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Monday, March 04, 2024

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It is pretty clear to me that we are in a battle with demonic forces; so if you believe in Christ's victory over sin and evil, you take the high road, because our real existence far transcends this small moment in time.

Catacomb Joe

Joe,

If we are going to make progress with this topic, we have to distinguish two problem-complexes. The one concerns how we should comport ourselves politically 'here below,' i.e., in this world which, for all we can legitimately claim to KNOW may be the only world.

The other set of problems belongs more properly to political theology, and concerns how we ought to comport ourselves politically if we are religious believers.

So I am suggesting that to make some progress we ought initially to bracket religion and proceed on the assumption that this world is the only world. How should we comport ourselves politically if this world is the only world? Should we do unto our pol. enemies what they do unto us? Or should we hold ourselves to a higher standard, even if we do not believe that the standard has transcendent backing, e.g. divine sanction?

Of course, there is the meta-question: Is the separation of the two problem-complexes the result of false abstraction?

Part of what I am doing here is trying to convey to you people just how difficult these problems are. They may in fact be insoluble by us.

Well, these problems may be insoluble, but rest assured that as we sit in our studies, rubbing our chins and searching for the correct theoretical approach, the great wheel of history (which is what's making that ominous rumbling sound just outside the window, and causing the dishes to rattle) is, with majestic indifference, getting ready to roll right over us.

I'm probably well over my head and should've gone to bed, but I've been following this, and though I don't have much to add right now, I want to inquire of this 'supersessionist' notion. I've been plodding through Iain McGilchrist's "The Master and His Emissary" and pondering his thesis when I encountered the term 'Aufhebung' (German verb aufheben), a Hegelian term I gather, that roughly equates to supersede, like a cotyledon follows a seed, and so on through each stage of embodiment to full fruit. Is this what is meant by supersessionism, Malcolm? Could the next phase of American political life be both an abolition of the old order or corruptions, AND a 'coming into a fuller extension' of its original intent? Neither exactly restorationist (to what and how far back? The rats have been gnawing for a good many decades and a cleansing might not leave much recognizable) nor overly reactionary, throwing out baby and bathwater. While bracketing the religious aspect can be a useful tactic in the moment, it seems ultimately really impossible since the political problems coming to a head are the result of spiritual miasma. As you say, Bill, it may simply be a false abstraction.
What are we to do as a rather unmustered army of storm troopers? Some of the things I'm hearing are: Tell the truth out loud, take some heat for it, stop harboring our own darknesses and excusing known weaknesses, gather together, become more politically and civically active, etc. In my wild eyed youth I considered much more radical notions. My grown children are either thrashing about with impatient fury at clown world or toying with reversion to hunter-gatherer withdrawalism. We need both restoration, apokatastasis and new unveiling, apocalypse, and the rolling thunder will do what it's gonna do. Majestic yes, indifferent, seemingly, its ways are higher than ours. I gotta go reread the lyrics to Changing of the Guard again.

Correction to my comment noted and accepted. It should have been either "hold Schiff in the dock" or "place Schiff on the docket." I was thinking of the former when I wrote that but then stopped thinking …

Before this post, I was prepping a supplement to my comment on exactly the issue you raise: what are the limits to the means we can use in this political war? Right now, my approach is ad hoc: Give me the means you intend to use - say, lies and slander - and the context, and I'll tell you if it's within the bounds. But that doesn't help us.

I have been fumbling around with some preliminary limiting principles. In my mind, the current danger with the Left's declared war is that if they are allowed to continue their destructive tactics, these United States will sink into an actual, kinetic war. Since I do not believe that our normal tactics of argument, persuasion, and getting out the vote will have any effect on the Left as it is currently constituted, then a principle, such as it is, is suggested:

Tactics that are morally or legally suspect are warranted in our political context when it is more likely than not that they will serve to avoid a later violent confrontation.

For example, I am adamantly opposed to lawfare as a political tool in our constitutional republic. However, to avoid an actual violent conflict down the road arising from this and other tactics of the Left, I think inflicting lawfare on the Democrats would be an appropriate and effective response to back them down and make them return to the traditional norms of politics - at least as far as lawfare is concerned.

This analysis, of course, is tied to the same question I asked earlier: what time is it? Is it true that if the Left is not stopped then we will descend into a civil war? Well, we might surrender, but I consider that to be unacceptable. So, yes, I think it is very likely, maybe not in five or ten years, or even 20, but an actual war is inevitable if things go on as they have. And that dictates that we make some hard choices around the principle of stopping the Left before things descend to the level of violent conflict.

A second limiting principle would be that the goal is to restore traditional constitutional politics between the political factions as best we can.

I am an optimist; I feel that if we punch back hard enough on some of the worst Leftist tactics and put in place some structural changes (Article V Convention of the States to fortify state power in a renewed federalism?), that some normality can be restored. But some tactics, even though non-violent and effective, should not be used because they would do grave long-term damage to our system of government, e.g., packing the Supreme Court in our favor.

These principles narrow the scope of what's appropriate but are not sufficient for all cases. I sense that we are not at a point when concrete principles can be laid down on this sort of thing; we are essentially stuck with a Biblical epistemology, that "by the fruits shall you know them." In other words, we will have to use our best judgment and then let an ex post facto assessment tell us whether we went too far or not.

Malcolm,

Yours is an elegant statement at 9:37.

I am making an assumption you might not be making, namely, that an ameliorative praxis presupposes a true theory. For example, communism made things worse for humanity. The commies, using the awesome power of the state, murdered upwards of 100 million in the 20th century, acc. to the Black Book of Communism.

Part of the reason for this was the false theory it was based on, which included a false understanding of human nature.

If I am right in my assumption, then a goodly amount of chin-rubbing and head-scratching is called for lest we dig our hole deeper. And if the problems of pol phil are insoluble, then intellectual honesty demands that we face the fact.

Which is not say that one ought not have double-aught buckshot at the ready with which to greet anti-civilizational Antifa/BLM thugs who come to 'liberate' and 'decolonize' one's library.

Good comments, mharko.

Malcolm's Am Greatness article explain supersessionism: https://amgreatness.com/2020/08/09/the-singularity-is-near/

It does have an Hegelian flavor, and yes, you have grasped the basic idea behind the Swabian's Aufhebung sometimes translated as 'sublation.' Merriam-Webster: "to negate or eliminate (something, such as an element in a dialectic process) but preserve as a partial element in a synthesis. . . . Latin sublatus (past participle of tollere to take away, lift up), from sub- up + latus, past participle of ferre to carry."

Marx can be crudely/cutely characterized as turning the Hegelian dialectic on its head, cancelling it as a spiritual process while preserving it and the notion of 'dialectical science' in material form as the motor of history. You could say that Hegel is aufgehoben in Marx.

Downstream from that is contemporary cultural Marxism, which preserves elements of Marx's economic Marxism.

>>While bracketing the religious aspect can be a useful tactic in the moment, it seems ultimately really impossible since the political problems coming to a head are the result of spiritual miasma.<<

While not disagreeing with this, in keeping with my proposed bracketing, 'moral' might be better than 'spiritual' inasmuch as it is more easily believed that our problems are moral at bottom rather than spiritual. Maybe there is no Unseen Order, to use Wm James' magnificent phrase. We thereby sidestep, for the time being, the great question whether morality needs a theistic foundation . (I am not saying it doesn't, but it is not quite clear either way.)

What is pretty clear is that we are living in a time of great moral decadence. The nightly news is a window into the cesspool our society has become. (Venice beach, CA, late '60s was nothing like it is now.)

>>What are we to do as a rather unmustered army of storm troopers? Some of the things I'm hearing are: Tell the truth out loud, take some heat for it, stop harboring our own darknesses and excusing known weaknesses, gather together, become more politically and civically active, etc<<

But we have to be very careful lest we trigger the fascists of the Left. Leftist scum and their clueless useful idiots control the state apparatus and have infiltrated all of our institutions. Be careful with words like 'storm trooper.' Related to the German Sturmabteilung, Storm Division, Ernst Roehm's SA. Roehm as you know was personally assassinated by Hitler. Totalitarians eat their own.

Closer to home, J6 shows that the leftist dogs will seize upon anything to exploit for their nefarious ends.

We must quietly prepare. Dog whistle: Peanut Butter! Our enemies are waiting to pounce should we do anything rash. But of course nothing can be accomplished without civil courage, a small amount of which is being demonstrated here.

Long live the Republic! Be of good cheer. Man up, gear up, get in shape. Head on a swivel. SA: situational awareness. It will be a "long twilight struggle"

BUT: don't lose your self in activism! This world is a vanishing quantity, whether you are religious or not. Don't get too excited over it. On the other hand, what we have enjoyed we should work to preserve for others, whether or not we have 'issue.'

Thanks Bill. I agree with the points you make.

Tom,

Thanks for the thoughtful comments.

>>Tactics that are morally or legally suspect are warranted in our political context when it is more likely than not that they will serve to avoid a later violent confrontation.<<

While I sympathize with the spirit of your principle, it is going to need some qualification. Otherwise it warrants bombing Iran into the stone age. One problem is finding the right qualifications.

Are there moral constraints on what we do in war? The very idea sometimes strikes me as utterly absurd. Once we are back in the state of nature, nature red in tooth and claw, anything goes! What are you going to do, reason with an Hamas terrorist? Appeal to his conscience?

On or around 7 October, an Israeli girl was made by the thugs to bend over. Her pants were pulled down and she was penetrated from behind. Whenever she flinched she was stabbed in the back. Result: simultaneous rape and murder.

"But sir, can't you see that what you are doing is morally wrong?" "Can the maxim of your action be universalized?" "By your action, are you contributing to the greatest good of the greatest number?"

Yes, but the context was not war, but what we are to do to prevent a war. I argue that it is the imminent and unacceptable threat of a violent conflict that expands the range of morally acceptable acts. Blessed are the peacemakers, so to speak (irony intended).

>>[The principle] is going to need some qualification.<< But the principle is further qualified by the second principle: that suspect moral or legal acts should not be such as to destroy the very constitutional order that we so highly prize. If we do the equivalent of bombing Iran back to oblivion in our conflict with the Left, then that is nothing but a nihilism. We want to be constructive (in your words, restorationist), not destructive, in the service of those American ideals handed down to us from previous generations.

However, I still admit that the two principles are insufficient for all cases.

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