I’d wager I’m a lot like you. I’m into politics, but I’m not an expert; I often can’t make sense of political happenings until I hear Ben Shapiro’s analysis.
I’m not a great writer. While I am about to publish a killer book, the credit for its readability goes to my co-author who, for the sake of proving my mediocre-writing claim, was not invited to edit this article.
While I’m honored to occasionally publish at The Federalist and I do have a modest Twitter and Facebook platform, my opinions don’t have a broader institutional home. Katy Faust is really just a mom, pastor’s wife, children’s rights activist, Christ follower, and maker of whole-food meals on a shoestring budget. In other words, I am completely ordinary.
Like you, I have been stunned by the 2020 infringements on our liberty, concerned about political polarization resulting in living side-by-side in two different realities, burdened by ongoing Black Lives Matter-related rioting as well as the only non-leftist assault in the Capitol, and genuinely fearful of BigTech’s rampant censorship.
On Jan. 10, 49BC, Caesar crossed the Rubicon. It feels like this January, America has crossed it as well. Cultural totalitarianism is on the march, and this progressive army does not tolerate dissenters.
You’ve probably been asking yourself the same thing I have: “What can an ordinary dissenter like me do to save this republic?” My only answer is: “Anything I can to fortify myself and others.”
Few of us dissenters hold political office or have a say in YouTube’s terms of service. But we all have a sphere of influence—our family, friend group, social media connections, church, school or workplace.
Those relationships are actually the greatest threat to totalitarianism. That’s why all communist regimes seek to weaponize and dismantle personal bonds. Seeking to strengthen those in our personal circle is the last and best hope for saving our nation. Here’s what that looks like for me.
I will recommit myself daily to Christ, so I fear Him alone. Today, there are endless reasons for dissenters to fear—social ostracization, job threats, and being literally blacklisted, to name a few. Those legitimate fears will intensify in coming years, so courage is needed.
The only antidote I’ve found for my default posture of trembling is to fear God more. To do so, I must imbibe deeply the living Word, let the Psalms become my daily bread, and use 1 Peter as my field guide. Only then do I find the courage to become steadfast and immovable in the face of a leftist ideology that demands total fealty.
Everyone fears something. You will either fear God, or you will fear and bow down to something else. I choose God, not politics, every single day in small, faithful actions. You can, too.
Fortify My Kids
I see no path where life becomes easier in the short term for dissenters. But there is a long-term path for victory over the progressive army: out-breed them.
I don’t know what you’re seeing, but my liberal friends are having 0 to 2 children and my conservative friends are having 2 to 12. Since the 1990s, either conservative women have had more children or having more children has made women conservative.
Yet these kids largely do not share their parents’ political leanings; Millennials are the most liberal adult population. Right-leaning parents are not successfully transmitted their values to their kids. Conservatives have been making the babies, but the left seems to be raising them.
If we want to save our nation, we need to not only give birth to the next generation but train them as well. That has always been true, but today it’s more critical than ever.
I’ve written about my parenting philosophy elsewhere, but here’s the SparkNotes: When your kids are under 10, filter out damaging ideas and saturate them in truth and beauty. Once your kids hit middle school, you introduce them to and educate them about challenging and controversial issues, so they slowly become experts.
Your kids should know more about socialism, abortion, transgenderism, marriage, religious liberty, dark moments in U.S. history, and the like than any of their friends. At minimum, your kids should be able to spot the lie in sixth period history. Ideally? They are fortifying their friends on matters of liberty and morality, because they’ve watched you do it with yours.
Fortify My Friends
Thanks to Rod Dreher, I was introduced to Father Kolakovic of Czechoslovakia, who prepared his congregation for life under Soviet control. He organized his little flock into “cell” groups that could discern together how to live day-to-day under totalitarianism. “See, judge, act,” was their motto, with the baseline rule that even if they could not tell the truth, at the very least they would not lie.
In my life, fortifying my friends means formalizing my active Christian/conservative mom chat into a “cell” group. Twice a month we study a current cultural issue or problem and “see” how it’s impacting our world.
Then we “judge” what to do when, for example, our son’s teacher requires every fourth grader to refer to newly transitioned Rebecca as “he.” Then we will pray for and support each other as we “act” on that conviction. It is possible to dissent alone, but it’s better to dissent together.
Fortify People Who Can Hear Me
While I do have a small public platform, in the past I have generally posted about issues where I feel I’m an expert. That means I’ve stuck to my “lane”—marriage, family, children’s rights—fearing I didn’t know enough to comment on anything else. No longer.
For whatever amount of time I get to exist on social media, I’m going to study up and then speak up about any and every current event. The world deserves better than my opinion, but if the Facebook and Twitter purge means fewer professional conservative voices, then I need to use my ordinary voice more often.
If you are on social media, you have a following too, and it may not be long until your little voice and mine are the only counter-narrative that people hear. As you watch national or local events unfold, filter them through your dissident, conservative lens so you can help your followers “see, judge, and act.”
Fortifying your followers will mean that you’ll lose friends. The challenge is to lose friends for the right reason, and that is, speaking up in grace and truth. In Martin Luther’s words, “Unity whenever possible, truth at all costs.” We must either use our free speech until we lose it, or realize that using it keeps us from losing it.
My friends, you were not born in this country, at this time, by accident. Your life was ordained by God for such a time as this. You can either try to survive 2021 by surrendering to the advancing army, or you can thrive by fortifying yourself and others for battle.