What The Right Needs Now Is The Courage To Fight Even If It Costs Us (2024)

What The Right Needs Now Is The Courage To Fight Even If It Costs Us (1)

This is the text of the Bradley Prize acceptance speech the author gave on Sept. 13.

My brother skipped a grade, so he was small for his age when three other junior high school boys stole something from him and roughed him up one Friday after school.

My dad asked my despairing brother how he felt about it. He said he was angry and wanted to get his property back.

Dad explained that if he didn’t handle it, the bullies would never stop. He had my brother describe the boys and asked if he thought he could take on the biggest one.

That weekend, dad and a neighbor taught my brother some moves and strategy. After the first period on Monday, my brother confronted his attacker and won the ensuing fight.

Today, everyday Americans are being bullied by a hard-left minority that unfortunately has taken over and controls most of the agenda-setting institutions in our country. As someone who works in the media space, I know what it is like to be a lonely voice taking on many of these powerful people.

I learned several things from my brother’s improbable victory.

First off, as Pat Buchanan wrote, “Courage is contagious, Defiance can lead to a recovery of will.” It is inspiring to see someone who chooses to risk his well-being for a higher good.

We live in a time when people act like stating one’s sexual preferences or whatever pronouns they’re using this week is courageous. I prefer David Azerrad’s definition that courage is the “Bold and principled defiance of the lies of the age.”

The conservative establishment, its politicians, and its media, don’t lack ideas or people. But too many of its leaders do lack determination and endurance and fearlessness. The people can tell. As it is said, “Men don’t follow titles, they follow courage.”

The conservative movement in D.C. has too often been engaged in insincere opposition to progressivism’s march through America’s institutions, both public and private. It has seemed mostly interested in negotiating terms of surrender or managing defeat than preserving the republic. It has stood athwart history impotently suggesting that progressives slow down. Michael Malice has therefore derided conservatism as just “Progressivism with a speed limit.” Institutional conservatism and its alleged leaders have too frequently accepted the propaganda press’s treatment of conservatives as second-class citizens.

For conservatism to mean anything now, it has to be about rejecting this rigged system. Don’t just say “stop.” Our duty is to not to say “stop” but then bend the knee in cowardice when the mob comes. That brings even more harm to our more vulnerable neighbors and does nothing to prevent the destruction of the country.

It’s not comfortable for conservatives who value order and civility to even think or speak this way. But the fact is that many Americans are alienated from and no longer feel at home in their own country. The moral climate has been degraded as the left has taken over every single one of the powerful institutions in the country and is actively pushing people to lead a life of godlessness, barrenness, selfishness, gluttony, and addiction to outrage and dopamine.

All of a sudden, the conservative project is not a conservative one, so much as a counter-revolutionary one.

Unfortunately, anyone who dares take on the broken and corrupt political and media complex is teed up for absolute destruction. As lesser men cower in the face of the risk, the cost of standing up to the system becomes steeper and steeper. While you will not be locked up for saying the truth, yet, you will be demonized, stigmatized, deplatformed. You may lose your job.

The end result is America’s ability to get the course correction it desperately needs gets delayed. And at some point, if more people don’t stand up and fight hard, the nation is going to die.

Having said that, we must inoculate ourselves against excessive, if fashionable, pessimism. The truth may not prevail. But until then, there’s a heartwarming amount of defiance left in this country.

Also guard against mindless hopefulness. Hope is a virtue, but it can be a bit of a vice if it’s an unwarranted faith that everything will work out in this world or for this country.

Before he was executed for his opposition to Adolf Hitler, Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote in one of his letters from prison about people who had “hilaritas,” which he described as “optimism about one’s own work, as boldness, willingness to defy the world and popular opinion, as the firm conviction that they are doing the world GOOD with their work, even if the world isn’t pleased with it.”

Let us have high-spirited confidence and faith in our positions. John Adams was right that “our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Abraham Lincoln was right to sacrifice everything for the sake of government of, by, and for the people. These truths remain important, which is why so many powerful people are fighting to keep it from being shared.

It’s not enough, though, that someone fights. The fight must be smart and tactical. While we are clearly entering an era where dissidents will be required, there’s no value in secular martyrdom or being just another victim of the regime. The fight must be supplemented by prudence and strategy. Be bold and defiant, but we must also know where to aim our fire.

On the other hand, figuring out where to aim our fire is not that difficult right now. It brings to mind a quote from legendary Marine Chesty Puller: “They are in front of us, behind us, and we are flanked on both sides by an enemy that outnumbers us 29:1. They can’t get away from us now!”

It’s a target-rich environment. Now go out and pick one.

Mollie Ziegler Hemingway is the Editor-in-Chief of The Federalist. She is Senior Journalism Fellow at Hillsdale College and a Fox News contributor. She is the co-author of Justice on Trial: The Kavanaugh Confirmation and the Future of the Supreme Court. She is the author of "Rigged: How the Media, Big Tech, and the Democrats Seized Our Elections." Reach her at mzhemingway@thefederalist.com

What The Right Needs Now Is The Courage To Fight Even If It Costs Us (2)

Mollie Hemingway

Visit on Twitter @mzhemingway

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What The Right Needs Now Is The Courage To Fight Even If It Costs Us (2024)


What is a famous quote about courage? ›

"We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear." - Martin Luther King, Jr. "I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear."

What does Nietzsche mean by he who fights monsters? ›

Nietzsche's quote “He who fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you” is a cautionary tale about the dangers of engaging in a struggle against an oppressive force.

What did Sun Tzu say about knowing your enemy? ›

Abstract: Sun Tzu said Know the enemy and know yourself in a hundred battles you will never be in peril. When you are ignorant of the enemy but know yourself, your chances of winning or losing are equal. If ignorant both of your enemy and of yourself, you are certain in every battle to be in peril.

What are some quotes about courage in the face of adversity? ›

It is your reaction to adversity, not the adversity itself, that determines how your life story will develop.” “You can't be brave if you've only had wonderful things happen to you.” “Sometimes adversity is what you need to face in order to become successful.” “Adversity is preparation for greatness.”

What did Mark Twain say about courage? ›

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear-not absence of fear. Except a creature be part coward it is not a compliment to say it is brave; it is merely a loose missapplication of the word.

What is Brené Brown's famous quote? ›

The courage to be vulnerable is not about winning or losing, it's about the courage to show up when you can't predict or control the outcome.” “Clear is kind. Unclear is unkind.” “Daring leaders work to make sure people can be themselves and feel a sense of belonging.”

What is the paradox of Nietzsche? ›

Man is atraid and in danger, and thus he creates morality in order to save himself trom the extra-moral empty character of life. He creates good and evil, but he makes the mistake to call it 'good for everyone' and 'evil for everyone' - and here lies the paradox of morality.

What is Nietzsche's answer to nihilism? ›

Nietzsche aimed to overcome nihilism by affirming the unconditional embrace of existence. For him, life was not to be denied but rather created by one's own value system, and built on the foundation of understanding that there is no inherit meaning in the universe.

What is Nietzsche's message? ›

Nietzsche claimed the exemplary human being must craft his/her own identity through self-realization and do so without relying on anything transcending that life—such as God or a soul.

How do you beat your enemy psychologically? ›

How to Destroy Your Enemy Without Fighting
  1. Stay calm.
  2. Tell them to back off.
  3. Look them in the eye.
  4. Team up with some trusted allies.
  5. Document and report any bullying.
  6. Avoid engaging when they attack.
  7. Build yourself up instead of bringing them down.
  8. Look for the positive side of the situation.

What is Lao Tzu's most famous quote? ›

A man with outward courage dares to die; a man with inner courage dares to live.

What was Sun Tzu's famous quote? ›

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

What does courage in the face of adversity mean? ›

It's the strength to push forward when doubt whispers in your ear and the will to take that first step, even when your legs are trembling. Courage comes in many forms: standing up for what's right, facing personal demons, or enduring difficult circ*mstances with grace and dignity.

How do you have courage in the face of adversity? ›

Photos courtesy of the individual members.
  1. Think of someone less fortunate. ...
  2. Reframe your fear. ...
  3. Engage in self-talk. ...
  4. Let go of what you fear to lose. ...
  5. Break down the action steps. ...
  6. Go to the roar. ...
  7. Understand the motivation behind your emotions. ...
  8. Accept what you can't control.
May 27, 2020

What is a simple quote about courage? ›

More Quotes on Courage
  • Don't foul, don't flinch-hit the line hard. Theodore Roosevelt.
  • Whatever you do, you need courage. ...
  • Courage without conscience is a wild beast. ...
  • Until the day of his death, no man can be sure of his courage. ...
  • Bravery never goes out of style.

What is a famous moral courage quote? ›

“Moral Courage – doing what has to be done, because it is the right thing to do – is the mark of a true hero.

What is a quote about strong and courage? ›

  • “Be strong, be fearless, be beautiful. ...
  • “Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.” — ...
  • “Just remember, you can do anything you set your mind to, but it takes action, perseverance, and facing your fears.” — ...
  • “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.
Mar 30, 2024

What is the quote everyday courage? ›

Everyday courage has few witnesses. But yours is no less noble because no drum beats for you and no crowds shout your name.

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