By Charlie Johnston
Over the weekend, we suffered the worst Islamist attack on American soil since 9-11 when a Jihadist shot up a homosexual nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The tally was 49 dead and 53 wounded when I sat down to write this. All too predictably, the left exploded in rage against the National Rifle Assn. (NRA) and demanded stricter gun control laws. They neglect to mention that the Paris attacks brought over twice as many casualties – in a country that has more stringent gun control laws than even the most unhinged leftist state in America. The president helpfully explained at the end of his remarks that we all need to look within ourselves and be more tolerant of gays. Some of the left trotted out their usual canard warning against “religious extremism” while worrying that this may cause a backlash against the “religion of peace.” Next to no one suggested any serious measures to protect Americans from being hunted and murdered by Jihadists. Hey guys…here’s a tip: when someone shouts ‘Hallelujah’ in a public place, people look around to see what’s up; when someone shouts ‘Allahu Akhbar,’ people duck.
In almost all recent Jihadist attacks on American soil, there were substantial indicators screaming “danger, danger” well before the attack. In this case, the Jihadist had been interviewed by the FBI three times for his ties to terrorist organizations. His co-workers had warned superiors multiple times of his unhinged anger, radical Islamism, and stated desires to kill people. But no one in authority did anything, undoubtedly for fear of being labeled an Islamophobe. Homeland Security uses the motto, “If you see something, say something.” If truth in advertising laws applied to their approach to threats, the slogan would be, “If you see something, keep your stupid mouth shut, you ignorant bigot.”
Yesterday was the 99th anniversary of the second Marian apparition at Fatima. Our Lady warned that if Russia were not consecrated to her Immaculate Heart, the errors of that benighted nation would spread throughout the world. And so they have. Not until 1984 was the world formally consecrated – and it was after the errors had already been spread far and wide. Yes, I know of all who complain that the ’84 consecration was not as Our Lady said it should be. I weary of the argument. It is like listening to a petulant child who thinks, after the horses have gotten out, that if we just shut the barn-doors now, like Mom told us to do in the first place, the horses will magically reappear. Had we obeyed initially, we would not have gotten into such a dire situation. But having failed, the facts on the ground changed – and so, too, did the Church’s response. We must deal with both the consequences of our failure and adjust our approach.
Now we are in the penultimate days of fulfillment of the warnings of Our Lady of Fatima. We have a worldwide crisis of authority – and chaos is upon us. These last few years the legitimacy of public authority in the U.S. has collapsed. That was an historically common failing of democracies before the founding of the U.S. They always degenerate into a sort mobocracy and chaos, with leaders enabling the worst, most unstable elements of society while rigorously coercing the best in a desperate effort to retain some semblance of control. Soon enough, the collapse of public confidence in the legitimacy of authority leads to public unrest and violence. Usually, people end up turning to a strongman they never would have in healthy times, a dictator to restore order. And in short order, democracy is gone…just a memory.
The American founders were deeply, painfully aware of this. They wanted to establish the freedom inherent to democracy. But knowing how volatile and unstable democracies are, they installed some critical elements of aristocratic stability to prevent the degeneration into mob rule. Among these stabilizing elements were the division of powers, the selection of some officials directly by the people – and others by appointment of elected officials or by the states, themselves; the severe limitation of governmental power – leaving most activities to be performed by voluntary associations, the rigorous denial of centralization and, above all, the absolute accountability of all public officials to the public. We have spent the last century gleefully dismantling all the stabilizing elements the founders embedded in our democratic republic, proclaiming in our ignorance that we were making it even better – too stupid and uninformed to know we were actually making it like all the historical democracies that preceded us, and collapsed under the passions of the mob within 10 to 20 years. And so, having made ourselves in the image of all those that failed before us, we share their fate. Add to this the particularly toxic rejection of God and all religion that began with the French Revolution, then was perfected by the Russian Revolution, and we have a particularly deadly brew. Even as Russia went into recovery from many of its errors, the fever borne of them took hold in the rest of the west and are now a raging conflagration.
As regular readers know, Donald Trump is not my cup of tea. Even so, if I thought there was going to be an election or that it would matter if we get that far, I would probably vote for him. Maybe not so much for him as against the mob: the brutes who violently disrupt his events with riots and the mob in the press and in public office who eagerly cheer the rioters on.
If I am angry at the “progressive” left who serially and unrelentingly assault our faith, our families and our freedom, I hold the establishment right in utter contempt. They speak disdainfully as if only rubes could possibly support Trump. At least they are consistent: in both 2010 and 2014 they boldly promised to defend Americans against the assaults against faith, family and freedom coming from the left. When the public rewarded them with their trust, the establishment acted as if only rubes would have taken those promises seriously. Whatever happens, they blame it all on those they hold to be rubes.
Here’s a few questions for those of you in the establishment who want to know, “Why Trump?” Before you dismiss it as the enthusiasm of rubes, answer this: Who from the IRS has been held to account for targeting people because of their beliefs? Who from the BATF has been held to account for the people murdered by guns that were distributed by that agency in a failed ‘sting’ operation. Who from the State Department has been held to account for getting Americans murdered in Benghazi? Who has protected Americans from being fined, jailed or bankrupted for living their faith? Who is actively defending Amercans against the assaults of Jihadists? For crying out loud, you couldn’t (or wouldn’t) even protect your own daughters from being forced to share their washrooms and showers with grown men. When one of your number actually tried to rein in a runaway president with the power of the purse – as the founders intended – you ferociously turned on him for not going along with your surrender caucus. You promised to protect Americans from the wolves. Yet when given the job, you never let the presence of wolves distract you from your vital cocktail parties. When wolves abound and attack, people will defend themselves. If those they sent to defend them abdicate their duty while partying all night long, the people will seek out other ways to defend themselves. Woe to those who betrayed their trust.
One of the most shameful episodes in French history was the period of the Nazi occupation of France. The Nazis did not have to work too hard, because many officials chose to collaborate with them in the oppression of their own people in exchange for continuing to hold office and privilege. This was called the Vichy Regime – official French collaborators with the occupying Nazis. They thought they were clever and shrewd. After the war, those Vichy officials who escaped execution (either formally or by vigilantes from the resistance) lived the rest of their lives in disgrace. I used to be a Republican, politically. That, of course, was before the rise of the Vichy Republicans.
Yes, Donald Trump sounds like the mouthy guy you meet at the Amvets Hall over a beer. There is no coherence or cohesion to his philosophical foundation…and tomorrow he may well blithely be venting against something he was venting in favor of today. We have lowered our expectations. Having been betrayed repeatedly by those who promised to defend us, it is reasonable to put some hope in a guy who, whatever his faults, does not seem likely to worry about what the New York Times says about him – or cowers at the thought he might not be invited to the best cocktail parties on Capitol Hill. After the last decade, people have come to the perfectly reasonable conclusion that that is as good as it gets in these times.
With the election of Barack Obama to the presidency, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman famously wished the United States could be “China for a day,” so that Obama could use dictatorial power to enforce his policy choices on all Americans. The never-ending stream of Hollywood sycophants have occasionally gushed about how they wish Obama could be dictator, most famously Gwyneth Paltrow.
Sadly, we will almost certainly get a dictator for a time, as the left has earnestly yearned for. That is not prophecy, just history. Whenever a democracy has taken the path we are on – oppressing the lawful, enabling the mob and destroying the very legitimacy of democratic authority, that is what happens. Every time. But God will intervene this time. That IS prophecy. The dictator we finally and briefly get will first occupy himself with the practical matter of clearing away the tangled brush of senseless rules and regulations untethered to any sense of justice we have allowed to grow around us. Then he will work to re-establish a foundation based on faith, family and freedom that he may return to us the reins of a healthy society, healed and renewed. Most of this will happen during the height of the Storm – in preparation for the Rescue. I will write this weekend about what a few of the practical contours of this will look like.
In the last week I have helped deal with a multitude of crises – not my own – but of people I care about. From the largest to the smallest, it is fearful and traumatic for those engulfed in them. This is a continuation of what has been accelerating for the last few years. The very best people are now often under sustained assault. I sometimes weary of saying these things must come, so I know you must weary of hearing it. It is why I have emphasized endurance as a primary virtue in these times. Things are not what they seem. We have been delivered up to judgment. God calls many to keep faith in simple things, to endure, and to give hope to all His people. So now we are tested by fire, that He may winnow out those who will collapse under pressure and those who, facing adversity, will join the Vichy forces.
What you are seeing is the fulfillment of the warnings of Fatima, warnings that have been echoed in many other approved Marian apparitions this last century. I am sent to tell you that this is not for our destruction, but for our reclamation and renewal. In the end, Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart will triumph. We will be given one more chance. Oh, how I pray that we will take our Rescue to heart and live faith well for a thousand more years! When we once again enter into mass apostasy after this Rescue, it will be the beginning of the end. God will clean up our messes for us no longer after that. May we get it right and teach our children well of what we did, how we squandered their birthright, that they may understand the consequences of turning away from God.
For now, these things must come – and you must choose whether you will be counted among the resistance or with the Vichy.