Reflective Conservatives are periodically haunted by the question, How do we resist Liberalism? They seek not a theoretical answer, however important that may be, but a practical answer. Liberalism at times seems a resistless force. It has subjugated to its unanswerable authority one of this country’s political parties; and it is on the verge of conquest of the other. It has very nearly made conservatism, at least in its mainstream guises, its vassal and sycophant. It has achieved enormous and ruinous advances into the territory of Christianity. Its opponents are numerous but fragmented, bewildered and largely ineffectual. What concrete steps of resistance should be taken?
Well, the elusive Jeff Culbreath, who with his family took the eminently and admirably practical step of abandoning a big city for the more tradition life of a small-town farmer, has reprinted some excellent advice:
Step one: Become a traditional Christian. Practice that faith in as muscular a way as you can manage. Learn everything there is to know about the Christian traditions. Be Christian on purpose and as forcefully and energetically as you can.
Step two: Forcefully purge all modernist and postmodern ideas from your mental landscape. (This may take many years, but is a most enjoyable exercise.)
Step three: Quit University immediately if you are in. Run! If not yet in, abandon any idea of going to University. (If you have already gone to University, go to confession and forget all about it.)
Step four: Begin to read the Classics of Western Civilization in philosophy and literature, starting with the Greeks and working your way up through the late antiquity guys, into Augustine then on to the Scholastics. When you get to the end of the 15th century, stop. Skip on to Newman. Stop. Skip again to Chesterton and Dawson. Stop again. Skip to Mortimer Adler and Gilson.
Step five: Stop reading and learn to sing, play an instrument, paint or do calligraphy (only one of these, not all at once.)
Step six: Get married to a practising member of your church.
Step seven: Have a lot of children.
Step eight: Teach them all that stuff you’ve just learned.
Step nine: Make sure you go to heaven and take as many others with you as you can.
Culbreath adds: “You can’t do this alone, in one generation, with your progeny scattered to the four winds.” You need a real community. “It is therefore critical to settle someplace permanent and attach oneself to an existing, living, breathing community . . . Find a real place with real character and a real history and become a part of it. Perhaps you are blessed with this already: that gives you a head start. ‘Love your neighbors,’ says Wendell Berry. ‘Not the ones you want, but the ones you have.’ The point is to ensure that your great-grandchildren, along with their families and neighbors and friends, are likely to be buried in the same cemetery plot as you are.”