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Revolutionaries
Magazine Article

Today’s Revolutionaries

Progressives believe theirs is a noble task. If you assume that evolution is an intrinsic part of life, then you must believe constant change and adaptation are necessary to its health. What you and I see as destructive, they see as progressive. They are forcing the changes necessary for society to adapt to a changing world.

Mark R. Rushdoony
  • Mark R. Rushdoony,
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Ideas have consequences. They have profound implications because they dictate our actions and our ethics. Because of this, Charles Darwin is one of the central characters of the modern world; his ideas have thoroughly permeated not only our culture, but the entire world. His influence extends well beyond biology.

Darwin’s thinking necessitates a new worldview, one that is far removed from a sovereign God and lawgiver. Darwin’s world knows not law, but rather lawlessness. It knew change, chaos, and adaptation. For Darwin, not changing led to death, so in his thinking, the faster one changed, the more likely one’s survival.

If there was one supreme principle in Darwin’s world, it was the necessity of change and adaptation to survive. Once Darwin’s thinking was accepted as biological dogma, it could not be confined to the sciences, because it was really a philosophy of all existence. So, in one area after another, Darwin’s thinking became the norm.

Dead Experiences of the Past

The pragmatists adopted this new perceived need for change to law. Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., one of the greatest influencers of American legal thought and Chief Justice from 1902 to 1931, was the key American jurist in this shift. Law was seen by Holmes as no more than man’s cumulative experiences.

Pragmatists like Holmes saw law as tending to be past bound, so they saw a need for courts to identify social changes and adapt the law accordingly. Instead of preserving established ways, their job, as they saw it, was to define and expedite evolving social changes. To such thinking, then, the old was the dead experience of the past. Constitutions, original intent, Christian ethics, strict construction, and founding fathers’ intent were all dead experiences of the past that should be made to yield to the new experiences of today. Theirs was an evolutionary perspective that change was good, that man had to change, that if he held on to the past, he couldn’t survive. 

This was a revolutionary view of society which said that society must embrace change, and when it is resisted, must be forced for its very survival. The courts had to save society; they must encourage change while discarding the old experiences of the past. In this view, jurisprudence was seen as a revolutionary means of forcing change. It was forcing adaptation on an evolving culture. 

Forcing Progress

This is the motivation behind judicial activism. The courts see their role as forcing the law to be relevant to the changing culture, because new experiences are always more relevant than the old experiences of the past. To such a mindset, legal revolution is both good and necessary because it protects a people from stagnating in the past. Judicial restraint, strict construction, and the original intent of the founders are all seen as backward and regressive, restricting the relevance of the law to a developing culture. Evolution is now very much a mindset of the modern court.

When we try to preserve the Constitution, or original intent, or strict constructionism, we are seen as regressive. We’re part of the problem. This is why another name for liberalism is progressivism. They believe they are forcing progress, forcing social evolution on the regressive elements of society. So, what we seek to preserve, such thinking seeks to destroy.

Progressives believe theirs is a noble task. If you assume that evolution is an intrinsic part of life, then you must believe constant change and adaptation are necessary to its health. What you and I see as destructive, they see as progressive. They are forcing the changes necessary for society to adapt to a changing world. 

Out with the Old

The prejudice is thus with change, even revolutionary changes. We can understand much about our world if we understand this bias towards radical, even revolutionary, changes. In the 1960s, we had the sexual revolution. Then we had the feminist movement. The role and prerogatives of parents have undergone a revolution. This explains the demand for the acceptance of homosexuality and homosexual unions. We can view much modern art in terms of this revolutionary attitude. “Out with the old. We must change.” The revolutionaries that threaten us are no longer on the streets. The revolutionaries are in our courthouses, our legislatures, our statehouses, and our schools. They control our entertainment and our mainstream news and publishing. Our culture is full of revolutionaries because its worldview is Darwinian to the core. Our culture seems like it is bent on self-destruction.

But there is another part of culture that is not self-destructive. The kingdom of God is growing in many parts of the world. Christianity is the fastest growing religion in the world. The progressivism of Darwinism is a progress towards death and hell.  Our assurance, Jesus taught us to pray, is that His is “the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.”


Mark R. Rushdoony
  • Mark R. Rushdoony

Mark R. Rushdoony graduated from Los Angeles Baptist College (now The Master’s College) with a B.A. in history in 1975 and was ordained to the ministry in 1995.

He taught junior and senior high classes in history, Bible, civics and economics at a Christian school in Virginia for three years before joining the staff of Chalcedon in 1978. He was the Director of Chalcedon Christian School for 14 years while teaching full time. He also helped tutor all of his children through high school.

In 1998, he became the President of Chalcedon and Ross House Books, and, more recently another publishing arm, Storehouse Press. Chalcedon and its subsidiaries publish many titles plus CDs, mp3s, and an extensive online archive at www.chalcedon.edu. His biography of his father will be published later this year (2024).

He has written scores of articles for Chalcedon’s publications, both the Chalcedon Report and Faith for all of Life. He was a contributing author to The Great Christian Revolution (1991). He has spoken at numerous conferences and churches in the U.S. and abroad.

Mark Rushdoony has lived in Vallecito, California, since 1978.  His wife, Darlene, and he have been married since 1976. His youngest son still resides with him. He has three married children and nine grandchildren.

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