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Weyrich Letter


   I have noted that others are coming to the same viewpoint as I. 
   The following is an open letter of Paul Weyrich to his friends, 
   a letter which has received a lot of attention.  Weyrich is 
   president of the Free Congress Foundation and has been one of 
   the key figures in modern social conservatism.  He started the 
   Heritage Foundation in 1972, created the phrase "Moral 
   Majority" for Rev. Jerry Falwell, and was involved in the 
   creation of the Christian Coalition, among other things. 

                                             February 16, 1999 

   Dear Friend: 

     Late last year, I had the opportunity of speaking to the 
   Conservative Leadership Conference on the state of the 
   conservative movement. I've given similar talks in the past, 
   and usually they have focused on the most recent election or 
   our situation in Congress or something similar. This time, the 
   thoughts I offered were very different, and frankly rather 
   radical. The strong, positive response they brought forth - 
   which came as something of a surprise to me - has led me to 
   think that I should share them more widely. That is the purpose 
   of this letter. 

     What many of us have been trying to do for many years has 
   been based upon a couple of premises. First of all, we have 
   assumed that a majority of Americans basically agrees with our 
   point of view. That has been the premise upon which we have 
   tried to build any number of institutions, and indeed our whole 
   strategy. It is I who suggested to Jerry Falwell that he call 
   his organization the "Moral Majority." The second premise has 
   been that if we could just elect enough conservatives, we could 
   get our people in as Congressional leaders and they would fight 
   to implement our agenda. 
     In looking at the long history of conservative politics, from 
   the defeat of Robert Taft in 1952, to the nomination of Barry 
   Goldwater, to the takeover of the Republican Party in 1994, I 
   think it is fair to say that conservatives have learned to 
   succeed in politics. That is, we got our people elected. 
     But that did not result in the adoption of our agenda. The 
   reason, I think, is that politics itself has failed. And 
   politics has failed because of the collapse of the culture. The 
   culture we are living in becomes an ever-wider sewer. In truth, 
   I think we are caught up in a cultural collapse of historic 
   proportions, a collapse so great that it simply overwhelms 
     That's why I am in the process of rethinking what it is that 
   we, who still believe in our traditional, Western, Judeo-
   Christian culture, can and should do under the circumstances. 
   Please understand that I am not quarreling with anybody who 
   pursues politics, because it is important to pursue politics, 
   to be involved in government. It is also important to try, as 
   many people have, to re-take the cultural institutions that 
   have been captured by the other side. 
     But it is impossible to ignore the fact that the United 
   States is becoming an ideological state. The ideology of 
   Political Correctness, which openly calls for the destruction 
   of our traditional culture, has so gripped the body politic, 
   has so gripped our institutions, that it is even affecting the 
   Church. It has completely taken over the academic community. It 
   is now pervasive in the entertainment industry, and it 
   threatens to control literally every aspect of our lives. 
     Those who came up with Political Correctness, which we more 
   accurately call "Cultural Marxism," did so in a deliberate 
   fashion. I'm not going to go into the whole history of the 
   Frankfurt School and Herbert Marcuse and the other people 
   responsible for this. Suffice it to say that the United States 
   is very close to becoming a state totally dominated by an alien 
   ideology, an ideology bitterly hostile to Western culture. Even 
   now, for the first time in their lives, people have to be 
   afraid of what they say. This has never been true in the 
   history of our country. Yet today, if you say the "wrong 
   thing," you suddenly have legal problems, political problems, 
   you might even lose your job or be expelled from college. 
   Certain topics are forbidden. You can't approach the truth 
   about a lot of different subjects. If you do, you are 
   immediately branded as "racist", "sexist", "homophobic", 
   "insensitive", or "judgmental." 
     Cultural Marxism is succeeding in its war against our 
   culture. The question becomes, if we are unable to escape the 
   cultural disintegration that is gripping society, then what 
   hope can we have? Let me be perfectly frank about it. If there 
   really were a moral majority out there, Bill Clinton would have 
   been driven out of office months ago. It is not only the lack 
   of political will on the part of Republicans, although that is 
   part of the problem. More powerful is the fact that what 
   Americans would have found absolutely intolerable only a few 
   years ago, a majority now not only tolerates but celebrates. 
   Americans have adopted, in large measure, the MTV culture that 
   we so valiantly opposed just a few years ago, and it has 
   permeated the thinking of all but those who have separated 
   themselves from the contemporary culture. 
     If in Washington State and Colorado, after we have spent 
   years talking about partial birth abortion, we can't by 
   referendum pass a ban on it, we have to face some unpleasant 
   facts. I no longer believe that there is a moral majority. I do 
   not believe that a majority of Americans actually shares our 
     So, I have contemplated the question of what we should do. If 
   you saw my predictions on the elections, you know that my views 
   are far from infallible. Therefore, I do not represent this as 
   any sort of final truth. It is merely my deduction based on a 
   number of observations and a good deal of soul-searching. 
     I believe that we probably have lost the culture war. That 
   doesn't mean the war is not going to continue, and that it 
   isn't going to be fought on other fronts. But in terms of 
   society in general, we have lost. This is why, even when we win 
   in politics, our victories fail to translate into the kind of 
   policies we believe are important. 
     Therefore, what seems to me a legitimate strategy for us to 
   follow is to look at ways to separate ourselves from the 
   institutions that have been captured by the ideology of 
   Political Correctness, or by other enemies of our traditional 
   culture. I would point out to you that the word "holy" means 
   "set apart", and that it is not against our tradition to be, in 
   fact, "set apart". You can look in the Old Testament, you can 
   look at Christian history. You will see that there were times 
   when those who had our beliefs were definitely in the minority 
   and it was a band of hardy monks who preserved the culture 
   while the surrounding society disintegrated. 
     What I mean by separation is, for example, what the 
   homeschoolers have done. Faced with public school systems that 
   no longer educate but instead "condition" students with the 
   attitudes demanded by Political Correctness, they have seceded. 
   They have separated themselves from public schools and have 
   created new institutions, new schools, in their homes. 
     The same thing is happening in other areas. Some people are 
   getting rid of their televisions. Others are setting up private 
   courts, where they can hope to find justice instead of ideology 
   and greed. 
     I think that we have to look at a whole series of 
   possibilities for bypassing the institutions that are 
   controlled by the enemy. If we expend our energies on fighting 
   on the "turf" they already control, we will probably not 
   accomplish what we hope, and we may spend ourselves to the 
   point of exhaustion. The promising thing about a strategy of 
   separation is that it has more to do with who we are, and what 
   we become, than it does with what the other side is doing and 
   what we are going to do about it. 
     For example, the Southern Baptists, Dr. Dobson and some other 
   people started a boycott of Disney. We may regard this boycott 
   in two ways. We might say, "Well, look at how much higher 
   Disney stock is than before. The company made record profits, 
   therefore the boycott has failed." But the strategy I'm 
   suggesting would see it differently. Because of that boycott, 
   lots of people who otherwise would have been poisoned by the 
   kind of viciously anti-religious, and specifically anti-
   Christian, entertainment that Disney is spewing out these days 
   have been spared contact with it. They separated themselves 
   from some of the cultural rot, and to that extent we succeeded. 
     I am very concerned, as I go around the country and speak and 
   talk to young people, when I find how much of the decadent 
   culture they have absorbed without even understanding that they 
   are a part of it. And while I'm not suggesting that we all 
   become Amish or move to Idaho, I do think that we have to look 
   at what we can do to separate ourselves from this hostile 
   culture. What steps can we take to make sure that we and our 
   children are not infected? We need some sort of quarantine. 
     It is not only political conservatives who are troubled by 
   the disintegration of the culture. I gave a speech not long ago 
   in which I was very critical of what was on television. Several 
   people who described themselves as liberals came up to me and 
   said "Well, I know I don't agree with your politics, but you 
   are absolutely correct on this and we don't allow our children 
   to watch television any more." 
     Don't be mislead by politicians who say that everything is 
   great, that we are on the verge of this wonderful, new era 
   thanks to technology or the stock market or whatever. These are 
   lies. We are not in the dawn of a new civilization, but the 
   twilight of an old one. We will be lucky if we escape with any 
   remnants of the great Judeo-Christian civilization that we have 
   known down through the ages. 
     The radicals of the 1960s had three slogans: turn on, tune 
   in, drop out. I suggest that we adopt a modified version. 
   First, turn off. Turn off the television and video games and 
   some of the garbage that's on the computers. Turn off the means 
   by which you and your family are being infected with cultural 
     Tune out. Create a little stillness. I was very struck by the 
   fact that when I traveled in the former Soviet Union, I 
   couldn't go to a restaurant or any place else without hearing 
   this incessant Western rock music pounding away. There was no 
   escape from it. No wonder some Russians are anti-American. When 
   they think of the United States, they think of the culture that 
   we exported to them. 
     Finally, we need to drop out of this culture, and find 
   places, even if it is where we physically are right now, where 
   we can live godly, righteous and sober lives. 
     Again, I don't have all the answers or even all the 
   questions. But I know that what we have been doing for thirty 
   years hasn't worked, that while we have been fighting and 
   winning in politics, our culture has decayed into something 
   approaching barbarism. We need to take another tack, find a 
   different strategy. If you agree, and are willing to help 
   wrestle with what that strategy should be, let me know. If 
   enough people are willing to do something different, we will 
   call a roundtable meeting here at Free Congress this year to 
   discuss it. I hope I will see you there. 

   Paul M. Weyrich 

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