Edmund Burke said “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” John Philpot Curran, whose life overlaps Burke said “Evil prospers when good men do nothing.”
Before the election, I told my wife that there were a lot of good men doing nothing. I ran into them all the time. Good men who took care of their families, were good husbands. Hardworking guys who had the respect of their peers. All these men are men I would surely like as friends, but over the decades have remained aloof from what evil was creeping into our culture.
“Bratz” is a line of dolls that came out years ago. Back then my wife and I came across a Bratz-themed halloween costume that featured fishnet stockings and a bustier, sized for a girl about 7 to 10 years old. I said to her that if something like this did not bring out the pitchforks and torches among parents of little girls, society is lost.
Bratz is still in production.
This is but one example of a culture eroding. A tiny minority of us howl, but we are drowned out by the minority who have the high ground of the academy and the media. A majority of men and women who otherwise conduct their lives quietly and decently are carefully oblivious to grave issues affecting our society. For most of my life, the rule was “do not discuss religion and politics”, a rule that allowed the nation to be run by people for whom politics is religion.
Such good men have a vague sense that things are off, but they hunker down and carry on. Perhaps they adopt a cynical view that “both sides” are at fault, sparing themselves the hard work of paying attention and discerning.
Work hard, play hard, leave the social and political conflicts for other people.
I would like to think that these good men are natural allies of liberty – but nothing yet has aroused their interest beyond the day to day grind.
I’m not sure it is apathy, but it sure seems to be complacency. The doom of America has been predicted over and over again. We have a long record of slugging our way back, but liberty has been slowly circling the drain for decades, and I sense many of us are weary of what seems like a lonely, thankless struggle.
I have plenty of hope. I think it has always been a relatively small but highly motivated few that have been the champions of freedom. Human history is full of lost causes won, fortunes of war turned. Gideon’s handpicked force, the battle of Thermopylae. American took on the world’s superpower in our war for independence. From that shot heard round the world to the 101st at Bastogne, to the battle for civil rights it is not a safe bet to wager against surrounded, outgunned and outnumbered Americans.
Still, it would be nice to have a few more.