Whether it is a coincidence or not, it is nevertheless a fact that [our] decreasing moral sense has steadily kept pace with the growth in armament; for as explosives have gone up, morality has gone down. Treaties are now scraps of paper, war aims weathercocks which change with each political breeze; pledged words are sugared lies; honor between allies, veiled deceit, and obligations towards neutrals implements of betrayal.Major General J.F.C. Fuller
Strategy is all around us. People strategize in business, sports, politics, and war. Of course, war is one of the most consequential human activities. In his book On War, Carl von Clausewitz wrote, “Strategy is nothing without battle; because battle is the agent which it uses, the means that it applies. Just as tactics is the use of armed forces in a battle, strategy is the use of battle, — i.e., the linking of the individual battles to a whole, to war’s ultimate end.” And what is war’s ultimate end? It is, says Clausewitz, “the political object of the war.”
Strategy is tricky because your political object can change in the midst of battle. Take, for example, the American Civil War. Abraham Lincoln’s initial political objective was to “save the Union.” As the war progressed, Lincoln realized that slavery was the South’s Achilles heel, especially as Southern independence would ultimately depend on an alliance with Great Britain (where the Slavery Abolition Act had passed Parliament in 1833). Thus, Lincoln changed his grand strategy, announcing the Emancipation Proclamation of 22 September 1862, declaring that slaves held by the rebel states would be “thenceforward, and forever free.” As a result of this proclamation, foreign public opinion turned decisively in favor of the Union. From that point forward, the South could no longer hope to receive military assistance from the British or French. (Henry Adams, whose father was U.S. Ambassador to Britain at the time, wrote, “The Emancipation Proclamation has done more for us than all our former victories and all our diplomacy.”)
As an example of grand strategy, Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation demonstrates how wars involve moral and philosophical questions. Even if we are not aware of these questions ourselves, politics is a battleground of moral and philosophical controversy around which “fighting collectivities” coalesce. In 1862 Americans were divided over slavery. In 2021 Americans are divided over abortion, election fraud, and whether the country should have a border. As politics is rife with disagreement, politics is the very ground of war. That is why Clausewitz says that the “political object” of a war is “the original motive” for fighting, and “must be an essential factor in the product.” He further states, “The smaller the sacrifice we demand from our opponent, the smaller … will be the means of resistance which he will employ…. Further, the smaller our political object, the less value shall we set upon it, and the more easily shall we be induced to give it up altogether.” The political object, noted Clausewitz, “will be the standard for determining both the aim of the military force and also the amount of effort to be made.”
The nature of the disagreement leading to war, and the moral questions involved, determine the intensity of the conflict. Will it be bloody or prolonged? Will the resulting peace be lasting or of short duration? The enmity generated by war is different than adversarial relations generated by other forms of competition. This bears careful consideration. The political theorist Carl Schmitt wrote, “The enemy is not merely any competitor or just any partner of a conflict in general. He is also not the private adversary whom one hates. An enemy exists only when, at least potentially, one fighting collectivity of people confronts a similar collectivity. The enemy [then] is solely the public enemy, because everything that has a relationship to such a collectivity of men … becomes public by virtue of such a relationship.”
War itself is an extremity of politics. Within war, the furthest extremity would be a war of extermination. How this might come about is not easy to foresee. But the existence of weapons of mass destruction today grants to political extremism (i.e., totalitarianism) the means to carry war toward what Clausewitz called “the utmost use of force.” Logically, if an enemy’s “political object” is morally crazy, his goal might be to wipe you out. A normal human being would not think of such a project. Yet prescriptions for mass murder can be found in the writings of Marx and Engels, in the secret protocols of the Soviet and Red Chinese militaries, and in Hitler’s private conversations (see Hitler’s Table Talk, 1941-1944). Mass murder is a recurring feature of totalitarian regimes. In the USSR there was the eradication of the Kulaks and the Ukrainian genocide. The Chinese communists are currently engaged in a genocide against Uyghurs. Hitler massacred Jews and planned to massacre Slavs. In fact, Hitler planned to exterminate the four million inhabitants of Moscow and cover this greatest of Russian cities with a manmade lake. (Hitler spoke of this plan on 16 January 1941.) One might ask why totalitarian politicians engage in mass murder. This brings us back to underlying questions of morality and philosophy. If we study the philosophies of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, Hitler and Mao, etc., we will find an undercurrent of diabolical thinking.
Stalin famously and succinctly explained why mass murder might be appealing to a dictator. He said, “Death is the solution to all problems. No man – no problem.” Since politics is a field of moral and philosophic disagreement, many “problems” are bound to arise. For people without moral boundaries, like Stalin and Hitler, the “political object” of a major war might naturally incline toward genocide on an undreamt-of scale. Keeping in mind Stalin’s dictum – “No man – no problem,” Schmitt wrote, “The political is the most intense and extreme antagonism, and every concrete antagonism becomes that much more political the closer it approaches the most extreme point, that of the friend-enemy grouping.” The substance of the political, noted Schmitt, always involves a “concrete antagonism.” In society these antagonisms wax and wane; yet these antagonisms are always present, beneath the surface or in plain view. According to Schmitt, “all political concepts, images, and terms have a polemical meaning. They are focused on a specific conflict and are bound to a concrete situation; the result (which manifests itself in war and revolution) is a friend-enemy grouping” which, he says, turns into an “empty and ghostlike abstraction when this situation disappears.” He reminds us that words like “state, republic, society, class, as well as sovereignty … are incomprehensible if one does not know exactly who is to be affected, combated, refuted or negated by such a term.” In their politics, people like Stalin and Hitler knew exactly who was to be “refuted and negated.”
Fighting collectivities – be they nations or political factions within nations – exist all around us. Every political disagreement between “fighting collectivities” can turn violent and devolve into open warfare. In terms of grand strategy, Clausewitz explained that war “is an act of violence intended to compel our opponent to fulfill our will.” In other words, one side or the other wants to win an argument by force of arms. In the case of the American Civil War, Lincoln’s grand strategy relied on a moral argument involving slavery; but even so, the war itself was concluded by battles and killing, ending only with the surrender of the various Confederate generals.
The era of the nineteenth century and the American Civil War was very different from the era that began toward the end of World War I. We might mistakenly think of it as a more innocent time, since the advent of totalitarianism was several decades in the future. Yet the animating doctrines of the Marxist dictators of the twentieth century were then forming. The progression from chivalry to total war was gradual. Modernity’s rationalization of economics and administration encompassed a questioning of moral absolutes. Thus, the American Civil War was something of a steppingstone. In his essay, “Southern Chivalry and Total War,” Richard M. Weaver noted, “When John Pope’s Virginia campaign gave the South its first intimation that the North was committed to total war, the reaction was indignation and dismay.” The Old South was imbued with notions of chivalry, which put certain limits on warfare. The North, being modern and more “scientific” in its views, set chivalry aside. General Lee wrote, “Pope must be suppressed.” From that point forward the South saw itself fighting against “an outlawed mode of warfare.”
Weaver argued that a decline in morality began after the Middle Ages. Communism and Nazism merely represented the extreme ends in a scale of progressive moral disintegration. Sherman’s march through Georgia and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima can be tracked on this same scale of decline. If American grand strategy was not as evil as Hitler’s or Stalin’s, it was nonetheless far from being innocent. The code of chivalry challenges the soldier to superior moral conduct in the midst of the murderous passions of war. This code turns out to have great utility when making peace; for a mistreated enemy is bound to seek revenge, and then you are left with Stalin’s dictum (and Hitler’s plan to cover Moscow with a lake). Weaver noted that the depredations of generals Sherman, Sheridan and Hunter, who systematically ravaged and punished civilians, made it seem as if a fundamental support of civilization “had been knocked out.” The method of warfare pioneered by the Northern generals was, indeed, immoral.
Of the generals who waged the Civil War, Ulysses S. Grant was singled out for special praise by the British military historian and strategist Major Gen. J.F.C. Fuller. It is also of interest, that William Sherman was praised by Capt. B.H. Liddell Hart. In 1929, Fuller argued that Grant was the strategist who won the American Civil War. In 1929, Liddell Hart argued that Sherman won the war. Whether it was Grant or Sherman who deserved highest praise, or the unique partnership of both men, the innovations of these generals changed the nature of war thereafter. As Weaver explained, “In this war the side which more completely abjured the rules of chivalric combat won, and the way was cleared for modernism, with its stringency, its abstractionism, and its impatience with sentiment.” Weaver showed how this spirit was directly transmitted from the Union generals to the Prussian generals. “At a banquet given by the Chancellor [Bismarck] in 1870 General Sheridan, who had been with the Prussian staff in the capacity of unofficial observer [during the Franco-Prussian War], remarked that he favored treating noncombatants with the utmost rigor. He expressed the opinion that ‘the people must be left nothing but their eyes to weep with over the war.’ The auditor of this statement confessed himself struck by its brutality but added that he thought it might bear consideration….”
Having used the example of the American Civil War to briefly illustrate how grand strategy and military strategy are deeply connected with moral questions, and having derived a few insightful quotes from Clausewitz and Schmitt, we are ready to dive into the grand strategies of Lenin, Stalin (and their epigones, Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin). According to Clausewitz, the “political object” is the “original motive” of a given war and shapes the very way in which the war is to be waged. With regard to the so-called “socialist camp,” the “political object” has always been world revolution. This “object” was first proposed in 1848 by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in The Communist Manifesto. It was updated and further elaborated by Lenin and Stalin, and then by Mao Zedong in China. Essentially, the “political object” of the communists has always been to violently eradicate the legal, moral and religious structures of Western “bourgeois” civilization. Because their “political object” included, from the outset, the eradication of morality, communist grand strategy has always relied on terrorism, mass murder, bad faith and outright lies. In other words, their grand strategy admits of no moral limitations (on method) whatseover. The evil nature of the communist bloc (i.e., socialist camp) has been brought into focus by George Orwell (in 1984), by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (in The Gulag Archipelago), by Igor Shafarevich (in The Socialist Phenomenon), and by Eric Voegelin (in Science, Politics and Gnosticism). (Also see, The Black Book of Communism.)
It can be argued that Western strategists, in reckoning their Eastern adversaries, have forgotten with whom they are dealing. The communists in Russia and China are part of a global network of political crime and subversion. Whatever their internal squabbles in the past, they are working together, even now, for socialism on every continent. They are coordinating their policies in Africa, Latin America and inside the United States. Their inhuman ruthlessness was best characterized by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who described Soviet socialism as a “sewage disposal system” for disposing of human beings. As George Orwell said of man’s socialist destiny, “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – fore ever.” Igor Shafarevich concluded, at the end of his book on socialism, that “one could regard the death of mankind as the final result to which the development of socialism leads.” And then there is Eric Voegelin, who described Karl Marx as a charlatan and a liar. “Yes,” noted Voegelin, “Marx was an intellectual swindler.”
The Soviet State, founded by Lenin and built by Stalin, was a criminal enterprise. The grand strategy of the Soviet Union shared with its instigators a criminal character, and must be viewed in that light. One might ask how the Soviet regime managed to get away with so many crimes for so many decades; but this is not hard to understand. As Hannah Arendt explained, “The reason why totalitarian regimes can get so far in realizing a fictitious, topsy-turvey world is that the outside nontotalitarian world, which always comprises a great part of the population of the totalitarian country itself, indulges also in wishful thinking and shirks reality in the face of real insanity.”
As crazy as Moscow or Beijing’s “political object” may sound, the madmen in question are nonetheless shrewd. The concepts which they inherited from Stalin and Lenin may be immoral and crazy, but there is method in what they have done. And we can see, quite clearly, that their bag of tricks is far from empty.
The question for the strategist, at this juncture, is that which Robert E. Lee might have asked himself on seeing General Pope’s conduct in the Civil War. Does a breach of morality in warfare logically drive out all moral considerations in grand strategy? Is global politics trending toward a war of mass destruction and mass extermination? Does the wickedness of Beijing’s policy, for example, require a reciprocal wickedness from ourselves? Is there a way to oppose the logic of progressive moral corruption in policy? Or is civilization doomed to descend into genocidal violence and barbarism?
I leave these questions for Part II.
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Notes and Links
J.F.C. Fuller, Armaments and History, p. 182.
Carl von Clausewitz, Strategy, p. 27 and later, p. 109.
Carl Schmitt, The Concept of the Political, (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1996), p. 28-32.
Carl von Clausewitz, On War, Book I, Chapter 2. (Anatol Rapoport translation, Penguin Classics paperback.)
Hitler’s Table Talk, 1941-1944: His Private Conversations: Adolf Hitler, Norman Cameron, R. H. Stevens, H. R. Trevor-Roper, H. R. Trevor-Roper: 9781929631056: Amazon.com: Books
Uyghur Genocide in China: Here Are The Facts You Need To Know (westernjournal.com)
Hitler had a crazy plan for Moscow: to kill all its residents & replace it with a lake (thevintagenews.com)
Stalin: Breaker of Nations – Wikipedia
Richard M. Weaver, The Southern Essays of Richard M. Weaver (Indianapolis: LibertyPress, 1987), p. 166, 168-169
J.F.C. Fuller, The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant (London: 1929).
B.H. Liddell Hart, Sherman: Soldier, Realist, American (New York, 1929)
Igor Shafarevich, The Socialist Phenomenon (USA: Gideon House Books, 2019) , p. 306.
Eric Voegelin, Science, Politics and Gnosticism (Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, 1968), p. 19.
Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovnovich, 1951), Vol. III, p. 135.
Note to the reader: American policymakers and leading academic experts have often been clueless when it comes to Russian and Chinese grand strategy; for example, in Edward Luttwak’s Strategy: The Logic of War and Peace, his discussion of Soviet strategy is not only lacking in imagination, but completely ignores the importance of Marxism-Leninism in the formulation of Soviet grand strategy. In a section titled “Nuclear Dissuasion in Europe,” Luttwak acknowledges that NATO’s conventional forces were inadequate to the defense of Europe. Therefore, NATO had to rely on tactical nuclear munitions to stem the tide of a Soviet armored advance. He then argued that even larger NATO armies would have simply led the Soviets to build more tactical nuclear weapons of their own. He noticed, correctly, that the West’s grand strategy was “unreliable” because “dissuasion by [nuclear] punishment” was “riddled with baffling uncertainties.” But it never occurred to Luttwak that Soviet grand strategy, with its readiness to fight and win a nuclear war, was secretly preparing a way out for both sides – a way that would disarm the United States for good.
128 thoughts on “Grand Strategy, Part I”
Thank you for writing this Jeff. its clear that political decisions have escalated to the point of open radical words of internal war occuring in the halls of our government leaders, academia and corporate American boardrooms. I applaud some like Niomi Wolf on the left who see this and are condemning it. What i find dumbfounded is that many Christian men of God who have legitimate and well funded and safe platforms folded after Jan 6. I have listened to many conservative and some Christian authors, radio and TV personalities who openly talk about the fingerprints of totalitarian Marxism showing itself and are speaking out clearly what they see, but in the same breath say that they oppose violence and use of force to resist what they just described in vivid words only two sentences prior–this is very worrisome that the backbone to resist is not there. I am afraid that we will be in need of the Black Robed Regiment again, but not sure where they will come from.
So far there is no civil war in America. If the center left adopts a sensible approach and opposes totalitarian measures, the far left will find itself hemmed in. Right now the conservatives suffer from a campaign of social ostracism and intimidation (which has frightened some people into silence). It is up to the non-totalitarian left to rectify this lamentable situation. If they fail, God help us all.
Is their really a center left in America? Or at least, as Weaver might say, one with any adherence to principles outside of being “middle of the road”? I don’t think that anyone who is even willing to consider the perversion and madness of the transgender movement can be central by any stretch of the imagination. Because they actually have principles, albeit perverse ones, my belief is that the Totalitarians will win. By the way, great article Jeff!
You raise an important issue. The center left and much of the right is — as Weaver would say — morally disintegrated. How do we get our traditions back? How does the country find its way to a better life? — to the principles of our forefathers? Certainly Trump’s educational initiatives might have helped. But do we have enough people to get that going? To rebuild our culture? I hope so. I would pray for solutions that don’t involve tragic losses all around.
The aggressor sets the rules of engagement.
If the defender does not respond in a like manner to type, scope, and scale of the aggressor’s rules of engagement, they will be sorely disadvantaged. If they do respond so, prolonging the conflict only defines the rules of engagement downward further.
Thus the hope for all aggressors is a short conflict where the defender responds with less than the aggressor’s rules of engagement. With the advantage of defining the rules of engagement, combined with typical conflict advantages (surprise, subversion, etc.), the aggressor hopes to triumph before the defender figures things out and can squarely confront the aggressor. If the defender can hold out, the rules of engagement will devolve for both sides in that conflict.
Everything depends on the strategic situation — the balance of forces, the morale of each side, and the dominant ideas of the respective combatants. Reciprocal response is usually justified, but there are exceptions. The Spartans showed mercy to the Athenians when they defeated them in the Peloponnesian War, despite the fact Athens had exterminated their colony at Melos. The Spartans won additional glory by their clemency; something Lucius Cornelius Sulla did not do, centuries later, when he took the city. It is said that blood flowed down the streets.
We seem to be rushing to #2 of the 45 Communist Goals.
“U.S. should be willing to capitulate in preference to engaging in atomic war.”
It seems the only goal not yet achieved although even that is in doubt.
After all, engaging in Global Thermonuclear War would be “immoral.”
Our government is solely run by perverts, pedophiles, sadists, thieves, liars, cheats, traitors, spies, agents of influence, opportunists, ideologues, racists, addicts, drunks, psychopaths, narcissists, and their minions and we are talking about “morality.” See Linn Wood’s “whistleblower.”
“Morality” will be the certain death of us yet. “Morality” is evil’s most effective weapon against us.
The time is long past where “moral” choices brought us any chance of victory.
In a way, we have already been defeated, betrayed, sold bound into slavery.
The only remaining question is will each one of you go out with a whimper, or a bang?
Is the government solely run by pedophiles? How do you get an accurate head-count on that? Certainly the situation is bad — I admit. Yet, we are still here, and good people can be identified in many places. I would argue that a few decent people remain in government, surely; and some of the “bad ones” might not be all bad. As for morality being the death of us, I cannot imagine what you mean. Knowing what is right and true is the only possible foundation for good policy, a winning strategy, wise leadership, and a society worth defending. Abandon right and wrong and what are you? Why bother? Nihilism is a road to nowhere.
I guess the pertinent question would be what defines morality? The God of the Bible commanded the Israelites to exterminate whole tribes down to the last man, woman, and child. Was he acting immorally by erasing their damaging human perversions from the face of the earth? No Christian can posit this; God does not sin. Nor did Jesus when he entered Jerusalem on the back of a donkey, dismounted, and immediately fashioned a whip to whip the money changers out of the temple. The only satisfactory definition of morality would be the disposition and actions that further the moral universe and suppress evil. Certainly taking up arms against those attempting to inflict great human misery and oppression on our nation cannot be considered immoral, but this action is actually the definition of morality if taken up with the good of the world and the universe in mind.
A satisfactory definition of morality? Here is a little taste: Morality is about following certain principles having to do with right and wrong. It is, in itself, an extremely complex subject. Military operations described in the Old Testament have very little to do with such principles or our situation today, unless you claim that God is speaking to you and ordering you to kill people because they are descendants of those whom God intended to eradicate in the Great Flood. I’m not sure, then, why you are bringing God into the discussion at all. The Bible says nothing about civil war. Furthermore, God himself does not “suppress” evil in every instance; so why should you? Evil has always existed in our world and we are very often unable to do anything about it. In fact, we are frequently part of the evil ourselves. In the present situation, to act without effect would be pointless and even counter-productive. Our own ignorance, or lack of means, forces us to bear with many “evils” because anything untoward would make matters worse. Taking up arms at the wrong time, without proper preparation or the right strategy, might be another kind of evil — a piling of one evil upon another. Suppose your actions were misdirected, and caused the Left to react by forming a dictatorship. Is this what you want? Suppose your actions trigger a cycle of violence which spirals tragically out of control. By acting aggressively you might bring about the thing you are trying to prevent. That is exactly what the South did when rebelling against the US Constitution in 1861. Slavery was protected by the Constitution and the revolt enabled Lincoln to destroy slavery. If there had been no Civil War Southern slavery would have continued long after 1865. In other words, the South brought about the very situation they were trying to prevent — because the Southern leaders were politically unwise and without real understanding. Many policies are sure to bring about the opposite of what is intended because statesmanship and grand strategy are not linear, straightforward, or easy to grasp. To go directly for what you want often leads to the opposite of what you want — to unintended outcomes. Morality in politics and war is not only about intentions, but also about outcomes. That is why morality is about principles, and not about feelings or intentions or irrelevant Old Testament references. In fact, moral principles today are incomprehensible to most people; and frankly, that scares me. When Trump ordered the assassination of the Iranian General Soleimani I was shocked because of its immorality. None of my friends understood why it was immoral (i.e., against moral principles) to order the assassination of a foreign military leader. For the first time I realized that almost nobody today understands moral principles of this kind. That’s how disintegrated we are and it is a very dangerous place to be. If we had a civil war in this country, with the degree of moral disintegration that has occurred, do you have any idea the scale of the disaster that would follow? Right now we blindly use very advanced moral precepts in peacetime — by habit — not because we have any sense of what they are or why they are indispensable. The fact is we haven’t been taught principles for decades. Please understand: morality with regard to politics is a deep subject. In this connection, corruption in our time is not just about the swamp. We’re all contaminated and we need to relearn our ABCs. I have to ask you, seriously: Do you really want to start a war with the people who run the Federal Government? Of course, after the fact, you will be forced to admit that it is irresponsible to inflict great misery and harm because you “think” you know what you are doing. This is to become a villain after the fact. Why? Because ignorance in such matters is no excuse. If you run a red light and say to the policeman you did not see it, he still gives you a ticket. How much worse then, if you run someone over in the process? So I ask you: What does it mean “to have the good of the universe in mind”? What do you really know about the “good of the universe”? Who made you responsible for the universe? Where did you develop the competence to make such grave determinations? Prudence is one of the four Cardinal Virtues, and modesty is a facet of Prudence. Where is your Prudence? Domestic tranquility is one of the reasons the Constitution was put into place. You’d better make sure the Constitution is nonexistent before you embark down the road of civil war. Besides that, civil war — as noted earlier — is something decided on by a “fighting collectivity” as a whole. No individual can determine this. Not you. Not me. If you pick up a gun you’d better be clear. You’d better be very clear about what you are doing.
No, 907IE. If you throw morality out the door, you’ve nothing left worth fighting for. Nor in this world or the next. Sacrifice morality, and we’re no better than the enemy. Sacrifice integrity, and we might as well just shrug and join up with the bad guys.
Our problem is in allowing the other side to define everything, even “morality.”
Here is a great article to read by the Contemplative Observer.
“We need to stop using the manipulative language of the enemy (and communists ARE every living being’s enemy), which is designed to distort the truth and ultimately brand us as the dangerous totalitarians that they are (this applies not only to the term “political right”, but to a whole array of words, including the word “capitalism”, which is actually a communist smear word). With regard to “live-and-let-live” libertarians, who don’t care much about values and principles, may they wake up in time to the reality that without recognising the difference between right and wrong, ultimately between good and evil, freedom becomes, first a joke, and then destroyed.”
Forgive my ignorance of posting on this thread, so I will respond to Jeff here. My point was simply that the definition of morality is not as soft and meek as we have interpreted over the years of having a strong republic that needed little defending internally. What we have defined as moral has in great part not included the actions of God and history that “offend” us, so we leave them out of our definition. Killing and great loss of life can be the outcomes of moral actions (waging war against Hitler to defeat Nazism.) Of course, this point of view can itself attempt to justify all sort of unwise and actually immoral actions, and of course if a strategy is not completely thought out in all its aspects and possible ramifications it is a foolhardy one. Life is an extremely complex journey. Now as to domestic tranquility; it will be nonexistent should the left reach their ultimate goals, as has always been the case historically when they have attained political victory, whether the Constitution exists or not. Relative to the good of the universe; I would say that it is clearly better for the universe if people of faith and good will live in freedom, and oppression and tyranny fail. This any sentient being can affirm. I think you are lumping me in with someone else whom you have judged as impudent in the past. Maybe I remind you of them in some things I have said. But I assure you I am no knee jerk patriot who is just angry and pent up. I think about the intricacy of these issues daily, which is part of the reason I am on this thread. I am not here to foment, but to learn, to intelligently judge all points of view, in order to understand what might be a wise strategy moving forward in order to save our way of life. But my default position is that total political victory by the left, with its attendant death, misery, and oppression, is unacceptable. A winning strategy must be devised, and we best get serious about it now.
The problem is, the rise of the left has not occurred in isolation from the degeneration and/or withering of the right and of civilization as a whole. And this is not merely a domestic problem. Russia and China and North Korea are the chief communist powers which are pointing nuclear weapons at us. Meanwhile, all our institutions are under control of the left. The right controls no major or important institutions — neither the Republican Party nor Fox News, which is actually in the center. We therefore await the awakening of the majority. Any appeal to violence without their agreement is foredoomed. It doesn’t matter how right you are. Wars are won before they are fought when opinion hardens for or against certain ideas. First, win the agreement of the majority; then, command the bigger battalions that they represent to win the war. There is your only strategy.
I completely concur! The right must solidify around faith, the constitution, and our founding principles. In any tug of war, a side must pull directly back against the other with greater force in order to prevail. We as conservatives pull sideways on the rope when many of us bend to the Gramscian attempts by the left to normalize homosexuality, transsexuality, and now eventually pedophilia. We must pull back against these attempts with extreme intellectual and moral force. And should circumstances align to where we could and must defeat the left with force, we need then seize the opportunity.
The world in which we find ourselves is beyond repair. The forces that are afoot can only lead to tragedy. Whether we as freemen win or lose, the destruction will be complete. So, either we acquiesce and die or fight, and the fighting’s end is also death.
I find it humorous that those within our country that are fighting for socialism don’t realize that they are not qualified for a socialist regime’s top-tier, probably not one of them. Our socialists will die alongside us; they are promoting their own demise, as well as ours.
NO. What Vincent wrote is wrong. We have to stop speaking and thinking as if all is lost and that all must end in destruction. There’s no hope if we start thinking like this. It’s turning our back on our duty to change things.
What Vincent outlined is the truth. But it is not the entire truth. The whole truth exists in the future — for each person, individually, and for humanity as a whole. It is my contention that the whole truth, if we knew it, would bring us to the door of hope and faith; for the universe and its immaterial grounding in spirit, is marvelously ordered and beautiful. The painful moral and political errors we see around us are a small part of a much larger drama which we do not fully understand. Think of it this way. Every one of us is going to die. Does that make life hopeless? No. It makes life precious. Does it make life pointless? No. It points beyond itself, to a mystery which is also a promise. Only from the standpoint of faith can we stomach the hard truths of this world. And we MUST stomach them. Wisdom is powerful because of the higher understandings we derive from it. If we focus on higher things our faith is strengthened. This, in itself, is necessary to every solution. Gretchen, you are right to oppose defeatism. Vincent is right in telling the simple truth of what is before us. In this we are challenged to struggle regardless of the odds. If you cannot run, walk. If you cannot walk, crawl. If you cannot crawl, wriggle. After that, you will have the wings of an angel. Everything flows to us from what is spiritually ordained; and that includes history itself and all the wrong turns taken by man. There is a purpose in our being here. There is a testing, referred to in the story of Job. There is a worldly logic in everything, to be sure, yet there is a spiritual logic in everything. We see the worldly logic, and we despair. Yet it is despair that animates evil. One might call it the sin of despair, which is the root of self-pity and envy and ontological rebellion — the rebellion of Satan and also that of Karl Marx (who consciously identified with Satan). Every communist I knew at university was a despairing soul. And in despair they turned to communism. In faith all things are possible, in despair nothing is.
“the destruction will be complete.” The God of the Bible gives us hope for restoration so there should always be hope in life from enslavement as Tytler (?) spells out in his cycles. Freedom and liberty is a powerful motivator and to see it on deaths doorstep might actually be enough motivation. One over play of their hand, one mistep could be a trigger to push back. We need to pray to God for this. All that said, the way back will be long and arduous and require the same kind of fortitude and determination that the founders had to push back. Seventy-five years of relative ease, nearly limitless indulgence and refusal to do the hard things in the face of corruption has brought us to this place of demoralization and paralysis.
I am no longer getting notifications of new comments via email…
The notification system may be a little buggy.
In reading other news sites on line, i.e. tending conservative, the recognition is sinking in that the leftist fascists want to eliminate anyone who is not with them. If not dead, at least by incarceration in concentration camps. That recognition is a prelude to civil war, and a very bloody one at that. The expectation is that the leftist fascists will give no quarter, therefore must be defended against to the last man. This illustrates what you quoted above, “Further, the smaller our political object, the less value shall we set upon it, and the more easily shall we be induced to give it up altogether.” In such a situation, we’re in the calm before the storm. What will be the trigger that starts the shooting?
Yet your point is well taken, that we must not abandon morality in the fighting. If we abandon morality, we’ll become just like them.
As for chivalry in war, that was a European invention thanks to the Roman Catholic church during the Middle Ages. That was not shared by other places. By the 1683 siege of Vienna, Europeans had come to realize that the Muslims didn’t share their chivalry, so the citizens of Vienna were prepared to hold out to the last man. Thanks to the Poles, they didn’t have to, but they came awfully close to it.
The American Civil war has been called both the last of the chivalrous wars, and the first modern one. It was modern in that there was the recognition that the support from the civilian population for the armies was to be cut off (hence Sherman’s march to the sea), yet there were many acts of individual chivalry from both sides during the war.
Dear R.O, speaking about chivalry and and related to it the sense of gratitude; The Polish King Jan III Sobieski risked his entire elite formations, including the famous “winged Hussars” and rushed to help besieged Vienna. Not only has he saved the entire Austria but also Southern German lands that with the expected fall of Vienna would be completely defenseless against raging hordes of Ottoman empire. The routing of Ottomans also relieved the pressure on Russia as from that moment decline of Ottomans began.
Those three countries showed their appreciation and gratitude barely hundred years later when they invaded and partitioned Poland for the next hundred and thirty years, stealing Polish land, persecuting and murdering Polish patriots, forcibly germanizing and russifying the Poles and illegally and forcibly conscripting hundreds of thousands of young Polish men to their armies to fight for them in their aggressive wars.
Culmination of that barbaric ingratitude was, of course, the invasion of Poland by both countries in 1939 which resulted in the eradication of nearly entire Polish intelligentsia.
regards form Australia – Bogdan
Ah yes, the tragic history of Poland. Yet the Poles are the among the bravest people of the former satellite countries of the USSR. In their struggle against the hidden Soviet structures, which underly all the former communist countries, they have accomplished what would otherwise seem impossible. Could it be that their long and tragic history prepared them for a special role? There is something more to this. The Russian and German people are presently paralyzed, unable to remove the political and spiritual chains of past totalitarianism. Poland somehow moves forward, unencumbered by these same chains. How is it possible? Of course, calamity might envelop them yet again, as it has in the past. Yet they are, once again, the hope of Europe; a model, an example to follow. May God preserve them.
Thank you Jeff for your kind words. Unfortunately, Poland faces a mortal danger again and from Russia in particular. There is no hope that the Germans, our formal allies in NATO would lift even a finger to help us in the case of Russia embarking on some kind of mischief directed at Poland. So yes, it looks like we will face some calamity again as it is one of the greatest priorities for PUTLER and his criminal cohorts to destroy Poland as an independent country of free people.
Regards from Melbourne – Bogdan
I am reminded of the Battle of Lepanto was an example of a hopeless cause from the beginning. Prior to setting sail, women weren’t allowed on the ships, and sailors who were heard taking God’s name in vain were executed on the spot. Those men knew Who their hopes sprang from. I truly believe the battle was won by those on land who understood what was at stake and picked up their Rosary beads and prayed for victory. Think also of Constantine at Milvian Bridge – another famous battle that also appeared hopeless from the outset. What is the message for us today? Prepare yourselves morally as well as possible. Abandon sin – I say this more for myself. This post and comment thread has been a reminder and encouragement for me. Remember the words of Christ: if our right hands are to cause us to sin, we must cut them off. What has happened before can happen again.
Lepanto is a good one to remember.
The war of northern aggression was not a chivalrous war. Northern Generals talked the talk, but they did not walk the walk.
Communism with Canadian Characteristics: Edmonton pastor with no criminal record loses March 4 bail hearing over Grace Life Church’s alleged failure to adhere to COVID-19 restrictions imposed by lockdown-happy Alberta premier Jason Kenney; James Coates refuses to submit to bail conditions to refrain from ministering to his congregation, remain in max security prison until May 3-5 trial, breaking public health orders normally leads only to fine; Alberta’s ruling United Conservative Party (UCP) relied heavily on religious voters in 2019 election, but now violating pastor’s civil liberties protected by Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as Criminal Code, latter forbids intrusive arrests of clergy; “public health” prosecutor Karen Thorsrud represented Alberta Health Services during Coates’ hearing, suspiciously demands anonymity while insisting pastor remain incarcerated until trial; six MLAs bolt UCP to join national “End the Lockdowns” Caucus; meanwhile national Conservative leader Erin O’Toole hires Huawei’s former VP in Canada as party strategist, Huawei business front for Communist Party of China
March 5, 2021.
source 1: https://www.jccf.ca/alberta-court-jails-pastor-coates-through-to-may-3-5-trial/
source 2: https://www.lawyers.com/canada/edmonton/alberta/karen-l-thorsrud-1293724-a/
source 3: https://westernstandardonline.com/2021/03/ucp-caucus-rift-grows-over-kenneys-covid-lockdown/
source 4: https://www.libertycoalitioncanada.com/end-the-lockdown-caucus
source 5: https://www.rebelnews.com/erin_otoole_hired_huawei_former_vp_jake_enwright_research_issues_management
Rebel News livestream of story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aN5Us7axpwM
Western Standard interviews Coates’ wife, civil rights lawyer: https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=881748395733228&ref=watch_permalink
Red Chinese domination of Canada = “Chinada”
In his essay, “Aspects of the Southern Philosophy”, Weaver speaks from the perspective of worldly, as opposed to spiritual history. He says, “The South is the only section of the United States that knows through Poignant experience that defeat is possible. The ancient states knew it, and their sages expressed the truth in memorable sayings; the Medieval states knew it, and their writers spoke of the Wheel of Fortune; every state of modern Europe has had to taste some measure of it. Only the victorious American of North and West has yet to learn. He may imagine that he knows it from copybook maxims, but that is not knowing it. One must have been through the humiliation and despair, felt the impossibility of vindicating oneself before any earthly tribunal to savor the real essence of it. Defeat in war is an unpleasant thing but truly, “one of those experiences no one should be without.” Nothing else can bring home as forcibly the truth of the proverb that time and chance happen to us all.” I realize the difference between 1860 and the present is that the enemy we face is infinitely more horrible, (though equal, except in terms of technology, to that of 1939). My hope is that God will not allow total and lasting conquest for such a force. To hope for easy victory, or peace in our time, would be pride and foolishness. These we do not deserve, and ultimately they probably would not be good for us.
Worldly success is not always possible, and is not the reason we are here.
Luke, this is a little too ethereal for me to understand. Are you really saying that it would be good for our eternal character if we were defeated in a potential battle with the left? That peace in our time would not ultimately be good for us? That’s a little like saying that a man needs to learn humility by allowing his wife to be raped. Please excuse the crude analogy, but am I missing your point? Should a football coach exhort his team to lose in order to build their character? It takes a lot more developed character to stridently develop the corporeal and inner qualities needed to win. I for one can easily do without the learned experience of defeat in war, and would always strive hard to ensure it would not happen!
Robert, I didn’t see your reply till now. I mean to respond to you, but I have to take some time to think about it.
I feel certain that with our current behavior and utter lack of virtue as a nation, (though I understand that there are many good people), we cannot claim that we deserve to win. This doesn’t mean that I think our enemies deserve to win, I realize that China is more evil than we are, (though not as self deceiving). I just don’t think that Providence can grant us an easy victory, because it would magnify all of our current vices, such as complacency and self deception. My hope is not for a victory on our part, but more that the economic collapse brought by the massive destruction of a global war will prove to much for our enemies to handle, and will plunge the world into a new dark age, in which the technological and governmental power to inflict horror and tyranny on vast numbers of people does not exist to the extent that it does now. I realize these are dark, and perhaps shocking words, but I believe that this is the only thing that can extirpate the modern system of life,(both physical and spiritual), which, deeper than any ideology, is the root of the evils that we face. Until this happens, I think the victory of the progressives will continue year after year, as it has for the last century.
Note: The following Russell Kirk short story, if it interests you, makes the point I am trying to make much better than I can,
Many traditionalists feel as you do. Many of the great thinkers of the last 170 years have suggested we are headed for some kind of massive catastrophe. Thomas Carlyle, Jacob Burckhardt, Friedrich Nietzsche, Gustave Le Bon, Henry Adams, Vilfredo Pareto, Oswald Spengler, Carl Jung, Richard Weaver, etc. That is a lot of brainpower saying we are headed for the dark ages. We all hope it isn’t true. But deep down, we know it isn’t looking good.
Maybe I’m not understanding. We have destroyed our industrial capability. We are contracepting and aborting ourselves out of existence (I am speaking of N. America and Western Europe, although this problem is almost now worldwide). People under 40, largely, have no sense of the transcendent. Large numbers are addicted to drugs and alcohol. They can no longer form stable families- many of them. If you were to ask them, who are you? What are you? Nobody could give you a philosophically sensible answer! How can you not say at this point that you have not been defeated? Solzhenitsyn said that the reason the terrors had come to Russia was that the people had been spiritually disarmed. That is what we face as far as I am concerned. I say to everyone I know, but only a handful can see it – the corpse pile will be massive. I am a believing Catholic, so I do not see evil prevailing in the end yet as all biblical prophecy has not yet been fulfilled. The godless will disagree with me, of course.
It is hard to disagree with your points. It is hard to imagine how we survive it.
Another great article, Jeff. I always look forward to your insights and knowledge.
Jeff, thank you for yet another great essay.
Jeff, your reply to Vincent and Gretchen is one of your great gems. Full of wisdom, insight and hope. I find the Psalms particularly inspiring these days, such as “O put not your trust in princes, nor in any child of man; for there is no help in them” – Ps. 146(145):2 and “…under the shadow of thy wings shall be my refuge, until this tyranny be overpast.” Ps. 57(56):1 We will be facing great trials in the days to come, but if we keep our focus on the One who is ultimately in control, we will not despair.
I agree with Robert, Jeff. It was a beautiful reply. I am sometimes just awed by your wisdom.
Is it merely academic to wonder whether or not if the so-called, “Corona Virus,” is an bio-engineered weapon? If it is, is it credible to believe that any global superpower, could actually be ignorant of the reality? If it is a weapon, what ought to be the appropriate response, and by whom?
Given the way the usual suspects are playing the pandemic, it has to be part of a larger plan.
Why hasn’t the US, nuked China, yet?
Do you know many Americans with bomb shelters? I don’t,
I don’t know about you Jeff, other than the fact you talk a lot, but I’m not about to cower in my hovel, spending my last days, waiting to die from one of seventeen to four thousand variants of SARS-2. Why does everyone in China, Russia, and the United States, all wear masks, when any dental hygienist can tell you that they do not block a virus? In other words, who is successfully ordering, the United States, China, and Russia, to do what every physician in each of those countries knows full well is fallacious? Even Iran must certainly know better.
Alas, we are all compelled to put up with nonsense from the government.
Jeff, I wonder if you could elaborate on your remark about how you perceived Trump’s assassination of the Taliban leader who was plotting attacks on Americans to be an immoral act. Why do you see that as immoral? It seems to me it’s moral to take out a military leader in a time of war — isn’t that what battle does: kill the men who are the enemy, and the higher up the rank they are the better? That may be an immoral perception on my part, and if it is, i hope you will straighten me out.
This brings to mind another comment you made in another article several months ago about how Napoleon ended the French Revolution by firing live volleys of bullets (cannons?) into a large group of protestors, killing many of them but thereby breaking up the crowd. In that case, from what you wrote, it seemed you approved of Napoleon’s brutal action. That surprised me at the time, and confuses me now, since if you approved of that action as moral, I would think you’d approve of the Taliban leader’s assassination as moral.
We all may agree in principle that we should be moral in war, but what morality means in practical terms can be unclear, at least to someone like me who has never studied military strategy or rules of engagement. So any insights you can share, in terms of clarification of the morality of these two incidents, would be most appreciated.
I will be touching on this subject in Part II, which I am hoping to post tomorrow or Wednesday. If you get a chance, watch the movie “Troy,” which tells the story of Achilles as found in the Iliad. Directed by Wolfgang Petersen, “Troy” presents the original ideal of moral conduct in warfare and the model which is ultimately reflected in Western chivalry and — in various ways — in the warrior ethics of other peoples as well. The way of the warrior is very old, and in this respect transcends all cultures. It can be a very civilizing thing, and “Troy” captures the spirit of honor, exemplified by Achilles, better than any recent portrayal I can think of. As for Soleimani, he was not a Taliban leader. He was a two-star Iranian general, and might have been Iran’s next leader. Perhaps I should remind the readers here that there have been conflicting interests and occasional violent clashes in Iraq since our invasion of that country in 2003. Iran is said to have given bombs (IEDs) to some of the Iraqi factions we were fighting, and Soleimani was supposedly involved. Some of these IEDs killed American soldiers. This is the justification given for assassinating Soleimani. By the same argument, any American President could be justifiably assassinated; for our presidents send many bombs into many countries that kill both guilty and innocent persons. Whatever sophistry we want to use, assassination of leaders is morally wrong. This not some arbitrary notion invented by me. It is a very ancient ideal and also wise. (Please note, regarding your shock about my commending Napoleon’s action in defending his government from an armed mob of many thousands: Soldiers and rebels with weapons in their hands, marching on government buildings, should expect to be shot down by the defenders of those buildings. If this is morally shocking, I am at a loss. It is perfectly honorable to defend oneself against a massive, armed, mob. In fact, Napoleon was outnumbered ten to one at least.) Returning to the case of Soleimani, who was on a diplomatic mission at the time of his assassination, we are confronted with something entirely dishonorable. Soleimani was in Baghdad to meet with the prime minister of Iraq (our ally). And I must say, this makes the whole thing even more shameful; for It is a species of treachery to kill a general in route to a parley. The people who convinced Trump to do this are scoundrels. If any are generals, they should be stripped of their rank and cashiered. Perhaps what I am writing here seems old-fashioned, archaic, etc. Oh yes — just like all our moral rules (for example, murdering babies, born or unborn, etc.) People may laugh at me, I know. How quaint that I believe in honorable conduct with regards to war (where, by the way, it is bound to do real good — especially if it catches on). Of course, I don’t blame you for being confused in such matters. Obviously, you were never taught these things. Indeed, you might ask when a general can be killed. Well, generals can be killed when they are under arms on the field of battle like any other combatant, so long as they aren’t especially targeted. I will offer a poignant story from history to illustrate: The Duke of Wellington, while directing his troops in the Battle of Waterloo, was offered a chance to kill Napoleon with artillery. His reply to the gunners was, “Good God, no! Armies have better things to do than target each other’s commanders.” This was said not only in the spirit of chivalry to which Wellington, as a British officer, then clung; it was also a wise statement of prudent policy. It did not matter that Napoleon was less chivalrous than Wellington. It was Wellington’s honor that was here on display, and also his wisdom. Now compare Trump to Wellington. Soleimani was assassinated by a drone strike at the international airport in Baghdad. He was not on a battlefield. He was en route to a political meeting with the head of Iraq’s government. He was not directing a battle. He was not killing anyone in that moment. He was meeting with our ally, who was being used as a lure. Do you think it would be honorable, let’s say, if one of our generals was invited to a meeting in Tehran, and treacherously killed with a rocket? Would that be honorable or dishonorable? And if it would stink for them to do it to us, why doesn’t it stink when we do it to them? And here is the clincher: they never did this to us. They didn’t target one of our generals. And I would have to say, the only justification for killing Soleimani in that way would have been repayment in kind. But you see, the Iranians never targeted our generals like this. And if they assassinate President Trump in the future, or some other important American leader, what will you say? That we did the right thing in assassinating Soleimani? Or will you admit we opened the door to something we should not have invited in? If you understand what I have just now laid out, you will be the first one; for none of our modern folk take such notions as these seriously as far as I can tell. They see only the wickedness of their enemy and the rightness of slaughtering him in the most expedient manner possible. To possess honor in and of ourselves, of course, is the point. And if we wonder why Washington is a swamp, it is because we are all swamp creatures by upbringing.
This makes some sense Jeff as to the honorable treatment of military leaders. But under the military philosophy you posit it would have been wrong for an assassination team to enter Hitler’s bunker and shoot him in the head, effectively ending the war and saving hundreds of thousands of Jews not yet gassed. He was indeed in effect he head of the German armed forces. Under your positioning on this type of matter, it would have been better to honorably allow Hitler’s escape, and in effect abandon those Jews to the chambers? I offer a poem I wrote awhile back: Hitler’s Nurse: tending the flesh that suffers also, afflicter and afflicted, the refrain of all souls. day after day, the confusion mounts, the dilemma deepens, the conflict grows. now the seed of a plan takes hold, watered by conscience, then crushed by sympathy and fear, dying in the arid soul. and history rolls on and on…
Here you single out the most demonized human being in all history, as if killing him somehow solves the very problem of history. But you do not realize that the very thing you propose to do is exactly what Hitler was doing. Only he demonized Jews. Oh yes. Hitler suggested that all the evils that afflicted Germany would be at an end if the Jews were eradicated. You use the same formula, only you propose to eradicate Hitler. Isn’t it a tad bit ironic? Do you imagine Hitler’s death would have eliminated everything and everyone he represented? Would his death, by dishonorable means, be without a serious reprisal? Look what happened when the British connived to assassinate Heydrich! How many innocent people died because one SS General was killed? Could you imagine how many people the enraged Nazis might have killed following Hitler’s assassination? And did you know, at the end of the war, some of Hitler’s followers wanted him to unleash nerve gas on the Allies and Soviets? Did you know that he refused to do that? So then, if you killed him and some follower took over, would anyone be better off? How many more millions might have died with your plan? You make this God-like assumption that you know how to change history, that by killing Hitler you will save X number of people. But you are simply setting yourself up as a God. In fact, by your reasoning, one might propose the killing of Hitler’s mother before she gave birth to him. That would be in keeping with your logic. One might make up lists of all future murderers and kill them preemptively. But then, you would be killing innocent people! And so I have to ask: How do you know what the future holds? Isn’t this beyond your real knowledge? Human wisdom, moral precepts, political principles cannot be based on the idea that the future is absolutely known by YOU — that killing some statesman will turn out better than not killing him. For that matter, let’s make a list of bad people and simply start liquidating them…. Except, that begins to sound a little like Hitlerism. Do you see what I’m driving at? Honor is a very hard concept because it is modest to the point of being anti-modern. There is a dangerous grandiosity in your demonizing of Hitler and supposing his assassination a moral act. Yet in your role as judge, jury and executioner, might you also be condemning yourself without even realizing it? What moral protection, what honor, what good thing, could be in it for you? Do you seriously mean to go around settling scores with murderous rulers everywhere? Would you then be required to carry out death sentences on Churchill, Roosevelt and Truman? For did these statesman not order the firebombing of women and children in Dresden and Tokyo — and dozens of other cities? And please tell me, what is the difference between a Jewish girl killed in Treblinka and a German girl killed in the Dresden firebombing? Or how about Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Most of those incinerated victims were non-combatants. Why is it okay for one side to kill civilians and not the other side? Oh yes. Honor is a very difficult thing, as I said. It’s a gift you give yourself, even as that great killing machine, the modern state, proposes to turn everyone into hamburger. And there you are with your Hitler meme — ready to turn the meat grinder. Are we going to start killing in order to prevent killing? That is not a proper principle for political conduct. Dragging out Hitler was facile enough. But there you are, part of the problem, imagining that you are the solution. First, make yourself honorable. Don’t think like an assassin.
Thanks, Jeff. It’s easy for me to see why it’s dishonorable to kill an enemy leader on his way to a parlay (I didn’t know that was the case with Soleimani). But why is it dishonorable for two sides of a conflict to target one another’s generals? I still don’t quite get that. It seems it would be a quick way of ending a war and lots of lives would be saved (those of many soldiers).
In fact, theoretically, if two countries wanted to fight, and they just each put up one general for combat in a duel-like situation (instead of having a war), the duel between the generals could settle the conflict, if both sides agreed to accept the results. Of course, countries don’t do that, but if countries in battle targeted each other’s generals, it would amount to the same thing, as the war could be ended more quickly and with less bloodshed.
It seems more honorable to me to sacrifice fewer lives in settling a conflict than to sacrifice many. I admit my ignorance. I’m just trying to show where my confusion lies in order to bring out your thinking more fully on this, because you grasp a classical concept of honor that still is eluding me and which I wish to grasp as well.
You propose it is “honorable” to sacrifice fewer lives in a combat. Whose honor would that serve? You suggest that leaders should try to kill each other by fighting duels instead of having armies and weapons to do the fighting. Would you then be willing to submit to the outcome of a wrestling match between Putin and Biden? What honor would then be yours, or mine, if we submitted? Don’t you think it is the right of every free man to vindicate his own honor? Why should the leader of an army be the only man of honor? If you think it through, you will see that honor has nothing to do with saving lives and everything to do with affirming higher values — values that stand above life itself. Saving lives in a war is not the ultimate moral accomplishment. Living nobly and dying honorably is what matters. It is better to die with honor than live in shame.
Jeff – in regard to your criticism of Trump’s assassination of Soleimani, here’s why I disagree: Soleimani had not been engaged only in directing regular battlefield military operations, but rather oversaw a network of quasi-military militias and terrorists who cowardly planted IEDs along roadsides and the like, killing both military and civilians alike. As prescribed by the Geneva Convention, these operatives were not uniformed and otherwise following the rules of war.
Soleimani’s elimination was justifiable because he was directing terrorist activities. These must be crushed because they are antithetical to the rules of honorable warfare.
I say this as a veteran Army officer. As an example, to facilitate terrorist operatives in Lebanon (Hizbollah, etc.) who launch missiles into Israeli towns and villages in peacetime is an obscenity. We would try our officers, even two-star generals, as war criminals for doing likewise.
Yes. Our enemies wage war dishonorably. That is an important point, leading us to questions of reciprocity. Does the enemy get to determine what we do in this respect? Can he compel us to adopt his “political object” as our own? Think for a moment how to envision what we want strategically and how we might get there. Please note: dishonorable means perfectly attends to the requirements of a dishonorable end. Not so, however, with honorable ends. (Of course, our country’s grand strategy mistakenly believes its ends are honorable, obsequiously flattering our enemy’s religion instead of honestly challenging them as warriors. Our strategy in the Middle East has become the rotten politically correct step-child of our progressive moral degeneracy.) What we ought to do, of course, is to seek an honorable end with an honorable means. Sounds impractical, right? Consider the following questions: Did assassinating Soleimani put an end to terrorism in the Middle East? Did we win friends or make more enemies? As an act of grand strategy, decided by the U.S. President, did it solve the region’s problems or guarantee peace for the future? Or was it merely the American version of Stalin’s dictum, “No man — no problem”? Now consider: by assassinating Soleimani our own president has violated the law of nations. He demeaned himself and his office. He put himself and his commanders at risk. Using your logic (not mine), enemies abroad can justify the assassination of Mr. Trump, whose value to us may yet be incalculable. By introducing this practice, sanctioned by our commander-in-chief, we descend into a dirty game which, in time, may take us to places we don’t want to go — with devastating consequences for our country. The Iranians may feel justified in drawing up lists of American generals for slaughter, or they can go after our elected officials. When that phase of the conflict begins, we will have to invade Iran and take the city of Tehran. As an Army officer, is this the grand strategy you favor? Your policy of assassination may be taking you there. This would lead to a war even as America faces bankruptcy from past military adventures in Iraq and the effects of pandemic. It is my contention that the old moral rules — the ancient precepts of honor — are consistent with the prudential considerations of a properly considered grand strategy. You assassinated Soleimani and accomplished what, exactly? Iran is a pariah state, hated throughout the Middle East. It is already paying a high price for the dishonorable conduct of its generals. Yes, to be sure, we seem to have gotten away with assassinating Soleimani for the time being. But the game is far from over. Yes, we have struck fear into an enemy; but that fear will wear off with time. And then what? We will find ourselves justly hated and even despised. I believe peace is now further away than ever it was. And what has become of OUR honor? — and the honor of American generals and politicians who went along with assassinating a foreign major general with a drone strike? Which of our generals resigned in protest at this act? None that I know. Perhaps it is a winning strategy, as you say. I don’t see how that figures. In my view, assassination is a dangerous strategy that is simultaneously ugly, and again, dishonorable. Some will say, with solid-sounding arguments, that Stalin’s method of “No man — no problem” has real efficacy. Yes, if you want hell on earth. Stalin’s methods are appropriate to the kind of world the communists like to build. Your Star Chamber, which decides who will be targeted by the next drone strike, is a similar kind of thing. And here is something you may not have considered: What if those drones, as instruments of assassination, had our names on them? What if we lose control of that Star Chamber and the right to say who is a terrorist and who is not? A method for eliminating people may be efficient, but is it right? Will it come back to bite you? By opening that door you will discover the land on the other side. It may be a bitter passage.
Jeff I couldn’t agree more with your philosophy here. It speaks to a future of hope that we can disagree on many things but we still agree that America often sets the playbook with its aggression, so we shouldn’t be so ready to take up preemptive arms against our enemies out of fear; lest we desire to bring such aggression upon ourselves. — Terry George
Yes, Terry. We agree on this one point. Preemptive war is wrong.
But that is the single foundational problem I have with your writing: that the bulk of your ideas push both Liberal and Conservative closer to preemptive war whether you mean to or not. The bulk of your philosophy is that the forces of Evil are thriving in one political party versus the other. Even though Conservatives have their own problems, Liberals are the ones wedded to Evil (in the form of Communism). This is the broad takeaway from your words. Literally demonizing one political party, and labeling all its voters as useful idiots only serves the end of preemptive war. As many commenters here express regularly, they are itching for preemptive war. It is a viable pathway to peace for them. Do you not see the problem in so assuredly claiming millions of your fellow countrymen are agents of Satan? It radicalizes people who see preemptive attack as a moral solution.
My position on preemptive war has been stated many times over many years. One of my favorite quotes is from Bismarck who said preemptive wars are always wrong in principle. I’ve never said conservatives were angels. Quite the opposite. Did you read Origins of the Fourth World War? I blast conservatives and libertarians as hypocrites and greedy undertakers who have made the corpse of our society look better than it did in life. You have not really read my “philosophy,” so your criticisms are usually beside the point. I laid down the following principle thirty years ago, Origins 10.1 —“The Right is a fiction. Everyone is on the left.” So please try to understand. It’s not what you think. We’re all rotted with modernity. Use your nose.
I have considered reading your book, but I have never reached that point of action. Mainly because you regularly remind me that your ideology is rooted in the idea of Providence, which doesn’t mesh with what I see and understand about life. Maybe I’m just incapable of fully grasping the intricacies of the spiritual world? Perhaps. Am I willing to bank my future on the theory that people in positions of power have somehow earned their way there by some mysterious Godly allowance? No, I’m not. That fundamental belief puts us at odds in that I can’t overlook the injustices of the past, many of which have elevated certain individuals over many others. I believe there is still a need for accountability and equity from those who have benefitted from “Providence”, especially in the last 10 generations (300 years or so). Now I see your defense of Providence stretch onto the battlefield where nobles and military leadership ought not be targeted or else there would be dishonor in their deaths. The idea of Providence reduces life to a perpetual emotionless dogfight for “God’s favor” among creatures capable of immense compassion and love. Your book would inevitably draw further distinctions between us.
Do you really believe there is no higher power, no divine plan, no higher meaning behind events?
There certainly could be! Do I believe any higher power that exists cares about whether people enjoy life or not? No. Do I believe that higher power has specific interest in human beings over any other form of life in the universe? No, I do not. The fact that our brains are big and provide us with complex thought does not yet elevate us closer to that higher power in a way that benefits us. Historical spirituality has been a mental prison for humanity to gradually break out of, which is currently happening in the modern era. The possibilities that lie beyond the Earthly concept of Providence are currently unfathomable to our species at large, which is why we still struggle. However I see hope in the future as we accept more and more that we are the harbingers of our future, not some faceless God. And how we treat each other, and our world, will directly impact the overall success of that future.
A simple “yes” would have done nicely.
Again, I must suggest you watch the film Cloud Atlas. As many times until it’s fully understood. It breaks open the concept of Providence into an entirely new landscape of possibility.
Okay. I will watch it.
Thank you. And a simple Yes wouldn’t be true! Is there not a wide grey area between Atheist and one who believes in Providence? Is not living as if there could very well be divine consequence to my actions indication that I could not answer yes to your question?
I had a hard time understanding your answer.
Sidenote: Cloud Atlas is originally a book. So if you prefer to read that’s likely the better story for you.
What I mean is that a world of Providence requires struggle because the human mind is too complex to work together under any set of currently existing Providential guidelines (though I find no fault in the direct red-letter teachings of Jesus). To beings with such intellectual capabilities, a higher power that requires struggle creates an existence of eternal suffering. It turns life into a game that the vast majority of us lose. The worst casino in existence. I do not believe in any God like that.
Providence is the idea that a higher power is guiding our destiny with a view to some future good. “There is Providence in the fall of a sparrow,” says Hamlet. The idea is that God is in control of even the smallest things. What we do, in the sense of effecting ultimate outcomes, is not decisive if a thing is not meant to be. This relates to divine teleology, the ultimate purpose of the universe, etc. If we are created beings, then there is a higher purpose in our being here. This is where the mystery begins.
Sorry, this review is too good not to post. https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/cloud-atlas-2012
This is a beautiful way to describe what you believe. I would never dismiss or condemn your belief in Providence as you’ve described it here. If there is meaning to it all it exists buried deep in the combination of beliefs like yours and mine (and many others). Approaching this great mystery, it would be foolish for either of us to call the other wrong. This fact permeates every controversial topic of faith and morality across humanity. We fight because we insist those with different beliefs are wrong rather than simply different, or misunderstood. Obviously we need to draw moral lines in order to maintain society; how much longer we let those lines be influenced by cold and thoughtless dogma is up to us all.
another aspect of leftist strategy of demoralization and wearing down on cultural norms shown last Saturday in Kentucky: BLM verbally assaults cheerleader competition. “The ruthless critcism of all things.”—Marx https://www.theblaze.com/news/blm-militants-harass-young-girls-cheerleaders
Jeff, I don’t consider it facile to take the furthest extreme of an argument to see if the argument holds water; it is a common tool in debate. Hitler was the head of the snake; if it had been severed, the entire German campaign might well have collapsed from the loss of their ideological leader. Or would you have known that future and known that this would not have happened?
I don’t find it at all ironic that Hitler should be demonized and the German Jews not. There is little moral equivalency between them that can be drawn. Suggesting that there is simply obscures the situation and makes it’s reality opaque. Possibly you wouldn’t be able to call one evil and the other good? Maybe our common Christian tenet that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” makes it difficult for you to draw moral equivalencies between historical actors, since the Treblinka Jewish girl may have dishonored her father that morning, while Hitler was ordering millions of Jews to the chambers. It seems that you find them to be morally equivalent historical actors, because Hitler then did not nerve gas the Allies. And you know for certain that German military leaders would have gassed the Allies had Hitler been killed? You have no idea why Hitler made that decision, but you assume it was for a righteous reason, showing him to be of mixed morality like all of mankind, which allows you to obscure the differing moral character of the two (Hitler and the Jewish girl) at that time. Whether it fits into your theology or not, there are levels of sin, dependent on the level of their negative effect on their society and their neighbors.
And of course there is a moral difference between the killing of a Jewish girl in Treblinka and the killing of children in the firebombing of Dresden, though it is a minor one. In the milieu of that time, the Jews were innocent actors, the Germans were not. Yet in all cases children who are too young to become military actors are innocent, and their deaths should be avoided at all costs if possible. And at the same time their parents are responsible to support a government that protects their children from potential retaliatory assault, and to overthrow one that does not.
You misunderstand my position if you think I would support the killing of Hitler’s mother, an innocent in the evils of her son. There is no equivalency between the killing of Hitler who was committing atrocities by proxy, and his mother who had no foreknowledge of her son’s future, nor any responsibility at all for it.
But at the end of the day, as is most always the case with academics and intellectuals, you are offering deep analysis, yet no positive solution that is robust enough to save our republic. Please suggest a concrete course of action that will not eventually allow us to be plunged into totalitarianism and complete moral degradation. The application of a practical intelligence is infinitely more difficult than one that theorizes and moralizes itself into a box canyon. A man of your intelligence might be a great tool in the means of the defense of our civilization.
You suggest that I have moralized myself into a box canyon. I think, rather, that you have demoralized yourself into a dark hole. You want positive action, but you’re not too keen on differentiating right from wrong. I believe there is no positive action in the absence of moral principle. I also believe we can defeat our enemies and win wars without firebombing civilians or assassinating national leaders. I argue for the high road as the only path to a better country. You don’t want to hear that. In fact, you justified the massacring of civilians by arguing for the guilt of a German girl killed in the Dresden firebombing. You ask me to propose a positive solution to save our country from totalitarianism. My proposal begins with the recovery of our moral sense. We are morally confused as a people. This moral confusion has put Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in power. Moral confusion in opposing Biden/Harris merely guarantees another set of bad actors coming to power. And that is no solution at all. Grand strategy is intimately bound up with morality. If you bind it with immorality, you will reap the whirlwind.
You misunderstood my point about the Treblinka Jewish girl. But again, what is your exact answer in order to stop the slaughter of our unborn children? The complete stripping of electoral representation from conservatives in our country? The purposeful degradation of our family structure and traditions, which are an integral part of who we in essence are? Or do you feel as Trevor London told me that there is a 2% chance of our republic surviving, but that that “chance” would be erased by a counter-revolution? It’s too much theorizing Jeff; the time is very short. What is your exact plan to recover all these things that are the essence of our national morality, which you are philosophically committed to? We cannot convince leftists who have seized power to make it better, and we also cannot reclaim power from them because they have perfected the cheat; so the practice of political philosophy will not save this nation. I get it that you don’t want to have military leaders assassinated in declared wars; but what exactly do you want?
What is my plan? I’m carrying out my plan by writing to you. I am attempting to convey to you the understandings you will need if you hope to succeed. If you do not have these basic understandings you will fail. Sun Tzu was correct when he said that a commander who does not know himself or his enemy will lose every battle. I am teaching you about your enemy and about yourself. I am telling you how you got here and what is coming next. I am even telling you what you ought to be fighting for. Like most Americans, you probably don’t realize that our main problem is not actually our enemy. It is found in ourselves. You are unhappy that Trevor thinks we have a 2 percent chance. From what you wrote above, you apparently see zero chance; for if your formulation of the problem is true, then we have no chance. Compared to you, I am an optimist. I see a number of chances which need time to fully mature. Right now the communists have the initiative. We are so weak in terms of our political position, we can only react. The people, like Trevor Loudon, who know the communists well, have only enough funding to hold body and soul together. There is no meaningful support for us at this time. The people on the right who have all the money and resources, are clueless about the communists. They have only an inarticulate inkling at this point, which is a vast improvement over what we had ten years ago. In truth, all these people should be lumped in with the “useful idiot” left. And that is the lay of the land. You want a plan? We can only move forward if a Great Awakening happens that brings the right and center left to full awareness of the country’s danger. What is the chance of that happening? One day everyone is going to know the truth. The communist strategy has a shelf life because deceptions wear out over time. Even highly successful deceptions, with huge machinery behind them, must expire. That is the drawback one finds by relying on untruth. It can seem so powerful. It can appear to succeed decade after decade. But it festers. It begins to stink. One day it will collapse because the communist exploitation of their deception will make the situation obvious to everyone. In that case, even our soft Marxists will take fright at the Chinese war preparations — or at the sudden appearance of the People’s Liberation Army on the west coast. Human nature always asserts itself. The true revolutionary communists are a minority who cannot hold power in this country under their own banner. The very hour they assert themselves as communists, showing their true face, will be the hour of their downfall. So they cannot win the kind of victory you think they have won in this country. They will be turned out of power, in a political sense, one way or another. In terms of their ideas, a worse danger attends the possibility that some of their ideas will continue during the war against China. That will cost us dear. At any rate, all false ideas carry heavy costs. It is only a question of time before we reject those ideas because of losses suffered. I say it is never too late for the truth. The truth, after all, is the thing that sets you free. Since this is the precondition of our victory, the real question is: what are you doing to wake people up? Here is where our plan of action begins. The truth about communist subversion and infiltration will come out, one day. Everything depends on it coming out sooner rather than later. That is what I am working for. If the truth comes late, our country will be bombed and invaded. This is the most likely outcome, and all of us should be preparing. The communists in Russia and China are not stupid. They have studied our leftists and know that — except for their agent networks and dedicated cadres — the American left will turn against them, realizing that they’ve been played. Yes. That is right. The American left will turn against China and Russia and the core communist apparatus in this country. Also, American capitalists will wake up one day to the fact that China has used them — and swindled them. You could call this “Zero Hour” — the moment when all the levers of deception begin to fail. That will also be when the domestic political environment changes. If this happens suddenly, through unexpected events, the Chinese might lose their nerve. If the Chinese see it coming — which is the more likely scenario — they will be compelled to use their military advantages regardless of the cost. In either case, every moment until that eventuality must be used to prepare people intellectually and spiritually for what lies ahead. The world as we have known it cannot continue much longer. The communist deception has a very volatile endgame built into it.
Technically Biden and Harris were not put into power; they lost significantly. Only the deceit of the left brought them to power. The fact that they were even the Democratic Party nominees does indeed speak to moral confusion on the left. But the conservative movement and other Trump supporters backed his policies significantly, leading to his victory. This has to actually speak somewhat well of the American public in general. There are millions of us who follow a moral code (though we may differ as to it’s definition relative to war tactics.). All of us were stripped of our representation within the relic of this republic. It’s not that we could not see clearly what the moral approach to politics and public policy was.
Let’s consider your premise: You say that “Only the deceit of the left” brought Biden and Harris to power. This is not entirely true. The right is also deceitful; that is, self-deceitful. So-called “moral” Americans have shut their eyes to the reality of communism in this country for many decades. Without this, recent events could not have unfolded as they have. Those of us who tried to warn the country have been treated rather shabbily for a long time and have been made to feel like kooks. Trevor Loudon, for example, has not received the media attention or financing his research deserves. Diana West lost her syndicated column after conservatives like David Horowitz attacked her for writing about communist subversion. Those who understand the country’s danger are very few and are not supported by power and money the way the left is. Even the public does not support us enough to make a difference. As I have tried to tell you before, there is no widespread readiness to organize meaningful opposition to communism and its corrupt auxiliaries. The weight of money, power and prestige, supports the left and also supports those who compromise with the left. Financial people want to invest in communist countries. Worse yet,a majority of conservatives aren’t ready to seriously confront communism. Americans are prosperous and comfortable, and opposition to communism isn’t comfortable — and Americans have become very materialistic. There are strategic implications here, and political implications. First, at least a third of the country would have to understand the problem and be willing to organize and act. I do not think we have even five percent in that category. Five percent would be more than 16 million people. There is no way 16 million people care about this. Not yet. We have a long, long way to go before we reach critical mass in public awareness. Obviously, events will move people in our direction. But they aren’t there yet. So the work of educating people continues. The concepts and ideas I present are, admittedly, old-fashioned. I believe these ideas are worthwhile; but my urgency in doing so comes from the sense that people need these ideas to succeed against communism. We have to do a great deal more intellectual work — of the right kind. We have to educate ourselves. And moral education is what we need as our strategic foundation.
Jeff, I have to disagree with you. Morality as described in the Bible is what’s needed. And that’s precisely the morality that the Swamp is not following.
No, I don’t mean the wars in the Old Testament as commanded by God, even in the Old Testament the laws were said to be replaced in a New Testament. Therefore, the Bible itself indicates that the morality that we are to follow even in battle is not defined by the examples of the Old Testament.
The morality we are to follow is the individual morality of don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t rob, don’t slander one’s neighbor and don’t covet that which your neighbor has. That’s the morality to be followed even in battle. When an army loses that morality, it becomes a murderous mob. When a country loses that morality, it’s ready for a fall.
You mentioned Poland as a country that has better thrown off the vestiges of tyranny than either Germany or Russia. Poland also follows Biblical morality better than either of those other countries. I think that moral strength is what’s given them ability to shake off their recent past.
I think you misread Wellington’s reason for not targeting Napoleon. Napoleon was on the battlefield actively directing his troops. That made him a legitimate battlefield target. However, it was common practice for nobility to buy their way into military office therefore nobility didn’t want to target other nobility even in battle, so my understanding of Wellington’s actions stems from noblesse oblige and not chivalry.
The pattern appears to be that God allows wicked rulers to come to power over wicked nations. Germany is a good example—it’s sexual perversions were so bad that one of them was called “the German disease”. Already in the first decade of the 20th century they had practiced genocide. Doctors had been playing God, deciding who lives and who dies as a way to control costs in the state run health care system, that it was a small step to medical experiments on prisoners in concentration camps. God allowed Hitler to come to power over that wicked nation.
Now our culture has become so toxic that even a country as secular as France is warning their people against it. Is the illegitimate government of Biden and Harris our punishment for our wickedness? Again, the standard against which we measure ourselves is the morality found in the Bible.
You forget what the Bible says. Monarchs and emperors are Providential. It is not for us to kill them. If a shell or bullet strikes an emperor in the course of action, that is God’s doing. If you pursue him across the field to kill him, then you are an assassin. Please note: Napoleon did not buy his office, and Wellington was not protecting Napoleon out of class conceit. Wellington would have felt real shame at killing an emperor with artillery. No biographer of Wellington would disagree with this conclusion regarding the Duke’s character. Even Hitler, for all his crimes of infamy, blasted an SS officer for suggesting the assassination of Churchill. “That would be tampering with Providence!” the Nazi dictator exclaimed. In this one peculiar area, Hitler followed the higher law and was, he later said, spared by Providence from assassination on several occasions (especially in the 20 July 44 bomb plot). Here is a footnote worthy of further meditation.
Jeff – I really hate that I differ with you on Soleimani because I SO respect your views and work.
But replying further to your rejoinder (with which Terry George agrees –yikes!): I really don’t see what feasible alternative you propose to a growing, cancerous campaign of state-sponsored terrorism throughout the Muslim world. You cite the amorphous “Law of Nations,” chivalry, and “honorable” ends, but consider how these conventions got established in the first place. Probably because when people like Vlad the impaler or the Assyrians barbarically put out the eyes of their defeated opponents, they were later repaid in like kind when they, too, were vanquished. Eventually, I believe, a convention of honorable conduct took hold because of the realization that “whatever we do to others will be visited upon US.” And that is why swiftly punishing barbaric conduct should be viewed as an appropriate response to nudge them back into the lane of civilized behavior.
But to answer your questions:
1. Yes, the world and Mideast in particular IS a better place without Soleimani, a mastermind of terroristic evil. I think it the metaphor about “cutting off the head of the snake” was aptly used at the time. It certainly seems preferable to a bloody war with Iran (most of the citizens of which are NOT on board with the radical Imams or hostile to us). Whoever succeeds Soleimani will never sleep peacefully, and should not.
2. There really is not a moral equivalence between what Trump and his generals have done and what Soleimani and his ilk do, because Trump & company are not engaged in state-sponsored terrorism. (Think delivering bombs and missiles into the hands of belligerent ideologues hoping they will create chaos and instability). Faults aside, America continues to be force for good in the world.
3. I can think of no more effective response to Iran’s intentional use of terroristic proxies than to eliminate the evil masterminds who are responsible. I don’t think it’s quite fair to characterize this response as Stalinesque. Nation states DO get to act as a collective to oppose and suppress evil. Didn’t Jefferson launch a suppressive war against the Barbary pirates preying on American shipping in the Mediterranean?
4. Israel’s historic response of “taking out” evil masterminds should be instructive. It has taken quite a while, but Israel’s forceful exercise of its right to be free of threats has earned the grudging respect of most of its Arab neighbors, who now have established either official or unofficial relations with it. Isn’t that a sufficient answer to your “hell on earth” concern? Isn’t unconfonted evil a surer path to hell on earth? What if Israel had simply hunkered down and hopefully observed the “Law of Nations”?
Having said all of the above, I do agree with your critique of our leaders’ insincere flattery of Islam rather than confronting the problem more forthrightly.
At some future time, the Antifa-types and perhaps worse are going to be coming after the remnant of good men and women here who refuse to bow their knees, most likely in an atmosphere of lawlessness. Will we not be justified at that time to resist with force of arms?
A very good answer. It is true that force must be answered with force. And yes, the Israelis do assassinate terrorist leaders with apparent success. But do they assassinate generals belonging to actual states, like Iran? Outlaws belong in a different category from leaders of countries — I agree with you in principle. So I have no problem with hunting terrorists as terrorists. The distinction I make has to do with actual leaders of nations. But then, you may argue that Iran is a terrorist state, and that may have merit. I believe we should have no commerce or diplomacy with such countries (and military readiness to slap them down); but still, my belief in nations includes the idea that national leaders are Providential (possibly a mistaken notion on my part). My larger concern lies in the question as to whether we ourselves have the wherewithal to fight a war to victory, and to what extent ours is a pathological system of governance becoming more pathological by the day. Certainly our national security strategies are less and less rational in the sense of means being commensurate with ends. I did not think it wise to invade Iraq in 2003, but kept quiet and hoped I was wrong. I am not inclined to keep quiet now. There is a time for war and a time to avoid war; as you probably know, I am not a pacifist. But I don’t think America is up to handling a real war at the moment. We are divided and muddled. As for policies that worked at one time, the first Gulf War seems to have been appropriately limited. Later, when we overreached, the invasion of Iraq proved a dead end; partly because of leftist moralism. It is not that we lack weapons or munitions or good soldiers. Our problem is twofold: too many bad leaders and too many bad ideas. (Forgive me for simplifying.) I fear, as well, that we lack the moral fiber for victory and right action. Washington warned about foreign entanglements. We are not the British of 1850 and do not have a class of persons skilled at managing other continents. We are political idiots now — ready to erase our own border, ready to use women in battle, liberal, self-righteous, and unrealistic. This is no position from which to project strength or carry imperial burdens. Thus I lean toward a return of the school of honor. This is not a utopian idea, like that of Terry George. It’s just a very old way of looking at things that used to work (but never worked perfectly).
Where does the Bible say that monarchs and emperors are Providential? Not Romans 13:1–7. Do you have another passage to back up your claim?
The concept of “The Divine Right of Kings to Rule” comes not from the Bible, rather from paganism. Yet the history of Rome shows that the pagans regularly killed their emperors.
But the main purpose of my comment is to emphasize that it is Biblical morality, properly understood, is what defines morality. It doesn’t matter if the society is Christian or pagan, God, the creator of the universe, applies his same morality to all nations. We too, need to acknowledge and obey God’s morality, even in battle, and not make up our own morality.
Read the Old Testament. It’s there.
Regicide happened some times in the Old Testament, not always at God’s command.
1 Kings 15:28, 16:10, 17–18, 2 Kings 9:24, 27, 21:23
That’s not counting the number of kings killed in Israel’s invasion of Canaan mentioned in Joshua and Judges, not counting the two kings from the east side of the Jordan.
The only thing I can think of that even remotely fits your claim is David’s refusal to kill king Saul. But there he didn’t do so, not because Saul was king, but because Saul had received special anointing at God’s command. David honored that anointing.
Now we are losing focus, and both of us are in danger of saying silly things. Perhaps I have already said silly things. My argument is against assassination, not against all killing. Assassination is defined as the murder of a prominent person or political figure by a surprise attack, usually for political reasons. Doesn’t the Fifth Commandment prohibit murder? I do believe that is in the Old Testament. It is very strange to find people here arguing in favor of assassination (which is a type of murder), using the Bible to justify it. I am at a loss, truly.
R.O. has a serious problem reading. Romans 13:1b is pretty specific: To wit:
“For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.”
I served in both Navy and Army, and I used to tell a kid that didn’t know what to do with his life to pick a job he was qualified for in the military and serve a hitch. He would get some experience in life, perhaps see a bit of the world, and know better what he would like to do with the rest of his life while making lifetime friendships.
I tell kids to run from the military now. It has become a morass of PC wrought by the takeover of social justice warriors who are intentionally weakening the service for their own end. Anyone who has served recently, and is honest, can tell you of the baleful outcome of allowing women outside of the auxiliaries, and now the brazen excrescence of putting them into combat units. This is not just a moral issue either, but one of existential importance.
An aside, a nation and a state are two different things. There are stateless nations, the Kurds being just one example.
Jeff how can you possibly, with such confidence, know that the outcome of allowing non-male soldiers to fight in the military will be a weaker military? You don’t know the consequences of utilizing non-male combatants — good or bad. Read all the history there is! You still can’t know it’s wrong for the future. You can suspect it is, but that’s all. Your suspicion is your biggest flaw. Let it go and grab that further, stronger branch hanging right next to it. It’s called hope. Maybe that makes me weaker than those who cling to fear? Perhaps. But I don’t see the most valuable advancements in history being born out of fear. Just the opposite.
I have been a student of military affairs for a long time. I have talked with admirals and generals about this, who have explained the problems of putting women in combat, with the attending loss of efficiency and higher operational costs. My platoon sergeant in the Marine Corps trained the first platoon of female Marine Corps Officer candidates at Quantico VA, in the 1970s, in an attempt to show they could successfully complete the same training as men. None of them could do so, though they had scoured the country to find the most fit and able females. Consequently, they changed the training for women, making it less harsh, so women could become full Marine Corps officers. The Pentagon feminists wanted it done, and that is how they made it work. Ask any old-timer. Ask any woman who has been through military training. The first woman carrier pilot, Kara Hultgreen, crashed and died shortly after combat certification. There were officers who thought it was criminal to put her in that plane. They warned she had defects as a pilot, but they were told to shut up. If she had been a man she’d have washed out and survived. They allowed her to make mistakes in training — the same that got her killed. But she was a woman, so they passed her anyway. They made allowances that killed her. I have had woman describe their military experiences to me — how they were babied and helped through training, given breaks men would have not been given. The psychological differences between the sexes are profound, not trivial. Women are not men. They experience stress differently, react differently, and lack necessary upper body strength. The protection of women is a basic male instinct. To be protected is a basic female instinct. You put these two things together in combat and some pretty dysfunctional things can happen from the point of view of military effectiveness. Military training and combat involve very complex psychological factors. Many men are not suited to such stress. Weak men are immediately identified and kicked out of elite combat formations during training. All women are weak men in this sense. Besides this, women have better things to do, more suited to their sex. Women bear children. Men cannot do this. If women are not mothers, the human race dies out. Therefore, sexual roles are not based on arbitrary social conventions. They are grounded in biology and survival. Even the brain chemistry of the two sexes is different. For you to write as you have, in such a scolding tone, with your obvious indoctrination, and exposure to frankly ridiculous entertainment narratives depicting female action figures, shows that you have no real life knowledge or understanding — and are hopelessly disoriented about the ABCs of sex. And then you try to psychologize me. You attribute my statements to an alleged suspicious nature. Yet you deny female nature. Why is that? You are simply brainwashed by propaganda alleging that sexual differences are trivial. I can assure you, they are not trivial. And I certainly don’t appreciate your misguided preaching to me about “hope.” What on Earth does “hope” have to do with putting women in combat? Hope? Have you lost your mind? And do you really imagine I am opposed to women in combat out of fear? Look, if people want to do stupid things, or preach doctrines contrary to common sense, why should I even care? I can’t stop the feminists in the Pentagon! But my not caring isn’t enough for you. You desperately want me to bow to your shallow, ugly, ideology. You want to put women — prospective mothers— in harm’s way as “the most valuable advancement in history.” It’s lunacy, and full of trouble. You have fallen for nonsense which is helpful to enemies who would love to see our military efficiency encumbered. And now you want me to bow to it as something enlightened. What you propose is demeaning to both sexes. Your silly ideal perverts sexuality by positing woman as a type of man. You are suggesting, ever so subtly, that women are inferior if they cannot be warriors like men. Would it ever occur to you to suggest that men are inferior because men cannot bear children? You apparently cannot understand that differences need to be respected. Your obsession with equality leads you on a quest to homogenize everyone. I am thankful for the differences between people. Better to show appreciation than to credit the bigotry which dictates sameness for all.
I’m sorry but you completely miss the point. I fully understand and acknowledge the biological differences between men and women. But how people deal with a situation is not up to their biology. Because one woman pilot crashed YOU write off the female sex as inferior. Because they bear children YOU believe they have no business being brave on the battlefield. This is YOUR issue, not mine. You are afraid of a future where the biological advantages of men no longer suppress society at large. I am instead hopeful of that future. There is nothing more to say.
I didn’t say the female sex was inferior. I said women were inferior to men as warriors, not as human beings. You’re the one who is saying they are inferior as human beings unless they are accepted as equals in war.
What you seem to not understand is that if God has doomed humanity to eternally suffer under the power of man, that gives humanity every justifiable reason to usurp man, and decide its own future. This is the gift of freedom that God has given us all. Man or not.
That is a very confused paragraph, Terry. Please try reading it back to yourself. This bizarre doom you imagine — i.e., humanity doomed to the power of man — signifies metaphysical dyspepsia.
Start with the Biblical: Romans 13:1 “Every life having authorities over him should submit (notice the word “governing” is missing, as it is missing in the original Greek), for there is no authority if not under God (abstract: God’s authority) but those who are authorities are set up under God. 13:2 Such that the one who sets himself up against the authority (abstract) has set himself up against God’s command …” In the practice of having Scripture interpret Scripture, Ephesians 6:12 “The war against us is not towards flesh and blood, rather towards the rulers, towards the authorities …” thus not every “authority” is an authority set up under God.
Anarchism is setting oneself up against the idea of authority (Romans 13:2).
If the general is on the battlefield leading the battle, I see no reason not to take him out as he is a battlefield target. Thus I see Wellington was wrong not to target Napoleon on the battlefield.
But assassination as defined “as the murder of a prominent person or political figure by a surprise attack” and I haven’t really thought through all the implications of that. I can see why you oppose that. Murder is murder, but are all assassinations murder? I have no trouble agreeing that almost all of the time it is murder. Further assassinations often lead to very negative results. An example of negative results is the assassination of President Kennedy led to the quagmire of Vietnam where unknown thousands of people were killed, then the Democrat Congress pulled defeat out of the jaws of victory followed by a communist led bloodbath.
Would an assassination of Hitler been beneficial? After all, his leadership led to defeat after defeat on the battlefield. What if he had been assassinated and replaced by a competent leader?
Like you, I don’t see Biblical support for assassination.
A Nation walks in the darkness because the light is bright and revealing.
I’m afraid that’s true.
Jeff, doesn’t this action fall under the same judgment of the lack of historic chivalry/morality?
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Part of the Pacific Theater of World War II
Operation Vengeance was the American military operation to kill Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto of the Imperial Japanese Navy on April 18, 1943, during the Solomon Islands campaign in the Pacific Theater of World War II. Yamamoto, commander of the Combined Fleet of the Imperial Japanese Navy, was killed on Bougainville Island when his transport bomber aircraft was shot down by United States Army Air Forces fighter aircraft operating from Kukum Field on Guadalcanal.
The mission of the U.S. aircraft was specifically to kill Yamamoto and was based on United States Navy intelligence on Yamamoto’s itinerary in the Solomon Islands area. The death of Yamamoto reportedly damaged the morale of Japanese naval personnel, raised the morale of the Allied forces, and was intended as revenge by U.S. leaders, who blamed Yamamoto for the attack on Pearl Harbor that initiated the war between Imperial Japan and the United States.
In my first hearing of this event I considered it genius.
Yes, I do view the killing of Yamamoto as immoral. Our own military leaders were not keen on admitting what they did. When you hide an action, there is an implied consciousness of guilt. Yamamoto was not a bad man. He had great respect for Americans and demanded that the Pearl Harbor attack take place after a formal declaration of war. When this did not happen he was greatly upset, and saw it as a serious strategic mistake. Thus, he was more honorable than Tojo’s miserable government. He was, indeed, a worthy enemy in many ways. He should not have been assassinated.
English Standard Version
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval,
Luke, I can’t figure out how to reply directly to your post (illuminate my ignorance if you would.) I understand your position a bit better now. But don’t you think that a revival of morality and faith could turn this whole ship around? Your future projections are indeed dark and hopeless, but are extrapolations of the current reality, which can be changed! We need to preach hard against abortion, transgenderism, homosexuality, the fallacy of white privilege, etc. We need to preach the truth from the rooftops without any sense of fear. We must react with the truth to any and every expression of moral and cultural degradation wherever we encounter it. This is what I attempt to do at all times, and every day, though I have lost most of my family and friends in the attempt. This is the only way to satisfy one’s conscience, and to make others feel the reality of the truth. This must be accomplished by moral and intellectual force; posting on this thread is relatively meaningless in this battle. Only our powerful daily interactions with other American citizens can make them feel the force of our moral arguments. And for me, this includes the expression that should evil continue to overcome our nation; the force of arms may become necessary to save our republic. Many are the examples of American preachers who took off their robes after Sunday service, and underneath were the uniforms of the colonial rebel army against the British. And their grievances were fairly minor compared to ours against the hard left. The Brits only wanted the colonists to be loyal subjects to the crown. The hard left here in the States wants our lives and our souls, and to destroy our progeny. We should and must be able to muster more resolve than these colonialist preachers, at least those of us who are still awake. But I would ask you directly; when the correct time presents itself, will you have the rifle and 1,000 rounds necessary to effect change? Should the correct time present itself, and you and millions of other Americans are not prepared; all is indeed lost. If you and many millions of others are prepared, we will represent the largest standing army in the world, able to force our country back into its previously righteous channel, if we utilize proper organization and leadership.
Thank you, Vincent, for supplying that quote from the Bible, which appears to be the supposed justification for the divine right rule of monarchs. I don’t buy it. The Bible has been changed many times, with things inserted that were not originally there. This particular biblical quote basically tells us that we must bend the knee to all authority, simply because it’s the government, and that is patently ridiculous.
The notion that monarchs are all providential is fundamentally unsound to me. If it were true, then the American colonists were wrong to rebel against King George. If it were true, then Hitler was a gift to the world from God.
Genesis speaks of the Sons of God coming to Earth and marrying with the daughters of men (Genesis 6: 1-4). It calls these beings “the Nephilim.” This is apparently the source of the divine right of kings dogma. And a very convenient dogma it is with which the powerful can command the obedience of the masses.
But who, exactly, were the Nephilim? Summarizing the scholarly tomes of archeological researcher Zachariah Sitchin, William Bramley wrote a very readable book, “The Gods of Eden,” positing that the Nephilim were visitors to Earth from other star systems, who called themselves gods in order to intimidate and control mankind.
But whoever the Nephilim may have been, you will never catch me bowing to authority simply because it’s authority and supposedly therefore divine. And if a ruler is on a genocide rampage, like Hitler, and I had a chance to take him out, I wouldn’t refrain from doing so simply because he was not standing on a battlefield. The entire Nazi campaign was run by Hitler, so to my mind, he was engaged in battle 24/7, regardless of his physical whereabouts at any given time. It would have been wrong to kill him when he was a child, before he started working his evil. But once he began his atrocities, he was a fair mark for “honorable” assassination, and no divine right notion would justify sparing him.
And about this concept of honor. What does it mean, actually? What did it used to mean to “defend one’s honor”? Didn’t it 90% of the time mean to defend one’s reputation? In which case it was simply an act of pride. Were principles really being defended when one “defended one’s honor,” or was one just defending one’s ego?
Countless wars have been waged over nothing more “honorable” than a king’s whim, his desire to get even with an enemy. And for his hubris, thousands are expected to do the “honorable” thing and sacrifice their lives in war for him. As far as I can recall, the whole Troy conflict was fought over two rivals’ lust for a woman (Helen, whose “face launched a thousand ships”).
How is it honorable to demand that thousands give their lives for your lustful whims, or for your vengeful or mean desires? But for the most part, the history of wars has been little more than that. Sometimes there’s a genuine cause to fight for, like defeating the Communists or the Nazis. But to say that we are defending our own honor when we go to fight for a monarch, just because he’s a monarch — that makes no sense to me.
The world would be much better off if petty conflicts between monarchs WERE settled by duel, rather than war. And if the masses of old hadn’t been so willing to die for their monarchs, most wars would have never happened, and kings would have had no choice but to settle their squabbles through one-on-one conflicts, like duels. But when people are brainwashed to believe it’s duty to defend their king because he’s divinely appointed, then of course pointless wars and countless deaths will result.
It is not true that we, as believers, are to bow the knee to tyrants, nor are we to acquiesce to their whims. We are to resist the destroyer and fight for the rights and lives of the weak. When a ruler ceases to do and be good, all bets are off. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a man of God, was captured and executed for an attempt on Hitler’s life. When a despotic person destroys at a whim, it is the good man’s duty to eliminate the threat.
The Bible, in its original languages, is not corrupt. God is able, and he has accomplished his work in bringing forward his word to our generation.
“The divine right of kings” is not brought to the fore in the biblical record. We are commanded not to touch God’s anointed, as was put forth in the lives of king David and king Saul. David was unwilling to kill king Saul as the anointed king.
The information that we have regarding “the Nephilim” is sketchy at best; yes, they were the “gods of renown,” but the biblical record does not put forward much regarding their “doctrines.” It is not the Nephilim or their doctrines that “we” follow.
I agree with your assessments on honor and the pride of kings. Too many have lost their lives for the wrong motives. Such is the broken state of humankind.
If the supposed “pandemic,” were real, and if the virus is bio-warfare, then to nuke China would be retaliatory; not “preemptive”. Personally, I’ve recently been to the ER where I was treated and discharged in less than ninety minutes, because nobody else was there. This, “Covid Live Exercise,” is bogus.
We are not suffering a pandemic as liars like the director of WHO and Fauci have been feeding us. We have an hysteria instead. The problem with nuking China is the virus originally came from us and being used for “gain of function studies” at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. After gain of function studies were outlawed, Fauci had UNC package up everything and had it sent to Wuhan, along with the funding, to continue such studies. The poem that was part of the cover of the novel “Once and Eagle” is appropriate as we have been shot with our own arrow.
In Spain, conflicts were often settled by duels between the “King’s Champions.” OTOH, what we see now with nation rising against nation is a fulfillment of biblical prophecy for the end times. The moral slide we see is also part of that.
Your assertion of changes to the Bible has been debunked over and over. Anyone taking such a statement seriously has no idea of how the Bible we have came to be. We know what the original said.
The most ancient copies of the original Hebrew Scriptures were found at Antioch, Syria. Prophecy validates the veracity of, The King James Version. The more recent discovery of the, Dead Sea Scrolls, matches the Antioch Scriptures. All other versions, including the so-called, New King James, are translated from corrupted texts of Alexandria, Egypt.
Jeff, not sure if you can comment, the other day I was talking with a Hong Kong twitter contact who has mentioned there is total resentment towards the Hong Kong Democracy Movement and the Hong Kong Democratic Party. In 2014 during a New Years event in Hong Kong organized by the Civil Human Rights Front, people turned up at the event to protest the Hong Kong Democratic Party by calling them traitors because they had been assisting the Chinese Communist Party since 1997 by allowing a lot of people from Mainland China to settle in Hong Kong which has since caused tensions and even helping them access social welfare and public housing, in my upcoming document, since 2014, Hong Kong people have been demanding that the British Government repeal/rescind the Sino Joint British Declaration as a attempt stop the rapid mainlandisation of Hong Kong
It seems the falseness of the democracy movement has been understood.
Here are my definitions of “good” and “evil”:
Good, ultimately, is anything which helps man to have a greater awareness and understanding of himself as a spiritual being. The ultimate good for man is to ascend up the scale of awareness and to achieve a state of divinity. This is often called “union with God”. This phenomenon has been observed in all great religions, including those which teach that union with God is not possible.
Evil is anything which causes man to become more ignorant, stupid, unaware, incapable, and degraded. Evil is anything which enslaves man. This includes most drugs.
I have read the idea somewhere, that Hell is a place of absolute separation from God and God’s love, where the soul is starved of its true source of sustenance.
My abusive mother used to say this same thing, which has standing here once again confronting you. What’s the Providence in this, Jeff? What’s the point here between us? Do we meet over stone slabs like the old Greeks and argue til we’re purple? You don’t have to say you believe women are inferior to believe it. It oozes from every word you type. You value women the same way my father “valued” my mother: in a position of absolute servitude. At 70 years old he has her slaving away in his business, living that life of “Providence” God has provided them while the minutes of potential happiness and freedom tick away. Do you not see the direct result of that kind of teaching in the viable philosophical opponent I represent? Your ideas are blunted on me. There is no stepping aside from someone who believes what I believe, and your ideas are thin and skeletal – existing only in the fear you can stir up in others similarly traumatized. Alpha Men need to stop hiding behind their biology and acknowledge they are the most important cornerstone of the problems in this world. If they can never do this, there is no higher power in the universe, because intraspecific harmony is humanity’s only transcendence. Life is not here to stall out prematurely.
You are my philosophical opponent? For a second there I thought I was your therapist. Please don’t tell me about your abusive mother. In that event, I’ll have to bill you.
The small reply of a falling man.
Oh, Terry, I watched “Cloud Atlas” — the movie you recommended. It showcased all the latest politically correct “values.” All the ones you like. The villains were homophobes, male chauvinists, slave traders and racists. The good guys were nice but uninteresting. No realistic character development. I liked the partly tragic ending. But it wasn’t really credible that the synthetic girl would become so clever and philosophical at the end. It was an ideological soap opera with eternal recurrence/reincarnation as a gimmick. Now you have to watch my movie recommendation…. Lawrence Olivier’s Hamlet.
You think I don’t know the story of Hamlet? It’s standard high school curriculum. Your take on Cloud Atlas is colorless. Your sad black and white world renders a story like that worthless, much like my world of color makes your tired fables just the same. Our discussion has officially finished.
USA File: Entire leadership of Nevada Democratic Party resigns after Democratic Socialists of America candi- dates seize control of party; party executive director Alana Mounce notifies newly elected replacement, Judith Whitmer, of her resignation; directors of party operations, research, communications and finance also step down after “NV Dems Progressive Slate,” backed by DSA and Left Caucus, wipe out Dems’ “Progressive Unity Slate” on March 6; Bernie Sanders ally Whitmer: “The goal obviously is still to elect Democrats, that will always be our goal, but it’s also our goal to bring more progressives into the fold and bring those progressive voices into the party”; AP editorializes: “It’s unlikely that Whitmer’s leadership will weaken the broader, vaunted political ‘Reid Machine’ or the 2022 reelection prospects of Nevada’s U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, three Democrats in the U.S. House and the state’s Democratic governor. It seems likely [former Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid and other establishment politicians may move to work outside the party structure to raise money, recruit candidates and run voter outreach”
March 11, 2021.
source 1: https://news.yahoo.com/nevada-democratic-party-staff-quits-131355169.html
source 2: https://www.gopusa.com/democrat-socialists-take-over-nevada-democrat-party/
The multi-decade communist takeover of the Democratic Party–currently under the administration of FAKE President “China” Joe–proceeds apace and openly . . .
The US Dems look more and more like the New Democratic Party (NDP) here in Canada. The NDP presently has a majority government in British Columbia and, even though Premier Horgan has lifted the pandemic lockdown in that province, continues, with typical socialist animosity, to shutter BC churches.
They continue their relentless advance.
It’s really aggravating that I am trying to respond to you Jeff on a particular comment you made, and I have to go to the end of the entire comment section to post; then it seems abstract and un-associated with your previous post. Am I just ignorant, or is this the way it is?
Either way I understand and mostly concur with your last response to me. But it all hinges on the awakening of enough conservatives to make up a significant fighting force to block the left and their plans with our potential exercise of force. So I will commit myself to this attempt via my writing in my americanrenewal.com site that I am soon to open, and will also commit myself to speaking to Christian conservative churches and political groups exhorting them to understand the left as their immediate mortal enemy, and to throw themselves into arming themselves with rifles and ammunition sufficient to turn the tide when the correct moment comes. And until the time comes, I will keep my speech just inside the legal limits to the instigation of violence so that the F.B.I. has no reason to visit me a second time until it will do them no practical good.
We have to win people over with good ideas, and show how socialism is not so good.
Jeff I don’t understand how you can make the case for national leaders being providential, and then say that it might be a mistaken notion on your part. That seems on the face of it to be inconsistent and uncertain. Are you questioning the theory? Or questioning it only in the situation of a terrorist nation state?
First, I did not make a case for national leaders being Providential. I asserted it as a principle, though I am not a theologian and may have missed some technical aspects of the question. So if I’ve missed some nuance, there may be loopholes I don’t know about. But it is a basic concept in the scriptures, which has very real implications. Consider the following:
Psalm 22-28: 28 “For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations.”
Habakkuk 1:5-11 “Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told.
6 For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation,
who march through the breadth of the earth, to …”
John 19:11 “Jesus answered him, ‘You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.’”
Acts 17:26-27 “[God] made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him.”
A theologian, Dr. R.C. Sproul, comments on these scriptures: “The concept of God’s allotting or determining the course of these nations and empires is vital. As we have noted, the Lord’s sovereignty is not passive permission but active control. God did not simply gaze into the future, see what would or might happen, and then stand back and let it go. No, the Roman Empire came to power because the Lord decreed that it would come to power. And the same thing is true of every other nation, whether that nation rules over large portions of the world or controls only a few square miles.”
He then quoted John Calvin: “not that the times were only foreseen, but … they were appointed and set in such order as pleased [God] best.”
This is the basic idea. I have tried to answer people’s questions about it, but if they start proposing complicated and paradoxical questions on the concept, I am going to beg off. I am not wrong about the concept. I could be mistaken about its application in peculiar cases. I do not have a Ph.D. In theology.
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