Thursday, 30 October 2014

Fighting bravely to support evil

*
I was watching a TV programme about the closing days of the 1939-45 war and reflected again on the courage, effectiveness, tenacity and patriotism of the German military, fighting every step of the way in defense of their evil regime - not surrendering until utterly defeated.

But this was just an extreme version of the situation of all who see truth in the West today - we dedicate much of our lives and best efforts to sustaining a culture, nation, institutions great and small that are (overall, in net effect) extremely evil - to the extent of openly propagating and enforcing wickedness as virtue, lies as truth and ugliness as beauty - and unrelentingly subverting and harassing Good wherever they perceive it (in real Christianity, marriages, families, wholesome and effective groups, organizations, clubs...) - and all of this so consistently evil that we have all-but lost sight of the fact.

*

As I perceive it, the situation is inescapable in worldly terms; we are all IN it together. And what we are in is precisely the kind of unrepentant society which, in the Old Testament and Book of Mormon alike, deserves to be destroyed and (unless they repent) will actually get destroyed - usually by God simply withdrawing divine protection and allowing the wicked nation to destroy itself; so that it is swiftly overwhelmed by enemies or by natural disasters that a virtuous society would survive - and indeed ennoble itself by resisting.

*

In worldly terms there seems to be no answer. The forces are too unequal; hundreds or thousands or even (in some places) millions against one.

To speak goodness and truth then comes across as bizarre, insane; and indeed itself wicked - since the moral inversions of modernity are interlocking and mutually reinforcing.

In practice, communication between the insane and wicked and wholly complicit majority; and a tiny, isolated, atomic minority who perceive basic truth - is impossible,

*

Indeed, even among truth-seers and -tellers, it seems to me that many have become embittered; hate-driven and closed-hearted; like dogs made savage by being locked up and tormented.

*

I have no suggestions for squaring this circle, no strategy for successful takeover; but to hold fast to the Good and continually identify and repent those many evils which we all daily do and say and think, simply by living in the world we live in - a world where our courage and hard work will be used against Good.

Luckily, with repentance, there is a limitless capacity for Christ's atonement to absorb our many and deliberate sins. Lucky indeed...

And our trust and hope should be and must be in those unseen and unknown mechanisms by which any Good, anywhere, is always and forever effectual - even when utterly private, uncomunicated.
*

12 comments:

  1. the courage, effectiveness, tenacity and patriotism of the German military, fighting every step of the way in defense of their evil regime - not surrendering until utterly defeated.

    Let's not forget that the Allies didn't give them any choice in the matter. Unconditional Surrender and the Morgenthau Plan told every German soldier in no uncertain terms what was in store for Germany if he didn't fight to the death - slavery, deindustrialization, starvation, national dismemberment, and occupation by the Bolshevik hordes.

    The case of the Eastern Bloc from 1989-91 is also interesting. Few people expected the ruling Communist elites to give up without a fight. But there wasn't a mass repentance - far from it, there are plenty of apologists for Stalin and the USSR in Russia even today. Just seemed like there was a mass consensus from top to bottom that "Marxism-Leninism is stupid, we quit". One wonders if such a thing is possible in the West today - i.e., everyone saying "PC is stupid, we quit".

    ReplyDelete
  2. In both cases, the regime made/makes a big emphasis on media and school education. Those Nazi fanatics weren't born--they were made.

    ReplyDelete
  3. @Adam G

    Well, given they were in power for a mere six years before the outbreak of the war, they didn't have much time to indoctrinate a new generation.

    ReplyDelete
  4. For many years I used to ask people that if they were born and raised in an insane asylum would they know it? Looking around, I don't ask any longer because I know the answer.

    ReplyDelete
  5. There is a paradox about evil. To be viable, it cannot be wholly given over to all vices at the same time. Satan’s armies, to be effective, cannot be entirely slothful or without the virtue of bravery. Milton’s satanic legions in Paradise Lost retain some of their original heavenly qualities, at least initially.

    I remember seeing old copies of Der Sturmer in an historical display at the University of Zurich. The covers showed vile anti-Semitism and crude Nazi propaganda. Yet for the Germans, resistance was also about defending their homes and families from approaching armies, including a rapacious Soviet Army, and from Allied bombing raids, including raids on civilian housing. JP correctly notes some historical facts. Of course, we were right to crush the German war machine. Not to do so would have been a global disaster leading, in Churchill’s phrase, to a new Dark Age, made more sinister and perhaps more protracted by the lights of perverted science. Germany was, after all, one of the most educated and technologically advanced countries on the planet, and still is. But seen from the German side, the Allied advance was not obviously benign, and German resistance was understandable. It may be uncomfortable to think what we might have done had we been born in Germany. There but for the grace of God…

    ReplyDelete
  6. As for squaring the circle in a world seemingly gone mad, I offer for your consideration what Rod Dreher has called the Jeremiah option: http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/what-would-jeremiah-do/
    The Israelites survived and staged a come back.

    The Confucians faced in their day a world of war and turmoil seriously lacking in virtue. The Confucian answer, which I admire, was part education, part family values, part personal character building, and part engagement with rather than a retreat from society. I cannot claim to be a Confucian scholar, but I like what I see there. And while Confucianism fell on hard times in the Twentieth Century and arguably earlier, it may be staging a revival of sorts (along with a growing Christianity) in China.

    Even the end of the Book of Mormon sounds a note about a future redemption from a catastrophic collapse.

    To paraphrase Dickens, while our age looks like the worst of times, it may also be the best of times.

    ReplyDelete
  7. @Leo - Actually, I think the German counterattack on their Western front, the Battle of the Bulge, shows that the nature of their resistance was evil. The outcome was that the Soviets overran half of Germany including Berlin; and the degree of German people's added suffering as an immediate and long term consequence was immense.

    "while our age looks like the worst of times, it may also be the best of times" - in a sense I agree. It is possible for our understanding to be greater in these latter days than ever before.

    But perhaps this hope is only possible to someone who believes in the validity of the Mormon Restoration.

    e.g. for the Eastern Orthodox these end times are unreedemedly a bad thing - corrupted, spiritually feeble, the situation desperate and human discernment fatally confused.

    But LDS have many kinds of new helps and gifts and powers; so that in principle any person could sufficiently retain discernment between good and evil, and resist anything and everything that may happen in the end times - and endure to the end.

    ReplyDelete
  8. "by God simply withdrawing divine protection and allowing the wicked nation to destroy itself."

    I fully understand that, almost wishing it on. Not that it could ever be right to desire the suffering and I am getting dangerously close to that.

    What I do find unsettling are the reports of large scale persecution of Christians in the Middle East, due to the current turmoil.

    It's hard, from a worldly perspective, to understand the lack of divine protection or to consider that as Christians, having eternity as a future, the sting of this brief moment does not matter.

    ReplyDelete
  9. @steph - I certainly do not presume to explain everything that happens in the world as God's will - not even over the long term.

    I believe God can, and will, can heal any evil in the next world - if He is allowed to; but much that happens in this world is a consequence of autonomous evil choices (by Men or demons), others are natural 'disasters'.

    http://barnabasfund.org/

    The confiscations, torments, expulsions, slaughter of Christians in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia are actively abetted by funds, policy, training, weapons (and the whole thing concealed) by Leftist secularists of whom some approve and others don't care significantly - although the proximate agents are clearly directly culpable.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I think the German counterattack on their Western front, the Battle of the Bulge, shows that the nature of their resistance was evil. The outcome was that the Soviets overran half of Germany including Berlin; and the degree of German people's added suffering as an immediate and long term consequence was immense.

    The Anglo-Americans were closer to the critical industries of the Ruhr, without which no further resistance would be possible. An attempt to push them back was strategically rational even though it was beyond the capacity of the Wehrmacht to achieve. Splitting the British and American armies and (ideally) cutting off 21st Army Group from their sources of supply would have created huge problems for the Allies. Attacking the Soviets, on the other hand, would achieve very little, since they could afford to retreat if they had to, which the Anglo-Americans could not.

    In December 1944 it was already "baked in the cake" that the Soviets would overrun half of Germany including Berlin. Roosevelt was determined to allow the Soviets to do this and to impose a harsh peace on Germany. Which goes to show that the nature of the Allied resistance to Nazi evil was not itself morally pure...

    ReplyDelete
  11. @stephens - Thanks for the comment which I read, but cannot print; because saying some things are now de facto illegal in the UK and I write under my real name.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Re the Battle of the Bulge. Regardless of whether the German plan was a reasonable strategic gamble or not, at the level of the individual soldier, defying your commanding officer was a very risky plan, often immediately fatal.

    ReplyDelete