I am not a conspiratorialist. I do not think, for example, that one election will forever alter our society. I also believe that cultures and people change slowly; they never remain the same over long periods of time, from generation to generation. They will face very defining moments, when either their better angels will prevail, or they will succumb to disgrace and weakness. If they do succumb, the result will be mastery by forces and peoples that bring down that civilization.
I believe our western civilization is faced with the portent of a long term mastery by forces of evil and destruction. I believe the Jihadists are serious and will not go away because of good will. This should have very little to do with your political views about Iraq or how you define terrorism. It has to do with how you see this civilization and whether it matters to preserve it or not. I am convinced that most people, including many Christians, do not see dangers around us and thus have little or no real interest in what it takes to save a great civilization. They are not even sure this is a great civilization in most cases. They often came to these views by means of their higher education gained in this very country. Our educational elites have given us decades of destructive thought, and the media only spreads it more widely into the culture.
The so-called Christian Right doesn’t understand this well at all. It has fought some of the right battles in almost all the wrong ways. The new Evangelical Left is a moderating influence but with almost no appreciation or comprehension of the real issues in a truly great society. Because of its wrong view of the role of government and church, it offers promise but will be doomed more quickly than what it wants to replace in the end. It has made its own peace with the devil, who still sups with a long spoon. Preferring instead to react to the Right, as an end in itself, the new Left says that it will bring about "balance," whatever that is. I read the recent issue of Sojourners (I do read it now and then). There are always some good articles in the magazine. But from start to finish the premise is that more government intervention in our day-to-day lives is a major part of the solution. And I am reminded that both sides in this debate fail to see the real role the church should have and how a strong church, not beholden to any party or rigid ideology, is the best answer for a culture.
Hamilton was right. We seem to prefer disgrace these days, and the long term results will not be good. Today, can anyone or any people see this, and sustain a real change in our direction? It has happened before.
Ronald Reagan saw clearly in the early 1960s that detente was wrong headed and that the Soviet Empire must be defeated, not appeased. He succeeded and the results are now history. Both Democrats and Republicans, before Reagan, settled for trying to stay out of a war with the Soviets. Reagan saw a way to win the Cold War and acted with courage. To not aim to win a war is to guarantee that we will lose it. What is so complicated about that conclusion?