January 6: A Strategic Analysis

Despite all the howling of the mainstream media, the Republicrat Party, and the chattering class, the events in Washington on January 6, 2021, were a strategic victory for the political Right, and a big one.  Why?  Because the Right showed it could fight back.

Last summer, the Left rioted, looted, and burned in many of our cities, and in most cases the charges against those doing the looting and burning were dropped.  Conservatives have looked on, mute, as the Left ripped down statues of their ancestors and banned their symbols.  The “woke” crowd was praised as it condemned whites, men, and straights and demanded they grovel in the dirt or be “cancelled”, losing their jobs.

On January 6, that came to an end.  The Right not only called the Left, it raised it by all the gold in Ft. Knox.  The Left looted and burned small businesses; the Right took the Capitol in Washington, D.C.  Put that in your pot pipe and smoke it, said the Right to the Left.

The Establishment is calling the events of January 6 an “insurrection”.  A more accurate term is a “revolt”.  The oppressed majority revolted against an elite that simultaneously despises them and lives off their tax money.  The “makers” revolted against the “takers”.  Whites, males, non-feminist women (one of whom gave her life) and straights revolted against the cultural Marxism that condemns them as evil regardless of what individuals do.

The Biden transition team gave dramatic evidence of why that revolt came about.  Last week it announced the “anti-racism” training cancelled by President Trump will be re-installed for all federal workers and contractors.  These are Maoist “self-criticism” sessions in which whites must proclaim their “racism”, apologize to blacks and other non-whites and learn to mouth the lies cultural Marxism demands.  Anyone who doesn’t follow the script gets fired and blackballed.

Another strategic victory for the Right, still playing out, is that the two parties that rule Washington came together so openly that even the dullest civics teacher must acknowledge we live in a one-party state.  That fact legitimizes revolt: in a one-party state, revolt is the only way dissidents can affect the political process.  They are otherwise without representation.  President Trump did represent them, which is why the Establishment so hates him and will continue to persecute him even after he leaves office. 

Despite its overall strategic victory, the Right needs to draw some lessons from the events of January 6.  The most important is, keep it peaceful.  If a crowd is big enough, it can push its way into buildings without offering violence to persons or property.  In this kind of war, the way you win is by suffering casualties, not by inflicting them.  Every casualty becomes a martyr, and you win by accumulating martyrs.  That is how Christianity conquered the Roman Empire, it is how the civil rights movement won in the 1950s and ‘60s and it is how the Left is trying to win the culture war now.  They get this, and the Right must learn it or lose.

Under no circumstances should the Right vandalize, loot, or burn.  The point here is to offer a contrast with the Left.  Those actions, which they cannot control because of the nature of their forces, hurt the Left.  We should respond with positive actions, e.g. if they tear down a statue of one of our heroes, we should put a new one up in a place we control.

Under no circumstances should the Right injure police.  The death of a Capitol Police officer on January 6 was a crime, a tragedy, and a blunder.  Most cops are on our side in the culture war.  Because the Left hates them, we should support and protect them.  In any mass action, the Right should have leaders in the crowd whose job it is to prevent face-offs with the police.  Mass action is possible without violence, especially violence against the cops.  They don’t want to hurt us, and we should never hurt them, even if that means we get hurt ourselves. Those who have read Thomas Hobbes’ book Victoria were not surprised by the events on January 6.  In Victoria the federal government’s attempts to force cultural Marxism down the throat of every American undermine its legitimacy to the point where the state itself disintegrates.  If America is to avoid that fate, the Establishment needs to read the handwriting left on the walls of the Capitol on January 6.

The Fall of a Dynasty

On Wednesday, January 6, 2021, the Marxists’ dream came true.  A vast mob stormed and occupied the Capitol in Washington, D.C. Ordinary Americans sat in seats reserved for the rich and powerful.  But instead of carrying banners saying “Marx, Mao, and Marcuse,” the flags of the people bore only one name: Trump.  Oops.

As usual, the Left forgot the old rule that what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.  After watching Leftist mobs riot, loot, and burn in too many of our cities last summer, the Right decided to play by the same rules, except that we did not loot or commit arson.  The single party, the Republicrat Establishment party, rose as one to condemn the violence.  In doing so, they revealed why the dynasty they represent is falling: it is caught up in a crisis of legitimacy it cannot even acknowledge much less understand.

The root cause of the crisis of legitimacy is the Establishment’s attempt to use the power of the state to force cultural Marxism, a.k.a. political correctness or “wokeism”, down every American’s throat.  Since cultural Marxism seeks to destroy the Christian religion, Western culture, and the white race, it is not surprising ordinary Americans are not going along.  The battle is, for us, existential: cultural Marxism wants to make us choose between groveling before its “victim” groups or getting sent to a concentration camp.

From this perspective, the occupation of the Capitol is less important than the unbelievable, schoolboy error of a Capitol Hill pro, Senator Mitch McConnell, in allowing Republican Senators to become the only obstacle standing between most Americans and a check for $2000.  Of course the Republican Party lost both Georgia Senate races.  What else do you expect when people see their choice as between getting $2000 instead of $600, McConnell had no choice but to go along.  His refusal to do so was so dumb one has to wonder whether it was typical Republican stupidity or calculation.  Was he willing to lose control of the Senate to the Democrats just to besmirch President Trump’s legacy?  Stranger things have happened in Washington.

The effect of handing the Senate to the Democrats is to put the Left in a position to enact its radical agenda, which will push the system’s crisis of legitimacy to the breaking point and probably beyond it.  If they vote to end the filibuster, then ram through statehood for the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico on bare majority votes, the Senate will lose what legitimacy it has left in the eyes of conservatives.  If they then use the larger majority four new Democratic Senators will give them to pack the Supreme Court, all three branches of the federal government will be widely seen as illegitimate.  At that juncture, what happened at the Capitol on January 6 will seem like a tea party.

All this now lands in the lap of President Joe Biden.  His instinct will be to govern from the center, but without a Republican Senate he will be hard-pressed to explain to the “woke” crowd why he is not enacting their agenda.  If he yields to their demands, he stokes the system’s crisis of legitimacy.

All this mess and more, including an overextended foreign policy, armed services that usually lose, institutions that require vast inputs for very small outputs and ever-looser and more valueless money are classic signs of the end of a dynasty.  In our case, the dynasty is a Washington-Wall Street-Hollywood oligarchy coupled to a vastly more powerful federal government than the one envisioned in our Constitution.  What will replace it I do not know, but it will not be cultural Marxism.  We are waiting either for our Augustus or our Hitler.

Merry Apocalypse!

It is traditional at Christmas for columnists, preachers, politicians, and pig farmers to lay back, smile, and talk about all the good things we should be thankful for.  Children sing, plastic cherubs circle overhead and we all remember the old hymn, “Angels we have heard on high, telling us to go out and buy.”  The fire is warm, the toddy is hot and all is right in the world.  

“Bah.  Humbug!” as one of my favorite people used to say.  A short piece by Rob Dreher in the “Review” section of the December 12-13 Wall Street Journal puts this year’s Christmas crap in perspective.  “We have gotten used to a world that past generations would have called the Apocalypse, said Solzhenitsyn,” Dreher wrote.

I think those past generations had it right.  This year’s Christmas is Christ’s Mass celebrated amid the Apocalypse. 

We tend to think of the Apocalypse as something sudden.  When it happens, everybody will know it because it will be the biggest bang since the Big Bang.  But what if that isn’t how it works?

We read repeatedly in Scripture passages that suggest Jesus and the authors of the Gospels had a sense of time different from ours.  When Christ says “This generation shall not pass away . . .” He uses “generation” differently from the way we use it.  We sing, “A thousand ages in thy sight are like an evening gone. . .”  The Jews of Jesus’s time expected the Messiah to lead a victorious war against the Romans and restore the kingdom of Israel.  Rome did not fall until AD 476, or AD 1453 depending on how you define Rome.  Israel was not re-established until 1915 years after Christ’s death and resurrection.

If we think of the Apocalypse playing out in Biblical time, it has been welling up all around us without our noticing.  The latest start date I would give would be 1914, when the Christian West put a gun to its head and blew its brains out.  A better date would be 1789, the year of the French Revolution.  The Whig interpretation of history welcomes that fell event as a triumph of democracy over absolute monarchy (that wasn’t absolute; good King Louis XVI called the Estates General because he could not raise taxes without their approval).  They pass over the vicious assault the Jacobins launched on Christianity and those who profess it; the cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris was spiritually burned then, not last year, when the Revolutionaries turned it into the “Temple of Reason.”  The blood of Christian martyrs flowed liberally from the guillotine.

The three great Christian, conservative monarchies of Russia, Prussia, and Austria put the Jacobin furies back in the bottle for the century, but World War I swept them all from the board.  The whole political/cultural spectrum shifted sharply to the Left.  And the Apocalypse welled up and submerged everything good, everything beautiful, everything holy.

Step back from your day-to-day concerns and look around you.  Your fellow voyagers on this planet fall into every ditch, their eyes glued to an electronic screen on which images dance out every sin.  The war on God intensifies as cultural Marxists, aka “the Progressives,” demand He be first silenced, then banned.  Nietzsche’s “Transvaluation of all values” turns every sin into a virtue and every virtue into a sin.  President-elect Biden chooses as his Secretary for Health and Human Services a man whose personal objective seems to be aborting every baby conceived in America.  That’s quite a definition of “health” and “human services”–an Apocalyptic definition, in fact.  A growing number of prominent cultural Marxists are calling for anyone who opposes them to be sent to “Re-Education Camps”.  I wonder what gas they will use this time?

The grim fact is, there is little to be joyful about this Christmas.  Except–this is how Christians have always expected history to unroll.  We lose, we lose, and we lose, until almost no one and nothing is left.  And then, suddenly, we win.

Come, Lord Jesus.  Merry Christmas.

The View From Olympus: A Response to a Critique of MCDP 1, Warfighting

The October issue of the Marine Corps Gazette published a thoughtful, challenging, and important critique of the Corps’ doctrine of maneuver warfare and its primary official statement, MCDP 1, Warfighting.  Since I started the debate over maneuver warfare with a paper I wrote in 1976 and I was heavily involved in writing Warfighting, it is appropriate that I respond.

The Gazette article, “The Fantasy of MCDP 1” by Lt. Col. Thaddeus Drake, Jr., USMC, states its challenge up front:

Our doctrine, Warfighting, has transcended the generally recognized purpose of standard military doctrine and no longer provides a useful guide to Marine Corps operations in the 21st century.

Yet this is no ignorant dismissal of maneuver doctrine, of which I have seen too many over the years:

There is nonetheless much to love about MCDP 1.  Indeed, it is probably the most effective military doctrinal publication since the Wehrmacht’s Truppenführung.

Lt. Col. Drake offers three objections to Warfighting.  The first is that it does not meet traditional definitions of military doctrine:

The most essential issue around our doctrine remains the tension between the overall purpose of military doctrine: the aspirational versus the practical. . . In the Marine Corps, the commonly accepted understanding of doctrine is that it represents a collection of best practices and broad guidelines–that may or may not be followed, depending on the situation.  In contrast, the most generally accepted definition of military doctrine is Barry Posen’s suggestion that doctrine describes “what means shall be employed and how shall they be employed. . .” MCDP 1, our foundational doctrinal definition, fits in neither of these definitions.

What Lt. Col. Drake misses is that the definition of doctrine changes between the Second and Third Generations of modern war, which is to say between the French and German ways of war, attrition warfare or maneuver warfare.  Second Generation doctrine tells soldiers what to do, similar to Posen’s definition.  Third Generation doctrine is about how to think.  As it should, MCDP 1 fits the latter definition.  It was clear from the beginning that Warfighting is aspirational because its purpose was and remains moving the Marine Corps from the Second to the Third Generation way of war.  That purpose remains valid because, as Lt. Col. Drake agrees, the Marine Corps has not yet made the transition in terms of institutional structure, behavior, or culture.

Lt. Col. Drake’s second criticism is directed at Warfighting’s focus on systemic collapse.  He writes,

In the 30-plus years since the development of this doctrine, there are scant examples that show success in this sort of systemic destruction–despite the fact that the Marine Corps has been involved in combat for at least 25 of those years!

An obvious response is to point to the first phase of the Second Gulf war, the phase where we were fighting the armed forces of the Iraqi state.  Here, Lt. Col. Drake hits on a major change in war but does not grasp what it is:

It is also accurate to say that the Marine and Army elements penetrated the (Iraqi) enemy system, causing it to break down, and then it subsequently reformed itself into a warfighting system far more resilient and effective against U.S. conventional forces. . .

By creating a doctrine where we deliberately focus on systemic disruption as the ultimate goal, it is possible that the Marine Corps has placed its leaders and planners in an impossible situation, where they attempt to disrupt complex enemy systems, and in doing so created an endless spiral of more complex problem sets.

What happened in Iraq was that in collapsing the Iraqi armed forces we destroyed the state itself.  Welcome to Fourth Generation war.

Warfighting was written for a world in which war was fought between states.  That had been true for more than 300 years, despite occasional challenges from non-state elements such as tribes that always lost.  It is true no longer.  What happened is that, in the Second Gulf war, maneuver warfare worked perfectly until U.S. forces faced non-state opponents.

Does this call for revision of MCDP 1?  Absolutely.  Unfortunately, like the rest of the U.S. military, the Marine Corps refuses to think about Fourth Generation war.  It has chosen to live instead in a fantasy world where the main threat we face is China instead of spreading state disintegration.  Puffing the dragon is much more useful for padding budgets and seemingly requires little institutional change.

To fill the void, Lt. Col. Greg Thiele USMC and I wrote the Fourth Generation Warfare Handbook.  Until the Marine Corps wakes up and rejoins the real world, all I can do is recommend the Handbook to Lt. Col. Drake and other Marines who see Fourth Generation war raises challenges that cannot be addressed by maneuver warfare alone, as important as the culture of the latter remains.

Lt. Col. Drake’s third objection is that mission order tactics, Auftragstaktik, which are central to maneuver warfare, are not possible for today’s Marines, for two reasons.  First, neither contemporary American national culture nor the culture of the Marine Corps permit them:

Rarely have we addressed the difficulty and general inability of our culture to integrate the concept of Auftragstaktik wholesale.  Nationally, American culture may simply not support the idea of mission tactics.  Since militaries are necessarily the products of their larger society, the basic culture of that society will also be a part of its military. . .

The institutional Marine Corps also has a number of cultural characteristics that prevent the wholesale importation of mission tactics.  Compared to the originators of the concept, we are overly hierarchical, bureaucratic, and resistant to developing cohesive elements through deliberate manpower management strategies.  Indeed, since the inception of Warfighting, we have increased the bureaucratic complexity of our force. . .

I do not concur that broad American culture makes Auftragstaktik impossible.  German culture also presented obstacles to the concept, which the German military overcame through training.  For them, the problem was that broader German culture did not reward or (often) even tolerate initiative.  For us, it is the other cultural requirement of Auftragstaktik that poses a challenge: self-discipline.  But here again, the right training can deal with the problem.  Even with the Corps’ current process-oriented, Second Generation training, I have repeatedly seen enlisted Marines operate successfully with mission orders.  When has that happened?  When they were told they were aggressors.  From almost 50 years of observing Marine Corps training, I would argue that both the ability and the desire for Auftragstaktik live right below the surface of most enlisted Marines.  Their great frustration is that, even with Warfighting as the Corps’ capstone doctrinal statement, they almost never get the chance to show what they can do.

Lt. Col. Drake’s second reason for believing mission tactics are impractical is changes in communications technology:

Finally, technology has a crucial part to play in the discussion regarding the efficacy of mission command.  In the modern world, where wireless communications and computer technologies enable the collection, transmission, and analysis of massive amounts of information, instant, ubiquitous, and constant communication is the norm. .  .  One of the fundamental reasons for the employment of mission tactics as a command style is to minimize the requirement for constant instruction from higher headquarters–originally designed this way because constant instruction was impossible. . .  This is no longer the case; worse. . . the society we live in has inculcated young men and women with an expectation of constant connection.  It is pure fantasy to believe we will be able to break our young Marines and Sailors of a literal lifetime of training with connected devices to instead execute mission tactics with no communications.

This challenge to Auftragstaktik is not new.  The German Army faced the same issue between the wars because of the advent of voice radio coupled with small radio sets that could be acquired in large numbers and carried virtually anywhere.  The debate was resolved then in favor of mission tactics in part because many German officers recognized that there are two problems with centralized control.  The first is that centralization can slow tempo even with modern communications technology.  The second, which Lt. Col. Drake overlooks, is that the picture of events at the front becomes more and more distorted as it moves up the chain of command.  This means decision-makers develop false orientations, which is a long standing and serious military problem.  Col. John Boyd said orientation was the most important element in the OODA Loop, because if you get that wrong, everything else will be wrong too.  Far from reducing this problem, computer technologies worsen it because computer graphics make the false picture transmitted up the chain seem even more real.

At the same time, I think Lt. Col. Drake is correct that the young people the Marine Corps takes in are accustomed to being in communication all the time, thanks to various mobile devices.  Indeed, many are addicted to these technologies.  Training can help diminish this dependence but it is unlikely to go away–even though, as Lt. Col. Drake acknowledges, in a war with a major power all communications may be shut down almost from the outset.

This situation must be addressed by advocates of Auftragstaktik.  My own solution would be not to drop mission tactics but to expand them.  They should be re-defined to allow Marines at every level, down to the greenest rifleman, to use their devices as they see fit to obtain the information they want from an open-architecture system.  That system would feed them very little, only what mission tactics have always required: the commander’s intent, the Schwerpunkt and their unit’s mission within the context created by the other two elements.  Beyond that, they would search on their own for what they want, within and beyond information provided by the Marine Corps.  At headquarters, commanders and operations officers would similarly take the information they want from the constantly changing, open-architecture network.  Headquarters should seldom need to ask subordinates for information because the connected generation will constantly be telling everyone who cares to listen what they are doing.  What if the enemy listens in?  The technologies easily adopt encryption, and because in maneuver warfare the tactical situation changes rapidly, by the time the enemy has processed information it will usually be outdated.  Obviously, more security is required at the operational and strategic levels, but few Marines will have to deal with that.

In addressing what is to be done about the problems with Warfighting Lt. Col. Drake perceives, he calls for eliminating a “false dichotomy” between attrition warfare and maneuver warfare.  He notes that Warfighting says attrition and maneuver exist on a spectrum, which is correct in a narrow context.  However, in a broader context it is not because when the terms are used to describe two different approaches to war, they refer to the Second and Third Generations, with the radical institutional and cultural differences between the two.  Of crucial importance is the fact that while a Third Generation military can do attrition warfare, a Second Generation armed service cannot do maneuver warfare once events outrun its initial plan.

Lt. Col. Drake identifies what is perhaps the central doctrinal issues facing the Marine Corps as he concludes his highly important article, which justly won the 2020 Chase Prize Essay Contest, the contradiction between what the Marine Corps says in Warfighting and what it does:

The contrast between what MCDP 1 states and the micromanagement that most Marines experience on a daily basis creates a massive say-do gap that undermines leadership and creates an enormous amount of disillusion throughout the force.

Col. Boyd argued that no institution can indefinitely survive such a say-do gap.  I agree.  Either the Marine Corps should make the changes in its personnel system, education, and training a Third Generation military requires or it should adopt doctrine that reduces war to merely putting ordinance on targets.  The former approach is what the Commandant called for in his initial guidance.  So far, no progress is evident, continuing a failure that has now lasted thirty years.  The second choice dooms the Marine Corps to failure against Third and Fourth Generation opponents; we have watched the latter failure unfold over the last twenty years. What it comes down to is simple: change or die.  If the Corps cannot learn how to win future wars, which requires it actually doing what Warfighting says, then the future Marine Corps will be one battalion of embassy guards.  As things now stand, that is where it is heading.

No Bended Knee?

Shortly after the end of World War II, there was a movement to unify the U. S. military services.  Perhaps the most salient point in this discussion was that the continued existence of the Marine Corps was called into question.  In a now-famous speech (at least among Marines) before the Senate Committee on Naval Affairs, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Alexander A. Vandegrift, proclaimed, “The bended knee is not a tradition of our Corps.  If the Marine as a fighting man has not made a case for himself after 170 years of service, he must go.”  At the time, Vandegrift was asking Congress to save the Marine Corps from bureaucratic dismemberment.  Today, the effectiveness of the Corps is being sapped by the very Congress which once provided it support.  Perhaps worse still, no recent Commandant has even had the courage to offer a dissenting military opinion.  The bended knee actually does seem to be a new tradition among the Corps’ senior leadership.  Perhaps it is time to consider casing the colors and letting the Corps slip into history with its proud legacy intact, rather than wait for the current rot to run its full course.

For the last several decades, warfighting capability and effectiveness have slowly lost out to budgets and politics as key considerations for senior Marines.  An unmistakable sign of this transition came when Headquarters, Marine Corps moved from the Naval Annex to the Pentagon.  The conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq added massive infusions of cash which contributed little to the Corps’ combat capability and may have actually hastened the decay by accustoming several generations of Marines to large budgets (and saddling them with equipment and physical infrastructure which now must be maintained).

Senior Marines, rather than remaining politically neutral and offering their best military advice, tacked with the shifting political winds in an effort to ensure they were on the “right side of history”.  No matter how destructive to combat effectiveness, there seemed to be no idea Marine generals would balk at so long as it meant political favor and a continued flow of money.

For example, opening all combat arms jobs in the Marine Corps to women passed almost unremarked.  Never mind that the Marine Corps had commissioned an experiment which had demonstrated that integrated units did not perform as well as non-integrated units.  This information was politically undesirable and was therefore ignored by Marine generals who did not want to raise a fuss over something which their political leadership had clearly signaled they desired.  It seems strange that not a single senior Marine (or, to my knowledge, senior officer from any service) has offered a protest or threatened to resign over something as important as the continued combat effectiveness of the units they command.  Why not?  The reasons are complex.  Many senior officers convince themselves that resigning would do nothing; someone else would quickly be found to carry out the desired policy.  It is an unfortunate fact that this is probably true, but it does not absolve those who implement such destructive policies of responsibility.  

I have serious concerns about the Marine Corps’ ability to fight a tenacious, determined, and resourceful enemy – to say nothing of a Fourth Generation Warfare opponent for which the Corps is entirely unprepared and unsuited.  I do not believe I am alone in my views.  There are still a lot of great Marines serving today, but their efforts are being undermined by leaders whose primary qualification for their role is their willingness to nod vigorously whenever a politician speaks.  

Given such circumstances, perhaps it would be better for the Corps to fade away or be dissolved into the other services than to continue its sad decline.  Perhaps it would be a better fate for the Marine Corps to cease its existence on its own terms rather than to come to an ignominious end after demonstrating a lack of capability.  This may well one day be the Corps’ fate unless a future Commandant can find the strength and relearn the lesson that the bended knee should not be an acceptable pose for a Marine.

The State’s Crisis of Legitimacy Intensifies

As of this writing, the outcome of the Presidential election is uncertain although it appears Biden will “win”, thanks to questionable vote totals from urban areas.  The Senate looks as if it will remain Republican, and the Democrats have held onto the House although with a reduced majority.  The most important result of the election is, however, clear: the legitimacy of the state has taken another hit.

Regardless of who wins the Presidency, the opposing Party will not see the victor’s triumph as legitimate.  If Trump wins, it will probably be via the courts, and the Left will regard that as undemocratic and thus illegitimate.  If Biden wins after boatloads of votes from urban areas pour in, many after election day, the Right will view the election as stolen.  I have no knowledge of what is going on in places where those votes are being counted (or added).  But urban political machines, almost all Democrat, have a long history of stuffing the ballot box and intentionally miscounting votes.  The Right has every reason to be suspicious that it is happening again.

If in the end we have Biden as President with a Republican Senate and a Democratic House, the situation may stabilize for a time.  Biden’s personal inclination will be to govern from the center, and a Republican Senate will give him the excuse to do so.  He can tell the hard Left that he would like to do as they want, but cannot get it through the Senate.

However, control of the Senate may hinge on one or two Senate seat run-offs on January 5 in Georgia.  Nowhere has the vote count in the Presidential contest been more suspicious, because the Democratic machine that runs Atlanta is both corrupt and clever.  Late votes from Atlanta could give one or two more Senate seats to the Democrats, yielding them control of the Senate.  If that happens, it will be much harder for Biden to turn the crazies down.

That, in turn, would open the door to what could well be the American state’s final intensification of its crisis of legitimacy before its collapse.  Of the three branches of government, the only one that still has broad legitimacy is the Supreme Court.  If Biden proposes packing that court and gets his proposal through two Democratic Houses of Congress–no sure thing, as some Democrats will be wary–then that branch too will lose its legitimacy.  The Right will not accept judgements from a court that has been turned into an unelected legislature whose members have lifetime seats and whose decisions are unappealable.

There are other actions a President Biden (or Harris) could take that might bring about the dissolution of the republic.  One would be opening the southern border and admitting millions of “refugees”.  Another, seemingly unlikely but not so, would be a complete shutdown of American life to control COVID-19.  That would enrage millions of Americans while all but guaranteeing a second Great Depression, this time with mounting inflation instead of deflation (economists will tell you that is impossible but a quick look at Venezuela will show you it’s not).

The core problem is that no one in Washington realizes the state is already in a legitimacy crisis.  They thus make no effort to preserve the state’s legitimacy, such as it still is.  The Democrats think, well, if we win politically we will just use the normal instruments of state coercion, the police and the military, to force what we decide on the rest of the nation.  They cannot imagine that the police and the military, most of whose personnel voted for President Trump, might refuse to obey their orders.  Yet history is full of cases where it happened.

That, in the end, is what a crisis of legitimacy is all about: will anyone do what the state orders them to do?  In a legitimate state, people obey without being coerced because they accept the state’s decision even when they may disagree with them.  An illegitimate state can survive for a while through coercion if the police and the military will obey orders.  But even if that works for a time, that time runs out, as we have seen in recent decades in many Communist countries.

There, the result was a new government in some places, state disintegration elsewhere (including Russia).  Whichever awaits us (my bet is the latter), the election of 2020 has already moved us leagues towards our fate.

Equality, the *Original* Original Sin

If it seems that demands for “equality” lie at the heart of most of the troubles now facing our country, well, they do.  Equality is the ideal demand from those whose goal is our destruction because it cannot be met, no matter how hard we may try.  If there is one thing people are not it is equal.  We differ in so many ways that only iron tyranny, like that of Stalin, can create even an appearance of equality.  And in Stalin’s Soviet Union, some comrades were still more equal than others.  Stalin did not go hungry because millions of Ukrainians were starving.

It should not surprise Christians that those who make war on us often do so in the name of “equality”, because a demand for equality was the original original sin.  Revelation 12, verses 7-9, outline that sin:

And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels.

And prevailed not; neither was their place found more in heaven.

And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

Church tradition says the reason for war in heaven was Satan’s demand for equality with God.  That tradition is supported by one of Satan’s temptations of Christ, where he offers Christ all the kingdoms of the world if he will bow down and worship him.  Like today’s cultural Marxists, Satan demands equality but really seeks to be top dog (or, since we are speaking of the Devil, top cat).

The traditional Christian view rejects equality, defined now as interchangeability.  C.S. Lewis describes and defends that older view in his last book, The Discarded Image.  It is a defense of the pre-Copernican understanding of the Cosmos, where the earth was at the center and all else revolved around it.  Lewis knew that was not physically true, but he was talking about more than science.  The Middle Ages believed not only that the sun revolved around the earth, but that every person and every thing had an assigned place and function, unique to itself.  It or he had within a gentle force, which Lewis called “kindly inclining”, that would, if allowed by their will, lead them to that place and purpose.  For the spheres to be in harmony, everyone and everything had to be in his or its intended place, doing what God wanted them to do.

Nothing could be further from equality.  We are equal recipients of God’s love and of His hope for our salvation, but in no other ways.  No one else will have, in time or place, our role and purpose in the universe.

Since Lewis wrote, our understanding of the Cosmos has grown and changed.  We now have reason to think there are many earth-like planets, billions possibly.  We do not yet know, but at least some of those worlds probably have intelligent life, life modeled as we are on God, our and their Creator (the old name for the “Big Bang” is “the Creation”).

The relationship between science and Christian theology is also changing.  Mathematics and science have, in recent years, identified multiple dimensions we do not perceive and suggested there may be many parallel universes, which may not have the same laws of physics as our universe.  Astrophysicists have discovered that most of the matter in the universe cannot be detected through the five senses; now called “dark matter”, earlier centuries knew it as phlogiston.  Together, these findings may (I stress may) give us some insight into the world we enter through death.  As the late Jeffery Hart wrote, when the scientists finally reach the pinnacle of their Mount Parnassus, they may find the theologians already there.

Lewis gives us more to think about in this regard in his three science/theology novels, Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength.  Set within our solar system, the three books have other planets inhabited by intelligent life but earth the only place where that creature, man, fell.  That fall, the second original sin, occurred because Satan was cast into earth after his rebellion.  Had earth held no Satan, no one would have tempted Eve.

If we expand Lewis’s thesis to our entire universe, there is still only one God and one Satan, therefore only one planet into which Satan was cast, one planet where the creation modeled on God fell and one planet where the Second Person of the Trinity became incarnate and died to redeem His fallen creatures.  In that sense, the pre-Copernican model of the universe may still be valid; because of those events, earth may be the spiritual center of the universe even though it is not so physically.  Lewis’s defense of the Medieval world view is thus justified and the discarded image born anew.

And evil and sin came into the world because of a demand for equality.  Should it surprise us that Satan is demanding it still?

Will There Be Blood?

The last time America faced an election where two incompatible cultures contended was 1860.  Then, the face-off was between the industrial culture of the North and the agri-culture of the South (as Wendell Berry reminds us, agriculture is culture).  The result was the bloodiest war in American history.  Now, the fight is between cultural Marxism, represented by Democrats, and traditional, Western, Judeo-Christian culture, defended (imperfectly) by the Republicans.  Will there be blood this time as there was last?

If President Trump is re-elected, as I expect, we will probably see a few riots conjured up by antifa/BLM.  They will largely be confined to cities whose governments tolerate them, places such as Seattle, Portland, and Oakland, California.  Elsewhere, the cops will be on full alert and any violence will be put down quickly.  The Left will realize that the antics of antifa, BLM, and the anarchists cost them the election, so even the Leftist mayors and governors will be looking to maintain order.  In all, violence should not amount to much.

If Biden wins but Republicans keep the Senate, I would again anticipate little or no violence.  Biden will have to govern from the center (his probable preference) because extreme measures won’t make it through the Senate.  Such a Democratic Presidency would largely be a repeat of the Obama years, which will do major damage to the economy.  In 2022, the economic downturn should give the Republicans the House and a larger Senate majority, rendering Biden largely a figurehead.  In other words, politics will be carried on within the political system, not in the streets.

If Biden wins and the Democrats take the Senate, the picture grows darker.  Everything will depend on whether Biden can say no to the crazies.  If he can’t, some actions would rip the country apart.  One would be abolishing ICE, opening the southern border and saying, “Welcome to the country where everything is free!”  As vast caravans of peasants begin to move north, Texas and Arizona, possibly also New Mexico, would mobilize their National Guards and send them to keep the border closed.  President Biden would respond by federalizing those Guard units and ordering them home.  If, at that point, the Governors and Adjutant Generals of those states refused the order, Biden would either have to back down or send active duty forces to fight the Guard.  I think the active-duty units would either refuse the orders or fragment along racial lines.  Secession would be a real possibility, and the country would be in free-fall toward widespread Fourth Generation war.

Similarly, if Democrats pack the Supreme Court, subsequent actions by that Court could dissolve the Union.  One would be ruling the Second Amendment does not protect private gun ownership.  Another would be finding that “hate speech”, which is any defiance of cultural Marxism, is not protected by the First Amendment.  Both of these measures would widely and rightly be seen as attempts to create a totalitarian, ideological state, a new Soviet America based not on Marxism-Leninism, but cultural Marxism.  Armed resistance would be general.

The last scenario is an election where the result is in dispute.  Let’s say that in Pennsylvania, whose Democrat-dominated Supreme Court just ruled mis-matched signatures do not invalidate a ballot, the Democrats “win” because such ballots are counted, but would otherwise lose.  President Trump and his supporters would (rightly) not accept that outcome because many of those ballots would be fraudulent.  If Pennsylvania made the difference in the Electoral College, either outcome, a win for Biden or President Trump, might not be seen as legitimate.  Here too, the potential for widespread violence would be high.

At the root of these potentials for violence and Fourth Generation war on American soil lie three facts the Left does not perceive.  First, most Americans will fight to prevent an ideological dictatorship in this country, especially one where the ideology, cultural Marxism, condemns them as inherently evil (i.e. white).  Second, the government’s instruments of coercion, the police and the military, are manned mostly by the Right.  At a certain point, they will refuse orders from the Left and go over to the opposition.  Third, the federal government’s legitimacy is already thin and actions such as packing the Supreme Court may collapse it altogether.  Each of these outcomes can bring systemic collapse and dis-union.  All of them together would certainly do so.

We live in interesting times.

Critical Race Theory

To his great credit, President Trump recently ordered an end to “anti-racism” training for federal employees and contractors.  A number of articles discussing his actions have referred to “critical race theory”.  What is “critical race theory”?

Critical race theory is a subset of critical theory, which in turn is a central element in cultural Marxism.  Like the bulk of that hideous ideology, it was created by the Frankfurt School, formally the Institute for Social Research, a Marxist think-tank founded in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1923 (it still exists).  When Hitler came to power, the Frankfurt School relocated to New York City, where it remained until 1947 when it returned to Frankfurt.

The Frankfurt School translated Marxism from economic into cultural terms.  The Frankfurt School’s primary goal was to destroy Western culture, which it defined as “oppressive”.  Critical theory is a tool to that end.

The term is something of a play on words.  What is the theory?  The theory is to criticize.  By submitting every aspect of Western culture to constant, unremitting criticism, it would be discredited to the point where people would abandon the ways of thinking and living it embodied.  What would replace them?  The Frankfurt School refused to answer that question, although one of its key members, Herbert Marcuse, promised a world of all play and no work.  In the 1960s, college students in large numbers believed that promise, which is the philosophical equivalent of buying the Brooklyn Bridge.

Critical theory now wells up around us in many different forms.  Feminism endlessly criticizes the family, marriage, and traditional definitions of men’s and women’s roles.  Education theory demands children be taught certain “attitudes”, including disrespect for parents and elders, rather than skills or facts.  Critical race theory says that all whites are inherently evil “racists” and “oppressors”, regardless of what individuals do.  It demands whites grovel at the feet of blacks, endlessly apologizing for “discrimination” and “white privilege”.  Even if whites do what it demands, critical race theory continues to denounce them.  Like the rest of critical theory, its demands can never be satisfied, because then the criticism would end.  Remember, the theory is to criticize, endlessly, relentlessly, until any defenders of Western culture or traditional ways of living are silenced, “cancelled” or liquidated.

Critical theory, in all its forms, says its goal is “equality”.  This goal can never be achieved, because nature has made people unequal.  So the criticism must go on forever.  But cultural Marxism’s desire for “equality” is also a lie.  What it actually seeks to do is invert all existing relationships, relationships that have evolved over many generations and reflect reality.  Inversion includes putting blacks over whites, women over men, and gays over straights.  That was exactly what the “anti-racism training” President Trump cancelled was about:  whites were to crawl on their bellies before blacks, submitting themselves to whatever demands blacks made of them.  Sometimes this was literal: showing that critical race theory had conquered him, the head of Chick-fil-a said every white man should shine a black man’s shoes, then he did exactly that, on camera.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve eaten my last Chick-fil-a sandwich.

The essence of critical theory is that it can never be satisfied.  So why should we try?  If cultural Marxists denounce us as “racists”, “sexists”, or “homophobes”, who cares?  Their boogeyman words have no real power, and they are all lies.  Men and women are inherently different and their traditional social roles reflect their inborn differences.  There are differences among races and ethnic groups within races.  Does anyone think the Cleveland Cavaliers would have won the NBA championship if the team had been all-white?  Or that Sub-saharan Africa would be what it is today if it were inhabited by Chinese?  Who pretends there are no differences between, say, Irishmen and Russians?  How many people, looking for a good time on a Saturday night, go to a Russian bar?  And moral disapproval is not a “phobia”, an irrational fear.

President Trump showed courage in the face of cultural Marxism and we should do the same.  Break its rules, defy its commands, thumb your nose at its lies, and expose what it really is: a Marxist ideology no less totalitarian in its ambitions that was the economic Marxism of the Soviet Union.  As Rod Dreher wrote, live not by lies.

Interested in what Fourth Generation war in America might look like? Read Thomas Hobbes’ new future history, Victoria.

The Court

By dying when she did–I seemed to hear a favorite of Praetorius playing in the background–Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg finally did her country a real service.  After many years of working to turn the Supreme Court into a second and all-powerful legislature, she cleared the way for President Trump to nominate a real judge, one who will seek to interpret law rather than make it.  Amy Coney Barrett is an admirable choice and should be confirmed quickly.

The Democrats complain and say the next President should make the choice.  Everyone knows that if circumstances were reversed and a Democratic President and Senate had a Court vacancy and faced an election, they would do the same thing and act before the vote.  That is all within the normal course of American politics.

The Democrats’ threat to pack the court is something else altogether.  It is a direct threat to the Supreme Court’s legitimacy.

It continues to astonish me that no one in Washington, Democratic or Republican, can grasp that the legitimacy of states everywhere, including here, is wearing thin.  So focused are they all on court (small c) politics, life inside the Beltway, that they do not see the hungry and increasingly angry eyes looking in the windows.  They do not doubt the legitimacy of the system that made them rich and powerful, so how could anyone else?  This is blindness that comes before a very great fall.

For many years polls have shown the public has little respect for Congress.  Presidents are respected (well, sometimes) by their own party and less so by the other.  But central to the legitimacy of the state itself is the legitimacy of the court system and especially the Supreme Court.

Because the Supreme Court has established its power to overrule both the legislative and Executive branches of the government–which may not have been the intent of the men who drafted our Constitution–it is the final resting place of the system’s legitimacy.  So long as the public has widespread confidence in its probity and objectivity, the system has at least some basis for its legitimacy.  Take that away and what remains?

That has been the great risk run by the liberal Justices, including Justice Ginsberg, presumably without knowing it.  Every time they invent new meanings to the Constitution, often in direct contradiction with what it says, they strike at the Court’s legitimacy and that of the state itself.  By seeing “penumbras” to the Constitution, interpreting the Commerce Clause far more broadly than the Founders intended, and adding new powers to the federal government beyond those enumerated, thus stealing from the states, they make the Court’s legitimacy questionable to growing segments of the population.  What happens when those segments add up to a majority?

Nothing would strike more powerfully at the Supreme Court’s remaining legitimacy than the Democrats’ proposal to pack the Court with new, liberal justices.  Who on the political Right would accept any ruling from a packed Court?  Once the legitimacy of the state is upheld by only one party, the state’s continuation becomes itself a partisan issue.  Because the political balance always shifts with time, at some point those who have rejected the state’s legitimacy will be in power.  What then?

In America and elsewhere, if the state is to survive, those in power must start paying attention to the question of legitimacy.  They simply assume it, but the days when they could do that and get away with it are ending.  All over the world, people are transferring their primary loyalties away from states to a wide variety of other things:  religions, ideologies, races, business enterprises, etc.  If the state attempts to suppress them with force, they fight back–and often win against state forces who are fighting for no more than a paycheck from a state they themselves despise.

If by packing the Supreme Court the Democrats destroy the legitimacy of that institution, the place where the American state’s legitimacy now most resides, they will pull the temple down on their own heads.  Justice Ginsberg’s replacement by Justice Barrett is normal politics.  De-legitimzing the Supreme Court in the eyes of half the country’s population is not.