May 26, 2009

Another thought for Memorial Day...

Alan Sullivan:

At 3 PM, President Obama was playing golf very privately at Fort Belvoir, outside of Washington. So much for his ballyhooed "moment of national unity." That is for the God and guns crowd.

I want to dedicate this Memorial Day not only to those who have died in past conflicts, but to those who are going to die because the nation elected this supremely fatuous man to its highest office.

Well, it is probably true.

Think of how many have died because of the fatuousness and weakness of Jimmy Carter. Imagine if he had not ignored a year of warnings about the possibility of a Soviet invasion of Afghanistan? Imagine if he had taken a strong stand in the Iranian hostage crisis? (We now know that the hostage-takers only planned to hold our people for a few days. It was purely Carter's criminal weakness that ended up pinning a "kick me" sign on the USA.) Carter deserves to be called one of history's great mass-murderers.

What I loath most of all is Carter's claiming to be a "Christian," (personally I think he's no Christian at all) with "Christian" meaning being weak in the face of evil, and letting monsters kill and enslave millions of people. Not real people, you understand, just niggers in countries nobody's ever heard of, like Afgnanistan. What could go wrong? (To our "liberals" and "pacifists" the world is similar to that famous New Yorker cover, with a huge Manhattan, and everything else small and obscure.)

I say that's bullshit. I've quoted before the views of St Thomas, in an essay by Darrell Cole, Good Wars. This time I'll give you some John Calvin...
...Calvin, too, looks at the soldier as an agent of God's love. As he argues: "Paul meant to refer the precept of respecting power of magistrates to the law of love." The soldier is thus as much an agent of God's love as he is of God's wrath, for the two characteristics are harmonious in God. Calvin argues in this way because he holds that to soldier justly—to restrain evil out of love for neighbor—is a God-like act. It is God-like because God restrains evil out of love for His creatures. None of this is to say that we fully imitate God or Christ when we use force justly, for the just soldier's acts can never be redemptive acts—acts that have a saving quality for those who are targets of the acts of force (except, of course, in the sense that the just soldier "saves" the unjust neighbor from more unjust acts). Yet the just soldier who cultivates the military virtues in such a way as to harness and direct them toward his final end—beatitude with God—may nevertheless be said to be one who, as the Reformers liked to say, follows Christ at a distance.

How can we follow Christ—even at a distance—while fighting and killing? Calvin gives us an indication by pointing out that Christ's pacific nature (his willingness to suffer violence at the hands of Jewish and Roman authorities) is grounded in the priestly office of reconciliation and intercession that is reserved for him alone. Christ's pacific nature is thus inextricably tied to his role as redeemer and cannot be intended as a model for Christian behavior. No Christian can or should try to act as a redeemer, but all can and should follow Christ in obeying the commands of the Father. And the Father commands the just use of force...

I notice that Cole has a book on this subject. I plan to read it soon...


I notice Glenn Reynolds writes:

"Is Obama Another Jimmy Carter?" Actually, I'm beginning to think that's a best-case situation.


* Update: The SF Public Library is part of a system called LinkPlus, that gives us access to the books of scores of libraries in this region. It is really rare that I can't find a book I want in one of them. But none of them have a copy of Cole's book: When God Says War Is Right. Gee, I wonder why that might be?

I just ordered a copy from amazon.com for $9. I thought immediately of how Milton Friedman wrote about how most of the segregation and racism of the old South was instituted by government, and how the marketplace tended to color-blind!

* Update: Keep in mind that it's the publisher who gets to chose a title for the book. I'd guess that the in-your-face title was not Mr Cole's idea.


Posted by John Weidner at May 26, 2009 8:48 AM
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