The best of Fred Hutchison
Saving the crumbling liberal worldview
Abortion advocacy to the rescue
Fred Hutchison, RenewAmerica analyst
February 21, 2013

Originally published February 15, 2006

The worldview of political liberalism suffers from an inner contradiction that must in time prove fatal. The historic liberal worldview is now in danger of splitting in two – like an unstable schizophrenia that has lost touch with the real world and can no longer reconcile the conflicting parts of its inner fantasy world.

To hold the two contradictory sides of their worldview together, political liberals are turning to passionate advocacy of hot-button issues. They are using a bundle of culture war issues to this end – the single most important issue of which is the pro-choice position on abortion.

Unquestionably, abortion is the premier issue of liberal activists, mainly due to their worldview crisis. Liberals are not blind to the political usefulness of the issue, of course, and they do care about a woman's privacy and a woman's right to choose, no doubt. But the liberal passion for abortion has deeper roots. The pro-choice position happens to be uniquely effective in shoring up both sides of the liberal contradiction, and thus helps to hold the schizophrenic liberal worldview together.

Worldviews and paranoia

When one's worldview is collapsing, it feels like the world is coming to an end. Indeed, with the death of a worldview, the world as one has known it and lived in it is passing away. A new way of seeing the world must involve the end of the old way. The new perspective brings the unwelcome realization that the world one saw was a false projection of wrong ideas. A life lived that follows the presumptions of a false worldview, and the chronic misconstructions of what is in the world, must to some extent be a false life. It is a sad and bitter reflection to think that one has lived a lie.

As a worldview begins to unravel, one experiences a panic, similar to the fear of death.

That panic can be rejected outright as paranoia, conspiracy theories, and political extremism. That is precisely why pro-choice advocacy has a day-of-doom quality. Let us examine a few examples from the history of worldviews in crisis, to test our hypothesis that such a crisis can result in an apocalyptic radicalism.


We can observe apocalyptic radicalism in the last days of Norse mythology. The impending demise of the Norse worldview found expression in the mythical twilight of the gods, or "Gotterdammerung," a Norse apocalypse. After the winter of winters, a last great battle, a Norse Armageddon, was to be fought on the plain of Vigrid. The gods, sons of Odin, heroes, slain warriors in Valhalla, giants, dwarves, elves, and demons gathered together for the general slaughter at Vigrid. This great conflagration was to be soon followed by the end of the world.

When the young J.R.R. Tolkien was in the trenches during World War I, and watched the cream of a generation of young Englishmen cut down by German machinegun fire, images of the Norse last battle at Vigrid flashed through his mind. The epic battles of his trilogy The Lord of the Rings took shape in his imagination, and he patterned his great battles after the Norse Armageddon. Tolkien perfectly captured the dark mood of the day of doom for a lost world.

The morbid Norse combination of militant ferocity and suicidal world-destroying exaltation was not limited to old myths and Hollywood movies. The militant pathology of death was historically reenacted in the Viking raids and the last stand of the Nazis. The Muslim suicide bombers have their own depraved jihad version of a fiery Armageddon. We had glimpses of the cosmos-destroying impulse in the Maoist cultural revolution in China (1968), and the nation-destroying genocide of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia (1975).

The campus rebellion of the late sixties and early seventies was a form of cultural suicide, which was first cousin to the more extreme cosmos-destroying rampages of other failing worldviews. The campus brouhaha was a frivolous cultural "Gotterdammerung light," adapted for partying. End of civilization parties are cool, baby. Unfortunately, the culture of the West has never entirely recovered from the wounds inflicted by the revolutionary dolts and sundry campus barbarians.

At the present time, the paranoid left is evolving in the direction of a more extreme form of cultural and national suicide. Their sense of emergency is not really caused by external events, but by their growing sense of alarm about their faltering worldview. They blame their inner crisis on political scapegoats, to escape the realization that their ideas are unworkable.

Advocacy as therapy

A worldview crisis can feel like a nervous breakdown, leading one to seek therapy. Just as liberals politicize funerals, they sometimes politicize their private lives and use political advocacy as a form of therapy. The more passion that liberals display in their fight for unfettered free choice in abortion, the more reassured they are that their worldview still makes sense. Therefore, militant advocacy has become a form of self-indulgent therapy.

Ted Kennedy was not having a tantrum on the floor of the Senate following the Alito hearings because of his concern for women. His cruel treatment of individual women rules out that possibility. With the Senate's approval of Judge Alito for the Supreme Court, Kennedy saw instead a real danger to Roe vs. Wade. When Roe falls, one of the vital supports for the liberal worldview will be lost. That, my friends, is why Senator Kennedy was hysterical.

Perhaps the most obvious recent example of militant protest for self-pandering therapy is Cindy Sheehan, mother of a soldier killed in Iraq. Most bereaved mothers in her situation take comfort in the reflection that their sons died in a noble cause. However, Cindy insists that her son died in a meaningless cause. She takes perverse comfort in the reflection that her son's death is the catalyst for anti-Bush, anti-military, and anti-American protests. Why would that give her comfort? Because the protest itself helps her to make sense of her befuddled worldview. Self-absorbed people like Cindy make a hash out of the grieving process and hurt other people as they pander to their whims and demand a free moral pass for irresponsible behavior.

Just as we have turned to history to explore the phenomenon of the worldview crisis, to gain insight about pathologies of liberalism, let us consult history about the origin and rise of liberalism.

The founding father of liberalism

The tension in the liberal worldview goes all the way back to the original ideas of the founding father of liberalism, Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778). The tension can be summed up in Rousseau's slogan, "Man is born free but is everywhere in chains." Karl Marx borrowed this potent slogan a century later. What dark spell, Rousseau must have wondered, has brought a naturally free race into universal bondage? How could such an amazing and improbable thing have happened?

Rousseau, an evil genius of the highest order, had to invent and promote an entirely new worldview to answer this riddle. The rarest achievement in the annals of intellectual history is for one man to create a new worldview and make it stick. After all, there are remarkably few worldviews to choose from. This is what Francis Schaefer meant when he said, "There are not many men in the house." Most new worldviews prove unworkable and are soon discarded. That is why there are so few surviving "men" in the "house." Rousseau's worldview, which is now about 250 years old, is the newest and least workable worldview that is still standing.

Rousseau concocted four great myths. The first myth is that man in a state of nature is good and noble. Thus, man is naturally good. The myth of the noble savage is a fabulous, if not preposterous belief. It must count as one of the greatest and most successful inventions of literary mythology since the twilight flowering of Norse mythology. The liberal worldview stands upon the sinking sands of this tattered myth. The old order of liberal writers has passed away, and they no longer have spell-binding writers like Rousseau and his nineteenth century disciples to keep men held in the thrall of the great myth of the noble savage.

"The old order passes, yielding place to new, and God fulfilleth Himself in many ways, lest one good custom should corrupt the world.... For so the whole round earth is every way bound by golden chains about the feet of God." (The Passing of Arthur, Alfred Lord Tennyson)

The reformulated fall of man

The myth of the noble savage, which is now passing away, was followed by Rousseau's second great myth. Man is corrupted by civilization in general, and by private property in particular. Therefore, Rousseau's version of the fall of man was a fall from primitive nobility into civilized and propertied corruption. Man who is created for the heroic adventures of the jungle is seduced by the empty vanities of civilization and property, and is reduced to the petty bondage of moral norms, social codes, cultural traditions, and a servile fawning for status from the unnatural hierarchies of human society.

Rousseau, a theist, selectively borrowed elements from the biblical warning of the corruptions in the world. However, Rousseau departs from the biblical concept that the world is corrupted by fallen man. He claims that man fell because of the corruption of the world. But where did the corruption in the world originally come from if not from fallen men? The Bible's formulation makes sense, and Rousseau's reformulation does not.

Rousseau's concept of the fall of the savage into civilized corruption directly challenged an older idea. Before Rousseau, it was generally believed that teaching reason and restraint to barbarous peoples and introducing them to civilized culture was wholesome and beneficial to them. Bringing the light of Christianity to the heathen frees them from the terrors of spiritual darkness. Prior to Rousseau, no one dreamed of questioning these assumptions.

In due course of time, many people adopted Rousseau's view and laid the older assumptions aside. Contemporary liberal multiculturalists still adhere to Rousseau's specious theory. Some of their rules of politically-correct speech and thought are based upon the exaltation of primitive peoples and the indictment of Western culture. Rousseau successfully turned the world upside down. He was the great cosmic rebel.

The great cosmic rebel

Rousseau, a man of the highest culture, despised the cultured class of gentlemen. Nobles and servants are equally enslaved, thought Rousseau, as he observed with disgust the powdered wigs, lace cuffs, and genteel, obsequious, mutual flattery of the aristocrats.

Still, it is amazing that Rousseau would despise the civilization of Bach, Handel, Mozart, and Haydn. Rousseau was a highly influential music critic and theoretician and had an important influence on the musical thought of the young Mozart. Rarely has a more brilliant product of a high culture hated civilization so deeply.

Rousseau, the founder of the rebellion that was to be called Modernism, was a versatile genius of immense gifts, yet was a self-absorbed misanthrope and perhaps something of a sociopath. He could be both exquisitely compassionate and sadistically cruel. He possessed the tenderest of human sentiments and sympathies, was a worshiper of nature to the point of idolatry, and had the ability to write enticing lyrical words, as well as sweet melodies. Few men have had Rousseau's powers of persuasion or his ability to capture the imagination. The sheer beauty of his poetic language can bring tears to the eyes of one who hates his ideas. Beyond that, he was a great political philosopher and perhaps the greatest political propagandist of all time.

Rousseau, as the first modern liberal, was a remarkable combination of contradictory and colorful ingredients. All true liberals, progressives, and radicals of the left have inherited some of these contradictory traits of Rousseau, their great prototype.

Goodness, freedom, and victimhood

Rousseau believed that man is naturally good, and flourishes when he is free. Hence, the name "liberal," which roughly means that which is fitting for a free man. However, in spite of man's presumed natural goodness, he is corrupted by society and held in chains by this corruption and by social constraint. These oppressive constraints stifle man's nature and prevent his goodness from welling up from within and spontaneously expressing itself. Furthermore, as man assumes his place in the social order, his nature is infected, contaminated, and ruined by the poisons of society. How an inherently good being could be so easily and thoroughly corrupted was never explained. Rousseau's eloquence and charm casts a spell over the reader's mind so that such critical questions are left unasked.

From that day until the present, Rousseau's children, the liberals, have refused to hold criminals responsible for their crime but have blamed society instead. They insist that society is guilty of corrupting the criminal, and that the criminal is the innocent victim of society. Therefore, society must be chastened and reformed. But who shall reform society and deliver us from these root causes? Can we trust our would-be deliverers? This question has divided liberals and conservatives for two centuries.

The myth of the general will

Unlike some romantics, Rousseau said it was too late in the game to return to nature. The poisons of civilization have sunk in too deeply to allow a return to innocence. A government that mystically embodies "the general will" is to be our savior, according to Rousseau. The theory of the "general will" is the third, and most preposterous of Rousseau's new myths.

We assume that Rousseau meant democracy when he spoke of the "general will." Unfortunately, Rousseau had a mystical historical force in mind. He has often been construed to mean that a romantic man on horseback like Napoleon can embody the general will. Philosophers George Hegel and Karl Marx found the "general will" in the heart of dictators. Madness? Yes. Rousseau's "forces of history" have always appealed to the determinist strain in liberalism that is in tension with the strain of freedom and democracy.

British liberals sought the "general will" through parliament. To this day, many liberals assume that a government cannot be enlightened unless elected by a numerically-precise formula of "one man, one vote." Even President Bush supposed that democracy is the magical cure for the pathologies of the Middle East. Magical thinking about democracy is the British-Fabian mode of pursuing the general will. It is a democratic descent into socialism by gradual degrees. Such a descent was the means by which a once-vibrant Europe was turned into the economic sick man of the industrial world.

According to Rousseau, a government that embodies the "general will" is infallible. Madness? Once again, yes. Rousseau claims that such a government will unerringly purge society of its cultural and social poisons and remold human nature. Therefore, we can trust democratically-elected government to do the correct things regarding social engineering projects. Such meddling will improve human nature, Rousseau believed. The truth, however, is quite to the contrary. Mandated bureaucratic controls ossify human thought and behavior, and turn dynamic human beings into mediocrities at best and living fossils at worst. Liberals trust in government programs, and government programs – even those purported to reflect the "will of the people" – have a nasty tendency to fail and make matters worse. This dilemma is the logical outcome of the liberal contradiction.

The liberal contradiction in a nutshell

At the end of the day, one still inquires, if man can be molded like soft clay by social engineering programs, how can he be naturally good? Here is the contradiction for which neither Rousseau, nor his liberal heirs have provided an explanation.

The liberal determinists say that man is an automaton, programmed by biology, culture, economics, and social forces. The liberal romantics and vitalists say that man is good and man must be free. Man must follow his will and his bliss, passions, and ideals. The problem is that man cannot be both a programmed automaton and a free spirit at the same time. Why was this contradiction not fatal to liberalism in the eighteenth century? Why did liberalism become so popular in the nineteenth century, in spite of the contradiction? Part of the answer comes from the old idea of "the great chain of being" and the romantic yearning for freedom.

Trapped in the great chain of being

No idea has ever been put forward that is more intolerable to human sensibilities than to think that "man is born to be free but is everywhere in chains." When Rousseau wrote these lines, the black slaves in the European colonies often wore real chains. The French peasants, who were going through a great famine, were not much better off. Although these were real injustices, it is a stretch to extrapolate that all men are in chains. Unfortunately, the existence of extreme injustice and real chains made it more plausible for sensitive souls to believe that all men are in chains. Novelist Victor Hugo, who wrote Les Miserables, was obsessed with the idea of good men in chains and good women in social bondage.

Europeans of the eighteenth century still saw the world as a "great chain of being," a problematic idea that came from the revival of Neoplatonism in Renaissance Italy. The "great chain of being," as Europeans understood it, was a syncretistic blend of Platonism, Pantheism, and Christianity. Slaves and peasants at the bottom of the social pyramid belonged to the same social order as kings and aristocrats on the top.

Some viewed the "great chain of being" as a blessed estate established by God. However, such a view fails to adequately account for the fall of man and original sin. The powers that be are ordained of God, but those powers often cast dark shadows. We must not be rebels against the system, like Rousseau, but we must be realistic about the shadows. At the same time, we must not go to extremes, like Rousseau, and see everything about the old order as shadows. If we do, we might imagine that all men have been put in chains by the system, and not by the chains of original sin. Rousseau's extreme views about the old order were the beginning of a revolution in thought that has led to the effort by the modern left to dismantle Western cultural heritage altogether.

The element of Pantheism in the great chain of being introduces the idea of a closed system – which can trouble the sensibilities of a man like Rousseau. In contrast to Pascal, who was terrified by the infinite spaces, and comforted by the idea of cosmic boundaries, Rousseau was terrified by the claustrophobia of a closed system. He saw the entire social pyramid as bound by invisible and oppressive chains and thus had the nightmares of claustrophobia and paranoia.

Oh, freedom!

Just as the abolitionists longed to see the slaves released from their chains, Rousseau wanted all of society to be freed from its invisible chains. Beethoven captured this liberal spirit when he wrote the opera Fidelio, in which those who were being released from the dungeon sang, "Oh freedom, freedom, come to us again." This chorus is one of the most heart-rending and joyous moments in the opera repertory.

Mark Russell sang a satire on the Spanish Civil War that was a liberal cause celebre. "We lost all the battles but sang all the best songs," he sang. Liberalism doesn't work, but it stirs up the minstrel raptures. Many sensitive, impractical souls have been seduced by liberal raptures and fantasies, especially in the nineteenth century. A powerful wave of Romanticism in the late eighteen and early nineteenth centuries, and the revolutionary movements that accompanied Romanticism, gave Rousseau's doctrine critical momentum.

In spite of providing powerful early momentum, the romantic imagination was not powerful enough to hold the liberal contradiction together over the long haul. A great idea was needed. The idea of progress.

The inevitability of progress

How can a sensitive soul stand to live in this world when he thinks his countrymen were born to be free, but are everywhere bound by invisible chains? He can endure it if he believes in the inevitability of progress. If progress is inevitable, the utopia is coming and we shall all be released from bondage and taste blissful freedom, like the liberated captives in Fidelio. Therefore, the sensitive soul can take comfort in this hope, and be content to work for that better world that is in the making. After all, Rousseau told us that if we could only get a government in place that embodies the "general will," the decrees of that government will be infallible, and will move us briskly down the road of progress.

The belief in the inevitability of progress was Rousseau's fourth great myth. The famous "progressive movement" was named after the liberal faith in progress. It was a faith in a mystical fantasy, of course. But the fantasy was extremely popular in the romantic, optimistic nineteenth century, the golden age of sentimentality and wishful thinking.

The liberal progressive movement brought forth countless social reforms, some of them good and some of them problematic. It also brought about many horrendous revolutions in Europe that were highly destructive. France alone was tormented by five revolutions, all within the span of a single human lifetime (1792, 1830, 1848, 1851, 1870).

Throughout the nineteenth century, the tension between determinism ("man is molded by society") and romanticism ("man is good and man is free") haunted liberals and progressives. However, the belief in the inevitability of progress held the two contradictory beliefs together. Progress is inevitable because man is good. Progress is possible because man can be molded and improved. Therefore, two contradictory ideas are necessary to support an absurd idea – the inevitability of progress. Conversely, the absurd faith in historical "progress" was the indispensable glue that kept two antithetical ideas bound together.

The twilight of the faith in progress

Prior to the 1960's, the belief in the inevitability of progress was at the core of the liberal and progressive movements, and many political moderates like Harry Truman subscribed to it. The mystical and energizing belief in "progress" held a cluster of characteristic liberal beliefs together in a bundle. Some of the beliefs in the bundle were contradictory, but were bound together in a creative tension, as long as liberals were able to unite around an almost religious faith in progress. The last great display of unity and confidence by liberals and progressives was during the administration of John F. Kennedy. That period was called "Camelot" by liberals, because it had a magical and romantic quality. Indeed, it was the last time we were to see the mystical power of the belief in progress displayed in full force for uniting liberals.

The last liberal presidential candidate to truly believe in progress without reservation was Hubert Horatio Humphrey. He had great energy, enthusiasm, and personal magnetism – and was the last of the "happy warriors" of which Mayor Curley and Al Smith were the prototypes. Unfortunately, he had to run during a time of disillusionment with the war policies and Great Society programs of President Johnson. The manifest failure of socialist programs made Humphrey's optimism about progress through government seem a bit surreal. Humphrey was not able to use his chipper enthusiasm to unite his large, but badly divided party in its fight against a united, but smaller Republican party. When he ran against Richard Nixon in 1968, Humphrey's persona had the eerie sense of a relic, or a throwback to an earlier time. The Hollywood movie The Last Hurrah is reminiscent of Humphrey. It is a story about the last campaign of a colorful old-fashioned politician whose defeat marks the end of an era. The old order passes.

The bifurcation of liberalism

The gradual bifurcation of liberalism began fifty years before Humphrey's presidential candidacy. To make a long story short, World War I, the great depression, Stalin's mass murders, World War II, and the holocaust were terrible shocks to liberals and their tender faith in the goodness of man. For if man is not good, then progress cannot be inevitable. If progress is not inevitable, the liberal worldview shatters.

The growing malaise among liberals expressed itself in a variety of counter-cultural modes, beginning in the 1920's. The first clear sign that something was deeply amiss with political liberalism appeared in the 1950's. Their perverse apologetics for Soviet Communism and their vilification of conservative anti-communists was very strange for a movement devoted to freedom and democracy. Their vicious tactics against anti-communists were far more systematic and their propaganda far more persistent than were the bullying tactics of anticommunist Joe McCarthy and his cronies. Moreover, the liberal denial of Soviet spies in the government was absurdly, provably wrong. At least McCarthy was in the right ball-park, if not always in the right seat.

Doubts about progress troubled some liberals, but not all liberals. There was still enough faith in progress during the Kennedy administration to get that old feeling back that we might yet have our utopia. Then, John Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, and Martin Luther King were assassinated. On TV, we could watch Bull Connor chase blacks with bloodhounds. The black ghettoes exploded in riots. Students rioted on campus. The nation was in turmoil over the Vietnam War. The left assumed an anti-war posture. The bitter anti-war and anti-American position of the left was another sign that something had gone terribly wrong with liberalism.

The liberal faith in progress that had been shaken by many shocks during the first half of the century now snapped. The liberals were not able to pump up enough of their old faith in progress to elect Humphrey, a true believer in progress. Their belief in the inherent goodness of man could no longer be reconciled with determinism. The scourge of determinism emerging from the liberal camp brought about a rebellion among other liberals.

The scourge of determinism

As the tender faith in the goodness of man wilted, determinism – the belief that man is entirely the product of his environment – grew in strength throughout the 1950's and 60's. Behaviorism, Structuralism, Historicism, Economic Determinism, and Materialism ruled the roost in academia. Each of these theories stripped man naked to systematic examination and control. The stern academics left man bereft of any fig leaf of the assumption of goodness, autonomy, or responsibility. Determinism reduced man to the status of a programmed automaton.

The rise of tough-minded determinism split the liberals into two camps. Half became determinists in favor of big government and social controls. The other half became existentialist rebels. Since reason seemed to push the rational liberals toward determinism and a controlling system, the existentialist liberals rebelled against reason and control and asserted their will and their passions. This is precisely why campus rebels, depressed by their determinist professors, spoke vehemently against "the system." After all, no one wants to be a cog in a great machine.

By 1970, liberals had bifurcated and were split into the determinist camp and the existentialist camp. The only subjects that brought young liberals together were advocacy against Richard Nixon, advocacy against the war, indulgence in sex, drugs, and rock and roll, and the mystical experience of the New Age Movement.

New Age schizophrenia

The New Age Movement became popular among liberals for inner healing and "wholeness." However, the actual effect of New Age mysticism was to disguise one's inner schizophrenia. The New Age obscurantism enabled liberals to simultaneously be both determinists and existentialists and think they were whole. Thus began a hilarious epoch in liberal punditry in which opinion columns could be self-contradictory with the confusion hidden in a New Age fog. The fuzzy liberals were instant determinists when the occasion suited them, and convenient existentialists when they felt like it. Illogical and hypocritical? Yes, of course.

Unfortunately, the ersatz New Age spirituality had no staying power. It was a poor substitute for the old faith in progress. Liberals needed stronger stuff to hold their inner split together in light of the shocks that were just ahead.

During the period 1980–1991, the liberals suffered three great shocks – the election of Ronald Reagan, the conservative effort to abolish Roe vs. Wade, and the fall of the Soviet Empire. The Soviets, who were devoted to economic determinism and ideals of inevitable progress leading to the utopia became ideologically and operationally bankrupt and collapsed. Capitalist Christian America, led by conservatives, was rising in economic and military power and moving toward world dominance. These events were the heralds of the last days of liberalism.

Abortion and the last days of liberalism

In these days of the twilight of the gods of liberalism, panic and paranoia prevail. Liberal conspiracy theories are everywhere. Liberals execrate their enemies with bitter invective. They treat the hot-button issues of the culture war as matters of life or death. As the smoke clears, we see them joining ranks with amazing solidarity in defense of Roe vs. Wade.

In order to morally defend abortion, the baby must be reduced to a piece of protoplasm. The materialist and determinist side of the liberal mind must be employed for this argument. To argue that the mother's right to privacy and right to choose must be sacred and inviolable, liberals must also turn to their existentialist side. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy used New Age terminology to argue for an absolute right of privacy.

How did New Age ideas get tangled up with abortion advocacy? During the late sixties, when the Beatles were going through their psychedelic phase, young liberals mingled their New Age spirituality with sex, drugs, and rock and roll. In order to have unlimited sex without consequences, they demanded the legalization of abortion, which came with the Roe vs. Wade decision in1973.

Roe is now essential to the survival of a sick liberalism. Take Roe away, and sex suddenly has consequences, and all the drug-accompanied lust of a wasted liberal youth is exposed. Take Roe away, and the murdered babies cease to be lumps of protoplasm, and the ghosts of the slain rise up to torment the conscience. Take Roe away, and the existential pretenses and new Age fancies are exposed as a cover for a twisted selfishness.

The liberal crack-up

By 1970, the old faith in progress had faltered and could no longer hold the two sides of liberalism together. During the 1980's, the New Age Movement gradually lost its ability to hold liberalism together. Now, the last battle of the liberal Gotterdammerung is the rear-guard battle in defense of Roe vs. Wade.

A dying worldview has no staying power. It is doomed just as Soviet Communism was doomed. If we are patient, we shall see liberalism, like a vessel lost at sea, crack up on the rocks of history.

"The old order passes, yielding place to new, and God fulfilleth Himself in many ways, lest one good custom should corrupt the world.... For so the whole round earth is every way bound by golden chains about the feet of God." (The Passing of Arthur, Alfred Lord Tennyson)

A message from Stephen Stone, President, RenewAmerica

I first became acquainted with Fred Hutchison in December 2003, when he contacted me about an article he was interested in writing for RenewAmerica about Alan Keyes. From that auspicious moment until God took him a little more than six years later, we published over 200 of Fred's incomparable essays — usually on some vital aspect of the modern "culture war," written with wit and disarming logic from Fred's brilliant perspective of history, philosophy, science, and scripture.

It was obvious to me from the beginning that Fred was in a class by himself among American conservative writers, and I was honored to feature his insights at RA.

I greatly miss Fred, who died of a brain tumor on August 10, 2010. What a gentle — yet profoundly powerful — voice of reason and godly truth! I'm delighted to see his remarkable essays on the history of conservatism brought together in a masterfully-edited volume by Julie Klusty. Restoring History is a wonderful tribute to a truly great man.

The book is available at

© Fred Hutchison


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They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. —Isaiah 40:31