2018/03/09

Reader Mail: Sith-Jedi Theology

Reader Durandel writes:
In conversations with my friends and family, many who are conservative and Catholic, whenever the topic of conversation comes up about fighting back against the Left, someone in the group gets very upset at the idea of being uncivil.
And if you point out that it is silly to be civil with the uncivil, just as it is silly to be reasonable with the unreasonable, the response is oddly the same every time. In fact, the response is always some form of one of these two responses: "If we use the Left's tactics against them, we become no different than them." and "if we fight back, we sink to their [the Left] level and stop being conservatives/good Catholics." (I mockingly refer to this as Sith-Jedi Theology)
And when I note that said civility has been turned into a weapon against the Right, and that as a tactic against the uncivil Left it always leads to defeat, I'll get another oddly repeated reply along the lines of, "I'd rather be civil and lose than be uncivil and win." 
Jesus was not civil to the Pharisees whom he called a brood of vipers and the sons of Satan. Nor was he civil to the money changers in the Temple nor to Peter when Peter refused to accept Christ's statement that He had to die. And as St. Thomas and St. Augustine noted, Jesus did not turn the other cheek when he was struck in the face (nor did Christ literally follow a few other statements from his hyperbolic Sermon on the Mount) and neither did St. Peter, indicating the teachings were not to be understood as literal.
I can't figure out how to help them see that being on the Right, being a Christian, does not require us to be doormats in the face of evil. We are not called to stand by and allow our families, nations, cultures and faith to be trammeled and desecrated by satanic communists, Islamic jihadists, or the unwittingest of unwitting useful idiots. If it is sacred, good, beautiful, true, you defend and fight for it. 
If I'm in error, please correct me. If they are in error, some pointers on what to say would be appreciated. I think some of the problem lies in people's definitions of civil and uncivil behavior. There also appears to be presumption of particular intent behind certain actions/tactics rather than recognizing that the intent behind an action can differ and impact the moral gravity of the action (such as killing in self defense vs. killing for greed). I also think this response is being taught somewhere, based on the consistent similarity of the responses, but I don't know the source.

He's not in error. Civility is a mild virtue at best. At worst, as is so often the case among Conservatives, it is a fig leaf thinly concealing the vice of cowardice and a lack of faith.

We are commanded to preach the Gospel in and out of season. Christ also blessed those who take no offense at Him. Others' feelings have no claim on whether or not we should speak the truth.

I agree with Franciscan theologian Thomas Weinandy. The root cause of so many Western Christians' timidity is weakness of faith. Too many of us have lost confidence in the rightness of Church teaching--or even the reality of objective right and wrong.

Durandel's relatives and acquaintances do not speak as Christian men of old did. Their lukewarmness shames the apostles, martyrs, and crusaders who risked their lives witnessing the Kingdom to heathens. The tired old rationalization "If we use their tactics, we become no better than them" has no basis in Catholic moral theology. Note that the one making this argument assumes he is better than the Left and wishes above all to maintain his affected moral superiority. That is the sin of presumption. He also makes a category error. Debating philosophy with the Athenians did not make Paul a Greek. Fighting the Saracen by force of arms did not ex opere operato convert the crusaders to Islam.

As Durandel rightly pointed out, the rich and venerable tradition of Catholic moral theology allows even for the use of deadly force in self-defense. Aquinas and the School of Salamanca wrote at length on just war theory. Make no mistake, we are in wartime. The Left and their sub-pagan hordes want you and your acquaintances who bow and scrape for their approval dead and despoiled. A man who will not resist the attempted extermination of his kin and his faith with every weapon at his command--and worse, cannot resist scolding those who will--is a coward unworthy of a Christian gentleman's civility himself. He does not think with the mind of Christ or heed the voice of His bride the Church.

Another astute observation Durandel made earlier applies. These friends and relatives of his are not being guided by reason. They have allowed themselves to be ruled by their passions. There is no logical argument you can make that will convince them. The only way to reach them is through the severe mercy of inflicting emotional pain. They have said that they fear social ostracization and disapproval from the Left. They dismiss Durandel's arguments because they do not fear losing his approval.

There are two options for dealing with such irrational people. The first is simply to limit your dealings with them as much as possible. Their bad example is a stumbling block. Why expose yourself to the near occasion of sin? Shake their dust from your feet and continue your walk with Christ.

If you cannot or do not wish to let them have their error, and if you have the proper disposition for it, the only action you can take to help change these people's hearts--which is a grace conferred by God alone--is to make caving to the Left cause them more emotional distress than opposing the Left. This approach takes finesse and discipline. Simply railing at a coward will just make him resent and withdraw from you. What's needed is amused mockery. You must stay cool and composed while you chuckle and ask, "You don't really believe that nonsense, do you?" whenever someone trots out the "Beware, those who fight with monsters..." canard. Don't even attempt a rational argument. If your interlocutor persists, say that's Nietzsche talking, not Christ and jovially excuse yourself on the grounds that keeping company with heretics imperils your immortal soul.

Beware: If you start taking this option, you must consistently maintain an unfailing demeanor of lighthearted ridicule toward their cowardly attitudes. You will likely be the only counterbalance to the perpetual message of submission that oozes from the television, the internet, and sadly, the pulpit. Not everyone can manage the necessary fortitude. You must also carefully guard against resenting and attacking the men instead of their errors. Hate the sin; love the sinner.

As for the source of the rot? Ultimately the real enemies are sin and Satan. However, more proximate causes of Western Christian spinelessness include the secular Modernist attitudes that infected the Church starting in the 60s and the USCCB's disastrous decision to entangle itself with the government in the realm of Catholic education. All too often, the truth is simply not taught, and many in the hierarchy are too manifestly lacking in faith and courage to correct heretics.

In addition, a necessary step toward winning back the culture is creating content that upholds--or at the very least doesn't disparage--the Western Christian worldview. Again, not everyone has the means and inclination to produce high quality works grounded in the truth that entertain without lecturing. If you're not properly disposed to be such a content creator, it's vital to support those who are.

Souldancer - Brian Niemeier

20 comments:

  1. For years, I hated going to the West Coast Walk for Life, because, in the Bay Area, there's this whole protest culture, where kids are brought up to think that marching to the cheers of your peers is sticking it to The Man or something. It always felt a little like showboating in this context. I realized that was the wrong attitude, so we've all gone for many years now.

    The counter-protesters are few, if obnoxious. Perhaps this proves the point: the Left is full of cowards who only act brave when there's near-zero risk. Facing tens of thousands of sane, well-behaved people who disagree with them might cause more cognitive dissonance than most would like to deal with.

    Every fiber of my being is repelled by the whole protest thing. Yet, I think you're right. Must start looking for ways to stand up.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Changing one's mind takes introspection and intellectual honesty. Glad I could help, but you deserve the credit.

      Did you see MILO's video on the Daily Beast reporting Pamela Gellar's daughters to ISIS, who've issued a fatwa on them? Conservative Inc's deafening silence on the issue made MILO lose even his legendary cool. You and he are in agreement that the Left is running rampant--now at significant risk to innocent lives--because Conservatives impose no credible repercussions.

      It's past time to (legally) show the Left that their vicious behavior has consequences.

      Delete
  2. @ Brian, I see you jumped into the comments section of John Wright's post, "Sell Your Cloak, Buy a Sword". Not only to you see commentators trotting out the lines I mentioned, but there is another I forgot: "Our team is made up of people that have jobs." Seriously? The war effort from the Left is only coming from the jobless? I didn't realize Google, Apple and Twitter ran purely on volunteer fumes, weed and patchouli. I guess NYTimes, WaPo, Salon, Daily Beast, Vox, etc. only hire journalists based on the WIC registry. And thank goodness all those college professors and FBI agents are unpaid volunteers.

    And these naysayers are some of most rabid. They jump on anyone not preaching defeat, and to those who are calling for crusaders, they demand you to reveal the battle plan when a war council hasn't even been declared.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Glad you saw my comments on John's post. I waded in there mostly for your benefit.

      The "But muh job!" crowd are among the more delusional fifth columnists. Do they really think the SJWs will let them keep their jobs?

      Delete
  3. Jeff and Brian,
    Another outstanding post. Alright i need some practical advice on how to be brave and be able to withstand the swarm?
    Thanks!

    xavier

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Try to cultivate antifragility. Instead of working for a corporation that's almost certainly converged, become an entrepreneur. Work for yourself and build your own platform.

      Courage is a virtue, and virtues are skills. They improve with practice. Work up to defying the mob by finding one (safe and legal) thing you're mildly afraid of doing, and do it. Could be asking a girl out, telling a Lefty friend or relative you disagree with him, or even just sitting through a whole movie you were too scared to finish as a kid.

      Don't take on the world your first time out. You've got to work up to it.

      Delete
  4. Jeff and Brian,
    Another outstanding post. Alright i need some practical advice on how to be brave and be able to withstand the swarm?
    Thanks!

    xavier

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great post Brian. Conservative Inc are a cowardly lot who are far too concerned with looking respectable to Daddy Left to actually advance the cause of American Liberty. Even now in places like Illinois and Florida they are cucking on our second amendment rights.

    If even people who are deeply establishment like Ben Shapiro are willing to go out there and fight for our side of the aisle what is their excuse? Get some skin in the game and never back down.

    MegaBusterShepard

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the post. Durandel deserves his share of credit for having the courage to let me publish his letter.

      The Illinois GOP's cucking in particular is no surprise. They showed their true colors back when they threw Ryan under the bus after the Dems illegally mined sealed divorce court records for a tawdry story that later turned out to be a lie. The IL GOP is more to blame than anyone for inflicting Obama on us. If they hadn't sabotaged their own candidate, Obama would be remembered--if he was remembered at all--as a failed senate candidate consigned to live out his days as a political nonentity.

      Shapiro is a frustrating case. He's clearly smart, and he understands what's at stake. I'm not remotely convinced he's our guy. Perhaps if he stopped writing articles that start with: "We all know Hillary is terrible, but Trump..."

      Delete
  6. Brian,
    Wow so the sordid reason why Jeri Ryan divorced her husband was never true? And no democrats ever prosecuted for illegally unsealing court documents?
    So Chicago is generic 3rd world banana republic on Lake Michigan.
    Good to know

    xavier

    ReplyDelete
  7. Here's the more detailed version:

    Jack and Jeri Ryan divorced in Los Angeles in 1999. They mutually agreed to have their divorce records sealed.

    When Jack became a candidate for the US Senate in 2003, the Chicago Tribune and ABC's Chicago affiliate WLS pursued the release of his divorce records. Jack and Jeri agreed to let the court unseal the divorce records, but not the custody records, citing possible harm to their son.

    The LA Superior Court judge--a Democrat appointed by Governor Gray Davis--ordered the release of the custody records as well, in direct violation of both parents' wishes. It was in the custody records that Jeri accused Jack of asking her to perform public sex acts with him. Jack always denied the allegations and initially resolved to stay in the race, but the IL GOP forced him to withdraw.

    In 2004 Jeri issued a statement to refute "the rumors that have been circulating" and insisted that Jack had never physically abused her or been unfaithful to her.

    Jack Ryan's opponent Barack Obama, whom Ryan was favored to beat even after the scandal broke, went on to defeat Alan Keyes, served a lackluster term as US Senator from Illinois, and went on to be twice elected President of the United States.

    The judge who unsealed the Ryans' custody records without their consent retired in 2008.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. End "lifetime appointment" for any and all federal judges. A six to ten year term, then the judge can never occupy another federal position in their lifetime. That will do as much to end corruption of judges as a lifetime appointment.

      Also, recognize that there is already an impeachment process to remove any and all federal judges, including those on the US Supreme Court. Streamline it to no more than a 1 to 4 week trial and Presidential letter of dismissal is required if the process finds the judge negligent. The letter can contain a fine and/or sentence as well.

      Keeping a cancer inside a body for life means the body will likely die.

      Delete
    2. Something's got to give at this point. I assure the federal judiciary that they'd much rather adopt your plan than the likely alternative. So would I.

      Delete
    3. Way to many lamppost-and-rope decorations in 1920s/1930s Europe for anyone to miss, if you paid attention.

      But some are never convinced that their will is not the Will of God.

      Delete
  8. Brian
    Thanks. I thought the story was a little too spectacular to be credulous.
    But didn't matter the Chicago version of the deep state fulfilled its mission.and the world still suffers

    xavier

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    Replies
    1. This is why it is imperative that we #DigTheMoat.

      Delete
  9. Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. --Matthew 10:34-36 (KJV)

    Falling out as it was foretold, but it is not an easy burden.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. If they hated Him, how much more will they hate us?

      Delete