Grieving the Death of the Republic

Posted on 2023-04-30
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Before honest people can work together effectively on the way forward for Western Civilization, they have to work through their grief over the death of the American Republic. The late Elisabeth Kubler-Ross proposed the Five Stages of Grief people go through in dealing with the catastrophic loss of a loved one.

For people my age (67) and near, the loss is grievous and painful. We have a living memory of a world where backyard barbecues, community picnics, homecoming bonfires and church socials were the norm. In the circle of friends we hung out with there were multiple ethnicities and political beliefs, all united by the quest for beer, girls and food. We would actually show our affection by poking fun at each other’s ethnic foibles. We would laugh and bond whether we were the targeters or the targeted. If, as a kid, we were in trouble, we could stop at almost any house and get help (and a call to our parents). It was a glorious world where Democrats, Republicans and libertarian oddballs shared a love of God (or at least of Judeo-Christian precepts of what the good is). At elections, you fought the good fight and either won or lost – but were pretty sure you got a fair count…and so moved on to the next. Democrats would appoint some of their Republican buddies to various commissions and vice versa – because regardless of your political affiliation, everyone wanted to make their towns better for all. Both Democrats and Republicans would be horrified at hometown corruption and would react in united anger against any assault on a person’s rights under the Constitution. Losing all that is like losing a close member of the family – and so is the grief that comes with it.

For people around 40 or under, the loss is muted, but still real. It is like losing a grandpa or favored aunt; someone you knew and liked but didn’t see all the time. For people under 30, there is not much of a sense of loss – only the nostalgic tug of family members you never knew but heard a lot about. You wonder why it is not like that anymore – and your sense of what is and is not normal is badly warped. I have discovered a lot of quiet rage among normal young people that our generation did not preserve for them what was bequeathed to us. I can’t argue with them on that point.

Like many entrepreneurs who have gone bankrupt, we cannot recover what we lost, no matter how nostalgic we are for it. (Alert – the content of the link is solid; the title of the website is offensive). We can only build anew. Before that can begin, we must go through the five stages of grief for what was lost.

  • Denial: Into this category put all those who argue that if we work harder and organize better we can win the next election cycle. The problem is that we are not being beaten; we are being cheated out of the victories we earn. You don’t win your way out of a crooked poker game by betting more. It is senseless to expect to win under honest rules that are dead and buried.
  • Anger: There is plenty of that. Many people spend almost all their time collecting new outrages. To what end? I don’t need more evidence to convince me that modern society is utterly corrupted. When do we start lighting the candles of ordered liberty under God?
  • Bargaining: In this category put all who say, “If everyone would just…” Everyone won’t just. The godless left is not interested in a just or good society. They are only interested in how to game the system to hold and expand power. The abandonment of God has left people bereft of meaning. So, they try to fill the hole that is left with a mad quest for power. Also in this category are those who restlessly cite the Constitution and obscure statutes as dispositive. A working constitution is a visible sign of the reality of an invisible social unity. When that unity is gone, that constitution is a mere piece of paper. Liberty will not be regained by shaking paper at the vandals.
  • Depression: These are the folks who simply grieve and believe that all is lost. They believe the vandals have won and that is all there is to it. The only thing to do is sit back and wait for God to clean up the mess we have made or die. Sadly, the devil traps many into this stage – sometimes by deluding themselves into thinking they have the most hope because they count on God to do everything and, so, won’t do anything. The global collapse of Godly culture will, indeed, require divine intervention to rise again, but God requires we faithfully do the little we can while trusting Him to cover what we can’t. We must row our little boat that He might steer us to renewal.
  • Acceptance: This is the healthy stage when we can begin to act. When we accept that what we loved and now pine for is truly gone, that we cannot use old methods of engagement when the vandals among us who have seized power have intentionally stripped the gears of honest engagement, we can begin to work to build anew. Just as we can take inspiration from beloved elders who have passed to refine our own character, so we can take inspiration from the noble examples of a world gone by to build anew. But both those elders and that world are gone – so it is up to us to stake out the contours of a new world, of Western Civilization born again, with a solid commitment to love of God, demonstrated through love of our neighbor and defense of all against the depredations of those whose only meaning is to be found in the shrieking, but ultimately doomed, quest for raw power.

Now is the time of choosing. We must choose who we will serve. As Bob Dylan memorably said, everybody must serve somebody, whether it be the devil or the Lord. We don’t serve by sitting in our easy chair waiting for the Master to serve us. Give the acolytes of the devil their due: they know that they must prowl about like their dark master seeking whom they may devour to secure their pointless power. When people of faith match the devil’s imps’ work ethic, the devil’s time will be up.


The 2006 election cycle was a memorable one for me. Working in a command position in two campaigns I spent a lot of time in Washington working with the Republican high command. It was memorable because I mark it as the time I completely gave up on the idea that there could be any political solution to our civic dysfunction. Sitting in the Capitol Hill Club (the Republican clubhouse in D.C.) I was appalled that the big fantasy of GOP bigwigs – including those who gave fervent lip service to traditional values – was that we could set aside the cultural issues for a few cycles in order to solve the economic issues. I was adamant that the economic issues could never be solved until we had vigorously solved the cultural issues. I was regarded as a solid and original strategist so I was not shunned for this political heresy. Rather, I was treated as a solid, valuable guy who had this charming, naïve quirk that was neither to be challenged nor taken seriously. I realized that, while faith was treated with hostility by the left, it was treated with indifference (and scarcely concealed contempt) by the right. Both sides are united by the conviction that they are the masters of the universe – and the right is glad to indulge its faithful country cousins to solidify its coalition, but never to take them seriously.

Understand that most conservative leaders do NOT share our vision of what the good is. Their alliance with us is a matter of convenience rather than conviction. GOP megadonor Peter Thiel has announced his intention not to fund any candidates in the 2024 cycle because he is not happy with Republicans’ fighting abortion, transgender and other cultural issues instead of just focusing on economic issues. Republican candidates are going to have to choose whether they will really lead on the social issues, issues which animate the most active people in the base, or just give them lip service in order to secure money from the donor class. They will have to choose who they will serve, God or Mammon. (Mammon, by the way, does not just mean money. It means the things of this world.) I am not optimistic about what they will choose.

Already, Donald Trump Jr. has argued we should back off of any boycott of Budweiser because it donates to Republicans. Both former President Donald Trump and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley have sided with Disney, the most public grooming organization in the world. Trump supports transgender “rights” and has backed off of his once comprehensive pro-life position. I will always be grateful for the magnificent term Trump gave us, but he is sounding more swampy by the minute to me.

The conservative establishment is quietly, but effectively, looking to purge itself of any serious Christian influence while trying to calibrate just how much lip service it must give to people of faith to effectively harvest their votes. The left is completely insane on economic, social and foreign policy. The right is partly rational on economic policy, eager to surrender on social policy, and schizophrenic on foreign policy. The truth is that we no longer have debates on policy: we are engaged in a spiritual and cultural battle of good versus evil. That the right is not as vicious and violent as the left does not make them people I am interested in making common cause with in the great battle before us. They are allies of convenience sometimes, but they are not our leaders – and most will gladly knife us if the donor class demands it. This truly is the hour of the ordinary man. Our leaders will come from those who will accept power for a time to secure ordered liberty under God, but not from those who seek power as the source of meaning in their lives. God is giving us an opportunity to choose Him. To do so is to choose life, to choose peace, to choose prosperity. He is showing us, with ever starker clarity, what is at stake. And now the time has come where all must choose or perish. We cannot have God when our hearts are set upon Mammon.


It is that time again. CORAC has an ambitious agenda this year, with no little urgency to get it done. We are focused on drilling down to the local level with Go Forth Teams to work together to make their communities stronger and more connected. I am working on means of alternative currencies that local and regional groups can effectively create to build an economy when the old economy collapses. We have built teams to help with health and wellness, education, communications, prayer, crisis scenarios, sustainability and more. We depend on your donations to keep it moving – and we expect great growth this year. Actually, as society continues to deteriorate, we are going to have to deal with a great flood of people, awakened at last, to help them cooperate and collaborate with each other to build the City of God. We need more printed materials, more staff to guide the movement into deeper local efforts, and easy accessibility to critical resources on how to function when society doesn’t anymore. I’ll be blunt with you: I work quietly with many officials on how to prepare to deal with societal collapse in effective ways that will help people to thrive while not degenerating into violence. This takes massive time and effort – which I am capable of. Thanks be to God, we have a large core of committed people donating their substantial talents and great sacrifices of time to build now, even as the old is falling. But we have to depend on you to keep us funded and growing. Yeah, I know, when it all falls apart the money won’t mean much. But it does now – and helps us to prepare to cushion the fall for our members and for all people of good will. When it falls apart, I have plans. Some will fail, some will work, but we will continue to build with the resources God gives in the moment. At this moment, we need your money to keep building. Please donate generously to CORAC. Think of it as the most important insurance policy you ever took out. And if you have not yet donated your time and talent, get kicking with that, too. We do not charge for any of the resources we offer. Just today, I am facilitating getting Ivermectin to some people who need it. We are only able to do this because of your continued generosity and support. Thank you and God bless you.


If communication goes out for any length of time, meet outside your local Church at 9 a.m. on Saturday mornings. Tell friends at Church now in case you can’t then. CORAC teams will be out looking for people to gather in and work with.

Find me on Twitter at @JohnstonPilgrim


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