Justification of the violent.

Douglas Wilson’s blog, “Justification and the Violent Left” is printed here in it’s entirety.

“The recent shooting of Rep. Scalise has brought the old complaint about double standards to the surface again. Absolutely everyone knows that if the shooter had been a Tea Party guy, and if the baseball team in question had been the Democrats, the pieces would still be falling out of the sky. Something really is going on here, but it is not as simple as some want to make it.There are people who want to shoot conservatives and there are people who want to shoot abortionists. There are unhinged people out on all the edges.

“So if that is the case, then why the claim about double standards? Why do I say, as the saying goes, that if it weren’t for double standards, the left would have no standards at all?

“It goes like this. On the left, almost all the extremists are able to function as members of a justified class, and I am using this word in its theological sense. There are exceptions (and this baseball game shooter appears to be one), but there is an array of people given to violence who are justified by their central authorities. And people on the edges who are justified by people at the center are no longer at the edges.

“All the leaders of the conservatives provide no justification whatever to hard right extremists. They denounce them early and often. They denounce all of them, front to back, and side to side. Conservative leaders are even required to participate in ritual denunciations of things their tribe did 150 years ago. In the main this is actually a good thing (people fighting for fixed moral standards should live up to them), but it will become decreasingly a good thing as the definitions of extremism that are being cooked up and crammed down our throats by the left become increasingly bizarre. Outlaw normalcy!

“So the issue is not whether you can find a bad actor on the right and then another bad actor on the left. And the issue is not how bad they might get. We should rather compare the left and right on this issue by looking at how much violence is approved by its respective center. And this is where comparative thought experiments come in handy. We know that Kathy Griffin was surprised by the negative reaction she got, but if, say, Dennis Miller had done a photo shoot with a severed head of Obama, we all know that the rest of his life would be something that only Salman Rushdie could identify with. The left was quick to blame Sarah Palin for helping to create the “climate of hate” that contributed to Rep. Giffords getting shot. She had used a “targeting” metaphor with regard to congressional races, and without any evidence that the shooter knew anything about her metaphors, the conclusion was reached that Palin had something to do with the harm done to Giffords. And then here, we have someone who had stopped just short of having “I love Bernie” on his forehead, we are all officially mystified as to what made him snap. His actions were rightly condemned, but where did that climate of hate go? It was here a minute ago.

“The forefront of the justified classes on the left include, but are not limited to, activists, artists, college students, protesters, organizers, and youths. The issue is how much violent behavior gets a free pass, how much of it is not denounced by the leaders of the faction that benefits from the agitation. Smashing windows and burning cars is euphemistically called ‘protesting,’ just so long as the bricks are being thrown by a left hand. From Berkeley to Baltimore, from Ferguson to Oakland, from Evergreen to Middlebury, the left is largely free to resort to violence.

“The violence will be denounced if someone gets out too far out over their skis, as the baseball shooter did. But there is still a large amount of tolerated violence going on constantly in the background. That violence is not being denounced in the same way, and why? Because it is being used. It is one of their chess pieces on the board, one they use a lot.

“And the only other kind of violence that is sure to be denounced will be when middle America (fairly well armed, come to think of it) starts to fight back. I hesitate before leaving this point in my post here because people always think I am wishing for that kind of reaction, or somehow threatening it. Not at all. But whether I want it to or not, whether I am wishing for it or not, the reaction is already underway.”

Implementing the “Benedict/Boniface” option individually.

This is an excerpt from “The Boniface Option”, by Andrew Isker. Italics and underlining are mine.

“Today, the West (and the American Empire in particular) like Rome in Benedict’s day, is in a state of slow, seemingly inexorable decline. Soft times have created soft men. So God has given us hard times. These hard times, this great decline is what the big, important book of the moment, The Benedict Option by Rod Dreher, was written to address.

“To start with, if you don’t know, what is The Benedict Option? My summation of it is this: a movement to emphasize the formation of intentionally Christian communities centered around spiritual and intellectual development as opposed to massive religious right coalitions fighting the culture war on a national scale. I don’t find this to be objectionable. Anyone can see that the church has less influence in American culture than at any point in this nation’s history. The heyday of evangelicalism, where evangelicals were a voting bloc that the creatures in Washington had to appease, is no more.

“There is no way that this kind of Christianity that preaches a gospel of cheap and easy vending machine grace (not to mention apathy toward and neglect of the world which Christ reigns over) could build and sustain a culture that could last centuries. So, instead of fighting quixotic national political campaigns to oppose sodomy and abortion, shifting our emphasis to building local communities of Christians where we can grow strong in theology and liturgy (and be strengthened by good theology and faithful worship) is what we ought to be doing.

“Therefore, if we are going to embark on forming local Christian communities in the face of the chaos of imperial decline, which I think we should, it is of the utmost importance that we have an idea of the kind of men we should be forming. We need men who would trade the cloister for confrontation. Men who would trade the relative comfort of the monastery for missions and martyrdom. We need hard men for hard times.

“We have to learn not to care what unbelievers think. We ought not to care what their opinion of us is. These are people who desperately need to hear the truth. The truth about a God-man who was murdered for speaking the truth. We have to understand, every unbeliever would have killed Jesus if they had the chance. Yet the Lord loved them and gave His life for them. As He was going through the agony of the cross at any instant with a single word He could have eviscerated those responsible for His murder. Instead, He forgave them.

We need to be forming men like Christ. We need to be forming men like Boniface. Men who boldly spoke the truth, no matter the cost. And men who sacrificially laid down their lives for their enemies when the cost came due. Love for our enemies means: 1. recognizing we have enemies. 2. telling these enemies the truth. 3. laying down our lives for them. Most evangelical cultural engagement replaces steps 1 and 2 with: 1. make no distinctions about anything 2. be winsome and try to get everyone to like you. There is only one direction an approach like this can go. Those who adopt it do so out of a mix of apathy, pragmatism, and cowardice.

“Not so with the Boniface Option. This isn’t to say we have to go out of our way to be hated. Picketing the funerals of soldiers telling people ‘God hates fags’ is despicable and obviously not the Boniface Option. But if the culture is increasingly becoming anti-Christian (it is), you won’t have to go out of your way to find enemies. Faithfully worshipping Jesus and leading a godly life will draw them to you like flies to honey. And the Thor’s Oaks they worship won’t be chopped down with pathological niceness. They will be chopped down by men who are ready to lose their careers, reputations, 401ks, etc. for faithfulness to Jesus. Men who chose what is hard because they believe their God. Men who, like their Lord, won’t break a bruised reed, but who follow a God who executes kings in the day of His wrath. The soft times of Pax Americana created soft men. It appears our Lord has given us hard times. It is time to forge hard men.”

So how do we forge “hard men” in the sense that Isker means? I refer to how Jesus himself dealt with persecution. Jesus continued to preach, lead, heal and declare the truth all the while being admonished by the “authorities” to cease and desist–to shut up. Finally, these unjust and hypocritical authorities came for him with torches and swords. At first, after being arrested, when he was being badgered with questions, He “answered them not a word”, even when Pilate wanted to release him. He waited to speak truth directly to the main persecutors themselves, the Sanhedrin, knowing it would churn them up and seal his fate. How do we apply the principle of picking our own battlefield before we reveal our weapons?

1. I believe that every thinking Christian should begin a blog, or at the very least make their Facebook posts meaningful to the cultural conflict we face, and should refrain from wasting their words and intellects with frivolity. Forget Twitter, and all the other abbreviated social media. Your words and thoughts should have enough power that they require a more appropriate venue for expression. Imagine if millions of Christians were articulating what they believe, hopefully eloquently and coherently. If you’re not sure you can, LEARN!

2. If you own a business, it’s only a matter of time before the some unjust law or regulation persecutes you for what you believe–we’ve seen plenty of examples already. I am referring specifically to sexual preference “non-discrimination” laws, NOT racial or ethnic non-discrimination laws. You should have written out precisely and thoroughly, in your bylaws or a business statement of faith, what your stand is on what you will NOT do, before trouble comes, so it is not arbitrary or expedient. Then when a customer asks you to do something against your beliefs, you have something already written to stand on, that can hopefully lead to a fruitful discussion.

Now comes the hard part. If you are sued, continue in your business, refuse to spend one cent or one minute defending yourself, not wasting your words on the flunkies or subordinates who have no power to change anything. Like Jesus, and let the authorities do what they will. There will be subpoenas issued to appear in court, ignore them. There will be fines, don’t pay them. The police will haul you away, go with them, speaking not a word. When you are physically hauled before the magistrate, let your statement of faith speak for you, and demand to read it aloud–that is your main defense. Legal defense of an unjust lawsuit gives a veneer of validity to the lawsuit. If they put you in jail, go, and speak your statement of faith to the jailers, love them as Jesus would.

Before you do all this, make sure your witness has been righteous. Before persecution comes, make sure you have followed all legal and just regulations and codes, paid fees and taxes, and established a good reputation. My prescription above is for unjust persecution, not malfeasance. Now imagine that the majority of Christian business owners did what I am suggesting: It wouldn’t be long before the police were balking at enforcing any more court orders when the aggrieved customer could have just as easily gotten their product or service from a different vendor. Same for judges issuing subpoenas, courts having trials and jailing of innocent defendants. If the LGBTQ (or whatever acronym the tribe wants to be known as) prefer to destroy someone’s business rather than go to another vendor, my prescription would become quite a headache for the system rather than helping their cause.

3. Should each individual business owner fight injustice on their own, or would it be more effective to follow a format that could create a more unified front? Christian business owners and leaders should form groups to support each other, refining their bylaws and statements of faith, perhaps pooling funds to support families of owners willing to go to jail. They could also entreat loyal customers to do the same, after sharing their statements with them.