Clausewitz said that war is just the continuation of politics by other means, and that seems right. But I think there’s another situation altogether, and the United States is dangerously close to getting there, that is arguably worse than war.
My political views have not remained static over my life. I grew up in a fairly conservative home for the time. Rush Limbaugh was always on the radio and we listened to contemporary Christian music. This was a time when Christian music still had some depth if you looked a little bit; it’s hard to find any these days.
However, in high school, I found I wasn’t really equipped to deal with political differences. I took a college-level government course my senior year and it was the first time I really learned about the philosophical underpinnings of the American system. Even then, I was mostly a Republican and conservative from inertia.
College was an interesting mix; at the start I considered myself relatively moderate, though slightly conservative. After enduring several far-left professors, I shifted to the right, but still missed a strong philosophical framework. It took many years to really develop what I think are solid and solidly conservative political views. I’ve held these views, more-or-less for about six years.
I say all of this as a frame of reference. Six years ago, I could easily post my views online. I had a Facebook account and would frequently write about politics. It annoyed some friends and family, but others took no issue and even cheered it on. Some debated, some affirmed; it was sometimes stressful and sometimes stress-relieving. I wasted time, but I learned a lot and made some new friends.
Four years ago, when Donald Trump ran for the presidency, I declared I was voting third party. I couldn’t support the guy, and (I still affirm) he had no record up to that point to persuade me otherwise. It was a fairly charged year in politics, and I thought it was the worst I had seen. I was very, very wrong.
If you are familiar with HP Lovecraft, you probably understand the difference between classical horror and cosmic horror. I’m no expert, but in the classical view rooted in Christendom, horror was often used as allegory for our fallenness; it was a warning against sin, against violating nature, and against blaspheming the image of God in each of us and the God therein reflected.
But cosmic horror, of the sort HP Lovecraft wrote, was written in a godless worldview, one in which human beings are little more than insects in a universe filled with beings the names of which would cause madness if we could hear them. In cosmic horror, we are one misstep away from losing our grip on sanity. We are one discovery away from madness. Like Nietzsche’s madman, that discovery is of the true nature of the universe.
This year, 2020, has paralleled these two views in an interesting way. What the Founders feared most of all was the mob; a mob not beholden to anyone, with no allegiance but to self. A mob is just a violent way to the most oppressive society you can ever get: a tyranny of the majority. At least a bad king is one man.
The mob, believing there to be no God (they really, really, really, really hate Christians; each really is just one more piece of evidence), is inclined toward madness. At root, they have no coherent worldview, and so they live for self; they live for chaos and anarchy and anything that benefits them at the moment. They live like madmen. This year is the year of the mad mob.
The Great Hysteria is not the cause of this madness. It is a symptom. The whole world has decided to void every natural right, every piece of accumulated epidemiological wisdom, every ancient prescription that has worked to keep us alive through far greater threats; they’ve decided to void all of these things in the name of Safety. But that’s not quite right; if safety were the greatest concern, they’d ban travel (it’s true enough that in the UK, they are banning junk food).
Bringing it Together
Four years ago, I talked politics and religion and the worst thing I got for my trouble was a wasted night of frustration. But this year, I’ve received death threats. I’ve received violent, crude, nasty, and evil responses from people who disagree with me. This year, I’ve been harassed, stalked, and people have tried to get me fired.
I gave the background above to point out that my views aren’t what’s new. I poured their foundations a while ago and while I’ve refined them, they haven’t moved, but other things have.
I’ve noticed the Overton window considerably more than I did before I did any real work on my political worldview. I see local churches and political leaders lurching toward the abyss on the Left more every year. They see me moving to the right (despite the fact my positions are in writing; I was careful to do that).
I’ve noticed the madness of the crowd spreading into the church. I could have expected to be threatened by a Marxist mob, but being shamed by fellow Christians for trying to form my Christian convictions into something material, something cultural, something political, is not something I expected.
When politics is no longer an option, sometimes there’s a war and we get to fight out our differences a bit more physically. But sometimes, and I fear we are at such a time, politics is forbidden. We aren’t powerful or organized enough to resist, but our means to engage in normal politics are stifled by the mob and by those who, ostensibly, consider us allies – even brothers and sisters in Christ.
What’s to Be Done?
I don’t want to leave things alone on such a depressing note, especially when we know the end of this Story. So I have a few things I think would be wise for Christians and conservatives to do.
First, don’t shut down politically. Don’t refrain from political and religious conversation. If you are tempted to do so to keep the peace, know that your silence is a silence that kills. Don’t stifle argument and disagreement; you’re building a bomb.
Second, read! Not just anything, either. Read old books. Read good books. Read Lex Rex, Vinciciae contra Tyrannos, The Abolition of Man, and everything by Thomas Sowell. Read Scripture. Pray like the Psalmist. This is a spiritual war; you need to prepare your mind for it.
Third, avoid being fragile. I don’t mean that abominable “white fragility” nonsense peddled by a genuine racist. I mean being anti-fragile. Get in shape physically, avoid debt, make good friendships, plan for things to go badly (while hoping they don’t), and stock up on necessities. Own guns, and train with them. You don’t want something like your health or your lack of a firearm to be the difference between life and death. These are things you can control.
Fourth, be courageous. This is an era of hysteria and fear. Many Christians fear things more than God. We can’t do that.
There are good reasons to be hopeful right now. It’s important we do our part.