The left’s going to take our speech! They are going to take our guns! They are going to rob of us of all our freedoms!
So shriek a good number of the 80 million or so Americans who believe (justifiably) that their votes for Donald Trump’s reelection were stolen.
Of course, conservatives and libertarians have been saying such things for years.
While I understand the concerns, and while anyone and everyone who values the live-and-let live philosophy embodied within the United States Constitution can’t but be at least somewhat concerned given the profound rot that has myelinated within our institutions (and that Trump’s presidency made glaringly obvious to the world), I personally have neither the time nor the patience for this kind of talk or the people who engage in it.
Of course, it is “conservative” and “libertarian” pundits who lead the way on this score, for their very livelihoods depend upon feeding consumers of their product with as much bad news, as many haunting images of the future as possible. The writers and talkers of both the Big Conservative Media Complex (“the Big Con”), as well as lesser known libertarian and conservative outlets inexhaustibly wax hysterical about the impending and, to hear them tell it, imminent leftist Apocalypse—all while making fortunes, achieving fame, and, critically, supplying their followers with no direction or solution other than to vote for the Republican politicians for whom they daily apologize.
But I digress. The point is this:
Repeated expressions of fear regarding what others might do to you are the stuff of losers and cowards. They are pathetic.
They are no less pathetic than the messianic rhetoric that we hear just as often on talk radio and elsewhere as the pundits insist (in so many words) that the GOP is the only thing preventing America from being lost forever to “socialism.”
The problem with this thinking, besides being hyperbolic, is that it at once reveals and encourages weakness:
The strong neither tolerate infringes against their liberties nor rely upon other human beings to defend them.
Mainstream conservative and libertarian scribblers and talkers, for all of their mockery of the “snowflakes” on the left, are themselves the true snowflakes, for if they didn’t have the left’s outrages to whine and shriek over, they’d have nothing at all. This is especially revealing, given that it is these same conservative and libertarian snowflakes who regard themselves, spiritually, as it were, as America’s Founding Fathers’ rightful heirs.
Yet the Founders, while they certainly didn’t spare any occasion to express their grievances against the British government, recognized that there was a time when complaining would have to give way to decisive action. They would have found it unimaginable that free men, men endowed by their Creator with “unalienable” rights, could resign themselves to suffering in perpetuity an endless chain of oppressive acts against them.
They would have found it inconceivable that self-styled champions of liberty would construct an enormously profitable industry based upon nothing other than their whining and shrieking about systematic violations of their very liberties, dispensations, gifts, as they regard them, from God Himself.
Those who compose the Big Conservative Media Industrial Complex promote, tirelessly, the anxiety, depression, helplessness, and demoralization of the millions whose fears they exist to stoke. To what end, one finally has to ask, for the only prescription these merchants of fear offer their customers (their audiences) is to vote Republican. However, besides the fact that the leftward drift of the country has proceeded apace for decades, even while Republicans held power, the election thievery of 2020 should suffice to show that it is not now (nor has it ever been) possible to simply and solely vote one’s way out of this cesspool.
It is time for patriotic, God-fearing men and women to focus upon their own self-empowerment. This means ridding their lives, as much as it is possible to do so, of all potentially toxic influences. This, obviously, requires the expungement from their orbit of all Democrat Party propaganda organs, those which President Trump rightfully referred to as “fake news,” but, as well, that of the conservative (and libertarian) media outlets that, in their way, also purvey fake news.
Self-empowerment, though, demands not just the excising from our lives of those who threaten to disempower us. It requires as well the improvement of those aspects of our personal lives that are in our control and that we can begin to address immediately.
I will elaborate more in the future, but, for now, I offer some quick tips for decent human beings who are looking to feel better, and not worse, about their lives and those for whom they care:
(1)Read. Preferably, though, read books and long essays—as opposed to social media posts and the mental junk food that passes for daily political commentary.
Specifically, form a habit of reading work that will broaden your intellectual horizons, refine your emotions, and deepen your relationship with God, the Ground of all being. This regimen should supply you with a genuinely liberal arts education, an education in “the humanities,” so to speak, for in making you more familiar with your inheritance as a member of the human species, it promises to make you more familiar with yourself. Self-discovery and self-creation—these are but two sides of the same coin, inseparable dimensions of a single odyssey that is facilitated by the nurturing of your mind and spirit with a sound, balanced diet of quality literature and familiarity with your civilizational inheritance.
One piece of literature that is imperative reading for everyone, and particularly the inhabitants of what was once known as “Christendom,” is the Bible. Not only is this the defining collection of writings of Western civilization; via the omnipresence of the latter, its influence has extended to every corner of the globe.
Even if one isn’t a Jew, a Christian, or a Muslim, there is no limit to the benefit to be had from the profound, timeless metaphysical and moral insights that the Bible imparts.
Yet if one is an adherent of the world’s monotheistic faiths that produced the Bible, then the Good Book is that much more indispensable for one’s flourishing, for it is viewed as divinely inspired, the written medium of all written media through which He who creates, sustains, and perfects all things converses with those who He made in His likeness.
And this brings us to the next point:
(2)Communicate regularly, incessantly even, with God. Through prayer, study, meditation, self-reflection, gratitude for one’s countless blessings, and charity toward others, one can dialogue in every moment with the Source of his or her very existence and the innumerable good things that are predicated upon the gratuity of one’s being.
(3)The dualism that pervades, whether explicitly or implicitly, much of Western intellectual life, is a fiction. The human person is a unity of body and mind. This being so, physical activity is essential to managing fear, anger, and sadness.
In my own case, I find that weightlifting and martial arts training have been essential to this end.
In a future essay, I will expand upon the centrality of place that should be reserved for these activities, but specifically that of combat training, in the lives of decent people who are looking to become…better.
This piece was previously published at BeliefNet.com.
Jack Kerwick earned his doctorate degree in philosophy from Temple University. His areas of specialization are ethics and political philosophy, with a particular interest in classical conservatism. He has been teaching philosophy for nearly 20 years and his work has appeared in both scholarly journals and popular publications. Jack is the author of four books, including Misguided Guardians: The Conservative Case Against Neoconservatism and the recently published, Higher Miseducation: A Dissident’s Essays on the Assault Against Liberal Learning.