Lunatic Wars, Lunatic Lusts

Chesterton says that loving and fighting go together. “To love a thing without wishing to fight for it is not love at all; it is lust.”

“He knows that loving the world is the same thing as fighting the world” (Appreciation and Criticism of the Works of Charles Dickens).

Chesterton rejects the silliness of today’s philosophers who want to separate loving and fighting, putting them into separate camps. This is well represented by the glib placard of the sixties, urging us to make love, not war. This false juxtaposition is trying to hide the fact that it is always both.

Either you make love indiscriminately, and make war on the resultant offspring, or you make love to one woman for life and fight to protect her and the children you have fathered. If you determine that it is too militant to fight in the latter way, then the love you have chosen in the former way is simply lust.

And we can see that this is how it is unfolding in the West. Lunatic wars and lunatic lusts go together. So do chivalric wars and chivalric romances. The pacifist who doesn’t want to fight the dragon for the sake of the lady is actually in the process of becoming a dragon himself. This reality is sometimes obscured by the missing nostril flame and hidden claws, but there is a ready explanation. Pacifists are just passive aggressive dragons.

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28 thoughts on “Lunatic Wars, Lunatic Lusts

  1. As per usual you folks have fallen off the Bible bus. The Bible says war arises from lust: “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?” (James 4:1). You see evidence of lust in the absence of war.

  2. This served as a kick in the pants for me this morning. I would like to ask for some clarification, though; what did you mean by “Lunatic wars and lunatic lusts” and then “chivalric wars and chivalric romances”? Did it pertain to the pacifist section that followed or was it a statement on another type of lunacy?

  3. Pastor Wilson, I have just started reading authors from the “pacifist” tradition (e.g., Yoder), and one thing that has struck me is that not all pacifists are totally against every form of defensive violence. Some would say it is OK to defend your family if someone broke into your house, etc. My understanding is that the Christian pacifists are interested in taking Jesus seriously at his word regarding loving your enemy, not resisting an evil person, doing good to those who persecute you, and turning the other cheek. Basically, commands Jesus gave all over the Gospels. Those from the Constantinian tradition *start* from the just war pricipiples, and then try to jusify war a priori. What the pacifists like Yoder have said is why don’t we Christians *start* from the Beatitutes – start from Jesus. That doesn’t mean that we would never be in a situation where we would have to fight — although that ought to be our assumption a priori. I understand that believing we can reconcile just war theory with the Beatitudes does not mean we have to *justify* every war that has been fought, but the problem is that so many terrible wars have been fought in Christendom in the name of practicing *just war*. Hundreds of millions of people have died in the last hundred years as the result of war fought in Christian countries. The pacifists like Yoder recognize this problem and therefore question whether just war theory is biblical. Why can’t Christians reconcile pacifism with the Beatitudes, instead of trying to reconcile *just war principles* with the Beatitudes a priori? That is how the argument goes, anyway.

  4. Fredericka wrote:

    As per usual you folks have fallen off the Bible bus. The Bible says war arises from lust

    Doug is speaking of war on behalf of loved ones, not war with and among loved ones. The warning in James is against fighting with and among loved ones. Notice Doug’s phrases, “fight for it”, and “fight to protect her”, and “fight the dragon for the sake of the lady”. Doug does not say “fight with it”, or “fight with her”, or “fight the lady for the sake of the dragon”. The man who doesn’t want to stick around when it is time to fight evil was only in it for what he could gain.

    Fredericka seems to be working hard to cast Doug in the worst light possible. It’s not a charitable reading.

    Fredericka also wrote:

    You see evidence of lust in the absence of war.

    Perhaps she meant to say “You see evidence of love in the absence of war”? Not sure.

  5. Perhaps I should have said that we ought to reconcile Jesus’s mandate for enemy-love (not pacifism, per se) with our approach to warfare/foreign policy and fighting, instead of trying to reconcile just war theory and fighting with the Beatitudes. I am not so sure loving someone and fighting them go together. That is like saying that we ought to simultaneously love and hate someone. To me, that seems nonsensical. If we are required to love our enemies, would that not preclude fighting them? Is that not what Jesus made absolutely clear in a number of places in the Gospels?

  6. katecho wrote, “Perhaps she meant to say “You see evidence of love in the absence of war”? Not sure.”

    katecho, Indeed I would say I see evidence of love in the absence of war, because I like to say things which are rational, but I wasn’t talking about what I would be likely to say. The ‘you’ isn’t me. Your author writes, “Chesterton says that loving and fighting go together. ‘To love a thing without wishing to fight for it is not love at all; it is lust.'” Notice this establishes a disjunction between love and lust; “wishing to fight” is placed on the ‘love’ side. Thus far man-made error.

    Now on to God’s word. James explains that war, not some particular kind of war, is caused by lust. He uses the categorical term; any fanciful or imaginary categories are ported in from elsewhere. Thus, a very strong, one-for-one correlation: if w, then l; there is no w without l. At a bare minimum we must admit here is a positive correction. Perhaps there can be l without w; private lust indulged secretly may start no war, not even private feud nor bickering. But surely it always has a tendency toward disturbance and lack of peace; the ripples may spread out and dissipate without over-turning any little leaf-boats, but the potential is always present for disruption. Thus, according to the Bible, war is positively correlated with lust. Indeed, lust is its primary cause.

    But your author imagines an inverse correlation; he labels it “silliness” “to separate loving and fighting.” (Recall that he, following after a mediocre novelist, makes a disjunction between ‘love’ and ‘lust;’ if love, not lust, if lust, not love, and desire to fight lands on the ‘love’ side of the divide). In his world, lust is therefore negatively correlated with war; surely those who ‘wish to fight’ must be among the first combatants, the war starters; the wish is father to the deed. But, according to him, these war-starters are those NOT enticed by lust, rather they are motivated by love; at a bare minimum, if l, w is less likely, not more likely, if w, l is less likely, not more. This negative correlation is not as strong as James’ positive correlation, because he admits (invents) the category of Lunatic War, but it is still negative on the whole. The Bible simply says the contrary. Notice we have two competing assertions, even taking these claims at the barest minimum consistent with what was actually said. These two claims cannot simultaneously be true: a.) lust is positively correlated with war (Bible), and b.) lust is negatively or inversely correlated with war (Wilson).

    “Fredericka seems to be working hard to cast Doug in the worst light possible. It’s not a charitable reading.”
    Who needs to work hard to cast him in a negative light, he’s a menace to society. By his own admission he’s a “paleo-Confederate,” the neo-Confederates are too progressive for him. And what’s this about a “charitable reading”? Is it charitable to allege that “white” social workers want the poor to remain poor? When did they ever say that?

  7. Apparently Fredericka has already convicted Doug of being “a menace to society”, which may explain why she is not taking the time to fairly engage with what Wilson is actually saying.

    Fredericka wrote:

    James explains that war, not some particular kind of war, is caused by lust. He uses the categorical term; any fanciful or imaginary categories are ported in from elsewhere. Thus, a very strong, one-for-one correlation: if w[ar], then l[ust]; there is no w[ar] without l[ust]. [The expanded abbreviations are mine.]

    Perhaps these other categories are ported in from the rest of Scripture, like, say:

    2CORINTHIANS 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. Destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.

    REVELATION 2:16 ‘Repent therefore; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth.

    REVELATION 12:7 And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. And the dragon and his angels waged war,

    But according to Fredericka’s simplistic reading of James, there can be no such thing as other categories of warfare. Who knew that Michael had a lust problem.

  8. Fredericka, you said, “Thus, a very strong, one-for-one correlation: if w, then l; there is no w without l.” I would suggest that James is making a very similar but logically distinct statement: if l, then w; in other words, lust implies war, not war implies lust. If war implies lust, the war in heaven Katecho cites from Revelations would implicate God’s “lust” in the war fought against Satan and his angels. James is making a much more modest claim, that unchecked lusts eventually produce wars.

  9. Yes, fighting the world. The question is what sort of fighting and who, precisely, is the enemy. I don’t think this post clarifies that issue much, but it’s only 4 paragraphs after all.

    I would agree there is a distinction between pacifism as such and a biblical doctrine of peace. Pacifism is often not actually peaceful, but rather passive-aggressive, as you say.

  10. katecho wrote, “But according to Fredericka’s simplistic reading of James, there can be no such thing as other categories of warfare.”

    Hi katecho, you confuse God with man, a bad habit. The wars under examination are man-generated. I do think James is offering a general theory of war; it’s actually a common-place, the heathen philosopher Plato said, “Whence come wars, and fightings, and factions? whence but from the body and the lusts of the body? wars are occasioned by the love of money, and money has to be acquired for the sake and in the service of the body. . .” (Plato, Phaedo, 66). And it is after all common observation that wars start because of lust for gain, lust for domination, etc., not out of disinterested love. If you didn’t feel that you had to rationalize this Wizard of Oz’s nonsense, wouldn’t you yourself be taking the passage in its most natural and literal sense, rather than looking for loop-holes and exclusions?

  11. This is solely my opinion, formed after reading multiple posts by Fredericka. I do not possess a Holy Ghost X-ray machine so I cannot see a heart, but I can read words. I do not intend to be ad hominem, but in practicality could be since in describing what I perceive directly connects with the person writing: It seems to me that Fredericka is not interested in the principles of the discussion as much as antipathy toward the author. “Menace to society” seems very judgmental to me; I have no problem with judgment, but I would like to see someone making such a statement also publish a clearly defined and articulated standard so that everyone reading can then see if: 1. The standard is authoritative, and 2. If the writer is weighing correctly or has a thumb on the scale.

  12. Iohannes said, “if l, then w; in other words, lust implies war. . .”

    Hi Iohannes, I agree that lusts tend to produce war. The potential is always there; just as when one tosses a rock into the water it will always produce ripples, though the ripples may not meet with obstruction. God-commanded wars are rather judgments, and have nothing to do with lust; the ‘among you’ has the force of ruling these out. It is a bad idea to propound the view, ‘As war is to God, so it is for us,’ because then you will feel justified in slaughtering the Canaanites, a judgment only God can rightfully deliver. This is a distinction katecho is incapable of making, which is scary in itself.

  13. RFB wrote: “clearly defined and articulated standard so that everyone reading can then see. . .”

    Hi RFB, fair enough, when I get the chance I’ll put up some quotes from ‘Black and Tan.’ It’s pretty shocking: this guy claims a pro-slavery Southern racist named Robert Lewis Dabney won the debate against the abolitionists. Bad stuff. Recently I noticed in the news that they ‘outed’ one of Rand Paul’s staffers as a neo-Confederate, and he had to go. While there are problems in this great country, one of the wonderful things about it is that, once people understand that someone is a neo-Confederate, that’s the last opportunity that person has to make an impact on the national level.

  14. Fredericka,

    “Hi RFB, fair enough, when I get the chance I’ll put up some quotes from ‘Black and Tan.”

    You misunderstood my request. I am not asking for you to publish Pastor Wilson’s standard. I am asking that you publish your clearly defined and articulated standard so that everyone reading can then see if your standard, the one by which you declare that something is “shocking” and “Bad stuff” is : 1. authoritative, and 2. If you are weighing yourself correctly by your standard. Without that, it seems to me that your accusations are hateful and warlike.

  15. “Either you make love indiscriminately, and make war on the resultant offspring, or you make love to one woman for life and fight to protect her and the children you have fathered.”

    What’s interesting to me about this statement is what it reveals about Mr. Wilson. Consider that “you” for a moment, if you will. What gender is it? That is, what gender can it *only* be?

    Apparently Mr. Wilson consider only the male gender fully human and able to make moral decisions.

    Interesting.

  16. I’m just wondering where these pacifists–“passive aggressive dragons”–are that we should be concerned about? I don’t see any of them controlling, or even contributing to, any national policy anywhere. Surely this post wasn’t written to rebut “Make Love, Not War” placards from fifty years ago? If so, will the next post be a repudiation of “If it feels good, do it” or of “Don’t trust anyone over 30″? I eagerly await the skewering of more sophomoric (literally) slogans from the Sixties.

  17. Hi RFB. Thanks for waiting! I’ve got plenty of time now.

    According to Mr. Wilson, the Southern slavers won their debate against the abolitionists, because the “Christian defenders of antebellum slavery” “knew the apostolic instructions precisely, had their exegesis in hand, and consistently bested the abolitionists in debate.” (Black and Tan, Kindle location 305). He reiterates his verdict of victory: “Did the Christian apologists for slavery in the antebellum South have the advantage over the abolitionists when it came to their debates on the subject of slavery? Again, there is no question: ‘The God-fearing southern people turned to the Bible to justify slavery, and the Bible did not disappoint them.'” (Black and Tan, Kindle location 850). So we’re talking about somebody who claims the slavers won the Bible debate about slavery. (According to him, all those men who marched down South to free the slaves were motivated, not by the Bible which is pro-slavery, but by. . .the ideology of the French Revolution!) Does he offer, by name, any of these wise and prudent householders who take out of their treasure-store things new and old? Yes, a man by the name of Robert Lewis Dabney. What were his ‘winning’ arguments?

    Please don’t read this next section if you’re easily offended. Mr. Wilson offers Robert Lewis Dabney, a loathsome creature who lived and breathed hatred against African-Americans, as the model of a perfect Christian gentleman. In his ‘Defense of Virginia,’ Dabney defends Southern slavery on the basis that African-Americans, unlike the pure and wholesome Anglo-Saxons, had inherited a peculiar moral depravity; he believed that this sinful disposition was hereditary and irremediable: “. . .depraved parents will naturally rear depraved children, unless God interfere by a grace to which they have no claim; so that not only punishment, but the sinfulness, becomes hereditary.” (Robert Lewis Dabney, Defense of Virginia and the South, Kindle location 1211). He explains that in Africa, the people were “living but one remove above the apes around them” (Robert Lewis Dabney, Defense of Virginia and the South, Kindle location 3351); according to Dabney, he is just pointing out the obvious; observation of African-Americans will reveal, not that they’re just like everybody else, no better and no worse, but that they suffer from a “peculiar moral degradation” (Robert Lewis Dabney, Defense of Virginia and the South, Kindle location 1221), which is hereditary, versus white people who are just naturally better. Thus slavery is God’s highest and best for them, because it curbs their otherwise unavoidable tendency toward evil. This is the man’s pro-slavery argument, as advanced in his ‘Defense of Virginia,’ which is available for download on Kindle, for free I believe.

    Does Mr. Wilson republish these dreadful arguments? No, he does not; he understands you can’t say that kind of stuff nowadays. And so he gives us to understand that the apologists for antebellum Southern slavery won the debate against the abolitionists, and yet the arguments they actually used are arguments which their modern-day champions dare not repeat. Odd, isn’t it?

    And by what standard do I know these arguments are dreadful? Jesus’ standard! “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” (Matthew 7:2). Do you want somebody talking about you like that?

  18. Fredericka, if you’re wondering why no one has responded, it’s because you’ve exposed yourself as somewhat ridiculous.

    Wilson has not hidden this book from view and in fact wrote volumes about it in an exchange with Thabiti Anyabwile in March of this year. But discovering that would have required you to be fair and type “Black & Tan” in the search box before commenting.

  19. Fredericka, if you’re wondering why no one has responded, it’s because you’ve exposed yourself as somewhat ridiculous. Wilson has not hidden this book from view and in fact wrote volumes about it in an exchange with Thabiti Anyabwile in March of this year. But discovering that would have required you to be fair and type “Black & Tan” in the search box before commenting.

  20. Jon Swerens, “Fredericka, if you’re wondering why no one has responded, it’s because you’ve exposed yourself as somewhat ridiculous.”

    Funny, I thought no one was responding because they’re scared. Kindly note that Mr. Wilson does claim, and reiterates the claim, in ‘Black and Tan,’ that the Southern slavers won their debate with the abolitionists over the institution of antebellum slavery. Kindly note that he does not review for the reader what their ‘winning’ arguments actually were. In actual historic fact, these arguments range from the ridiculous (black skin = mark of Cain, African-Americans are descended from Canaanites, Anglo-Saxons are the ten lost tribes of Israel (‘Brit-Ish’= man of the covenant, get it?)), to Robert Lewis Dabney’s virulent racism. What exactly were the ‘winning’ arguments, and why are they such a deep, dark secret? I assume you do not want to repeat any of the actual, historic arguments used by Southern defenders in that day, because racism is not so popular any more. So we must have new ‘winning’ arguments. What on earth are they?

  21. Here’s another Chesterton quote on the theme of Doug’s post:


    “The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.” – GK Chesterton

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