What Do We Do Now?

by Norbert J. Kuk

As a people, we’ve probably blown our liberty-guarding assignment of keeping eternal vigilance. Here’s how Mark Steyn put it in his 2011 book After America:

Liberty cannot survive if only a few are eternally vigilant…We took our eyes off the colleges, and the high schools, and the grade schools, and these and many other institutions were coopted by forces deeply hostile to the American idea. So…[c}hanging the culture (the schools, the churches, the movies, the TV shows) is more important than changing the politics. An election is one Tuesday every other November. The culture is every day, every month, every year…Like Milton Friedman [said], don’t wait for the right people to get elected; create the conditions whereby the wrong people are forced to do the right thing.

That was close to ten years ago. What’s the situation in 2020? According to Kay Coles James, president of the Heritage Foundation:

National left-wing organizations are collecting and funneling hundreds of millions of dollars to flip local city councils, school boards, and county prosecutors’ offices to the left. They are flooding small elections with big money, and it’s giving them unprecedented influence over our local affairs and greater access to our children.

Not a promising turn of events, to say the least. It looks like we are being beaten to the punch even in our local communities. Is it too late? The recent conventional wisdom has been for Christians and patriots to get off the dime and run for local offices in droves – schoolboards, city and town councils, state legislatures, etc. But as yet, there’s no evidence of an upsurge of that activity. Maybe a few have done so, but it would appear that the vast majority of us aren’t inclined to gather petitions, recruit supporters, knock on doors, and so on to run for local office. So what do we do now?

The first thing is to pray for guidance on how to act at this stage, knowing that so many of the policies being foisted on us by the left are contrary to God’s laws. I have done that, and what stood out to me as I was leafing through Mark Steyn’s book (noted above) was his citing of economist Milton Friedman’s statement – namely, CREATE THE CONDITIONS WHEREBY THE WRONG PEOPLE ARE FORCED TO DO THE RIGHT THINGS. What does that entail? How can it be done?

For example, suppose 6th graders in a community come home one day with a reading assignment that, in effect, “celebrates” and normalizes homosexual attraction. That evening, phones ring all over town – and the following day, at the town office. Town councilmen are forced to call an emergency schoolboard meeting for two days hence, open to the public. The public attends in droves to vehemently protest the inclusion of any such subject matter in the school curriculum, at any grade level – and just a few spokespersons present several sound reasons for excluding it. There is little or no rebuttal, primarily because there are no moral or practical reasons anyone can state (with a straight face) for including such material, especially with elementary school age children, and especially in opposition to a large united group of parents and community members. Indeed, the real reasons for including such material would not, could not, be argued publicly. Is there violence? No. Is there intimidation? Yes. Will the protesters be successful? More likely than not, because a large local contingent “created conditions whereby the wrong people are forced to do the right thing.”

Numbers are important. There is both safety and authority in large numbers. The fact is, one person who speaks in protest on behalf of five or six people might be dismissed as a crank, but three or four people speaking the same words on behalf of 100 people must be listened to and offered acquiescence or at least some kind of reasoned response. In the example, only a few people had to be ready to speak on the issue. The rest only had to show up. Showing up is far better than giving up.

Typically, since most of what “wrong people” try to sneak past us is immoral, anti-Christian, anti-American, and/or unconstitutional, they would have difficulty marshalling many locals to publicly support a position that’s evil on its face. For example, can you think of any argument to defend a drag queen children’s story hour in your town library that a proponent could confidently present at a town meeting? Probably not. That’s why a small local “army” led by one or two spokespersons can usually overcome such evil. It’s also why the left has to resort to violence (Anti-Fa, etc.) to support most of its positions.

An important point the example above was meant to convey is that an organization of like-minded citizens already existed to oppose the overreach by “wrong people” who happen to hold office. Local organization is the key to success and should be formulated BEFORE any crises erupt, not after the fact. The other important factor was a pre-set system of relatively fast communication to marshal the troops in a hurry.

Vigilance by a few citizens is also called for. Even a local policy, act, or regulation that seems relatively insignificant should be a call to action if its implementation can in any way evolve into practices that are anti-freedom, anti-Christian, anti-American, immoral, socialistic, etc. The strategy of incrementalism, has been used by the left at all government levels for at least the last 50 years. It’s the proverbial frog placed in comfortable warming water that slowly but surely reaches a point where suddenly the frog can’t escape and is boiled to death.

Think, for example, about how the promulgation of a “compassionate live-and-let-live” social philosophy has led first to “looking the other way” at homosexual practices, then to overt “gay pride,” then to same-sex “marriage,” and now to the sickness called gender fluidity. Think, too, of Martin Luther King’s warning: “Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.” In other words, the German people allowed their liberty to be taken away piece by piece until they became virtual slaves.

In the early 19th century, historian and sociologist Alexis de Tocqueville, while generally praising the American brand of democracy, predicted that we were “vulnerable to a soft despotism” in which the majority would slowly (incrementally) allow itself to be dependent on the state, which leads to a form of tyranny. Here’s what he wrote:

[The resulting tyranny] does not break wills, but it softens them, bends them and directs them; it rarely forces action, but it constantly opposes your acting; it does not destroy, it prevents birth; it does not tyrannize, it hinders, it represses, it enervates, it extinguishes, it stupefies, and finally it reduces [the people] to being nothing more than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.

We believe the Lord is our Shepherd, not the government. But because we’ve allowed a culture of “wrong people” to drag us too far and too long down the broad highway of evil, we must now exert our power to forcibly channel them back onto the straight-and-narrow path – and ultimately plow under the cultural rot of today’s America.