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In Which I Throw in the Towel

If the last Presidential Election did anything, it reinforced my growing apathy toward political involvement, my distrust of “delivery systems” for news, and my fatalistic views about the state of America and its people. It appears we are heading toward Western Europe’s secularized welfare state model at a rapid clip, and there’s no way, nor will, to stop it.

The culprits are many, and probably typical, as rants like mine go. It’s easy enough to blame the mainstream media. With 96.7 percent of American households owning a TV set, the average American home owning 3 of them,  and handheld devices providing additional media hook-ups, the MSM shapes American opinion like never before. Which gets more to the root of the issue: US. Television caters to the worst in us, our short attention spans and utter narcissism, our preoccupation with pop cultural inanities (see: TMZ, the Kardashians, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, etc., etc., etc.), and sound-bite reportage that swaps thinking for feeling, and substance for style. In the end, the average American comes out woefully ignorant of their own history and Constitution, and doesn’t seem to give a damn about anything except what immediately impacts them or titillates their current fancy.

So I’m here watching the fiscal cliff talks — will it get done, what if it doesn’t, whose fault will it be if it doesn’t — and I just don’t care. I really don’t care. It’s hard enough getting the real facts on the issue, cutting through the party spin and the media bias. But it’s all misdirection anyway. Finger-pointing and photo ops. Meanwhile, our constitutional rights are being whittled away, our children are getting stupider, the nuclear black market is alive and well, civil rights are being deified, the national debt is in the trillions and growing at a rate of $10 million a minute, there is absolutely NO significant political effort to curb government spending and entitlements, and the media’s nose is so deep up this President’s rear end, all I can do is shrug. This is what the American people want. Well, they can have it.

My conservative friends, we are fighting a tide that has turned. That’s my conclusion on the last day of 2012. We’ve reached the tipping point. The liberal intelligentsia’s control of academic institutions, state-run education, the courts, the entertainment industry, and the mainstream media has become insurmountable. We may nurture a strong remnant, but be advised, we will never, ever, control the national conversation. Again. We are the minority. We are the dissidents. We are on the downside of the slippery slope — morally, politically, ideologically, civilly — and picking up speed. All in crash position for when we hit.

No, I’m not building a bunker in my back yard. Not yet, at least. I’m not predicting the return of Jesus Christ anytime soon. I’m not rooting for our country’s demise. I’m not stockpiling guns and ammo. I’m not joining a militia. I’m not claiming that Obama is the Antichrist or that television is the tool of Satan. But this coming year, I will be doing some things differently.

  • I will be looking for alternative news and info outlets.
  • I will consider whether it’s worthwhile to ever vote again.
  • I will give more to charity, believing that WE, not the state, are our brother’s keepers.
  • I will be entertaining more fringe, conspiracy theorists.
  • I will lean more into friends and family.
  • I will listen more deeply to other political points of view.
  • I will seek to accumulate more liquid assets.
  • I will prepare, in earnest, for societal collapse.
  • I will work hard to make myself less dependent upon other people, programs, and/or institutions.
  • I will seek to be more educated than entertained.
  • I will become a more informed citizen of the United States.

But in the end, there’s only one thing I can do. Maybe it’s the only thing I could ever really do: As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

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{ 42 comments… add one }
  • Richard Mabry December 31, 2012, 8:17 AM

    Mike, although the very fact may signal our approach to the End Times, I agree with much of what you said.
    Fortunately, as my pastor pointed out yesterday, neither the President nor Congress controls our country–God does. He remains sovereign, and all I can do is try to follow His will. But it’s discouraging to look around me at the chaos that is America.
    Blessings, friend.

  • Jay DiNitto December 31, 2012, 8:31 AM

    Good on ya, Mike. I’ve given up on politics for a few years running now, after being a libertarian-leaning Burke-to-Goldwater conservative and then concluding that the state cannot be virtuous or used to achieve virtuous things (or to put the Christian spin on it, by its nature it cannot be used to attain righteousness that God requires of us, either collective or personal).

    For news, I may suggest http://blog.lewrockwell.com/ – though it’s heavily editorialized.

  • Shay Fabbro December 31, 2012, 8:58 AM

    Many of the things you have listed are thing my husband and I will aspire to do in 2013. We also have something we add into our daily prayers at night: praying FOR our appointed leaders rather than cursing them. We are truly learning how to ‘Let go and let God” in that respect and also learning that our words have power. Calling any President (or other leader for that matter) the anti-Christ gives the enemy power. We’re trying to do our small part to take some of that power back 🙂

  • Jim Hamlett December 31, 2012, 9:15 AM

    Well said. My wife and I are part of the minority who don’t own a TV. It’s quiet around here. Nice.

    Definitely with you on giving more to charity, leaning more into family and friends, becoming less dependent on others, and being more educated than entertained. Entertainment is not without its benefits, but it can sure rob you of time better spent on more significant things.

    • Mike Duran December 31, 2012, 9:35 AM

      Yeah, I have nothing against entertainment. Heck, I write novels! I’m just beginning to think our culture is addicted to entertainment to our own detriment. As Neil Postman put it in “Amusing Ourselves to Death,” “In 1984, Orwell added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we fear will ruin us. Huxley feared that our desire will ruin us.” I think our obsession with eye candy, trivia, fashion, image, celebrity, etc. are the “pleasurable diversions” Huxley predicted will kill us. It is cheering in the Coliseum while the Barbarians are at the gate.

  • Johne Cook December 31, 2012, 9:33 AM

    We thought the election results might not be known for days or even weeks, but the election was over before midnight, and I tossed and turned in my bed, nearly sick to my stomach.

    Earlier, I had to turn off the TV and avoid the internet – I felt I was seeing the death of a quaint, even charming dream of America that simply was no longer true. In a sense, I’ve been heading this direction for awhile, feeling that national patriotism can be a form of idolatry taking the place of my first love, Jesus Christ. But I was born an American and I didn’t claim personal discipleship until I was 12 and the pull of my identity as an American is lifelong strong. It wasn’t until relatively recently that I gave my status as an American citizen back up to God and put it in its proper place, secondary to my status as a son of God.

    As the election returns came in, they seeped through my personal firewall and a feeling of dread and awful clarity came over me. Lifelong feelings of security and optimism were stripped away by the intellectual realization that the America I thought I knew must fall before the events of The Revelation would come to pass. As a fan of space opera, George Lucas’ words from EP III seem suddenly prophetic: “So this is how liberty dies… with thunderous applause.”

    As I tossed and turned, I only found peace in prayer. I gave it all up to God, all my national pride and confidence, all my dependence on the government I’ve paid into all my working life, all my dreams for a safe and secure future. I confessed to God my lifelong assumptions of American prosperity and safety and clung to God. I gave up my dreams for Conservative political salvation. I gave up my expectation of national security and longevity. I asked God to forgive me for putting my faith in anything or anyone but Him. I asked God to help me to be a good citizen of this country where I was born and where I live, but asked God to help me to remember my proper priorities, that I seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness.

    Only then did I find peace and sleep.

    • Mike Duran December 31, 2012, 11:49 AM

      Johne, I appreciate this. I’ve long believed that Christians rely too heavily on politics. So for me, the election wasn’t an indictment of my belief in some type of “Conservative political salvation,” it was more a revelation that Americans apparently don’t mind being politically, fiscally raped. I was never a big Romney guy. But I still have an incredible hard time comprehending how a president with this record was re-elected. I think my faith in the American people has taken the biggest of all the hits.

  • Jill December 31, 2012, 10:04 AM

    Yup. I’m with you. This is the kind of government/country the people want, and from where I sit, it looks a lot like feudalism. There is nothing inherently wrong with this kind of system–I just wouldn’t have wanted it for us. So I shrug my shoulders.

  • jed December 31, 2012, 10:09 AM


    I see End Times, Anti-Christ, and The Events of Revelations referenced by Christians in the (7) comments above. And yet Christ taught that no man may know the day or the hour. But we are to look for the signs, the quickening of the birth pangs, they will no doubt reply.

    While this is undeniable it still teaches us nothing concrete, nothing absolute. The truth is, we don’t know if we are in the End Times. Or, conversely, We have been in the End Times since Christ ascended into Heaven.

    What must Believers in Germany have thought with the Third Reich and the rise of Hitler to power? Surely they must have thought he was the Anti-Christ and that the End was nigh. And yet that time had not yet come…

    What if we live in a similar age, where we are descending into fascism and tyranny (like Germany or Russia), but Christ’s return is not yet imminent? What if we have to actually deal with all the messy unpleasantness and pain and suffering, without a convenient “Rapture” to snatch us away? Would knowing this be too much for us to handle? Where have we cast our faith?

    What if the battle must be joined, as it presents itself, and God will only help us to make wise, moral, and difficult decisions? What if he will only help us to take difficult actions and then face the consequences? Who is called to be the next Deitrich Bonnhoeffer or Corrie Ten Boom? Or any other number of unnamed courageous Christians who remained true to the Faith acted according to conscience and did what was right in God’s sight and not Man’s?

    If Christ’s Return were NOT imminent, how would America and Americans put their house back in order?

    • Johne Cook December 31, 2012, 10:20 AM

      It’s a fair question. For me, the answer is to do what I have recently done – give up my dreams for America and reassert my adherence to the last marching orders of Christ: to love God and my neighbor as myself, and to mentor disciples of Jesus Christ. Everything else is secondary (and that includes both politics and entertainment).

    • Mike Duran January 1, 2013, 8:20 AM

      Jed, these are great points. I should clarify that I don’t subscribe to a pre-trib rapture theory. The Church has historically believed it would go through the tribulation. In fact, the Epistles to the Thessalonians were written to Christians who were so convinced Christ’s return was imminent, that they’d stopped working and holed up for the End. The apostle Paul rebuked them w/ such classic lines as, “if a man doesn’t work, neither should he eat” (II Thess. 3:10). So while I do believe in many end time events (a Great Apostasy, a Great Tribulation, the Antichrist, the Second Coming, etc.), I don’t believe they’re a cause for malaise and inaction.

  • Becky Doughty December 31, 2012, 10:26 AM

    Leave it to you to just come right and say what so many of us are thinking. Except that I don’t think it’s throwing in the towel. I don’t think it’s apathy. No, I think of this as a call to arms! In fact, it’s pretty much putting on the full armor of Christ, isn’t it? This is what we were created for! To be warriors! To be soldiers of The Cross. To carry the Sword of Truth which is the Word of God. I LOVE this call to arms, Mike. I’m picturing you with half your face painted blue this morning.

    Blessings – Happy New Year!

  • Bruce Hennigan December 31, 2012, 10:27 AM

    The church only thrives in times of persecution. My hope is that the church will finally wake up and focus on what is important — showing the love of Christ to everyone no matter what their political bent. After all Christ calls us to “love our enemy”. Now, we have to put feet to our words! Great post that echoes the feelings of most of the “committed Christians” in America as Barna describes the 16% of us who remain truly faithful to Christ.

  • Jenni Noordhoek December 31, 2012, 11:21 AM

    Just a side note – I know people who read ‘alternative media and news outlets’ because the mainstream media is ‘skewed’… but all the links I’ve been handed are alarmist articles that take things out of context from mainstream news articles, twist them, and don’t properly source their information. (Or if you follow the sources, the original source has little to do with the article, or one line was taken out of context, etc, etc)

    So just noting – if you’re going to read alternative sources, make sure that they’re reliable. (WND is *not* reliable. =P)

    • Mike Duran January 1, 2013, 8:28 AM

      Jenni, I think any news source has to be run through a filter. We all highlight things and dismiss things based on what we deem is “important.” Reporters of all stripes do this. I’ve been reading “alternate sources,” as well as following the MSM, for years and still come down to the same point: We must always be discerning WHATEVER reportage we choose to ingest.

  • Nikole Hahn December 31, 2012, 11:59 AM

    That’s what they want you to do…to stop voting. I believe our vote still matters. I believe we still have a voice and we must use social media to spread news, talk to people, and use that to turn the tide. But the moment you throw in the towel is when liberty dies.

    • Katherine Coble December 31, 2012, 2:26 PM

      No. It isn’t.

      Liberty dies when other people decide for a person what she is to do. Whether in the name of The King or The Fatherland or Liberty–if it is someone else deciding for you what course of action to take…that’s the death of Liberty.

      • Nikole Hahn January 2, 2013, 4:17 PM

        That, too, but it dies faster and more swift when someone does nothing. We got to keep fighting.

    • Mike Duran January 1, 2013, 8:53 AM

      Nikole, to be clear, I’m not throwing in the towel on God, faith, the Church, my family, etc. I’m just not sure 1.) The tide can be turned, and 2.) It’s my job to turn it. The institutions that control the conversation are far greater than we imagine. An entire generation has been raised on postmodern assumptions, liberal cliches, relativistic POVs, image bombardment, conservative / religious hatred, reliance upon government, I’m just not sure Christians understand the depth of what we’re facing. I think THIS ARTICLE represents more of the approach I think is necessary. We must build a counter-culture that influences institutions of power, primarily media / entertainment centers which now hold incredible sway on shaping public sentiment. But we are DECADES behind the eight ball. I will still be vocal about my beliefs, seek to remain informed, and attempt to persuade others with what I consider the Truth. But I have no allusions that a few memes, infographics, blog rants, tweets, petitions, propositions, or Christian candidates will come close to reshaping the runaway culture.

      • Nikole Hahn January 2, 2013, 4:21 PM

        Yes, it’s difficult. Not impossible. Grassroots still have influence. Your blog post today said something about Republicans needing to be better storytellers; in other words, engage our audience. I agree. More later. I’ll check out that article then. :o)

  • Guy Stewart December 31, 2012, 12:42 PM


    I’m not exactly sure where our idea that we should be “free” or have a vote or expect a government to do or not do anything. I’m not even sure where we got the idea that we can even HAVE opinions.

    The Church was seeded in an enslaved people who had no rights at all. While Jesus was the Son of God, he was emphatically NOT a Roman citizen and had no “rights” to speak of. Someone above pointed out that the church grows during persecution — yet the time of greatest growth wasn’t when it was being persecuted, it was when no one paid any attention to it. Granted, Jesus was crucified — but it was for Roman sedition and Jewish blasphemy. His disciples abandoned him then a wealthy man offered up his tomb.

    Jesus was clear when he said that we render unto Caesar that which…etc; and what goes to God are the things that are His. The government doesn’t get anything that belongs to God. Even though the Romans owned Jesus, his family and all of “their” property, they were never able to possess the spirit and heart of ANY person — which is what God wanted anyway. As to entertainment, there were times when Christians WERE the entertainment. I can’t imagine that at other times the “normal” citizens of the Roman empire eschewed the entertainment of the time. They had wine at their weddings. They had holidays. They had feasts.

    I’m not exactly sure what I’m trying to say here except that no matter what happens around me, I serve Jesus Christ and Him crucified and risen. All the rest is subject to change without notice. If “American society” morphs into a socialist or a fascist or a nazist or a communist state, it won’t be any better or worse than the society in which Jesus lived. He was OWNED by the state and I’m pretty sure He was aware of that fact. Being aware of the state in which I live, I committ to continue doing what Jesus did as evidenced by scripture.

    *shrug* so sue me

  • Katherine Coble December 31, 2012, 2:24 PM

    This is kind of where I was at about 5 years ago. I don’t say that to be all “I’m ahead of you”…I mean it in a “yes, I fully grok your POV” way.

    I’ve not watched a televised newscast in 5 years. I’ve voted only after prayerfully considering the options presented. If none of the options were what I believe to be worthy of endorsing I just don’t vote, period. My vote is owed to no one but God.

    For me the decisions were made as a part of dealing with a health crisis. I can honestly, firmly and completely say that it is because of making those decisions–especially the one to avoid the news and high-octane political interaction–that I am alive now. The stress would have killed me and God made it clear that there is still earthly work for me to complete.

    I maintain ties to my political philosophy because it is important to me. But the philosophy I’ve settled on allows me a degree of peace that I don’t find in other streams of thought. It allows me to give over all I cannot control to God. I am amazed at how much God is able to control when I give up my end of the rope.

  • Lyn Perry December 31, 2012, 3:27 PM

    I said something similar in my sermon on Sunday. That we have witnessed, in our lifetime, the shift from a theistic-based country, where the basic moral law of the bible was assumed, to a secularist society where true believers in Jesus are a diminishing minority. And I echoed your comment (but not as eloquently as you…) – that we will never control the national conversation again. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing – well, it’s bad for the nation in that we’ve departed from a theistic/moral framework, but this new reality allows us to be, once again, voices/lights for the gospel. Truth coupled with love will draw many to Christ.

  • Les December 31, 2012, 6:08 PM

    You, Mr. Duran, have just summed up point by point an exact conversation had between myself and my wife this afternoon. I would offer one addendum, though: consistently, when seemingly insurmountable evils rise in the world, God brings about even greater good. That we may be living at the beginning of potentially dark times is not call for sadness, but in a way, joy, because if we stay true to our faith, come what may, the good will far outweigh the bad, no matter how hard that may be in the meantime and no matter what the end destination may look like. We are now the counter culture. The worse things get, the more I rely on God, and, ironically or not, the happier I’m becoming.

  • D.M. Dutcher December 31, 2012, 6:43 PM

    I’d be careful, man: the fringe is dangerously paranoid and toxic, and long-term exposure is worse than the problems you face now. There’s a lot of seductive ideologies that can prey on people who feel divorced from mainstream culture, and even Christian faith doesn’t always act as an antidote.

    I think our current difficulties are good in that they force us to realize we must focus on what we ourselves can do, rather than worry about national or global events beyond our control. We’ve allowed ourselves many times to allow identity and fandom to big things trump action in the little, and maybe the realization that “the evils of the day are sufficient thereof” might help us to focus on the things we can do.

    I also think we need to stand back and realize that even with this setback, we still are blessed with the nation we are in. We have powerful freedom to do good in Christ, and we have for the most part lives that are prosperous and peaceful. What issues may come being a cultural minority may not be good, but even still, we have power to act. Don’t let fear paralyze us.

    • Mike Duran January 1, 2013, 9:22 AM

      David, this is a good word. You’re right. I don’t want this to sound too defeatist. “[W]e still are blessed with the nation we are in. We have powerful freedom to do good in Christ, and we have for the most part lives that are prosperous and peaceful.” Amen.

      While I realize “the fringe is dangerously paranoid and toxic,” I’m also beginning to realize that there’s more truth — albeit maybe partial truth — in some of the sources I’ve scoffed at. For instance, I recently spoke to a guy at work, a borderline nutter, who referenced Alex Jones and his Prison Planet site. I did a casual go-thru of the articles and blew it off. (Hard to get past Jones’ perpetual scowl, I think.) But the more I perused his topics, the more I realized there was SOME truth to what he was saying. What I was faced with is how do I approach info-sites like this. Do we just brand all news outlets as propagandist? Do we take as Gospel everything that Fox shills out because, well, that’s THE conservative network? It comes down to the same thing — discernment. So while I agree that there’s lots of lunacy out there, and being disillusioned with mainstream culture is a seed-bed for fanaticism, I just think it’s wiser for me to broaden my intake of perspectives, as whacky as they may on the surface be, than narrow my circle.

      • D.M. Dutcher January 1, 2013, 8:23 PM

        Yeah, I guess I’m saying just be careful. It’s possible to fall into an even more closed ideology when you head out to the fringe, and Christians aren’t immune. Good ideas don’t explain everything-they raise more questions than answers. But a lot of bad ideas get their power from doing just that, and they can be a lot harder to resist even with good discernment than a person thinks.

    • Jill January 1, 2013, 11:48 AM

      The fringe is “dangerously paranoid and toxic?” Let me see if I understand what you’re saying–you seem to be making a blanket statement that the people in the middle of the road are normal and have balanced perspectives, and anybody who is fringe, no matter who they are, is dangerous to society, owing to their paranoid delusional beliefs, and can’t possibly have a grasp on truth. I think I understand better why you dislike homeschoolers. But what happens the so-called “fringe” become mainstream? Are they no longer paranoid and toxic?

    • jed January 1, 2013, 4:57 PM

      D.M. Dutcher: “The fringe is dangerously paranoid and toxic” and homeschooling is bad.

      Do you realize how insanely xenophobic and reactionary towards anything outside the mainstream you actually sound to the rest of us? I know we can’t catch your vocal inflection and mood from your printed words, but there seems to be more that a touch of the paranoid in your knee-jerk responses to anything you deem to be “fringe”.

      Do you always place yourself strategically somewhere near the center of the herd as a protectionary measure? Doubtless, the Nameless Fear will only pick off the members of the herd closest to the Fringe. That is, unless, the whole herd is racing unwittingly towards the cliff…

      QUESTION: Do you EVER get outside of your comfort zone and experience what others experience??

      • D.M. Dutcher January 1, 2013, 8:02 PM

        Um, we’re talking the political fringe here, and we’ve had Alex Jones and Lew Rockwell given as examples. I think it’s completely fair to warn that fringe movements in politics can be very toxic, and all I have to do is point to the actual content of the posts from those two sites, as well as other popular ones like VDare or the Spearhead, rather than be paranoid. Or I could point to the comment sections and writers of even mainstream websites like Pajamas Media, Hot Air, or more, and show that the more the ideas tend to the fringe, the dangerous the atmosphere can get. There’s a lot of compelling, but bad ideology out there that can be very attractive to people feeling oppressed, and I’ve seen not a little.

        Even at times beneficial subcultures can show the seeds of it. Scratch a distributionist Front Porcher, and you find the worrying idea that american liberalism (not leftism, but our current model of constitutional politics) is something bad, and a wish again for a pseudo-catholic monarchy. Scratch far too many paleocons, and you see them nodding at “human biodiversity” and Charles Murray’s mix of class and race-based social history. Or a reflexive-anti Israelism more akin to the fringe left than right. Or you talk to a friend who is a militant child-free person. Or a radfem.

        This is what I mean. This I have seen from personal experience. I understand wanting to broaden your intake of news, but many times the good points are expressed in a toxic ecosystem which you have to constantly reject or try to mitigate. But since the ecosystem many times is so compelling (all good conspiracy theories are) and acts on you not like an argument, but a story, it’s hard to do. You’re both libertarians, right? You’ve had to deal with Objectivism in your movement. You must know what I mean.

        • Jay DiNitto January 1, 2013, 8:17 PM

          Why would it matter what Mike reads? He or any person with sufficient reasoning abilities can sort through it without a problem. Calling ideas “toxic” is granting them a power they don’t have. Ideas don’t have agency to inflict things upon us; they’re abstractions.

          • D.M. Dutcher January 1, 2013, 8:36 PM

            Because we aren’t one hundred percent rational, and ideas also hit us on emotional and narrative levels? Also, we don’t examine them as dispassionate observers, but often as part of a community that can shape our identity? How would you explain otherwise rational, sane people who will turn around and tell you that 9-11 was an inside job done by Mossad, or the whole anti-vaccine thing, or believe in Indigo Children?

            • Jessica Thomas January 2, 2013, 8:21 AM

              Not to mention those sane (?) people who turn around and say God came to earth in the form of man, born to a virgin, and then later died and rose again 3 days later. 😉

  • Elizabeth Seckman December 31, 2012, 9:00 PM

    When we are at our weakest, He is strongest…I have never understood that better than i do now. I have little faith in men, only in Him.
    (If you find an unbiased news delivery, let me know.)

  • Margaret Mills January 1, 2013, 5:06 PM

    Thanks for writing this. It is good knowing I’m not the only one, as I pretty much came to these same conclusions just after the election. Had been drifting in that direction for a number of years, but 2012 sealed it. Some line was crossed, and apparently I’m not the only one feeling it. For me, this is sobering, but not necessarily a bad thing. As we turn more to God alone, and let go of mere political power, we may become the Church God intended.

  • Michael Trimmer January 4, 2013, 1:26 PM

    Excuse me, but what is so wrong with the welfare state systems of Europe? Speaking as a British citizen, their existence does not in any way necessarily undermine the Church. I really don’t understand why so many American Christians look to their brothers in Europe and tut at the political situation as if it is somehow necessary symptomatic of some kind of lack of faith.

  • Michael Trimmer January 4, 2013, 1:30 PM

    Also, if you think children are getting dumber, I would submit that there was a massive concert recently, attended by thousands of teenagers, where a song was sung all about the nature of particle physics.

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