We’re all products of modernity, like it or not, and so our every impression and opinion is formed in the context of it. (This bugs me sometimes. Is my Christianity authentic? Or is it, well, reactive?) Thus, one of the advantages to having a group blog of reactionaries is that unsound opinions formed under the twin pressures of ignorance and environmental prejudice very quickly meet pronounced resistance and correction. This has probably happened to all of us at some point, and it’s a real blessing. But now it’s worth asking, what can we do to keep it from needing to happening? How can we reactionaries cultivate the siege mentality necessary to detach ourselves from the poisonous milieu of the modern age?
In practice, this seems extraordinarily hard to do. It requires nothing less than the direct and forceful reexamination of every habit of thought and article of belief, any of which may have been inculcated in us by a society gone mad.
Here are some suggestion on how to cultivate that kind of siege mentality; readers’ input is, as always, very much appreciated.
1. Trust no one. I try not to keep up with the news anymore. Part of this is because it just doesn’t interest me, but mainly it’s because even those mainstream journalists who aren’t evil consequentialist liars (all seven of ‘em) are some of the most grossly incompetent people you’ll ever encounter. This extends to every other institution largely dominated by leftists, including academic research in the social sciences. I go out of my way to avoid exposing myself to their filth, and when it can’t be avoided, I assume anything I come into contact with is a lie until I can find serious reason to believe otherwise. This extends to most religious figures, up to and including the Pope for us Catholics, except on those issues on which he has legitimate authority to command belief and does so clearly and unambiguously. Even then, whenever the Holy Father says anything that seems even remotely liberal, the assumption must be that you are misapprehending him. Given that every Pope since probably Pius XII has insisted on speaking in obscurantist Vaticanese, this is a reasonable assumption to make.
2. Critically examine any convergence of your personal beliefs with liberalism. Unless it pertains to tautologies or other obvious truths, you should be immediately alarmed any time you find yourself agreeing with a liberal person about anything cultural, social, political, or religious. Examine why you agree with them. Give it lots of thought; sleep on it, and if you can’t bring yourself to disagree with them, sleep on it again. Make sure your reasons for agreeing with liberals are sound: it may be enough to think that they’re right but for the wrong reasons. This ties into point one above: assume everything you’re told by anyone presently in authority is wrong. And it is especially true when it involves favored leftist buzzwords like “rights” and “justice.”This is triply true if you’re a very smart person, and if you read this blog, you probably are. One of our co-authors (I cannot now remember who, and it may not even have been at this blog) once remarked that the intellect exists to help facilitate conformity. The only thing left to conform to is liberalism. These two points should always be on your mind.
3. Reevaluate your relationships. You don’t need to be best friends with your colleague down the hallway with the sign on her door that says “This is a Gay-Safe Zone.” She is against you, even if she doesn’t realize it. Since you are for God (and you better be!), that person is against God. Forget them… but pray for them, too.
4. Don’t try to be a missionary. As I remarked once a while back, the world “has heard the Truth and rejected it.” On the rare occasion I involve myself in theological or moral disputes among others, it is only to prevent bystanders from being scandalized. The modern leftist is too ignorant, proud, and hard-hearted to repent, so any effort to intentionally induce them to such is what Christ was referring to when He warned us not to cast our pearls before swine. These are the people whose dust we must shake from our feet. This is in the inverse of point 3 above: pray for your enemies, then forget about them.
5. Don’t be afraid to go too far. It would be better to be overly cautious and need to backtrack than to be insufficiently cautious and need to reorient again. I would sooner avoid an orthodox priest who left a bad first impression than risk contaminating my mental and spiritual milieu with someone like this sad schmuck. There is no such thing as a fortress that’s too secure, except, perhaps, the one so apparently secure that it lulls you into complacency.
6. Don’t advertise yourself. Unless you’re tenured or are surrounded by like-minded (or open-minded) people, you don’t need to advertise your reactionary proclivities. “I’m Catholic,” you say. That’s enough; no need for a monologue on the deficiencies of the postconciliar Church. “I’m just fed up with both parties,” you say, explaining why you don’t vote. No need to mention your longing for a king. Don’t put yourself in situations where you might be tempted, out of comfort or disinhibition, to divulge too much. That means avoid heavy drinking (which, as a matter of both prudence and temperance, is just a good idea, anyway).
7. Have a safe space. Blessed are those who are Catholics with recourse to an FSSP chapel. The psychological toll of living this sort of double life has to be immense: you need somewhere where you can be yourself. If necessary, set up a small Marian shrine in your closet or something. Indulge in everything the left reviles as superstition. Pray the rosary three times a day. Scourge your back till it bleeds. Spend 30 minutes or more a day reading the Bible. Set up this kind of environment for your kids, too; if you can find no kindred spirits in the world, make your own, and form them accordingly!