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American Vision is putting together a collection of books that have defined the conservative movement for the past 60 years. One is Phyllis Schlafly’s A Choice, Not an Echo, an insider’s guide to the back-room dealings of Republican insiders to gain control of the taxing power of the State, maintain the status quo, and maintain international equilibrium, all for fun, power, and profit. Today they are called RINOs: Republican in Name Only. Legislatively, they aren’t much different from Democrats. They want the same thing: To stay in power and make a name for themselves (Gen. 11:4). Schlafly wrote A Choice, Not an Echo on the eve of the 1964 election. Barry Goldwater was the choice over the echo of previous political deal making. “The king-makers are playing for high stakes—control of Federal spending—and they do not intend to lose” (120). Nothing has changed in 45 years. The following is from the first chapter:
From 1936 through 1960 the Republican presidential nominee was selected by a small group of secret kingmakers who are the most powerful opinion makers in the world. They dictated the choice of the Republican presidential nominee just as completely as the Paris dressmakers control the length of women’s skirts. In the 1940’s when the decree went out from Paris that all women’s skirts should be only fourteen inches off the floor, every family budget in the United States was unbalanced in a frantic effort to achieve the “new look”.
Each fall 66 million American women don’t spontaneously decide their dresses should be an inch or two shorter, or longer, than last year. Like sheep, they bow to the wishes of a select clique of couturiers whom they have never seen, and whose names they may not even know.
It is easy to predict that, when skirts get about as short as they can possibly go, a Paris edict will be handed down again, and otherwise-sensible American women, even when they cannot afford such extravagance, will throw or give away perfectly good dresses in order to buy new ones which will meet the fashion dictates of a half dozen dressmakers in Paris.
In the same way, a few secret kingmakers based in New York selected every Republican presidential nominee from 1936 through 1960, and successfully forced their choice on a free country where there are more than 34 million Republican voters.
These comments by Schalfly remind me of a scene from the film The Devil Wears Prada. “Andy,” played by Anne Hathaway, takes notes at her first fashion run through. She is told to “stand, watch, and listen” by Art Director Nigel. It’s at this point in the film that we get an understanding of how all-inclusive and intrusive worldviews are. Miranda Priestly, played by Meryl Streep, dresses down Andy for scoffing when one of the designers holds up two nearly identical belts and asserts that they are “so different.” Andy makes the mistake of referring to the work at Runway as “this stuff.” Miranda as the demanding editor of Runway, sets her straight:
You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet, and you select that lumpy blue sweater, for instance, because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise, it’s not lapis, it’s actually Cerulean. And you’re also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002 Oscar de La Renta did a collection of Cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves saint Laurent who showed Cerulean military jackets . . . and then Cerulean quickly showed up in the collection of eight different designers. Then it filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down to some tragic casual corner where you no doubt fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs, and it’s sort of comical how you think you made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when it fact you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of “stuff.”
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Worldviews are all around us, and they send out their fashionable philosophies, and there is no way to escape them. We can succumb to their pressures or fight them and offer alternatives. Pick any industry, profession, ideology, or political movement, and the results are the same. What’s true for the clothes on our back is equally true of the ideas that make their way to Congress that end up ruling and ruining our lives. Of course, there is a difference between fashion and politics. You and I can choose not to wear the latest styles and become candidates for What Not to Wear, and only our closest friends will care. But there is no escaping the long arm of messianic politics. It’s unfortunate that too many Christians believe they are above it all or hope to hover above it all by being raptured out of this world. It ain’t gonna happen. Get used to this reality and act accordingly.
Phyllis Schlafly has doggedly continued to fight against the stream of power politics. She’s been at it since the 1940s. When the Equal Rights Amendment reared its ugly head again in 1972 (it had been introduced in every Congress since 1923), Schlafly went to work. It had already been ratified by 30 of the required 38 states. Her efforts to stop it seemed hopeless, even after a time for ratification extension had been added to the seven-year limit, but stop it she did. There is a lesson here for all of us. It doesn’t take a majority to bring about change. You don’t have to own a newspaper or a TV network. God calls us to act on our beliefs. Of course, this means understanding what you and I should believe. Most Christians are woefully ignorant on the basics of worldview thinking. While they are acting to stop the flood of immediate tyranny, they need to get up to speed in developing a comprehensive biblical worldview.