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Remember in the good old days of the Cold War, when we could go to the movies and see James Bond battle Soviet plots to take over the world? Even though the threat from the East was real, we understood during the movie-escape experience that we could have some fun with it.
Then when the Berlin Wall came down and was hauled away in a million directions, everyone naturally breathed a sigh of relief. I even remember hearing about the “peace dividend,” in which states could scale back on military spending, since the Bear had been tamed. The Red Scare was over.
We all know how that turned out.
Yet most of us never envisioned that the cold fingers of Marxism would ever really penetrate American society. Now, not only is Vladmir Putin still running the firm of Stalin-Putin-KGB, we see disturbing signs here at home.
For our purposes, I’m frankly talking about the trend toward censorship. This takes many forms, and in the book publishing world, the trends are disturbing.
A publishing friend recently told me that a “hot” title soon to be released had first been pared down of its investigative criticism centered on a famous American. He then (literally) whispered that the book is now on hold.
I’ve heard somewhat similar stories for more than a year, as the Bush White House gradually faded from sight and we were faced with the first vapors of socialism creeping down Pennsylvania Avenue.
I live in Arkansas, and I can tell you that while many people here knew Bill Clinton and what he was capable of, he was a rank amateur compared to the 44th president. Now, we live in a culture where talk radio is threatened, free speech rights and the Internet are threatened, and threats to the further dissemination of vital information via books is not just on the horizon; it is the horizon.
At this moment, we can still promote ideas – perhaps the most thoroughly American freedom. I wonder about a minute from now.
This is why groups like WND are critical to this cultural battle we find ourselves in. There are others. Regnery. Encounter Books. Whew, the list is a bit longer than that, but not by much.
A book I recently reviewed, “Ride the Thunder,” is Richard Botkins’ tale of the real Vietnam War and how American policymakers torpedoed the gains made by our magnificent troops in the field. “Ride the Thunder” should be on the required-reading list for American students in public schools – instead of novels written by Marxists (as I perused on the table of a big-box giant retail chain last week).
Without doubt, there is a massive effort among our cultural elites to re-imagine American history.
Some groups, like Creation Truth Foundation with their new “The War of the Ages” DVD series and Gary DeMar’s American Vision, are providing marvelous instructional books and films that promote the real early America. David Barton’s WallBuilders is doing the same thing.
Yet there is the unmistakable smell in the air of censorship from our government. The Fairness Doctrine (or whatever clever alternate title the Obama administration is pushing this afternoon) is a direct and real threat to talk radio. Talk radio feeds the conservative book movement. How long will we have access to the information promoted by the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage?
In particular, Savage is a key cog in the almost underground effort to educate the masses. His brilliant, daily commentary on the airwaves is buttressed by the ideas he disseminates in his books. People like this should be promoted far and wide.
In the Christian community, there is no less an effort to silence dissent. This atmosphere is so surreal, one wonders if we are indeed in a James Bond movie.
For example, if even an author who in the past was feted by mainstream publishers now criticizes, say, Rick Warren, said author now stands outside on a lonely, empty street. A manuscript warning American Christians about efforts to dilute Christianity is met by the sound of crickets chirping.
While it is still daylight, those of us who embrace traditional American values should network extensively and promote titles like “Ashamed of the Gospel” and “Because the Time is Near,” by John MacArthur, the California theologian who apparently doesn’t have a shy bone in his body when it comes to alerting conservative Christians about the dangers of liberal theology.
Truly, I am shocked by the noise I hear from editorial boardrooms around the country, where lively debate about whether to publish a “controversial author” is now giving way to silence. They aren’t even debating it anymore.
That’s why many of the rising stars in the American Christian community can so effortlessly write and publish their cotton-candy brand of faith or promote outright heresy. The so-called “Watchmen on the Wall” are either retired or dead. Their shoes have been filled by sons who grew up in postmodern America, and their publishing schedules reflect that culture.
I was talking recently with a Christian leader, highly placed, who wants to publish a book on soul-winning. The very activity was a foundation stone of America, from the earliest settlements in the New World until roughly the moment Lee Harvey Oswald pulled the trigger.
I told my friend that he could either spend a couple years querying potential publishers or self-publish. Something tells me he won’t be wasting a couple years. He knows what Christian publishers are into now, and it ain’t soul-winning. It’s a good thing Charles Spurgeon is dead; otherwise the rejection from Christian publishers would likely kill him.
One wonders how long it will be before our nation’s leaders clamp down, Soviet-style, and come up with a pretense for shutting down free speech. Then, the State will tell us what to think. Suddenly, the once-noble career of publishing will become an assembly line of uniform thinking. Pravda’s presses will be humming once again.
So, as we consider just where publishing is today, we need to think more about where it will be tomorrow. We must write and publish while it is still daylight.