Book Reviews, Charles, Christian History, Christian Theology, Religion, War
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God Is a Man of War: The Problem of Violence in the Old Testament (Stephen De Young)

Many, if not most, modern Christians are crypto-Marcionites. They resonate with the heresy that God, as revealed in the Old Testament, is different from God as revealed by Jesus Christ. Marcion (the second-century-A.D. originator of the heresy, an early form of Gnosticism) had to throw out the entire Old Testament and most of the New Testament to make this idea coherent. Moderns don’t bother with coherency; they simply erase or ignore much of what God does in the Old Testament, the Hebrew Bible, because some of it is unpalatable to modern tastes. To correct this basic theological error, Father Stephen De Young, an Orthodox priest, is here to justify, or at least explain, the ways of God to man.

Father De Young is the priest of an Orthodox parish in Louisiana. He is best known for his work with Ancient Faith Ministries, an Orthodox publishing house that has very successfully branched out into podcasts. De Young’s focus is the Orthodox tradition, especially that connected to the early Church, to which end he has become a Scriptural expert (not so self-described, but nonetheless true). The title of this book (he is prolific) comes from Exodus 15:3, where the Israelites celebrate and praise God for delivering them from the Egyptians, drowning Pharaoh’s army in the Red Sea. “Yahweh is a man of war; Yahweh is His name.” (De Young does his own translations. Some translations, including the Orthodox Study Bible, tone this verse down; the Navarre Bible, a Roman Catholic comprehensively annotated version, notes the tendency toward dulling the language and uses the same language as De Young.)

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About a year ago, I listened to several episodes of “Lord of Spirits,” a joint podcast of De Young with another Orthodox priest, Father Andrew Stephen Damick. The topics are fascinating—heaven, hell, the Divine Council, and much more that you will not find at your local megachurch, and if you ask the pastor there about these matters, he will likely call the police. I stopped listening, though, because the two priests most often failed to discuss the topic at hand with any specificity; they ramble, and they become quite repetitive. Oh, it’s a fascinating ramble, but I prefer very precise Q-and-A. That’s what you get from, say, Saint Thomas Aquinas. Orthodoxy, outside of specific doctrine, tends to be (in my very limited experience) less offering of definitive answers. Ah well. I still recommend checking out the podcast.

As to this book, in short, very short, De Young’s overarching framework is that of our fallen world, which contains, whether we wish it or not, suffering, pain, and death. We all know that the Old Testament is filled with violence, not infrequently ordered directly by God, some of it directed at women and children. Since the so-called Enlightenment, those wishing to attack Christianity frequently point to this violence and argue, in essence, that Christ rejected violence, so Christianity contradicts itself, and therefore cannot be true. Christian thinkers (and Christianity’s foes) have been aware of this dynamic for two thousand years; Marcion’s response was just the most extreme, or perhaps the one that is most remembered. There is a certain type of critic, well represented today by midwits such as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, who thinks that by pointing out difficult passages in the Old Testament, they have freshly disproved Christianity. They are seemingly unaware that for two thousand years Christianity’s greatest minds have directly addressed such objections (as expertly detailed by Robert Louis Wilken in The Spirit of Early Christian Thought).

To the extent a contradiction is seen (not all Christians have opposed or do oppose violence, quite the contrary, to which we will return), interpretations of the most problematic Scriptural passages have tended to treat them as allegory, of prophesied events to be fulfilled without violence in the New Testament, or perhaps with violence at the end of time. While De Young does not reject allegory, he rejects it can explain many of the very specific historical events Scripture narrates. “When the scriptures or elements of the Church’s Tradition prove difficult, this is an invitation to delve into them more deeply, not to evade them.” De Young argues that allegorical readings have not meant to deny historicity, but rather to explain why those events happened, as one-time events, and thus to prevent their use as a justification for present-day violence.

The author begins with justice. God’s purpose, His intention, which will necessarily be fulfilled, is to ultimately restore His justice over creation. All that He does, with respect to mankind, is ultimately directed at that end, and having us participate in and benefit from it. But, as De Young points out, in the modern world justice has taken on several different meanings. Now, at this point, if I were the author, I’d just reject this branching of meaning outright, as a swerve into annoying novelties designed to achieve, and hide, political ends. If some aspect of justice wasn’t parsed before 1750, it’s likely not an aspect of justice. De Young takes modernity a little too seriously for my taste—not seriously as in a serious enemy, but serious as in having anything worthwhile to say.

This naivete, or perhaps gullibility, or perhaps excessive good intent, leads him to talk about retributive justice, distributive justice, and social justice. A rotten smell, that of the execrable John Rawls, sneaks up the reader’s nose. Social justice is undeniably a content-free term ginned up by the Left. Yet De Young treats social justice seriously, asserting (and thereby adopting the words and view of the Left) that “oppressive habits and patterns tend to accrue in [imperfect human] social systems,” and social justice is the demand these be addressed.

Assuming that it is true that “oppressive habits” accrue rather than merely exist, and that oppression is the explanation for human differences in absolute or relative position, a claim for which De Young presents no evidence or argument, correcting this is a matter of simple justice, not “social justice.” The specific applications of justice are necessarily individual; adding “social” is just cover for demanding political action under the neutral-seeming rubric of justice. (As Paul Rahe said, “Justice is owed individuals, not groups. There is no such thing as ‘social justice.’ The phrase is a slogan used by those intent on looting.”) Justice as applied to mankind, as Plato said (more or less), is giving to each his due. Nothing more, and nothing less. Justice can be retribution, or it can be correction and restitution (what De Young somewhat confusingly, and again with perhaps-unintended political overtones, calls distributive justice, a term not originated by the Left, but mutated by the Left from its original narrow meaning). But one who is truly oppressed (although nearly every concrete demand today for social justice adduces non-existent oppressions) does not demand social justice, but justice in one of its two basic meanings.

De Young really should grasp this. As he says, “The Hebrew word generally translated as ‘justice’ is mishpat, which conveys a realm of space and time where all things exist in their proper place and relationship to one another.” This is the sense in which God is justice; in Orthodox terms, justice is one of His divine energies, and it is our obligation to participate in God’s actions toward justice. Failing to do so is sin. Yet De Young pays obeisance to the Left, who use social justice as a battering ram against actual justice. He should just stick to mishpat.

But let’s get back to Yahweh. Judgment in the divine sense is not the rendering of a verdict. “Rather, judgment is the restoration of justice, of the correct order, and harmony of creation.” Evil is counterpoised to justice; “evil enters creation as a result of humanity’s collusion with evil spiritual forces,” not as some kind of punishment delivered by God. De Young does not struggle with theodicy; as I have noted before, neither do I, although I am pretty sure that is because I have not (yet) been faced with true tragedy. The solution to evil, therefore, is clear—repentance and full participation in God’s plan by all mankind. (Although this is not the focus of the book, De Young notes that “[t]hose who refuse repentance and justification until the end leave only one possibility for their fate. They must be removed from the created order entirely so that it can be set in order, an ordering they refuse.” He is not a universalist.)

What does that participation look like? Western Christians, especially those inheritors of a Christianity that has become increasingly hollowed out over the past 150 years, often think of Christ as “meek and mild,” in the words of the hymn by Charles Wesley. This is historically and theologically anomalous, and in any case is not something that the Orthodox have ever expressed much interest in. Rather, he is “Christ Victor,” who through his Cross triumphed over death and the Devil—in a specific, physical way that we cannot truly comprehend, but which did not involve intellectual discussion. (De Young dismisses, and clearly does not like at all, substitutionary atonement, not that I like it any better—it always seemed silly and bizarre to me.) Christ did not triumph simply because he was a nice guy who said some cool things that made people like him. “Hallmark Christ,” wearing a rollneck sweater and dispensing bromides, is not the real Christ, and a counterpart between that fake Christ and the Old Testament is a distraction.

Thus, we should reject out-of-hand that participation in redemption requires passivity in the face of evil. But even so, the Old Testament not infrequently, on the surface, does seem incompatible with the New Testament, in that it endorses violence that seems either excessive, or not directed at evil, or both. Turning the other cheek does not appear often. Other than allegorical readings, legitimate Christian thinkers (as opposed to fake Christians, such as those involved with the ludicrous “Jesus Seminar”) have argued, as a result of this seeming incompatibility, that the Old Testament is a human product, rather than divinely inspired, and thus it reflects superseded cultural norms; or alternatively that the violent events narrated never happened. Given that the Gospels assume the absolute historicity and crucial relevance of the Old Testament (after all, there was no New Testament when the Gospels were written), these arguments are essentially self-refuting for any believing Christian. Yet most of us still recoil at the violence depicted in the Old Testament as endorsed by God.

What is death, De Young asks? An evil, brought upon mankind by ourselves, not a punishment from God. The purpose of life now, therefore, is to regain future union with God. Temporal life is not an end in itself, nor is prolonging it. Immortality in a fallen world is a type of hell; “violations of justice built into God’s creation are resolved at death.” For victims who suffer, it brings their suffering to an end; to the evil who inflict suffering, it brings their ability to inflict evil to an end. Death was the result of sin, and sin should not be understood primarily juridically, but as a type of infection, originating more in Cain’s sin, rather than Adam’s rebellion. Sin corrodes; simply ignoring it is not an option, if justice is to be perfected. This is very clear throughout the Hebrew Bible, with its emphasis on purification, and was the standard position of the Fathers of the Church.

Having introduced his themes, and buttressed them with numerous Scripture passages, De Young focuses on the Book of Joshua, which contains the greatest number of “problematic” passages (although he does himself no favors, if he wants to be taken seriously, by claiming that American “Manifest Destiny” was “a vile application of Joshua”). De Young leads with a standard Orthodox belief little known in the West—that the gods worshipped by ancient peoples, other than the Israelites, were not fictional, but actual demons, who had been assigned prior to their fall by God to lead nations, but failed in their assignment. Thus, Exodus 12:12 describes the plagues of Egypt as judgment against the gods of Egypt; Pharaoh and his ministers were certainly responsible for their actions, but “by directing the plagues of Egypt against the gods of Egypt, however, Yahweh not only judges those spirits but also conveys truth to the Egyptian people.” Pharaoh was exposed as being unable to manifest justice for the people, by the defeat of his gods.

So, to take what is perhaps the most problematic Biblical passage of all, in Psalm 136/137, which appears to demand killing the children of the Edomites by smashing their heads against stones, De Young reads this in the context of the Edomites being seen as governed by the fallen archangel Samael, leading them to rejoice at the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. The children mentioned are “the progeny of the evil spirit who is here being condemned. They are the sins, evil thoughts, and temptations placed in the minds and hearts of humanity that lead humans to destruction.” The reader is tempted to respond that De Young here adopts allegory, which he earlier rejected. There is no contradiction, however. He rejects allegory as the sole meaning of specific historical events; this is not an event, but an admonition, so an allegorical reading seems much more appropriate, especially given the context De Young provides.

Along similar, but less gruesomely dramatic, lines, all the wars fought by the Israelites in their takeover of Canaan should be understood as, to the extent they were wars of extermination (which ones were was clearly delineated by God), as wars against specific groups of people who were demon-led and in effect demon-possessed, whose death (or absorption into a new tribe, adopting a new identity, a form of repentance and also a type of extermination) was required for justice. (De Young talks quite a bit in many places, outside this book, about giants and their relation to demons; it seems to be one of his favorite topics.) In fact, a standard early Christian, and present Orthodox, interpretation of the many demons with whom Christ later interacted is that they were the evil spirits disembodied as a result of Israel’s battles against the giant clans (this was also a Second Temple Jewish belief). Christ battled the same enemies as the Israelites; “the New Testament, therefore, does not speak of a different spiritual reality than does the Old.”

This strikes us as odd; we have been taught to view these wars as having no real divine component, merely wars between two tribes of human beings, vying for land, and extermination as disproportionate and therefore unjust, if not an uncommon event in the ancient world. But this is again a failure of broader vision. Today we still recognize, if we have any sense, that the crimes of some, such as child sex traffickers or abortionists, are fully heinous enough to warrant death as punishment. If we believe that the Jews received a direct revelation from God Himself, which we must as Christians, part of which was their duty to exterminate demons and their minions, which is at least a plausible reading, that Joshua “mowed down Amalek [a demonic giant] and his people with the edge of the sword” seems more like objective justice and less like bloodthirstiness. Joshua thereby restored “the correct order, and harmony of creation.”

Moving beyond this narrow type of war of extermination, De Young addresses holy war in general—that is, war, other than that against demons, that is done at God’s behest and with God’s blessing. In the Old Testament, God prescribes whom the Israelites will fight, and how they should be fought. War is obedience to God—or some war is; the further we get from Joshua, the less this is true, as men, the kings Samuel warned the Israelites against, make war for their own reasons, not God’s. Ancient peoples saw war as the combat of the respective combatants’ gods, and attempted to propitiate and encourage “their” god to help them out through rituals and sacrifice. The Israelites not infrequently fell into similar practices (such as Saul’s necromancy), even though Yahweh’s clear command was that He alone granted victory, or withheld it as punishment for failure to follow the Law, which is designed to bring about His justice. As part of the Law, God placed limits on warfare that were unique in ancient times, from which all of the modern limitations we regard as natural on war ultimately derive. Yet He still commanded war, and we should not shrink from this. “A world filled with violence needs correction, and its correction is a violent one.”

De Young wraps it up with discussing some specific passages used by Christianity’s enemies. Among others, he shows how the story of Elisha and the bears who appear to destroy his tormentors (2 Kings/4 Kingdoms 2:23) has nothing to do with killing children, but rather narrates young idol-worshipping toughs threatening God’s prophet, Elijah’s successor, with death, and receiving their just deserts. Lot’s offering of his daughters to the Sodomite mob demanding he hand over his guests for homosexual rape, while not righteous, has to be seen through the righteousness of protecting the stranger. Jephthah, who promised a sacrifice to God if he received victory, of whatsoever should meet him upon his return home, and sacrificed his daughter, his only child, is not a positive example, but rather an example of the pagan transactional approach to gaining God’s favor condemned by Yahweh. This last, recasting Jephthah as clearly a villain, strikes me as somewhat a stretch and not a mainstream interpretation. For example, the Orthodox Study Bible says of this passage, “The Spirit of the Lord descended on Jephthah to do battle against Ammon, making him one of the few Old Testament heroes indwelt by the Holy Spirit.” On the other hand, quite a few theologians have developed theories that soften the story in some way, or cast Jephthah as part villain. I certainly have nothing new to add.

This book is far from exhaustive. (It appears to be mostly a combination of three lectures De Young gave.) There are no references whatsoever to other theological works, and precious few patristic references. The book is thus a self-contained exposition of De Young’s views on Scripture, which are certainly not heretical, but it is unclear to me how much of what he says would be disputed by other Orthodox thinkers. I would have preferred, I suppose, a longer book, but it would have been a very difficult book; keeping it short makes it more accessible. Nonetheless, I don’t think this book is the last word on the topic; for those interested, I am sure there are many other works, though perhaps none easy to read.

What does this imply about violence in the Christian Age? There are no longer any giant clans, and God has not commanded us to exterminate anyone, or for that matter fight any other nation states. Yes, He has clearly required us to deliver justice to wrongdoers, as I mention above; but attempts to cast nations as wrongdoers, violators of justice, in the modern world are all propaganda, pots calling the kettle black, not legitimate analogies to justice as dispensed by Israel in the Hebrew Bible. Yet violence is not only necessary, but desirable in some instances, and mainstream Christianity has long recognized this, although tension has always existed in Christianity between pacifist strains and more belligerent strains. De Young ignores this question, aside from some obligatory criticism of the Crusades (and an apparent implication that the only Muslim holy war was that related to the Crusades, which is grossly wrong). We could go down various rabbit holes here, talking of just war theory and of the right (and duty) of rebellion, of Christian emperors of Rome, of the turn away from pacifism in the West around the turn of the first millennium, of the Lesser Magistrates, and much more. But not today, I think. Dragging God into the violence of today is a far different, and more complex, matter than understanding that Yahweh and Christ, second person of the Trinity, are one and the same God, and that Scripture is a unity. De Young does a good job of making that case, and we can leave it at that.


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23 Comments

  1. William P. Baumgarth says

    This is, as usual, a thoughtful reflection on an issue that our contemporary Marcionites are too embarrassed to deal with and would sweep under the rug. Case in point: the Psalter.
    The Roman Liturgy of the Hours and its offspring in equivalent prayer books among, notably, the Anglicans, have removed parts of Psalms, even whole Psalms (109, Septuagint) from the official daily office of the western church. As an ordained deacon, I am proud that the Orthodox have not been of this mind . The idea that earlier Church Fathers struggled with troublesome Biblical passages requires an appreciation of history that most modern western churchmen now lack. Paradoxically, although Psalm 109 is a problem for them, many of the same churchmen have no difficulty setting up as an object of religious devotion, an “icon” (in the style of the Pieta), outside a chapel of The Catholic University of America. The “icon” depicts a Byzantine image of the Theotokos cradling the corpse of George Floyd, as if he has just come down from his crucifixion. Floyd’s head has a nimbus indicating that George is “He Who is”: a felon has now been canonized, if not, literally, deified.
    Again, thanks for focusing upon “justice”. Is not all justice “social”? Does not the concept of “social justice” absolve moral actors from doing the just thing, since the problem is with “unjust structures”, not unjust actors and their actions? David Lodge’s fictional character Morris Zapp (who aspires to be the highest paid professor of humanities in the world, and whose signature lecture is entitled “Text as Strip Tease”) encounters the Italian Marxist leader Fulvia Morgana. After a week of wining, dining, and other amusements, at her lavish Italian mansion, Dr. Zapp asks Comrade Morgana about how a radical leftist honestly can enjoy such a bourgeois life style. “As a Marxist”, she replies, “I know that there is nothing I can do as an individual to correct systematic injustice. But I grew up rich, I know how to enjoy money, so I might as well have fun.”

  2. Jon C McGee says

    A great argument for rejecting theology entirely. Christians are divided, condemning, persecuting and murdering each other for centuries based on these ideas. All theologies are based on the divine right of kings who tell us from their heavenly platform what is divinely inspired (or politically correct) and what is heresy (or opposed to their rule). Dismissing folk who reject theology as gnostics is silly because that is just another theology. We do not worry over Hebrew tribal religion or Paul’s mysteries. We simply take Jesus at His Word. Christian warriors still do Christ’s work, even while killing the enemy, by avoiding hatred and evil filling their hearts. With devotion to Christ we fear no evil or death and our minds are not clouded by Satan.

    • > A great argument for rejecting theology entirely.

      Sorry, but “rejecting theology” doesn’t mean you end up with no theology, it just means you end up picking up someone else’s theology by osmosis.

      • JC McGee says

        Putting Jesus first doesn’t mean you can’t have what ever beliefs in the supernatural you wish, whether by osmosis or choice or inheritance, simply you don’t seriously fight over it. Christ’s very words becomes the law and theology becomes personal and situational. Folks don’t normally fight over fortune tellers because they are subordinate to the greater religion.

      • And not a very good one at that, since his implicit assumption is that all this theology stuff doesn’t really matter.

  3. > There are no longer any giant clans,

    If you listen to the Lord of Spirits podcast on giants, a good case can be made that there are.

    > but attempts to cast nations as wrongdoers, violators of justice, in the modern world are all propaganda, pots calling the kettle black, not legitimate analogies to justice as dispensed by Israel in the Hebrew Bible.

    This kind of universal skeptical cynicism, that “all beliefs are propaganda” suffers from the same problem as the classical “all beliefs are equally true” universalism, in that neither ultimately permits you to determine separate truth from falsehood.

    • Charles Haywood says

      Interesting. Although, as I implied, I think Father De Young has giants a bit on the brain. Maybe so, though.

      The broader point is not skeptical cynicism. It is that when nations today claim their wars are dictated by justice, that is almost never true. It certainly was not true, for example, of World War II. Or any other war I can think of. (Moreover, this habit of claiming the opposite, as I have addressed elsewhere, and as Carl Schmitt also noted, leads to modern wars of extermination.) Maybe the Civil War, to some extent. I might support, say, Russian conquering of Constantinople as a war for justice, but that’s not in the offing, as far as I can see.

  4. Re: Giants, there’s a book on my list that I’ve heard is good called the judgment of the nephilim, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38658004 which, as far as I understand makes the case that since Christ had to be truly human, the fights against the nephilim and their descendants were necessary to avoid wholesale contamination of the human bloodline.

    Also, just a fun personal coincidence, I happened to read that verse (Exo 15:3) this morning in daily devotional and thought “ha! That’s one people wouldn’t like to be asked about”.

  5. This reminds me of an old book of mysterious provenance that would probably appal both De Young and those milquetoast Christians who ignite the Book of Joshua and Kings because it doesn’t fit hippy Jesus. Castalia House had a post on it a while back and I think it would make a fantastic book for your review series, to give the view of the atheists who believe in a pitiless inequality and eternal struggle for existence – the arch-nemesis of the liberal atheists, the right wing Darwinist. I am speaking of, “Might Is Right, or Survival of the Fittest” by ‘Ragnar Redbeard’ (if that’s his real name I’ll eat my hat, but it’s not obvious who he is). Other than rather longer “Unique One and Its Property” by Max Stirner there is no book which so thoroughly tramples on normie sensibilities and liberal pietism – as well as its Christian forefather.

    I am not a pagan or anything, I’m a basic ‘God is logical nonsense, and the Bible is probably ahistorical’ atheist materialist, but I have as little time for muhRights as I do for muhSavior. Gary North and R. C. Sproul are probably right that atheists ought to be amoral elitists and advocates of anarchy and eugenics, but most atheists are soft bitches and moral cowards.

    Although it can be rather polemical (I am not obsessed with insulting Christians the way Ragnar was) I do actually believe most of what’s in that book, at least with qualifications. I simply can’t understand the how atheist materialists can brainwash themselves into their crypto-Christian humanist nonsense when the devil’s battle axe is right before their eyes. Probably because they are ‘weaklings’ themselves and desperately fear a world in which the Victim Hierarchy is not respected, as they would be trod under foot as useless talkers and parasites.

    • > Gary North and R. C. Sproul are probably right that atheists ought to be amoral elitists and advocates of anarchy and eugenics, but most atheists are soft bitches and moral cowards.

      That’s true today. Back in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, that was a much more common type of atheist. The subsequent history of the twentieth century could give you some clues as to why there aren’t that many of those around anymore.

      At least no openly. Think about it: if you’re an amoral elitist, it’s probably not in your interest to encourage other people to be amoral elitists. It probably makes more sense to encourage most people into milquetoast humanism, while you practice your elitist amoral rule over them. Any resemblance of the preceding description to the members of the WEF is probably not a coincidence.

    • It’s unclear why “the devil’s battle axe”, “muhSavior”, or any other course of actions would be prescribed on an atheist view of the world. If you want to cosplay as a Viking or a saint or whatever, it would all be just as well. You’ll be dead soon, and whatever you leave behind will die or be corrupted well beyond recognition soon enough. You won’t be alive to see it, but your Viking descendants will become the world’s greatest pussies. Your saints’ descendants will exhaust the 20th century with their red fields. Whether you like it or not, both clearly made it past the post of natural selection. But for God or gods, none of your actions matter beyond their immediate impact, and your aesthetics won’t endure. Best of luck getting the longboat crew together, but I can’t imagine a more pathetic idea for an atheist to take up. Since the mantra of natural selection is infinitely malleable, I have no doubt that this or any other way of approaching the world could be plausibly fitted into it. At that that point, you’re just nature’s bitch at best. If the Christians or the secular humanists or whoever else are more consistently fitted to survive than you, you’re worse than nature’s bitch – you’re nature’s embarrassment. Regardless of whether you win or lose that game, finding the best mask to survive the world (until you die) would seem to me extremely unsatisfying. Little wonder that the most prominent political expression of this view turned out to be the world’s largest death cult by the mid-40s. I think you should find a better way to be an atheist. Better yet, convert to Christ or some other religion that can plausibly command allegiance to something greater than slavery to a natural process; you will be less embittered by how pointless your life’s work is. Or, get ahead of it and commit suicide. There’s nothing stopping you, and if you’re right about atheistic materialism it may well be the only of your choices with enduring consequences fully under your control.

  6. Observer says

    Charles,

    In a comment not too long ago you told me that we need more action and less philosophizing. I took that to heart. With action as a goal I have a few recommendations.

    Could you “pin” your Foundationalism post so that it is always at the top of your site and can serve as place to discuss actions that might lead towards it? A key problem with blogging platforms and Twitter, and, indeed, all news is that is is transient–here today, forgotten tomorrow in one endless stream of induced amnesia. This doesn’t apply to your book review oriented site but if you did want to collect and develop ideas for action it will need to support a more permanent feature that supports continuity.

    When thinking about actions, legal actions, I realized that the political tools required are already in place. The precedents are there and established. All that is needed is the will to use them. I have to admit that I found this more frightening than inspiring. “Asset forfeiture” is an example. It doesn’t take much imagination to see how dangerous this particular tool is and it is only one of many.

    A good way to identify effective actions is to copy what works. I often see people on our side saying that we need to learn from the Left–the SDS post on your Twitter feed for example. The problem is that even though we say that we never do it. Never. This is a big mistake because the Left hasn’t been winning for decades for no reason. When I started reading their material I found that it was good. Very good. There is much to borrow from them–not all of course–but this can’t happen unless we collectively study their methods. This is a particular pet peeve of mine. Who goes into battle without knowing the tactics of their enemy?

    I’m sure you and others here have even more ideas.

    • Charles Haywood says

      1) It is pinned; along the top row, although not with blinking lights. Thus, the comments section does serve as a type of rough discussion area. But the point is well taken; perhaps it needs to be a more robust form of interactive discussion. I will give that some thought.

      2) Your other point is equally valid. I would only add that we should do what they have done–times ten or twenty. The idea we should only be proportionate, or only roll back their recent gains, is stupid and self-defeating. Our total victory, and their total political destruction and inability to ever influence the policies of our country ever again, can be the only goal.

      • Observer says

        For collecting ideas I recommend a Wiki. They are better for collecting, sorting, and keeping information than blog comments. Most managed web sites have Wiki plugins and if not, it is easy to a find hosted one. Modern Wikis aren’t like Wikipedia, they can be very simple and user friendly.

        One of the things the Left does to advance their agenda is provide training and guides. Here is an example: https://beautifultrouble.org/toolbox/tactic/. We should be doing the same.

  7. Hi Charles,

    As primary season approaches, I’m hoping to see victories for

    Senate: JD Vance, Eric Greitens, Blake Masters

    House: John Gibbs, Anthony Sabatini, Joe Kent

    Governor: Kari Lake, Allen West

    Is there anyone we should keep an eye on?

    • Charles Haywood says

      Beats me. Electoral/retail politics doesn’t interest me that much, since I think it is all shadowplay and largely irrelevant to the future, except in that it may accelerate the future. (For example, were Trump to run and win in 2024, we would be guaranteed civil war.) I’m only aware of Sabatini, Vance, and Masters; I certainly have high opinions of all of them. Their value isn’t that someday they may be in office, though. Given the current Republican Party, they could accomplish nothing. But we will need leaders in the times to come.

      • Fair enough. Still nice to see insurgents put the GOP establishment on the defensive.

      • Trump 24 it is then…
        not.
        He’s not going to risk his actual life.

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