Rules of Engagement

Imagine a red army and a blue army fighting for control of a city. (You might populate this hypothetical city with gray civilians, or you might not. I don’t think it tortures the thought experiment much one way or another.) The fighting in this city is mixed up. There are no battle lines to speak of, just sporadic flare ups of combat as both sides attempt to stake out various territories within the metropolis. Now imagine that the two armies operate with vastly different rules of engagement. The blue rules of engagement are pretty streamlined: “Shoot reds on sight. Shoot to kill.” But the red rules are a little more… we’ll say “involved.” The reds try to observe the Universal Rules of Fair Play in Warfare. This means they generally avoid initiating battles. They don’t fire from ambush. They don’t aggressively push advantages or pursue retreating forces. And they’ll even punish their own troops for violating their notions of above-the-board combat. A red soldier executing a surprise raid on sleeping blues is as culpable as a blue doing so to reds. Reds aren’t savages, after all.

In this thought experiment, which side would you say is likely to win the city? If you had to bet.

The cleverer readers at home have no doubt already surmised that what I’m actually asking you to contemplate, in the most general terms, are the differences between conservative and liberal strategies in the Great American Culture War, a conflict that is now some fifty or sixty years ongoing. Liberals conceive of the culture war as a war, a conflict in which they have an enemy who must be beaten. And so wherever this enemy rears his white, cishetero, Christian head, they take their pot shots at it. Conservatives, on the other hand, tend to think of the culture war as a debate of sorts rather than a dominance struggle for social preeminence. And so they couch their propositions in the language of principle (even when those principles are in fact ex post facto rationalizations) and occasionally pull out a devastating gotcha about the other side’s “hypocrisy.”

(I do have to admit, in the interest of thoroughness, that the situation isn’t quite so dire as it is in the imagined scenario above. In that scenario, team red operates on universal rules. In reality, however, a great number of the rules with which team red attempts to police public discourse aren’t universal at all but actually blue in origin. So the situation for real-life conservatives is a bit more dire, in fact.)

You have to admire the Left for it’s clarity of vision. It has identified its enemies, and it does what it can to drive them from the field. The recent fireworks in Indiana are a perfect illustration. Team blue knows that Christians are hateful homophobes, and so it goes to bat for the right of homosexuals to sue them over wedding cakes. The Right, with its characteristic acumen, mistakes this bushwhack for a principled stand. “Ah!” they say, “But if you support the right of a gay man to force a Christian to make a cake then you must support the right of the KKK to force a black baker to make a cake!” The average liberal couldn’t imagine a more irrelevant rejoinder. They aren’t making any such proposition at all. In their calculus, Christians (of the Not-fans-of-Pope-Francis type at least) are the bad guys and thus their interests are hateful and invalid and must be opposed. The KKK are bad guys and thus their actions are hateful and invalid and must be opposed. You attack bad guys. You don’t attack good guys. Whence the confusion?

The fact that they have such a clearly defined enemy is, incidentally, why the Left can mobilize effectively despite being a creaky, Frankenstein mass of mostly incompatible interest groups. Mexicans will ethnically cleanse blacks when their territories run afoul of one another, but they both vote for the same party. Homosexuals don’t always enjoy the gentlest of treatment from their Muslim friends, but they nevertheless routinely support Democratic politicians who promise more immigrants and “refugee resettlements” from all the vibrant corners of Africa and the Middle East. The Democrat coalition is organized not around a coherent vision of the future but a shared opponent.

It would serve the American Right well to catch up to their counterparts in this respect. The fact that the Left’s vision of the future is less than coherent doesn’t mean it will be any less Hell and misery for almost everyone involved. In this future, the children we don’t abort will be referred to by gender neutral pronouns as they’re taught lessons on anal sex in elementary. In this future, pedophilia will be “de-stigmatized.” In this future, America will be a rich, multicultural mosaic of ethnic and religious conflict. In this future, the federal government and the financial powers behind the throne will continue their rapine of the wealth of the middle class. In this future, Detroits and Fergusons will proliferate. (So will sharia zones.) In this future, the nuclear family will continue to disappear. In this future, if the lights do go out forever, it will seem almost a mercy to any normal Americans left on that final evening.

There are, all around you, individuals and groups working to realize this future, this dystopia. These people are your enemies. Many of them consciously and deliberately mean you harm. Many of them mean you harm as a byproduct of their devotion to one or more of the inhuman ideals of social justice. All of them mean you harm, and they will harm you unless they’re stopped. They will extinguish you from this very earth. College professors penning op eds about America’s ongoing struggles with racism. Mark them. Protest marchers attempting to stamp out the last dying embers of the institution of marriage. Mark them, too. Donors purchasing politicians in DC. Journalists dutifully looking the other way. Immigrants recreating cities in the likeness of the Third World. Church groups and nonprofits importing them. Ideologues in the family courts. Activists in judge’s robes. Politically-saavy careerists in police departments and the military. Feral teens in the street. Tally them up. Keep a list. These are the enemies. Quit trying to figure out to refute the logical principles you think they’re acting on. Figure out instead how to resist, how to thwart, how to beat them.

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  1. The right doesn’t need to go full Alinskyite, for example, to fight the war. The problem the right has had over the years (particularly the mainstream right) is it’s cowardly and imprudent. It doesn’t know how to pick battles, and when it does, it quickly retreats in disarray, demoralized. (This imprudence appears as chronic total stupidity; the GOP is the stupid party.)

    Anissimov, when he called for people to de-anonymize, I think is onto the whole cowardice problem. He knows that people rally to courageous leaders. I’m not sure it’s prudent at this time to do it (my judgment: too early), but we need to recognize cowardice and call it out.

  2. In addition, we should mention that the red commanders despise their own troops and sympathize with the blues. One of the great failures of the mainstream right is how the conservatives allows its leadership to come from the left rather than from their own ranks. Stephen Tonsor is a great example in both ways: “It’s great when the village harlot finds religion. Every once in a while, she makes a good choir director. But when she begins to tell the preacher what to say, it’s gone too far!” Then on the other hand, Tonsor himself spent a great deal of time disparaging Southerners, saying that he didn’t want to allow “rednecks and hicks” into the conservative movement. Even knowing the problem, he couldn’t escape the inevitable conservative hatred of his own constituency (at least major parts of it).

  3. This is why I get so perpetually annoyed with Rob Dreher. He almost gets it. He comes right up to the edge and looks into the abyss, and then he says, “If we could just have an open dialogue I’m sure we can find a way to paper over this.” This is why I have written off the mainstream Right. They will never win because they are ashamed of using the weapons that could possibly win. Worse than that, they aren’t even good enough to make decent walled gardens, because they have believed the prog’s lie that walls are evil. (Well, walls that keep out liberals are evil. Walls that keep out conservatives are just fine.)

    The culture war, overall, is unwinnable. But islands of sanity can be preserved, so long as those who guard the islands are willing to put up walls and barbed wire and use guns to keep out the wolves. (These are metaphors. For now.)

    1. The Căpitanul on Tradition’s enemies –

      “To you, who have been struck, maligned or martyred, I can bring the news, which I wish to carry more than the frail value of a casual rhetorical phrase: soon we shall win. Before your columns, all our oppressors will fall. Forgive those who struck you for personal reasons. Those who have tortured you for your faith in the Romanian people, you will not forgive. Do not confuse the Christian right and duty of forgiving those who wronged you, with the right and duty of our people to punish those who have betrayed it and assumed for themselves the responsibility to oppose its destiny. Do not forget that the swords you have put on belong to the nation. You carry them in her name, In her name you will use them for punishment-unforgiving and unmerciful. Thus and only thus, will you be preparing a healthy future for this nation.”

      Hope you’ll be back blogging soon, Mai La Dreapta.

  4. Charles Jansen quoted this excerpt from Hume in a recent article he penned over at Radix Journal:

    “The [Tories] are commonly less assuming and dogmatical in conversation, more apt to make concessions; and tho’ not, perhaps, more susceptible of conviction, yet more able to bear contradiction than the [Whigs]; who are apt to fly out upon any opposition, and to regard one as a mercenary designing fellow, if he argues with any coolness and impartiality, or makes any concessions to their adversaries.”

    Being reasonable with unreasonable people means that you will lose. Daniel Defoe had the right idea:

    “And now, they find their Day is over! their power gone! and the throne of this nation possessed by a Royal, English, true, and ever constant member of, and friend to, the Church of England! Now, they find that they are in danger of the Church of England’s just resentments! Now, they cry out, “Peace!” “Union!” “Forbearance!” and “Charity!”: as if the Church had not too long harboured her enemies under her wing! and nourished the viperous blood, till they hiss and fly in the face of the Mother that cherished them!

    No, Gentlemen! the time of mercy is past! your Day of Grace is over! you should have practised peace, and moderation, and charity, if you expected any yourselves!”

  5. It seems as if in response to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act fiasco, the takeaway by Reactionaries has been almost uniform across the board. Your to-the-point indictment of Conservatism’s continued proven failure to stop an organized enemy is echoed by Beefy Levinson over at Lamentably Sane

    And myself in a follow up article

    Our efforts to penetrate the Conservative bubble and finally collapse the impotent controlled opposition need to be accelerated. The never-ending failure of the clownish Republican Party and its even more clownish equivalents in Western European countries is inevitably going to lead to a dissolving in the foundational loyalties of their constituents. These are tomorrow’s Reactionaries, the Modern World’s bloodied victims, the disenfranchised white, Christian male who is so spat upon by the controlling elite.

    The only time the left have been successfully squashed since their appearance in the Enlightenment, is when the radical right has spoken the truth, that they are the enemy. We do not seek mutual understanding or a diplomatic solution favorable to both parties. Such common ground does not exist. Nothing but the complete and final destruction of Liberalism will suffice. That is the only relevant rule of engagement.

    “The average liberal couldn’t imagine a more irrelevant rejoinder. They aren’t making any such proposition at all. In their calculus, Christians (of the Not-fans-of-Pope-Francis type at least) are the bad guys and thus their interests are hateful and invalid and must be opposed. The KKK are bad guys and thus their actions are hateful and invalid and must be opposed. You attack bad guys. You don’t attack good guys. Whence the confusion?”

    I had no idea how to put this thought into words, but you captured it perfectly. Why is this so hard for rightists to understand? For crying out loud, stop dancing to their music! Don’t bring your clever comeback to a gunfight.

    (As a side note: I’d encourage Reactionaries to take note of this incident in particular, and of the firebombing threats made against the tiny pizzeria that said they wouldn’t cater to sodomites. Once the threats begin, the real thing is not far away. Remember Spain’s Terror Rojo)

  6. Pretty much. I’ve been saying for a while now that the left doesn’t have principles, only ideology. It’s useless debating them, because they’re in thrall to a cult, and only interested in “debate” as a way to signal status to other cult members. Also, as Chobitcoin recently said, debating crazy ideas just legitimizes them by signaling that those ideas are debatable. Too many conservakin gets bogged down in endless debates with people who aren’t coming into those debates in good faith to start with, and it can’t help but hurt them in the end.

    Most conservakin are afraid to speak the truth for fear of turning off moderate voters, but the Republicans are so useless that their victories are effectively meaningless anyway, so why bother holding back anymore, other than cowering fear of Jon Stewart saying something nasty about you on Comedy Central? I know that humans are hardwired to seek social approval from in-groups, but come on – what is this, high school? Stand tall. Be an adult. Stop trying to debate fanatical cultists. Stop playing on their home turf. Develop your own ideas.

  7. If you cut the Left off from the Right, they would die.
    If you cut the Right off from the Left, they would thrive.
    Who is the parasite in this equation?
    How do you kill a parasite?
    Therein lies our salvation.

  8. This is a great post, it’s time to refer to and think of them with one word: enemy.

    They are the enemy and this is a war they chose.

    No other explanation is necessary or helpful, it suffices.

    On rules of engagement and positive target identification; Actually you could be speaking of war itself now, these are the rules of engagement our troops labor under.

    I don’t think I’d keep police and military on the list above even with qualifier of politically savvy careerists. You’ll go farther pointing out that Prog types use the chain of command to hang cops and soldiers, and marines.

    Unless you feel you need to add actually dangerous enemies to the melange of hags, fags and lawyers above.


  9. Thank you for the link, Mark Citadel.

    If you’re ever the target of a social justice witch hunt, he easiest – and most fun – way to fight back is to laugh in their faces. Dare them to do something about it. In most cases, they’ll back down and search for a more easily intimidated target. If they target your livelihood, whatever you do, don’t quit. Make them fire you.

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