March 28, 2010
The Protocols of the Elders of Christendom?
Theocracy-watcher Katherine Yurica calls it "the most immoral political program ever adopted by a political movement in this country." At Illuminati Conspiracy Archive, Paul and Phillip Collins say that it "echoes the revolutionary fervor of Robespierre's radical Jacobinism."
The object of this fear and loathing? An obscure essay (now available only on web archives) titled "The Integration of Theory and Practice: A Program for the New Traditionalist Movement," written in 2001 by Eric Heubeck, a former associate of the late Paul Weyrich at the Free Congress Foundation. Not only has his essay been removed from Free Congress's website, but Heubeck has apparently withdrawn from public life, as this author has not been able to contact him.
Let's examine Integration to see what might inspire such heated rhetoric. Beginning his case, Heubeck asserts:
The conservative movement is defensive, defeatist, depressed, and apologetic. It lacks self-confidence, virility, energy, intensity, vigor, aggressiveness, vitality, and a firm belief in the rightness of its cause. This is because conservatives have failed to devote the proper amount of energy to developing an alternative cultural world-view opposed to the dominant leftist one.
The result...is a[n American] society that increasingly does not recognize culturally conservative views, and is gradually coming to despise them.
Conservatives must honestly assess the predicament that we are in. We must understand that the American people are no longer on our side, at least not reliably so, and they will be less so as time goes on. But more worrisome still is the fact that conservatives themselves often no longer understand or support a truly culturally conservative vision of America.
Conservatism, in brief, is losing, and Integration attempts to lay a theoretical foundation for properly resisting the left. Heubeck's proposal, in a nutshell, is to develop an elite conservative corps which will spearhead the formation of a new, traditionalist conservative culture that will gradually, by proving itself to be more true, virtuous, and appealing than its liberal counterpart, peacefully displace the existing liberal/leftist order. To quote Integration:
A central mission of this movement is to advance a true traditionalist counter-culture based on virtue, excellence, and self-discipline. The New Traditionalists will not be exclusively Christians, but many of them inevitably will be. What binds the New Traditionalists is a belief that each individual has a duty to obey a higher law than his own will and appetite. New Traditionalists reject the materialism, hedonism, consumerism, egoism, and the cult of self-actualization which permeate modern life.
It is not the goal of this essay to give a detailed review of Integration, much less to examine what the movement leftists call "Dominionism," of which Integration is allegedly part. Instead, this essay attempts simply to point out how absurd and even wicked is the charge that Heubeck and people like him -- i.e., conservative Christians -- are trying to force a "theocratic" government on an unwilling populace.
Not surprisingly, Integration generated a hostile response from the left, and the most prolific Heubeck-hater appears to be freelance journalist Katherine Yurica. At her website, she describes herself as a "just plain ordinary born again Christian," but her primary bête noir is the "Christian right." In an essay with the charming title "Conquering by Stealth and Deception: How the Dominionists Are Succeeding in Their Quest for National Control and World Power," Yurica claims that Integration is "Paul Weyrich's Secret Manual on How to Win Politically," and "The [evidence] that Weyrich's plan has actually been instituted is all around us."
In the estimation of Yurica and her fellow leftists, Integration concretely articulates a plan developed by "Christian Theocrats" to seize political power and use it forcefully to dismantle the domain of liberalism (secularism, welfare, multiculturalism, affirmative action, etc.) and enforce a fundamentalist Christian order in America. In brief, Yurica sees Integration as an American, Christian version of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
This is the full meaning of the smear term "Dominionism" coined by the left. As Yurica sees it, this evil plan is well on its way to victory; one can visualize her shuddering as she imagines jackbooted, goose-stepping "Theocrats" chanting "Sieg Heil!"
But is Yurica correct? You should read Integration yourself, but consider the following quotes:
We [conservatives] will never succeed in taking over political structures until we can convince the American people that we can be trusted to take them over, and to do that we must win the people over culturally--by defining how man ought to act, how he ought to perceive the world around him, and what it means to live the good life. Political arrangements can only be formed after these fundamental questions have been answered.
In terms of our long term prospects, because we will be seen as a purely defensive movement, not interested in imposing our views on anyone, only interested in being left alone, we will surely gain the sympathy of the public. The dominant culture will see its life-force being sapped, and it will grow terrified. It will do whatever it takes to destroy its assailant. This will lead to the perception that the dominant leftist culture is empty, hollow, desperate, and has lost its mandate to rule, because its only basis for authority is coercion, much like the communist East Bloc. Sympathy from the American people will increase as our opponents try to persecute us, which means our strength will increase at an accelerating rate due to more defections--and the enemy will collapse as a result.
There are operational libertarians and there are ontological libertarians. There is nothing in this movement that an operational libertarian would find objectionable. It does not seek to replace an intrusive leftist state with an intrusive traditionalist state. [Emphasis added]
Yurica is wrong on three basic points: With the possible exception of tiny fringe groups, Christian conservatives are not advocating, or attempting, what she says they are. Second, those attempting it are bound to fail because it cannot be done. Finally, Christian conservatives are not "succeeding in their quest for national control and world power"; they are resisting only the so-far-successful leftist campaign to impose its will on America.
Yurica (and others) claim that Integration calls on Christian conservatives to seize power over an unsympathetic populace by a combination of force, stealth, and dissimulation. But the above quotes clearly show this accusation to be a lie. As you can see by reading Integration, Heubeck's plainly-stated plan is to convince people peacefully and openly to reject leftist ways. Every plan for cultural renewal necessitates a certain amount of aggression, but aggression in presenting good ideas and attacking bad ideas is entirely different from employing physical violence (as the left often does) to intimidate your enemy and bend him to your will. Heubeck is advocating intellectual, not physical, aggression.
Neither is he advocating dissimulation. Yurica describes as "Machiavellian" Integration's assertion that "the truth of an idea is not the primary reason for its acceptance." But the context makes Heubeck's meaning clear: It's not enough for activists to possess truth. They must present it effectively. This isn't Machiavellianism -- just common sense.
Why do Yurica and her ilk miss the obvious? A possible explanation is that leftists assume that conservatives want to rule by force and dissimulation because that's the way the left generally operates. The basic leftist model of sociopolitical "improvement" involves academics secretly (i.e., without input from ordinary people) deciding how man ought to live, legislators implementing (deceptively, if necessary) laws that reflect this understanding, and then lawyers and bureaucrats (and occasionally thugs) forcing ordinary people to obey. It is therefore natural for leftists to assume that their opponents wish to operate in the same way.
But perhaps the explanation is simply that Yurica is a propagandist who will use any smear that her intended readers might find plausible.
Integration's enemies (deliberately, we may presume) miss its central point: To gain real sociopolitical power, a movement needs to persuade the man in the street. And since leftist propaganda surrounds us, constantly emanating from school, church, and media, the man in the street currently accepts (at least passively) the basic premises of liberalism. Until that situation changes, conservatism will continue to retreat.
Many resist the conclusion that most Americans are content with the liberal status quo. True, John Q. Public often opposes the latest leftist initiatives. But it is change he opposes. He agrees with the basic premises of the left that have become conventional wisdom: America is secular and multicultural; all people are equal, therefore all discrimination is wrong; science defines reality, and religion is opinion rather than truth; government must fix all our problems; the individual and his desires are not constrained by God, country, or family; and so on. Liberalism won these battles long ago in the sense that these beliefs have long been widely accepted by America's authorities, and those who disagree are opposing a semi-official orthodoxy. This is why leftists portray their conservative opponents as "radical" or "out of step with America." True conservatives are indeed "out of step" with conventional -- i.e., liberal -- thinking.
The left is in the driver's seat, and there is therefore one irrefutable argument against the view that a secret cabal of Christian fundamentalists is taking over the country: Conservatism continues to lose. There may very well be secret or semi-secret conservative organizations dedicated to wresting control of the country from the left, but if so, these organizations are failing spectacularly. On average, with exceptions noted, the left is expanding its control over America's intellectual, moral, social, spiritual, and legal order. That the left is winning does not necessarily mean that conservatism can never come back, but we must acknowledge the current situation.
At best, conservatism is only slowing the left's progress, although there is hope that the blatant power-grab that is ObamaCare will show the truly radical nature of the left and stimulate the right to fight back effectively for a change. Indeed, if Yurica were a more astute observer, she would understand that the growing resistance to the left about which she worries is actually a sign that the left is winning: The culture war may be likened to a foreign (leftist) army invading America and attempting to force their alien ways on us, and as the invading army penetrates deeper into the country, resistance naturally stiffens as more people become aware that their backs are against the wall.
And there is an even more fundamental problem with the assertion that fundamentalist Christians are secretly taking power: It can't be done. Even in a dictatorship, the people must be made at least outwardly to go along with the ruling ideology, which is why dictators always employ propaganda. The only way to seize power in America, where we have a tradition of popular sovereignty and resistance to tyranny, is to convince the average person that your beliefs are true. Are there people secretly plotting to gain power in the name of Christianity? Probably. Do they have a chance of taking over? Not a snowball's chance in Hell, unless they peacefully and rationally convince John Q. Public that their views are true and good. That's why Integration makes a lot of sense.
Alan Roebuck is a Reformed (that is Calvinistic) Christian.