I Was Canceled. You’re Next in Line.
Conserve your spine or lose it all.
On June 3, 2020, I was fired from my post as department chairman for publicly opposing and mocking the inherent terrorism of the Black Lives Matter movement. A doxxing-type petition arose against me early in the day; I was “canceled” before dinnertime.
Notably, unlike others who have faced similar forms of cancellation, I was not dismissed from a large secular state college or a public institution of secondary education, where capitulation to the mob is somewhat to be expected. This was a conservative, Catholic high school, whose theology department (which I chaired) rejects ab initio the ontological essentials of BLM .
In other words, most of the recent firings by openly Marxist employers—such as the Regents of the University of California—boil down to nondescript “dog bites man” ledes. But my narrative falls far closer to “man bites dog,” given the antipathy with which Roman Catholic theology has typically regarded the Marxist neo-terrorism that postconciliar parochial schools are lately endorsing or condoning.
The high school at which I taught was also vaunted for fostering community. So one easily can imagine my surprise at the termination: the school was well aware I am a single breadwinner in a home of six children, the eldest of whom bears “special needs” and underwent her fourth and largest brain surgery, a hemispherectomy, less than two months prior to my firing. (She is still recovering from her surgery, as my family winds down its time on the school’s insurance.)
My firing is the perfect test case for measuring the profundity of conservative, Christian cowardice. It is, as the ghost of Marley tells Scrooge, “a ponderous chain.” Since I was the well-liked Catholic face of my former school—with a daughter whose continuing medical needs were well-known to everyone—my ruthless firing raises the question: just how frantic are Christians and conservatives to capitulate—and to telegraph their capitulation—to the new race-class-and-gender Marxists terrorizing American streets?
Quite frantic indeed. I was torn from my post quicker than a pair of Air Jordans from an unmanned Nike store. My diocese and my spiritual father, the Bishop, deemed my livelihood unworthy of defense, or even of nonchalant investigation.
The Radicals Mean What They Say
Paradoxically, I am in fact a minority of sorts. Like a stranger in a strange, formerly Protestant land, I am a Latin Mass Roman Catholic American of Italian and Scottish descent; I teach (taught) the authentic Catholic faith not at a small classical academy or post-Vatican II breakaway school—where Tradition would be welcome—but rather at a big, diocesan education-mill where the authentic Catholic faith is typically repudiated; I am householder and father over a large family with a “special needs” child; I am a non-octogenarian who enjoys licorice; etc.
Not one of these minority categories comprises the select sort, however, sufficient for the issuance of diplomatic immunity in 2020 Clown America (where, as Orwell once wrote, “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”). Evidently, diplomatic immunity is only for the street rabble, brigands, and iconoclasts toppling holy statues and razing neighborhood shops to the ground.
These blue-haired Jacobins are untouchable—and I’m not just talking about their deplorable hygiene. Rather, their race-baiting lawlessness is christened by some ineffable protection from the law of the land, a wraith of nu-justice which stands down at their very appearance, prostrates itself before their neo-supremacist racial claims, nullifies the vitality of our venerated institutions of procedural due process, and even cancels the ostensible outbreak of viruses before their rallies.
One is thus tempted to suppose that free speech’s mercurial gatekeepers recur solely to the verisimilitude of race-selectivity. After all, the BLM Marxists sound as if race is their prime criterion.
Even the name, “Black Lives Matter,” suggests as much. But think again. Consider the brave Arizona Representative Walter Blackman—the first black Republican elected to the Arizona legislature—who came under heavy fire in early June for asserting exactly what I did: the plain historical fact of BLM terror. Perhaps the cultish new American rights-selectivity regime has a racial component; but on a closer appraisal, it reduces most earnestly to old-fashioned viewpoint discrimination. In brief, even a brave black man cannot speak the truth about BLM. No one can.
Why not? Plainly speaking, because the radical Left—insane though they may appear—operates efficiently, deliberately, and rather elegantly. They do their diabolical work well, without compunction or cessation. They’re winners, which renders left-wing mockery by right-wingers all the more farcical. One wonders what conservatives are pointing at the Left and laughing about?
The so-called “right wing,” if such a chimera even exists in the 21st century, is peopled by an irresolute mob of henpecked, handwringing, risk-averse, complacent, self-serving, heartless schoolmarms, who would have to be literally gang-pressed into a fight (and who would flee the moment it came down to it).
Shakespeare’s Caesar, like all tyrants, famously wanted self-satisfied dullards around him: “let me have men about me that are fat,” he said. He could have done no better than to surround himself with cowards in the mold of the 2020 American “conservative.” These eunuchs would suffer the cruelest brutality at the hands of their nemeses before they’d ball up their fist and fight back. I’ve honestly never seen anything like it. One recalls the cowardly bourgeois self-loathing of Mark Twain’s Colonel Sherburn:
Do I know you? I know you clear through. I was born and raised in the South, and I’ve lived in the North; so I know the average all around. The average man’s a coward. In the North he lets anybody walk over him that wants to, and goes home and prays for a humble spirit to bear it. In the South one man, all by himself, has stopped a stage full of men in the daytime, and robbed the lot. Your newspapers call you a brave people so much that you think you are braver than any other people—whereas you’re just as brave, and no braver.
In adversarial terms, the claim is simple: there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the Left. Everything, on the other hand, is wrong with the fighting spirit of the Right.
Further, American conservatives rarely, if ever, circle the wagons around the few champions of the West who are willing to fight. Envying the dauntless courage of such midnightly few, the cowards on the Right practically celebrate the downfall of the unaided resistors in their midst.
Microscopically and macroscopically, this leaves Western Civ’s few guarantors and truth-tellers in the position of the dark knight—heaping insult upon scorn against the minority who defend the sheepfold. Socrates tells us that this is their perennial fate, from age to age—a perverse collusion between the sheep and the wolves against the sheepdogs—although our age is particularly egregious in this respect.
And this is my story: I wasn’t defended by my diocese or by my school, or even by faithful and presumptively “vocal” parents who had formerly supported my strong formation of their youths in the faith. But in ostensible weakness, I strengthen. And now I move even more aggressively to prosecute the foes of civil society. Theirs is a capital offense and I am not forgetting it. Not by a damn sight.
Luckily, the online national community of faithful Catholics and stalwart conservatives came to my financial aid, through timothyjgordon.com, donating generously to my family after being notified by my friends in the national media. Even as I acknowledge the inversion of the Catholic principle of subsidiarity this phenomenon represents, I gratefully embrace help given from around the country.
Luckily, my media footprint and authorial influence proved sufficiently large to inoculate me in a way many could never hope. Nevertheless, one startles at the proclivity of the hometown mob to eat its faithful offspring.
In the parlance of the Western film, we got a fight comin’, and it’s comin’ today. Stand and fight. Our institutions—the academy, news and entertainment media, our politics, our economy, and even the Church—are so thoroughly infiltrated that the Jacobins, once camouflaged but now demasked, may desecrate the tombs of the holy and topple statues of Christendom’s paragons in the bright noon light.
The terrorists, wolves among sheep, control the responses, and even the moral imaginations, of the fold: accordingly, one gets fired for opposing terrorism. Fat, comfortable suburbanites have for too long preferred to sacrifice their champions rather than jeopardize their comfort. But my firing—and, I fear, more like it—must be the clarion call to a new era: the era of the renewal of Christendom.
Thus far, we’ve been cultural losers, in every venue. Complacency and security have become our deadliest foes—far deadlier than even the human agents of the Deceiver who toil, night and day, to capture even the small, overlooked corners of the cultural landscape that their dominion currently lacks.
“The time has come for valor without renown,” as Aragorn tells Eowyn. I am calling for all to redeem their bespoiled manhoods in the perilous, yet salubrious crucible of cultural battle—with no quarter for the cowardly, no shelter for the insipid. We got a fight comin’, and it’s comin’ today. Conservatives, become Retrogrades! Keep the faith, keep your spine, and keep the fight.
The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.