I’m not a “conspiracy nut,” and by that I mean I don’t usually view opponents as gathering clandestinely in a heavily-guarded smoke-filled room in some secluded mountain aerie (a la James Bond) to plot secretly the take-over of the world, or at least not of North Carolina, and, good Heavens, not of Raleigh. I think such supposed summits, whether of “the Elders of Zion,” or maybe of the Bilderbergers, are a bit overblown and now discredited historically.
But palpably there has been and is something going on in the United States and in Europe which, if not a kind of traditional “conspiracy against God and Man,” certainly combines the more salient aspects of such activity, an activity which is more programmed and instinctive, and more general and diffused among its votaries. There is a sharing and commonality of thought and perception, a common use of the same language and the same memes, such that almost every newscaster in every media outlet—and every Democrat (and many a Republican) pol—uses the same expressions and descriptions, distinguishes the same enemies, supports the same “Deep State” administrative policies and positions, and makes certain that “friends” are protected. It is as if thoughts and positions on a multitude of issues are telegraphed telepathically, and every minion of the Progressivist Left somehow “gets it” and understands what to think and say and then do…and the Established Opposition, “conservatism inc.” goes along with the general lineaments and parameters, lest its proponents be thought “extremist.”
And thus a daunting unanimity of view and purpose, an iron phalanx, is born and revealed. You dissent from at it at your own peril.
Let me ask: after dozens of states voted against same sex marriage several years ago by overwhelming majorities (here in North Carolina, for example, the citizens voted against it by a 61% to 39% margin back in 2012), but then the Supreme Court decided to legitimize it nationally by a 5 to 4 vote in its Obergefell v. Hodges decision (June 26, 2014), how many so-called “conservatives” came forth and demanded a constitutional amendment which at a minimum would have returned such decisions to the respective states? Indeed, how many Republicans and Establishment conservatives take seriously the effort to reverse Roe v. Wade (1973), which legalized infant murder in the womb (and maybe outside it, as well, as we now know).
Oh, sure, there are voices demanding the amelioration of its effects and the limitation of abortion in certain cases. But who amongst our supposed political elites stands forthrightly for overturning Roe v. Wade…while for the past half century our news media, our political class, and most egregiously, Hollywood, have done their damnedest to inculcate into us and our children that “abortion is a woman’s right” and that it is completely “natural”? Where are the salient Republican and conservative voices not only demanding reversal but doing something about it?
Prayer in the schools? Remember that issue and the 1962 decision of the Supreme Court, Engel v. Vitale, where the court opined by an 8 to 1 margin essentially decreeing that organized prayer “is largely banned from public elementary, middle and high schools.” I recall when I was working with Dr. Russell Kirk in Michigan (1971-1972) that he wrote about the issue and worked closely with a zealous Catholic priest (whose name I forget) to have the issue put forward in a constitutional amendment allowing it at least on the state level.
It got nowhere, and the supposed voices of opposition to the court’s destruction of constant practice and American tradition—those self-same “conservatives” and Republicans (and a few Democrats)—were soon stilled, retreating on to other questions.
And now the latest issue which confronts us, and bids well to soon become established policy, considered undebatable and beyond legitimate discussion: you know, one of those new foundations of “conservatism inc.”: the rightness and complete acceptance of transgenderism. And thus everywhere, in the workplace, in the armed services, in our churches, and, most ominously, in our schools and colleges, the new transgender dogmatism finds fertile ground. Elementary children are now instructed on the finer points of same sex titillation and “gender fluidity.” After all, say the experts, we should let our children “choose what sex they wish to be.” Natural law be damned.
The sanctity of transgenderism has become the newest “undeniable tenet” not only of Progressivism but also of the Established conservatives. Consider “conservative” youth leader Charlie Kirk embracing prominent transgenders and their cause—fully accepting the latest and most recent Progressivist conquest. With defenders like that, we are lost.
Robert Lewis Dabney, the brilliant post-War Between the States Southern philosopher and essayist, one hundred and forty years ago described this brand of “conservative opposition” to Progressivism:
This is a party which never conserves anything. Its history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation. What was the resisted novelty of yesterday is to-day one of the accepted principles of conservatism; it is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will to-morrow be forced upon its timidity, and will be succeeded by some third revolution, to be denounced and then adopted in its turn.
What will be the next stage of this “long march” through the fabric of millennia-old Divine Positive Law and Natural Law by the diabolical Progressivists and their bedfellows (no pun actually intended) in the conservative movement? What will be their next assault on Western Christian civilization, indeed, the only civilization we have? You name the most bizarre and extreme project, the most radical idea, and assuredly it has been thought of and is, either now or soon to be, advanced by the well-organized and powerful forces that occupy the positions of authority—and control—in this country and in Western Europe.
And the opposition to this advance? As Dabney declares, Establishment conservatism is nearly worthless, or, to quote a great uncle of mine, about as valuable as “tits on a boar hog.”
In short, Establishment Conservatism—“conservativism inc.”—must be undone and overthrown. It is no real opposition to this attack of the Insaniacs. Donald Trump, whether he intended to or not, opened the door—cracked it open just a wee bit. And now in such fine journals as Chronicles magazine, or via such Web presences as Lew Rockwell, The Agonist, Takimag, Intellectual Takeout, The New English Review, VDare.com, The Dissident Mama, and (for Southerners especially) The Abbeville Institute and Reckonin.com, and other venues, there is real opposition to the Progressivist panzers.
This year 2020, with its impeachment charade and looming national election this coming November, will decide our fate: whether we slide into the morass and slavery of total subjugation by the Progressivist contagion, or whether we in some way continue to fight back. Either way—let me say that again, either way there will be tremendous upheaval and probable violence of one sort or another. And thus our opposition must be forthright and genuine: the faux right which still dominates the “conservative movement” must be displaced.
Our very future is at stake. Keep your powder dry and your guns at the ready.
This piece was previously published at My Corner on January 18, 2020.
As 2020 commences it is perhaps appropriate that we take stock—that we take a look globally at just where we are, politically, culturally, religiously.
All our basic and fundamental social institutions are under tremendous stress, if not outright attack, not just legally and politically, but far more insidiously, in how they are defined and how they affect us. Our very language is altered to reflect this radical transformation: words and phrases are banned, old words are recast and redefined, implicit (and often explicit) speech codes have more effect than anything that the older “less free” society of our grandfathers experienced. And this linguistic terrorism—for that is what it is—is inculcated into our young from the very beginning, in the primary grades, via television and Hollywood, by unthinking parents, by friends.
And the family? Has not our society redefined that also? Any two people who “love” each other for a while and who cohabitate (shack up) for a time, with or without children? No matter what sex, or any “intermediate” sexual orientation. No permanency, and certainly nothing sacred or sacramental. Very little sense of responsibility: if a fetus happens because the necessary birth control didn’t work, very simply abort it. No problem; nothing must stand in the way of the pleasure, the sexually stimulated moment. How many tens of millions of lives has our society, in its lust for pleasure, snuffed out since 1972?
All the nations of Western Europe protest proudly how “democratic” they are. In the United States we never cease talking about how precious “our democracy” is (just witness the ceaseless verbiage spewed forth during the recent impeachment hearings). In the rest of the world no country ever boasts of being an authoritarian state: when was the last time we heard a nation’s leaders waxing eloquent about how totalitarian they were? Even the most autocratic Islamic state now declares itself “democratic.”
Has not that word lost its savor and meaning altogether?
Democracy—the rule by the populace, as defined by the ancient philosophers—does not exist anywhere, save perhaps still in a few Swiss cantons, or on the lowest levels of governance in some faraway communities in Wyoming or Idaho. The rest is fraudulent, bought and paid for by major financial interests and lobbies, and on a supra-national level by the likes of globalists such as George Soros, whose Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) now reach into nearly American city and county of any size, handsomely funding candidates who will do his bidding. Just ask the voters of Virginia.
The established church—at least in America and Western Europe—seems to have surrendered to the most diabolical and anti-Christian forces: the major Protestant denominations have all joined in the mad rush to become more “woke” and more revolutionary, adopting the slogans and platforms of the Progressivists who seek nothing less than the abolition of historic Christianity and the civilization which is based on it.
In large part, the visible Catholic Church—once the stalwart opponent and beacon of Christian counter-revolution against demonic Progressivism—has followed the leftist course mapped out at the Second Vatican Council, with its present supposed head acting as a cheer-leader for revolutionary change on every level. Opposition to his lunacy is rising, but the formal elements of power are now in the hands of Progressivists.
Perhaps only in Eastern Europe and in Russia do we see a coherent resistance, religiously and politically, to the madness that afflicts us. Ironically, it was the separation from America and from Western Europe—the Iron Curtain—that in a way saved those countries from the poisonous infections coming from our nation which was dominated in large part by the victors of 1861-1865, and which had become the “Typhoid Mary” of Progressivism.
For the defeat of the Southern Confederacy on the field of battle was not just a military reverse; it signaled the defeat of a major outpost of Western civilization and its vision of society which was distinctly connected to and annealed by 1,500 years of traditional Christianity. This was the realization of thousands of European volunteers to the Confederate cause—from Naples, from Spain, and from other countries of the old continent. What they saw in the Confederate crusade was a continuation of the struggle against liberalism which raged throughout the nineteenth century. The Southern cause was the cause of legitimacy, of tradition, of the old established order, of the survival of a Christian inheritance vouchsafed to those warriors at Manassas and Gettysburg.
And now, after more than 150 years of subjugation and indoctrination by the scions of the Yankee victors, there is perhaps “a light coming from the East,” a message of resistance telegraphed to the descendants of the heroes of Chancellorsville. Hope exists always as long as there are men standing forthrightly for it, willing to go to battle, willing to teach others, willing to pass it on. As the Spanish philosopher Miguel de Unamuno once wrote: “our life is a hope which is continually converting itself into memory and memory in turn begets hope.”
Thus, when the yoke of Communism was lifted in Eastern Europe, it was to the wellsprings of national identity, to national heritage, to pre-Communist religious faith, that many of these nations turned. They had largely escaped the forty-five years of “Americanism”—in the worst cultural sense—that Germany, France, and Italy had experienced.
Yet, it is this same narrative, this same globalist “Americanism” that today’s conservative movement—Neoconservativism—continues to push on the rest of the world, just like their uncomfortable bedfellows a bit further to the Left. Both the Establishment conservatives AND the open Left share the same postulates and objectives, differing only in degree and expression.
As Southerners the lessons we glean, then, may come from Eastern Europe and from Russia, and they remind us of who we were as a people, of the inheritance which in so many cases we have discarded. Those former Eastern Bloc nations, in particular Russia and Hungary, stand as “signs of contradiction,” and offer to us lessons, if we would only examine them.
Despite the Swamp and the Deep State—despite the future technological tyranny which stares at us in the face—despite the assaults in every aspect of our lives—despite it all there is Hope and the vague but very real awareness that we are human, creatures made by God, and that our role is to stay the course, remain true to the faith and to our inheritance.
My favorite Psalm is number 26, in particular these words (vs.3): “Si consistant adversum me castra, non timebit cor meum. Si exurgat adversum me praelium, in hoc sperabo”: Even if entrenched armies were to stand against me, my heart would not fear. If a battle would rise against me, I would have hope….
A very happy and blessed New Year in the Hope that never dies!
Boyd D. Cathey holds a doctorate in European history from the Catholic University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain, where he was a Richard Weaver Fellow, and an MA in intellectual history from the University of Virginia (as a Jefferson Fellow). He was assistant to conservative author and philosopher the late Russell Kirk. In more recent years he served as State Registrar of the North Carolina Division of Archives and History. He has published in French, Spanish, and English, on historical subjects as well as classical music and opera. He is active in the Sons of Confederate Veterans and various historical, archival, and genealogical organizations.