Since the Great Hysteria began in 2020, I’ve been listening to a lot of men on the right that have moved past the inept and weak loyal opposition that has historically characterized most of the “conservative”. Two of the best regarding the political situation we find ourselves in are Charles Haywood and Auron MacIntyre. The two finally had a conversation (the first I’m aware of). It’s worth watching and I haven’t even finished it myself.

All of that said, I do have one critique, and I think it’s an important one. While I think MacIntyre is a Christian and Haywood seems to be at least a nominal Catholic, both seem to have a material bent in their thinking, and this is exemplified perhaps clearest of all in the notion of the “rise of Caesar”. I’m not saying they don’t believe in the spiritual world, in transcendental truths, or in God. Not at all.

As a Christian myself, I’m compelled to see the world primarily as the stage for God’s redemption of mankind and the building of His Kingdom. What happens in history matters in ultimate terms in light of this fact. God is using history to accomplish His ends. But “use” is an active term. God isn’t like the god of the deists who wound everything up and let it spin. He’s actively involved in it.

In our own personal lives, the active work of God means many things, among which is the fact that miracles are possible, and even to be expected. I’ve witnessed them in my own life. I’ve seen prayers answered in particular, specific ways.

One of my favorite recent examples is that my wife and I have been looking for ways to continue sending our children to a private, classical, Christian school. As our youngest children have started attending the cost has gone up for us and become much more difficult. We prayed to God three times for help, and three times He answered; the first with an unexpected, unprovoked massive increase in salary, the second in a substantial yearly bonus and the third in another significant salary bump. We have prayed and each time God has answered, and always right on time. My wife is a homemaker and our side businesses are not big enough to do much more than grow, so this was exactly what we needed.

A materialist might write all of these off as coincidence because their worldview is defective and inadequate. They’d suggest that the right way to get the money we need is to just work harder. To be clear, we have been working harder. That’s one reason we started multiple side businesses, and it’s probably in part why the raises came in such large amounts. Still, it’s obvious to me that God answered prayer, and no amount of work on my part would have done what He did.

This is all personal, but it applies more broadly. God intervenes in the affairs of nations. He answers the prayers of His people throughout the world. He spares cities for the sake of the faithful. He causes revivals when His people pray. He blesses nations that obey Him. These aren’t mere mechanistic processes that God built into the world. God actively answers prayers and acts in the world, even at a global scale.

Political analysis naturally tends to reduce to materialism for the same reason natural science does; methodological naturalism – pretending the material is all that exists – is useful to discern natural patterns in the world. It’s much less useful when doing social analysis than physical analysis, however, because people are not purely physical beings. Still, we can have wisdom regarding people, and we can still commentate, as long as we account for this fact.

As much as I recommend the guys above – and I highly recommend them – I find their analysis to fall a little short. It’s something I’ve noticed in many commentators, not just them. It’s an unintentional, but effective materialism. Like God may be useful and He may even be listening, but we can’t expect Him to do anything. What happens will be the natural course of human affairs. There’s no hope for a miracle or God’s working out in the situation. There’s some optimism, but it’s rooted in the fact that our wicked aristocracy is at least as stupid as it is evil and so can’t continue for long.

The Christian response to the madness should be obedience and hope. Obedience to Christ in the midst of any circumstance, and hope in God’s faithfulness and love. There’s a kind of “hope” that’s just a synonym for hopelessness; the “hope” that after a nightmare we’ll eventually wake up. But that’s not the Christian hope. The Christian hope is everlasting life, and fellowship with God right now. Certainly, we aren’t supposed to wait some inevitable rise of Caesar or the collapse of the Left; even if those things happen, that’s not where our hope is. God can use an American Caesar as much as He can use mass revival, but we pray and hope for the latter, and know that God is the kind of God who can do it.

The political philosophy of the New Right is useful in some ways, but until it repents of its materialism, I can’t accept it as anything more than occasionally useful, often interesting commentary. The conservative movement in America has largely been loyal opposition to hell. It’s far better replacement has repented of that, but it hasn’t repented all the way.

Lest I be accused of pietism, I also reject that false worldview. I’m not saying that the right answer to our political situation is to spiritualize everything and get rid of all of the real, earthy details of life and politics and culture. The right attitude is neither gnostic (or pietistic) nor materialist. It’s Christian.