Yellowstone, and Why Sin Will Take You Farther Than You Want to Go
How sin relates to survival.
Something I would like to talk more about in Unprepared is the importance of virtue and sin in relation to preparedness.
For example, let’s say you have a closet full of guns, but lack the virtue of courage. What good will those guns do you if you’re frozen in fear when you hear a window shatter in the dead of night?
Or how long will survival food last you if you’re overcome with gluttony?
And how will you maintain the positive mental attitude necessary for survival if you fall into the sin of despair?
A lot of people don’t like that sort of framing these days, but they’re concepts that most people understand well. And they apply not only to individual survival, but to how to build a society we want to live in, which is something else I want Unprepared to focus on.
The snowball of sin
The thing about sin is that it tends to snowball. Like a guy who gets a little drunk, cheats on his wife while drunk, gets blackmailed, ends up robbing a bank to pay up, and then dies in a shootout. That’s probably a movie.
But it doesn’t have to be that extreme. For instance, drug addicts who completely debase themselves to feed their habits probably would have found those things disgusting before they tried drugs.
On an even smaller scale, most cigarette smokers probably weren’t signing up to smoke thousands of the things over a period of years when they tried their first cigarette.
Sliding down the scale a bit further is the recent controversy over the contemporary cowboy drama Yellowstone, which has apparently taken to preaching “woke” talking pointsto unsuspecting conservative Boomers who just want to watch Kevin Costner ride horses and shoot people.
Which has led to the new “hick lib” meme in which Kevin Costner, in full cowboy LARP cosplay, espouses left-wing talking points.
We don’t watch much TV, but my wife and I checked out an episode of Yellowstone because everyone in our circle was talking about it. I found it offensive, not only for the over-the-top fornication, profanity, and violence, but also because it was so ridiculous. Do the writers expect me to believe that cowboys are having shootouts in present day Montana?
You get what you ask for
For conservatives who are disappointed in the direction of Yellowstone, all I can ask is: what did you expect? You were okay with murder and fornication, but long-winded speeches about race and misogyny are a step too far?
Sometimes I listen to the local conservative talk radio station in the car, and it always strikes me as amusing that some talking head will spout off about the degeneracy of the modern world, then cuts to commercial with Led Zeppelin or The Doors as the bumper music. I’ve had similar thoughts to conservative guys talking about taking their teenage sons to Hooters while decrying sexual perversion. Every journey begins with a single step.
As many have pointed out, the fundamental problem with “conservatism” is conservatives want to rewind the clock 50 years. It’s simply that they want the degeneracy of 50 years ago, not the degeneracy of today. Likewise, young conservatives long for the carefree days of the 1980s when the airwaves were full of innocent songs about erections, delaying orgasm, and stalking women.
But fundamentally, conservatives have failed to remove their attachment to sin, and and thus lost the culture war because their platitudes ring hollow. The classic example is the conservative politician preaching “family values” while cheating on his wife.
A big part of what motivates me to go to the gym is I want to set that standard for my children, as well as my readers. I want my children to embrace a classical education, so I’ve been reading Homer and Shakespeare and learning Latin. How can I expect of others what I myself fail to do?
Strive to be better
As preppers, people keenly interested in survival, we also have a responsibility to be a light in the darkness. It’s not enough to merely survive and hunker down as the world falls apart.
If we don’t want to step out of our figurative (or literal) bunkers to some hellish Mad Max sort of world, we must be willing to lead and serve as examples, to inspire hope and determination. Because otherwise, what are we surviving for?
Instead of pointing fingers at the motes in the eyes of others, we must first remove the beams in ours. To be resilient means to master our surroundings, and to do that, we must first master ourselves.
My problem with “wokeness” in entertainment is that it inspires ham-fisted writing, often with some protagonist giving a long-winded Ayn Rand-style speech directly to the audience. As Samuel Goldwyn supposedly said, “I want a story. If you’ve got a message, send it by Western Union.” Of course, all stories contain messages, but it’s a matter of finesse.