My Life in Zac Brown Songs

Zac Brown has a way with lyrics and I suppose they are successful because so many identify with their words. It often seemed in my life they were writing songs to go along with my life. Presented in reverse chronological order as it was my bit of life here. (with two extra songs added in).

  1. My Old Man – he is me, I am him. He showed me everything I needed to know. he was a man.

2. When I was younger, I was foolish, selfish and unfair.

3. “We are born in hospitals to moms and dads who work and pray, the chosen few get shipped away to reap the tax that must be paid”

4. I remember the day it all clicked for me that she had been gone for years and there was no saving her.

5. Better men than me met this fate, it was not my time.

6. Then this happen, with a different ending (see #4 above).

7. There were sad, hard times and it almost killed me.

8. At one point Bart Crow provided my get up and live theme song – I played it on repeat out in Texas. It was cathartic.

9. I ended up literally driving Highway 20, for a while every weekend, heading east to see the two people I loved more than anything.

10. And then I met Bri, and well…

11. Loving her is so very easy.

12. Last year this one almost came true – shotgun and all.

13. And it goes full-circle from the first song in this list to my most important purpose in life.

Remembering my Father

As we approach Father’s Day in 2020, I, upon reflection, have come to a disturbing conclusion. I am happy that my earthly father has passed away and passed on. That is a profound realization, it is a complex statement. Taken out of context it sounds vulgar. It is not that I did not love my father, I did. It is not that I do not miss him, I very often do. I say the above for the singular reason that I know it was a far better thing for him to pass from this world rather than live to see the world turned upside down and people that ought to be wise enough to know better cheering it on and aiding in its destruction. He did not deserve to live to this day to observe what has become of us. The West is lost.

My father was a hard man, jovial socially but often without a lot of words privately. He spent much less time trying to explain what he saw and thought than I do and relied upon stern statements, pointed questions, and sometimes just walking away to make his point known. He was a realist, a pragmatist, and a stoic. He was a man of common-sense, a Christian man that loved his wife and his family. He did not suffer fools.

He was not perfect. I am only aware of one time that he may have entertained even the idea of a real transgression and he quickly corrected that path. He was human after all but in my observation better than most humans.

Like many men of his day he sensed that something was coming – he said it often to me, that things really were getting worse, little by little. It is hard for a man of my generation not to look backward and see this to be true (although many cannot, do not, and will not see it). It was more revealing for men of my father’s generation to see it. After all, they lived through a period of great achievements. Why should they sense the impending demise? Yet many of them did.

I recall when I was in second grade, we attended a church that voted on pastors and often could call a vote quickly and oust a man. My father was a deacon in the church, a small group had called and visited with him for a few weeks to talk about things in a serious way that I did not understand. I only knew he told them to essentially calm down. That was until a church meeting not long after. Something had changed, my father spoke to the congregation. I remember him pointing angrily at the pastor on the podium and saying that the man had lied. That church failed to vote the pastor out that day, we left that church after the meeting and never returned. Some years later that pastor went to jail for some pretty terrible things. That church suffered through several more charlatans and eventually went bankrupt and sold their building.

My father never fully trusted preachers after that. He would interview them before we visited churches. Later in life, he settled on a pastor friend he knew as a child. He knew what a rough lad the fellow had been and how much he had transformed.

Beyond preachers, he did not trust politicians, the government, or the media much either. He was wary of university professors. In sum, he had identified every institution and profession that would fall to absurd ideology and betray the notion of American exceptionalism. He was brilliant in his common-sense observations. (You can add to that list land developers, those people that buy up beautiful farms and convert them to dreary subdivisions – he loathed those parasites.)

In the 1980s when evangelical Christianity was facing one of its apostasy moments (events that lead to all the subsequent errors) many of his friends fell in with television preachers. Some bought vacation spots at places such as Jim and Tammy’s PTL in Charlotte. He never thought much of television preachers with slick words and slicker suits. To him, if you could not know the man preaching personally and judge his whole life, he had little business telling you about the spiritual.

Many of their friends watched anything and everything the local ‘Christian’ television station would display. I recall him saying that not everything called ‘Christian’ was. He was pretty open-minded about the books I read but scrutinized books by ‘religious’ authors, he did well to do that – just because something is in a book does not make it correct. All the ‘greatest’ bad ideas in the world are in a book someplace; I learned that later in life. But he was not small in his conception of God, nor was he close-minded to the mysteries of the Divine that we cannot know. His theology was simple and complex. He was my C.S. Lewis before I discovered Lewis.

At home, he made up work for me to do, and then fussed at me for breaking the plow, tractor, or mower. He also provided me with motorcycles, dogs, a pool, and everything else I needed to entertain myself.

He was incredibly profound and surprisingly open-minded in ways it took me years to understand. Small things he said to me, about the world, the universe, and theology took me years to grasp. He was not a man that explained a lot. His way of explaining was that you ought to get an idea and then to laugh at your folly for not and move on. It was a pretty effective teaching technique, it forced me often to go ask him what he meant, only to receive a snippet of more information. And the cycle continued.

In late 1992 I was at a decision point that would determine my life. Take one of the jobs locally that were on the table that would set me on a trajectory or head off to the Army. My father had always been accepting and supportive of me being in the National Guard, but leaving for the Army – that was different. He thought it a very bad idea. On a fundamental level, he was correct, he foresaw things I could not.

An acquaintance of mine, an older gentleman that spent his life in academia and taught at several major universities told me recently, “if I had known how important it is for sons to be near their paternal grandfather, I would likely have chosen a different profession”. My father had a brother that spent a career in the Air Force, he and his family left and never really returned. I think my father knew all of these things when he was sad about my career choice. Raising a son to be part of the traditions of manhood within a family requires the help of other manly figures in the family. A man’s father is an important part of raising sons to carry on the traditions and culture of the family.

Later in life, as he became ill with ALS, and my little family could only fly in occasionally on leave, my father became quieter. I suspect there was some sadness there. My decisions had robbed him of something he was entitled to – he had provided me a good life and great opportunities, the least I could have done was live closer to allow him time to be a granddad. I regret all of that in many ways, it makes me a bit sad. I did what I thought I was created to do in life, but decisions have consequences.

I told my cousin recently, when the last of my father’s brothers died, ‘when a man loses his father, life gets too real, and it is perhaps one of the hardest things to face.’ When your father dies you are alone in the world – there is nobody to come save you. Growing up, and as a man even, I always knew that if anything in life got too tough, my father would be there, at my side, fighting whatever was in front of us. That sense of security fades when one’s own father passes.

My father and many of his generation saw the turmoil in our world coming – they knew of Marxists at home and abroad. He was in that in-between generation. Just a bit too young for Korea and too old for Vietnam. After serving in the Marines he wore a flat-top, rode a Triumph motorcycle, and sported a leather jacket until he met my mother and then spent some time at Bob Jones University. Later, he scowled at and scorned the Boomer hippies – with good reason, their ideas and ideology were corrupt and wrong. He could smell a never-do-well ideologue a mile away.

He did not come from privilege; he grew up with seven siblings in a three-room house. He worked hard for what he achieved and acquired in life. He would not give two seconds credence to some girly-man standing up in front of a church claiming that ‘hard work is not enough’ to solve almost all of life's problems (that plus the Word). He would feel that way for many reasons, the least of which the entire concept is rather unbiblical and contrary to common-sense.

If he were alive today, he would show love and kindness to those confused by the lies many are telling in the world – for a brief time. If they failed to hear, he would turn from them in scorn and rebuke. That is biblical kids, as the Ramen guy so famously said on Tik-Tok recently, you just have to look it up (1Timothy 5:20). Just as he rebuked and scorned false teachers in the church in his life, he would do so now.

It is a blessing of sorts he does not have to live now, to see entire institutions fall and so many lemmings fall with them, led like rats by charlatan pied pipers. He lived a good and honest life. He was kind, stalwart, and just in his dealings with others and always lived according to principles that were tried and true. He never followed the crowd or cared much for what everyone else was doing. He was a man, a real, honest to God, man – there are so few of those around anymore. I was lucky to know him. He was my mentor, guide, and ultimately, my friend.

If I were older, if my strength had begun to fail, if there were still not people on this earth that I a have a duty to protect, if I did not hear the clarion call of noblesse oblige to stand on truth – I might wish my time in this world was at an end also. Yet there is duty to do still and battles to be fought and monsters driven from the door. ‘Duty is the sublimest word in the language’ after all.

My father had a good life, he worked hard and stood for truth even in the face of the crowd. We have but only our duty in this life and he did his. For me and those that choose to follow him and men like him, we will do the same. Protect our families, stand for truth, scorn those that lie or believe liars, and face down the growing sentiment of evil and hate that spreads through the land.

So Long and Thanks for All the Fish

I mentioned in a recent piece that over the last few weeks I have gleaned much of my information not from the major news organizations, nor my headline updates on my phone and not even from the various news aggregator sites but rather from Twitter. So much has been occurring, in so many places, it seems that even the major news outlets cannot be everywhere at once and show everything – even if they each did not have their own particular bias and worldview that might prevent them from showing raw, unadulterated truth.

Twitter has provided me access to various live streams from events as they occur. You see and hear the voices of people at the events. I also track several folks that practice open-source intelligence (OSINT). Some of these have been on the scene at various events with their own drones and folks on the ground. Sometimes there are numerous live streams and videos of the same event, from different perspectives. When I see something particularly interesting, I always flip through the various news channels to see what they are covering. Often, they are not there and not showing what is happening; this is true of all seven major outlets that I monitor.

When a particularly disturbing or telling event occurs, I capture that on another screen and go back and look and listen over the next twenty-four hours to see if anyone covers it, and if so how and from what perspective. I have the luxury of taking the time to do this. My ‘work’ at this point is something I control. I am fortunate enough to have multiple screens and numerous feeds active at the same time in my office; it is configured much like a mini- command center. Many Americans neither have the time, nor the inclination to see all of these events in their totality. I can and do, thus, I wanted to share.

All of that is what it is – I do not have much more to observe relative to that at this point other than with the narratives being spun on the major media outlets and so many Americans being unable or unwilling to engage in truth-seeking (combined with other institutions they trust lying to them), the West is Lost.


Let me be clear – I have nothing to gain and a little bit to lose from making that statement about our situation. I am not Rod Dreher trying to drum up panic to sell a new book. Every book I have written was intended to stop this; those books are worthless now. I am convinced that this will manifest in such a way that everyone is aware it is going on by 2022. I believe we will spend most of the next decade in chaos and crisis. If my assessment is wrong and 2022 rolls around and the world looks like it did in 2019, some people will remember me as the fool that said all of this. If on the other hand, I am right, nobody will have the time to pat me on the back. When everyone realizes what is happening because it has gotten worse they will be too terrified to find me and say I was right. I do not want to be right, I do not need vindication, there is some risk in saying how I see this play out. I say this because there is some small chance we can stop it, and if not there is the chance that somebody will heed my words and prepare to weather it.


Other recent random observations:

First, an item that will anger some people and amuse others. “Q” or ‘QAnnon’ was and is a hoax. I hinted at this last year, but I had no proof. Proof came last week (although Q still drops and people still buy into it). Like any good hoax, Q had some facts rights, and undoubtedly the effort hit on some of the right cylinders – hoaxes do not work unless they have some truth in them. There is no plan to trust, there will be no sweeping arrests and no military tribunals. I have tried as best I could to dissuade folks from buying into this, but I did it gently; people really wanted to believe. Nobody is coming to save us, Trump is not playing 4d chess and Clinton and company are not at home shaking when the pizza guy arrives thinking it might be ‘the big raid’. Nothing will come of any of that but pointless ‘hearings’. Washington simply does not work the way Q portrayed it. I do not doubt there is a lot of ‘there there’ but it will never come to the surface. If this angers you, I understand, but don’t focus that on me. I am just telling you the truth.


As I have been monitoring Twitter, I have sometimes been inclined to engage. Honestly, people are absolute trash behind their keyboards. Twitter allows 149 characters for a tweet. Most of the issues we face are complex and cannot be reduced to such. People will troll and attack, assume, presume, and jump to all sorts of assumptions and conclusions without ever seeking to actually understand what one says. If this is our public square – God help us.

I do not need to observe this so closely any longer – the trajectory is clear.

I have tried to engage with people on Facebook with people that know me or know of me. I do not post memes, I really do not say anything radical. I am simply trying to start a real dialogue. About a hundred people ‘unfriended me’, 90 new folks joined me and I suspect (based upon engagement numbers) about 98% of those that remained ‘friends’ simply muted me. I am seldom inclined toward emotions, so on that level – I do not care. On the level of civic duty and reasonable human behavior, this perplexes me. People are strange and many of them are going to be shocked by their future.

So long and thanks for all the fish…

I read today on a local group that essentially ‘everybody is muting everybody’ on their FB feed so perhaps my observations above have little to do with me and a lot to do with people just not wanting the issues in front of them. I mention the numbers, only as an observation. The “So long, and thanks for the Fish” has a double meaning, Google it. I did not mean it as an insult to anyone.


Also —I did not know, not fully, that preachers exercise ‘professional courtesy’ toward one another. Yes, I know a Christian is supposed to be wary of calling out someone else that professes Christ – but when they are clearly on the wrong side and preaching untruths it seems to me Paul would not have spoken in a roundabout way. Some of the pastors I follow and engage with have observed the flaws in modern evangelicalism and many of the churches therein. I hear these men speak out about what is wrong – just up to the point of dropping the hammer. The time has already come to separate the wheat from the chaff and speak the hard truth. Some do, others need to do it more forcefully and directly. No more talking about these nebulous ‘progressive social gospel churches’ in a vacuum. There are Christians in those churches that need to hear the unabashed truth. Bad preachers and churches are bad and they are helping destroy America.

I thought the other day of the protection we all enjoy as part of God’s general grace and Providential protection. It is his restraining hand that that has allowed us to come so far, it is his protection that keeps society from turning into rape gangs and murder squads. Watching the raw feed of events over the last few weeks has reminded me of that and how dreadful our world would be without his common Grace.


And maybe that is the point. We have been protected by Divine grace for a long time, yet we have become as sinful as Sodom and Gomorrah; heresy, error, abominations, false teachers, hate, murder… Perhaps it is time that we fall, perhaps in twenty years missionaries from Africa will evangelize my grandchildren or their children. Honestly, how long did we think we could continue a freak parade and infanticide without ramifications?


Some perhaps have taken my ‘dire’ warnings of impending doom and gloom as the crazed rantings of an unhinged 50something man and assume I must be frantic, depressed, or worried about the events I see unfolding. The latter part is certainly untrue – this all saddens me, but it does not depress me nor does it even worry me. To those that perhaps believe I chose 2020 to join the doom and gloom bandwagon, I would merely point out that I have said often and for a long time, since the late 1990s, that this was coming. I did not know when, nor the exact shape, but it has never been difficult to compare the events of history with the published plans of the Marxists and radicals. Many still doubt what comes next, but that is their own peril.

I tried to make some YouTube videos. I basically suck at speaking. I think ahead of myself, leave out entire sentences in my train of thought, I muddle words. Speaking is not my thing. I thought somebody might make use of some of my words, so I tried, it was enjoyable and I don’t put a lot of stock in what people think of me, I don’t really take myself that seriously.  

Back when Coronavirus began I told folks on a video that what we were doing was so strange that it was dangerous and that when people are lied to, controlled, and scared they become dangerous. I suggested that people stop taking on debt and spending stupid money and maybe plant a garden – I was ‘crazy’ back then, not so much now.  

I write now mostly just to get my ideas out of my head. The wife does not want to (or need to hear negativity), my dog Cooper is a good listener but he is so easily distracted and the VFW has not opened back up yet…what to do. The things we face have reasons, and those reasons are evil and laziness. We let this happen and many are still too stupid or willfully ignorant to understand the true nature of things now. What can you do?…There is not much more to say.

All I know as truth related to all this is…

What We Learned at Our House During the Lockdown

It seems that COVID-19 has ‘come and gone’, at least insofar as it was a threat we did not understand the nature of. We understand essentially what it is and what it is not now. We understand more about our world, ourselves and those around us also.  Here is a baker’s dozen of what we learned at my house.

  1. Bri and I really like one another. We have enjoyed our time together - never bored, always busy, doing new things, working together, and finding space.
  2. We picked the right house. When we walked into this place with the realtor a few years ago it screamed ‘practical and functional’ to me. It has proven to be true as we have been here now for a month and a half.
  3. Defining the Circle – we have gained a better understanding of the people we ought to pour our love, attention and resources into going forward. People that could not rally ‘round the cause and do the right thing in this little bump in the road are folks I cannot save.
  4. We were prepared. We strive to live within our means and to have the resources to weather a medium crisis. This has demonstrated that we did many of the right things long before this.
  5. We missed some small stuff. I have a growing list of small items that should have been in the ‘ready room’, nit-noid stuff one simply does not think about until you need it. This little exercise has helped illuminate those items. (I will at some point write a post about what one ought to have on hand for a medium crisis).
  6. A Boxer, that has not been able to see his girlfriend for a few weeks, senses that I might be more vigilant (thus he is also), and that knew from the start that cats were the ultimate spreaders of Coranavius is an interesting creature to be locked away with – never a dull moment from the minute he wakes up until he goes to sleep at night.
  7. Bri is able to work more effectively, efficiently and happily at home. She is so much happier not dealing with all the girl drama in her office. She has a nice workspace here, plenty of light, birds it is quiet and drama-free. I have found I can manage my contracts without going out nearly as much as I did before, much of that was self-induced. Working at home is great!
  8. Twitter and Facebook is such a waste. It is filled with ninnies, fools, communists, fascists and jerks it seems.
  9. Amazon is great – until it is not…see #5 above. Don’t wait next time.
  10. The sky is beautiful, the quiet is wonderful – with fewer cars and traffic running around, the birds seem more active, all the clutter of modern life so much less intrusive. It would be nice if we could just slow the world down a little bit on the regular.
  11. There is, apparently, a drug dealer a couple of streets behind us. He is out with his loud car every hour. I have added him to my high-value target list (HVT), if things get primal it is game on and a bad time for him.
  12. Some of the groups and organizations we were members of have proven useful, others not so much.
  13. There are important things and things that are not. Going forward we will redefine our circle to include just people that want to be in it. We will spend money differently, look at the world differently and perhaps pull back from some activities and groups and sustain some of the activities we have found so enjoyable.

Three Bonus Things

  1. Gardening is great!
  2. God is good, even when we do not fully understand everything.
  3. However, as I told someone recently, God will not send a man down from Paris Mountain with instructions chiseled on rocks to tell you the right thing to do. He gave us common-sense and a brain. He expects us to act.

Coronavirus may not be what the fearmongers said, not nearly as bad as all that – but the financial mess we have created, that will not go away soon. I do not want to make light of all this, we are all still surrounded by foolish people that do not live within their means, cannot bear a real crisis and would become very dangerous if things get much worse.

We all ought to take a moment to take stock of what we have learned thus far.

Ten Useful Things

I was thinking today of some random things from my past that we might individually be able to apply to our current situation. Presented here to apply to multiple meanings. Some of this can have philosophical meaning as well as practical application.

  1. Remember, “If you play stupid games you win stupid prizes”.
  2. When you approach the ‘narrow-angle’ the engagement has begun.
  3. Come off your gun, breathe, listen and think. Perform an orientation check – do you really want to do this? if so…
  4. Slice the danger area into manageable parts.
  5. Make a hasty plan, fall back on your training (what you know).
  6. Decisively engage and press the initiative, no half measures – attack the corners.
  7. Double-tap. One is none.
  8. Avoid tunnel-vision.
  9. Head on a swivel, never assume anything.
  10. Stay balanced – orient yourself toward your threat.

Make of that what you will – it could work for a board meeting (if you use some terms as metaphors) or clearing a room and a lot of things in between.

Sitting on the Pin of a Needle

Back in early February, when Coronavirus was still a ‘joke’ to many on the internet I suggested that there was something more to Coronavirus than the narrative painted by Western media. Only crazy people were talking about a global pandemic or that this thing, while not a world-ending event, might affect us all. Not true today, what we see now are several weaknesses in our system.

Tucker Carlson was spot on tonight about this, watch the video.

Sitting with a friend at lunch recently, he mentioned that he had read my February post and offered an alternative theory. In February, I suggested this version of Coronavirus came from a failure to contain work at a lab in Wuhan. Much more evidence has emerged since to support that conclusion. My friend suggested that the Chinese did this intentionally.

I am not prone to believe complicated explanations for things, not when simple solutions suffice. However, one cannot dismiss the possibility. Consider if you will the infection and mortality rates reported in China compared to rates in Italy. The Italian percentages are off the chart higher. Consider China’s threats today concerning tariffs on medical supplies. One could work out a scenario where China did this intentionally, they were prepared and capable of dealing with it internally and knew the world would turn to them in the aftermath for supplies. It could have been a strategy to break US tariffs against China. It is an evil notion, but plausible.

If we dismiss the intentionality of all this we are still left with a few facts.

  • Globalization of the economy has resulted in us being dependent upon another nation for an entire sector of goods.
  • As I mentioned in February, something that has become apparent since, the government reaction was slow.
  • As we are now seeing, if this was ‘the big one’ our system is pretty fragile.
  • Businesses and organizations are not your friends – places that can facilitate telework ought to be doing so but most are not. Cities ought to be canceling large gatherings but most are not. Sports events should be modified (Master’s and March Madness looking at you) but the almighty dollar prevails – shame on the decision-makers!

I see the memes, all the fear, all the worry over the last several decades. In some way, this all feels just like another news cycle, a SARS redux. We know instinctively it will not end civilization as we know it – but it has shown a light on just how fragile and weak the veil separating our comfortable lives from chaos really is.

Before the virus has really even gotten started it has negatively affected the economy. The stock market plunge today was far worse than the pretty significant event a couple of weeks ago. Real people have lost a lot of real money that will not magically reappear for a while. This will have a significant ripple effect.

Have you been on Amazon lately? Things are different. This is just the beginning.

Don’t take me wrong. This is not TEOTWAWKI. However, people will die, the economy will take a hit and Americans for the first time in decades are about to see first hand what it means not to be able to buy certain products. Coronavirus is a small thing relatively – imagine if this had been more infectious and more deadly.

We sit perched precariously on the pin of a needle. We do not realize it because life seems so comfortable and things seem so plentiful. Take away some of that excess, security and comfort and add a little fear, desperation and anxiety and civilization begins to look a lot less civil.

Don’t go crazy, but I think we all need to take some steps now to ensure we can take care of our own in the coming days and perhaps learn something from this – what if this had been much worse, what would we do to take care of our loved ones?

Stay home if you can, work from home if you can, watch church on the internet, don’t shake hands and buy extra groceries. And, through it all, look and realize what this small thing is about to do to civilization as we know it – the effect. Things fall apart!

Read Rod Dreher’s piece. I have been wrong often about Dreher, he is spot on here.

Three Most Popular Posts

I take a gander at site stats occasionally, not often as there is no real need. However, each time I do the same two pages seems to get most of the results.

First, by a large margin, is Scottish Influence in Early Southern American Culture – Alexander Clark. It is no wonder I suppose, it is a page full of genealogy links and information. Someday I plan to write a book about Alexander Clark and his legacy through his descendants. I am encouraged that there is a continuing and robust interest in this page and subject. Perhaps there is an audience for a book.

Second is a page about a day and a series of events that, for me, summarized everything that was wrong with the US Army Signal Corps, Three Questions that Defined the US Army Signal Corps. I will admit, this post had a bit of humor, it was provocative and it pulled few punches. I cannot, however, determine why it has such enduring popularity. I can only assume that someone else posted a link to this someplace else. It is not the only post I ever wrote on this subject, so it is not the topic nor the keywords that drive interest. Something about this page caught someone’s attention. In any event, this one has real legs.

There is no real comparison between these pages and others. I can spike a new post if I take the time to engage on Twitter, particularly if the subject is relevant at the moment I post. But no other pages or posts I have ever written have the sort of longevity that these two do. Trust me, I have written things that were much more provocative and polemic but they never stick.

In any event, I have no real point. I simply find it interesting the things that gain traction and the things that do not.

Bible & Literary Society of North Augusta

The Bible and Literary Society of North Augusta – in the intellectual and fraternal tradition of Lewis and Tolkien and their fellowship. Iron sharpens iron.

Seeking Christian men that enjoy fellowship, study of the Bible, reading classic and modern literature and discussing and perhaps debating the same.

Inklings

The Bible and Literary Society of North Augusta is formed in the intellectual and fraternal tradition of Lewis and Tolkien and their fellowship. Iron sharpens iron.

Visit the Society’s Facebook page to see what is going on.

I suggest as the first book covered, after the administrative work of setting offices is complete, Interpreting Scripture with the Great Tradition: Recovering the Genius of Premodern Exegesis.

From the author: “The rise of modernity, especially the European Enlightenment and its aftermath, has negatively impacted the way we understand the nature and interpretation of Christian Scripture. In this introduction to biblical interpretation, Craig Carter evaluates the problems of post-Enlightenment hermeneutics and offers an alternative approach: exegesis in harmony with the Great Tradition. Carter argues for the validity of patristic Christological exegesis, showing that we must recover the Nicene theological tradition as the context for contemporary exegesis, and seeks to root both the nature and interpretation of Scripture firmly in trinitarian orthodoxy.”

To The American Conservative with Love

Herein, is a love letter to The American Conservative (TAC). We are of the same cloth; I walked a similar path of ideas as some of you. I engaged and dialogued with some of you as I wrote anonymously during the early 2000 anti-war days.  I disagreed with your position in 2006 on voting Democrat, and I believe that served in large part to make the traditional right irrelevant to the populist Tea Party, we were unable to guide them and lost them to others. I am writing this, in the open and on the Net because, I do not believe an email would sufficiently get through. Take this for what it is, love from a guy that wants to see the cause of right-reasoned traditional conservatism find a real place in the public square.

As I related in a post that answered ‘who is Barry Clark?’, in the 1990s I found kindred spirits among the solid traditionalists and paleoconservatives. Many of the relationships and connections formed then continue to encourage and sustain me. In the 2000s when paleo-conservatives and paleo-libertarians came together to form an anti-war coalition, I was right there. I was already anti-war (anti-those wars) after my first deployment with the Army. I blogged anonymously so I could keep my job, but I was right there, doing my duty in uniform and at home.

In the mid-2000s the proverbial torch was passed from the aging intellectuals of the movement (Gottfried, Fleming, Livingston, Wilson, and so many others) to 30-40-year-old ‘writers and journalists’. Some in this group were academic students of the masters. For example, Brion McClanahan to Clyde Wilson. Others, like the editors that took over The American Conservative, were accomplished writers that had developed relationships with the masters. The transition from the Silent Generation to Xers was not that of Kirk to Gottfried.

In 2006, TAC, one of only two major traditional conservative magazines, Chronicles being the other, advocated for true rightist to vote Democratic in the mid-term elections.  Any potential for relevance, any measured ability to make a difference was lost that day. Whether The American Conservative was right or wrong only time will tell. What is an indisputable fact is paleoconservatism and traditional conservatism and an organized, relevant, systematic and historically rooted intellectual endeavor ended that very day. The publication frequency of TAC fell from twice monthly to monthly and finally in 2013, every other month. I suspect these are not unrelated facts.

I took a strong exception to the stance of TAC in 2006, one that has not fundamentally changed since. I thought to abandon the only party that might stand in the way of the progressive wave that was about to wash over the country was strategically flawed. It seems there certainly was enough support in ordinary Americans for a revival of real conservative principles, the Tea party bore this out as truth. However, without an intellectual base of conservatism, that effort was bound to be, as it was, usurped by neocons, Straussians, and false-conservative. Paleoconservatives were no longer relevant, one of our major outlets had proposed voting for Democrats; how could our ideas be taken seriously by ordinary folks that wanted a conservative resurgence but lacked intellectual depth in the philosophy of conservatism? They could not see the nuance of that resistance.

I am with you but…

I dialogued and engaged with some of the current writers back in the 2000s when I was a small, inconsequential and anonymous blogger and they were just bigger known names in a relatively small blogshere. Now, I am not anonymous, the ‘blogshere’ does not exist, I am still inconsequential and they are blue-checked twittercrats. Perhaps it is personal, but the fact that these guys refuse to actually engage in discussion; they write stuff, post it to twitter several times a day and generally only respond to each other or perhaps someone else with a blue-check is discouraging. This was not my experience with Thomas DiLorenzo, Thomas Woods, William Lind and many, many others back in the early days; Clyde Wilson for instance, he went from being an inspiration to a friend and mentor of mine, because he engaged – folks that wrote and engaged in an effort to build a community around principles.

In a very real sense, I am calling out TAC, out of love. This is for you, the editorial staff and writers. You may not like all my ideas, I may not write in a professionally polished way, I may have but a handful of Twitter followers (I did just start two months ago), I may be passionate – but I am you, we are from the same philosophical cloth. If I feel that you are distant, irrelevant, disconnected and aloof, do you suppose I am alone among your potential readership? I suspect not.

We have two real publications that write from a traditional and paleoconservative perspective and one new fabulous new effort I discovered yesterday. Your Twitter engagement rate is pretty low, both in ‘followers’ engaging and TAC engaging back. Perhaps take some time away from repeat posting and actually engage with people that are probably on your side and think like you – act relationally as the mega-church folks like to say, build real community through dialogue.

Here is a fact for you. Anyone that ‘Twitters’ and is inclined to think, read and ponder philosophical questions is not a consumer of information, they are not ‘followers’. If they are on the platform they are there to engage. My experience, my observation over the last couple of months tells me you do not want to engage, to debate subtle difference of opinion, to shine the light on the strengths of an argument or to take on the view that there may be other approaches to an authentic approach to the Right. I do not perceive that you want to build a community around our principles or highlight others within the movement that share core beliefs. If it is just me, well, then it is just me. However, I suspect there are many more folks like me out there.

My Advice

Hire someone to manage social media with the task and purpose to engage, not simply repost information at ideally selected times during the day. I am not suggesting your current folks are not doing what you have told them, I am simply sharing that the task and purpose need to be expanded.

Build community – through the efforts above, and in other ways. Ideas alone are not enough right now. Words are not enough. Our cause needs a more relational approach.

Instruct your writers to actually engage. Don’t delete comments on the site that call someone to task for an article. Principled debate is not trolling. Don’t ignore reasonable questions or comments on Twitter posts only to move on to reposting content. That comes off to folks just as it sounds.  

Stop throwing so many rocks. I get it, I find Trump abhorrent also. Yet, I cannot imagine what a world where Trump had lost would have looked like. He is a very useful speed-bump. Use the advice our grandmas gave, if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing. Write an article that talks at a high level about principles without dunking him directly when you are upset at him. Look at the world we live in! Be realist! Be more Burkean in our pragmatism! Most of those folks out there screaming MAGA will never listen to a single point of principled discussion from anyone that disses herr Trump.  If we want to remain irrelevant, throwing rocks is a strategy. If we want to truly help revitalize an authentic right, we have to be able to be heard by those people.

With love and affection, a disgruntled traditional right reader.

Sincerely,

Barry

@onlyBarryLClark