Well we just found another needed counter institution or at least an actual business that won't sell you out.


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Sep 6, 2023·edited Sep 6, 2023

I agree -- we do need something to fill the gap left by wholesome institutions that are disappearing, if only for the sake of the next generation's well-being. In addition, in the era of deplatforming, we could really use infrastructure that supports new, wholesome institutions by providing basic services like banking. ProLifeBank is one example: https://www.prolifebank.com/ It's hard to imagine such a bank denying service to any Christian institution.

There is somewhat of a catch-22 between new-ish institutions and networks of relationships. It can be extremely hard to create either without having either in place already. Our society's increasing relational disconnectedness, and the lifestyles and life patterns that support relational disconnectedness, only compound the problem.

But the church in a biblical sense (the meta-institution that spans millennia, is held firmly in Christ's grip, and against which the gates of hell will not prevail) is in no danger of disappearing. When all else fails, she'll be going strong, even if in small numbers. The stronger the opposition, the more strongly true believers band together, even as they lay down their lives and livelihoods, if necessary, to remain faithful to Jesus.

Churches and groups of believers that are remaining faithful to scripture and the gospel will always be good places to start when building networks of relationships and new-ish institutions. In a sense, they're the ultimate fallback when all other institutions and relationships fail.

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An example of a successful conservative, counter-cultural institution would be the Federalist Society. I don't know any potentially illuminating details of exactly how it framed and maintained its mission over the years, how it organized itself, and so on, but perhaps other readers could chime in.

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Thanks for this analysis, Aaron. I thought of the home school support groups we enjoyed -- I still teach a writing class for some. Yet those groups are hard to track or analyze and operate by word of mouth. Some go on a long time, others temporary for a few years. They fly under the radar for sure.

I also see something of what you are suggesting in Morales Group, which became a staffing agency and grew out of Tom's vision to welcome people to our country.


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That's exactly what I meant when I said informal (that is, among other things, not incorporated into some legal entity) and illegible. It's probably good for them to fly under the radar, lest some reporter write a hit job on them or other forms of pressure be brought to bear against them.

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Sep 6, 2023·edited Sep 6, 2023Liked by Aaron M. Renn

> Yet those groups are hard to track or analyze and operate by word of mouth.

I know of a homeschool association, but am hesitant to mention it here (or anywhere else online) lest it gain too much attention from those who wish to destroy such institutions. Often, merely being featured by left-leaning press can be hurtful to Christian institutions -- it unleashes the hounds.

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Sep 5, 2023Liked by Aaron M. Renn

Something related to home school was my exact thought here, though my oldest is still not yet kindergarten-aged, I'm not home schooling at this time and thus don't currently know much about that world.

Forming the next generation raises the stakes. If it were only for my own sake, I'd be prepared to quietly tolerate the ever-increasing insanity of the mainstream, but for the sake of providing my kids a certain amount of wholesomeness and proper moral and spiritual formation in childhood, I'm prepared to make major sacrifices to make sure they have it.

Some people might allow a platform for countercultural childhood education to be purely "oppositional" as Aaron means here, but if you really love learning and truth, then it ought to be about no more than passing those things along ("Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.")

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A vexing problem. I don't have all the answers, but I think one part of the answer is about conversion... Forming new counter-institutions is now so irrational and so costly to reputation and wallet that you have to be as committed as an Amish or an Hasidic Jew to make it work. And as you said, that conversion can't be solely a negative one, shouting from the rooftops about how terrible the mainstream is, but having nothing positive to offer of your own.

Another part of the answer is creativity and experimentation in culture and what you consume. One's conversion is probably not deep if he patronizes Amazon or get his stories from Netflix or his politics from Fox News... how can they create new institutions if they are wed to the ones which are actively dissolving connections between people right now? Members of counter-institutions will likely be willing to forego and make do and do something unconscionable to us today: make their own.

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