Christians, It’s Later Than You Think, Pray Without Ceasing

Hard Times Create Strong Men by James George Jatras –
Simply being what used to be considered normal and leading a productive life is becoming the most revolutionary act one can perform. With that in mind, find the strength to be revolutionaries indeed!

I accepted the invitation to speak with you today only with great trepidation. This was for at least three reasons.

The first is that, both for self-protection in an increasingly unfree country and my growing sense that nothing I or anyone else can say will make much difference in averting the horrors I believe are coming our way, I had ceased my public writing and speaking life, such as it was. I reluctantly have made an exception to that less than momentous recusal but plan to resume it at the end of today.

Secondly, I was loath to contaminate the naturally ebullient optimism of youth with my crotchety Boomer pessimism. At your age you should feel that the world is, if not quite your oyster, at least pregnant with possibilities. How do I tell you that, in the layman’s terms, your lives will probably suck? At least in the near future. But there is hope. I will return to that.

Thirdly, I thought it would be derelict of me not to provide you with some sage, old graybeard advice of a practical nature. If I were in your shoes today, what would I do, specifically, to try to make a positive contribution to the world around me? How best to serve God and my neighbor? To make my country and the world a better place? And to do it in relative safety, in a modest degree of economic sustainability, perhaps even comfort? To marry, start a family, and see your offspring rise in peace and prosperity?

This last is most daunting, because the world has changed so much, in such a short time, and the pace of change is accelerating. Back in the olden days of yore, in my case the late 1970s, when I entered government service, that was an honorable thing to do. (Allow me to note that there are some who still spotlessly preserve that honor, such as The – literally – Honorable Thomas Massie, who will address us today. But such examples are rare sightings nowadays. In the institution in which he serves, you could probably count them on one hand, and you might not need your thumb.)


No less dismaying is the propensity of many people, perhaps most, to go along with all this, running the gamut from sullen submission to loving embrace of their shackles and enthusiastic willingness to force others’ compliance. What explains this? Fear of reprisal, fear of being thought of as a crank or “conspiracy theorist,” terminal law-abidingness, a misplaced virtue of charity regarding others’ intentions, naïve trust in “authority,” “experts,” “science” and claims of necessity to keep us and others “safe”? Or even worse, a sense of joining the worthy elites in their domination of lesser, insufficiently obedient and “caring” mortals? A totalitarian mindset is not solely an elite phenomenon.

In any case, these measures and their justifications, though constantly changing and often contradictory, are all the more obligatory. Taken together they have all the appearance of a controlled demolition of all established human interactions in anticipation of their replacement by something we are assured by our betters will be an improvement. The contours of the “new normal” in the post-American America hurtling in our direction have already become so familiar as to need little elaboration:


(Let me also mention in passing one of my pet peeves: while government at all levels bears a YUGE responsibility for all this, most of it is being carried out by private corporations. This leads some free market advocates to shrug their shoulders: “weeeell, they’re private businesses, they’re within their rights.” I say: bunk. To start with, corporations are inherently creatures of the state. They wouldn’t even exist were it not for legislation making them under the law “persons” – though they have neither body to be kicked nor soul to be damned. Given the incestuous “partnership” between government and the corporatocracy, the distinction is increasingly academic.)


In the end, my young friends, the impact any one of us can expect to have in the face of world-historic trends before which the fates of nations and empires fly like leaves in the autumn winds is vanishingly small. Already baked into the cake will be, I believe, hardships for you that we’ve become accustomed to think only happen to “other people” in “other countries” far away, not seen here since the Revolution and the Civil War, or maybe in isolated instances during the Great Depression: financial and economic disruption and, in some places, especially in urban areas, collapse; supply chains, utilities, and other aspects of basic infrastructure ceasing to function (what happens in major cities when food deliveries stop for a week?), even widespread hunger; rising levels of violence, both criminality and civil strife. These will be combined, paradoxically, with the remaining organs of authority, however discredited, desperately cracking down on the enemy within – no, not on murderers, robbers, and rapists, but on “science deniers,” “religious fanatics,” “haters,” “conspiracy theorists,” “insurrectionists,” “gun nuts,” “American Taliban,” “purveyors of “medical misinformation,” and, of course, “racists,” “sexists,” “homophobes,” and so forth. It’s the late Samuel Francis’ “anarcho-tyranny” nightmare come to life with a vengeance.

As I say, I think your ability to impact the “big picture” regarding any of this is slim to none. Even our ability to discern the signs of the times in an era of pervasive Gnostic deceit abetted by technologies unimaginable just a few years ago is limited.

Nevertheless, for what it is worth, I put before you three practical tasks for your consideration.

Firstly, be vigilant against deception, in a day when assuredly evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. Admittedly, this is a tough one, given the ever-present lying that surrounds us and the suppression of dissent. Try to sift truth from falsehood but don’t become obsessed because, in many cases, you won’t be able to be sure anyway. Focus most on what’s proximate to you and on the people most important to you. It sounds terrible, I know, because everyone who’s denoted as an “expert” or an “authority” isn’t necessarily unreliable, but that’s a good starting assumption. Be skeptical – about everyone. In communist countries, this was the norm: listen to what the establishment media say, to foreign sources if you can access them, and to anti-establishment dissidents (then it was samizdat, now it’s internet “conspiracy theorists” – but don’t get sucked in by Trojan Horses like the infamous Q.): then triangulate and take your best guess. There may be a cost. As Solzhenitsyn said, “He who chooses the lie as his principle inevitably chooses violence as his method.”

Secondly, as stewards of every worldly charge placed on us by God and by other people—as fathers and mothers, as husbands and wives, as sons and daughters, as neighbors, as students, as workers, as citizens, as patriots—we must prudently care for those to whom we have a duty within the limited power and wisdom allotted to us. Start with yourselves. Be as self-sufficient as possible. Get involved in your community; that leftist slogan is actually a good one: think globally, act locally. Befriend your neighbors. Learn a real skill – electricity, plumbing, carpentry. Farm! DON’T go to law school, for goodness’ sake. Get in shape. Eat and sleep right. Have plenty of the essentials: food, fuel, gold, ammunition. Learn to shoot. Limit computer and phone time. Cultivate healthy personal relationships – real ones, not virtual ones. Marry young, have kids – especially women, don’t get seduced by all that “career” nonsense. Read old books. Cultivate virtue. Go to church.

Simply being what used to be considered normal and leading a productive life is becoming the most revolutionary act one can perform. With that in mind, find the strength to be revolutionaries indeed!

You’ve seen the meme: Hard times create strong men; Strong men create good times; Good times create weak men; Weak men create hard times. Well, take it from the weakling generation that brought them to you: the hard times, they is a-coming. But they won’t last forever. If you live through them – and some of you will not – we’ll see what possibilities, as of now literally unimaginable, might then exist. But you will need to be personally fit to take advantage of them. You will also need to be part of some kind of sustainable community of likeminded people.

Third, for those of you who are believers, particularly Christians, we must pray without ceasing, firm in faith that, through whatever hardships may lie ahead, even the very hairs of our head are all numbered, and the final triumph of Truth is never in doubt.

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(Remarks delivered to the Ron Paul Institute Student Seminar, September 3, 2021)
HT: LewRockwell.com.

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