We are getting what we paid for, and if we want something else, we are going to have to pay for it, in work, sweat, and sacrifice.
Anyone who’s read Rushdoony extensively is usually struck by both his clear Biblical critique of the modern age as well as his ability to anticipate the future. Because of his ability to expose a subject so extensively, it’s not uncommon to hear a reader comment that a book, essay, or article by R. J. Rushdoony sounds like it was published recently.
The above-mentioned citation regarding the idea that we’re getting what we paid for is lifted from a chapter entitled “How to Produce a Hippie” from his seven volume series A Word in Season: Daily Messages on the Faith for All of Life. At first hearing, the term “hippie” seems dated, but in that chapter, he shows how a few fundamental ideas are all it takes to produce a rebellious and revolutionary generation.
He says a society needs to abolish all teaching about God and the Bible from the schools; it needs to emphasize the priority of the individual and their rights; it needs to make sure the child feels entitled with the best of everything, and it needs to convince children that the real problem isn’t sin but their environment. The end result, Rushdoony writes, is:
Then the child will grow up with a revolutionary rage at everybody instead of looking to God for regeneration.
Revolution or Regeneration?
The basic problem of man is still sin, yet it’s where man finds that sin that determines whether he will reach for revolution or cry out for regeneration. It’s not that modern man denies the existence of sin, wickedness, or evil. It’s that he ascribes it to his environment which means that the only way to purge the world of sin is by the flame of revolution.
Our problem today is that our culture does see evil as a product of the environment, whereas Scripture tells us it originates in man.
An entitled generation won’t wait for incremental change because that is not what they were taught. The simple demands from a life of entitlement get transferred to institutions, and the whining only becomes more violent. None of this happens by accident. We produce it. And as Rushdoony notes, this humanistic doctrine spews from the usual suspects:
Our public schools are an amazingly efficient and economical machine for producing hippies. Then too our indulgent homes are wonderful breeding places for hippies, and our churches are clearly in favor of the whole business.
If we do not teach our children and our churches that man’s problem is sin, i.e., the breaking of God’s law from a sinful nature, then our world will continue its steady decline into darkness because we will look to eradicate that sin in the environment and not in our hearts. Revivals cannot reverse this, and no rapture will deliver us, so the question becomes, “What shall we do?”
We Have to Pay for It
Rushdoony said, “If we want something else, we are going to have to pay for it, in work, sweat, and sacrifice,” and that’s not what modern Christians want to hear. They want a revival, a rapture, or a Republican to deliver them; but even though reconstruction offers a way forward, they shirk from it because of the heavy load of responsibility that accompanies it.
The problem of the wicked is that they do not understand the source of evil. The problem of the “righteous” is that they do not understand the responsibilities of the faith, and one major responsibility is that of reinforcing the character necessary for a free and godly society. Like children born in wealth, they dissipate their inheritance. And like their secular counterparts, they see their answer in politics:
Politics cannot produce character: Christianity must. The decline of faith is a decline of character and a decline of character is the forerunner of political decay and collapse. Christianity has an obligation to train a people in the fundamentals of God’s grace and law, and to make them active and able champions of true political liberty and order.
The work we have to do is clear. We must train people in order to make them active in establishing a godly society, and that takes work, sweat, and sacrifice. There are no shortcuts, and there will be no deliverance. Like Israel coming out of the wilderness, the promised land before us will require war, work, and development. One might assume that the real “promised land” was the wilderness where the nation is led by a cloud, fed from the sky, and whose thirst is quenched by the miracle of water out of a rock. How could a promised land require so much work?
Are we too late in the game for the work of Christian reconstruction? Are we too late to plant a tree? Our obligation is only to be faithful to that calling with our own generation while laying in store for the next. Israel’s crossing of the Jordan into Canaan was merely beginning of multiple generations of an ever-expanding kingdom, so the time to begin the work of reconstruction is always now:
Above all, plant the seeds, sow the Word, establish truly Christian churches, free and independent Christian schools. Establish a Christian family life, and a godly operation in your farm or business life. The times may look bad for making a start, but there is no harvest without a planting.
This is Chalcedon’s mission and message, and it’s one that we hope you will support. Chalcedon is dedicated to equipping Christians to advance God’s Kingdom, but we cannot do that without you. Please take a moment today to prayerfully consider sending the most generous tax-deductible gift you can to this ministry. You can do it right now with our easy online giving.
 R. J. Rushdoony, A Word in Season: Daily Messages on the Faith for All of Life, Volume One (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 2010), p. 86.
 ibid., p. 136.
 ibid., p. 86.
 R. J. Rushdoony, Roots of Reconstruction (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1991), p. 552.
 R. J. Rushdoony, A Word in Season: Daily Messages on the Faith for All of Life, Volume Two (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 2011), p. 18.
- Chalcedon Editorial