I’m a big fan of Western Civilization. I believe it is one of the greatest gifts to the world. Multic-culturalists deride our civilization but its strengths are apparent in contrast to every other world civilization. We ignore the combined wisdom of the West at our peril.
One of these strengths is what Victor Davis Hanson calls “the Western Way of War.” Now I’m not a war-monger and as a Christian I believe that war is inherently foreign to man’s nature and thus God’s intention and design. However it’s very much part of our fallen state and will remain so until the end of time. We inherited this misery and we will never escape it no matter what the Progressives say.
As such, it’s important that we who treasure civilization dispense with politically correct notions of “making peace” and other naive notions that mostly are calculated to generate applause for those who hold them. Instead, we should pay greater attention to the great practitioners and theorists of human conflict and actually know something about it; men from the world over –such as Sun-Tzu, Niccolo Machiavelli, Frederick the Great, and Carl von Clausewitz. I’m not arguing we follow everything or even most of what these men say. But to argue they have nothing to at all to say could only come from those who never read them. Wisdom is taken wherever it is found.
When I first stumbled upon this piece on Clausewitz by Walter Russell Mead yesterday, I thought that it would be a welcome respite from the present turmoil in American Orthodoxy. Immediately I noticed the parallels with the present controversy. Looking back I shouldn’t have been surprised. After all the Christian life includes a never-ending struggle between “principalities and powers” that is every bit as martial as any Napoleonic campaign and as ruthless as the Peloponnesian War. More to the point, Meade describes the same conflict between hide-bound reactionaries and inspired visionaries — again, something manifestly evident at present.
And like the interminable wars of man’s past, the spiritual warfare being waged for the soul of Christendom portends an even greater permanence. We need to study history, especially we Christians. At the least we should not fool ourselves that our lives are not caught up in spiritual warfare. None of the mystics of the Church operated under such a delusion, Neither should we.
Read: Clausewitz, Master of War by Walter Russel Mead.