Third Party & Independents Archives

​David French & America - Apocalypse or Revealed Strength?

David French - of National Review and also of once-annointed-by-Bill-Kristol fame - is feeling rather apocalyptical lately. And it’s not just Roy Moore - and how Moore’s candidacy was ultimately tolerated by some in the GOP - that’s to blame. French has a far deeper problem on his mind and in his soul. Post-Christian America. He writes:

When a nation lacks a common moral language and a common religious culture, it frequently devolves into tribalism.

Imagine Sebastian Gorka saying those exact words on CNN. Before he had finished the interview, Gorka would have been subpoenaed to appear before a Nuremberg-style trial, where he would have been condemned as a fascist, opening the very gates of hell.

Now to be fair to David French, his argument in National Review is about secularized culture and it's affect on the manners and morals of society. And the common moral language he refers to is Judeo-Christian. But his point about how America was founded on a common set of principles, both moral and philosophical based on God-given natural rights, appears as a warning that America itself may not survive a Post-Christian society. Consider his concluding paragraph:

In short, America is in the process of replacing a general worldview that prioritized love, hope, and truth with an individualized moral buffet that prioritizes personal satisfaction. We're giving man back to his human nature - a nature beset by original sin and prone to tribalism. No one should assume that America can survive the change.

That is, if we empty the churches, (as an increasing number of people already have), where De Tocqueville found America's true genius, then we risk tearing the country apart, despite the Constitution.

Allow me to be somewhat less apocalyptic.

America has survived invasion by powerful empires, civil war, religious persecution, world wars, economic depressions in which people starved to death, and above all, slavery. Racism still exists in America and around the world. Ditto partisanship, violence, and ambition. But America has survived and even prospered, especially when challenged.

So the two related questions that flow from French's article are:

Has faith - especially the Christian faith and to an extent Evangelical/Puritan faith within Christianity - been a fundamental part of America's ability to rebound from crises in the past?
Has America really lost it's faith?
Starting with the second question; compared to Europe, hell no. Compared to earlier generations of Americans ... yes there has definitely been a marked decline in church attendance, and in professing faith in one's life and as an influence in one's conduct. And as to the first question - whether this diminished faith will rend not just the moral, but the political fabric of the country beyond repair - one has to marvel at how the Constitution and the institutions of America have held up even under a controversial presidency in a deeply divided and hyper partisan society.

Might I suggest that the great anger today is more from a real belief in the uniqueness and yes, greatness, of America than from a contempt for the nation itself. On both sides of the divide. Despite the toxicity of the fringes. So while French's warning deserves to be taken seriously (especially among those of faith against whom he launches a full broadside), there should be more than enough reason for hope.

Trump's presidency - including the various attempts to remove him from office which are still part of much of the opposition's or resistance's plans - will ultimately be a revelation of the soundness of the Republic, rather than an angel's trumpet sounding the arrival of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. That doesn't mean it won't often continue to be hectic and nasty, but it will pass, and America will survive, and prosper.

Yes, all you classicists, apocalypse is Greek for revelation. So have a little faith please.

Posted by AllardK at December 28, 2017 7:29 PM
Comment #422806

There are many false prophets preaching gloom and doom Allard. I am reminded of the economic guru of the Left…namely; Paul Krugman of Nobel Prize fame and prolific writer in the NYT.

When Trump was elected president our Prize winning economist predicted the permanent downfall of the stock market and America.

He could not have been more wrong as the stock markets have roared and soared since the crowning of President Trump.

For some, Government has replaced God and faith. For others, their faith has deepened as they recognize a rebirth of both our nation and our moral God-based underpinnings.

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