By Charlie Johnston
When I departed on my pilgrimage across the country 10 years ago this February, I only did two things to physically prepare for the journey (other than getting basic equipment necessary for an extended hike). First, I read a little about nutritional strategies for such a thing. Second, a couple times a week I would ride a bike for five miles. That’s it. In the first month and a half, I was always nervous – and sometimes downright fearful. Every day I woke up not knowing where I was going to sleep that night, whether I was going to eat well, what dangers I might encounter and how to handle them, and great nervousness about whether I could find cover to camp in that would not be discovered. I was only discovered twice in the whole pilgrimage – and by the time I was, I didn’t much care. But it was a major concern and source of nerves early on. What I had done, in part, was undergo a radical emptying of myself and the things that ordinarily made me feel secure. Fortunately, I have a rather stoic personality and, while I enjoy comforts, I am rarely disturbed about foregoing them. Even so, it took me a month and a half to really adapt to my radical new circumstances. While there had been profound moments of joy before I fully acclimated, once it was accomplished, it was almost all joy. I developed some great habits. Even now, as I travel the country, several times a day I notice spots that would make for great cover if I needed it. I learned something critical about how adaptable we really are.
When people I met along my way would inevitably ask me why I was doing this. I would always say the same thing: “I think the world is in a lot of trouble – and we aren’t going to get out of it this time. People worry about the things they might lose, and they have good cause to worry. But what we have forgotten is that our only reliable source of security is in God. So I walk as a prayer for our poor, bleeding world and to throw myself into a radical dependence on God’s grace.” I had to have given that little talk over 2,000 times. The only thing that really surprised me was that, across the entire country, only two or maybe three people ventured to dispute that. Most were unaccountably ecstatic when they understood what I was doing – particularly when they discovered I was not doing it as part of any group or fundraising effort, but solely as a votive spiritual offering. The walk, itself, became a profound sign of hope for a multitude – a sign I didn’t begin to understand well until after I had finished it.
We are all now embarked upon a great and fearsome pilgrimage. Most everything about it is outside our experience and what we consider normal. We are beset by dangers, both hidden and obvious – and even things we never dreamed of in our limited imaginations. When I have spoken of collapse and of a global civil war fought on cultural lines before, most people have envisioned it in terms of a thriller novel or a Steven Spielberg epic movie – in abstract terms. I remember before I ever started speaking publicly, a man who knew what I thought asked me, in panic, “But how am I going to pay my mortgage if everything collapses.” I chuckled and told him it was not just going to collapse for him, but for everyone – and the people who collect mortgages would have too many of their own problems to panic over to worry about his particular mortgage. A few years ago a lady at a presentation who looked to be at least 80 asked me, in similar panic, how she was supposed to survive without her cell phone. While mentally I thought, rather sarcastically, that it would be largely the same way she survived the first 50 years of her life without a cell phone, I gave her a gentle answer.
Now I have a lot of people asking me if the government is likely to cut off their social security or disability checks and how they can be expected to survive if it does. The hard truth is that many of your worst fears are likely to come to pass. If we do not connect with and care for each other in ways we have not for almost a century, a lot of people are unlikely to make it. But have you pondered that this may well be God’s way of forcing us to live solidarity with each other? And that God will often open up channels you did not expect? Did you know that in the debt crisis in Greece a decade or so ago, the government did not just stop many entitlement checks, it started seizing many people’s bank accounts?
Ironically, I think it less likely that the government will stop entitlement checks for political purposes than that it will cease to be able to meet its obligations to anyone – and that within the next two years or even much sooner. Now bear in mind that I am not making public prophecies anymore: this is pure analysis (though, certainly, analysis in part borne by the sum total of all my experiences – some of which are decidedly peculiar). On the one hand, I have been directed not to make public prophecies anymore; on the other, my understanding of my work has always been that (for me, anyway) once the storm began in earnest I was to foreswear public prophecy and concentrate on using all I have experienced and learned to do – and to exhort people to have confidence that they can and will endure under God. In this case, my understanding of my duty of obedience to both legitimate earthly and to Divine authority is identical.
Donald Trump, The Man and The Legend
I think that Donald Trump was both God’s instrument to reveal the depth of the rot at the heart of modern culture and government AND four years of mitigation. While I have come to deeply admire Trump as an extraordinarily shrewd and courageous man who loves America, I never bought into the notion that he was a unique, five-dimensional chess-playing genius who always saw 12 moves ahead and never erred in his calculations. Rather I saw him as a sort of brassy version of the shrewd, honorable, shamelessly pro-American patriot who, if not plentiful two generations ago, was also not uncommon. Given that, except for the island of Ronald Reagan, America has been starved of such types since John Kennedy in its highest political office, it was entirely understandable that many would be filled with an irrational exuberance which imputed near super-human powers to him. But that was always more an expression of fervent hope than of cool analysis. I pray and expect that he will be an important ally to patriots going forward.
It is not Trump’s fault that he was far more successful at revealing the rot than of conquering it. It has become too deeply entrenched, both culturally and bureaucratically. Let’s take a clear-headed look at Trump’s first term.
Economically, both America and the world are suffering from the twin cancers of debt and spending. Trump made no headway in curing that during his four years. In fact, the cancer advanced on his watch. What he did do was manage the symptoms brilliantly AND begin to lay the groundwork for a potentially real cure.
There are many elements involved in a national economy, but arguably the two principal tools are monetary policy and fiscal policy. Monetary policy mainly involves interest rates and the money supply. Fiscal policy is focused on incentives to productivity, spending, budgeting and frugality. Productivity – goods and services – is the only real wealth a society has. Fiscal policy is the actual artwork while monetary policy is the frame in which it sits. I do not regard monetary policy as mere trickery. Applied skillfully and with restraint it can smooth out the rough edges of fiscal policy and buy time to get through down cycles. Applied irresponsibly, it is an opiate that deadens an economy to the reality that it is dying. The left is all monetary policy. I am not a gold standard purist for the money supply, either, but I do know that it has to be tied to something tangible and solid to keep it from ultimately triggering ruin. I prefer tying it to the gross domestic product (GDP).
Trump certainly took advantage of the artificially low official interest rates to keep the economy stable. He added to the ruinous spending that is such a deadly danger, but it seemed more of a stop-gap to give him room to do what was critically necessary to give the economy a chance to recover: massively incentivize new productivity. From bringing massive numbers of manufacturing jobs back to our shores to demanding fair trade and clipping the wings of predatory regimes, he was in the midst of sparking a veritable renaissance of productivity in this country which put people back to work and started chipping away at the debt in overall relation to the raw size of the economy. My favorite part was how he opened up the development of energy, making America a net exporter of energy to the rest of the world, both juicing our economy and enhancing our security by reducing our reliance on foreign sources. Perhaps that is because in 2006 I did a report for the Republican delegation in Washington recommending exactly that – a report that became a part of the sadly aborted “Drill Baby Drill” campaign in 2008. I honestly figured that all his good work would ultimately accomplish was to cushion the blow when the economy collapsed because, on the fundamentals, we were too far gone. But a good cushion can save a lot of people – and, by gum, I did not dismiss the possibility that with sufficient vigor and fortitude, Trump might just pull this off. In his first week of usurping the nation’s highest office, Mr. Biden has reversed this therapy at a dizzying pace, killing the Keystone Pipeline while forbidding new oil and natural gas leases on public lands. He is busy killing jobs, productivity and making us dependent, once again, on hostile foreign regimes. I expect significant economic dislocation to come far more quickly than people anticipate, and catastrophic collapse to follow shortly.
Trump and his team did a fabulous job of revealing the details of the greatest seditious coup conspiracy in history. Yet even with all the revelations, none of the conspirators have been held to account. Many have lucrative TV contracts, book deals, and some are even holding high office again in the Potemkin Biden administration. The first three years of the Trump administration was rocked by the Russian Collusion scandal that never existed. I was shocked when I learned that Republican Senators knew from the beginning, because of their access to confidential documents, that it was all a fraud and a farce – but played along with the malignant Democrats anyway. Now where are the Republican officials who are demanding a full investigation of the massive and corrupt ties of Biden and his family to the Chinese Communist Party – ties that are beyond dispute and for which there is a mountain of indisputable proof?
Trump has been the most aggressively pro-life president of my lifetime. Even so, when former Vice President Mike Pence held a meeting with pro-life organizations in December to celebrate the administration’s pro-life accomplishments – with tantalizing hints of a major announcement coming there – what they announced was a fine to Planned Parenthood and an initiative to keep Vermont from forcing doctors to perform abortions in order to hold a medical license. Over the last decade, David Daleiden of the Center for Medical Progress has developed irrefutable evidence that Planned Parenthood and its affiliates engaged in illegal trafficking of fetal body parts for profit, that partners sometimes killed live, born babies by dissecting them to cut the beating heart out of their chests among other sordid revelations – and the best the most pro-life administration could do was advocate not to force doctors in Vermont to perform abortions. I talked with Daleiden after the “big announcement” was revealed. Infuriated, I exclaimed, “We give them an elephant’s worth of evidence and they give us a mouse fart’s worth of action and expect us to be enthused?!” (My son was in the room for the conversation – and has not let up on goading me about ‘mouse farts’ ever since). Daleiden has been kicked from pillar to post for his Homeric fortitude – fined several million dollars for daring to reveal the truth of what Planned Parenthood and its partners are doing. He could have used some aggressive help from the Justice Dept., but it never came, even though he gave them a mountain of evidence. It does not change the fact that the Trump administration was the most pro-life administration since Roe v Wade – but it also does not change the fact that when it came time to deliver, all the administration had was a mouse fart. If this was the best the most aggressive of the Republicans could do, we were truly too far gone without a major reset.
The inaction to serious crimes and provocations had huge consequences. When leftist Democrats saw that even when caught holding a bag full of smoking guns they would not be held to account, they mounted the most massive and brazen vote-fraud operation in American history – perhaps in world history – and now threaten anyone who dares even ask for an investigation. The once-noble Justice Department, FBI and intelligence agencies have gleefully and shamefully become a paramilitary arm of the Democratic National Committee – an American Gestapo.
In 2016, my assessment suggested that the Democrats stole 8 million votes. Their shock was that it was not enough. They were caught off guard by how firmly the country had rejected them. In 2020 it was Trump who was caught off guard by the magnitude and brazenness of the fraud. I was unnerved that his lawyers did not go and aggressively contest the unconstitutional change of election laws in swing states by courts and bureaucrats who had no authority to do so BEFORE the election. The Democrats were caught off guard, too, by the magnitude of Trump’s re-election victory (I estimated it at about 12 million votes), which is why they stopped the counting in so many swing states – to give themselves time to find out how much they would need and then to manufacture the votes. They were not worried about any consequences, having skated scot-free on a seditious coup, so Democrats colluded with corrupt election officials, supported by a recklessly and relentlessly partisan media, cowardly judges who refused to even look at the evidence, and weenie Republicans who just want to be counted among the cool kids. Having been so badly caught off guard, Trump’s team DID successfully offer overwhelming evidence of the fraud, but also sapped some of their credibility by flailing wildly instead of staying focused and disciplined.
I did not much mind that many people got over-enthused and even a bit credulous. We have been absolutely starving for someone to champion us and Trump has been a great champion…but of the sturdy American variety, not the flawless Homeric type of Greek legend.
I stand by my assertion that people who followed “Q” were MUCH better informed than those who only followed the establishment media, yet I never bought into it as a reliable analytical source. The thing that most disquieted me about it was the repeated exhortations to “trust the plan.” That suggested we should trust others to do for us what I have been certain God intends us to take full and individual responsibility for, ourselves. It was a subtle temptation, but a powerful temptation it was – and God had His use for that, too. Now a few who have been embittered by their disappointment are saying that “trust the plan” was always an analgesic to soothe everyone when nothing was happening – suggesting that Q, itself, was a Deep State plot. Others who won’t move on are claiming that all the dysfunction now is part of the secret plan and that “patriots are in charge.” I don’t believe either assertion.
Back when I was immersed in Illinois State politics, I knew a fellow who was a mini-Q for his time. The man was a gifted engineer: he built his own major firm and ended up designing a new O-ring for NASA after the Challenger explosion. He was a crusty, often bad-tempered old goat – and I loved him even during our many fights. He was the top conservative funder in the state – and he always lived what he preached and put his money where his mouth was. How could a guy like me not love a guy like that? He had a lot of inside connections, about the same as I did, though with many who were different than mine. He was passionate about reform in Illinois. For over two years, he would assure me every week that the feds had the goods on the targets of his ire and that indictments were coming next week. I always told him he was over-enthused and dramatically underestimated the institutional inertia of establishment forces. When, for the first time after several years he did not greet me by telling me of the indictments coming Monday, I asked him, with a wry smile, if he had given up on it. With a sad smile, he said he had not, but he had come to think I was probably right about his exuberant optimism. The indictments never came.
My friend, Jack Roeser, was working with good – but partial – information. He usually filled in the blanks with hopeful but debatable assumptions and always put the most optimistic analysis he possibly could on what he actually did know. He was right about a lot of it, but he was wrong about most of it. He so desperately wanted to believe that he ended up gaslighting himself into believing his own phantasms.
I think the Q phenomenon has been much the same. I suspect Q actually was on the periphery of the inside. He had a lot of good, but partial, information. He trusted that truth, justice and the American way would prevail, if not on its own accord, by the mystical qualities of Donald Trump. It was a form of magical thinking, but one irresistible to many genuine American patriots. I am not sure why, but engineers are counter-intuitively vulnerable to such thinking. I imagine it probably is because of the linear, schematic-like neatness of it. Engineers work with steel, copper, concrete, and silicon, all of which respond in predictable ways they can count on. The substances they work with never rise up and slap them in the face or stab them in the back. If they did, I suppose engineers would not be prone to being so sanguine about human behavior, which is always volatile and only marginally predictable.
That said, it has irritated me to hear the establishment constantly rail about the ‘conspiracy theories’ inherent to Q. In the meta sense Q quite nicely and accurately described the problems that beset government and modern culture. Where it failed was on some specific examples and in its prescription for how to right them. Followers of Q have a reality-based grasp of the problems besetting us, if a naive optimism on how they will be resolved. Besides, the establishment which not only believed but peddled the Russian Collusion Hoax as the chief jewel in their crown of conspiracies they insist we must believe as true – simply because they say so – has no business accusing anyone of being a conspiracy fabulist. It is like being called an anti-semite by an Iranian ayatollah. Physicians, heal thyselves before turning to others.
I imagine it must be a bit galling to hear a lecture on magical thinking from me, given that much of my own experience is grounded in what I believe to be mystical experience. Yet that can actually be quite helpful. I was seven years old when I realized that the mystical elements in my experience might well signify some mental disorder rather than inspiration. I did not discard such experiences, but developed a complex set of protocols and filters to subject them to in order to protect myself from spiraling into self-referential madness. I wanted to stay firmly grounded in reality, without rejecting a potentially valid divine call. Here are four filters I use that you might also want to adopt in these chaotic times to filter hard reality from the siren of wishful thinking:
- Is your theory internally coherent? In short, this simply means is it reasonably possible. Do the elements of the narrative contradict each other and are they reasonably consonant with objective and observable reality? On this metric, Q passed with flying colors. There was nothing internally incoherent about the information coming from the source that would disqualify it.
- Is your theory plausible? This just means is it likely, given the human condition and the past performance of the elements and institutions involved. It was on these grounds that I rejected Q as a reliable guide. Its premise required me to believe that whole squadrons of individuals who had previously been timid careerists had suddenly become focused, courageous and determined reformers. It never took into account the role of institutional inertia in advanced bureaucratic systems. To believe that a few had become determined reformers was plausible. To believe that they were having a significant effect and were growing required the evidence of successful actions – evidence that never amounted to more than revealing the depth of the rot in our system. It was possible, but not likely – and the constant use of the phrase “trust the plan” to excuse inaction did not reassure me. Real reform movements start from the ground up and grow. They almost never only build steam internally and then get imposed from the top down. The Q narrative was possible, but very unlikely – and the sequencing of events made it more unlikely rather than more likely.
- Is there hard, fact-based evidence for it? This means verifiable, objective data – not circular logic. On this score, Q did very well in describing the problems. It required, however, almost a total leap of faith in believing in its supposed solution. Again, always the mantra of “trust the plan” to excuse the inaction of officials and bureaucrats after the reality of specific corruption was adequately established. Once you have incontrovertible evidence of malfeasance in a particular area, it is time to act to root it out. The very act of doing so weakens the rest of malignant actors’ plans, making it easier to root it out entirely. I have never seen a successful strategy that reveals substantial misbehavior but does nothing about it, preferring to leave the whole cabal at full strength for one final confrontation. That is the stuff of action-adventure novels, not real life.
- Is it relevant to the problem at hand? I got particularly agitated by the many people who would cite subsection 2d of paragraph C of some obscure statute that would solve everything. The fundamental problem is that a substantial portion of our society and its officials have been shredding the Constitution, Declaration and Bill of Rights for at least three generations. Like a Sacrament, our founding documents are the visible signs of an invisible unity of values and purpose in the people of our society. When that invisible unity is gone, the documents are just antiquities. For most of my lifetime, the animating motive of left-wing jurists has not been to dispassionately apply the Constitution and the law to real-life circumstances; it has been to come up with plausible-sounding explanations for why the Constitution doesn’t mean what it actually says in order to justify the leftists’ preferred outcomes. When leftist officials and activists openly and gleefully defy the most basic tenets of American law, why would anyone think that citing some obscure passage is going to deter them? In the last week, I have had about 25 people send me the link to Mike Lindell’s proof that the election was stolen. While I am glad he and other are doing the work, in a larger context, my reply is, “So what?” I already knew the election was stolen. The Democrats know it, too – which is why they bragged about how they did it in Time Magazine last week. (Funny, though they believe in the steal, they are not counted as “domestic terrorists.” Only people who believe stealing an election is a bad thing are so counted). If we were still a Christian nation based in justice, proving that what you say is correct would be dispositive. Having adopted a culturally pagan ethos, only power is important now. This is why Time can boast openly of how the Deep State pulled it off.
It is good for the historical record to establish what the facts are – and to ground ourselves in truth. But the fundamental problem now is how to change the power equation. The left knows that they stole it. They don’t care. Our primary job is not to prove to them the truth they already know, but to force the consequences of their deception onto them in a way that changes the power equation – and causes at least some of them to repent and convert.
Establish firmly in your mind that your audience is God. People are going to scream and holler at you whatever position you take – and many who have already given themselves over to the evil they think is triumphant will persecute you. That comes with the territory. You can’t always be right, but you can endeavor to act in a way that maintains your integrity before God – particularly if you keep in mind that He is your primary audience.
I have been dismayed to see some conservatives busily condemn others for holding the same positions that they, themselves, held a month ago. This is an effort to both protect themselves from persecution and to deceive people into thinking they never held now-condemned positions themselves. They may fool some people (though not as many as they think – shallow people always overestimate their own cleverness), but God is not mocked. He knows – and he knows that they are not clever, but unreliable twerps not suited for His service.
Walk in your own integrity before God. When you err, which you will, acknowledge it, correct it, and go forward. On those things that are matters of fundamental justice, fight for them effectively and tirelessly (do not think pointless displays of futile rage are fighting effectively). On those matters that are legitimately a matter of conscience, respect the decisions of others who come to a different conclusion than you do. Always remember that God is your primary audience – and He is not deceived.
We are in hard times with harder times to come. When Joe Biden said that his inauguration was the beginning of a long, cold winter in America, he was telling the plain truth. We have become like Narnia under the witch – always winter and never Christmas. You cannot always be right, though you can always choose the most right thing you can think of – taking full responsibility before God and before your peers when you err, without giving up the noble quest God has launched you on. You cannot know whether your opponent is going to hit you with his left fist or his right – or maybe with a sweeping kick. The battle is not scripted nor choreographed. The opponent has free will as well as you do. You can know the nature of the battle you are in and endeavor to be strong and nimble so as to react quickly and effectively to all offenses. The battle is in God’s hands and you are His servants. Act always with the knowledge foremost in your mind that He is your primary audience.