Envy, Malice, Bitterness, & the Moscow Mood. And the Jews

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I believe that a number of people, if asked about the Moscow Mood, would describe it as a devil-may-care attitude, coupled with a satiric bite. I think this is accurate, so far as it goes, but I want to begin by distinguishing two different kinds of devil-may-care attitudes. Not only should they be distinguished, they really need to be distinguished sharply.

One is the attitude of Narnians in Tashban.

“And instead of being grave and mysterious like most Calormenes, they walked with a swing and let their arms and shoulders go free, and chatted and laughed. One was whistling. You could see that they were ready to be friends with anyone who was friendly, and didn’t give a fig for anyone who wasn’t. Shasta thought he had never seen anything so lovely in his life.” 

The Horse and His Boy

This is a method for resisting the Calormene way without turning yourself into the Calormene way. It is also enormously attractive to people like Shasta.

But the other devil-may-care approach is surly and bitter, filled with rancor, and has a catalog of grievances under each arm. When engaged in the give and take of a comment thread, this is the kind of guy who writes like a cornered honey badger with a bad headache.

So the actual bedrock of the Moscow Mood is found in the small book pictured above, How to be Free from Bitterness, written by my father—who was a prince among men. That is the practical attitudinal foundation we are seeking to build on in all our engagements. Love God. Keep short accounts. Worship together with your people. Love your neighbor. Fight for the truth. Fill your mouth with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, and not with cursing and bitterness. Live not by lies. Devote yourself to one woman, and to the children God gives you through her. Raise a weekly toast at sabbath dinner to the day that the Lord has made. Rejoice and be glad in it. Keep the gravy hot.

A martial spirit can fall upon a merry heart, and so “merry warrior” is not an oxymoron. But a merry warrior is defending something he loves, not hunting for something he lacks. Neither is he looking for a channel in which he might vent his hatred and bitterness. What is being established when that happens is the seed bed of war crimes.

A common expression in these troubled times is that it is important for us to know what time it is. This is quite true, and men who know what time it is are the kind of men who know how to fight with a holy abandon—fighting as men who have been fully forgiven by the Father. And speaking of the Father . . .

Friend of the Fatherless

Shall we speak frankly, you and I?

As I survey the teeming mobs on the progressive left, I see an army of fatherless girls, augmented by a feminized entourage of capons and beta males, whose only real hope of getting laid is to throw a half brick at some hapless Columbia bureaucrat. Feminist chicks really dig guys who can yell, “From the river to the sea!” Some of these guys even know how to put up the numerous tents that appeared so promptly and mysteriously. Surly feminists and fatherless effeminate men are the cannon fodder of the progressive left.

But then as I look at the swelling ranks of the red-pilled on the right, I see an army of boy soldiers, twelve-year-old orphans, straight out of Somalia, and captained by fourteen-year-olds. This group is actually masculine, and therefore actually dangerous. But however dangerous, they are still fatherless. Their fathers either flaked on them, or just simply left, or ignored their boys for the sake of a job that consumed them, or created the generational gulf through platitudinous middle-class bromides offered in a way that made Polonius look like a sage.

The end result of this is a high and unresolved tension that is deep in the hearts of these hordes of abandoned young men. The tension is created by a desperate need for fatherly direction coupled together with a visceral distrust of anyone who looks like he might want to provide some fatherly direction.

And what might be the cultural consequences of such father hunger, such fatherlessness? The result of such an epidemic of fatherlessness is that the land will be struck with a curse. And so, just look around at the moonscape that our covenant cluelessness has created.

“And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”

Malachi 4:6 (KJV)

The only remedy for this destructive cultural sink hole is the gospel. And when I say “gospel,” I mean the gospel of the kingdom, and not a cheat-code-gospel you need to use to get sorry rear end into Heaven when you die. When the gospel is preached in its fullness, it is a message that bids fair to restore families, villages, towns, cultures, nations, and empires. But used in the more common and truncated way, it sets us up for allowing the kind of trash world we see around us on every hand.

Which brings us to the present.

Out of Season

Paul instructs Timothy to preach the word in season and out of season (2 Tim. 4:2). This means that he needs to say what is true whether or not anybody is prepared to receive it. There are times when people want to hear from you and there are times when they really don’t, but if it is “a word fitly spoken” you should go right ahead to speak it regardless.

In times of tumult and uproar—and don’t look now, but our day fits that description—it can be a jumbled mix of both. Within the last few years, I have noticed a great increase in the number of conservative believers who are now willing to weigh and consider the basic principles we have been urging for a few decades now. But at the same time, not being blind, I have also noticed a significant uptick in the number of my fellow Christians who don’t want to hear from anybody who likes the Jews, or who voted for Ronald Reagan, twice. This cannot be accounted for through FBI bots alone . . . there is a real angst out there.

Now despite that real angst out there, I am going to act like a father or grandfather anyhow. And one of the central roles of a father is to be willing to say, “No. Don’t go there. No. Don’t even think about it. Trust me on this.”

If I Were the Devil

As I am counseling people, one of my central tools for analysis is to look at the situation and ask, “What would I do with this tangle if I were the devil?” Then I do whatever I can to counter that.

When I look at our mess of an era, I see that whiteness has been demonized. I see that masculinity has been written off as toxic by definition. I see self-righteous envy instantiated in our tax code. I see people who work with their hands written off as deplorables. I see porn, pot, and opioids handed out as a soporific to those whose lives have been rendered useless by the new order. I see millions of Americans who are more than willing to vote for a communist. I see egalitarian assumptions dominating all the various relationships between the sexes. I see seething contempt for Western civilization. And underneath it all, driving absolutely all of it, I see hatred for God, contempt for His gospel, rage at His holy Word, and malice toward his ministers.

What would I do with a mess like this if I were the devil? I would find a scapegoat, that’s what.

It’s all in Girard, man.

“What If It’s Not Envy?” Is Not an Argument

“Everybody blames the Jews for killing Christ, and then the Jews try to pass it off on the Romans. I’m one of the few people that believe it was the blacks.”

Sarah Silverman

Identity politics is basically Marxist. You divide the world into two classes, oppressor and oppressed, and then make all your evaluations accordingly. Another way to describe this ideology would basically be “commie-thot.” And as for me and my house, we will have nothing to do with commie-thot.

This gives you just two variables, and life is simple. True, those who get sucked into this way of thinking, and who are a bit better at math, can go in for intersectionality—where they layer different oppressor/oppressed categories onto one person. You know, lesbian and a person of color. But most people just play this game by trying to get into just one oppressed class.

Get into an oppressed class, you say? Who does that? As Jeremy Carl points out in his timely new book, The Unprotected Class, in the years between 2010 and 2020, our Native American population exploded . . . from 5.3 million to 9.7 million. Now that is either a baby boom that puts all other baby booms in the shade, or . . . people are adjusting to life under the great scramble for victim status.

Now pointing this oppression metric out is not to deny that true oppression exists in the world. It does, and it is also true that a current form of it is a virulent anti-white racism that is running around loose, and it really is evil. Conservatives must therefore learn how to fight that kind of wickedness while at same time refusing to adopt the simplistic commie-thot approach that applies an oppressor/oppressed rubric to everything.

It has been wisely said that in an ethnic war, you don’t have to choose sides. The other side does that for you. So on the one hand, we must recognize what is going on—whites as whites are being deliberately targeted. But at the same time, we have to recognize the dangers of trying to fight back by simply flipping the script, and arguing that we get to “be the oppressed now.”

So the worrisome thing to me is that this commie-thot way of thinking, and this way of arguing your case, has suddenly been picked up by a bunch of people on the right. Let me illustrate what I mean, and prove to you how problematic it is. And when I say “prove,” I am using the word in the sense of creating a moral obligation.

Suppose I have posted something about Jews and antisemitism, and in the comment thread below that post there are multiple displays of manifest vitriol. The thread gets high-jacked by an aching fatherlessness, crackling envy, simmering resentments, and more. If a pastor cannot see the kind of problems I am talking about, then we are dealing with a pastor who cannot see sin, which is not what we want in a pastor.

Now suppose that I follow up with a comment that points to the gaudiness of the envy on display. When I do that I am talking about what is right there in front of all of us.

Now suppose that a well-intentioned and reasonable guy comes in and says—as Andrew Isker did in our discussion—”what if it’s not envy?” In the first place, this is a hypothetical and not an argument. What if it is? But in the second place, it is a hypothetical that blurs and smudges what we are talking about, and it all comes down to the actual referent of “it’s” in “what if it’s not . . .” What is that pointing to? What does it signify? Who are we talking about?

When I say that something is venomous, I am talking about the guy I saw being venomous. You know, the kind of guy who makes it necessary for me to log in to my dashboard as an admin, and remove his comments because they were starting to stink up my home library. But then suppose a well-meaning believer comes along and chastises me for my comment, saying that he personally knows a critic of Netanyahu’s war strategy against Gaza who is not venomous—”what about that?”—and I confess that it leaves me entirely nonplussed.

It is as though I said that I saw Murphy steal a car, and someone pipes up to say that he knows for a fact that Smith didn’t do it.

This only makes sense if there is an assumption running in the background that there is some sort of class solidarity between Murphy and Smith, such that any accusation against Murphy is a smear on Smith, and any virtues of Smith can be imputed to Murphy.

Now the reason all this is happening is because of commie-thot. In this Marxist world, mere membership in the oppressor class is guilt enough. The Jews who died on October 7 were members of an oppressor class, and consequently had it coming. When Eric Erickson said it was time to carpet bomb Rafah and just get it over with, he was giving way to the same kind of impulse. (To his credit, he deleted that sentiment and walked it back.)

But in this world, membership in the oppressed class, whatever that class is, grants a counterfeit justification. It is always vindication enough. You can see these classes start to take shape when justifications are offered for the most outrageous behavior, or even when the justifications are used to surreptitiously rope in the offenders at the margins.

I know it can be challenging and difficult because wars tend toward the binary. You generally don’t find yourself on the battlefield with 17 different factions, and with each one of them fighting with a different combo of opposing factions—where this group fights those 7, and not the other 9, and the second group is fighting with just 2, and not with 14, and so on. Like I said, that doesn’t usually happen. It almost always comes down to “two sides,” and some of the people on your “side” can be pretty unsavory.

Can’t be helped, I suppose, but at least we should be clear about it, and about where we stand. And so let me explain what we are trying to do about all of this in the meantime.

Joy in the Fight

I have noticed that when I emphasize such things, a common response is to charge us with waffling, shrinking back, or somehow telegraphing an unwillingness to engage with the foe. No, it is just the reverse actually.

The joy of the Lord is our strength (Neh. 8:10), and the thing about bitterness is that it robs us of our joy. In a believer’s life, this kind of complaining spirit is an enervating sin (Ps. 73). We are maintaining the truth of the gospel, and remember that it is the gospel of the kingdom. And what can we say about the kingdom? “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Romans 14:17).

So the Moscow Mood is not trying to cultivate a “naughty Christian” vibe. We fully intend to continue taking a stand for righteousness, and if this means offending some of the sanctimonious traditions of men, so be it. We are willing to tweak the traditions of men, the bigotries of men, the petty jealousies of men, and the turf battles of men. But we do nevertheless want to be approved by God (2 Tim. 2:15) . . . we don’t want to fight in His battles, or even die fighting in His battles, only to be found at the end to be castaways (1 Cor. 9:27).

So the fight is inevitable, and the first order of business is that, when it arrives, to make sure we fight like Christians. This apparently makes some people think that we are using piety as a cloak for pusillanimity. Let them think that. But it was the Lord Jesus who told us to love our enemies (Luke 6:27). And I think that if we are loving our enemies, there ought to be some indication of it.

Theoreticians of just war distinguish between two different questions—jus ad bellum and jus in bello. The first has to do with the justice of getting into the conflict in the first place. The second has to do with our conduct in the war once it has started. When it comes to this spiritual conflict we are in, we cannot use our loyalty to Christ as the reason for being in the war, and then blithely disregard His marching orders for us regarding our conduct in the war. If Nick Fuentes thinks that Christ is king, he really ought to pay closer attention to what the king has commanded all of His followers to do.

So as we take to the field of battle, we fully expect the smoke of battle to swirl around us. That’s as may be. Just make sure that this acrid smoke of battle isn’t floating around in your brain, or soul, or heart.

Here in the panhandle of Idaho, we have long called our enclave Sherwood Forest. But there is another piece to it. If you really want to join us as we fight with the commies of Nottingham, while hunting the king’s deer on the side, you are most welcome. Come, join us. But you need to be merry, not sullen, not bitter, not sour. This is a band of merry men, and we intend to keep it like that.