EDITOR OF REDSTATE
The Peter Principle
We hang together or hang separately.
And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.”
— Mark 14:30 (ESV)
All of us, every single person regardless of political persuasion who reads this, have a tendency to deny our friends and fellow travelers at times. All of us.
Peter, under pressure and fear, denied Christ not just once, but three times. Peter, though, feared death. The strain on Peter was great. The rest of us, though, typically fear the opinions of others.
There are those who like it when we feel guilty for associating with someone. More troubling, in the conservative movement and in the greater right-of-center coalition, there are many, many fellow traveller who would rather spend their time throwing their own under the bus than fighting the left.
Their typical means of ostracism is to condemn the rest of us for daring to say nice things about them. Reasons abound for this. Many of these weak minded fools are not really fellow travelers. Like a vulture flying in flock with swans, they benefit from the work the rest of us are doing to gain themselves credibility. The media plays along calling the vultures swans so others, they hope, see ugly ducklings around the vultures instead of swans.
Some mean well. Unfortunately, their high mindedness fractures and divides the rest.
The incidents of late with Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Dick Cheney, and others is why I raise this. Putting it bluntly, were these guys on the left, their fellow leftists would at best be cheering them on and at worst silently nodding along. There wouldn’t be any on that side rushing to the nearest microphone to condemn them.
Compare that to the right, where they actually are. A large number of us are standing up to express our support for them and we’re met by derision from our own side. “Are you supporting what Mark Levin said to that woman?” one might ask derisively. Whether I am or not is not the point. The point is Mark Levin does a hell of a lot more for the cause than pretty much anyone asking the question, so shut the hell up and leave him alone.
“But he is impuning the movement! How can anyone take anything he says seriously or take you seriously for liking him?” comes the rebuttal. And therein lies the problem. The “anyone” being referred to are the leftists who won’t take Levin, Limbaugh, or others seriously anyway. Why the hell would I want their embrace?
As an aside, perhaps an even greater bother are the high minded types on our side who condemn any level of aggressive activism because it is icky, mean, or beneath us. There is a war going on. We fight. Suck it up.
“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23 reminds us. We are all apt to say something or do something on occasion we may later regret. Those who deny this are the ones we should not listen to. That there are those on the right willing to ignore this for personal gain by pushing aside faithful warriors in the fight for freedom should make us all cringe. That we ourselves are sometimes apt to do it should make us shudder.
This is not to say there are some who should not be shunned. We should be mindful of William F. Buckley tossing out the Birchers. But therein lies part of the present burden on our movement. There are lots of creeping leftists in the conservative movement who want to exile large segments of the movement so the media will declare them the next William F. Buckley.
We should be wary of that. It should be that the sum total of our work is the measure by which we are judged. The tendency is the opposite. We tend to cling to the one indiscretion and show no forgiveness. It is harder for us because we have standards on our side largely derived from the Judeo-Christian tradition and fear being labeled hypocrites by those whose “anything goes but decency” mindset prevents them from ever having standards. There are some things that cannot be accepted. But there much that can be forgiven.
Peter denied Christ three times. Our goal should be to not deny Christ and also to not deny the valuable members of our own movement. Embracing them does not mean we embrace every word and every deed. But it should likewise mean we don’t race to the nearest microphone to condemn our own when they do something indiscrete. The people we should shun are the ones who are quick to throw the rest of us out for daring to stand up for our friends.
The vultures in our mist are typically the ones squawking loudest about other conservatives instead of the leftists out to destroy the country.
As Rush Limbaugh says, we should always play on offense. The moment the left gets us to start wringing our hands over one of our own is the moment they advance. The corollary is that the moment one of our own gets us to start wringing our hands over another within the movement is the moment we surrender.