By Regis Martin
Regis Martin is Professor of Theology and Faculty Associate with the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. He earned a licentiate and a doctorate in sacred theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. Martin is the author of a number of books, including Still Point: Loss, Longing, and Our Search for God (2012) and The Beggar’s Banquet (Emmaus Road). His most recent book, also published by Emmaus Road, is called Witness to Wonder: The World of Catholic Sacrament. He resides in Steubenville, Ohio, with his wife and ten children.
Unless you had the good fortune to have slept right through the 1960s, you’ll probably remember the Yippies, a movement begun back then by a couple of buffoons named Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, which sought to undermine the existing order by revolutionary means. They would later go to prison for inciting a riot at the Democratic National Convention, whose chosen nominee for president, Hubert Humphrey, they greatly despised—along with most Democrats and certainly every Republican in the country. Sentenced to five years, the conviction was later reversed on appeal, and they soon returned to the streets to continue their efforts to subvert and destroy a way of life they found hopelessly bourgeois.
As part of their overall strategy, the Yippies produced a couple of books. The first, by Abbie Hoffman, was called Steal This Book!—which many people did, thus sharply reducing sales; the other, by Jerry Rubin, was titled Do It? The distinguished house of Simon & Schuster delightfully published this second book, thus fulfilling Lenin’s prediction that when the last capitalist goes to the gallows, it will have been another capitalist who sold the rope. The book includes on the back cover the following comparison, the implication of which seems positively incendiary: “This book will become a Molotov cocktail in your very hands.” Followed by this weird exhortation which, again, comes courtesy of the publishers: “Do It! is to be danced to. Read aloud. Studied. Memorized. Debated. Burned. Swallowed. Eaten. But most important, after living through the experience of this book, take its final advice: Do It!”
What Simon & Schuster had in mind at the time is not exactly clear, apart from an obvious increase in its profit margin, but the amount of social unrest we’ve had in this country over the past half-century suggests that a great many people have certainly been doing it. The book succeeded, in other words, in helping bring about the very chaos it urged its readers to practice. Surely the last six months represent a final down payment on the promised destruction. And, of course, there is more to come. Much more.
But why bring up a couple of lost souls from the sixties when there are plenty to go around today? Because the Rubin book, and especially the “useful idiots” who published it, brings to mind another and very specific injustice that is happening right now. It involves a perfectly respectable United States Senator, Josh Hawley of Missouri, whose book contract with Simon & Schuster has just been cancelled.
What is going on? Why would an esteemed and venerable book publisher suddenly decide not to publish a book they’d already agreed to bring out—indeed, a book written and edited and ready to go? A book whose title, The Tyranny of Big Tech, could hardly have been a more inspired choice in its application to just their sort of people, and the power they harness, to suppress voices they do not wish to hear. Or permit others to hear, which should tell you the lengths to which the enemies of freedom are prepared to go in order to reshape the country.
Not so long ago, such efforts would have been seen and denounced as a form of censorship practiced only in totalitarian states—hardly an exercise consistent with the Bill of Rights or, indeed, long-established publishing houses, where humane standards are said to be in place. And to what end? Why the silencing of Senator Hawley? Was it because he dared to raise questions about electoral integrity on the floor of the U.S. Senate? Pursuant to a prescribed parliamentary procedure for which the Constitution itself makes provision?
Yes, that is exactly why. It is because he (along with Senator Ted Cruz) had the cheek to challenge the combined forces of Big Government, Big Media, and Big Tech, concerning the widespread voter irregularities that cast doubt on a fair and legitimate election. For which breaches of the new orthodoxy efforts are now underway to strip them of their senate seats. The hypocrisy is breathtaking, of course, particularly as it comes from a political party whose members have often been either active in promoting violence from the Left, or passive in their refusal to condemn it.
How Orwellian things have become! Will it soon be punishable by law for anyone to express misgivings about an election whose outcome millions of voters continue to think was rigged? Will fines and prison become the next available sanction to punish those who resist the new dispensation? Edmund Burke, a wise man, and statesman from two centuries ago said that he did not think it possible to draw up an indictment against an entire people.
Well, he was wrong. The people now in charge appear to be quite determined to indict all of us, an entire people no less, whose only crime was that we voted for Donald Trump. And why did we do that? Because, for this voter at least, he did his best to protect the lives of unborn children, believing—as did Lincoln on the subject of slavery—that if it is not wrong, nothing is wrong.
Meanwhile, in the eyes of those who will shortly be running our country, unless we repent soon, the consequences are likely to become even more unpleasant.