I think I agree with Paul Weyrich. Or, should I say, I think he
agrees with me … sort of.
Weyrich, head of the Free Congress Foundation and a long-time
conservative activist and strategist, wrote in a letter to fellow
conservatives recently that America’s drift from freedom cannot be
changed through the political process alone.
This is essentially what I have been saying to freedom-loving people
for at least the last 10 years.
Politicians do not lead. They follow. They do not stand up to the
tremendous pressures applied by the cultural and political
establishment. They bend. They compromise. They yield. It is unusual for
a politician to place principle over personal ambition. And that’s how
the freedom-stealers win battle after battle.
It all started many years ago, around the turn of the last century,
when an Italian Communist by the name of Antonio Gramsci came up with a
strategic spin on accomplishing the political objectives of socialism.
Gramsci argued that the road to victory wasn’t necessarily found in
armed, violent clashes, but rather in a long-term struggle for the
hearts and minds of the people.
He advocated a long march through the cultural institutions —
education, academia, the press, the entertainment industry, the
foundations, even the churches. If you take over the key cultural
institutions, he said, the political establishment would fall into your
hands like the last domino.
The enemies of freedom, the advocates of state control and socialism,
have been following Gramsci’s cue around the world for at least the last
They have thoroughly succeeded in sacking America’s cultural
institutions — and, today, the political establishment is sitting there
like an overripe plum waiting to be harvested.
But there’s a problem with Weyrich’s strategy of “dropping out” of
this culture. One of the reasons we, who believe in self-government,
personal responsibility and freedom, find ourselves in this predicament
is because too many of us have already dropped out.
Let me give you an example. From the 1930s through the mid-1960s, the
churches, both Catholic and Protestant, wielded enormous clout in
Hollywood. Clergy and laymen representing both branches of Christianity
literally approved every script made into a motion picture by the major
studios until 1968. At that time, the churches voluntarily relinquished
this powerful influence they had over America’s culture.
Why? Not because there was any pressure from the film industry. In
fact, Hollywood moguls begged the churches to stay involved. They
understood it was good for business. The involvement of the churches
helped ensure that Hollywood produced films that would be well received
by the vast mainstream audience. Left to their own devices, the studio
heads understood they could easily lose touch — that artistic license
could easily lead to licentiousness. Yet, I doubt any of them could have
imagined how quickly the entertainment industry would plummet into the
moral abyss. The result? Two-thirds of all movies today are rated R.
Fewer people go to movies today than did after World War II. Only
skyrocketing ticket prices, video rentals and television distribution
have kept the industry rolling in profits. But, is there anyone who
doubts Hollywood would be better off, making higher profits, if it was
still producing movies as it did in its Golden Age?
Why did the church abandon Hollywood? Because social activists who
had penetrated the church as part of that long-range strategy devised by
Gramsci engineered the move. There is simply no other rationale. At the
time, the National Council of Churches, which oversaw the Protestant
Film Office, claimed it could no longer afford to monitor scripts. The
influence the churches had on Hollywood and the broader American culture
cost a grand total of $35,000 a year when the office was closed.
Today, the National Council of Churches is at the forefront of every
statist social cause under the sun. Closing the film office was merely
the first volley in a long war against freedom, personal responsibility
That’s how the Culture War is waged. But, as Hollywood demonstrates,
dropping out isn’t the answer. The answer is for freedom-loving people
to fight back on all fronts, to stop surrendering in the Culture War, to
reclaim and redeem those lost cultural institutions.
Weyrich bemoans the fact that his side no longer represents a
majority American viewpoint. It’s not surprising. While they’ve been
fighting a conventional political war for the last 30 years, the
statists, the radical secularists, the socialists have been taking over
the culture — the Ho Chi Minh trail to political power.
Is it any wonder we find it so difficult to govern ourselves when one
of the central tenets of those cultural revolutionaries for the last 75
years has been the destruction of the whole notion of self-government.
So, freedom-lovers, let’s not drop out completely. Yes, protect and
insulate yourselves and your families from the evil influences of
government schools, Hollywood debauchery and neo-pagan theology. But
never give up the fight to reclaim ground in the Culture War. If those
cultural institutions would fall to determined people with bad ideas,
how much more success could we expect with a little persistence and good
ideas like freedom, personal responsibility and self-government?
I believe God will bless such a campaign. After all, the enemies of
freedom are the enemies of God. They declared war on Him and the whole
notion of a sovereign Supreme Being when they set out on their
destructive path to empower the state as the ultimate authority. But God
still sits on the throne. He’s still in charge. His Spirit is far more
powerful than any worldly forces.
It reminds me of the words of the revolutionary naval hero, John Paul
Jones, as his foundering ship was besieged and bombarded by the British
fleet. “I have not yet begun to fight,” he said.
That’s the spirit that will carry the day. That’s the spirit that
will be empowered and rewarded by God.