By Charlie Johnston
Amid the swirling chaos it can be hard to see that attitudes are changing. Last week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis lifted nearly all Covid restrictions in his state – and promised work on a “bill of rights” to protect college students from being expelled for attending a party. Now if all you do is watch the establishment media, you would think that is typical of that heartless governor. People who only get their news from the MSNBCNNABCBS complex have been told ad nauseum that DeSantis has been a colossal failure while New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been a spectacular success. Such types are shocked and disbelieving when I tout the fact that, per capita, New York’s reported death rate is almost three times as high as Florida’s. With a death rate second only to New Jersey, New York could have been in the middle of the pack had Cuomo not forced vulnerable senior citizens into nursing homes, which became death camps for them.
You probably do not know that, for over a month now, Sweden has had a lower Covid death rate than the United States – and that it continues to fall. You heard a lot about Sweden when it first refused to go along with mass shutdowns and economic destruction as the way to deal with this virus. The media and political types screamed about how this “risky” experiment was going to result in massive death in Sweden. Swedish health system head, Dr. Anders Tegnell, absolutely refused to join the rest of the world in “using a hammer to kill a fly,” as he characterized mass lockdowns. He counted on the common sense of an informed public without restricting their freedom. He was right. If you had an honest press, they would be looking at what Sweden did anew with respect, because it worked, particularly since the states in America that have had the most draconian rules have largely been the states that are having the worst outcomes. If you want a handy guide to how bad your state has been impacted, generally the bluer the state and more draconian the restrictions, the worse the results. But the left is not interested in protecting the public; they want to scare them to death to facilitate leftist control. It is not the facts that count here, only the narrative.
The media has chosen to be monster shouters on this subject, filling some otherwise very good, honest people with a visceral dread of this variant of the flu. It is a variant that poses some significant dangers for an easily identifiable, but narrow, slice of the population, but is largely innocuous to everyone who is not included in that slice. I have been astonished at how many people have cited nasty misinformation from various media outlets as authoritative. The astonishment has been that so many have regarded news outlets as authoritative. Throughout my life, I have routinely done spot checks on every source I go to, comparing actual data to what they say. I have always been appalled at how misinformed and intellectually deficient much of the media is. For a source to be trusted in my mind, they have to have cleared multiple such spot checks – and if they fail one, they go on probation for a while. The MSNBCNNABCBS complex has not been on my trusted list for decades (though a few reporters there make the cut sometimes).
The problem was summed up for me when Dr. Scott Atlas, after destroying many of the myths touted by the politically corrupted CDC at a press conference, was asked by a reporter, “How do we know who to believe?” Atlas replied that the reporter could read the actual data. It was clear to me that almost none of these guys are actual researchers or newspeople; they are pretentious yuppies who choose their brand of “expert” as if they were getting a Hermes tie or a Pierre Cardin suit and think themselves followers of science because they choose all the trendiest brands. In short, they are incompetent, pretentious ne’er-do-wells. And much of the general public is the same way. They choose “Folgers’ news because of the brand and never drill down into the hard data. And the overseers have found a shiny new toy with which to enforce their authoritarian fantasies. Unless there is HEAVY pushback and punishment of all the monster-shouters after the election, medical “emergencies” will be the fulcrum upon which every effort to subject and enslave the sovereign people of this country hinge in the future. It worked this time. Why not the next? The left does not care how they seize power over the folksies, only that they succeed.
When any organization trades intellectual rigor for ideological pretensions, there will ultimately be a collapse of credibility, but they can skate along for a long time on a reputation that was built by better men than them – and that they are no longer worthy of. When the tide shifts, though, it is ugly and the denouement can happen suddenly. I see signs that, rather than cruising to victory and pre-eminence, the superstitious left is heading for catastrophic collapse – and reading the signs that point to that is what this piece is about.
“The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.” – Mark 2:27
Way back in the 80’s I worried that many good people, preoccupied with their jobs and families, accepted at face value ill-considered liberal policy proposals that, frankly, were patently absurd. I realized that a lot of good-hearted people knew the plans didn’t sound right, but humbly figured that these are what the “smart” people recommended and they must surely know what they were talking about. Even then I saw that, the more the liberals got by with their absurd proposals and were not held to account for the failures inherent to that absurdity, the more brazen they got. It struck me that if this cycle continued unabated, it would eventually reach a tipping point where it would all collapse under the weight of its own internal contradictions. (That is a formulation I have often used: back in high school I wrote a paper predicting that the Soviet Union would collapse before the end of the century under the weight of its internal contradictions. I was delighted when Ronald Reagan, St. John Paul II, and Margaret Thatcher gave it a good hard shove to speed up the process.)
The evidence is in now. All the folks who claim to be most devoted to science and spend the most money to come up with science-based edicts (actually, not real science, but #science) produce the worst outcomes and tend to aggravate and compound problems. Bureaucratic “experts” who think themselves masters of the universe whose edicts must be obeyed turn out to actually be the village idiots – but with nasty attitudes. Turns out man was not made for #science, but science for man. If it doesn’t solve problems, you need a new approach.
If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Two of the last three Democratic presidents have not acted as if their job was to solve problems and make America prosperous, free and safe. Instead, both Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama failed miserably on the economy, and both domestic and foreign policy – and assured us that our best days were behind us, that this was the new normal, they were managing the decline as well as anyone could, and we folksies just had to suck it up. Obama was particularly contemptuous when lecturing us that manufacturing jobs could not come back without a magic wand, 6+ unemployment was the new normal and so was anemic annual GDP growth of less than two percent. As much as I disagreed profoundly with much of Bill Clinton’s agenda, I have to give the man his props: he did act as if he knew his job was to solve problems and make them better rather than to fail miserably and then explain to us rubes why that was the best anyone could do.
The left is not interested in solving problems. Rather, they are vested in a self-actualization project to convince themselves they are the smartest of them all despite the disasters that inevitably follow their rule. The big problem for them, I suspect, is that the folksies have finally caught up with them – and have had all they can take of the left’s bilious pretensions to intellectual superiority while destroying everything they touch.
First Things Magazine has a deeply insightful piece up this month describing how Russia degenerated into tyranny a little over a hundred years ago – and the consistent efforts at destabilization and chaos by the left for almost 20 years before the nation fell. Actually, ever since the bloody French Revolution, the playbook for leftist totalitarian movements have been depressingly consistent. 1) Agitate constantly against a government which has lost the will and confidence to decisively punish violent domestic insurrection, 2) seize power when that government is completely exhausted, 3) imprison and execute those allies which might have the will and means to fight back when they see the betrayal, and 4) then rule by terror that is arbitrary and capricious. The Third step is critical to cement the deal: besides eliminating potential rivals, it completely demoralizes opponents who see that, if this is how the new rulers treat their friends, their open opponents can expect no mercy.
The left is barreling frantically to its Waterloo. But let no one be mistaken. We have a fight ahead of us. The left will not go quietly into its dark night. Those of us of serious faith must all become counter-revolutionaries. America was founded as a government that would stay out of your way, only doing those things collectively that you genuinely could not do yourself or through voluntary associations. One of the few things it was called to defend with vigor was your rights and freedoms against the pretensions of any authority. The rights that the federal government was called to defend were real rights – those given by the eternal God, that exist before the existence of the state, not made-up entitlements that political partisans errantly call “rights.” For some time, Americans have come to look to government for the solution to all problems – while most of those problems get progressively worse the more money and government regulation thrown at them. We have little heeded Ronald Reagan’s warning that a government strong enough to give you everything you need is also strong enough to take everything you have. We can be an independent, self-governing people, or the servile dependents of a bureaucratic leviathan. We can’t be both.
This election will not resolve the question of whether we will once again become a free independent, self-governing people. It will tell us what battle we must fight in order to regain our liberty. If there is a huge Republican victory, if we act with firm fortitude, the bureaucratic revolution that assails us can be de-fanged with primarily retrograde actions and a minimum of violence. If there is a huge Democratic victory, it will require a great and sustained battle to regain the most basic liberty. The greatest fear I have is not over how big the inevitable battle will be – or even that our liberty will be permanently lost. Rather, it is that those who defend liberty will do so almost entirely under a purely secular perspective. In that case, we would ultimately just trade one set of masters for another. Without a firm and living awareness of our reliance on God, freedom can no more flourish than cypress trees in the desert. I have no doubt of what is ahead. I assume victory, whatever impediments may come in the meantime (and do not doubt that those impediments are big ones). But the nature of that victory is critical. Without God, it will be the illusory interlude before the next authoritarian takeover. With God, freedom may ring from every Church and square in the land.
I absolutely oppose the depredations of the violent left – and support meeting them with firm force, including violence if they will not leave their neighbors in peace. A culture has both the right to and the obligation of self-defense. Those who use violence to defend against violent depredations are not morally equivalent to those who instigate violence against otherwise peaceful, innocent people. The former can be brave and noble. The latter are invariably depraved and vicious. It hurts my heart to see that the most vicious, snarling people usually have yard signs that read. “Love trumps hate,” and that the most hateful people I know put up signs reading, “Hate has no home here.” A great, if somewhat flawed, Democratic President, Franklin Roosevelt, once told a shaken nation that, “we have nothing to fear but fear itself.” If Roosevelt gave that speech today, he would be drummed out of the Democratic Party – for the only thing this once great party has to offer anymore is fear, itself.
I know that a host of people in the world today do not believe in God. It’s not cool, the ignorant think it’s not logical. For everyone who wants to play at being smart on the cheap, the first thing they do is abandon belief in God. This, I am convinced, is the source of so much of the agony and despair that hangs over our culture like a shroud. Yet I am equally convinced that, in their heart of hearts, most people quietly and desperately hope there is God. Let us fight to win, but may our efforts be calculated not just to win the battle, but to win our opponents back to God, sparking new hope in them, even as we hearten and support each other. Long ago, I was good friends with the late Rob Sherman, then the national spokesman for the American Atheists. One of my proudest moments came when he quietly told me that if most Christians were like me, he would have to seriously re-think his position. I keep that in mind even as I vigorously fight and oppose the depredations of the Godless left. It is why I so admire Abraham Lincoln and St. Joan of Arc. Any who doubted their commitment to victory were likely to find themselves with their head in their hands – but each of these noble souls had open arms for those who would sue for peace. They sought reconciliation as firmly and tirelessly as they sought victory. I am firmly and unalterably committed to destroying our enemies, but my preferred method of destruction is to make them our friends and, more importantly, to make them God’s friends.
Ultimate victory is assured. How much terror and destruction we must go through is dependent on the nature of the victory we commit to.
Last week, David Daleiden released a short video history of his interactions with Kamala Harris. It beautifully illustrates Harris’ modus operandus: submit to her or be crushed, justice be damned. This is what they have planned for this country if they prevail. My attitude is one with Gandalf: you shall not pass.