By Ryan Kraeger.
I understand why people want to believe the Q-Anon thing: It is easier and more comforting to believe that the evil is out there, organised, bad as bad can be. It doesn’t get much worse than a satanic cabal. Maybe, just maybe, we can blame the fix we are in on powerful people around the globe operating in the shadows. Maybe that’s why our politicians suck so badly.
Plus, there is something exciting about being in on THE secret, finally, the one piece of knowledge that explains everything, and by corollary to be surrounded by the sheep who don’t know. Trust me, I feel the pull myself. Only three things save me from the conspiracy theory black hole:
- Conspiracies require competence, and vast conspiracies require vast competence. Frankly, that’s unbelievable. My experience in the government has taught me never to ascribe to conspiracy what can adequately be explained by appetite, ego, ignorance or incompetence, or some mixture of all of the above.
- A conspiracy this vast would obviously be beyond my power to affect and therefore would absolve me of responsibility, so I focus on what is my responsibility, and find there plenty to reproach myself for. I don’t need to look farther afield than my own heart, my own home, and my own church/town to find plenty of work I have left undone.
- Besides, big secrets usually turn out to be pretty mundane when you get to know them. (The really exciting things in life are not secret at all, except that we ignore them because we do not value them).
I understand why they wanted to believe that Trump was going to pull it out of his hat at the last minute, sweep away all the bad guys, arrest those nasty Democrats and corrupt politicians of all stripes, and their nameless and faceless corporation puppet masters.
While I had no desire to see Mr. Trump retain power by violence (or any other extra-legal means), I am by no means universally sanguine about a Biden presidency either, and even less sanguine about the upcoming Harris presidency. I too feel the pull of that apocalyptic hope for someone or something ELSE to come in and save the day, get rid of the bad guys and install the good guys.
But this is illusion, and dangerous illusion at that, for it absolves us once again of responsibility for real things and causes us to fight shadows and unreal phantoms. There is no good party or bad party. There is only one party that is unbalanced one way, and another party that is unbalanced the other way.
Those who make it their business to remain balanced by standing on eternal truth will find themselves pulled in one direction or another by their biases, and must struggle to remain upright for self-preservation, knowing that it is largely a thankless task, and as if that weren’t enough, are also bound in charity to convince as many as possible to stand upright as well.
Yes, it is attractive to dream about starting over with a clean slate, cleaning house, rooting out corruption on a grand level, but this is not the way God wants us to do business right now. He wants us to begin the slow, long work of conversion, of turning ourselves perpetually back to Him by repentance and amendment.
In the midst of this, never forgetting this, we must also charitably and persistently speak the truth to a culture that has not forgotten it, any more than a teenage in rebellion has forgotten his father’s teaching. He remembers, and the memory fills him with emotion, ranging from derision, to irritation, to unbounded rage. Whatever the case, we must still gently remind him of the truth.
The mission has not changed, it is still to go out and make disciples of all nations, starting, I would argue, with our own. This would be equally true in a Trump 2.0 as it is in a Biden 1.0.
If we succeed in converting all our neighbours and we all become saints, then government will right itself. If we fail, it won’t. It is as simple as that.
Ryan Kraeger is a cradle Catholic homeschool graduate, who has served in the Army as a Combat Engineer and as a Special Forces Medical Sergeant. He now lives with his wife Kathleen and their two daughters near Tacoma, WA and is a Physician Assistant. He enjoys reading, thinking, and conversation, the making and eating of gourmet pizza, shooting and martial arts, and the occasional dark beer. His website is The Man Who Would Be Knight.