Dan Popp
By Dan Popp
July 24, 2017

If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. – Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Conservatives are talking past each other because we have different conceptions of what battle we're in; of who is the "real enemy."

Dennis Prager, whom I admire, believes that the worst enemy is leftism. And if leftism [his word for "barbarism"] is the existential threat, then it follows that supporting Donald Trump is necessary to prevent annihilation by the Alinsky Zombie army.

In one of those divine jokes that we call "irony," President Trump doesn't seem to agree with Prager. Trump sees the greatest threat to America and the West as Muslim jihadis, or foreign invaders, or foreign opposition in general. If he has any concerns about leftism, he's holding those cards close to his vest. He donated to Hillary before he ran against her. He buys into at least some of the pro-deviancy clichés. His daughter vapidly shills for leftist policies. And, despite Mr. Trump's invective against Obamacare on the campaign trail, it turns out he's for something very similar to it.

I contend that the real, real enemy on the temporal plane is much more subtle than either Islamist attempts to impose a backward civilization, or the leftist war on civilization itself. It is a disease that has infected America, the West, and the world. Even conservatives.

It is the spirit of lawlessness.

And here I'm in trouble. The term "lawless" conjures up images of sociopathic criminals, or greasy-haired anarchists – perhaps a shadowy cabal known only to Alex Jones. No, lawlessness is pretty much the natural condition of everyone who hasn't truly come under the yoke of Christ. In this context I mean the tendency of folks of all political stripes to "bend the rules for a good cause." Maybe we could call it "After-all-ism."

"After all," we can't enforce the immigration laws because they would break up families. "After all," we need to pay poor people even though that breaks up families. "After all," a woman who has sex outside of marriage shouldn't be "punished with a baby." "After all," women who have babies should be rewarded by being paid the same as those who don't.

"After all," in the richest nation on earth....

"After all," if we can put a man on the moon....

After-all-ism justifies anything that anyone can imagine. After all, when this particular government program fails, we can't just let these people die in the streets! We need a new, much bigger government program, after all! "After all" is a great way to express mere wishes as if they were moral imperatives.

After-all-ists see the end result of markets and liberty, and want to rip up the fabric of society to get the results they want.

It's a kind of mental illness that enters through the open door of ignorance into a heart of pride. The biblical name for an after-all-ist is, "fool." This refers to a person who isn't just stupid, but morally bankrupt and oblivious to it, maybe even proud of it. That describes just about everyone in our federal and State governments, and just about everyone voting fools into office. These fools, this foolishness, are by far our greatest enemy.

What we need is a revival of before-all-ism. The Founders would have called it "adherence to principle," or something quaint like that. Before all, God's revelation is true, and we cannot violate it without harm. Before all, government must protect innocent lives. Before all, looting and redistribution are impermissible, no matter the reason. Before all, government force must be used sparingly, and never against the righteous. Before all, the rulemakers must abide by the rules.

After-all-ism is our most terrible foe. Changing Congress – again – won't defeat this enemy. Building a wall won't keep him out. This enemy is here, and "he is us," and we will continue down the broad road to destruction until We the People humble ourselves and stop our own lawlessness.

© Dan Popp


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)


Stephen Stone
HAPPY EASTER: A message to all who love our country and want to help save it!

Stephen Stone
The most egregious lies Evan McMullin and the media have told about Sen. Mike Lee

Siena Hoefling
Protect the Children: Update with VIDEO

Stephen Stone
Flashback: Dems' fake claim that Trump and Utah congressional hopeful Burgess Owens want 'renewed nuclear testing' blows up when examined

Matt C. Abbott
Vatican-acquitted priest: Diocese was unjust

Peter Lemiska
Last chance to save the soul of the nation

Linda Goudsmit
CHAPTER 15: Conflict Theory and the Hegelian Dialectic

Michael Bresciani
The fine line between ignorance and idiocy

Jeff Lukens
Congressional spending goes full Weimar

Rev. Mark H. Creech
Scriptural sobriety: Rethinking wine in the Lord’s Supper

Cherie Zaslawsky
April 13th, 2024: Iran’s shocking dress rehearsal

Jerry Newcombe
Is America a 'failed historical model?'

Victor Sharpe
The current malignancy of America's Fourth Estate

Tom DeWeese
The University of Tennessee uses our taxes to advocate radical energy agenda. I took them to court!

Bonnie Chernin
Pro-abortion Republicans

Cliff Kincaid
Make Sodom and Gomorrah Great Again
  More columns


Click for full cartoon
More cartoons


Matt C. Abbott
Chris Adamo
Russ J. Alan
Bonnie Alba
Chuck Baldwin
Kevin J. Banet
J. Matt Barber
Fr. Tom Bartolomeo
. . .
[See more]

Sister sites