One of the major presuppositions of the book, Return to Order, is that we are facing a crisis that will seriously affect the nation. To use the book’s opening metaphor, our situation is like that of a ship facing a threatening storm.
The natural tendency is to take measures and especially stock up on supplies. People sense the essential need to have some degree of self-sufficiency just in case something happens. Still others feel the need to withdraw from society in the hopes of avoiding the problem all together. Yet others are so overwhelmed by the vastness of the crisis or the threat of big government that they simply don’t know what to do. Several readers have asked if there is a Return to Order perspective on how to prepare for the storm.
Indeed, there is a perspective. As the book well notes, an organic Christian society is characterized by a “great tendency to develop and take care of one’s own, [and] results in an astonishing degree of self-sufficiency that filters up to all levels of society.” In medieval times, people not only amply provided for themselves, but safeguarded the future with stocks of food and necessities.
And so it is reasonable that people be materially prepared for the future especially when the storm clouds are dark. But is that the only thing that should be done to prepare for the storm? Is it the most important?
While it is natural for people to seek out self-sufficiency in times of crisis, they also tend to isolate themselves from others as a consequence. Such a preparation is not the best way to weather the storm. It is the equivalent of locking oneself in one of the ship’s cabins to wait out the storm while the whole ship is in danger of sinking.
The best preparation is be involved in the fight over which course the ship must take. It must involve working together with others, and not a me-against-the-world approach.
In the Culture War we are in, we might employ a military principle. Ours is a peaceful and legal fight for our values but it is analogous to that of a real war.
It is said that when new troops first come under fire, their first tendency is to scatter as they see their safety in flight. Such a tactic works to the advantage of the attackers who then can pick off the isolated soldiers.
However, when veteran troops come under fire, their second nature is to unite in a block to fire back at the enemy because they realize their safety lies in a united front against the enemy. As a result, they can counter-attack as a unit and carry the day.
The fight for a Return to Order is similar. Rather than scatter and isolate ourselves against an aggressive and hostile culture, it is much better to look for others of similar mind, defy the culture and find our strength in unity.
That is why Return to Order speaks of the principle of subsidiarity in which society organizes itself at various levels contrary to the extreme individualism of our times. The book notes that the only real defense against big government or chaos are plenty of intermediary associations centered on family, community and faith. It stresses the need for “representative characters” or natural leaders at all levels of society to step up to the plate and make us a nation of heroes. Above all, a Return to Order enlists the aid of God, His angels and His saints. A go-at-it alone approach simply will not work.
If those who work so hard materially preparing for dark times could also prepare socially and spiritually, then there is a chance that we might avert many disasters or at least mitigate their effects. The course of the nation is far from predetermined. In fact, sociologists claim that conservatives are much more effective at forming close networks than their liberal counterparts.
And so in answer to the question of preparing for the storm, we should be reasonably prepared materially for the future. However, the best preparation for the storm is unite with others of similar mind, strive to implement subsidiarity, leadership, and the other principles of an organic Christian society, place unlimited confidence in God, and stand our ground, disputing inch by inch the future of America.