Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Know Your Enemies And Name Them

     The title sounds “obvious,” doesn’t it? If you have enemies – i.e., people who intend you harm – you must know who they are. Moreover, you must be unafraid to name them, so your supporters will know them too. Those steps are indispensable to any sort of combat, including political combat.

     Just now, the president of the United States is a rather embattled figure. A major political party has taken as its mission to do all that it can to harm him. There are specific faces associated with certain of the initiatives against him, but it must be admitted that their party as a whole has adopted their agenda. The recent votes on the impeachment and conviction of President Donald Trump will bear no other interpretation.

     Now, if all that strikes you as “obvious,” I have a question for you: Why would anyone disagree?

     NeverTrumper David French does:

     This year’s national prayer breakfast was a study in contrasts. Washington Post columnist and former American Enterprise Institute President Arthur Brooks spoke before Donald Trump. He delivered a theologically true and moving address about a profound and difficult biblical command—loving our enemies....

     Then, Trump spoke. At the outset he said, “Arthur, I don’t know if I agree with you” and proceeded to do exactly what Trump does—hate on his enemies. He aired his grievances against political opponents in personally insulting terms, at length. But none of this is truly news. This is what the president does, day after day, on Twitter, during rallies, and to the press. It’s been a core theme of his presidency and, before that, his candidacy. When many of his most zealous Christian defenders say that “he fights,” this is exactly what they’re talking about.

     David French has enlisted in the forces of evil – and he’s done so under a mantle of false Christianity. I can say this after having viewed the video French linked in the above. Linking to it was a mistake French ought not to have made, as it refutes his contentions completely. But then, French himself is blinded by hatred: his hatred of President Donald Trump. Missteps come easily to the blinded.

     Yes, Trump has a combative style. He names his enemies, insults them, and showers them with derision. But hatred? The open expression of a desire that someone else should come to harm? If Trump hates anyone, he keeps it to himself. Or does French claim that it’s “hatred” to wish harm on a political enemy and hope that he’ll lose his office at the next election?

     Politics is combat: a struggle over power and how it will be used. The GOP had largely renounced it before Trump’s ascension. Things are different today, and well that it should be so. Why, in a combat situation, would the chief combatant refuse to name his enemies and give their motives and conduct proper, public coloration? Especially in the wake of an attempt to destroy his good name and remove him from office under entirely contrived, entirely false premises?

     David French needs emotional and psychological help he’s unlikely to get.

     I have become mortally tired of those who point pseudo-Christian fingers of condemnation at Donald Trump. Yes, Trump has sinned. Haven’t we all? (If you plan to tell me that you never have, I look forward to reading about your canonization proceedings.) If your political support were reserved strictly for non-sinners, you wouldn’t have cast a vote in any election. You certainly won’t be casting a vote in November.

     There’s a saying among Catholics that’s hugely relevant here:

Every saint has a past.
Every sinner has a future.

     Donald Trump has never been indicted for a legally actionable offense. If he played along the margins of the law in his business dealings prior to becoming president, the law has had nothing to say about it. As for his divorces and his infidelities, those are in the past. By the way, Ronald Reagan had a divorce in his past as well. I don’t recall any of that period’s David Frenches exhorting Americans not to vote for him! And need I mention the name of John Fitzgerald Kennedy?

     What the Frenches of our era are unwilling to allow is that, if Donald Trump is a flawed man, so are we all. While his conduct both on the campaign trail and in office has been combative, it has been appropriately so given his enemies’ many accusations and attempts to impede and unseat him. In a sense, the Frenchist NeverTrumpers’ beef with President Trump is that he has done what they could not bring themselves to do: He has met his political enemies in battle and has defeated them.

     In his talk at the Prayer Breakfast, President Trump said toward the end:

     “When they impeach you for nothing and you’re supposed to like them, it’s not easy, folks.”

     It’s there in the video. And he’s right: It’s not easy. But it’s also not required of us. Christ’s exhortation to “Love your enemies,” in the theological lexicon of First Century Judea, simply means to regard them as children of God like yourself. You are not to wish them harm, nor to harm them by any action you can avoid. But if you must fight them for a good reason, you do so.

     Jesus never told us not to defend ourselves. He certainly never told us not to fight for our beliefs. Did He not tell His disciples to purchase swords?

     And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end. [Luke 22:35-37]

     And what is one to do with a sword if he does not know his enemies?



RE the NeverTrumpers and Left (what, at this point, is the difference?*) hectoring about Trump's multiple wives, affairs etc: it's very clear: Alinsky's rule "Make the enemy live up to their own rules".

If we condemn infidelity, and we do, we "must" renounce Trump. And so on through the litany of sins. To which my response is the same as Lincoln when people pointed to Grant's many failings.

"I cannot spare this man. He fights."

Manu said...

Pseudo-Christianty and Therapeutic Moralistic Deism are kind of one and the same in this respect. It's this sort of "everybody be nice to everybody" idiotic pacifism.

Like Tom Kratman, I regard pacifism as a cowardly ideology. Its first commandment requires one to stand idly by, even if the greatest of evils is occurring right in front of him, even if he has the power to stop the evil. A pacifist would have let Nazis genocide Jews. A pacifist would have permitted Stalinists to gulag everyone. A pacifist could not summon the strength to save his family from a wild beast.

A pacifist is a lazy sort of fatalist, convinced that the world will proceed as it does, and he should not involve himself in anything, except to criticize those who fight.

Christ was not a pacifist, near as I can tell. He intentionally sacrificed himself for us, to show us that God understood the pain and suffering of Man. That He cared for us. Knew how it was with us. And offered us forgiveness for our failings. That took courage.

It is true that in heaven, the lion may lay down with the lamb, and there will be peace, no more need to fight. But in a fallen world, the lamb is dinner for the lion, and it is permissible - and necessary - to fight evil. To let an innocent die because of virtue signalling pacifism is a kind of cowardly selfishness. There is no sacrifice there. Just laziness and cowardliness.

ontoiran said...

"he has done what they could not bring themselves to do: He has met his political enemies in battle and has defeated them."

he has also exposed them for the lying, corrupt, leeches that they are. they have been promising to fix problems they created for decades and he has made incredible progress on them in 4 years

Tar said...

"I envy your enemies, Commander. To be hated by ones so powerful speaks well of you. My krogan would destroy anything we face to earn such a reputation." — Urdnot Dagg, Mass Effect 3

I've thought long about that whole "Love Your Enemies" thing. It's possible that something got lost in translation from the Aramaic and ancient Greek on its way to English, a language which was resulted from the attempts of Norman men-at-arms trying to get dates with Saxon barmaids... but in my own case, I like to interpret it more creatively than most.

I love my enemies... because they help me define myself by providing examples of who and what I refuse to be. I love my enemies because they give me something to push and fight against, thus helping to keep me strong and sharp. I love my enemies for giving me the opportunity to triumph over them and seize the spoils of victory.

Hate them? What would I do without them?!?