18 February 2013
This phrase, first uttered by Patrick Henry as “Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their party,” could easily have replaced the title of Joseph Loconte’s article for the Centennial Institute’s February issue of their Centennial Review. Loconte holds a PhD. from the University of London and is an associate professor of history at King’s College in New York City. He’s also a Believer, and his message is spot on: now is the time not to shrink from the responsibilities of citizenship but to grasp them fully.
He puts it much more elegantly than I:
The new conventional wisdom is that the greatest threat to American democracy is the person who believes that there are universal, transcendent truths, that these truths are embedded in human nature, and that they are meant to govern human life and human societies. The people who hold such views, people of faith, are now called extremists. The proper moral posture, we are told, is that of the moderate…
Moderates reject the concept of a moral God who governs the universe, because an attachment to ultimate beliefs about right and wrong breeds fanaticism. These “abstract ideas”—such as the ancient belief in a God who defends the widow and the orphan and the unborn—have no place in the mental outlook of the moderate.
In their convenience, moderates don’t want to be troubled with such concepts as right and wrong. It simply gets in the way. Such concepts engender responsibility and loyalty and submission. If there is a Creator, then the creature must submit. And that’s terribly inconvenient for moderates. As Loconte says:
This moderate of liberal imagination is quite a specimen. Evidently, there is nothing—absolutely nothing—occurring in the cozy, cushioned, shrimp-and-chardonnay world of the Manhattan moderate that summons his moral imagination, nothing that offends his conscience or provokes his outrage. Nothing except those people who make moral judgments.
These men of flaccid faith and cringing courage will make no impact on the direction of society. Indeed they will provide the grease for its continued slide into oblivion. Instead, it will take men of moral certainty and selfless courage to make a difference:
Contrary to liberal delusions, no leap forward toward a more just and virtuous society was ever brought about by people lacking moral and religious convictions. Moderates and moral agnostics don’t move the world. They never have and they never will.
It will take those courageous enough not only to know their history but to learn from it, and then decide to take part in the grand restoration of the republic:
If we hope to bear witness to the truths of the gospel in our generation, for the sake of our neighbors and our nation, then we must choose sides in this battle for hearts and minds. Moderation and neutrality are not options, for both involve a retreat from responsibility. Both would allow the dark forces of this world to gain ground.
The time to take sides is upon us:
What will it be for us, ladies and gentlemen? Should we follow the Nazarene, or should we become “moderate” and “reasonable” people as the world defines these terms for us?