The Reverend Billy Graham passed away a month ago, on February 21, and like many Americans I watched much of the televised funeral ceremonies when they were held for him in Charlotte. Although I come from a different branch of Christianity where Gregorian chant and a millennia-old liturgy form the major mode of religious communication and the expression of prayer, I was impressed by the transparency and simplicity of the Graham service. Here, truly, was a man of God, motivated by the sincere desire to see the Message of the Gospel spread to every corner of the world.
But there seemed to be a deeper symbolism manifested in the funeral service for this towering historical and religious figure. For seventy years Billy Graham represented in all the best ways a certain unity of Americans and of America. Although assuredly a conservative in his Evangelical theology, and, therefore, arguably a conservative when it came to eventual and inevitable political implications and manifestations that his beliefs would have, he maintained throughout his life a strict (or as strict as possible) non-partisanship that stretched across the American political spectrum, just as it did across the racial spectrum. Thus, he counseled both Republican and Democrat presidents, from Richard Nixon to Jimmy Carter to George W. Bush to Bill Clinton.
And his evangelism was not sectarian. Although nominally a Southern Baptist, Graham never pushed one denomination over another; his emphasis was strictly to reach unbelievers or those weak in belief, and to encourage them, give them support for their own acceptance of the grace of Our Savior.
On that first Friday in March, then, there in Charlotte both the powerful and the less powerful gathered to honor a man who symbolized what America and most Americans once aspired to. And in that sense, his passing is extremely significant.
For just as the Reverend Billy Graham epitomized an historic American unity, a unity that enabled Americans to speak more or less the same language and posit common goals, even if they disagreed on how to define those goals or how to present specific issues, his passing symbolizes the final, bitter end of that unity.
That crashing, noisy decline and fractious dissolution of American unity had been in the making for years, for decades. It was clearly evident for those who were perceptive observers back in the 1960s; but it pre-dates that turbulent decade. Indeed, its roots go much further back in our history. Premonitions and hints of its consequences on different levels may be traced to the violent end of the older American constitutionalism on the battlefield with the defeat of the Southern Confederacy in 1865—and to the triumph of the various “suffrage movements” and Progressivist reform initiatives—and to the advent of the globalist “managerial state” (to use the terminology of writers James Burnham and Sam Francis)—and to the historic triumph of cultural Marxism (and worse) in our schools and colleges and in our entertainment industry—and finally, to the very perversion of the language and forms of communication we employ to express our thinking and exchange ideas with fellow citizens.
Since the end of World War II and more particularly since the 1960s an emerging “counter-reality” has increasingly asserted its position of dominance in our culture. That counter-reality is a “rough beast” (to use Irish poet William Butler Yeats’ chiliastic language), an incubus born in the fevered philosophy of early 20th century Marxist theoreticians like Antonio Gramsci, whose designs involved a “long march” through Western Christian institutions, that is, through Western culture. Understanding the failure of “war Communism” to defeat the Christian West immediately after the conclusion of World War I, Gramsci and his epigones postulated a program of multilevel, gradual subversion over decades.
As Robert Royal has described this process:
They didn’t just seek to sway leaders, in Church or state. Those gains could easily disappear if different leaders came to power. No, said Gramsci, their genius was to create una cultura capillare, a fine network of institutions and opinion that, like the capillaries in our bodies, reach every nook and cranny. Wonder why religious liberty or marriage hangs by a single vote in the Supreme Court? The counterculture has burrowed away in education, law schools, media, and culture. [“1968 at 50,” The Catholic Thing, February 12, 2018, https://www.thecatholicthing.org/2018/02/12/1968-at-50/ ]
And in this project they have been singularly successful. They have, indeed, created a kind of “counter-reality,” replete with its own standards of what is “good” and what is “evil.” From its incredibly significant pupils among the Frankfort School intellectuals (leftist Jewish academics who left Germany and took refuge in New York in the 1930s), what we term cultural Marxism soon exercised critical influence and eventual control in how the “establishment” viewed major issues of race and gender. Through what is termed Critical Race Theory, it imposed a new and dogmatic template on studies of race and racial relations, positing the existence of historic “white racist oppression” (which must be defeated and destroyed, and also compensated for) and the imposition of a rigid and increasingly severe political correctness.
In the newly-established realm of “gender studies,” it openly denied and attempted to proscribe the historic and natural roles of men and women, replacing them with a so-called “sexual equality,” which in fact entails the destruction of historic masculinity and the politicization of sexual functionality.
In this revolutionary Progressivist project, the cultural Marxists have over the years moved to secure the major guard posts of and in our culture—in the media, in academia, in Hollywood, and in the political and managerial government establishment. The supposed election of Hillary Clinton in 2016 would have cemented their de facto control and extended its domination—a kind of mopping up operation—for eight additional years, time to facilitate a complete change-out of the American judiciary and strengthen their stranglehold on nearly every segment of American society.
In this they had the good fortune to be opposed by a thoroughly nugatory “opposition,” a Republican Party and self-satisfied “conservative movement,” that actually did more to enable and canonize Leftist advances and gains than thwart them. There are endless examples of this “conservative” collaborationism; one only need examine the feckless collapse of establishment “conservatism” in the face of the same sex lobby, and the “defense of same sex marriage” as “conservative” by the likes of Jonah Goldberg and George Will, who despite their views continue to enjoy the reputation as respected conservatives among the movement’s elite. Indeed, on the death of Graham the supercilious Will, an intransigent Never Trumper defender of the Establishment “Swamp,” authored a snarky and condescending column on the evangelist, calling him “vain” and “naïve,” even “anti-semitic.” His column appeared in the equally condescending National Review. [“Billy Graham: Neither Prophet nor Theologian,” February 21, 2018, https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/02/billy-graham-legacy-neither-prophet-nor-theologian/] What, if anything, distinguishes Will’s ravings from those of his buddies on the Far Left?
The totally unexpected election of Donald Trump in November 2016 upset the apple cart—the time table—of the Deep State managers and their cultural Marxist circulatory system that feeds the Progressivist revolution. Indeed, the one now clearly palpable error of the historic cultural Marxist long-march has been that in their calculated invasion and subversion of our society’s major cultural and political institutions, they had, in many respects, left behind and neglected millions of “normal” citizens, the “deplorables” (those Obama called “bitter clingers”).
The strategic theory was that by capturing the major institutions, in particular academia and entertainment, and by dominating and utilizing the Mainstream Media, the Progressivist revolution could easily survive a few minor electoral defeats at the hands of milquetoast, “flee-to-the-tall-grass” spineless Republicans and collaborationist “conservatives,” who, after all, would not actually challenge the template or attempt to alter the Progressivist narrative. And that eventually, with the powerful means of communication secure in the hands of the Left working full time to spread their ideological poison—and with the very language we all use to communicate radically altered and shaped to reflect that narrative—those reactionary citizens would, eventually, follow along (or at least their brainwashed children would).
Well beyond just the practical and political effects of the election of Donald Trump in policy and politics, November 2016 brought out into the open the demonic face of the Deep State and cultural Marxism. Once content to quietly continue their seemingly unstoppable and multifaceted advance, with no real effective opposition to their designs, the 2016 election tore away the mask, forced the minions of globalism and the New World Order to emerge from their dark and secure offices in Manhattan, in Hollywood, and along the Potomac—and from their safe sinecures in America’s most prestigious universities—to mount a frenzied and at times hysterical counter-attack to recover their momentum and repair the breach that appeared to threaten their power and authority.
Thus, the fake “Russians Did It!” investigation—thus what can only be termed a real and unquenchable madness, a lunacy on the part of the partisans of the Deep State which is fatal to the American republic, itself.
The passing of Billy Graham as symbol of an older America—and arguably a much better America—is, then, in a very sobering and agonizing way, the symbol of an irrevocably divided America. It is a broken America in which a once more or less somnolent and trusting citizenry, that is, Sam Francis’ Middle American Radicals—the Deplorables—mostly living in the South and in the great areas of the country between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts (“fly-over” country), have begun to awaken and have begun to comprehend, if only obliquely, what has been happening.
And the Deep State and its cultural Marxist commissars in our schools and universities, among the Hollywood and entertainment elites, and populating and dominating our politics in both political parties, will not relent in their attacks until the true opposition to their schemes is either forced back into the genie’s lamp, or they (or we) are slaughtered on the bloody battlefield.
The symbol of Billy Graham, the ability of Americans of all stripes to talk with one another—indeed, to get along with and pray with one another—was a noble dream. But as reality, it has been under attack almost since the country’s inception. The moving and quiet tribute to Graham was, in fact, a tribute and final interment of that dream which now appears an impossibility.