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These are the people whose opinions on politics and culture you should ignore

I have been reflecting on the lessons of the Nazi occupation of Western Europe and those who did and didn’t collaborate with them for the simple fact that we are, unquestionably, witnessing the occupation of America’s public and private institutions by a homegrown enemy that hates America and all that it represents. After all, what is a General Milley if not the modern-day equivalent of Vidkun Quisling?

America’s conservative collaborators are those who have, for reasons that are not always clear, lent their platforms, sympathies, and intellectual support to the Radical Left if only by their unrelenting attacks on (mostly) red state conservatives who dared defy them and vote for Trump.

But this isn’t about Trump, even if those making our list swallowed that media narrative whole. This is about a seismic, and decidedly leftward, shift in America’s sociopolitical landscape. We are listing heavily to port side, and the heartland, thank God, is clinging doggedly to the starboard railing in an effort to right the ship.

Early on, Trump voters perceived something insidious in the modern Democrat Party’s agenda. They saw their values increasingly marginalized, their God blasphemed, their patriotism mocked, their institutions weaponized, the sudden introduction of Marxist ideology into the mainstream, and all of it as they themselves were mischaracterized as “domestic terrorists.”

These Americans—no less than 80 million of them—were not wrong. And I think they deserve an able defense.

In writing a piece like this it is not my purpose to casually criticize people who are mostly, I suspect, well-intentioned. No, this is intensely personal. Not only do I, like many Americans, lose sleep over these issues, but I have witnessed firsthand the devastation wrought by Marxism/socialism in Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America. Indeed, I have written a book about it. (My father, I have often joked, killed Marxists for a living, and with the full blessing of his government.) Tim Keller, who makes our list, has said that we must meet with “practitioners” of Marxism so that we might understand them. I have much preferred to meet with their victims. Our (adopted) daughter Sasha is one of them. Her life bears the unmistakable scars of that godless worldview. That Keller and Russell Moore (who also makes our list) would suggest—be it knowingly, naively, or only mildly—that such a murderous system has some resonance in Scripture, and Keller most certainly has, or that it is a “manufactured controversy” as Moore contends, is an intolerable outrage that must not go unchallenged.

The stakes are high here. At the cost of their own blood and sacrifice, our forefathers bequeathed to us the greatest, freest, most tolerant nation on earth. Imperfect, yes, but nonetheless a city set on a hill giving hope to an oppressed world. (I wrote a book about that, too.) Is it possible that we, in less than a generation, could squander that inheritance? And is it possible that Christians, these Christians, should aid an enemy occupier in doing it?

I am mindful here not only of the lives of our posterity and that of other Americans, but of people, especially Christians, in the third world. This is part of the narrative that is being lost. I know this intimately. My work requires me to travel widely. In the last year I have been in no less than ten countries, most of them third world.

We have all seen CNN’s cherished death toll counter graphic that has become a permanent feature of their broadcasts. What of the living? What toll have irrational lockdowns, the supposed cure, wrought on them? Since the pandemic began, no less than 400,000 U.S. businesses have been shuttered. Poverty, depression, a sharp increase in deaths from interrupted cancer screenings and treatment (screening for breast cancer alone have dropped 20 percent during the pandemic), and suicides on a scale hitherto unknown are just the beginning. This is to say nothing of the immeasurable psychological damage to our children or those people who will never recover from lockdowns that coerced them into economic ruin.

My training is that of a historian and a writer rather than that of an economist, so dismiss me if you wish, but I would wager we are on the front-end of a second Great Depression. And contrary to the repeated mantra “We are all in this together,” we are not. While you were out of a job, locked in your house, forced to wear a mask, and forbidden to visit your grandmother in the nursing home, Democrats were devising ways to punish you still further with the largest spending bill in history. But how will they pay for it? Under the guise of catching tax fraud, Biden is doubling the size of the IRS. It seems all of the “free” stuff in the socialist piñata isn’t free after all. They are coming for you and your wallet.

And this is just in the United States.

David Malpass, president of the World Bank, told the New York Times: “We are witnessing tragic reversals [worldwide] in development across many dimensions. Progress in reducing extreme poverty has been set back by years—for some, by a decade.”

I can testify to the truth of this statement. Readers of my series on the border crisis will know that I have spent months in South America engaging this problem from the other side. There one finds people—unaccompanied minors, pregnant women, and whole families—braving the trochas and fleeing the devastating effects of socialism and lockdowns that have knocked as many as 100 million of them back into extreme poverty. I have been in their homes. I have heard their desperate stories. None of them support lockdowns, and that is because they are without a key advantage of those who do: an automatic deposit.

In the name of health and safety, breadwinners in these homes, almost always hourly wage earners or street merchants who rely on tourism, go without jobs, and that means without the means to support themselves and their families. Starvation is real, and, in order to avoid it, so is prostitution of every type. You simply cannot shut down the world’s economy for more than a year and expect to avoid economic annihilation any more than you can go over a waterfall only halfway. Global economic disaster looms.

But there is more to it than even this.

The Biden administration’s foreign policy priorities include promoting abortion and the warped LGBTQI+ agenda that seems to overshadow every other consideration, but they don’t include getting Americans out of Afghanistan or concern for Christian minorities who are dying for their faith globally at a rate of 100,000 per year. That translates to 11 per hour, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, thus making them the most persecuted people on earth. Conservative collaborators like Russell Moore and David French said their Christian principles wouldn’t let them vote for Trump. (French actually said that he hoped for a Biden victory.) I assure you Christians in the third world loved Trump for the simple reason that he took their side in Islam’s global war against Christians.

I have also seen this firsthand in Nigeria, throughout the Middle East, and increasingly in Europe and America. Yes, while the Biden administration was celebrating “International Pronouns Day” and the people on our list were browbeating red state conservatives, all of the above continued unabated.

Starting to get the picture?

Almost all of this was avoidable. Like the famines of Stalinist Russia, these problems are all artificially induced. More specifically, they are state induced. Sensible people knew this was coming if Democrats gained control of the executive branch of government, more so if they also took the legislative branch. But a second Trump term was simply too much for the people on our list to contemplate, so they became collaborators.

Defenders of the Christians I include here—curiously, they are almost all supporters of Tim Keller—love to tell me that these are all much better people than I am. It’s an odd argument for a Christian to make. Regardless, I will not contest the point. I am sure they are all outstanding individuals. But this is irrelevant to the issues at hand. A man who is morally without blemish might still be a fool. Worse, he might lead others to follow his example. Moreover, this is not a question of private sin. If it were, I would say nothing for the simple reason that it would be none of my business. This is about their public teaching, speaking, and writing. If the Apostle Peter was not beyond questioning, I dare say these individuals aren’t either.

The point here isn’t that all these people are evil. Certainly not. The point is that they have aided and abetted an enemy who advocates an evil platform, and until there is some indication they have turned from this folly, my advice is singular:

Ignore them.

If our list interests you, you can read it here. Do note that it is hardly a complete list. There are many others who might have been included. Liz Cheney comes to mind. What I have given you is a lens for interpreting them and others like them.

Should I take fire, and I will, let the words of a classic western be my epitaph: “I ain’t ashamed of him no how. Bullet holes are in the front of him.”

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Larry Alex Taunton is an author, cultural commentator, and freelance columnist contributing to USA TODAYFox NewsFirst ThingsThe AtlanticCNN, and The American Spectator.  In addition to being a frequent radio and television guest, he is also the author of The Grace  Effect and The Gospel Coalition Arts and Culture Book of the Year, The Faith of Christopher Hitchens. You can subscribe to his blog at larryalextaunton.com.

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