Before American education was dumbed down to little more than indoctrination programs for brainwashing kids into believing that everything is “racist” and “sexist,” most high school curricula included an introduction to Joseph Campbell’s conception of the “Hero’s Journey.” Having deconstructed mythologies, folktales, and religious parables across cultures, Campbell diagramed common themes present in their structure. In seventeen stages that appear in various forms from one story to the next, every hero’s journey includes:
- a departure from the comforts of home
- trials and heartache that lead to self-discovery and triumph
- a new enlightenment that can be used to help others upon return
We humans are not inclined to recognize a real hero unless that person has endured tremendous hardship and suffering. Gavin Newsom, for example, does not strike anybody as heroic. The nephew of Nancy Pelosi was born with so many profitable political connections that his journey from San Francisco mayor to California’s lieutenant governor, governor, and now presidential wannabe surprises no one. As an heir to a powerful political dynasty, Newsom has gone down a familiar path soaked in noble privilege and devoid of heroic sacrifice.
In contrast, there is a simple reason why President Trump’s popularity continues only to grow, even while Deep State praetorians seek his downfall and imprisonment: his venture into politics has been the “Hero’s Journey” incarnate. Every blow he suffers, indignity he endures, and enemy he sinks provides further proof that he is a man vested with uncommon courage.
If Joseph Campbell’s comparative mythology is correct, we humans are instinctually drawn toward leaders who are mercilessly beaten to near death yet somehow find the strength to rise again. Some might see supernatural abilities within Donald Trump; others might even wonder whether a higher power protects him on his path. What is certain, however, is this: in its relentless pursuit of his destruction, D.C.’s permanent ruling class has transformed President Trump into something greater than he was before his journey began.
Jim Caviezel is another hero who leaps to mind. A talented actor who achieved notable success with his early performances in film, he risked his career to portray Jesus in Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. In a town hostile to religious conviction, Hollywood responded by more or less blacklisting Caviezel from acting roles for the next two decades.
At any time during these personal trials, Caviezel could have caved to the entertainment industry and renounced his spiritual faith. He almost certainly knew that a single public statement denouncing Mel Gibson, his film, or Christians generally would have been rewarded with readmission back inside Club Hollywood’s lucrative gates. Instead, he chose to endure any professional hardships with quiet determination, to spread the Gospel’s truth to young audiences everywhere, and to trudge forward with a head held high despite personal sacrifice. He may not have known that he was being watched by millions who wondered whether he would crack. Yet he demonstrated the inherent nobility of stoic manliness because his character proved resilient.
Hollywood has done a lot to bury both Caviezel and Gibson and to prevent them from reaching audiences with their work. Ironically, their perseverance has drawn audiences closer. Instead of seeking the safety of what is easy and familiar, both men have sought only more difficult trials through the years. What trials have they recently chosen to confront? The evils of human enslavement and sex-trafficking — a nightmarish underworld reality that our incurious press and complicit politicians all too frequently cover up.
Caviezel, director Alejandro Monteverde, a talented supporting cast, and a heroic film crew have worked together to bring to the big screen the story of Tim Ballard’s selfless efforts to rescue hundreds of children from sex-traffickers around the world. While FOX and Disney had kept Caviezel’s film locked away and unseen for years, another hero — this time Goya Foods CEO Bob Unanue — helped fund the endeavor to acquire the movie’s rights from Disney and put the work in the hands of the aptly named Angel Studios.
The result has been the runaway hit Sound of Freedom, a film whose significance has resonated with audiences everywhere — in spite of the deliberate actions of powerful entertainment companies to prevent the power of its truth from reaching the light of day.
Gibson, too, has a personal connection to Tim Ballard and his mission to save children. Gibson’s private support of a number of orphans in Ukraine led him to contact Ballard for his aid in protecting those children from human-traffickers. From Gibson’s “valuable intelligence,” Ballard organized a team that has been “successful in beginning the process of dismantling a dangerous international pedophile ring.” Gibson also provided Ballard with assistance in documenting this real-life human slavery in a way that will enable people to understand the pervasive evil targeting children across the planet.
The monumentally important rescue operations of Tim Ballard have been kept quiet until relatively recently; then, with the help of two actors whom Hollywood has cast aside, a larger audience than could have been imagined now understands what is at stake in this existential battle between good and evil. In their own way, Ballard, Caviezel, and Gibson have suffered yet persevered, and in their own victories over evil, they have brought a new enlightenment that helps us all understand what lurks in the shadows. Their lives reflect the “Hero’s Journey.”
Let me ask you this: if we are on a journey to defend personal freedom from government tyranny, then should we expect fewer struggles than those faced by the heroes above? Real heroes are not handed success in the way that success has been handed to Gavin Newsom. The story of America’s independence would be a lot less meaningful if the British Empire had quickly folded and given in to all of the patriots’ demands. It was the hard years of conflict, sacrifice, and suffering that made America’s eventual triumph sweet.
“Freedom isn’t free,” we often say. What we mean is that we understand how much our ancestors gave, so that we could live with liberty. The story of America’s birth appeals to people all over the world because it, too, echoes Joseph Campbell’s immortalization of the hero.
I know that quite a few of you are heroes. I try not to embarrass anyone by naming names, but I read your comments and see who you are. Many of you fought for your country on foreign battlefields or are the parents and grandparents of those who have. Many of you have served in law enforcement, taught at schools, and tended to the sick. Many of you have been builders, farmers, and doers — in every sense of that word. You come from all walks of life and from every stretch of this country — from up in Madawaska, Maine down to San Diego. I read your words; I learn things; and I often smile. I smile because I know that you are the kind of people who know that there is something terribly amiss in our nation today and that you are actively working out just what to do next. You might not see it yet, but I see the beginning of the “Hero’s Journey.”
In a country of over three hundred million, imagine what could be accomplished if a hundred thousand answered the hero’s calling, too.
The seventeenth and final stage of Campbell’s “Journey” is the “freedom to live.” It comes when a hero no longer fears what has happened in the past or what might happen in the future. When you accept that bad times might come but that you will persevere regardless, you become “champion of things becoming.” You are the actor, not the acted upon. You are the hand that helps others. You are the hero.