ISSUES IN FOCUS
Week of February 22, 1999
DEFEAT BY SURRENDER
Paul Weyrich, a prominent conservative, was the subject of much discussion in the media last week. What created a stir was his declaration that the cultural war had been lost, that victory in politics had not and would not accomplish the goal of advancing freedom’s cause and, therefore, he urged his readers to tune out and drop out. His comments were widely interpreted as waving the white flag of surrender, a bitter concession that statists had won and that it is all over except for the waiting.
Now, what would happen to America if, suddenly, everyone who opposes the rise and growth of statism simply dropped out, gave up and quit fighting for their rights and freedom? It doesn’t take much thought to know the answer to this question. Without opposition, statists would quickly consolidate their power and swiftly move to the achievement of their ultimate goal: the totalitarian state.
I have been a harsh critic of conservative Republicans for the unwitting role they have played in the rise of statism. Through their implicit acceptance of the basic tenets of statism, they have participated in the piecemeal destruction of freedom.
The fact that so many conservative Republicans share the fundamental premises of statists has led to compromise after compromise, a process that continues to inch America toward the destruction of liberty. This is an alarming pattern and, unless these Republicans wake up, it will ultimately drive America into the abyss of despotism. Yet, as inept as they have been, they have slowed down the advance of statism, they have opposed it and they have bought us some time to make the intellectual arguments that will hopefully make them see how to fight this battle and eventually win it. The last thing we need is for these Republicans to give up.
There used to be a popular phrase that supposedly identified a phenomenon in this country and it was called the "silent majority." Supposedly there was a majority in America that opposed the growth of statism but, for various reasons, remained silent and generally didn’t voice its opposition. If such a majority ever existed, and it probably did not, it no longer exists. That supposed majority is now clearly a minority, a fact Weyrich apparently has just grasped. Does this make the future look even more bleak and hopeless? Only if the minority remains largely silent.
Vocal minorities have always shaped history. History is, and the future will be, determined by a small minority of intellectually active individuals who possess the courage of their convictions. Pasteur, Edison, our Founding Fathers and all others like them, faced enormous opposition. They were in the minority, battled ignorance and the unthinking and eventually won. The embattled minority now fighting for reason, individual rights and freedom can do the same.
In fact, those who are fighting for liberty today have less excuse for giving up than anyone ever had in the past. Anyone with a computer and access to the Internet has at his disposal the most powerful communication tool ever developed. The emergence of the Internet as a means of communication is more important than the invention of the printing press, radio and television combined. The Internet provides each individual with a means, unparalleled in history, of spreading ideas.
All an aspiring Hitler needs is for his opposition to evaporate. He needs his victims to surrender. He needs the voiceless. He needs enough people to believe that it is hopeless to oppose him. He needs the most intelligent among us to remain silent, to say nothing. His greatest fear is the voice of reason, the sound of an intelligent mind speaking out. This is the greatest threat to statism and to tyranny. And this is why statists always seek state-imposed censorship, so the opposition will have no voice.
Those who predict defeat and surrender on the basis of that prediction create a self-fulfilling prophecy. The person who gives up undercuts the efforts of those who continue to fight, making it all the more likely that the prediction will eventually come true.
There have always been sunshine patriots, those who can only summon the courage to fight when it appears success is just around the corner. After courageous and thinking individuals have won the day against statism, the dispirited and the defeatists will join the party to celebrate a victory to which they made themselves, in their silence, irrelevant. Such losers only make it a little more difficult for those who continue to fight. They do not make it impossible for us to fight.
Weyrich is wrong. The cultural war is not lost. The fight is still in its infancy. Don’t sit this one out on the sidelines. You can make a difference in the final outcome if you fight on the battlefield of ideas. Let your voice be heard.
February 22, 1999
© Copyright 1999 Fulton Huxtable