In the 1999 blockbuster movie, the Matrix, the protagonist – Neo – is ushered into the presence of a man named Morpheus, who gives him a choice by way of two pills: take the red pill and see the world for what it really is and join a war for the future of humanity or take the blue pill and continue living in the blissful ignorance of slavery.
This is the metaphor of choice to explain difficult political warfare concepts for former intelligence officer for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Stephen Coughlin, and his perspective on the political narratives that are all around us today.
At one point during Neo’s meeting with Morpheus, Morpheus describes the Matrix to him: it is “the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you to the truth.”
That is how Coughlin describes politics as we commonly understand it, in the classic “left vs. right” schema we’re used to. He hopes that the information he shares will act as a sort of “red pill” to bring his audience face to face with this reality: “It’s not left vs. right,” it’s Marxism vs America.
One of the big obstacles facing Coughlin in this goal, is that most Americans see “Marxism” as something completely foreign not only to our nation, but to our epoch – the here and now. And it is in large measure foreign, but no less dangerous because of it. To hear, “Marxism threatens our nation” would sound as foreign and out of touch as saying, “the Red Coats are coming.” Everyone knows that Marxism failed with the Soviet Union.
Or did it?
The truth is, the ideology we thought to have been conquered under Ronald Reagan, has continued to grow and develop even as it has been institutionalized within our centers of learning. And through control of education, it has burrowed into every influential institution imaginable. We hear its echoes in almost every hall, teaching in our universities, preaching in our pulpits, marching in our streets, making constant claims to the moral high ground or “the right side of history” – as opposed to the traditional morality of the West, ensconced in God’s Word.
Tracing this philosophical history from Hegel to Marx to Gramsci, to the “Critical Theory” and the “Theory of Intersectionality” and how it all comes to bear in movements like Black Lives Matter and even works its way into the Southern Baptist Convention and other major denominations and conservative institutions, is vital to understanding what is happening in the world today. Marxism operates through control of the language we use to understand things as a society.
It comes down to this: while we’ve been fighting the culture “war,” they’ve been fighting the culture WAR. We’ve used that phrase metaphorically, while they’ve been laying groundwork, building organizations, establishing beachheads in our institutions, converting our news and entertainment to propaganda, weaponizing American youth to be the agents of change.
We’ve watched it happen and written it off simply as decadence in a prosperous society - which has played its role – but the decadence has been targeted. It can be traced back to the universities where our culture creators come of age. Consider the fact that the majority of policy makers, entertainers, teachers, judges, etc. will have been filtered through the same “educational” experience that has produced the rioters in the streets of Minneapolis, Seattle and Los Angeles. And if they have not been exposed to these theories themselves, their young staffers have.
Coughlin’s point is that strategies that he studied during his time in the intelligence community are being played out right before our very eyes. He sees the more mainstream, respectable leftist groups using the same narratives as “extremists” to get to an identical goal. Don Lemon of CNN will not drag you from your car and beat you with a bat, but he will defend Black Lives Matter against charges of extremism and call out those opposed to the more radical tenants of BLM as “racists.” He will justify BLM members that do drag innocent people from their cars.
In Coughlin’s words,
“The racism accusations of the Left are not the same as those fought over through the civil rights movement but rather are part of a bundled set of otherism LOEs [Lines of Effort]structured to destroy (nihilize) identity. The Left is targeting the upcoming election cycle with non-violent attack narratives to be enforced by violent LOEs in the form of intimidation and actual violence. As such, the political warfare effort will be coordinated and calibrated – it must be understood this way. These efforts will succeed if not properly assessed and countered.”
This is the Red Pill: When you see a journalist standing in front of a burning car, reporting that it’s part of a non-violent protest; when you hear that people are being pulled from their cars and beaten, but one black man decides to drive away, resulting in the death of one rioter and the death of another and the rioters are mourned as victims while the driver is charged as a criminal, you understand that the media and many elected leaders and government officials are complicit in the Marxist scheme to undo America by means of convincing itself it’s racist –using Marxist “racism” constructs to nihilize America. As implausible as this may seem at first glance, it is what the Red Pill observer sees and witnesses. As implausible as it sounds, digging into what university students have been taught over the past several decades reveals that they have been conditioned for exactly that. And for those who have not attended university, our entertainment choices are littered with the same bunk; even our favorite athletes –entire leagues - call us racist. It is everywhere. We are steeped in it.
But, it is doomed to fail. The ideology which all of this chaos is built on is a combination of wishful thinking and long-held grudges. There are no reality based solutions, because there is no reality – only Blue Pill perceptions, narratives and power struggles. It is based on what we once recognized as “the big lie.” Natural law ensures the collapse of this Blue Pill inducing wokism, but how much damage will it cause in the mean time? As a reminder, we are not talking theoretical damage. It has already caused plenty of actual physical damage both to real people and both public and private property.
Christ’s people must hold the line. We need to set to work, repairing our own foundations, knowing where we stand. May God prepare us for what’s ahead.
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