The Benedict Option Writ Large

Posted on September 18, 2021

Joe Biden’s vaxx mandate, after his destruction of U.S. borders, triggering of aggressive new inflation, and humiliating retreat from Afghanistan in a manner that empowers terrorists and encourages aggressors throughout the world, was a pitiful effort to show that he is still the boss of you. Sorry, Joe, you never were, you still are not, and you never will be the “boss” of us.

Even so, serious people (or, at least, people who have influence) are arguing about the matter. I once lived in an America that would have collectively laughed this pathetic man off the stage – from the lowliest media hack to the biggest corporate head. It is a sign of our degeneration that we think his “order” requires serious and sustained argument.

The first time I really wondered whether our supposed “betters” were just stupid and willful was in 1975 when the Helsinki Accords were signed. It was an effort to smooth out relations between the free western world and the captive nations under the thumb of the Soviet Union. Diplomats opined as the signing took place that we recognized the truth of the Soviet’s assertion that the west granted people political rights while the east granted people economic rights. Besides the obvious reality that the only economic “rights” the captive world granted its citizens was the right to starve under its artificially enforced shortages and poverty was the massive misrepresentation of the American system. The only proper American response to that statement would have been to tell the tyrants, “Gentlemen, you misunderstand our system. We grant our citizens nothing. Ours is a free and sovereign people who grant some limited powers to the government to administer the blessings of liberty in an orderly fashion. Whether we handle those limited powers effectively and with vigorous defense of human liberty is our constant test of legitimacy.” But I was only 19, so, enraged as I was, I wondered whether perhaps I was missing something.

In 1976 I was named a surrogate speaker for Gerald Ford in northern Illinois. (My congressman told the campaign I was a prodigal – and wrote wowzer speeches for him. The appointment was solidified when he told them that a joke he had given Ford – that the president had used – was actually written by me). Ford’s pardon of Richard Nixon was a major issue in the campaign between him and Jimmy Carter. The Carter people pounded away that there had been some corrupt deal involved. I was baffled as the president and his men stumbled and bumbled along trying to deal with the controversy. Everywhere I went, when the question came up, I simply said, “Look, I think President Ford is an honorable man so when he says there was no deal, I believe him. But, given the agony the country was going through, if a deal is what it would have taken to get Nixon out of the White House, I would have made that deal in a heartbeat – and with no apologies.” At that moment, everyone in EVERY audience paused, considered it, and then nodded agreement – and I could go on to other issues. Again, though, I was only 20 – so I wondered if there were other considerations that, in my youth and inexperience, I could not see that prevented the president’s men from speaking the ridiculously obvious.

In 1981, in the confusion immediately after President Reagan was shot, then Secretary of State Alexander Haig took to the podium in the White House press room and declared, “Constitutionally, I am in charge here.” I chuckled, thinking the initial panic had caused Haig to make a silly error. Administratively, he was in charge until the vice president was summoned, but constitutionally, the vice-president is in charge from the moment a president is incapacitated. But then all the talking heads in the media began looking for a copy of the Constitution to see if Haig’s assertion was correct. I thought, okay, they are just trying to get the proper citations. Then, astonishingly, various government officials and media folks started discussing in the most serious tones whether this was a correct interpretation or not. It was as absurd a discussion as whether oil or sand is the superior lubricant for an engine. And so, at the tender age of 25, I finally concluded that I wasn’t missing a thing; that much of the elite class in American society consisted of idiots and pompous goobers.

The elite classes that I came to regard with hidden contempt then look like world-class statesmen by comparison to today’s elite classes. We do not have a national government. We have a willful regime that, having usurped an election by the most flagrant and extensive fraud in American history, seeks to rule, lawlessly treating both the Constitution and statutory law with indifference and contempt. The courts refused to even consider any evidence of the fraud – dismissing all cases on manufactured procedural grounds. The legislatures, both nationally and in most states, refused to mount an investigation and instead just rubber stamped the fraud. Some states have begun actual forensic investigations. Preliminary findings show that it was far worse than even the most skeptical of us thought. My initial estimate, based on a cursory statistical analysis, was that Donald Trump won the popular election by 10.7 million votes and an electoral college landslide. I think I vastly underestimated the size of his stolen victory. This was the actual treasonous insurrection in our body politic in the last year.

The method of our garbage elite class has been to begin a mantra on every contested subject and, whatever you ask, just repeat the mantra. No matter what the questions or the evidence presented of massive fraud, the answer does not touch on facts and evidence, just the assertion that the election was secure and validated. On the gene therapy shot, you are assured they are safe and effective. Ask about the astronomical VAERS reports of problems and deaths, they don’t address it, just re-assert that it is “safe and effective.” Want to know data about the incidence of blood clots in the elderly, heart problems in young men, or infertility after the shot?  “Safe and effective,” is all they say. The modus operandus of leftist social rule has been to give orders then stick their fingers in their ears and shout, “I can’t hear you” to any questions or objections you have.

When you have an illegitimate regime giving orders that even a legitimate government has no power to give; when their only answer to all critical questions is, “Shut up, stupid (with an occasional substitution of racist, sexist, terrorist, insurrectionist, et al for the word ‘stupid’), when their response to any suggestion that all the serial disasters that have ensued since they stole power is to bully you harder, it’s time to make some changes.

No, I’m not talking about an actual insurrection. The only real insurrection committed in this country in the last year was fronted by leftist Democrats beginning November third of last year and continuing until the fraud was completed on January 20th. Why go to the trouble and danger of mounting an insurrection when the very left that mounted the last one is rapidly collapsing the society they captured? That would just be a distraction, at best, and a serious setback, at worst. One of my oldest immutable rules is that, when your opponent is blowing himself up, don’t rush in to speed the process along (lest you get blown up, too). Rather, step back and don’t interrupt him.

The injunction, “Live not by lies,” is not just sound counsel; it is a warning of what happens when societies succumb to the madness of trying to live by lies. They don’t survive long – and often the downfall can be blindingly quick. That downfall usually results in absolute chaos and deep terror for a few months to a few years, followed by the rise of a real dictator who restores order – but freedom is gone for a good, long time. What should really chill social justice “warriors” is that the madmen who caused the downfall and gleefully oppressed what they considered their inferiors usually rot in prisons or face firing squads even before the rise of the dictator.

Knowing well the cycle of willful madness, forced artificiality, chaos, terror, and dictatorship that characterize a catastrophic downfall, that was a primary reason I founded CORAC a year ago last July. Convinced that the cycle of chaos was already so advanced that it could not be checked until it had crashed and burned itself out, I wanted the infrastructure in place so people who were willing could collectively and cooperatively defend themselves against the terror to come and, succeeding in that, offer a viable alternative to the usually inevitable dictatorship that follows chaos and terror. Also knowing that when passions flare, ALL  contestants usually kick God to the curb, our core commitment is that the only things that consistently thrive and provide security are those that recognize God as the foundation of everything. (In complete candor, I have always regarded it as my particular calling to call people back to God and to act commensurate with both the commands and the liberty He grants His people.) Frankly, if God is not at the heart, everything is in the process of degeneration. I’m all about regeneration – and know it can’t be done without God.

Thus, I divided the country into 15 regions, appointed coordinators for each region, and gave them some basic principles to help them administer their regions, but largely left it up to them what they are most enthused about, so long as it is not inconsistent with the mission of CORAC – and so long as they have people who will cover the main focuses. A short synopsis of what our mission is can be found here.  We have four major national committees. Health and Wellness focuses on traditional and national medicines and healing techniques, without gainsaying the multitude of benefits modern medicine has brought to bear. But if we are headed to real strife, we need easy access to effective remedies. Communications focuses on how to keep in touch with our fellows if modern means of communications go down for a time. The main focus is on ham radios, but we also look to building communication trees where people can spread news and information by phone, bulletin boards and other means (we haven’t gotten into smoke signals…yet). Sustainability is geared towards giving people what they need to survive, and even thrive, right where they are if hard times come. Prayer Teams keep us grounded in our faith, provide a foundation for all our actions and provide an effective means for everyone to participate. I have wanted to establish a national committee on Education, as the educational establishment is already in catastrophic collapse, but thus far I have failed to find someone who will take the reins and become the driving force of that committee. Meanwhile, we have ad hoc committees dealing with such things as crisis scenarios.

The fact is when the cycle I described above begins in an otherwise healthy society, historically, almost everyone is completely caught off guard. At first, they can’t believe such disorder and tumult could happen in what has long been a peaceful culture. Then, when it becomes undeniable, they are frozen, unable to contemplate what they could do to help with a problem of such immense proportions. Frankly, once the cycle has gained a certain momentum, I know of no historical case where it has been checked. The system must crash and the madness burn itself out. What can be done is to assemble the ambulances, to care for those wounded – often by their own ignorance and hubris – and to put a structure in place to help rebuild quickly in a way that builds up rather than tears down – as a dictatorship almost invariably does.

Last weekend I attended and spoke at a CORAC event in St. Cloud, Minnesota, where the embryonic nature of this plan was demonstrated.  Held on the 20th anniversary of 9-11, we began with a patriotic Rosary, then heard a presentation on spiritual warfare by Deacon Dan Dullinger. It was an excellent presentation. Too often these things emphasize being a romantic, noble warrior without acknowledging the serious dangers involved and giving the appropriate cautions, while keeping people focused on the reality that all effective spiritual warfare is effective because it holds fast to Christ. Then there were demonstrations on communicating via ham radio, making natural and herbal medical tinctures and making sausage. The sausages made became the bratwursts we ate for lunch – and were the best brats I have ever had. The team spiced them just right. (I had been looking forward to the brats: I spent most of my life in the Midwest. While I love Colorado, folks there don’t know from nothing about brats!) Meantime, there was a gun range where attendees could practice their skills with pistol and rifle targets. All were impressed by the dear old lady who, with a pistol, hit her target every time. She was one granny you don’t want to mess with. They persuaded me to try a cannon of a pistol the next day. Pistols are a whole different ballgame than rifles – and a lot harder than TV and video games make them out to be. A few years ago my son, who was a uniformed cop, took me out to a range in Tallahassee and taught me a little about how to shoot a pistol. Embarrassingly, on the first five shots I did not hit the target at all. I was nervous with this cannon of a pistol, particularly since they were filming it and this was bigger and more powerful than anything I had ever shot. To my delight, I hit the target. Not wanting to tempt fate, I didn’t risk a second shot. In the afternoon, I gave a talk and then engaged in conversation with the crowd. There will be a video of it up on the CORAC site soon.

The point is that none of us can do everything to rescue our poor, bleeding culture. But each of us can do the little that we reasonably can right in front of us. That has been my constant refrain since I started writing here: Acknowledge God, take the next right step, and be a sign of hope to those around you. This event and our National Conference back in June showed how much can be accomplished when people work together, each doing the little that they can. Real fellowship and joy permeate such gatherings as people realize and internalize that, working together in that way, we really can weather all storms, under God. During an informal dinner that evening, I told some of the organizers that, these days, my job is much like the guy in the Adam Sandler movies who would occasionally pop up to say, “You can do it!”

Every week I get several missives from people breathlessly explaining to me the system they have discovered that will change everything. Some of these ideas have merit, though often not for the reasons their advocates think they do. I am pretty quick to dismiss anything that begins with, “If everyone would just…” The reality is that everyone will NOT just, and I have little time to indulge fantasies. Even so, some of these have deep merit. The Constitutional Sheriff movement is one I have great regard for. Though I do not think it can stop our slide into collapse (though it may well have been able to a generation ago if more people had taken it seriously), it is focused on organizing people locally, right where they are, and that will be a huge asset going forward. Active, engaged people are very hard to subdue. There are also various movements for a Convention of States. I am both dubious and grateful for this movement. Dubious because it is absurd to think, in this lawless age when the most committed and comprehensive lawbreakers are government officials, themselves, that coming up with a new book of laws would solve anything, much less everything. Even so, it focuses things on the states, which is the best shot we have to preserve some of a once-successful culture which can also act as a base for a cultural resurrection. I have almost no interest in the federal government anymore. It is illegitmate, feckless, incompetent, and actually maliciously hostile to the Constitution and freedom.

Along the way this last year and a half, I have had several interests try to steer us away from basic principles. Some even told me that if we would drop the “God” stuff, they could support us. I simply told them they should form their own movement, for this one is not for them. Of late, I have heard some objections to the health and wellness committee because of its focus on homeopathy. Most of these are well-meaning people who confuse homeopathy with the various eastern mystical religious “remedies” that focus on crystals, magnetic bracelets and such. I appreciate their concerns, as I am adamantly opposed to any new age stuff filtering in. But homeopathy was the primary form of medical treatment in this country for over a century after its founding. It is NOT new age, unless it purposefully taints itself. Once I explain that, if they still can’t discern the difference between traditional medicine and new age fantasies, I simply tell them our group is probably not for them.

I have never been interested in convincing the recalcitrant, either in my political days or here. It squanders a lot of valuable time. I have always preferred to mount a coalition of the willing, knowing that if you put together a good cause that practices what it preaches, you will get a trickle of willing people who will soon grow to a flood as it provides an effective means of collaboration for good. The flood eventually reaches heights to where even the recalcitrant start reconsidering – and when they do, I didn’t waste much of any time having to convince them.

You can’t command freedom. You must encourage and nurture it, both philosophically and in how you run your organization. I bet that there were enough people who put a premium on faith, family, and freedom that, if we put together a system where that could be expressed collaboratively and in a way that prepares for the worst while hoping for the best; in a way that does not shirk our duties of self-defense, defense of liberty for all, and defense of our holy, magisterial faith; and with charity for all and malice towards none; people would joyfully join. Now we are testing our legs – and it is as joyful and inspiring as watching a beloved toddler take its first steps.

We cannot stop the collapse of coherence in all our institutions; we cannot restore legitimacy to a government that is murderously hostile to the American system; we cannot transplant spines into officials who know better but are too fearful to defend faith, family and freedom. The old saying, “If God is with us, who can stand against us?” is a misnomer. The only proper approach is to understand that if we stand with God, no one can stand against us. So we make our stand, firmly resolved to Acknowledge God, take the next right step, and be a sign of hope to those around us. It will not stop a fully corrupted culture from collapsing around us. But it will become the indestructible core of the resurrection of that culture.

All glory be to God, our Father; Jesus Christ, our Lord; and the Holy Spirit, Who guides us on our pilgrim way.

A couple of worthy affiliated upcoming events:

The Denver Marian Conference will be held from Friday, Oct. 1 through Sunday, Oct. 3, at the Crowne Plaza Denver Convention Center.  I would be going to this one if I were not on the road. Several dear friends of mine have been among those working almost all year to put it together. They will continue to take registrations online through next Wednesday. If you miss that, you can still register at the door at the event, provided it has not filled up completely.

On the same weekend, but all day, Saturday, Oct. 2, Catholic Resiliency will host an all-day Faith, Freedom and America Conference in Houston, Minnesota (note that is MINNESOTA, not Texas), featuring Fr. James Altman, Doug Barry, Raymond DeSouza, Michael Voris and Jesse Romero. To reserve a spot, call (507) 896-5550. This is another one I would love to go to if I were in the area. These last few months, Fr. Altman has been doing tremendously solid work helping defend Priests who are under assault. He is building a network of Priests who will be available for the faithful in difficult times.

Finally, I had some great pictures from the St. Cloud Conference, but I could not upload them to this WordPress account. No, it wasn’t anything sinister, just some technical issue with the type of camera used or something. I will check with our IT gurus and see if I can get it resolved.

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