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Conservative Christians may risk persecution in an age of ‘Big Tech’ and ‘Woke Capitalism’

Today is an enigmatic time for conservative Christians in America and indeed throughout the Western world. Earlier President Trump expressed his concerns in August 2019 about the bias of social media platforms and search engines such as Google against conservatives and Christians. The President hinted that regulatory oversight maybe warranted to impact how they moderate their platforms and interact with those who hold views contrary to the liberal Big Tech elite.

John Nolte of Breitbart recently reported “Chick-fil-A is not even hiding the fact it is selling out its faith for a buck, choosing money over Christianity.” Formerly at the behest of its now deceased founder Truett Cathy, the restaurant chain enjoyed the goodwill of Christian Americans for the practice of closing on Sunday, the traditional Christian sabbath, allowing his workers the opportunity for religious observance. The restaurant also financially supported a number of Christian charities, but recently relented support for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes under pressure from progressive activists.

Matthew Continetti of the American Enterprise Institute penned an insightful article entitled: “Woke capitalism is a sign of things to come.” Therein Continetti offers a persuasive polemic against a phenomenon dubbed “woke capitalism” that may loosely be defined as the efforts of major corporations to subordinate their business interests to furtherance of progressive social engineering agendas. From Facebook to Google to NBA to Nike, all of these businesses sing hosannas to “social justice” and woke “progressive ideology.” Make no mistake, these businesses have hypocritically issued threatening letters holding state legislatures hostage under the threat of economic blackmail dictating their desired social agendas, all the while they hypocritically submit to the dictates of Red China’s Communist Party government in shaping their corporate policies around the totalitarian dictatorship’s desired-for political correctness. In the case of Big Tech, they even help secure Red China’s state policies of censorship, and then go to lengths to defend their actions. As Matthew Continetti notes, “Given the cultural power of the new progressivism, protests from conservatives weigh little in the balance.”

As an American, I enjoy freedoms protected by the Bill of Rights, such as freedom of speech and religion. In Europe at the behest of Democratic Socialists and Labour Parties, they’ve introduced in essence what amounts to Thought Crimes. People can be prosecuted and jailed for instance for homeschooling their children or evangelizing on an open street, and sharing the Christian Gospel. In the United States, we’re posed with the very geniune risk that as a deepening culture of political correctness ensues, individuals in this malaise will be susceptible to retaliation and conformist corporate culture about views held in their private lives. The government itself as onerous as it can be at times may not be the primary purveyor of this abuse, but rather private corporations. I have decided not to compartmentalize my traditional conservatism nor faith in Christianity, but embrace a degree of transparency. I also consciously avoid living in the vicinity of hardcore liberal enclaves such as Austin, Boston, Chicago, Raleigh-Durham, San Francisco, or Seattle. I believe I can articulate and defend my faith in apologetic, persuasive and conciliatory terms (2 Timothy 2:24-25). Much the same can be said of my politics. My business persona doesn’t go out of its way to reference my private Christian faith and conservative views in business on any regular basis, nor do I go out of my way to scrub my private life and omit reference to my faith either. My concern at work is work. I am a Christian foremost, and an American in my national allegiance, and a traditional conservative. I typically find consolation when working with or for conservative Christians.

But I fear the future of a conformist corporate culture that starts to make demands and impositions upon people’s private lives while impugning my pro-life traditional Christian views, my faith, and my patriotism as an American. I just have to grin and bear the future. But I do so without much in the way of optimism for the future. Much of the current events worries me about the emergence of the global anti-culture, and overbearing political correctness afflicting the Christian Church, the United States of America, and the West today.

The thesis of Huntington’s The Clash of Civilizations is coming to ripe fruition in the twenty-first century

“People define themselves in terms of ancestry, religion, language, history, values, customs, and institutions. They identify with cultural groups: tribes, ethnic groups, religious communities, nations, and, at the broadest level, civilizations. People use politics not just to advance their interests but also to define their identity. We know who we are only when we know who we are not and often only when we know whom we are against.”
―Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order

The thesis of Huntington’s The Clash of Civilizations is coming to ripe fruition in the twenty-first century. The controversial hypothesis is finding practical vindication in the unfolding of geopolitical events and the cultural-political milieu of the twenty-first century. For the reason that creed and tribe remain the fulcrum and pivot point of geopolitical conflict and provide a solid foundation for understanding international relations.

The future of geopolitics was presciently foretold in Samuel Huntington’s The Clash of Civilizations in 1993. Therein he posited that the geopolitical conflict will be between rival civilizations, which were the fault-lines and fissures of geopolitical conflict in the world. At the close of his original article, “The Clash of Civilizations?”, which foreshadowed his research in his subsequent book, Huntington writes, “This is not to advocate the desirability of conflicts between civilizations. It is to set forth descriptive hypothesis as to what the future may be like.”

There’s a vital nuance I would add to the hypothesis though based on current events: the secular West is now a rival to the remnants of the Christian West, and it is arguably more formidable than the threat from Islam. The ingrained conflict manifest by Christendom with secular progressivedom with its myriad obsessions such as LGBT ideology and New Atheism are on-going, and could seriously prove fatally injurious to the West. The Christians of Christendom will endure much persecution as a pincer movement engulfs them as radical militant secularists and radical Islam circle them like sharks looking for blood. They threaten to coercively displace, and subjugate the remnants of Christian culture where it exists, particularly in Europe. Because of arbitrary thought crime laws, Christians cannot proclaim the truth of their faith and that homosexuality is immoral. Huntington implicitly posited that secular Westerners and Christians could somehow be at peace amongst one another. But new development is occurring. As the staff of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute wrote, “Today Christians face something that behaves much more like Islam. It is a rising empire of aggressive secularism, with a deep historical grudge against our faith. Gay activists, New Atheists, radical feminists, population controllers, multiculturalists, and other powerful interest groups see orthodox Christianity as their enemy. We once wielded power throughout the culture as they lived on the margins, and now they are looking for payback. They will know where to find us. Subjecting faithful Christian churches to a crushing, punitive tax is just the beginning. Think of it as the jizya.”

The militant progressive secularists advance a conceptual polis (πόλις) like that of the classical Hellenic and Roman civilization with a recognizable trait being that there is no distinction between society and state. Increasingly beleaguered Christian minority has no autonomy to safely practice its faith without feeling encroachments and diminution of the free exercise of religion by this secular anti-culture. There’s no freedom to home-school, and it cannot uphold its values in a rabidly secular West without persecution and loss of cultural, familial, and social cohesion; the very existence of an orthodox Christianity threatened in many countries. This has been the case in Benelux countries, Britain, France, Germany, and Sweden as the secular state has forced a militant secular humanistic progressive indoctrination upon the host population. Orphan children are abandoned by a predatory secular state to homosexual couples to de-christianize and corrupt them. To the true Christian, an upbringing by wild wolves maybe preferable. Public schools, the secular academy, and mass-media are a reinforcement mechanism that perpetuates radical secular progressive ideology. This ideology then insinuates its way into the church, corrupting it from within—divesting it of its integrity and fealty to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This has been manifest by the degradation wrought by the mainline liberal churches to the integrity of historic Christian orthodoxy, such as the perception of traditional cultural and moral norms, gender relations, and sexuality. The secularists have effected what Aristotle would dub “a revolution within forms,” where a veneer of Christianity exists in these liberal mainline communions, but the substance of Christian moral teachings are fundamentally swept away for a counterfeit.

Politics of the Round Table

“The gap between medieval Christianity’s ruling principle and everyday life is the great pitfall of the Middle Ages. It is the problem that runs through Gibbon’s history, which he dealt with by a delicately malicious levity, pricking at every turn what seemed to him the hypocrisy of the Christian ideal as opposed to natural human functioning. . . . ¶Chivalry, the dominant idea of the ruling class, left as great a gap between ideal and practice as religion. The ideal was a vision of order maintained by the warrior class and formulated in the image of the Round Table, nature’s perfect shape. King Arthur’s knights adventured for the right against dragons, enchanters, and wicked men, establishing order in a wild world. So their living counterparts were supposed, in theory, to serve as defenders of the Faith, upholders of justice, champions of the oppressed. In practice, they were themselves the oppressors, and by the 14th century the violence and lawlessness of men of the sword had become a major agency of disorder. When the gap between ideal and real becomes too wide, the system breaks down. Legend and story have always reflected this; in the Arthurian romances the Round Table is shattered from within. The sword is returned to the lake; the effort begins anew. Violent, destructive, greedy, fallible as he may be, man retains his vision of order and resumes his search.”
—Barbara Tuchman, A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous
14th Century

The Survival of the United States are integral to the survival of Western Civilization

“The survival of the West depends on Americans reaffirming their Western identity and Westerners accepting their civilization as unique not universal and uniting to renew and preserve it against challenges from non-Western societies.”

―Samuel Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order

      Europe is at a crossroads and it is dying culturally and spiritually. Christianity has fallen on hard times in Europe as militant secularism abound. The loss of Western identity and confidence has lead to acceptance of multiculturalism and runaway immigration from the Islamic world, and of Third World nations. A great burden now rests upon the United States of America to become the preservative of Western identity and Western Civilization itself. To do this, Americans must of necessity become more consciously pro-Western Civilization, and have a sense of rootedness in the West. The ideology of global market idolatry are often antithetical to these goals. For Americans to cultivate a deeper sense of rootedness in the West requires that we obtain: a profound sense of who we are, a greater sense of where we came from, and a confident sense of where we’re going as a civilization. As Edmund Burke said, “People will not look forward to posterity who do not look backwards to ancestors.”

Roger Scruton – “The Future of European Civilization: Lessons for America”

The sacrosanct character of labor and industry

      Historically Christendom ascribed a certain nobility of character to man’s exercise of work and vocation, equating the diligence attendant to work, and vocation with essential character formation. Though toil was part of the original curse upon man after his fall referenced in Genesis 3:9, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return,” work sanctified under the Cross of Christ gave man a sense of purpose and rootedness in this temporal age, and strengthened his connection to his fellow man. The Apostle Paul admonished believers in Colossae, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:23-24). The revealed divine revelation of the Holy Scriptures instructs us that all Christians are ultimately working for the Lord God, as the Apostle Paul wrote, “whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.”

―Ecclesiastes 9:10

“For Medieval craftsmen, work was an act of piety and was sanctified in their own eyes as in the eyes of their God. For such labourers, end and means are one and he spiritual wholeness of faith is translated into the visual wholeness and purify of their craft. hence their craft was also art, a permanent testimony to the reality on earth of humanity’s spiritual redemption.”

―Roger Scruton, Conservatism: An Invitation to the Great Tradition

On the futility of third party activism in the United States

Trump 2020 campaign advertisement, updated 9/10/2020

I am de facto a Republican and a conservative. I have through the years expressed much disdain with what an imperfect vehicle, the Grand Old Party, is in American politics. When the party was founded in the 1860s, the GOP party ringleaders marched through my home state, the Commonwealth of Virginia, plundering, pillaging, and setting fire to its domiciles and farms. History’s irony is that that the party of such anti-republican nationalism carries the name republican. I have often made the Republican Party an object of derision as much as the corrupt, machine-ridden Democratic Party, if not more so. So why muster an objection to third parties? Simply put, the present-day cultural crisis, presented by the secular élites of the Democratic Party intelligentsia fundamentally threaten the American way of life with their agenda of abortion-on-demand, crass cosmopolitanism, globalism, identity politics, mass-Third World immigration, open borders, and their politics of dispossession that regards Americans as interchangeable cogs with every alien with a bleeding heart story that happens to wash up on the shores of these United States.

      James Burnham offered some practical wisdom in The Machiavellians. Burnham writes, “It is the habit of utopians, of those who, like Dante, interpret politics as a wish, not of scientists, to confuse their desires with what is going to happen.” This is why I won’t waste time with third party activism, such as the Constitution Party and the Libertarian Party, which I flirted with in my youth, between periods of non-participation, alienation, and apathy. When I was a youthful, idealistic teenager, I had the luxury of such naïvety. I understand the purpose of politics now. That the Republican Party’s legislators often deviate from constitutional norms and are apt to reflect poor policy prerogatives are granted. (The Democrats are far worse!) Yet it doesn’t change the fact the political Left needs a viable political opposition from the Right. Moreover, the Democratic Party and the political Left need opposition to thwart their aims and goals, as it stands athwart my cherished values about Christianity, conservatism, and the Constitution. Voting on the basis of idealism served up by third parties aimed at protecting the Constitution or Liberty is nothing more than politics based on idealized wish fulfillment. This course of action ignores the imperative need to protect the polity, and embrace the vote as a practical expedient to thwart Democratic Party ascendancy to power given their numerical preponderance and relative unity. As James Burnham posited:

The Machiavellians are the only ones who have told us the full truth about power. . . the primary object, in practice, of all rulers is to serve their own interest, to maintain their own power and privilege. . . No theory, no promises, no morality, no amount of good will, no religion will restrain power. Neither priests nor soldiers, neither labor leaders nor businessmen, neither bureaucrats nor feudal lords will differ from each other in the basic use which they will seek to make of power […] Only power restrains power. That restraining power is expressed in the existence and activity of oppositions. […] When all opposition is destroyed, there is no longer any limit to what power may do. A despotism, any kind of despotism, can be benevolent only by accident.

James Burnham, The Machiavellians: Defenders of Freedom (Chicago, IL: Henry Regnery Co., 1963), 246-47.

      The Yellowstone television series on Paramount Network is telling enough. There the son of John Dutton, the Montana rancher, who owns a multi-generational ranch the size of Rhode Island, declares that the landed free-holder interest, in essence, is superior to the urban interests; therefore, it must assert itself to protect its families, farms, and way of life against “hope and change.” Jamie declares:

You know, I gotta be honest with you. I’m not an idealist. I don’t want you to think my goal is changing the world. [My goal is] power. I want more. [My goal is to] protect my family and families like it, (and) stop the hemorrhaging of Montana’s resources to other states. My goal is the opposite of change.

      As Thomas Jefferson said, “The mobs of great cities add just so much to the support of pure government, as sores do to the strength of the human body.” Hence today as the Democratic Party’s base is largely reduced to urban constituencies — the combination of the welfare underclass, first-generation immigrants from abroad, and the limousine liberals in media, government, finance, investment banks, and state-connected oligopolies — and they generally stand athwart the values and interests of the ‘Great American Middle,’ and accordingly they justify a viable political opposition to stand athwart their machinations.

      A comparable analogy can be found in the dichotomy presented in Cato’s Letters by Gordon and Trenchard of the Court Party and the Country Party. Earlier Henry St John, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke posited the need for a systematic parliamentary opposition to the established “court party.” The court party concerned itself with surrounding the halls of political power, finance, and partaking of political patronage and spoils of “the court” and often tended towards the corruption of the polity. Such an opposition Bolingbroke dubbed “the country party” which stood opposed to “the court party.” Liberty (and by implication, the traditional liberties of a polity’s constitution) could only be safeguarded by an opposition party that used “constitutional methods and a legal course of opposition to the excesses of legal and ministerial power. . .” Bolingbroke instructed the opposition party to “Wrest the power of government, if you can, out of the hands that employed it weakly and wickedly.” This work could be done only by a homogeneous party “. . . because such a party alone will submit to a drudgery of this kind.” It did not suffice to be eager to speak, keen to act. “They who affect to head an opposition, . . . , must be equal, at least, to those whom they oppose. . .” Today the Republican Party is the object of derision of the liberal mass-media for being a “white party,” yet it innately belongs to the original founding stock among Americans to identify with “the Country Party.” As Iowa Congressman, Steve King stated, “Culture and demographics are our destiny. We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.” It takes a fertility rate of 2.1 children per household to sustain a culture at a replacement level.

      John Jay noted how cultural homogeneity lends stability to civil society in Federalist No. 2: “With equal pleasure, I have as often taken notice that Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people—a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs, and who, by their joint counsels, arms, and efforts, fighting side by side throughout a long and bloody war, have nobly established general liberty and independence. This country and this people seem to have been made for each other, and it appears as if it was the design of Providence, that an inheritance so proper and convenient for a band of brethren, united to each other by the strongest ties, should never be split into a number of unsocial, jealous, and alien sovereignties.” The “the country party” is a throwback to the stabilizing elements manifest in the original America, and its also the cultural core of the American middle class. Americans in the ‘Great American Middle’ have a cultural and economic interest in putting the brakes on mass-Third World immigration, and they need to understand that culture, historical experience, and their economic and political interests all align to this end.

     

U.S. Senator Hawley on ‘Restoring the Great American Middle’ and ‘the New Politics of National Renewal.’

      U.S. Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri has the leadership acumen to succeed Donald J. Trump as the President of the United States. Yet he’s the youngest current U.S. Senator to take office at age thirty-nine after running a spirited political campaign. Hawley is a conservative of the heart, imbued by the populist spirit of the Trump campaign, and possessed of considerable fealty to working-class Americans in the “Great American Middle.” As a practical matter, Hawley — as a political statesman — may in the long-run be a worthy successor of the populist nationalism of Donald J. Trump. Hawley has the prescience to diagnose the profound social crisis of our time, the vision to articulate the basis for reform with “the new politics of national renewal.” Hawley possesses the political capital and wherewithal to carry the imperative of needed conservative reform forward.

      Consider his recent op-ed article published in The American Conservative, entitled “Restoring the Great American Middle.” Herein U.S. Senator Josh Hawley articulates a spirited populism that fits the mood of the Republican political base that has been galvanized to action by the campaign themes of “Make America Great Again.” He acknowledges that there’s something deeply flawed about the status quo and he points to the time-honored values of a both recent and distant past whereby Americans were drawn together. This nostalgic past was animated a spirit of amity and patriotism, adherence to Christian moral norms as the societal standard, a profound sense of rootedness in one’s local community, and a willingness to cherish strong traditional patriarchal families.

      Hawley opens by pronouncing the predicament of modern America, declaring boldly: “We are in crisis—a loss of respect and work, the decline of home and family, an epidemic of loneliness and despair.” Hawley sees this predicament as profound in its consequences.

      Though educated at both Yale and Stanford, Hawley appears imbued by a sense of noblesse oblige, the notion that the well-to-do must possess a sense of duty and social obligation to those who are less fortunate. What separates him from the elites is that Hawley identifies with the values of “the Great American Middle,” which constitutes the middle/working class that powers the economic engine of the United States. He opens by declaring, in part:

I grew up in a small place in the middle of Missouri, a town called Lexington that sits atop the bluffs of the Missouri River along old Highway 13. It’s a simple place, but a proud one. Union and Confederate soldiers clashed there early in the Civil War, and the town cherishes that memory, proud to have mattered in the nation’s history. People there believe they matter still, that their way of life represents something valuable to America. 

      Having identified with small-town America, Hawley connects his native Lexington, Missouri to the rugged pioneering spirit of hard work and family values that built the United States from its impetus:

These are the people who explored a continent, who built the railroads, who opened the West. These are the workers whose labor launched the Industrial Revolution and whose ingenuity made the American economy the marvel of the world. These are the families that have rallied to this country’s flag at every hour of danger, and who shoulder the burden of defending our nation even now.  

      Hawley proceeds to identify a social crisis emanating from American civil society’s retreat from the values and spirit of “the Great American Middle,” in declaring, “But the great middle who made this country hasn’t been respected by its leadership class for too long.” Here indifferent elites and their policy prerogatives are rightly correlated with the contemporary despondency and dissolution of the stability of “the Great American middle.”

      Hawley sounds a trumpet blast of opposition to indifferent elites: “For decades, the ruling elite who controls the country’s commanding heights—the media, academia, Hollywood, and of course government—have embraced priorities starkly at odds with the values and needs of the American middle.” Herein he points out the elite opposition to the traditional nation-state, casts derision upon their aversion to populist economic nationalism, and Hawley highlights elite rejection of Christian religious values in favor of “skepticism,” and surmises their preference for radical social engineering agendas over the spirit of strong local communities: “They favor globalism over national solidarity; social change over community; skepticism over faith.”

      Hawley’s prognosis is reality-based:

“Washington has followed their lead, avidly promoting a politics of elite values and elite ambition. For thirty years or more, the policies of both parties have favored the wealthy and the well-educated who live in our mega-cities, and those who aspire to join them. But if your ambition is not to start a tech company but to work in the family business, to serve not on a corporate board but with the local PTA, Washington tells you that you don’t matter and you’re on your own.”    

      All of this is deemed problematic, and the solution rests not with the customary indifference to the middle, but recognizing the profound role of bad public policy in effecting such economic, political, and social outcomes by perverting incentives, negating stability, rewarding failure, punishing success, subsidizing immorality, and diminishing opportunity.

      (Incidentally, one Major League problem that the Republican Party has faced in modern times is the stereotype (somewhat emanating from reality) that the leadership of the political party is simply apt to reflect the economic interests of the wealthy and affluent who are often out-of-touch with the American middle, if not actually indifferent to their interests. Romney embodied the stereotype of an indifferent, out-of-touch Richie Rich Republican who lacks the character to look out for “the Great American Middle,” whether during his days as an investment banker at Bain Capital or while playing the politician. The message of these Romney Republicans are inevitably at odds with the articulation and understanding of the social crisis of our age in Hawley’s op-ed “Restoring the Great American Middle.”)

      For Hawley, “the Great American Middle” is the bastion of America’s original success. Dormant within it are the values needed for effecting America’s renewal — all manifest in cultural, economic, political, and spiritual terms. Hawley notes that America’s success historically depends on the stability and prosperity of “the. . . Middle”: “Our broad and popular democracy depends on the American middle. Without it, we decline toward hierarchy, oligarchy, and the rule of the elites. That decline is already well underway.”

      Hawley stands athwart his Republican contemporaries inside the D.C. Beltway who forever identify the interests of the rich and powerful with the American middle class by default. Make no mistake, the Trump campaign was a success in large part because it articulated a message that resonated with “the Great American Middle” in its frustration with Richie Rich Republican elites no less than the limousine liberals, progressive social engineers and Marxist radicals of the Democratic Party.

      Hawley notes by implication that much of the nation’s recent economic growth is channeled into the coffers of America’s elite class, but seldom translates into a rising quality of life, and increased earnings for “the Great American Middle” who are left to grow more despondent, suicidal, unstable, and economically insecure year-over-year. “This economy was made by the people who profit most from it, our leadership class of C-Suite executives, big banks, big tech, and D.C. policymakers.” During the financial deregulation of the 1990s that led to the financial sector meltdown of the 2000s, incentives were in place for CEOs to pilfer their companies by running up debt in order to inflate short-term stock appreciation, and buoy their executive compensation bonuses at the expense of their shareholders, the long-term financial stability of their companies, and the macroeconomic stability of a nation. We see the persistence of this problem in stock buybacks that accompany the Federal Reserve’s loose monetary policy; and all of the monetary expansion is channeled into the coffers of the rich who have near zero-interest rates, while the middle class is allowed to languish with diminished earning power amid rising food, energy, and health care costs. American founding father, Gouverneur Morris observed, “The rich will strive to establish their dominion and enslave the rest. They always did. . . they always will. They will have the same effect here as elsewhere, if we do not, by the power of government, keep them in their proper spheres.” It belongs to we, the people to bridle the influence of these indifferent elites with: (a.) their Social Darwinistic sink-or-swim neo-liberal economics, (b.) their policy preferences that esteem illegal aliens over citizens, (c.) degenerate Hollywood values that have diminished the greatness of our nation and the morality of our people, and (d.) socioeconomic policies that have sapped the vitality of “the Great American Middle” of which Senator Hawley speaks.

      Hawley’s elucidation upon the perilous consequences of Washington elites is worth quoting at length:

But in places like the one where I grew up, the good-paying jobs are moving overseas or south of the border or maybe to cities on the coasts. And once-vibrant towns decline, taking with them the network of neighborhoods, schools, and churches foundational to middle class life. ¶ The crisis is as much social as economic. The American middle is battling an epidemic of loneliness and despair. Fewer young people are getting married or starting families. Drug addiction is surging. The opioid menace has ravaged every sector, every age group, every geography of working people. 
¶And everywhere, deaths of despair are mounting—among farmers, among soldiers, most shockingly, among the young. The young are the hope of our society, but in America today they are choosing to take their own lives in alarming numbers: for teenage girls, the suicide rate doubled between 2007 and 2015. The leadership class frequently notes that our nation has never been richer, but the tragedy of youth suicide betrays a profound poverty of hope.

      Hawley highlights the alienation and despondency of America’s youth. His bleak prognosis and penetrating concluding analysis notes: “The sum of it all is that too many Americans are losing their standing as citizens.” We see this manifest in the Democratic Party’s proclivity for advancing the interest of illegal aliens at the expense of “the Great American Middle” and “citizens” in general. “They are losing their voice in the life of this nation.” We see this in the prevailing voter fraud and the voting patterns of recent, left-leaning naturalized immigrants who are frequently at odds with America’s cultural core. “And that means they are losing their liberty.”

Because being a free person—being an American—isn’t just about what you can buy. It’s about the pride that comes in supporting your family; it’s about contributing to your community; it’s about looking a neighbor in the eye and knowing you’re his equal. ¶It’s about respect. And too many Americans aren’t getting it.”

      Cosmopolitan globalist elites have no respect for “the Great American Middle,” and they’re actually hostile to it. This has been manifest in the imprudent remarks of misnamed so-called ‘conservatives’ like David French of the National Review and Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard who profess the wish that the ‘white trash’-working-class would simply die off, and be replaced by some mythical hard-working immigrants. Yet the statistical reality is that nearly two-thirds of immigrants are here for the welfare programs.* Money spent on illegal aliens displaces social capital available for our own citizens. As Hawley notes, this has been the result of the conscious political choices of indifferent elites. Now is the political hour for a populist political leadership to do its part to sweep away the influence of these indifferent Romney Republicans who represent the interests of the elites at the expense of “the Great American Middle” in an asymmetrical fashion. Hawley rejects the neo-liberal economic orthodoxy so popular with elites. “The leadership class tells us that all of this is the result of forces beyond anyone’s control. That’s a convenient excuse, but a false one.”

      Indeed as Polayni quipped “laissez-faire was planned,” and the abandonment of the American middle class to the unfettered, unregulated, cowboy capitalism of the neo-liberal, globalists, which was the product of conscious political choices, and it has profound implications for the economy it creates, and there are certain aspects of this global capitalism that are profoundly negative as it pulls apart families into atomistic particles. The detached individual in this malaise simply cannot cope with life alone absent the historical support structures of the intermediary institutions between the individual and the state — what Burke referred to as “the little platoons” and Alexis de Tocqueville dubbed “corps intermédiaires.”

      Hawley dismembers the alibi of the elite in attributing the present social crisis, that they sparingly acknowledge, to elite policies: “In fact, today’s economy and today’s culture reflect the deliberate choices of the elite.” Allowing illegal alien invasion was a choice: “Opening our borders to a massive influx of low and unskilled labor was a choice.” Advancing globalist neo-liberal policies that set off the implosion of America’s manufacturing base and high-wage jobs disappeared was a choice: “Incentivizing multinational firms to move production overseas was a choice.” Acting as though an Information Economy can replace an economy whose foundation of productivity relies upon the manufacture of actual tangible goods was a choice: “Favoring social media giants over domestic manufacturing was a choice. Each of these choices was opposed by our middle class. And in each instance, the elites didn’t care . . .” Hawley calls out the elites for their callous and conscious indifference. “The legacy of these [elite] choices is clear to see: national division and national decline.” The elites are culpable for the American decline, and they aggrandize themselves financially and politically in asymmetrical fashion at the expense of “the Great American Middle.” “It is time we made different choices to benefit different people, the people who actually sustain this country, the American middle,” notes Hawley in a spirit of determination to buck the bleak present trends.

      Today it belongs to “the Great American Middle” to replace our current elites with a class of populist statesmen like Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri. Hawley has called for “the new politics of national renewal.” He notes, “We must begin by rejecting old orthodoxies—unfettered trade at any cost; a permissive immigration system; a tax code that favors corporate tax shelters and corporate offshoring; economic policy that rewards concentration—and put American workers first.”

      Hawley’s economic vision is one rooted in the euphemism “America First,” as he articulates the ideal “new politics” with breathtaking clarity: “That means we must think more carefully about what economic success looks like. GDP growth is important, but it cannot be the sole measure of this nation’s greatness. So it cannot be the only aim of this nation’s policy.” We cannot continue to countenance policy that aggrandizes the rich and powerful, while the middle languishes and is hollowed out. Hawley declares, “For our purpose is not to make a few people wealthy, but to sustain a great democracy. That means sustaining the workers and families who make democracy possible. And for that, we need not just a bigger economy, but a better one.”

      Returning to his theme of worker solidarity, he notes, “We need a labor market that offers dignified, rewarding work to every worker who wants it, wherever they are from, whatever degree they have, whether their ambition is to start a business or simply to start a family.” Josh stresses the importance of encouraging “business investment in workers rather than capital hoarding,” which “will drive new opportunities to the towns and neighborhoods of the American middle class.” Hawley invokes the spirit of Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, as he notes that “neglect” must yield to efforts to “strengthen the associations that give working Americans control over their lives: neighborhood councils, schools, churches, and co-ops.”   

      Hawley stresses pro-natalist policies encouraging the procreation of strong, traditional families, and he notes the need of public policy that: “prioritizes strong marriages and strong families, where children know their parents and are nurtured by their love. That means parents and families should be rewarded and prioritized by our tax code. . .”

      Hawley closes with a clarion call for Americans to possess “a better understanding of liberty.” Taking aiming at the libertarian ferment that reduces liberty’s calculus to the decisions of autonomous cogs in the machine, Josh Hawley prudently surmises, “For in the end, liberty is more than selling or buying or the right to be left alone. It’s the ability to have a say, to have a stake, and together, to set the course of our own history. That is the promise of our founding revolution, and that is the promise we must renew for this day.”

      These “new politics of national renewal” are exactly what the United States needs. We should expect more leadership from Senator Josh Hawley, and get behind his presidential aspirations to run for the White House. If Hawley hasn’t proposed running for the presidency, someone should suggest it.

 

From Plato to NATO: The Idea of the West and Its Opponents by David Gress

From Plato to Nato: The Idea of the West and Its Opponents
From Plato to Nato: The Idea of the West and Its Opponents by David Gress

    The Grand Narrative popularized by historian Will Durant in The Story of Civilization teaches that the idea of freedom and democracy was born in ancient Greece, nurtured by Roman civility, law, and order, and brought to modern fruition by the Anglo-Scottish-French Enlightenment. David Gress challenges the Grand Narrative which reduces history to fit modern liberal sentiments, and instead recognizes as Montesquieu did that the Western concept of “liberty was born in the forests of Germany” (p. 183). The modern West was born in the vestiges of Charlemagne’s empire, spread chiefly at the behest of the British, Dutch, French, Portuguese, and Spanish.

    In this video on C-SPAN, David Gress talked about his sweeping intellectual history, From Plato to NATO, which examine the rise of “the West” as one of the most potent cultural and political forces in human history. After his remarks, Gress proceeded to answer questions from the audience.

https://www.c-span.org/video/?119969-1/from-plato-nato

Ernesto Araújo’s “Trump and the West”

    Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro rode a populist wave of nationalist fervor into elected office in Brazil, and thereafter appointed Ernesto Araújo to be his Foreign Minister. Araújo is a career diplomat, and the author of an erudite article, entitled simply “Trump and the West,” first published in 2017, which provides a comprehensive cultural, historical, philosophical, and political framework of the insurgent populist nationalism that is rising throughout the Western world. The elected U.S. President Donald Trump is most emblematic of this vision of the West. Araújo’s exposition is a clarion call for the men of the West to stand athwart “cultural Marxism,” and by implication liberalism and postmodernism. Ernesto Araújo astutely lauds the leadership of President Trump, whose brinksmanship aims to defend Western Christian societies from the twin perils of Islam and global cultural Marxism. Ernesto marshals a bountiful corpus of intellectual ammunition in defense of the West, and presents Donald J. Trump as the perennial statesman of our age, as he is highly attuned to the populist, nationalist spirit of the modern West.

Ernesto Fraga Araújo
Ernesto Fraga Araújo is a defender of Donald J. Trump, and presents Trump as the expositor of a coherent Western world-view that is a necessary antidote to the postmodernism and liberalism of the anti-Western intellectuals that function as sappers in a mine, and dominating the academy, mass-media, and rival left-wing parties.

     In Araújo’s learned judgment, neither military weapons nor terrorism presents the greatest threat to the West today, rather it’s more of an issue of the ability to preserve and sustain Western culture and identity itself, as Ernesto argues that “the real huge danger is the disappearance of Western identity itself.” He sees Donald Trump as a vanguard of an intellectual-political movement that is vitally requisite to defend Western Civilization, and by clear implication, Trump is apt to possess a comparable philosophy to that articulated by Ernesto Araújo himself. “This vision of the West does not mean conflict with non-Westerners,” Araújo observes in writing of Donald J. Trump. More to the point, “the enemy of the West is not Russia or China, nor is it an enemy state, but indeed primarily an enemy within, abandoning one’s own identity; and an outside enemy, radical Islamism – which, meanwhile, plays second fiddle to the first, because Islamism only poses a threat because it finds the West spiritually weak and disconnected from itself. There is no ‘us-versus-them logic’ here, contrary to what Trump’s detractors are fond of saying. There is instead an ‘us seeking to reclaim ourselves’ logic.” To this end, Araújo appears to the heroic men of the West, and the symbolism embodied in the historical struggles of the western Greeks against the tyrannical Persians from the orient, as well as the United States and the free world standing athwart the collectivism of the Soviet Union. “Patriotism,” observes Araújo,  “is therefore part of the very essence of the West. It was not the brainchild of philosophers; it was felt by men facing the risk of death. . .”

     The West also needs its heroes. To Araújo, Donald J. Trump is among the heroes of our time. “The West was born at Salamis, but not only in the battle itself strictly speaking, but also, and most of all, in the literary transposition Aeschylus gave it. The West was thus born with a dimension of self-reflection. It was born not only as a fact, but as a literary work of a conscious history building – Greek tragedy is where myth merges with history.” Postmodernism in contrast attacks the notion of heroes as but another cult of Western imperial ego. Yet Araújo recognizes that heroes inspire men to lay hold of greatness, and heroes articulate and communicate ideas, and in the case of Donald J. Trump, it’s an idea of the West worth defending, which aids in the survival of the West. This noble myth is necessary and frankly truthful as it reflects the culture, history, and peoples of the West much more so than the ideological radicalism of socialists and post-modernists who seek to wipe the slate clean and start the world anew.

Click here to read an English-language translation of “Trump and the West” by Ernesto Araújo.

Genesis

      This represents a new beginning but is certainly not my first attempt at blogging. It is a place where I want to articulate myself with my own voice. It’s a voice not beholden to the cultural and political correctness of our day, as I am a champion of the Christian West.

“Among the greatest challenges facing humanity is the ability to survive progress.” 
―Patrick J. Deneen, Why Liberalism Failed