The Mission of The St. Croix Review
Derek Suszko is an Associate Editor of The St. Croix Review. He is taking a break from his series on his comparison of the Roman Republic with our present American society. His series will continue in the October/November issue of The St. Croix Review.
Our mission can be stated in a very simple way: we aim to stop the ongoing destruction of America. To do this requires aggressively pursuing three main objectives: 1) reestablishing the family as the center of American life; 2) restoring economic prosperity to an independent middle class; and 3) reviving a culture of tradition. To begin the long and difficult road to American Restoration, we have to confront the truth that America is in terminal decline. The future of an America dominated by globalist interests, criminal elites, and the horrific social consequences of progressive ideologies, looks very bleak. Former principles of life like the integrity of the family, a sense of shared patriotism, and traditional morality are evaporating as the foundations of American society. As these principles decline, so does the stability, prosperity, and viability of the American nation. We’re on the cusp of a dark age — not only for America but for the entire Western world. What I intend to offer is a platform of principles and policies for American Restoration. We at the Review believe that what I present here should form the foundation for a political platform of the future, and represents the only one that has a real chance to restore America to national greatness.
To begin, it is necessary to observe that the American conservative movement of the last 40 years has failed. Leftist ideologies have infiltrated nearly every institution and segment of American politics and culture, including private corporations, federal bureaucratic agencies, state bureaucratic agencies, the military, public education, and the medical industry. Republican presidential administrations have wasted the support of the electorate in the pursuit of establishment financial interests and profligate wars. There are four basic reasons for the failure of the American conservative movement of the last 40 years:
- An unwillingness to deploy available power due to a hopeless fidelity to a “small government” political philosophy.
- A dismissal of cultural issues as unimportant compared to economic policies.
- Corruption of the desires of the conservative voting base by elite special interests.
- Lack of participation among conservative voters in local politics and primaries.
Each of these problems stem from the fallacies inherent in the philosophy of conservatism. Conservatism by nature nurtures complacency, because it implies that all that’s necessary for a sustaining society is a passive maintenance of the abiding conditions. In other words, it deters the aggressive use of power. In less urgent times such a mindset might have its place. But faced with fanatic ideological movements bent on reshaping and undermining all previous aspects of the nation and its culture, the lassez-faire attitudes of conservatism must die away. What we need instead is a forceful movement of Restorationism. Such a movement won’t hesitate to use available powers to return the nation to its former greatness. It won’t make the mistakes made by the conservative movement of the last 40 years. This movement begins with the understanding that there is little left to merely conserve, and that its most important objective is to claw its way into real determinative power.
So, what does the Restoration movement believe, and how does the movement differ from conservatism? One of the most important distinctions relates to the role of government: the purpose of acquiring government power is not only to prevent its misuse by destructive ideologues, but also to eliminate the influence of those ideologues. Unlike conservatism, the Restoration movement won’t be kneecapped by any discomforts in using available power to fight the pernicious influences of Leftist ideologies. A second crucial distinction of the movement defines the proper relationship between the government and its citizens: the covenant of a representative government with its citizens is that those who act in ways that are beneficial for the nation deserve the aid and support of the nation’s government and protection against those who do not. All of leftism is concerned with promoting the interests of those who are detrimental to society at the expense of those who make society prosper. Race hustlers, sexual degenerates, criminals, the mentally ill, and the chronically miserable are the groups of people who benefit from the policies of the Left. Instead of incentivizing healthy behaviors to counteract leftist influences, conservatism of recent decades has pandered to destructive people who will never seriously support it. The government (at all levels) has real duties to aid and actively benefit citizens who promote the interests of the society as a whole by positive personal conduct; this is all the more true if those citizens have been undermined by previous government policy that sought to marginalize them.
There are 10 philosophical principles of the Restoration movement that represent a summation of the movement’s approach to politics and its understanding of human and social nature. We are indebted to the Chairman of the Board of Religion and Society, the foundation that publishes The St. Croix Review, for conceiving these points. Swisher’s 10 points are as follows:
Principle 1. Men may be created equal in rights, as asserted by the Declaration of Independence, but they are not equal physically, intellectually, or even morally, and any attempt to make them so by the power of the state is inevitably tyrannous.
The implication of this principle is that the only possible equality in this world is equality under the law. Any attempt to enforce equality of outcomes is tyrannous and destructive, and the state has no business forcibly equalizing the conditions of life for disparate behaviors. Particularly insidious is the leftist idea of equity: this is the belief that outcomes must be the same across socially differentiated groups, and if they aren’t, it’s because of oppression. This idea must be totally repudiated. Success in the world is a matter of individual aptitude and natural ability. To interfere with these core competencies is to reduce the viability of a nation across all endeavors, both economic and social. If disparities remain, this is because of natural conditions, not because of social structures.
Principle 2. Liberty is in conflict with enforced equality.
The second principle follows from the first principle. Even if some won’t admit it, everyone knows that there’s a more or less permanent hierarchy of social behaviors. Some behaviors lead to success and stability in life and others lead to ostracization, incarceration, and poverty. In a state of liberty, some will succeed while others will fail. There is no equality in Nature and there can be no equality within a state without the suppression of merit and the elevation of ineptitude.
Principle 3. The institution of private property is essential to liberty.
Political thinkers have long recognized that widespread ownership of private property is the chief means to ensuring a stable and productive citizenry. The ownership of private property gives citizens a stake in the state as a whole and secures societal cooperation in mutual self-interest. It’s the state’s role to ensure that those who act in positive ways for society are given ample opportunity and assistance to own and retain private property.
Principle 4. Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith (—Tocqueville).
This line of Tocqueville’s is an essential assumption of the Restoration movement. No person or system within Nature is without flaws. The paradox of political life is that it’s necessary to pursue the ideal conditions even while conceding them as impossible. To do this genuinely is to have faith that a perfect moral arbiter exists, and that His kingdom is accessible to us in other worlds. General belief in a moral God is necessary for civil society to prosper.
Principle 5. A propositional state cannot create a culture — but neither can genetics or geographic location alone. Culture is an organic development.
Common culture derives from both shared principles and shared struggles. Shared principles unite citizens together in the mind, and shared history unites them in the spirit. A culture of liberty emerges from the pursuit of freedom in the experience of history. Conversely, a common culture is impossible for those who reject the principles of liberty and don’t acknowledge the nation’s history as their own. Such a society can neither remain functional nor united.
Principle 6. Cultures are not equal; by their fruits ye shall know them.
Multiculturalism and plurality for its own sake must be rejected. Some world cultures produce liberty and prosperity. Others do not. Under the abiding ideological regime, Western culture is the only world culture that isn’t allowed to insist on its integrity and value. At its best, Western culture has proved itself superior to all other world cultures in generating general prosperity and maintaining liberty. This is why Western values must be protected and defended at all costs. It’s crucial that America remain a Western culture and society. No foreigner has a who is either unwilling or unable to comply with Western standards of civilization has a right to inhabit America.
Principle 7. Experience is usually a better guide than reason. Tradition is the democracy of the dead ( —Chesterton).
This line is taken from G. K. Chesterton. The endless desire to refute the accumulated wisdom of thousands of generations for how to live a prosperous and fulfilling life is one of the great curses of the modern world. God, Family, and Nation have been the cornerstones in the life of prosperous and happy citizens throughout history. Those who wish to bring down these essential cornerstones are almost always operating from a spirit of resentment, and no successful state has ever lasted long that wasn’t founded on this trinity.
Principle 8. We live in a fallen world, and are compelled to make the best of it that we can, while recognizing that it will not, in this life, ever be perfect.
No matter how it’s constructed, no state or society will ever be able to overcome the fact of human fallibility. Politics can’t create a paradise, and the Restoration movement can never fall prey to idealistic thinking at odds with the limited possibilities of our world. Faith in the perfection of the next world steadies the expectations for our present one, and keeps in check our misguided hopes for a purely worldly fulfillment.
Principle 9. Prudential government is by nature conservative, gentle, and sparing; the lesson of history is that it does as little harm as possible. Ideologies are by nature rigid, and spare no one who gets in their way. However described, ideologies are opposed to conservatism.
Remember that the covenant of a representative government with its citizens is this: Those who act in ways that are beneficial for the nation deserve the aid and support of the nation’s government. In stable times, this generally means that government should get out of the way and leave the citizens to their own pursuits. This was the assumption of the conservative movement of the last 40 years. But in turbulent times prudential government has a decisive role to play in safeguarding the welfare of the citizens who most contribute to societal prosperity. We live in such a time that requires decisive government action to secure the welfare of good citizens and forestall the destruction of the nation.
Principle 10. There is very little left in today’s status quo of which we can feel very fond. We will get nowhere by being preservative — that is a losing battle, and indeed is mostly lost already. Let us strive to be restorative conservatives.
This represents the key contention of the Restoration movement and the key point of divergence with the tepid conservatism of the recent past. The Restoration of America begins when we recognize that the nation must be consecrated on restored foundations. The processes that have lapsed or been corrupted can’t be trusted to return the nation to its former greatness. In the clutches of unscrupulous machinators, the Constitution itself has lapsed and it is justifiable to restore its original intentions by aggressive and unprecedented means.
These 10 principles represent the underlying ideas of the Restoration movement. In some respects they are similar to the ideas that have animated American conservatism for many decades. But there are a number of policies that emerge from these principles that aren’t equivalent to the ideas of American conservatism, and that represent new (and necessary) alterations in political thinking. I intend to emphasize these differences because they’ll serve to stamp out the weakness that has characterized American conservatism of the past four decades. The following list represents seven strategies for the execution of the Restoration platform. Each of these points is notable because it diverges from recent conservatism, either through a greater forcefulness or, more drastically, through a change of principles. Each of these strategies can and should be adopted by current candidates for political offices.
Strategy 1: Frame the culture war as a battle between civilization and barbarism.
There is no higher duty of a society than to protect the civilized from the uncivilized. This is a far greater duty than any attempts to “reintegrate” persons in society who have (often repeatedly) demonstrated a fundamental unfitness for higher civilization. The Restoration movement has no tolerance for leniency to barbaric acts. We make no apologies for our desire to considerably augment the prison population and stiffen sentences. There are so many tragic crimes in America that could have been prevented if only the criminals had been put away permanently instead of being released. The rates of recidivism provide evidence enough that the prison system isn’t a system of reintegration into society (as it’s often advertised); rather it should be thought of as the primary means by which the uncivilized are sequestered from the civilized. Under the principles of Restoration, sympathy is given to the victims of violent crime and never to the perpetrators.
Strategy 2: Restore and preserve a prosperous middle class by all means necessary.
An independent, propertied middle class is the lifeblood of any society of liberty. This is because those who own property will always have a more personal and intimate interest in the general welfare of a state than those who own nothing. This was recognized by Enlightenment thinkers such as John Locke. The greatest scandal of American conservatism is that it has allowed the demolition of the American middle class over the last 40 years. Conservatives made a Faustian bargain with the corporations and other elite interests at the expense of the middle class. They aggressively promoted the economic interests of the very wealthy and ignored the economic decline of the heartland middle class: Small-business owners and blue-collar workers. The wealthy continue to engorge themselves, as more and more honest and hardworking Americans slip from middle class prosperity into poverty. To restore America is to restore the American middle class. The Restoration movement should aim at universal home ownership for law-abiding, stable, working families. To achieve this might require unprecedented policy suggestions. If necessary, even the seizure and redistribution of funds from corrupt non-productive institutions (such as university endowments) is permissible to achieve this objective.
Strategy 3: Reject racial gaslighting.
The increasing promotion of ethnic hatred of whites by the Left is unacceptable; and the rhetoric can’t be allowed to continue unchecked. After the Civil Rights movement, the country made an apparent agreement to move forward with a colorblind vision of race relations. But after 60 years of affirmative action and civil rights laws we still don’t see equitable societal outcomes as expected by the Left. And so, we see the Left increasingly turn to a politics of racial gaslighting. Under politically correct speech codes, whites are the only racial or ethnic group that is allowed to be slandered. This goes on because many whites are eager to heap blame on their own race out of a sense of guilt or of self-loathing. History amply demonstrates that it’s dangerous to stand by while one race or ethnic group is repeatedly scapegoated. Given our multiracial society, it is never permissible to allow certain speech codes for one group and not others. The discrimination against whites and, increasingly, Asians has arisen because these groups have demonstrated higher levels of optimized social behaviors. This kind of merit-based discrimination is a cancer that must be spoken about without euphemisms to be aggressively combated.
Strategy 4: Fortify local politics.
It is easy to blame special interests, donors, and weak candidates for the total failure of American conservatism in the last 40 years. But the truth is that conservative voters bear a portion of the blame. Participation in primaries for national legislative nominations averages around 20 percent in red districts. The percentages are even worse for participation in state and municipal nominations. Conservatives participate in school boards and city government at much lower rates than leftists, even in areas with large pluralities of traditional voters. The excessive focus on the big picture has allowed leftist encroachment in many solidly red areas. Some have spoken of a kind of messianic complex endemic to the conservative electorate, as though they expect liberation to come from one single figure. This is a dangerous naivety. The Restorationists recognize that traditional voters must participate in droves at the local level to prevent the leftist cancer from infecting the entire country. Conservatives must control local school boards, law enforcement offices, and city councils. Most importantly traditional voters must participate in Republican primaries and prevent hack establishment candidates and Trojan Horse Republicans from being nominated.
Strategy 5: Destroy leftist institutions by cutting off funding.
Leftist domination of the culture can seem formidable. But much of this strength is due to the benefits they receive from public money. Oblivious conservative politicians have never questioned the funneling of billions into institutions and programs that promote leftist propaganda and radicalize citizens. This can change by direct government intervention. Restorationists must have no qualms in deploying government threats of defunding to force institutions to stop disseminating leftism. Universities, corporations, and public media that continue discriminatory admissions and hiring processes, or disseminate predatory leftist propaganda, must be stripped of all tax benefits and special aid. All public and private institutions must be punished financially by conservative administrations for engaging in ideological discrimination or promotion of leftist causes.
Strategy 6: Revolutionize the social welfare system.
Conservatives of the last 40 years have generally had little good to say about the American social welfare system. This is because the policies of the system have served to incentivize destructive societal behaviors and have often led to aid going to criminal and deviant persons and activities. But it’s a grave mistake to suggest that the welfare system should be abolished. The American welfare state must be maintained for the purpose of resurrecting the middle class. Instead of allotting welfare on the basis of degeneracy and dysfunction, welfare should be awarded on the basis of optimal societal behaviors. Family stability, child rearing, and steady employment must all be incentivized by welfare policy. A number of European nations have already adopted policies to promote population growth that give tax exemptions to families that bear a certain number of children. The Restoration movement believes that social welfare is a tool that should incentivize healthy societal conduct. Sustained marriage and the conception of children both should be financially rewarded by welfare policy.
Strategy 7: Construct parallel structures and institutions.
The reality of leftist institutional capture has necessitated a rejection of participation in mainstream institutions and cultural activities by traditional Americans. Where this can’t be done entirely, it must be done gradually. To send a child to public school is to willingly give him or her up to indoctrination in predatory propaganda and exposure to sexual perversion. The Restoration platform insists on beginning the arduous task of erecting parallel institutions that deprive the leftists of their ability to corrupt more citizens. We encourage traditional Americans to avoid giving business to corporations that contribute to leftist causes as far as they can. We encourage them to avoid delivering their children over to the criminal cesspool of public education and psychiatric counseling. We encourage them to be vigilant over social media use where so many impressionable young people fall prey to malicious propaganda. We can’t retain any sunny delusions that we live in a united nation anymore. We are divided, and if we are to have any chance of preserving a traditional way of life, we must begin to aggressively assert our values and principles if they’re to have any hope of survival.
In this essay I’ve tried to present a snapshot of a future Restoration platform that will go beyond the means and ambitions of the vacillating conservative movement of the previous decades. The road will be long and difficult, but the first step is admitting the inadequacy of the status quo and embracing what is necessary for revival. The St. Croix Review is at the forefront of a new brand of combative Restoration; our goal as a publication is to bring this philosophy into the mainstream and begin the work to permanently resurrect American greatness. We believe history calls us to this battle, and we ask you to stand with us and help us in the fostering of liberty and prosperity for our time. Thank you, and may God bless you. *