when the Austrians – the successors to the long-lived Holy Roman Empire –found themselves unable to keep pace with the great powers in World War I and were picked apart by the victorious allies. Sometimes a shell of the old empire remains, as with Great Britain after World War II. Sometimes a civilization collapses, only to be reborn as something different, as when the Roman Republic transformed into the Empire. It remains to be seen which form the ultimate fall of America will take.
Despite these examples from history, there are many in America who, even today, believe that it cannot happen here. The United States of America is special, they say, and the regular patterns of history do not apply to us. Some believe that there is an exceptionalism about the American people that will save us from the same historical forces that have destroyed other empires in the past. Some even suggest that there is a magical quality in our very dirt that makes us different. Many conservative Christians believe that the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are inspired by God Himself, just a step below the level of Holy Scripture, and that the American people are a modern-day version of biblical Israel – chosen by God to spread the gospel throughout the world.
After all, many of America’s founders saw something uniquely divine about the way this country was born. How else can you explain how a ragtag band of colonial soldiers defeated the greatest military power on the planet? By any rational account, George Washington and his army should have been finished several times over, but they nevertheless claimed a final victory at Yorktown. How else can you explain how the United States rose from obscurity to become the greatest industrial, economic, and cultural power the world has ever seen? In the blink of an eye, our country went from exploring the continent to exploring the moon. It is clear that God has blessed America throughout her history.
In 1938, as war loomed on the European horizon, Jewish American songwriter Irving Berlin revised his 1918 version of “God Bless America” with some new words:
While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
Let us swear allegiance to a land that’s free.
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer:
God bless America, land that I love,
Stand beside her and guide her
Through the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans white with foam,
God bless America,
My home sweet home.
One could argue that this prayer on behalf of the American people worked. While Europe and Asia were devastated by war, the United States thrived, coming out of the conflict with the greatest economy in the world. As the Cold War began, America stood for Christianity and freedom, while the godless Soviet Union stood for secular atheism and slavery. God blessed America indeed. Yet what did we do with those blessings? We sent tens of thousands of young men to die in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq. We fomented revolution throughout the world, ostensibly for the sake of freedom. We threw off the shackles of Christian morality in the 1960s. We outsourced the very manufacturing economy that once provided good jobs to millions of American families. We won the Cold War, then imported the very socialist ideas that doomed the Soviet Union in the first place. While the eastern European nations that suffered the most under the yoke of Communism have come out of the crucible with renewed Christian fervor, we used our freedom to engage in all sorts of degenerate ideas and practices.
The song “God Bless America” became popular again after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, being sung everywhere from baseball stadiums to the US Capitol Building. As we watched foreign agents using our own technology against us, killing three thousand people in a single morning, we once again united as a nation to implore God to bless our country and to keep her safe from the dark night. Yet that unity did not last long, and it is difficult to see exactly how God has blessed us this time. Sure, our economy quickly recovered, and we have not suffered any further attacks of that magnitude, but now we face internal and external pressures like never before. America needs God more than ever now, but does God still want America? The question few on the conservative Christian right dare to ask is “Why should God bless America?”
Despite what some conservatives believe, the American people are not the capital-P People of God. That distinction belongs to the worldwide capital-C Church, which is the Body of Christ. The United States might once have been useful to God for the furthering of the Gospel, but that utility seems dubious today. Later in this piece I will take a discuss some of the reasons why God might not be inclined to continue blessing America as He once did, but first, let us walk through the history of God’s original chosen people.
The book of Genesis teaches that the people of the world built the Tower of Babel in order to reach and perhaps even conquer Heaven, so God scattered them by giving them each a different language. Out of the chaos He picked one man, Abram, and called him to come out from the pagan tribes and follow Him alone. Calling the man Abraham now, God promised that he would be the father of many nations. Three generations later, however, Abraham’s descendants were forced to leave the land of the promise for Egypt due to a famine. Their Egyptian hosts eventually decided to enslave them, and for four centuries the people of Israel toiled in a land that was not their own.
The people persisted, so God decided to let them have what they wanted and let them have it good and hard. Their first king, Saul, was everything a king should be – tall, handsome, strong, charismatic – yet he ended up going mad. The second king, David, did not initially look the part but eventually made Israel into a regional power, despite his own personal failings. David’s son Solomon ruled over a golden age for Israel, building a magnificent Temple and expanding their borders to their greatest extent. His son, however, could not maintain control and the kingdom fell into civil war. The House of David ruled over the Southern Kingdom of Judah after the Northern Kingdom of Israel split away.
Throughout the Old Testament, God continually promised Israel that He would protect and nurture them as long so long as they did not worship other gods, yet Israel could never seem to hold to that bargain. Immediately after the civil war, the northern kingdom began worshiping idols due to their isolation from the Temple in Jerusalem. God delayed His judgment for several centuries, however, continually giving them a chance to repent, but eventually He allowed the bloodthirsty Assyrians to conquer the northern kingdom and scatter its people throughout their empire.
The southern kingdom fared somewhat better, but eventually they too met the same fate. The story of the kingdom of Judah is of apostasy followed by restoration followed by apostasy again. A wicked king leads the people into idolatry, then a good king restores the Law of Moses and proper worship, only for another wicked king to undo it all again. God eventually had enough. He allowed King Nebuchadnezzar to lay waste to Jerusalem, demolish Solomon’s Temple, and carry away the people of Judah into slavery in Babylon.
Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.
Rather than using our freedom to honor our Lord and follow His ways, we squandered it on libertinism and degeneracy. Perhaps we are not so different from ancient Israel after all. Like America in the year 2020, God had extended His grace to the people of Judah because of the faithfulness of their fathers. Yet the patience of God is not eternal. Eventually He will exact judgment. The books of Isaiah and Ezekiel depict God’s message of doom for the people of Judah. In these prophecies, God explains not only how His people will be punished but specifically why they are being judged. Like an unfaithful wife, the people of Israel continually left their first love for the temporary pleasures of the world. God gave Israel its just deserts by allowing it to be plundered by the very foreign powers they envied all along.
Yet the love of God is greater than we can comprehend. Despite their sin and idolatry, God allowed His people to return to their promised land. King Cyrus of Persia, after conquering the decadent Babylonians, allowed the Jews to go home and rebuild the Temple. There they stayed for several more centuries. The Persians eventually fell to Alexander the Great, whose generals ruled vast territories after his death. Judas Maccabeus led a revolt against King Antiochus, and for a brief time, Israel was a free nation again. In the year 63 BC, Roman general Pompey the Great was on a tour of conquest in the east. Two rival claimants to the Israelite throne approached Pompey, each offering bribes to secure his support against the other. This was short-sighted, however, as Pompey besieged Jerusalem and established Roman hegemony over the land. By the time of Christ, Israel was now Judaea: just another province of the vast Roman Empire.
It was in this place at this time that God chose to introduce His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. This was the event that all human history had been building to, and it was the entire reason that God called Abram out of the paganism in the first place. The prophets of God had been telling of the coming Messiah, or Savior, for two thousand years. After Christ’s death and resurrection, many Jews heard His message and followed Him, becoming the first Christians. Yet the Jewish establishment resented Christ, denouncing Him as a liar, a charlatan, and a rebel. They had expected a Messiah who would free the Jews from Roman oppression, not one who would die for their sins. They persecuted the early church, but soon had bigger things to worry about. About thirty years after the Resurrection, the people of Judaea revolted against the Roman Empire. Titus, son of the Emperor Vespasian, laid siege to Jerusalem and eventually took the city by force. Like Nebuchadnezzar before him, Titus destroyed the Temple and carried off its riches to a foreign capital. Our Lord Jesus had known it was going to happen and had wept over Jerusalem before His death.
Several decades later, Simon bar Kokhba raised the remnant of the Jews in rebellion yet again. Some Jewish rabbis even proclaimed him to be the long-awaited Messiah who would finally throw off the Roman yoke. Yet it was not to be. The Romans once again took Jerusalem, this time forcibly scattering the Jews into what would become a two-millennium diaspora that only ended in 1948 with the establishment of the new State of Israel.
For a long time, the Christian Church believed that the destruction of the Second Temple and the scattering of the Jews were God’s judgment on the people of Israel for rejecting Jesus Christ, in the same way that Nebuchadnezzar’s destruction of the First Temple was judgment for their idolatry. This view has become politically incorrect today. After the Holocaust, many Christian leaders have been hesitant to condemn the historical Jewish people for much of anything out of fear of being labeled anti-Semitic. That is a discussion for another day, however. My point is that if God allowed such destruction to be visited upon His Chosen People back then, what hope do we have in America? If God does not judge America for our evil choices today, then what can we make of His justice? Ruth Bell Graham, the wife of the late evangelist Billy Graham, once said, “If God doesn’t punish America, He’ll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.”
When the Visigothssacked Rome in AD 410, it was the first time in eight hundred years that a foreign army had breached the gates of the eternal city. A century after Constantine, many Christians had already begun to associate the political power of Rome with the spiritual power of the Church. Watching their holy city on fire shook their faith tremendously. St. Augustine had to remind them that the true Kingdom of Heaven was not geographically located in a specific place on earth. God was bigger than Rome, and the sack of Rome did not mean the end of Christianity. In fact, it was only the beginning. Many conservative Christians, especially evangelical Protestants, see the United States of America as the New Rome, the modern political center of the Christian Church. We tend to ignore anything that happened between the Resurrection and the American Revolution. Like the 5th century Christians, however, we need a reminder that God is bigger than our national borders. Jesus Christ is not American. The Christian Church existed before American was founded and will endure long after America is gone. We must have the right perspective.
What of the United States of America in 2020? What have we done to deserve God’s continual blessings?
The great sin of the people of Israel was idolatry – abandoning the worship of the one true God in favor of idols carved by hand. We tend to think of idolatry as an ancient sin that does not affect us today, but consider this: How many times have you gone to a Sunday church service and seen men and women wearing football jerseys? How many parents have outsourced the teaching of truth to their children to mass media? How many so-called Christians place so-called “social justice” above the truth of the gospel of Christ? As I speak, a new secular religion is developing in America. This religion is based on racial division, on socialist economic theories, and it makes government our new god. Is this new American religion any different than when Israel turned to Baal and Asherah?
While our media makes headlines out of every death from COVID-19, our nation is still quietly murdering more than 200,000 unborn children per month. Even our conservative Christian elected officials find it difficult to muster the political willpower to stop government funding of abortion mills like Planned Parenthood, much less ban the barbaric practice entirely. Even when undercover video revealed that Planned Parenthood literally sells baby parts, most of America could not care less. Since the Supreme Court imposed legalized abortion on America in 1973, more than sixty million unborn babies have been brutally killed. That is more than ten Holocausts worth of human beings. Do we seriously expect God to bless America after all that?
Our media and public schools are pushing sexual propaganda on children as young as five years old. Pedophiles, homosexuals, and transgender activists have gotten themselves put in charge of curricula in our schools and are using their position to groom our children. Libraries host demonic-looking drag queens to propagandize children in the name of tolerance. Even cartoons are used to sexualize young children. One of the most grievous sins of ancient Israel was offering up their own children in sacrifice to the pagan god Moloch. Today in America, too many Christian parents offer up their children on the alter of inclusivity and tolerance, allowing them to be brainwashed and turned into broken degenerates. Even some conservative leaders tell us that transgenderism and drag queen story time are ok, just alternate lifestyle choices that we have no right to criticize. Our society castrates our boys and mutilates our girls, and when we speak out, we are called intolerant and hateful. Is God going to bless this America?
The United States could once have been called a Christian nation. Our founding documents all paid proper homage to God as the source of morality and justice in the world, and God was still a reality in media, in politics, and in schoolrooms as late as the 1960s. Today, nearly any public acknowledgement of the reality of God is denounced and censored in the name of tolerance. The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, written to keep the federal government from establishing a specific denominational church such as the Church of England, has now been used to erase Christianity from the public sphere altogether. Courts force cities to remove crosses from public memorials, and schools go out of their way to pretend that Christmas and Easter do not exist. We have been propagandized to believe that traditional religion is something best kept to ourselves, even as the secular social justice religion is pushed down our throats at every turn. Should God bless an America that has explicitly rejected Him?
Public morality is a joke nowadays. Before the 1960s, people still committed fornication and adultery, and they were still covetous and deceitful, but everyone agreed that there was an objective moral standard. Today, not only have we erased the standard, we have inverted it. Chastity and faithfulness are mocked. Honesty is ridiculed. Whereas Christianity traditionally preached that there were seven especially deadly sins, the modern secular religion has turned those sins into virtues. Pride is now celebrated, especially pride in the most degenerate practices. Envy is at the heart of socialism, which is becoming more popular each day. Lust is promoted all over mass media. It would be one thing if Americans were simply falling short of a moral ideal – nobody is perfect. However, today we glory and boast of our great sins. Do you expect God to bless an America that calls good evil and evil good?
Charitable organizations take your money to make their CEOs rich. Government taxes us to death in order to fund foreign wars and promote gay rights in Africa. The conservative movement could not even conserve the women’s restroom. Churches skip the gospel in favor of meaningless pablum and social justice nonsense. Tens of thousands of young people are dying from hopelessness in our cities and rural towns while we send missionaries to China. American Christians are too busy watching sports on television to care that their nation is rotting away. Young people are leaving American churches because they see through the façades, never realizing that that the capital-C Church is more than this pale imitation, and that the real Jesus Christ is more than they can imagine. Why should God bless an America that has allowed all these things to go on?
Thomas Jefferson once said, “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.” Do you expect God’s justice to sleep forever, and His grace toward the United States to remain in place for all time? If God judged Israel, then surely God will judge America.
If you are wondering what God’s judgment might look like in the future, I have some bad news for you: It is already happening.
Dr. James White of Apologia Church mentioned in one of his recent livestreams that one of the effects of being under God’s judgment is the placement of weak and unscrupulous judges over the people. Look at what our courts are doing today: District court judges are making things up as they go, abusing their authority to turn this country away from its traditional legal foundations. Rich, powerful, and politically connected people get away with most anything, while the average Joe is punished. Anarcho-tyranny reigns in this country, from the highest levels of government down to the local district attorneys. Over the last fifty years, the Supreme Court has foisted upon us abortion, gay marriage, and transgender rights. Just last week they ruled that the State of Nevada could open casinos while closing churches. Is being ruled by such capricious judges a sign of God’s blessing or of God’s judgment?
The culmination of God’s judgment upon Israel was when He allowed Assyria and Babylon to carry them away to exile, far from their promised land. In America today, the opposite is happening. Rather than being carried off to foreign lands, our lands are becoming foreign to us. The posterity of America’s founders is being drowned out by new immigrants who have no loyalty to our fathers or their philosophies. In fact, many new Americans are outright hostile to the heritage of the very country to which they came. The Israelites had to watch as pagan foreigners tore down their monuments, even the glorious Temple of Solomon that was the center of both their religious and cultural life. Here, we too are forced to watch pagan foreigners tearing down our monuments. The statues of Robert E. Lee, Christopher Columbus, and Teddy Roosevelt are only the beginning, mind you. It will not be long before the woke faithful are sandblasting Stone Mountain and Mount Rushmore, toppling the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, and bulldozing Mount Vernon and Gettysburg.
The Lord will be our God, and delight to dwell among us, as His own people, and will command a blessing upon us in all our ways, so that we shall see much more of His wisdom, power, goodness and truth, than formerly we have been acquainted with. We shall find that the God of Israel is among us, when ten of us shall be able to resist a thousand of our enemies; when He shall make us a praise and glory that men shall say of succeeding plantations, “may the Lord make it like that of New England.” For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world. We shall open the mouths of enemies to speak evil of the ways of God, and all professors for God’s sake. We shall shame the faces of many of God’s worthy servants, and cause their prayers to be turned into curses upon us till we be consumed out of the good land whither we are going.
Nearly four centuries since Winthrop’s sermon, we look back and see the truth of what he said. America did become the city on a hill, an example of greatness and godliness to all mankind. Yet it also has become the “by-word throughout the world” that he feared. “God is not mocked,” the Scripture says, yet America is mocking God every day, and there will be a reckoning.
President Ronald Reagan invoked Winthrop’s sermon in his Farewell Address, suggesting that America was still a shining city on a hill. However, Reagan’s “morning in America” was only a brief respite on the road to judgment. Like King Josiah of Judah, who rediscovered the law and rededicated his people to the proper worship of God, President Reagan might have bought us a few more years of grace. Nevertheless, he could not stop our inevitable decline and fall. Perhaps the tenure of President Trump will be seen in the same light someday.
Roosh V, the former pick-up artist turned Orthodox Christian, said on Twitter this week that, “It is coming to an end that we live with ease and comfort from the inheritance of the greater men who lived before us.”
America is already under judgment. It is too late to go back and fix things now. Empires rise and empires fall and asking God to bless America in her current state is farcical. The same God who allowed Israel to be wiped off the map is not going to save an even more decadent America. If God would not stop the Goths and the Vandals from sacking Rome in the 5th century, why should He stop the ongoing sack of America in the 21st?
There is a silver lining to all of this, however, and that is that God always saves a remnant of His people. When Babylon sacked Jerusalem and carried the people of Judah off to exile, a remnant returned and rebuilt the Temple. When the Romans sacked Jerusalem and scattered the Jews to the four corners of the earth, a remnant believed in Jesus Christ as the promised Messiah. When the Muslims overran nearly all of Spain, the tiny Christian kingdom of Asturias survived and began the long Reconquista. When God finishes judging the United States of America, be assured that a remnant will survive to continue living out the gospel of Jesus Christ. This remnant will be purified by the fires of judgment – they will not be lukewarm like the modern American church has become. Following the zeitgeist is always the easier road than standing up for eternal truth, but a reckoning is coming. “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
Pray that you and your family will be part of the remnant. Raise your children in such a way that they will be prepared to lead that remnant back to the hard and narrow way. Do not let yourself become too attached to creature comforts, cheap trinkets, or nostalgia about the America that was. Do not be like the Jews who were looking for the wrong Messiah because they longed for a return to the golden age of yesterday. There is no going back, only forward. Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war; with the cross of Jesus going on before.
We have grown soft over the past few decades. Our future is not likely to be so. It has been incredibly easy to be a Christian in America up until now. Think about the life of a Christian in 2nd century Rome or 8th century Spain. Picture the life of a Christian in Communist China or Iraq today. That is the future that surely awaits the Christian church of America in the coming decades. Last weekend, Pastor John MacArthur of Grace Community Church held services against an explicit ban by the governor of California, who threatened to shut off their water and power if they proceeded. It was a bold stand, but it is nothing compared to the courage that will be needed in the future. Yet it is in persecution that the Church is forged and refined. At the close of his sermon on Sunday, MacArthur proclaimed that, “This is not a problem to be feared. This is a triumphant hour for the Church to be the Church.”
Let us close with a prayer that God bless America once again. Remember, though, that America is not just a place, and it is not merely an idea. America is a nation; it is a people – specifically the people who came to these shores hundreds of years ago. Remember that one of the reasons our fathers came here in the first place was to worship God outside the constraints of both Rome and Westminster. Let us pray that God bless our families and our communities, that God bless our children and their children, and that God preserve in us a remnant of Western Civilization and the America that was, and perhaps will be again. May God will find us faithful when having faith is difficult. May we be the remnant that will endure the hard times to come.
When the sky grows dark, and storm clouds appear on the horizon, we naturally call upon our God to bless America. Yet does America in 2020 deserve God’s blessings? It is more likely that God is judging America, and that judgment has just begun.
Note: I will be taking a break from podcasting for a few weeks. While there is no shortage of fodder for a discussion about the ongoing decline of our country, I have a day job that needs attention. I will post a few more short and long essays on the blog, so keep checking back for that.
Throughout the month of June 2020, a motley group of black activists, antifa rioters, and lazy bums occupied half a dozen city blocks in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. This Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, or Capitol Hill Occupy Protest, depending on who you ask, stood for weeks as a symbol of inspiration for the socialist left and of derisive mockery for those on the right. The day after protesters claimed the streets and put up barricades, Seattle’s extreme left-wing mayor Jenny Durkan tweeted, “The Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone is not a lawless wasteland of anarchist insurrection – it is a peaceful expression of our community’s collective grief and their desire to build a better world.” A month later, after several people were murdered in street fights in the CHAZ and the protesters made their way to her house, Durkan began singing a different tune. Finally allowed to do their jobs, the Seattle Police Department quickly cleared the occupation.
The CHAZ was an example of left-wing localism, and like most left-wing attempts at community autonomy it failed spectacularly. Some people in the CHAZ started a garden, but it was clear from most of the pictures that they had no clue as to what they were doing. If not for the pizzas delivered from a nearby Dominos, the denizens of the CHAZ might well have starved long ago. These people had absolutely no plan for self-sufficiency. The city of Seattle generously provided them with portable toilets – I hate to think about what it would have smelled like without them, much less with them. The modern socialist conception of community is a bunch of activists holding hands, singing songs, speaking truth to power, spraying graffiti on other peoples’ property, and marching for some vague and undefined concept of justice. However, they have no plan for food, water, waste, electricity, or the other things that separate humanity from the animal kingdom. Many of us on the right at least share the desire to escape the system. We envy our forefathers who left Old Europe for the New World, and then left the crowded east coast for the Old West. Many of us dream of escaping the rat race and building a cabin in the woods or a ranch in the prairie.
The socialist believes that human nature can be changed, with greed and ambition able to be removed from ourselves so that we can live in perfect cooperation. Left-wing communities are built upon this idea, relying on the cooperation of its members to survive. We all know that human nature is in fact unchangeable, which is why these experiments inevitably fail. Conservatives know that mankind is greedy and ambitious, and so our communities are based on the idea that we all contribute to society by doing what is best for ourselves and our families. Most right-wing experiments in self-sufficiency are never heard of because they quietly succeed. Only in cases where something goes horribly wrong, such as at Ruby Ridge or Waco, do they make the news. On the other hand, left-wing experiments usually fail, as the CHAZ did. The Oneida community in New York was a proto-socialist commune that existed for a few decades in the mid-19th century, which was still more successful than the hippy communes that have been tried ever since. It is ironic that, for all their socialist pretensions, the people of the CHAZ developed social structures such as walls and barricades, armed security, and strict vetting of visitors – the same things for which they call President Trump “fascist”.
The left-wing socialist worldview is of a nation built from the top down. They believe that the ideal government is one where all the smartest people are in charge, micromanaging the entire country from a distant capital. This sort of central planning means that government bureaucrats will decide how much money you earn, what goods and services will cost, what your children must learn in school, and how the land in your city or town is used. Government officials will decide what is allowed on television or YouTube, and what you can say on social media, in print, and even in person. Many leftist pundits and politicians in America look longingly at Communist China, where the government can decide to raze a village to put up a new factory, run freeways across any piece of land they please, or force millions of people to move across the country, all in the name of industrial progress. Here in the United States we have pesky things like property rights that get in the way of these utopian dreams. Many leftist pundits also envy the ability of the Chinese Communist Party to censor speech and control thought, and want to bring that to America as well.
It was this very idea of a distant tyranny that our founding fathers rebelled against in 1776. King George III and his Parliament had tried to micromanage the colonies from across the Atlantic Ocean. Many of these colonies had developed from the ground up – creating their own charters and representative governments – and they naturally resented the control exerted by their faraway monarch. They declared their independence, not only from Great Britain, but eventually from the idea of monarchy altogether. The new United States government would be one in which power ultimately resided with the people, growing from the ground up rather than the top down. The very words of the Declaration of Independence speak to this idea: “…to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” This was indeed a revolution against the idea that kings were chosen by God to rule a people, or even that kings derived their powers from the consent of their lords. America was a populist nation from the very beginning.
The original thirteen states met together as sovereign bodies to form a confederation, joining themselves together under one flag for the purposes of defense and organization. The question of whether these sovereign states had the right to ever leave this confederation was not firmly answered until the Civil War. For the first century of the United States, the government in Washington DC was not interested in micromanaging the lives of its citizens, but instead remained focused on big picture issues. It was not until the progressive revolution of the early 20th century and the enormous expansions of federal power through the New Deal and Great Society that the federal government became interested in your personal life.
Today we find ourselves in an essentially totalitarian society, where a central government influences almost everything in our lives, and there is no way to escape its reach. The federal government has become an invisible yet ever-present third party to nearly every interaction and transaction within our communities. Every industry has mountains of federal regulations that businessmen must navigate lest they be fined out of existence, and that is on top of regulations at the state and city levels. Because our national bureaucracy has grown so powerful, activists on all sides spend a lot of time, energy, and cash to take control of that beast of a federal government. More than two billion dollars was spent in the 2016 presidential race, while more than ten billion was spent in House and Senate races in each of the last two election years. Every two and four years we fight like mad to see who controls the whole thing, while mostly ignoring what is happening at the local level. Too few Americans can name the president, vice-president, and their state’s senators and congressman. Of those who can, how many can name their own mayor and city council, or county commissioners? This is surely not how our founding fathers intended for this country to work.
The strongest civilizations in world history were always built from the ground up. The Roman orator Cicero summed it up over two thousand years ago: “The first bond of society is marriage; the next, our children; then the whole family and all things in common.” A man and a woman join themselves in marriage, which is the lowest and strongest bond in society. From that marriage come children, a family. These families join with people of the same background, the same beliefs, and the same common heritage to form communities. These communities form cities, and then states, and then a nation. Former House Speaker Tip O’Neil was fond of saying that “all politics is local.” The place where you can exert the most influence as at the lowest level – first in your own family, and then in your community, and then in your state.
A community is a group of people who trust each other. When a group of people shares a common culture and heritage, trust is high. There are still small towns in America where people do not feel the need to lock their doors at night, and where a man’s word is still his bond. A community where everyone knows everyone else, speaks the same language, goes to the same church, and trusts each other is one in which people do not fear being taken advantage of, or accosted by strangers and criminals. These are small remnants of what once made America great in the first place. Think about life before telecommunications were invented: A man’s community was everything to him. The life of a solitary mountain man was not for most people. A man and his neighbors shared and traded with each other, often went to the same church, and belonged to the same fraternal organizations. If there was a war to be fought, all the men of the community would join up together, and even fight together. For the pioneer and the city-dweller alike, community was life, but solitude was death.
Telephones and automobiles began the process of scattering communities across the country, while jet airplanes made it possible to go anywhere in the USA in less time than it took a man on foot to walk to the nearest town. Today, the internet enables a man to live in a cabin in the woods and still make a decent living working from home. The modern world has dissolved our old communities, leaving more than three hundred million Americans each with our own individual connections to the central government rather than to each other. Whereas atomization and solitude were deadly in the old days, now it is almost encouraged. Turn on the news, or social media, and you can join with millions of other spectators in watching the daily life of politicians, celebrities, actors, and musicians, while remaining blissfully unaware of what is going on in your own neighborhood. Such an atomized society is in danger of becoming entirely dependent on a central government to meet their needs, rather than trusting our own local communities. As our connections with the rest of the country have grown, we have gone from being a high trust society to a low trust society. We have become familiar with the national news stories and personalities while fearing the unknown in our own neighborhoods. Hence, we lock our doors.
While many conservatives were focused at the top – the White House, the Senate, the Supreme Court – the left slowly and surely took over our communities. Over the past few years, various left-wing groups – many of whom are funded by George Soros – have been spending a great deal of money to get their candidates elected to local positions such as District Attorney and Secretary of State. What the right realized perhaps too late is that people in these positions have much more opportunity to influence or even ruin our lives and our communities than do the people in Washington DC. We have all seen the stories about rioters being released from jail with no charges filed by Democratic prosecutors while law-abiding people who host a church service or open a hair salon in violation of the coronavirus lockdown face prison time. Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard, a black man running for reelection amid his own scandals, charged the police officer who killed Rayshard Brooks last month with felony murder, even though the officer was just doing his job. Just this week, a California couple was charged with a hate crime for painting over a giant “Black Lives Matter” mural that was stenciled into a city street. The District Attorney charging the couple is Diana Becton, who was elected in 2018 with support from a George Soros-funded political action committee. Elections matter; local elections matter!
I often lament the anarcho-tyranny that is going on throughout our society, but in a way, we have let this happen. While we were distracted by the national stories and the political horse races, the left just walked in and took control of our cities and towns. We tend to grow complacent during good times, taking for granted our local elective offices and figuring that they will continue to operate as they always have. We look at the presidential election map, see that our state has been red for the last fifty years, and figure everything will be okay. Then one day we wake up and see our local prosecutor is charging a driver for failing to allow themselves to be beaten by an angry mob. We see our local elections officials certifying obviously fraudulent votes. We see our local Republican leadership suddenly full of progressives who took over the party because they were willing to spend the time and energy to do it while we sat at home posting on Twitter. We look at the electoral map and suddenly realize we are living in a blue state.
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to represent my community as an alternate delegate at my state’s Republican Convention. Political conventions are one of the few remaining expressions of pure American tradition, along with county fairs, rodeos, and high school football games. (Is it any wonder that these are the things are being canceled by extreme left-wing governors?) It was at this event that the state party platform was finalized, that party officers were elected, and that measures were drafted to be sent to the GOP representatives in the legislature. This is where the direction of the ship of our state was decided. Over the next few months, the engine of that ship will be revved as party volunteers work hard to get out the vote for Republican candidates.
I know that the Republican Party is far from perfect. They tend to pander for minority votes, they are far too quick to apologize, and they often attack our own side with much more vigor than they spend fighting the left. However, elections in America are usually a binary choice, and the Republican candidate is almost always going to be the better option for liberty and freedom. Third parties in America simply do not work. At the presidential level, a third party has not won a single electoral vote since 1968, when Governor George Wallace carried the South. Libertarians and Greens sometimes gain ground at the local level, but like most of us their attention is usually diverted by the national elections. Whatever political capital the Libertarians gain at the local level is always wasted on quixotic campaigns by candidates like Gary Johnson or Jo Jorgenson. The best way for American patriots to fight for the cause of liberty is to work within your local Republican Party. Local politics are important, but 99% of people simply go to the polls for the big elections and assume that everything else is in good hands. It is up to you to be those hands.
A great example of this is the 2012 Republican presidential primary. Mitt Romney became the nominee, while outspoken libertarian Ron Paul came in a distant third. However, many young people were inspired by Paul’s stance on liberty and so made the time to gain influence in their local parties. They pushed for more liberty-minded positions in the party platform and took over many party officers’ seats. Actions like these are not as exciting as presidential rallies, but they make a difference over time. One could argue that the groundwork for President Trump in 2016 was at least partly laid by the Ron Paul faction in 2012. We tend to think about party leadership being comprised of a brahman class of Ivy Leaguers sitting around making rules in distant smoky rooms, but like America herself, the parties are built from the ground up. One day you go to a local party meeting, the next you are at the convention, you volunteer to knock on some doors, and in a few years you are a Precinct Committee Officer, or a District Chairman, or even the State Chairman. The future belongs to those who show up.
In general, the Right wants to be left alone, while the Left wants to impose a totalitarian socialist state. This puts us at a disadvantage right off the bat. Many on our side did not even realize we were under attack until it was too late. Astoundingly, there are some who still do not take the left’s war on America seriously. Some on the right still give the left the benefit of the doubt, assuming that we can all peacefully disagree over policy. Some still believe that we can vote our way out of this mess, or that the courts are going to save us. Many on the right assume that when the shooting starts, our side will easily win. None of these things are guaranteed. The left is organized, while we are not. The left has a vision of what their America could be, while we cling to rose-colored memories of the America that was.
No man is an island. As much as we all fantasize about retreating to our wilderness redoubts and holing up in our guarded compounds to wait out the coming storm, that is not realistic for most people. Security will not be found in mountain hideouts but in your local community. We must regain the sense of community that our forefathers took for granted, before telephones, the internet, and 24/7 cable news directed our attention elsewhere. As the entropy of our nation increases, the importance of maintaining close ties with your neighbors grows. When the federal government finally collapses under its own weight, then it will be up to governors and legislatures to lead their sovereign states again, as it was before the Civil War. If the socialist left completes their revolution and takes over Washington DC, then the strongest resistance will be from solid red states such as Oklahoma, Wyoming, South Dakota, Idaho, and West Virginia. In states that have already fallen to the progressive revolution such as New York or California, remember that many counties in these states remain solidly conservative. Once secession starts happening – and mark my words, it will, one way or another – these red counties will find themselves united as lines on the map are redrawn.
As the decline and fall of the United States continues accelerating in the coming years it is important to know who will have your back. All politics is local, and America is built from the ground up. The time to start building community is today. You can find allies all around you: in your local political party, your local Chamber of Commerce, gun clubs, homeschool groups, and even neighborhood associations. If you look around and find that you are the only conservative in your city, then perhaps it is time to move. Remember, though, that our media has a vested interest in convincing us that we stand alone. They fear a united conservative citizenry in America. Even in blue states and blue cities, there might be more on our side than you think. Perhaps they are waiting for you to reach out and build the bonds that will form a new community. Just as it was three hundred years ago, solitude means death, but the tribe, the community, will live. The lone wolf dies, but the pack survives. Build your pack today so you can survive what is coming tomorrow.
While we were paying attention to national politics, the left has been quietly taking over local political positions that give them enormous power to influence and even ruin our lives. It is time to turn our focus to the communities that form the foundation of these United States.
I assumed that I would eventually be banned from Twitter. They eventually come for all truth-tellers: Milo Yiannopoulos, Zerohedge, Laura Loomer, Katie Hopkins… they will surely ban President Trump the moment they think they can get away with it. This week, the priestly censors came for me.
Oddly enough, it was not for my viral tweet suggesting that, in light of the Supreme Court’s recent decisions, that President Trump should rule like a king. It was not for my habitual use of the “drooling retard” meme. It was not even for my retweets of notorious thought criminals like Nick Fuentes, Ann Coulter, or Jon Del Arroz. No, it was for an entirely innocuous tweet reminiscing about the boxes of food that graced my kitchen counter as a child:
Perhaps an algorithm went overboard looking for any mention of Aunt Jemima, after the Quaker Oats company inexplicably bowed to mob pressure to remove the character from their artificial syrup products. Rather than deleting the tweet and serving my twelve hour sentence, I appealed, because this ban was capricious and absurd.
Thirty-six hours later, no response. Sure, it would have been quicker in retrospect to simply give in. But that is what they want us all to do. They want us to simply accept their arbitrary and capricious rules, granting them the moral authority to determine what speech is acceptable in the public square. I do not wish to grant them that legitimacy. Twitter, Facebook, and Google have captured a near-monopoly of social media discourse, and are now using their power to decide what we are allowed to discuss. It is long past time for the government to treat these companies as common carriers. The phone company is not allowed to disconnect you because you said something they disagreed with; so it should be with social media.
I am just a small person in the grand scheme of things; a writer and thinker with a few hundred followers. This (hopefully temporary) ban does not impact my ability to pay the bills or provide for my family. What if it did, though? What if I had a business that relied on Twitter or other social media outlets to gain and maintain clients? What if I sold books or other content through social media? Social media companies should not have the power to ruin someone’s livelihood on the whim of some low-level social justice warrior employee. I know of many content creators on YouTube who were making a good living, only for the company to suddenly demonetize their entire library without explanation. This is wrong, but this is also a warning that we should be careful about relying on companies that hate us.
I have learned a few things from this short vacation from Twitter. First, I did not realize how much I had come to rely on Twitter to keep up on breaking news. I do not watch TV, and I generally stay away from big news websites. I follow a wide enough variety of people on Twitter that if something important or interesting happens, I hear about it fairly quickly. For the past two days I have felt like I am living in a bubble, blissfully unaware of what is going on in the wider world.
Second, there exists an entire alternate universe of people who have been banned by mainstream social media. The problem with finding free speech replacements for Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube is that there are so many options. The reason Twitter is the modern day public square is because that is where the public is. No other platform has as many people, from President Trump himself to CEOs, journalists, professors, authors, movie producers, and millions of regular people like me. Every alternative platform bills itself as the new and better Twitter, but how do you choose? One exile might choose Gab, another chooses Parler, another chooses Minds, and another chooses Mastadon. Scott Adams recently promoted Locals, while Ramzpaul has moved over to Slug. If you want to keep in touch with them all, you have to sign up for half a dozen new services. Nobody has time for that.
In any case, I signed up for Parler and followed a few people. It looks like Twitter, but many of the people who post there are exiles from Twitter. Conservative activist Laura Loomer, for example, was banned from all the mainstream social media sites years ago, but she has a prominent presence on Parler. She is currently running for Congress in Florida and seems to be the frontrunner. Yet she is not allowed to speak on most social media platforms. That sounds like election interference to me.
Finally, with so much happening in the world I was hoping to do another livestream soon, but I realized that most of the people who would be interested in watching are on… Twitter. That is where most of my audience is. Streaming without Twitter would be like talking to myself in an empty room. Clearly I need to diversify my presence on the web.
Again, I am just small potatoes here. I doubt I was targeted in any way; most likely an algorithm was too aggressive and Twitter just drags their feet on appeals as a matter of policy. My story, as well as those of the much more prominent writers and thinkers who have been summarily banned, shows that we need regulation of this new public square in order to ensure our speech remains free. Libertarians can argue all they want about how Twitter, Facebook, and Google are “private companies” but the simple truth remains that these companies have enormous power over what can and cannot be discussed in public. In an age when schoolchildren are being doxxed for not sufficiently supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, and where public figures are being fired and blacklisted for holding beliefs that run counter to the social justice zeitgeist, the need for free speech is greater than ever. We, who hold truth as a virtue, must fight for the right to speak that truth in public. The alternative is to give in to the persecution; to become an underground resistance to the totalitarian thought police.
I hope to have my Twitter account back soon. I will not give in, unless they force it, but I will wait out the appeal. In the meantime, find me on Gab and Parler, and maybe a few more alternative platforms soon. I also encourage you to visit and subscribe to the blog’s Telegram channel for updates and discussion.
Dan Carlin is one of the best podcasters in the business. While it takes him six months to put together just a single episode of the Hardcore History podcast, it is always worth the wait. He tells the story of what happened in history like few others can. In addition to Hardcore History, he has another podcast called Common Sense where he discusses current events within the context of history, sort of like the one published here. He presents himself as a centrist, which works well for teaching history, but listening to Common Sense makes it clear that he has a left-wing worldview. On a recent episode, Carlin was talking about why he thought President Trump was different than his predecessors, pointing out his Twitter account, exaggerated rhetoric, and executive orders as things that were not normal for the office of the Chief Executive. His point seemed to be that the unprecedented resistance to President Trump – from news media, both the Democratic and Republican party establishments, and even from within the federal government itself – was fomented, even justified, by Trump’s apparent perversion of normal politics.
With respect and trepidation, I must disagree with Mr. Carlin. I suggest that it was Barack Obama, not Donald Trump, that broke presidential politics.
Let us go back to the beginning. The peaceful transfer of power is one of the defining characteristics of American governance. Throughout world history, succession has always been a flash point for conflict. Medieval societies codified the rules of monarchy and primogeniture precisely to avoid a civil war every time the old ruler died. You can see that kind of chaos in 3rd century Rome, where a new emperor rose every couple of years in the midst of nearly constant conflict. Even with these rules, conflict still arose at the margins. When King Henry I of England died, he had no sons (his son and heir Henry the Young King had died in a shipwreck.) He had named his daughter Matilda as his heir, but a woman succeeding to the throne was not one of the commonly agreed upon rules, so conflict followed. The lords of England supported a cousin of the royal family, Stephen, and this led to decades of conflict called the Anarchy. This is also why King Henry VIII was so obsessed with producing a son: his dynasty would fall into chaos if he did not ensure the succession.
In 1788, George Washington won a unanimous vote of the electors to become the first President of the United States. He was reelected in 1792 but chose not to run for a third term in 1796. This is important: had he run, he would have easily won again, and likely would have died in office. This would have established the precedent that the presidency was a life term, and future presidents would also have stayed in office until they died. Instead, Washington stepped down, establishing the precedent that presidents should not seek more than two terms in office. His successor was his Vice President, John Adams. When Adams ran for reelection in 1800, something remarkable happened: he lost. Adams was challenged by his Vice President Thomas Jefferson, a one-time friend who was now a fierce rival. In many nations throughout history, even to this day, when an incumbent leader loses an election he does not go quietly into retirement, but instead uses his remaining power to invalidate the election and remain in office. Sometimes he uses the military to arrest his opponent. Yet Adams did none of these things. Though stung by the rejection of his country and the ascendance of his rival, he did not throw a national tantrum but instead simply packed his things and went home to his farm in Massachusetts.
This too established a precedent. Every four years, the American people had an opportunity to replace their leader with someone else. In 1824, when no candidate received a majority of electors, the House of Representatives selected John Quincy Adams, despite the fact that General Andrew Jackson had received the most popular votes. Rather than raising an army and marching on Washington, as a jilted Roman general might have done, Jackson instead traveled the country speaking out against what he called the corrupt bargain made between President Adams and Congress. Four years later, Jackson was overwhelmingly elected to the presidency, and continued his populist campaign for two terms.
Even the election 1860 was not a departure from the doctrine of a peaceful transfer of power. When Abraham Lincoln was elected president, the southern states who feared his abolitionist aims did not raise their militias and set out to stop him from occupying the White House. Instead, they voted to leave the union. While northerners considered this an act of insurrection, it was not violent – they simply chose to leave rather than trying to work with a leader that they detested. It was Lincoln who raised troops and invaded the South.
Franklin Roosevelt was the first to break the two-term precedent. He was first elected in 1932, taking power early the following year. Little did the American people know that they had just elected a president-for-life. By 1940, the Depression was nearly over, but war loomed on the horizon. Hitler had invaded Poland in September 1939 and was threatening France and Britain. President Roosevelt was committed to supporting the Allies, but isolationist sentiment in the United States prevented him from too much outright support. As the election of 1940 approached, Roosevelt decided that he himself was the indispensable man in America, and that nobody else could possibly have the knowledge and experience to handle the coming crisis. Note that this is the same rationale used by every dictator throughout history.
Roosevelt won a third term in convincing fashion, partly by campaigning as an opponent of American involvement in the escalating war. Pearl Harbor changed that, and Roosevelt led America into World War II. With the war going well and Roosevelt’s popularity sky-high in 1944, Roosevelt saw no reason to step down, easily winning a fourth term. Party insiders were well aware of the president’s ill health, but rather than admitting this to the American people, they instead made sure that Vice President Henry Wallace was replaced on the ticket by their preferred man, Senator Harry Truman of Missouri. Roosevelt would die just weeks after being sworn in for his fourth term, and Harry Truman would be forced to deal with the ramifications of the war, including having to make the decision to use nuclear weapons against Japan.
In his hubris, Franklin Roosevelt had given in to the temptation that George Washington had wisely resisted. George Washington was called “the American Cincinattus” for following in the footsteps of the famous Roman dictator who laid down his power when the crisis was over. Roosevelt, on the other hand, could rightly be called the American Caesar. Many dictators throughout history start off as democratically elected leaders, only to consolidate their power and remain in office until they are deposed or die in office. Adolf Hitler, in fact, became Chancellor of Germany the same year that Roosevelt became President, and died just a few weeks after Roosevelt did. There will always some new crisis or problem that necessitates the suspension of the normal precedents and rules. Roosevelt cited the ongoing Depression and the outbreak of war in Europe as reasons to abandon the old norms. Hitler had used the Reichstag fire as an excuse to grant himself emergency powers. Just this year we have had governors and mayors using the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to exercise invasive powers at every level of society, while the civil unrest of the past few weeks will surely lead to ever more expanded government powers. It is the same playbook every time.
After the death of President Roosevelt, things mostly returned to normal in the White House. American voters, concerned about the another FDR coming along someday, gave the Republicans a large majority in both the House and the Senate who proceeded to pass the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution which prohibited future presidents from serving more than two terms. While President Truman decried this as an unconstitutional constraint upon the will of the voters, he retired in 1952, his prosecution of the Korean War leaving him deeply unpopular. Every president thereafter left office and entered a quiet retirement. Rather than continuing to fight political battles, former presidents instead worked on cementing their legacy, building their libraries, and engaging in non-partisan work for various charities. In the latter half of the 20th century, former presidents rarely criticized their successors. We resumed the tradition of the peaceful transfer of power. For example, after a contentious election in 1960, the losing candidate Vice President Richard Nixon dutifully attended the inauguration of the incoming President John Kennedy. In 1976, Jimmy Carter defeated President Gerald Ford, yet Ford graciously attended Carter’s inauguration as well. It is important for the American people to see their leaders, who might have viciously attacked each other on the campaign trail, come together and engage in the same rituals that have accompanied our presidential transitions ever since the time of George Washington.
The contested presidential election of 2000 was the last great stress test of our political system. When the ballots were counted, Governor George W. Bush of Texas had defeated Vice President Al Gore by a few hundred votes in Florida, giving Bush just enough electoral votes to win the presidency. A general recount in Florida confirmed this victory. The Gore campaign sued in order to keep counting past the deadline, as well as to do extra hand recounts in pro-Democratic counties. The Supreme Court voted 7-2 that recounting only blue counties violated the equal protection clause, and 5-4 that Florida could not continue counting past the deadline. George W. Bush was duly inaugurated president on January 20, 2001. To his credit, Al Gore did not raise an army and march on Washington, though some of his supporters surely wished he had. The Democrats complained and stewed for the next four years, but they allowed the system to work. I am not so sure that this same situation would have had the same outcome if it occurred in the contentious time we live in today.
When Donald Trump was inaugurated president in January of 2017, President Barack Obama sat nearby, as is tradition. What appeared to be the usual peaceful transfer of power was actually cover for a secret coup that had already been set in motion. Nobody knew at the time that Obama had been secretly working with the FBI and the Justice Department to spy on the campaign and transition team of President-Elect Trump. Nobody knew that Obama, Susan Rice, Sally Yates, James Comey, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and even Vice President Joe Biden were all involved in a plot to wiretap the Trump campaign and to fabricate evidence that they were somehow colluding with the Russian government to steal the 2016 election and subvert American democracy. This conspiracy makes President Nixon’s coverup of the Watergate burglary look petty by comparison. While not quite on the level of using the military to prevent an opposing leader from coming to power, this was darned close. A president who abuses his authority over the law-enforcement and counter-espionage entities within his government to covertly attack his successor has absolutely no precedent in American history.
The purpose of this investigation was to prevent President Trump from having authority over the Justice Department, to winnow away his supporters from political positions, and to eventually oust the president himself, whether through impeachment or by forcing him to resign. Trump had appointed General Michael Flynn, a thirty-year veteran of military intelligence, to the post of National Security Advisor, which would have had authority over the very investigation that the Obama Administration was secretly conducting. Rather than allow this to happen, the conspirators fabricated a charge of lying against General Flynn which forced him to leave office and spend the next three years fighting bogus charges. With Flynn out of the way, the conspiracy was allowed to continue unchecked, leading to the Mueller investigation, the so-called whistleblower report about the Ukraine phone call, and more. This is exactly the sort of behavior you expect from a banana republic, not the Executive Branch of the United States of America.
Anyone who paid attention to President Obama’s tenure in office should not be surprised that he would engage in such deceitful actions. People like Dan Carlin, well-meaning but invariably left leaning, do not see the many ways in which Obama broke presidential norms because they generally agree with the outcomes. When a president is pushing an agenda that you believe in, you are less likely to call out the ways in which he is bending the rules, cutting corners, taking advantage of loopholes, or ignoring precedent. You are just happy to see “progress”. Nevertheless, Barack Obama was unprecedented in many ways. Let me be clear, however, that his skin color has absolutely nothing to do with any of the following points.
Unlike every previous president, Obama grew up outside of traditional American culture. I am not a birther – I believe he was born in Hawaii – but he was raised in a much more international manner than our previous chief executives. The Bushes and the Kennedys were born into American wealth. Bill Clinton grew up in a poor family in Arkansas. Jimmy Carter was a peanut farmer in Georgia. Yet Barack Obama was born in Hawaii to a globe-trotting mother who had studied at the East-West Center in Honolulu. His father was a Kenyan nationalist that he would barely know. His mother moved to Indonesia and married Lolo Soetero, an Indonesian Muslim who worked for the government. Obama’s childhood then was somewhat chaotic, being spent in Hawaii, Indonesia, and sometimes with his grandmother in Kansas. He did his undergraduate studies at Occidental College before moving on to Columbia and Harvard. While in college he alternated between portraying himself as a regular American named Barry and an exotic foreigner named Barack. He entered politics in the Illinois legislature, but his first attempt to attain higher office was thwarted by longtime Democrat powerbroker Bobby Rush. When Obama challenged him for his House seat in 2000, Congressman Rush accused Obama of not truly representing the African American community. This accusation was undoubtedly true: Obama was not descended from slaves, and he was born just as Jim Crow was ending. Neither he nor his family had the same experiences as the African American families that had come out of the south to cities such as Chicago.
Steve Sailer suggests that Obama was raised and groomed to be a diplomat or State Department bureaucrat, someone who could bridge the divide between the United States and other cultures. After all, his mother was educated at the East-West Center in Hawaii, which was explicitly created to find common ground between the United States and Asia. This is what brought Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, into contact with foreign men such as Barack Obama Senior and Lolo Soetero. Yet something strange happened. Rather than shuffling off to an unremarkable career in bureaucracy, Obama rocketed to the White House with breakneck speed. How? Why?
Obama’s rise to power was in part due to his skin color. While conventional wisdom about the United States suggests that we are biased against non-white people, the very fact that Obama was half black meant that he could step into the role of “first black president”. A white Barry Dunham who followed the same career path would probably never have made it to the US Senate, much less the White House. As the first serious black presidential candidate (Jesse Jackson’s 1988 primary run notwithstanding), Obama was a blank slate upon which all of America could paint their aspirations of achieving the dream of Martin Luther King Jr. The fact that he had very little political experience, and absolutely no executive experience, actually helped him here, as he could become whatever people wanted to see.
Barack Obama has never been shy about playing underhanded if it helps him win. In 1996, the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners invalidated the signature submissions of every other Democratic candidate except for Obama, who then won the primary unopposed. In the 2004 Senate race, his cronies got a court to unseal divorce records for his Republican opponent Jack Ryan, which caused him to withdraw, allowing Obama to win once again essentially unopposed. (The GOP flew in Alan Keyes to run in Ryan’s place, but that carpetbagging attempt failed spectacularly.) Before he had even won his Senate race, Obama gave a speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention that had media figures tingling. He was immediately anointed as a future president, despite having nearly zero real accomplishments to his name.
During his long campaign for the presidency, Obama always portrayed himself as a uniter, someone who could bridge the divide between blue states and red states, blacks and whites, liberals and conservatives. Once in office, however, his tone changed drastically. He used his filibuster-proof majority in the Senate to pass Obamacare, making promises he could not keep to moderate Democratic Senators in exchange for their support, and then ramming the bill through reconciliation without regard for congressional rules. This naked partisanship resulted in a huge Republican victory in the 2010 midterms, regaining the House of Representatives only four years after losing it in the Democratic landslide of 2006. When President Clinton faced this same situation in 1994, he engaged in political triangulation – moving to the right on some issues in order to compromise with the new Republican majority. Obama, however, chose the opposite tactic. He simply ignored the Republican House, proclaiming that he had a pen and a phone, and did not need to work with Congress to enact his agenda. And enact it he did. Just after the 2012 election, he issued an executive order to cease prosecution of hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens.
Despite campaigning as a uniter, Obama was most definitely a partisan fighter. He told a crowd of Hispanic activists that they could punish their enemies by voting for him. His first Attorney General, Eric Holder, proclaimed himself “the president’s wingman” and promised to use his position to help “our people,” meaning African Americans, not Americans in general. While media today would have you believe that President Trump is controlled by Putin, it was Obama in 2012 who was secretly working with the Russians. At a conference with Putin’s right-hand man Dmitri Medvedev, Obama was caught unawares by a hot microphone saying,
On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space. This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.
Imagine such a hot-mic moment like this for President Trump.
The fact that Obama used his authority to spy on the Trump campaign should not have been a surprise. This is the same President Obama that weaponized the IRS to attack conservative non-profit organizations, while lavishly distributing federal grant money to progressive organizations. This is the same President Obama that surreptitiously wiretapped reporter Sheryl Atkinson’s computers because she was working on stories that the administration did not like. Like third-world dictators, Obama was never shy about using his powers to elevate his friends while attacking his enemies. Only in the west is that behavior universally condemned. In many cultures, the entire point of political power is to reward your friends and attack your enemies.
Obama has not followed the traditional path of a former president either. Rather than sitting back and tending to his legacy and finding charitable projects, Obama has led the charge in criticizing President Trump and his Administration. Shortly after Trump’s inauguration, Obama set up a new office in Washington DC where he could continue to coordinate resistance against the new president. Again, this is not like American politics as usual; this is like a banana republic.
My point with all of this is to say that it was really Barack Obama who changed things. President Trump is the natural Hegelian antithesis to the excessive partisanship of the Obama Administration. If Obama had governed from the left-center like Bill Clinton, or had stayed above the fray like George Bush, then the Republicans would probably have gotten away with nominating another milquetoast establishment figure like Marco Rubio or Mitt Romney. Instead, we saw the naked will to power on the part of the left in general and Obama in particular, and voted in someone who promised to fight for the forgotten men and women of America against the deep state bureaucracy that had taken over our government. Trump is not the outlier; he is the natural follow-up to a man like Obama.
I believe that the 2008 election will go down in history as the last time America saw a peaceful transfer of power. Obama beat the feckless John McCain fair and square, and not a single Republican took to the streets, rioted, or tried to undo the results of the election. Even in 2012, after four years of recession and embarrassment, Obama was reelected, and again not a single Republican threw stones or tried to burn down buildings. Yet when Trump won in 2016, the left was unleashed. They rioted in the streets. They demanded recount after recount. They tried to pressure electors to change their votes. They used the last few moments of power in the Obama Administration to begin a bogus investigation that sought to hamstring and eventually oust the new president. They used impeachment. Now they have military leaders writing editorials denouncing the president, with some on the left demanding a military coup. Imagine what November of 2020 will look like. Imagine 2024, and 2028.
If President Trump wins reelection this year, all hell will break loose. The Democrats did not accept the results of the 2016 election, and they surely will not accept them in 2020. The street fights and political battles will make the last four years look calm in comparison. On the other hand, if Trump loses, then few on the right will believe it was done without rampant fraud. Many states have already switched to mail-in ballots, using the pandemic as an excuse. We know Democrats cheat at the polls, and mail-in ballots only make their job easier. If the Democrats do win, however, they will immediately set to work making sure that they never lose again. Say goodbye to the electoral college. Say goodbye to the Supreme Court. Say goodbye to the separation of powers. Say goodbye to the integrity of our elections.
No matter what happens this year, hindsight will show that American democracy ended a long time ago. Our political process has been irrevocably broken; we just do not realize it yet. In their lust for power, Barack Obama and the Democratic Party set us on a course for chaos, and there are no brakes on this train.
Many people complain that President Donald Trump has broken the norms of the office of President. However, I believe that those norms were already broken, and that is partly why we elected Trump in the first place. Can we go back to the way things were?
At the heart of so many of our disputes today is the question of who owns America. Who has the best claim on this country, this nation? What makes someone an American? As rioters storm our streets to take our country by violence, I try to figure out who this country really belongs to.