The New Backup Plan

Posted on 2023-11-03
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When I was a younger man (that is to say middle-aged and before), when public leaders erred and made things worse they would often make excuses or try to explain why it was not their fault. Tiresome, but a common human trait. It is only with the last three holders of the Oval Office that the occupants have tried to say that the disasters they helped create are actually great achievements. (To his credit, Trump only did this with the Covid shots and policy long after he should have known he was being had. Yet, he still does it, pretending his approach was great).

Some 20 years ago Jimmy Carter was widely considered the worst, most incompetent president since James Buchanan by serious people. Even he, though, midway through his term, got a deer in the headlights look as he very obviously realized this was not how he expected things to play out. Bill Clinton was the first president I could not bear to listen to for more than a few minutes, because of his serial prevarications, misdirections, and rhetorical sleights of hand. But he, too, when things were visibly warped, responded to the need to correct them rather than proclaim a pile of ashes to be a great success. Barack Obama pioneered the technique of taking an abject failure, declaring it a rousing success and moving on. All of this, of course, was facilitated by a press corps that is ever ready to transcribe whatever a leftist says as honest truth. You couldn’t get away with that when dealing with a press that was merely biased, rather than ignorant activists. Somewhere, Lyndon Johnson is rolling in his grave wondering why he could not have had today’s press to transcribe his failures as brilliant successes. Carter, of course, is just delighted that he will not be remembered as the worst failure in the Oval Office in two centuries.

How did we get to this point? Besides all the malevolent absurdities the left has adopted as its ideology, I think the rise of politics as self-actualization has played a huge role. Within every politician’s breast beats a burning desire to be someone important. Thank God. Without that spark of ambition, few would endure the trials endemic to genuine public service. The trade-off was always that you had to work to accomplish things and actually care for the public good to justify that status as being “important.” Democrats and Republicans were calibrated somewhat differently: Democrats were geared more towards providing assistance to those in need and Republicans were geared more towards providing opportunity for all without impediments. Despite the difference, both were united in supporting American interests and defending the country from threats.

At some point, the need for actual accomplishments was divorced from the desire for prominence. Instead of looking at public office as a vehicle to facilitate accomplishment, politicians came to think of public office as the validation of their dreams. They were now important and people had to do what they said. It became like a junior high school clique – all sizzle, no substance.

I knew in my early 20’s that Congressmen were not, by and large, intellectual or philosophical giants. This came from working with them. But they were, for the most part, strivers; people seeking to use their position to make their mark as people who could get things done and make things better. Most took the opportunity seriously. Now many – perhaps a majority – think attaining office IS making their mark. It is a political Kardashian standard of celebrity: they’re famous for being famous. This explains why we have so many AOC’s, Eric Swalwells and Adam Schiffs – people who are completely vapid with loud, bad attitudes. Just 30, certainly 40 or 50 years ago, their own party would have shunned them, shamed that they were making the party look so bad.

And yet, in a Constitutional Republic, I still believe that the quality of our representatives reflects the quality of our general population. One need only look at the comments section of most publications to see that we have become a vapid, irreligious, dishonorable people. (Thankfully, this site is one of the exceptions – but that took a lot of work early on, getting people to understand that vigorous debate and even a few sharp elbows were acceptable, but mindless vitriol was not.)

After the Constitution was adopted, John Adams said it was only, “…made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Is it any wonder that the pagans who have come to dominate our government so hate our Constitution? It is both an impediment to their ambitions and a rebuke to their moral pretensions.

This is why the most urgent task before each of us is to be moral and religious. The rot is so deep in most of our institutions that I do not believe they can be saved. But bad policy is its own destructor. In a healthy society, when policy is visibly seen to have bad results, people abandon the bad policy.  In authoritarian societies dominated by a cult of personality or a strongman, the ruling class is incapable of admitting to error – so bad policies are pursued until they collapse the society.

When societies collapse, people inevitably rebuild, sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly depending on their circumstances. At first, those who followed the old ruling class are shocked to find all they believed was a lie – and now they are paying huge consequences for seconding that lie. For a time they may occupy themselves trying to forlornly rebuild the broken system of lies under which they seemed to thrive. Most people try to find what does work to replace that which did not work.

In America we have some advantages and some disadvantages. The biggest disadvantage we have is that for the last century, America has been the world’s backup plan. When societies embarked upon self-destructive lunacy, America could be counted on to remain steady and to step in and help the broken society rebuild. This time we are collapsing the world’s backup plan. An advantage we have is that we have not had an endless succession of incompetent tyrants: within the living memory of a good half of the American people is a time when America largely worked for all and had a self-healing system to address and correct those areas where it did not. We also have a Constitutional system that, though much disparaged by the pseudo-intellectuals that predominate our institutions, actually worked to secure the blessings of liberty and prosperity for all. We have something to work with other than the serial failures of incompetent, murderous tyrants.

Sadly, we also have an ignorant mob filled with moral pretense and unending rage. Historically those types are very useful in helping a malignant tyrant to power. Once he has gained it, he usually destroys them first. The godless left has not calibrated this properly, though. The various systems are collapsing before any tyrant has consolidated power. Nothing burns off the rage of a morally pretentious mob than to suddenly have to face the stark want and struggle to survive that they had intended for others. Some of the mob will repent and convert. Others will not. They will perish.

Since we will not have the luxury of America as the backup plan to our own episode of destructive hubris, we formed The Corps of Renewal and Charity (CORAC) three and a half years ago. The initial goal was to establish a presence all across the nation, that we would have an organizing principle in place that was already hard at work everywhere as the old order fell. We have succeeded nicely in that – and have international chapters as well. The second order of business was to use the skills of some of our members to form national committees to help teach all of our members the skills they need to survive, and even thrive, as the old order falls. We have done that, as well.

In short, we have endeavored to become the new backup plan – and have been working at it since well before many saw what our growing societal dysfunction really portended. Throughout, we are committed to be a moral and religious people, not self-righteous, not attempting grand epoch-changing schemes, simply doing the little things that are not glamorous, but will be necessary to a people rebuilding together under God. It is not sexy and exciting. The only reason to do it is because of your love of God, proven through your love of family and neighbor by what you do, not just what you say. An important benefit of this approach is that it largely weeds out those who simply want glory without sacrifice and collaboration.

Please join us this Sunday, November 5 for a global ZOOM meeting. I will discuss, in detail, how we are going to refine our organizational structure and build communities that will keep working and grow even as the institutions we once relied upon fail and fall. Next week, the CORAC leadership across the country will receive the new CORAC Handbook, which is a pre-requisite for the CORAC Currency Manual which will be delivered during Advent.

Our children and grandchildren will live in neither chains nor chaos. The only way to ensure that that is reality rather than mere assertion is to work now to build a new backup plan for people working together, under God, to secure the blessings of liberty, prosperity and the pursuit of happiness. We are the new backup plan. Won’t you join us?

The link, again, for the global ZOOM meeting, which will be Sunday at 3 pm ET (2 pm CT, 1 pm MT and Arizona, and noon PT) is below:

Topic: CORAC Global Meeting
Time: Nov 5, 2023 @ 12:00 NOON (PT) 1:00 PM (Arizona & MT), 2:00 PM (CT), 3:00 PM (ET)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 896 0901 6803
Passcode: 614901


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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