Beyond the Failsafe

Posted on 2023-08-14
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(I have been pondering this piece for several weeks. I think we have entered difficult new territory in an irrevocable way. For those who asked, no, I have not been sick since getting home – just working my way through this piece. It lays out our way forward as I see it. Meantime, I am working intently on finishing the CORAC handbook and the currency manual before I go on the road again. They are vital elements to carry us forward – though more difficult than I originally thought. Not to worry…the greatest difficulty I have in writing critical pieces is boiling things down so that it is accessible to all. -CJ)

I intend to write about the glorious Field Day we had in Region 9 in Wisconsin a few weeks ago. It marked a significant milestone, I think. For the first time, the people who were the most engaged and enthused were young parents. We are preparing a documentary podcast on it. I think I will put the piece up as my commentary once the documentary is available.

I have been troubled these last few weeks by events in the news. With the firehose of news we are being bombarded with it is easy to just dismiss everything as more chaos. It gets very difficult to recognize true turning points because it is all so dysfunctional. Yet I am convinced that in the last few weeks we have passed a major turning point, one that ensures that we will soon degenerate into catastrophic social and economic collapse, open revolution, or nullification and secession which could lead to open and violent civil war.

In mid-December of 2020 I wrote the obituary of the American Republic. When the Supreme Court refused to even look at the evidence of massive vote fraud by the left upon application by 18 states it signaled that America had entered its end game. Most Supreme Court justices naively thought they could just swallow one fraudulent election and then everything would go back to normal. I knew it would embolden a revolutionary leftist movement that had already decided it was not bound by the Constitution. As usual, I was right on the substance of my analysis but off on some of the timing and a few details. Since then, the Supreme Court has realized the magnitude of its error and has tried to make up for it with some genuinely grounded and principled Constitutional decisions. It is usually best to shut the barn door before all the horses get loose.

Before I get to why we have gone beyond the failsafe point I must emphasize that the point of this post is what we should do to prepare, the habits of mind and practice that will help us stand together when everything falls around us. If you know you have flak incoming shortly, you can ignore it and hope for the best; you can complain at the top of your lungs about the outrageousness of it all; or you can use the time available to you before the full assault commences to prepare for it and, hopefully, survive and emerge to rebuild.

It is easy to get so lost in the details of all the outrages formally committed against Christians and conservatives by the government that you miss the overall sweep and the larger significance of it. I will list just seven items here…not to nurse outrages, but to ask you to look at the pattern behind them.

  • Every time a new trove of hard evidence of the Biden crime family’s corruption drops, prosecutors announce a new indictment against Donald Trump. The evidence against Biden is hard, compelling, sordid and treasonous. The charges against Trump are flimsy, manufactured, include things that have been routine (unindicted) practices by all modern former presidents, and involve imaginative stretches of statutory law. Clearly, the justice system is no longer about justice, but is a sword to attack conservatives and the faithful and a shield to protect leftists from their genuinely criminal corruption.
  • Increasingly, blue states are refusing to allow Christian parents who are serious about their faith to adopt or even act as foster parents to any children. The justification is that they will not provide “gender-affirming care” if the children are persuaded to ask for mutilation surgery. In a couple of the bluest states, legislators have decided they can take children away from their natural parents if those parents refuse to have them mutilated on request. The Justice Dept. targeted parents who objected to woke nonsense and gender theory at school board meetings. Atty. Gen. Merrick Garland then compounded the offense by pretending it never happened, when documents and whistle-blowers show it clearly did. People who, 30 years ago, would have been celebrated as parents of the year are now deemed enemies of the state.
  • For several years now, the FBI has been targeting Christians by arresting (sometimes in armed raids) people who protest or pray at abortion facilities while ignoring the firebombing and vandalizing of Christian pro-life crisis pregnancy centers. Just in the last week, a boy became one more in the multitude of people who have been arrested these last two years for praying or protesting at a drag queen story hour. The FBI sent agents surreptitiously among Catholics who prefer the traditional Latin Mass, describing them as potentially dangerous radicals. And once again, the officials in charge lied under oath about the extent of what they were doing. (For any agent assigned to me, I am having lunch today with a rad-trad friend who is in town for a few days. Tonight, I will be chatting with a close friend who distinctly prefers the Latin Mass. I am neither a rad-trad nor do I prefer the Latin Mass, but I deeply respect and count as friends many of those who do. So please, Biden Justice Dept., consider me a fellow traveler of these “dangerous extremists,” – because I am.)
  • Early this year, FBI agents who were caught dead to right for having lied and falsified documents in the Russia collusion hoax were found not guilty by a D.C. jury despite “smoking gun” evidence. Afterward, a jury member said, essentially, that he did not consider it a crime for someone to conspire to smear Donald Trump. In Portland, a jury found for Antifa despite video evidence of its violence. The trial was marred by intimidation tactics against the jury, reporters and officials by Antifa. It should have been ended when the group’s defense lawyer told the jury, “I am Antifa,” and promised she would remember each one of their faces.
  • An incompetent government that cannot provide law and order, will not provide for the common defense, meddles in ways that despoil the economy and ruins peoples’ lives occupies itself ordering you around, banning incandescent light bulbs, trying to ban gas stoves, issuing all manner of micro regulations over your life. This is standard operating procedure with narcissistic incompetents: they can’t solve any problems, but their unearned self-regard can only blame and bully others in order to maintain their delusion of superiority. All it is is the will to power, frantically pursued by incompetent lowlife thugs.
  • Kurt Schlichter wrote a powerful column about angry young men, who are the genuine victims of deep oppression and suppression these last 15 years, and the role they are likely to play in overthrowing the “woke” paradigm. I concur with it almost entirely – and I have met and chatted with some of these young men. They are not who you think they are. At a dinner I was at in the eastern U.S., I remarked that my generation had badly failed the younger folks by failing to maintain standards and fight for the faith and liberty we once took for granted as our birthright. One man in his late 20’s opened up, saying I was absolutely right. He remarked that he and his friends talked about it all the time; that while they are not there yet, they are determined, when they come to power, to chase the shrieking atheists and woke incompetents from the temple entirely and set things right. The bitterness in his matter-of-fact voice somewhat chilled me. This was not the typical “angry young man.” He was a kind, gentle father of four and a devoted husband.
  • Neither the leaders of the left nor most of its followers are at all interested in truth anymore. Nor are they interested in facts, evidence, or logic. The Babylon Bee captured this brazen attitude perfectly. My belief in the basic honor and goodness of most people has caught me off guard in a big way three times in my lifetime. First, in the 70’s and early 80’s I believed that as science demonstrated the fullness of the humanity of unborn children, people would back away from the abyss of abortion. Originally, abortion was justified under the “blob of tissue” argument. In 1983 Planned Parenthood realized that ultrasounds were destroying that argument. So, it issued a confidential memo to its affiliates, acknowledging that fact and urging those affiliates to switch to a carefully crafted “right to choose” argument. Second, I prayed often that the Lord show everyone what I perceived, believing that if people saw what the ultimate consequences of our intentional dysfunction were, they would repent. We are living early stages of it now and a large faction only doubles down. Finally, I believed that almost all people would change course if objective evidence and facts proved compellingly that they had been following lies. Our current experience proves otherwise. Everything has been reduced to a raw struggle for power. When a large faction adopts that stance, they will not stop until they are stopped. On Twitter and Facebook I still make arguments, but it is no longer in hopes that the leftists there will step back from the abyss. They don’t care about facts or evidence. It is so their toxic lies do not go unchecked before people of good will who are still struggling to discern what is right.

Under these circumstances (and I barely scratched the surface here) the die is cast and the battle lines are largely formed. An existential conflict is near at hand – in this country and in the world. The left has decided it will lie, cheat and steal to establish the authoritarian oligarchy it wants. For our own sake and that of our children and grandchildren, we must not and will not submit.

The only options left open to us now are revolution, civil war, or secession. Of course, catastrophic collapse could come before any of those options come fully into play. Heaven knows incompetent leftist policies hollow us out culturally, politically, and economically even as they crow about how wonderful everything is. Even so, the skills necessary to weather any of these eventualities are similar, if not exactly the same.

In the first place, we must be prepared for the crisis. As special soldiers forces sometimes say, “Hope is not a plan.” If an enemy is trying to kill you, hoping for the best will only get you killed. Make no mistake, the left is now glad to kill us if they can’t get us to submit. Hundreds of political prisoners are being held in Washington jails. Fire-bombing crisis pregnancy centers is a matter of indifference to this federal government. Even the case of the obese 74-year-old man who had made threats against Joe Biden and was shot 37 times in a pre-dawn raid by the FBI is notably hinky. The FBI refuses to say whether or not he was armed, refuses to release any video footage, and refuses to explain why a pre-dawn SWAT-style raid was necessary for a man who needed a cane to get around at all. It looks more like an execution than an arrest to me at this stage of things. We must be prepared for ever-increasingly frequent and violent depredations by a federal occupying force that has concluded that we will not submit voluntarily so they must use force and coercion to bring us to heel. As Kurt Schlichter notes in the above linked item, the left will expect us to intervene on their behalf when they get serious pushback. Except for indiscriminate and untargeted violence, I will not. They have earned the pushback coming to them, and our liberty depends on it coming. I, of course, support nullification and secession as the options least likely to provoke large-scale violence, but I will not reflexively condemn targeted efforts that are different from my preference against our oppressors.

While we must be aware of the specific outrages, if howling about them is where it both begins and ends, we are doomed. You might just as well howl that rattlesnakes bite and scorpions sting. Certainly, if you are too busy howling to put on boots, gloves and trail pants when in the desert, you are likely to get bit or stung. Get dressed for your trek and you can walk with both care and confidence.

It is easy and viscerally satisfying to howl with outrage at abuses. If you are dealing with honorable people, it is often even effective. But when you are dealing with a cadre determined to seize power by any means it is not only ineffective, it can actually help enable their seizure by convincing others that they are utterly powerless to stop the assault.  Developing the habits of mind and action that will help you endure and overcome any social crisis takes a lot of work – work that is often mundane and grinding. It also takes a lot of cooperation. There is strength in numbers – and that strength is all the greater when the people involved already know and care about each other. That is why we set up the teams at CORAC the way we have. All the teams are focused on skills and knowledge that will be useful if everything miraculously smoothed out – and vital if they do not. Everything we do requires people to work together to accomplish their projects, whether locally, regionally, or nationally. I make a full circuit of the continental U.S. every year, visiting with our people on the ground, both encouraging them and wondering at the amazing things they are accomplishing. We have had four major field day events that have dazzled everybody in attendance – the national conference in Rapid City, South Dakota and then events in St. Cloud, Minnesota; Tyler, Texas; and Lone Rock, Wisconsin. Each of these were like a rollicking community picnic straight out of the ‘70s. People laughed and joked with each other – without worrying about who they might give offense to; men were men; women were women, and children were safe, playing enthusiastically together. The people 40 and under were the most dazzled, rarely having experienced a joyful large gathering with no grievance-mongering scolds in attendance. In Lone Rock, I introduced an old high school buddy who was Italian as, “the guy in the goombah hat.” At lunch he apologized to me that they had no possum on the menu (my redneck origins are well known). We both laughed, enjoying the affectionate ethnic humor that has been part of our friendship since our school days.

A month or so ago, a fellow asked me if I was pulling a “wax on, wax off” routine on them. I suppose so, for it was not by accident that I initiated the teams to cover the things we would need if society crumbled…and did it by forging the communal bonds that will make us strong together if we have to stand together in a dystopia gone fully malignant. People sometimes encouraged me to recruit more vigorously. I was always ambivalent about recruitment. Yes, I want more people, but I was far more interested in forming a core of people who are willing to roll up their sleeves, get their hands dirty, and do stuff. When our dystopia goes fully malignant, these are the people who will become teachers and leaders to all the people who come flooding in looking for a better way and a community. And they already have been working together for at least several years. The fact is that recruitment-heavy groups that are focused on numbers usually disintegrate when the first heavy trials come. They are like the seed that fell on rocky ground that sprang up enthusiastically, then withered when the heat of summer came, because they had no roots spread (Matthew, Chapter 13). Our meetings and gatherings are more like joyful family reunions than they are like comfortably clinical business meetings. When the rains come, not all of our people will stand – but many will. And they will infect all around them with joyful resolve and courage. That will tell. Wax on, wax off.

In the second place, we must “judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24) by exercising prudence and restraint as well as vigor and action. If all you have is a sword and no shield, the devil owns you. You may think yourself a warrior for Christ, but what is really happening is the devil is using you to do some of his dirty work until you have played out your usefulness to him. Then he runs his sword through you and finds another to unwittingly do his bidding. If you find yourself angry and aggressive all the time, you have entered into the service of the satan.

Fear is also a tool to destroy you. Remember, it is when fright overtook St. Peter that he began to sink beneath the waves. Have you ever made a good decision while in a state of panic? They exist, but are rare. If that is your general modus operandus, you will sink soon enough – while the devil hopes you will take a few down with you.

During the Covid scare, CORAC helped a lot of people find and obtain Ivermectin (the sinister FDA has just ruled that Ivermectin IS useful against Covid and may be prescribed – well after the damage has been done). It was easy to support such efforts. After doing due diligence, I found that both Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine were very likely effective against the illness AND had no significant side effects. Unfortunately, I had some people pressing me to endorse other, more exotic forms of treatment against Covid – some screaming that people were going to die if I didn’t do it. But when doing my due diligence, I found that some of these things were just wishful thinking – while others were, indeed, effective against Covid while causing profound side effects such as severe kidney damage and blood deterioration. I was not about to recommend the CORAC version of Remdesivir, which killed more people than it helped. When you just react to official abuse by adopting an equal and opposite form of your own abuse, you are not helping anyone. You are like a drunk staggering down a corridor, bouncing serially off the left wall and then the right. I largely abide by the Hippocratic Oath in these things: First, do no harm. (Would that the medical profession would get serious about that oath again!)

There are a whole host of people and organizations on the right running around like chickens with their heads cut off in response to the assaults from the left. Which do you think is the more likely scenario: that ordinary folks, as they realize with certainty that things have taken a rottenly sinister turn in the world, are going to turn to people who have been almost as unhinged and volatile as the shrieking, aggressive left or to people who have been measured, joyful, steady, and effective? I take very seriously what I believe to be my commission to help people navigate the greatest crisis in human history up to this point. I will not degenerate into panicked shrieking. Nor will I be distracted into chopping away at the branches of our problems, when I am called to be focused on the roots. I get people all the time trying to convince me I should re-direct CORAC to fight 5G technology, or chem trails or whatever branch they are most focused on. Not gonna happen. We will stay focused on the roots of the problem.

In that regard, I spend very little time looking for enemies. In this time of naked aggression, most enemies reveal themselves quite openly. Rather I engage in a search for allies – and speak in a way that reassures potential allies that if they come to us, they will not be sent away. There is a story about Abraham Lincoln I absolutely love. Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, frustrated with Lincoln’s generous temperament, exclaimed in a meeting that, “Mr. President, you must destroy your enemies.” To which Lincoln replied, “Why Stanton, if I make an enemy into a friend, haven’t I destroyed an enemy?” I am aware of the darkness in a man’s eyes (including my own) but I am also aware of the light there. I look for the light and appeal to it. Yeah, there is a pretty high failure rate, but I love the old Jewish saying that he who rescues one man rescues the whole world.

One way or another, it is all coming down. I do not want ANYONE to dread to come to us out of fear that all they will get is an “I told you so” or a recitation of their previous sins. Lord help us, if all were to have to be reminded of their previous sins before working for the good, who would be able to stand? It is enough for me that one wants to stand now. (And yes, I know enemies sometimes pretend to a change of heart in order to undermine the mission. I have been fooled before, but I had a reputation as one who was very hard to ambush. And if you can fool initially, it is very hard to sustain it. Woe to those who weave such deceptions. They will be revealed for the snakes they are.)

In that light, it is incumbent on each of us to work to see what is best in each person we encounter and appeal to that. That is not just a moral prescription, but a practical guide to coalition building. If someone is of evil will, dismiss them. But make them prove it before shaking the dust off your feet.

That applies to the hierarchy in the Church, as well. I have not been shy about criticizing abuses from clerics. But what about those clerics who abuse neither Scripture nor the Magisterium nor their people? Yes, many are timid. But what have we done to demonstrate to them that if they stand we will stand with them against the inevitable attacks they will attract? Even the boldest warrior, confronted by a hostile army, will quail if he turns and sees his troops are hiding. Yes, I know, the faithful have rallied around a few bold clerics…but much of that rallying has been because such clerics say what the faithful want to hear rather than faithfully defending the truth of Scripture and the Magisterium. I do not follow comforting bromides that ignore large swaths of Scripture and the Magisterium. I want every Priest and Bishop I encounter to know that if he stands boldly for Scripture and the Magisterium, I will stand boldly and publicly with him, wherever the attacks may come from.

Thus, I encourage everyone to cooperate and collaborate with your Bishops and Priests, so long as they are not actively seeking to overturn Scripture and the Magisterium – and do not pretend that, if they simply disagree with you on a point, they are undermining the faith. Some of the people I hold most dearly in my heart are those who have corrected me well. If they are timid, well, that is not your fault. You will have the joy of knowing that, if they do act boldly in defense of the faith, you helped by showing them they had people who would stand firmly with them. Courage is contagious. Let your courage be open and without rancor and you will inspire many.

Understand that banishing fear does not mean nothing bad will ever happen to you. Bad things will almost certainly come. It is a matter of trust. When you fully put your trust in Christ, it no longer matters much what happens to you, for you are confident that whatever Christ allows to befall you, it is either for your good or that of those around you – or both. Your job is to pray and study before making a decision and then make the best decision you can think of. You will still make errors, but God will draw fruit from even those. Do it consistently enough and even the decisions you have to make under pressure will get better.

Finally, be rigorous in the standards you hold yourself to and generous with everyone else. Too many people do this exactly backwards. Do not count yourself among them. The left thinks they have done “research” if they have watched an episode of CNN. Research does NOT mean choosing which talking head you will be an acolyte of. Nor does it mean cherry-picking those items that seem to support what you already believe while ignoring everything else. If you want to do solid research, privately attack your own position ruthlessly, seeking out every credible element you can that contradicts your position. You are ready to opine on a subject when you can routinely express the opposition’s position better than they can. Sometimes you will change your position. When I started radio I was a gun control advocate. Some listeners who were 2nd Amendment activists challenged me, telling me that my points on this were superficial and misleading. So I did a deep dive and found they were right. Two things were necessary here: first, that my listeners felt confident they could politely contradict me and have me take it seriously – and then do the work. If you just cherry-pick favorable material, you stand atop a house of cards, ready to topple at the first strong breeze. If you have rigorously attacked your own position privately, you can walk with real confidence when you proclaim publicly. Frankly, that is a big part of the secret of acting boldly without acting brashly.

Understand that a lot of good people are going to be caught up in the hysteria and tumult of the moment. While speaking boldly about what you believe to be true, do not be quick to denounce those who have let the winds and waves of the storm cause them to sink into panicked error. To do so may well hinder them from doing great work once again after the initial panic has passed.

It comes down to my most oft-repeated dictum: Acknowledge God, Take the Next Right Step, and Be a Sign of Hope to Those Around You. We are the people who do stuff. The old ways are falling away. We are called to stand in the breach. Work steadily without ceasing at this and we will, indeed, be heralds of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart.

*********

When I was in radio – and since then, I hate listening to tapes of myself. My voice is muddy and I am all too aware of my verbal tics. In the old days, I would only listen to myself when the Program Director was doing an aircheck with me or when my kids, on holidays, wanted to listen to the “best of” tape they played on the radio. They just loved the idea of their dad being simultaneously in the car with them and on the radio.

A lot of people ask me about my conversion story. At one of the functions on my last tour, I promised a lady I would do a podcast on it with my co-host, Dr. Joe Brickner. And so we did. I figure I can refer any who ask now to this video. To my surprise, I enjoyed watching it. I intended to just watch a few minutes to see that it was okay, but I watched the whole thing. I hope you will enjoy it, too.

*********

My scheduler, Gina Waters, is now making calls to regional coordinators so she can put together my talks for the fall, winter, and early spring. I will head out west in mid-September, get back to Colorado for a couple of events in mid-October, then head south to Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana, on to Alabama and Georgia for the holidays, then up the east coast and back through the Midwest in the spring. If you want to host a talk, contact Gina at ginaw@coracusa.com, to see where it can fit in the schedule. If you are a member of CORAC, there is no fee for any appearance. If you are not, there is a $350 fee. But that has a loophole a mile wide. Just join CORAC, for which there is no fee.

These are tough times and getting tougher. I have some friends telling me I should wind down and prepare personally for the difficulties ahead. Nonsense! I know people are scared in these times. At most events I can see the tension in people as I begin. One of my greatest joys in these days is literally being able to see the moment when the crowd collectively breathes a sigh of relief as they realize that, with God, we can do this. I will not deprive myself of that joy. I am confident that when it all comes down, God will open the door to whatever He wants next. And I always have my loaded backpack with me, so I will not be without shelter during the transition. We can do this. God made us for these times.

My second favorite picture of my youngest granddaughter, Maggie and me. I put it here because it’s my blog and I can.

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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