@BonifaceOption recently said something that really needs to be carved into marble, and then memorized by your children, and then embroidered on all your cushions, and then tattooed on the insides of your eyelids. This is what he said:
“This is the thing: they cannot stop people who are truly having fun.”@BonifaceOption
The picture of that huge plaque there off to the right is the message that presides over all our sabbath dinners, and it is also happens to be the silent, concrete gray foundation underneath all our sabbath dinners. In addition to that, it is the gravy that goes on the meat at our sabbath dinners, and it is also the Tony Chachere’s original Creole seasoning that goes on our sabbath dinners when we have jambalaya, which is not infrequently.
I have touched on all this before, but it is a subject we must return to periodically. We need to return to it periodically because evangelical Christians—for personality reasons, for doctrinal reasons, for donor base reasons, and for historical reasons—struggle when it comes to cultivating the ethos of the happy warrior. We can be provoked to the point where we are compelled to fight, but we have somehow come to believe that putting on a long face is in some way part of the uniform.
This tendency of ours is then exploited by the managerial layers of Big Eva, who are largely functional pacifists, as they work us through their four stages of accommodation. 1. There is no need to fight; 2. There may come a time when there is a need to fight; 3. The situation is serious, but it is too soon to fight; and 4. It is too late to fight. “We must come to grips with the fact that we are now living in a post-Christian era. You do know that nostalgia is idolatry, right?”
If it comes right down to it, even despite such leaders, we can be prevailed upon to oppose the latest preposterous nincompoopery in excelsis, but our speech over that outrage invariably begins with something like, “Fathers and brothers in Israel, it is with grief in my heart that I rise to address this once-august assembly . . .” and our speech does not begin with, “Listen, Skippy . . .” Now I do want to immediately acknowledge that the Skippy approach really would almost certainly be disrespectful, cheeky, and irreverent (Acts 23:5), and my only point in bringing it up is to say that—while it does fall short of the higher path—it is closer to that path than the pious funereal admonition was. This can be said for the same reason that prostitutes are closer to the kingdom than seminary professors.
Saul Alinsky and Common Grace
Because he was a commie, we should of course be wary of taking tactical advice from Saul Alinsky. But because he was an intelligent commie living in a world of common grace, he also got a number of things right. He was a shrewd observer of the human condition. For further development of this theme, you can check out this book.
In the meantime, one of the things he got right was his sixth rule: “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.”
For a premier exhibit of the potency of this rule, look no further than the good time being had by our very best friends, the Canadian truckers. They are having one heck of a good time, and the people they are protesting are a tangled and upset knot of fussing, finger-wagging, blame-shifting, recriminations, denunciations, censures, cancellations, fines, and threats of prison time. And the more they fulminate, it just gets worser and worser.
Not only so, but while the truckers are obeying Rule 6 to the hilt, at the very same time they are fulfilling Alinsky’s Rules 2, 3, and 5. These are, respectively, “Never go outside the expertise of your people,” “Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy,” and “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.”
One thing that these Canadian truckers are good at, and please follow me closely here, is driving Canadian trucks. And then parking them in Ottawa. And not only do the Canadian truckers know their trucks, it is equally obvious that the ruling elites who have been confronted with this uprising quite obviously do not know the first thing about trucks.
For evidence of that, take a look at the much-derided tweet below from Harvard professor and CNN analyst Juliette Kayyem. First, we slash the tires, check, then we empty the gas tanks, check, then we remove the drivers from the scene, check, and then—and not until then—we move the trucks. By magic. Parliament will pass an edifying and uplifting law, and off the trucks will float.
Speaking of being confronted with an uprising, when was the last time you saw so many leftist progressives so panicked over the workers of the world uniting? The memes almost write themselves, and that ties in with Alinsky’s Rule 5. Ridicule really is a potent weapon, and right at the moment when the working men and women of North America were discovering this very potent truth, the nabobs of no-liberty-for-your-sort decided that they should bedaub themselves with as much cucumber green facial cream as possible, in order to better identify the objects of risibility.
Did you see that clip of Justin Trudeau solemnly intoning that the Freedom Convoy truckers were, and I hope you are sitting down, “breaking the law”? They were “disrupting businesses” also, which everyone knows is the government’s job. It was sort of magnificent seeing cluelessness rise to such heights. After two years of mandates, and restrictions, and masks, and lock downs, and supply chain disruptions, and various other devices for crushing the little man, the prime minister channels his very best library lady voice, and tells the truckers that “this has to stop.” Yeah, it really does. Why do you think they are there?
The New Rules
But as this situation continues to unfold, we should expect the charge of inconsistency and hypocrisy to be leveled. It has already been leveled, and may soon be promoted to a talking point. Let’s anticipate that, shall we?
Why were conservatives so upset when BLM protesters blocked traffic, and we are all about it when Canadian truckers also block traffic? I thought you conservatives were against double standards, hmmm?
In the old days, back when I was but a callow youth, the different political factions took the field against one another in order to play a vigorous game of football. When it came to penalties, off-sides was off-sides for both teams, unsportsmanlike conduct was the same for both, and the refs were not manifestly corrupt. Cheating occurred, but when it occurred, it followed the pattern of cheating in all stable societies—it was done surreptitiously. The cheaters would hide what they were doing.
But over time, the game morphed, and for a time it became a strange amalgam indeed. This was the period when the conservatives continued to play football, and a very conservative running game it was too, two yards a carry at the most, while the progressive left started to play their very own gaudy version of Calvinball. During this time, the conservatives appealed, multiple times they appealed, to the refs’ sense of justice and fair play, but all to no avail. This was because the refs had either left, or joined the other team. But conservatives tried to argue the whatabout case—what would happen if we did something like that? The only answer that came was scoffs and sneers. They could burn down buildings, loot stores, and murder by-standers, and still have the whole thing characterized as “fiery but mostly peaceful.”
What has happened is that the resistance of the normals has now officially begun, and the really noteworthy thing about it is that they have begun to play a jubilant form of Calvinball also. A handful of worriers on the old conservative team have continued—for the sake of what they mistook for ancient verities—to call fouls on their own team, not realizing that the civics game they are trying to play has already joined the Hapsburg Dynasty in the mausoleum of memories. But enough about David French.
But it must be noted that the two sides are not playing the same version of Calvinball. For the left, democracy is defined by them as getting their way. In pursuit of that goal, they will do whatever it takes. They have no god but their lust for power, and that is why they wanted to defund the police. They wanted to do that as a way station toward their goal of becoming the police. In short, their version of Calvinball is going to be as violent as necessary. Anything goes.
The Canadian truckers, and the successive waves of uncooperative normals coming up behind them (please see here and here), are willing to disobey traffic laws in defense of the genuine ancient verities that are being challenged by their government—their basic rights, in other words. But they are nevertheless not willing to loot stores, or burn down buildings, or shoot cops. This is why the protesters in Ottawa are doing things like cleaning the bathrooms of businesses that have stayed open. They are parking their trucks where Trudeau doesn’t want them to, but they are still respecting the Ten Commandments.
So both sides are now playing Calvinball but, consistently with that game, we now see two completely different versions of that game. The progressives, being antinominan in spirit as they are, have rejected all forms of authority, and with it, any kind of rules. Unfortunately, it has landed them in a place where they have also forgotten Alinsky’s rules, to wit, 2,3, 5, and 6. There are therefore miserable and unhappy . . . and losing. They are therefore both losing, and losing it.
The conservatives would be more than happy to go back to playing football. If the progressive left doesn’t like it that the conservatives have discovered how to play effective Calvinball, all they need to do is go back to the old rules. But here is their sorrow. They can’t. They don’t know how. They have lost their way. The old rules will have to be reimposed by the conservatives, but only after we win this round of Calvinball.
As a Postscript, I Sometimes Think . . .
I have sometimes thought—and why not admit it?—that I am despised in so many corners of effete evangelicalism, not because I argue for conservative causes, and not because I frequently take a hard line, and not even because my prose is sometimes pungent and characterized by what I like to call a winsome tartness, but rather because my adversaries have suspected for a while that I might be having a good time.
This testimony is true (Tit. 1:13).