This in response to a reader who emailed him the following:
You’ve written and linked a bit lately about “changing the culture”. I don’t see myself buying a women’s magazine publishing company any time soon (or even getting involved in my local GOP, but I suppose that’s at least possible). I think you make great points about changing the culture (I’m sure you know Mark Steyn has written a lot on that subject lately as well), but what can/should non-millionaires do? Are Breitbart or O’Keefe soliciting donations to buy out Cosmo or anything? Curious if you have any practical suggestions.
I would posit to Mr. Reynolds that what is needed, and it's certainly counter-intuitive, is a change to orthodoxy. Change in and of itself is problematic. G. K. Chesterton, in his classic tome, wrote this as to the pursuit of change:
It is true that a man (a silly man) might make change itself his object or ideal. But as an ideal, change itself becomes unchangeable. If the change-worshipper wishes to estimate his own progress, he must be sternly loyal to the ideal of change; he must not begin to flirt gaily with the ideal of monotony. Progress itself cannot progress. It is worth remark, in passing, that when Tennyson, in a wild and rather weak manner, welcomed the idea of infinite alteration in society, he instinctively took a metaphor which suggests an imprisoned tedium. He wrote—
“Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change.“
He thought of change itself as an unchangeable groove; and so it is. Change is about the narrowest and hardest groove that a man can get into.
Yet Chesterton knew change was a necessity and that real cultural change begins with the person and particularly the person willing to admit to the notion that the change being sought, and more particularly the structure housing or hosting or accomodating that change, is the change brought about by acceptance, adherence and assent to the Church.
If I could wave a magic wand and from that wave enact cultural change, I would wave that wand at recalcitrant Catholics, opening their eyes to the beauty and harmony of the Church they've kept at arm's length, revealing to them the wisdom found therein and the need to become an active part of it.
Somewhere I read that a third of Americans were raised Catholic but that a third of that third had stopped practicing their faith (measured by no longer going to Mass). I'm no math wizard but I believe there are now over 300 million Americans which would mean roughly 100 million are Catholics and nearly 35 million of them are lapsed.
What kind of change would this country see if those 35 million were to return to the Church and begin taking their faith seriously?
I would suggest it would be change we could believe in.