What price would you pay to see Hillary Clinton lose the election? Or to see the Republican establishment crushed? What price should you be willing to pay? Would any price be too high?
In 1949 a book was published entitled 1984. Its author was an Englishman named Eric Blair, but he wrote under the name George Orwell. The book is what is called a dystopian novel, that is, a fictional story set in what might be called the worst of all possible worlds. It is not a pleasant book to read, nor can I recommend it unequivocally. But it is rightly celebrated as a warning against the dangers of authoritarian government.
I’m not going to discuss the book in its entirety here. Rather I want to draw your attention to one passage that bears on the questions I posed in the first paragraph of this post. The central character of 1984 is Winston Smith. Smith decides to rebel against the oppressive tyranny called “Big Brother.” Hearing of a resistance movement, he seeks to join it. A man named O’Brien contacts him and arranges a meeting. There he quizzes Smith as to just how committed he is to the underground movement’s shadowy struggle against Big Brother. What is he willing to do in order to defeat this hideous tyranny? Here’s the passage:
He began asking his questions in a low, expressionless voice, as though this were a routine, a sort of catechism, most of whose answers were known to him already.
“You are prepared to give your lives?”
“You are prepared to commit murder?”
“To commit acts of sabotage which may cause the death of hundreds of innocent people?”
“To betray your country to foreign powers?”
“You are prepared to cheat, to forge, to blackmail, to corrupt the minds of children, to distribute habit-forming drugs, to encourage prostitution, to disseminate venereal diseases — to do anything which is likely to cause demoralization and weaken the power of the Party?”
“If, for example, it would somehow serve our interests to throw sulphuric acid in a child”s face — are you prepared to do that?”
Notice O’Brien begins by asking Smith’s willingness to sacrifice himself. Then he shifts to questions of Smith’s willingness to abandon moral scruples in matters that escalate from shady to morally monstrous, even in the nasty business of underground resistance. O’Brien’s last two queries ask Smith’s willingness to do things no decent person could ever do for any consideration whatsoever. As I read the book, I progressed through this scene with increasing dismay and alarm until, coming to the final two answers from Smith, I knew he was doomed. It simply could not end well after that.
What is the significance of this for the questions in my first paragraph? Let me catechize you briefly after the manner of O’Brien. Let’s suppose you believe that in resisting Hillary and her socialist cohorts, as well as the Republican establishment, you are fighting a tyranny that is potentially as evil as Big Brother. Maybe it hasn’t gotten there yet, but it’s headed that way. We still have elections in America, so there’s no need for violent resistance. You can fight against tyranny by the ballot rather than the bullet.
Now, what will you be willing to do in order to secure the victory of your candidate over the evil forces of the establishment and the Democrats?
Are you prepared to attend campaign rallies? Vote? Donate? Phone bank? Block walk? Display your candidate’s name on clothing and yard signs?
Are you prepared to set aside every other issue except what you believe is your candidate’s ability to defeat the establishment and the Democrats?
If, for example, it meant supporting a candidate whose positions on abortion and same-sex marriage were, at best, murky — are you prepared to do that?
Are you prepared to overlook your candidate’s constant use of extremely profane and abusive language?
Are you prepared to support your candidate in falsely calling even his most truthful opponent a liar? Repeatedly?
Are you prepared to share or retweet phony “news” stories claiming the moral failure of his opponent, even though you know, or have reason to know, those stories are entirely false?
Are you prepared to justify publicly every action of your candidate, no matter how outrageous, indecent, or immoral?
Are you prepared to rough up those who peacefully protest against your candidate or those who are being led away in police custody?
I hope you noticed that a line was crossed very early in that list of questions. The first set of suggestions asked for commitment that was entirely proper. The others asked for things that were morally unacceptable.
But, someone might object, isn’t it all acceptable if it helps to defeat Hillary and the establishment? Should we not sacrifice our consciences, even our souls, for our country? No. Absolutely not. Even Blair, who was not a Christian though he went through the motions of conventional Anglicanism, knew that breaking moral boundaries could not ultimately accomplish a moral purpose.
We want to defeat Hillary and the establishment because it’s the right thing to do. We want to keep our freedom because freedom is our right. As an old Methodist preacher once said, “It’s never right to do wrong in order to get a chance to do right.” If we’re willing to do wrong in order to defeat our political enemies, we’ll end up establishing a political regime that is at least as evil as the one we seek to oppose. God is still on His throne. We don’t need to cheat to save our country, and if we did cheat, how could we hope for God’s blessing on our efforts or our country? If we do what is right, God will save our country if that’s consistent with His plan. And if it’s not His plan, and our country goes down, then, if we’re faithful to Him, He will be with us in whatever we have to face.