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Liberalism and the two roads to nihilism
How liberalism can collapse into nihilism through materialism or false idealism
Fred Hutchison, RenewAmerica analyst
July 4, 2013

Originally published March 7, 2007

Leo Strauss (1899-1973), the father of Neoconservatism, predicted that liberalism must give way to relativism and that relativism must eventually give way to nihilism – the belief that life is meaningless. My last essay discussed the worldview of liberalism and the intellectual and psychological causes of its decline. This essay will introduce the subject of nihilism and track the two main routes by which liberals can change into nihilists.

Why do liberals wind up as nihilists?

Why do young liberals sometimes develop into old nihilists? Man interprets and evaluates the world through his worldview. When his worldview is collapsing, he might have the impression that the whole world is coming apart at the seams. The sense that the times are out of joint can lead to cynical and nihilistic ideas.

Hamlet said, "The time is out of joint. Oh cursed spite, that ever I was born to set it right." (Shakespeare) Hamlet had cynical moments that bordered on nihilism.

Gotterdammerung for American liberals

The worldview of American liberals began to collapse in the sixties. This was the beginning of the great liberal gotterdammerung, or "twilight of the gods." During the seventies, many liberals retreated into narcissism as a refuge and into hedonism as a consolation. If they could not have their promised utopia, at least they could retreat into the self-pampering cult of the New Age Movement and have the consolation of unbridled sex, drugs, and rock and roll.

The decadent liberals rationalized hedonism with moral relativism by asserting the sacredness of the individual quest for "self-actualization." Sexual excess for self-actualization was a scam, of course, but the Supreme Court was fooled by it.

Legal mysticism

Thanks to the naivete of Justices O'Connor and Kennedy, the two unpredictable swing voters, the Supreme Court struck down a sodomy law in Lawrence vs. Texas (2003). Judge Kennedy's opinion was essentially an argument for the sacredness of mystical self-actualization through sexual perversion. He wrote, "At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of the universe and the mystery of human life." This was the first time that a Supreme Court opinion featured a blend of Existentialism and the fuzzy metaphysics of the New Age Movement.

Justice Kennedy advanced the strange propositions that (1) perverted self-indulgence can be an authentic way of life (for existentialists), or a sacred way of life (for New Agers); (2) sexual depravity can lead to self-actualization; and (3) the individual can define into existence any universe he chooses to live in. Those who actually believe these ideas might be in danger of losing their intellectual grasp on reality and might be well on their way to neurosis and nihilism.

Revenge for the smashing of idols

The shipwreck of a worldview can lead to a narcissistic retreat into imaginary universes, as Justice Kennedy sanctioned, or to a hostile stance against a world gone mad. One can be bitter and vengeful against those who putatively have had a hand in tearing down the cherished worldview.

It is difficult to forgive those who knock over a personal idol. Of all human hatreds, the most bitter hatred is reserved for those who cast down one's false gods and one's false worldview. The idol smasher does the idolater a favor, but the idolater often reacts with hatred as though the idol smasher killed his true love.

When one is enraged by seeing his worldview in ruins, he might enjoy the schadenfreude fantasy of seeing everyone else's world in ruins. He might cheer for the teen horror movie character Carrie, who decided that if her dreams cannot come true, no one else's dream will come true. If her party is ruined, everyone's party will be ruined. The movie Carrie (1976) was about adolescent narcissism turning towards nihilism.

Three kinds of nihilism

There are three kinds of nihilism that a collapsing liberalism might fall into:

Revolutionary nihilism calls for the destruction of civilization, so that the survivors can build anew upon the ruins. This is the "Carrie" horror version of nihilism.

Philosophical nihilism is an extreme form of skepticism and cynicism involving the denial of all existence. This is the intellectual "sour grapes" version of nihilism.

Psychological nihilism is the pathology of solipsism which involves the denial of the existence of the world outside of the self. This is the "Jackson Pollock" version of nihilism, as we shall see.

Revolutionary nihilism

Revolutionary nihilism had a heyday in the middle years of the nineteenth century in Russia. The specialty of the Russian nihilists was terror. During the waves of revolution that came to the West during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, some of the more extreme radicals advocated the destruction of civilization.

Even during the phony campus revolution of the late sixties, one could sometimes hear turgid rhetoric about "tearing down the system" in order to "build a new world on the ashes." That generation of existentialist marshmallows admired tough-talking nihilism, but were too self-indulgent for the annihilation of their soft lives. They vicariously consoled themselves by cheering for the rioters on TV or cheering for Carrie as she destroyed her high school.

We are now living in an era of terrorism that might bring forth a nihilism made of sterner stuff than the soft nihilism of the marshmallow revolution. Some leftists in the post 9/11 world have become apologists and rationalizers of Muslim terrorists. If sympathy for terrorists becomes a passion among Western leftist-nihilists, the old Russian style of nihilistic terrorism might well return. Western liberals gone mad might use terror bombings for their Carrie horror revenge upon the world.

Philosophical nihilism

Some philosophers define nihilism as an extreme skepticism or cynicism or epistemological despair that denies that man can know anything about truth, meaning, or existence. Others define nihilism as a sort of ontological atheism that denies the existence of existence.

Philosophical nihilism emerged after the breakdown of the nineteenth-century German philosophy of Idealism. The young Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) was influenced by the idealist philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860), whom he considered his mentor. During the mature period of his writings, Nietzsche renounced Schopenhauer's ideas, a fatal break that moved him away from reality. By gradual degrees, Nietzsche's ideas tended towards nihilism, as evidenced by his statement "God is dead." Nihilism is not just atheistic; it involves an obsession with death. During his last years, Nietzsche went insane.

Nietzsche wrote about the ubermensch (superman) in Thus Spake Zarathustra, a concept that was linked to his magnum opus, The Will to Power, concerning a heroic nihilism of sorts. He had an idealized conception of a tough nihilist hero. Paradoxically, Nietzsche was physically sickly and psychologically fragile, the opposite of his imaginary super hero. Comic book super heroes are invariably the creation of shy, frail, eccentric high school nerds. The young Nietzsche was an usually frail, sensitive, talented, and cultured version of the high school nerd.

Ironically, Nietzsche and Rousseau, who laid the foundations for modern nihilism, were emotional marshmallows who would have collapsed in the presence of a hard-core Russian nihilist. Liberalism is the unwitting breeder of monsters. Dr. Frankenstein was terrified by the monster he made.

Psychological nihilism

Solipsism, which denies the reality of the world outside of the self, or invents an imaginary world as an extension of the self, is essentially nihilistic. The New Age Movement promises self-actualization, but uses an ersatz spiritual enchantment to lure its hopeful votaries into the trap of solipsism.

After one lives in the thralldom of fantasy and enjoys the narcissistic mania of self-romance for a season, the spell must break, leaving one in a state of desolation. Such a one might feel like the solitary survivor of a shipwreck crawling ashore on the dark deserted beach of an unknown island. At this point, solipsism gives way to nihilism.

In order to better understand neurotic solipsism as a kind of nihilism, let us take a quick look at the artist Jackson Pollock.

Nihilistic art and self-destruction

Jackson Pollock was the founder of "Abstract Expressionism," a genre of modern art. He suffered depression and alcoholism and went to psychotherapists for years.

Pollock experimented with surrealist art in keeping with the ideas of his Jungian therapists. He experimented with abstract art in keeping with the ideas of his Freudian therapists. He splashed or dripped paint on canvas to express his inner impulses, a practice inspired by Rorschach ink-blot therapy. Art as therapy, reinforced by celebrity, gave him temporary surcease from the demons of depression and drunkenness.

His art technique pandered to inner emotional impulses that he learned about in psychotherapy. His self-therapy through art drove him further and further from reality. He became increasingly neurotic, solipsistic, and nihilistic. His depressions returned with a vengeance, and he acquired a death wish that led to suicide.

The great liberal death wish

Death is the separation of body and spirit. The gradual pulling apart of body and spirit in a living man can lead to a death wish as it did for Pollock and Nietzsche. There is a link between Nietzsche' statement "God is dead" and his death wish. In Proverbs 8:36, God says, "He who sins against me injures his own soul. All those who hate me love death." One approach to hating God is the idolatrous faith in man. Hence the link between liberal humanism and a death wish.

Malcolm Muggeridge (1903 -1990) wrote an unforgettable essay titled The Great Liberal Death Wish (Imprimus 1979). Muggeridge noticed that liberal utopian dreams invariably lead to the massacre of the innocent, such as occurred with the holocaust in Germany, genocide in the Soviet Union, and the mass murder of the unborn in America.

When liberals put their faith in man in the interest of exalting man and perfecting human life, a death wish is the paradoxical result. Nietzsche pursued a humanist life-affirming doctrine before he slipped into nihilism and acquired a death wish.

In contrast, Muggeridge noticed that life-giving spiritual aspirations welled up in the hearts of those locked up in the gulag. I quote his paraphrase of another writer:

"[Essay writer] Mihajlo Michajlov...cites case after case of people who, like Solzhenitsyn, say that enlightenment came to them in the forced labor camps. They understood what freedom was when they lost their freedom, they understood what the purpose of life was when they seemed to have no future. They say moreover, that when it's a question of choosing whether to save your soul or your body, the man who chooses to save his soul gathers strength thereby to go on living, whereas the man who chooses to save his body at the expense of his soul, loses both body and soul. In other words, fulfilling exactly what our Lord said, he that hates his life in this world shall keep his life for all eternity, and those who love their lives in this world shall assuredly lose them."

Separating the two natures of man

When liberals choose the body in preference to the soul, one way they can lose their souls is through the separation of the body from the spirit, which leads to nihilism. There are two paths they can take to tear body and spirit apart: (1) materialism, and (2) an idealism that denies reality.

According to doctrinally orthodox Christianity, man has two natures – a material nature and a spiritual nature. Some old heresies exaggerated spirit at the expense of matter (Gnosticism, Platonism), and other old heresies exaggerated matter at the expense of spirit (Ebionism, Sabellianism).

I just read about a new heresy that offers a materialist basis for the soul in order to reconcile Materialism with Evangelicalism. This heresy crowds out spirit by inflating matter. The heresy was favorably received by a book review in a prestigious Evangelical publication – which is a warning that vigilance against heresy ought never be relaxed.

Platonic dualism is not common today, but semi-platonic Christians are everywhere. Some semi-platonists spiritualize or make metaphors of Bible verses without support from the context of the scripture passages and without support from sound biblical principles. Some semi-platonists seek "divinization" through mystical contemplation. The semi-platonic semi-heresies emphasize spirit at the expense of matter.

Interestingly, the apparently opposite philosophies of Materialism and Platonic Dualism have the same deleterious effect on the human constitution. They both pull the body and the spirit apart.

Materialism – the brutal philosophy

Economics used to be called "the dismal science." I like to call Materialism "the brutal philosophy."

Materialists like to think of themselves as tough-minded. Not so. Christian orthodoxy is tough-minded, but the harsh doctrine of Materialism is brutal. It is brutal because it has as much insight for human nature as a thug has for his victim. Materialists think men are programmed automatons and animal brutes devoid of personhood.

Materialism is a philosophy that posits that nothing exists but physical matter and energy, and that neither a spiritual nature of man nor a spiritual realm exists. Materialist philosophy posits a closed system of matter and energy that excludes a spiritual nature of man and a spiritual realm. It also excludes a rational mind and a free will that can rise above the programming of the closed system.

Materialist illusions

Edward O. Wilson, a leading materialist, insists that reason, free will, consciousness, conscience, spirituality, and the self are "emergent properties," or "epiphenomenon" of the brain. What Wilson means by this philosophical-scientific jargon is that reason, free will, consciousness, conscience, spirituality, and the self have no objective existence, but are illusions. Wilson assumes that people have experiences welling up from brain activities and misconstrue those experiences as "a mind," "a free will," "consciousness," etc. Wilson claims that the tendency of the individual to take things like reason and free will personally is based upon an illusion that he is a person and has a self. Programmed automatons cannot think, feel, or will. Wilson is correct about this! However, an automaton also cannot have illusions of thinking, feeling, or willing or being a person. Therefore, man cannot be a programmed automaton, and it is the Materialists who are having illusions!

If man is merely an animal, it is impossible that he should possess desires and aspirations that are impossible to be fulfilled. No creature can long to know about himself if he has no self. No one can yearn to know the truth if he has no mind and there is no truth. No one can have spiritual aspirations if he has no human spirit and there is no spiritual realm.

The famous agnostic's prayer is: "Oh God, if there is a God, save my soul, if I have a soul." (Ernest Renan, 19th-century French historian, archeologist, and agnostic)

Renan could not have longed to communicate with God if there is no God. He could not have desired the salvation of his soul if he had no soul. Neither creation nor evolution can account for a being who earnestly desires a deity who does not exist.

False idealism

There are several kinds of false idealism that can lead liberals to nihilism:

1) Cartesian Dualism is the philosophy of Rene Descartes (1596-1650). Cartesian Dualists viewed the mind as the supreme human faculty, and viewed the body as a mere machine that is practically useful to the mind. Cartesian Dualism would have been impossible without the conceptual foundations laid by Platonic Dualism and the axioms of mathematics.

Cartesian Dualism took the schism of human nature to new extremes. Descartes separated the mind from the body so radically that his explanation of how the mind communicates with the body and controls the movements of the body made no sense. He proposed that the mind-body exchange occurred in the pineal gland. He did not explain how the physical pineal gland could be in contact with the non-physical mind.

Descartes came up with his mind-matter dualism by spending entire days doing nothing but thinking while keeping himself secluded from the world outside. As a world-class mathematician and founder of Analytic Geometry, he trained his mind to intensely concentrate on abstract ideas while divorcing his mind from material realities. This is how he came up with the distorted concepts of the mind as a detached master-entity and the body as a machine.

2) German Idealism was the romantic, post-Kantian philosophy of Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, and Schopenhauer. Karl Marx was both an idealist and a materialist, which accounts for his historical popularity among liberals and the internal contradictions of his doctrine. German Idealism would not have been possible without the conceptual foundations laid by Descartes and Kant. Instead of a dualism between mind and body, the idealists proposed a dualism between mind and nature.

The German Idealists posited that nothing exists outside of the mind of man except those things that man recognizes and acknowledges. If a tree falls in a forest, and no one hears it, does it make a sound? A German Idealist would answer no. A philosophical realist would say yes.

The German Idealists were the first men in Christian Europe to directly challenge the idea that "existence exists," which is the first principle of philosophical realism. The realist versus idealist debates began only two centuries ago. Justice Kennedy would never have supposed that the individual can invent whatever universe he wants to live in if the German Idealists had not offered an intellectual approach to magical thinking.

3) Existentialism, a remote intellectual descendent of idealism, is a dualism because it separates free will and the mode of living of the atomistic individual from the reasoning mind and from society. Existentialists are radical individualists like libertarians, but differ from libertarians in that they regard the intellect as a hindrance to freedom and libertarians regard the intellect as essential to freedom.

The inflated value existentialists give to sincerity, authenticity, non-conformity, hyper-autonomy, spontaneity, and bohemian indifference to social norms and the expectations of others is a false idealism. It is divorced from the realities of human nature and grants legitimacy to antisocial boorishness.

4) The Human Potential Movement is one of the loosely interrelated cults of the New Age Movement. There are four main principles in the human potential cult: a) All your dreams can come true, b) You can be anything you want to be, c) There is no limit to human potential, and d) All the developmental powers that are needed for continuous personal change are found in the mind and will.

These notions about the magical powers of the mind and will are reminiscent of the Romantic Movement, German Idealism, and Renaissance Neoplatonism.

5) Utopianism is the belief that "progress" will bring ideal conditions of human happiness, peace, equality, and the brotherhood of man. This false idealism is a product of German Idealism and the Romantic Movement.

Utopianism creates a split between the magical world of a future utopia and the present real world. The spirit of the utopian man becomes abstracted from the ordinary affairs of this life, and he splits in two. Rousseau was a romantic utopian who loved the abstract idea of man, but hated men in particular.

A model of man that avoids Dualism and Materialism

One can avoid both Dualism and Materialism by having a model of the human constitution that neither splits man apart nor encases him in a closed system.

Proposition A: Man is a being who possesses three natures – namely body, psyche, and spirit. Proposition B: These different natures can be integrated into a unified whole. Proposition C: Such a nature can have all the faculties of human nature such as reason, free will, consciousness, and a personal self.

Now we have a boat that can navigate between the scylla of materialism and the charybdis of dualism.

Body, mind, and spirit

The body consists of physical matter, and the spirit is the incorporeal, or purely non-physical, nature of man. The "psyche" that is translated as "soul" in some English Bibles includes the mind, will, and affections. The psyche is a hybrid entity that blends body and spirit.

The mind is part of the psyche and has roots in brain activity, but also is connected with the spiritual nature. The mind has hybrid qualities that are different from animal brain activity and different from the pure flow of spirituality.

The mind intermediates between the spirit and the body, and therefore the two elements are not split apart as in dualism. Man is a whole integrated being, not a disjoined being of two separate parts.

The mind (and with it the will) is connected to the body and can issue commands, via the brain, to the body. The thinking and willful person is morally and purposefully connected to the actions of the body as it moves through the world. In contrast, for both the dualist and the materialist model, the mind has no control of the body. The dualist mind cannot connect with the body. The conscious mind is an illusion to the materialist.

Man as a spiritual being

The mind is partly spiritual, so it can be influenced by the incorporeal human spirit. The moral conscience comes from man's spiritual nature and can influence the mind and will. The mind can be drawn upward to spiritual ideals by the summons of the spirit. However, the mind can also be influenced by body chemistry that agitates or calms the brain. We can have bad moods emanating from a disturbed digestion or the overstimulation of the nervous system.

Personhood, subsisting in the human spirit, can work through the mind, emotions, will, and body to express one's personality to the world. I express a personality because I am a person. I am a spirit, I have a mind, I express a personality, and I dwell in a body. The human spirit being is an internal observer of the mind and the body. These powers of self-aware observation seem to be the source of human consciousness.

A human is an eternal spirit that survives the death of the body and retains his personhood and consciousness in the next life. Man as a personal spirit being can have communion with God, who is also a personal spirit being.

Materialism and Dualism as false alternatives

The defenders of Materialism invariably argue that our only choice is materialism or dualism. But this is not a fair choice, because the legitimacy of dualism has never recovered after the fatal weakness of Cartesian Dualism was exposed.

If the mind is radically different from the body, how can the mind command the body to move? The answer is that it can't. If scientists can prove that brain activity is connected with mental activity, how can one argue that mind and body are separable? One can't. Therefore, let us all be materialists, or so the argument goes.

The philosophy of Materialism is vulnerable to serious criticism, but it has had a long run because of the weakness of dualism. That is why I presented a third alternative – that man has three natures in union.

A concealed absurdity

Interestingly, one of the most vulnerable arguments of Materialism comes about from the way that the materialists successfully refuted dualism. The Materialists proved that mind-matter dualism is false because the mind has links to the brain. They assumed that in the absence of a viable dualistic alternative, their proof of mind-brain links was the final word that Materialism is true. This is where they made their mistake.

Materialists routinely claim that because the mind has many provable links to the brain, the mind must consist entirely of brain activity. Surely the fallacy in this logic must be apparent to a child. If I were to tell a child that I could prove that every winner of the Kentucky Derby involved a jockey, and therefore the race was entirely a race of jockeys and that horses were not involved, the child would laugh. Yet scientists regularly claim to have proven that the mind consists entirely of brain activity by pointing to links between the mind and the brain.

No one laughs at this nonsense. Why? Because this argument actually does refute Cartesian Dualism! But if we do not need a dualistic alternative to Materialism, the concealed absurdity of the materialist argument is exposed.

If the mind is a hybrid entity composed of material and spiritual elements, of course one would expect to find links between the mind and the brain. Starting from this expectation, the claim that brain-mind links prove that the mind is entirely material is obviously absurd. Like a magician who diverts attention with one hand so the audience does not notice what the other hand is doing, the materialist con man cleverly misdirects our attention so that we do not notice the absurd premise of his argument.

The closed system fallacy

After moving beyond the threadbare materialist argument about mind-brain links, the refutation of the closed system fallacy can be made. In a prior essay, I put forward a proof that a closed system like Materialism cannot exist in nature, in logic, or in mathematics. In this essay, I shall advance simpler arguments.

Materialists say that man is trapped in a closed system of matter and energy. Therefore, reason, free will, consciousness, and the self must be illusions and we are reduced to the level of programmed automatons. Closed systems are fabricated through brutal reductionism. The full-bodied complexity of life defies the effort to understand it by reducing it to the collapsed forms that can be squeezed into a closed interlocking system. Materialists misperceive the flattened forms in their model as reality.

What if the human constitution is not a closed system? If man is a hybrid being of matter and spirit, he is an open system. The mind and will can escape from the determinism of a closed material system by inclining towards the spirit because spirit cannot be trapped in matter. That is why man is an open system and why man can be free.

Is it possible for a mind-spirit entity to escape from a closed material system without flying off into dualism? Yes. If mind consists of a unity of brain activity and spirit activity, the mind cannot be entirely cut off from the brain until physical death. We can indeed escape the closed system, an underground world where zombies live, without flying off to the neverland of dualism, where mad men live.

As the mind breaks free from the confines of mere brain activity, it can reach up to reason while keeping its feet on solid ground. When reason is unleashed, it can ponder whether one concept is better than another and whether universal truths exist, and what is the nature of the good life. Such ideas cannot be entertained by an automaton. Free will can exist if one can make choices that are not dictated by internal programming. Here again, the key to freedom is that spirit cannot be bound by matter.

No human being is going to accept the assertion that his mind, will, consciousness, and self are illusions unless he thinks there is no viable alternative to the brutal materialist philosophy. Once he is offered a viable alternative to Materialism other than Dualism, he will instantly understand that Materialism is an absurd myth, and will rejoice that he is indeed a person, that he has a self, and enjoys reason, free will, and consciousness.

For Christians only

The reader might wonder if there is a way of avoiding Materialism, Dualism, and nihilism without going through all these mental gymnastics. There is a simpler way, but it works only for Christians.

The incarnation of Christ is an ancient doctrine of Christian orthodoxy. Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man. In Christ, God is incarnated (manifested in the flesh). God is a spirit, and if a spirit being can dwell in a human body, the presumption that spirit and body are inherently incompatible is refuted. Materialist and dualist arguments that spirit and body must be separated become untenable. Nihilism is avoided.

Conclusion: The Rise and Fall of Civilization

During the pagan darkness of the European Dark Ages (500-1050 A.D.), chronic nihilism and fatalism frustrated human rationality and purposefulness and hindered the rebirth of civilization. During the period 1050-1100 A.D., Lanfranc and Saint Anselm powerfully rejuvenated the doctrines of the incarnation and the atonement. As a result, pagan nihilism and fatalism were dissolved. Men were no longer inwardly split apart and could now function as rational beings who can take resolute constructive action.

By 1100 A.D., new cities were rapidly springing up and an intellectually vigorous university had been founded in Paris by the disciples of Saint Anselm. The University of Paris was devoted to the pursuit of truth through the cultivation of human reason. The new rationalism of Europe made possible the rapid growth of European Civilization and a renaissance of Western culture.

Unfortunately, the decline of doctrinally orthodox Christianity and the reappearance of nihilism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries has been a threat to reason and to the long-term continuance of Western civilization. The collapse of the liberal worldview during the second half of the twentieth century is multiplying the postmodern nihilists in our midst. If the cancerous spread of nihilism throughout the culture is not halted, Western civilization will be doomed.

The refutation of nihilist ideas is the pressing task of this generation of conservative writers and speakers. However, a general spiritual awakening and the careful teaching of the incarnation of Christ in the churches is needed to stem the dark tide and save Western civilization. If a zeal for reason and morality re-emerges as it did in Saint Anselm's day, the West might yet have another cultural renaissance.

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