We’re in a Culture War, But Only One Side Is Fighting

By John Zmirak Published on October 9, 2018

America’s left showed its ugly intolerant face in the Kavanaugh confirmation fight. It’s only bound to get uglier as we approach the National Impeachment Referendum on November 6. (That’s the right term for what some call the “mid-term Congressional elections.” They’re about impeaching Trump and even Kavanaugh, and nothing else at this point.)

When you’re facing ruthless opponents who are in many ways stronger than you, you face a moral dilemma. How much should you “rise above” their blatant and brutal tactics, and hope to win converts and sympathy? Or else, should you see that your very survival’s at stake, and “get down in the mud” and fight?

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Or should you do a little bit of both? And where do you draw the line? What would taint our efforts with the same guilt as our opponents? And what would amount to appeasement?

These are complex issues, and I’m not a philosopher. However, I did write a book on morals that entailed extensive research. The Bad Catholic’s Guide to the Seven Deadly Sins looks at the ancient Christian tradition of analyzing temptations in terms of sectors of human conduct. It also draws on Aristotle, whose notion of the “Golden Mean” is crucial. It’s tempting, but foolish, to avoid a deadly sin by rushing to the opposite response, which is often equally evil. As I wrote there:

At the opposite pole from deadly Wrath is not holy Patience, but masochistic Servility, which teaches us to let aggressors win and bullies triumph, whatever the cost to the next victim that blunders into their paths.

In the case of American politics, we need to keep this balance. Not just for strategic reasons, but also for moral ones.  BCGSevenDeadlySins_525859_Cf

Achieving the Golden Mean

So let’s lay down some ground rules:

  1. We can’t be evil. We can never do something that is intrinsically (always and everywhere) wrong. No matter the provocation. If the left uses phony rape charges against our judicial nominees, that doesn’t give us license to do the same to their nominees. If the left starts murdering our congressmen, we can’t start murdering theirs. Sorry, guys!
  2. Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight. There’s a big difference between “intrinsically evil” and “tacky, maybe uncivil.” Norms of civility differ according to the situation you’re in. Let’s say you step into a boxing ring wearing gloves, expecting to go by Marquess of Queensbury rules. And your opponent takes off his gloves, then starts kicking you. You realize, “Oh, this must be an MMA fight.” Then you lose the gloves and play by the rules that are actually in force. With the Kavanaugh fight (really, long before) the left took off the gloves.
  3. Don’t get trolled into overplaying your hand and outraging good people. I think President Trump has learned this lesson in office. Mostly. Right now, the left has clearly lost its marbles, and it’s scaring the general public. A classic maxim runs: “Never interrupt your enemy when he’s making a mistake.” And never distract people from your opponent’s outrages by acting the fool yourself.
  4. Learn from your opponents’ tactics. Consider using any of them that aren’t intrinsically evil (see Rule 1.) A longtime Communist activist, Douglas Hyde, wrote a classic book Dedication and Leadership, which distills the effective, non-evil means which leftists have used for decades. He shows how to “pack a meeting,” and how to turn lukewarm volunteers into dedicated zealots. Get it. Read it. Just remember Rule 3, especially if there’s a public double standard in place.
  5. Don’t vilify your allies for differing with you on what is prudent. We need a broad variety of approaches, to see what will work. Let a hundred strands of spaghetti hit the wall, to see which will stick. Let somebody be the Good Cop who nobly adheres to the faded, broken norms to shame your opponents — as long there’s also a Bad Cop, who will make them pay the price for shredding those norms. (Again, without breaking Rule 1.) Historical example: Rev. Martin Luther King transformed America with his non-violent tactics. But we might not have listened if Malcolm X weren’t lurking in the background, urging black folks to defend themselves “by any means necessary.” Imagine how much more violent the left would be today, if there weren’t groups like the NRA ensuring that millions of patriotic citizens had the means of self-defense.

Should We “Get in Their Faces”?

Okay, I’ll apply these rules to a current case, to see how well they work.

As the Daily Caller reports: “Hawaii Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono on Sunday refused twice to answer whether she thought harassing Republican senators in restaurants was taking things a bit too far.”

How should we respond to that? It’s tempting to say that we should unleash angry right-wingers to follow Democrat senators to bistros, and scream at them as their supporters scream at ours. But that would violate Rule 1. Those senators might deserve it. (Certainly Hirono does.) But the other patrons at the restaurants don’t. Neither do the owners or the waiters, who’ll have to deal with the blowback. And it also could hurt our cause, violating Rule 3.

However, just saying “Tsk, tsk!” and issuing high-minded statements violates Rule 2. It brings a butter knife to a gun fight. That’s Jeb Bush, John Kasich stuff.

Let somebody be the Good Cop who nobly adheres to the faded, broken norms to shame your opponents — as long there’s also a Bad Cop, who will make them pay the price for shredding those norms.

So what response would thread the needle and hit the Golden Mean? In my opinion it’s this. We should find out where Senator Hirono eats. And have protestors ready. They should march into every such restaurant, decently dressed. They should walk up to her table, camera phones running, and politely but loudly demand the answer to one question:

Senator Hirono, do you agree that it’s wrong for political opponents to hound U.S. senators in the private lives — as we are doing now?

If she says yes, thank her politely and leave. If she doesn’t, ask her why not. Pull up a chair and sit with her, until the management tells you to leave. Then do so, in a quiet and dignified fashion. And get the whole thing on video, then share it with the world. Rinse and repeat, every time Senator Hirono tries to eat in a restaurant, until and unless she agrees.

If you disagree with me, and try some other tactic, so long as it isn’t intrinsically evil, I won’t criticize you. As long as it’s non-violent, I certainly won’t vilify you. You’re an American, too. You’ve every bit as much right to throw spaghetti at the wall as I do.

And by the way, if you don’t think we’re really in a war, I’ve got a movie you need to see. In fact, I’m in it, as a commentator. Steve Bannon made it. The title is Trump@War. And you can watch it free. Be prepared: the violence and profanity of the violent left are shocking. Truth hurts. But we have to deal with it. As Bannon recently said:

The fight for Judge Kavanaugh became a proxy fight for Trump’s presidency — the same howling mob intends to stop his agenda if they win in November. That display of the anarchy to come is what has galvanized and united the right, the grassroots and the establishment in a final drive to victory.


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  • Lisa

    Great article, John!

    Thanks for helping those of us who, by nature, are more like Jeb but must learn from Trump for the sake of our nation. I don’t like how it’s being “fundamentally transformed.”

  • Up_Words

    A really good article. One more suggestion. Before going into battle, request intense Air Cover (prayer — Eph. 6:18)!

    • Chip Crawford

      Amen for air cover.

  • Nick Stuart

    Anyone really serious about fighting the culture war will get their children out of the public schools now. People without school-age children help those who do.

    Pastors and other church leaders, demonstrate you’re serious about the culture war by encouraging and doing what you can to support parents with the non-public school education of their children.

  • tz1

    Lets see, 19 Saudi Arabian Muslim hijackers fly airplanes into building or try to…

    One reason given was our sanctions which Albright said “were worth it” killed a half million Iraqi Children (but other people eating quietly in restaraunts ought not be disturbed). I’m trying to remember the precise reason we had to kill these children – WMDs that didn’t exist? Saddam was not a nice guy?

    And our response to 9/11? Ally with narco terrorists (what we called the “Northern Alliance” the day before), bomb a lot of people, put the narcoterrorists in power, drone bomb weddings, (let Osama go, because we wanted to Nation Build Instead), pay Pakastanis $5000 for each random person they said was a terrorist, fly them to Bagrahm or a Black site to torture them, eventually to GITMO and call them “the worst of the worse” and we are still there doing some of the same.

    I missed all the “we can’t do intrinsic or disproportionate evil or kill civilians…” back then from Catholics or Evangelicals. Well Ron Paul said such. Including at the Debat with Guilani (who is advising Trump now along with Bomb’em Bolton). But it was a Republican doing the evil that said he was pro life and even flew back to sign a Pontius Pilate basin paper when Terri Schiavo was being slowly tortured to death as we all watched. “24” was really, really popular.

    You don’t address the omission of consequences for evil acts – which encourages them.

    I tie Kavanaugh’s gauntlet directly back to Judge Roy Moore because IT WORKED – and most people were more worried about “the possibility” of the allegations being true rather than the stroke of midnight slanderella politically convenient timing.

    They came for Moore, and I didn’t speak up because he was a bit Kooky so Doug Jones could be elected to keep Abortion legal and vote against a Kavanaugh.

    They came for Kavanaugh, and some are speaking up, but it is all hot air. Will there be a perjury investigation, much less charges?

    Or to put it simply, is Spanking or any other form of corporal punishment justified for children (technically I’m 99% toward the “never”)? What could a child do that would justify the infliction of such pain? Oh, they might not learn any other way, so maybe after he has strangled the 5th cat to death we might want to do something a bit stronger to discourage it from happening again.

    When you are dealing with people who don’t care and will escalate (see Steve Scalise for a preview), the first question is how to effectively stop the evil BEFORE it escalates to be a far worse evil by your inaction.

    • Do you have to speak using the word “we,” when it is only you and your insecurity you are speaking of?

      There also is another of your libertarian apotheosis sessions. Last one of these I saw involved you claiming ayn rand was a Saint.

      So you have gone from claiming Christians for abortions to blaming Christians for… war in general? All why attempting to deify the gnosticism that is locke’s liberalism.

      There are very serious issues that you have, and that you refer to yourself as “we” reminds me of the demonic.

  • Juan Garcia

    Where is 2nd Chronicles 7:14 or Romans 15:13 in all this?

    • Up_Words

      It’s in the same place that Daniel found it, when thrown into the lions’ den.

      • Juan Garcia

        Took me awhile, but you are correct – Daniel did find trust in God in that time and place. Thanks for reminding me.

    • Jeffrey Job

      The Lord usually follows a pattern of warning of judgement, followed by merciful patience while He implores us to repent, then, since He tells the truth- judgement. I believe we are at a pivotal junction.

      I see His mercy in the miraculous election of Trump. I see His mercy in the confirmation of Kavenaugh. But I also see dire warnings of His judgement in the demonic rage filled hatred of His enemies toward us. If His restraining hand ever releases the leash He is holding on Satan’s disciples the scenes displayed in the street violence we saw here will be everywhere. We can’t even imagine the hell these criminals will put decent God fearing people through.

      One positive thing that’s come from all this chaos is the left is now finally exposed for what they have always been. Nobody can now claim they thought demoncrats just want to make sure Grandma gets her social security check.

      Another severe mercy we are witnessing is the exposure of the rampant evil permeating my Catholic Church.
      We in the pews have been despised and ignored for decades while modernists have been destroying everything they could. The swamp in government and the swamp in the Church looks very similar and they exhibit the same arrogant condescending attitude. Business as usual. Sit down and shut up. The problem our “leaders”are going to be discovering is that we faithful ARE sitting- on our WALLETS. We intend to pray them out and starve them out.

      Catholic Tradition has never forgotten the spiritual mandate of prayer, fasting and almsgiving so many of us have intensified these practices.

      So yes, absolutely, vote. But we ALL had better heed the advice of 2 Chron 7:14 and root out the darkness in our own hearts first. The encouragement we have is that God always works through a faithful Remnant, He doesn’t need a majority. Gideon showed us that.

      Fix the bayonets!

  • Jed

    In the culture war

    — one side is LOUD and hidden in a CROWD
    — the other is the individual on his or her own. Sad but true.

    In this case, choose your battles …

    When professor makes a —>specific<— charge about "conservatives" in general
    — politely ask if professor can name ANY conservative individual that EVER said/did THAT.

    You can influence the dozens and dozens that are an otherwise captive audience.

  • Freedom Rider

    How do we fight ? Read the 5th “that” in the Declaration of Independence. Go to accountabilityrevolution dot com and find out how our Founders declared in law how we should fight this war they knew would come someday. See the 1St Amendment redress of grievances and the 5th Amendment’s Grand Jury. Read their history and you will see we have all of the law we need to fight and win and do it as it was designed to be done. DC

  • Chip Crawford

    Get real: ONLY ONE SIDE IS WINNING ! The ship of state is turning back on course at an extremely rapid rate actually.

    We have God with us, our greatest asset and only hope – in real time.

    Note: God bears long with the disobedient.

    His mercy comes to an end, in order to preserve justice for those who follow him and un-hinder his plan.
    Many more Republicans, including our lawmakers and current political leaders are Christian at this juncture.
    The fact that the Republicans are stirring and beginning to speak up is no coincidence.
    The second guessing here and elsewhere falls short without an understanding of the ways of God.

    If that’s a challenge, just go back to the old “sands of justice” grinding exceedingly fine, seen throughout history.

    God fights for his own – has all along. The wobbly knees are being retired and others strengthened.

    Significantly, we are not wrestling with flesh and blood here. Some get that.

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