The Need For A Fighting Ideology

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There is a scene at the end of the film Apocalypse Now where Colonel Kurtz delivers a monologue on the ruthless tactics of the Viet Cong guerrillas.  He relates how the Viet Cong had come and “hacked off” the arms of child villagers that the Americans had inoculated as part of an effort to win their hearts and minds.

Although at first disgusted by their tactics, Kurtz explains how he eventually came to realize that their tactics were “genius”  and that “they were stronger than we.”

The point, of course, being made by John Milius’s brilliant screenplay is that what appears to be barbarity and brutality may only be manifestation of a superior will.  He who possesses the dominant will is inevitably carried forward to victory.  He who is prepared to make the greater sacrifice is the one who will emerge victorious from the smoke of battle.

The same point is made in another Coppola film, The Godfather:  Part II.

There is a scene in which Michael Corleone, on a trip to Cuba, sees one of Castro’s rebels blow himself up rather than be captured by police.  Witnessing this event made a big impression on Corleone, and he mentions it to the Hyman Roth character in the film.  “The regular army is paid to fight, but the rebels are not,” he says.  “So what does that tell you,” asks Roth.  “They can win,” Corleone responds.

And it turns out, of course, that he was right.  The side that was prepared to offer more of a sacrifice in blood was the victor.  It is not easy to stand against a man who is willing to die for a cause.  He is nearly invincible.

Let us now move to a related topic.  The Islamic State (ISIS) has been entrenched in Iraq and Syria now for several years.  We are told that their numbers are reckoned at between 25,000 to 50,000, depending on the circumstances.  They do not have an air force to speak of.  They do have some motorized capability, a few tanks, some vehicles, and limited anti-aircraft capability.

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What they do have is terror, and willpower.  The leadership cadre is apparently composed of an assortment of ex-officers in Saddam’s army and ambitious jihadists, with the bulk of the fighting done by mercenaries recruited from around the world.  They specialize in suicide attacks, especially against bases and fortified positions.  Iraqi and Syrian army units have come to dread these types of attacks, as they have as yet found no way to counteract them.  The Western media has spread the word about ISIS’s ruthlessness and brutality with a mixture of awe and dismay, exactly as ISIS has wished.

ISIS also has a very astute propaganda capability.  As someone who has read some of their pronouncements in Arabic and studied some of their tactics, I can say that their propaganda capabilities are first-rate.  Even the old guard of Al Qaeda seems to be afraid of them.  They know just how to tap into the alienation, rage, and militancy of the modern marginalized man.  The result is chilling, and effective.

Let me say here that I despise ISIS and all forms of Islamist radicalism of whatever stripe.  Their existence is a stain on humanity, and would never have taken root had it not been for the disastrous policies of the West in the region, combined with the unscrupulous connivance of certain countries in the region.  But that is not the point.  The point is that they exist, and that they are able to project power in a way that far exceeds their conventional capability on the ground.

Western leaders in Europe and America have been slow to recognize this.  They have as yet not been able to mount an effective response to the ideological power of ISIS.  If we must be honest–and we must–we have to conclude that ISIS possesses far more willpower and strength than does its adversaries.

They will not be eradicated with air attacks.  The only way ISIS will be destroyed is if they are confronted head-on, in ground combat.  It will be a battle in which no quarter is likely to be sought or given.  But this is what it will take.  And no one is being honest about this.  By some estimations, ISIS is actually getting stronger.

No one wants to go toe to toe with ISIS, it seems.  Everyone is hoping that they will dry up and blow away if we just “cut off their funding” or “provide more training” to the Iraqi military.  People who say such things do not fully understand the power of a fanatical, militant ideology.  The only way to inspire men to confront ISIS will be to equip them with an ideology of equal conviction and strength.

But where will such an ideology be found?  Western leaders and populations are apparently incapable of dying for their beliefs.  People in the West find it bizarre that someone would die for his religious beliefs because they themselves are craven, effete cowards who have no convictions themselves.  Even the Vatican is too craven to call things by their true names, and to attempt to inspire a military response to the fanaticism that wishes to destroy it.  Instead, we are treated to lectures on peace, love, and exhortations to “understand” the grievances of others.

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Even nationalism in the West has evidently lost its luster.  Who today can imagine battalions of young Spaniards, Frenchmen, Italians, or Germans willing to sacrifice themselves in combat for an ideal?  Why do men fight to the death?  For consumerism?  For feminism?  For the “rights of gender equality”?  No.

These are not the ideals that inspire militancy in men.  And no one is being honest about this.  Decades of enervating propaganda by the Western media has hollowed out and destroyed the fighting spirit of the European male.

Last week I said this:

Nietzsche may have been right, but so far I am not seeing any contrary extreme positions arise in response to the existential threat posed by organizations like ISIS.  Instead, I see denial coming from European capitals.  I see the Pope telling us that love and charity will conquer all.  I see certain European leaders minimizing and downplaying what is right before their eyes.  I see American leaders coddling and providing cover for regional governments who are funding ISIS.  No one is speaking the truth, which is this:  to destroy ISIS, it will be necessary to undertake a ground campaign characterized by utter ruthlessness.  This is an existential battle that has only two possible outcomes:  they are triumphant, or we destroy them root and branch.

All of them are making a terrible mistake.  ISIS is not a joke.  These people are serious, motivated, and actually believe what they are doing.  And they are prepared do die.  I do not see such opposing conviction coming from anyone in the West.

It was not always so.  There was a time when religion did inspire the Western man to feats of incredible bravery.  The historian Giuseppe Ricciotti, in his masterful The Age of Martyrs, relates how early Christians in the Roman army were prepared to undergo savage tortures or death in defense of their beliefs.  Ricciotti relates the story of a man named Maximilian, who refused military service and was executed.

Maximilian was called up for service in the year 295 at the age of 21.  He reported for service, with his father at his side, at Theveste in Numidia before the Roman proconsul.  Maximilian believed that it was wrong to serve in the army, and told the proconsul so.  Ricciotti offers this account of the dialogue:

“I will not accept the seal of the emperor.  I already have the seal of Christ, my God.” [said Maximilian]

“I will send you straight to your Christ.” [said the proconsul]

“Do it immediately.  It will be my glory.”

“Mark him,” ordered the proconsul.  The assistants took hold of him…

[The proconsul then said] “In the sacred company of our lords Diocletian and Maximian, Constantius and Galerius [the tetrarchy of Roman emperors] there are Christian soldiers and they are not afraid to fight.”

“They do what they think is right.  As far as I am concerned I am a Christian and cannot do evil.”

“Do those who fight in our armies do evil, then?”

“You know what they do.”

“Since indevoto animo [with disloyal spirit] you have refused military service you will be punished as an example to others.”

Maximian replied, “Deo gratias.”

Maximian was then promptly beheaded.  His story was not unique.  Many others like him were willing to die for their beliefs.  Note that I do not use these examples to say that I support conscientious objectors.  In fact, I do not believe a man has a right to refuse military service in the country in which he lives.  But that is just my own opinion.

And it is also irrelevant to the point I am trying to make here.  My point is that these men were imbued with the zeal of conviction.  They had a doctrine, and ideology that they were willing to fight for.  And this made them powerful.  Even if we disagree with them, we cannot fail to be impressed by them.

In one of the chapters of my book Thirty-Seven, I wrote about the Battle of Lepanto, in which Spanish monks leaped into combat, armed with little more than crucifixes, to inspire their tercios (naval infantry) to feats of valor.

What happened to the Old Spain, the closest thing to a “sword of Christendom” that ever existed?  Where is she?  Where is the pure idealism, and the soaring imagination, that stacked the sacred stones which would eventually create the sublime vaults of the Notre Dame in Paris?  Where is the fanatical spirit that crushed the Turks at Vienna, without apology or equivocation?

It is difficult to imagine this ethic today in Europe.  Most European militaries are hollowed-out, demoralized, and totally lacking in combat experience.  For decades they outsourced their defense to the United States, and preferred to lavish their citizens with social programs and corrupting doctrines that had no basis in history or experience.

The result is now a generation of woefully unprepared men and women who can barely even acknowledge the threats facing them.  A wave of defeatism and resignation has engulfed Europe.  One could argue that a book like Michel Houellebecq’s Submission is an unconscious surrender to what the author sees as inevitable.  It is defeatism and resignation dressed up as literature.

ISIS would eat them alive.  They may have technological superiority over ISIS, but this is a gap than can be closed more quickly than most people realize.  Ultimately, the issue may be decided on willpower alone.  If so, Westerners have no ideology of comparable strength to pit against the fanaticism of ISIS.

In history, weakness and indolence has always inspired attack from leaner, hungrier bodies.  It has always been so.  Too much freedom, too much indulgence, too much prosperity and softness:  all these things corrupt and ruin the fighting spirit.  In words that ring with truth today, the ecclesiastical historian Eusebius had this to say on the matter:

As always happens when there is an abundance of liberty, our lives became indolent and careless; we envied one another and did harm to our brethren; any wretched excuse was sufficient to start a war of arms, as it were, with the spear-thrust of words.

Leaders poured ill-fame on other leaders; nation rose against nation; pretense and damned hypocrisy seemed to reach the limit of their evil height…Like certain atheists who consider that human affairs are neither guided nor watched over, we piled wickedness on wickedness.

Those who were supposed to be our leaders disdained the paths of divine piety and inflamed their hearts in contests with one another, only adding thus to the quarrels and threats, the rivalry, the envies and the hates of the times.  They filled their time in striving for position in no different a manner from the princes of this world.  [Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. VIII.1]

Even if we make allowances for the religious tone of the above passage, it is clear what Eusebius’s point is.  Instead of attending to their responsibilities, leaders and people in times of luxury become corrupted and weakened by greed.  They abdicated their responsibilities in criminal neglect, without any thought for the consequences.

The lesson was not lost on him, and it should not be lost on us, either.

It is still an open question whether the West will be able (or is even capable) of producing an ideological response that is sufficiently strong to go toe-to-toe with the ideology of ISIS.  Time will tell.  So far, the responses have been tepid at best.  The West has offered absolutely nothing in the form of an ideological counterweight, perhaps because it has none.  All it can offer is consumerism, which is en empty and useless concept when it comes to inspiring men to fight and die.  Meanwhile, ISIS continues to exist, to expand, and to spread its militant ideology.

In Western Europe, religion is laughed at, morals and behaviors are subject to little or no restraints, cathedrals and churches are like empty tombs, and birthrates continue to decline.  People take their high standard of living for granted, forgetting that it is a very recent feature of European history, possible only because Europe has faced (until now) no external threats for many decades.

Just to keep their populations and industries afloat, some European nations feel the need to import vast numbers of foreigners from entirely different cultural traditions, apparently without regard for the long-term effects of such policies.  And they rely on uncertain foreign mercenaries (i.e., the US military) to fight their battles for them.

One begins to wonder who really is stronger, when all is said and done.

 

Read More:  What Is The Imagination?

 

16 thoughts on “The Need For A Fighting Ideology

  1. Quintus, this is by far the best and most important article I’ve read from you.

    I don’t identify myself with the West, but I’ve always been awed and inspired by their history. You are correct in noticing its decline in human spirit. First, Christianity was pushed aside to make room for nationalism. And after Europe destroyed itself through revolutions and two world wars, they have also abandoned nationalism as well only to replace it with collective guilt, stagnant complacency, and American-style consumerism. The result of of all this is palpable for all those who are enlightened enough to witness.

    I do believe that men–especially when they are young–have an innate capacity or will to be part of a tribe, to unleash their masculine energy, and to fight for something they believe in–something greater and beyond their individual self. This is why hundreds (if not thousands) of young men in the West who are disillusioned with our feminized societies that marginalizes them have gone off to join the ISIS. It’s not necessarily because they suddenly turned into religious extremists or care about the political situation in the Middle East; no, but for that opportunity to be part of an adventure and to prove themselves as men. The West had forsaken them, so they joined a different tribe that gives them a meaning in life.

    The West continues to repress men for the feminist imperative while dousing everyone into a passive state through media and mindless consumerism. Once the Western societies start the crack under the slightest pressure, I expect the ideological void to be filled very quickly by nationalism and other quasi-religious organizations. Men were meant to exist as warriors under a tribal order, not be fucking drones to some gynocentric system.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Even if the West were willing to destroy ISIS in an extensive ground operation, you would never kill all of ISIS’s troops. They would disappear, and return once the West had left again.

    Accruately determining who is friend or foe in the Middle East is hard enough for the people who live there. For us, it will be near impossible, especially since in the Middle East, you always fight he who is closest to you. In any case, the real struggle is the three-way geo-political game between Turkey, Iran and Saudi-Arabia.

    What we can do, rather cost-effectively, is mount punitive expeditions where we destroy the most salient features of ISIS’s rule. Real states cannot wield effective power in the geo-political sphere without visible institutions and manifestations of that power, because such institutions are critical the large scale coordination necessary to achieve a goal. Institutions such as government palaces, courts, communication centers, etc. All the features of a modern state that are highly vulnerable to the method of war we have perfected in the West. Without those insitutions, you have less effective coordination, and are unable to exert effective power.

    The regrettable parts of the ISIS rule to us, such as destruction of invaluable cultural artifacts, can be remedied by offering to buy those artifacts from them for much needed cash or other resources. Terror attacks are only possible because we insist on allowing a large muslim minority into the country. The larger the islamic minority, the more likely you’ll see conflict. That is not a feature of ISIS, but of Islam. The solution there is to begin repatriating muslims. Otherwise, we ought to let ISIS’s neighbors deal with ISIS.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great points, good comment. But I differ from you in that I do think it is possible to destroy them totally in a ground campaign, if the right tactics and strategies are used. With a willingness to go all-out.

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  3. Another fantastic write up as usual. I was wondering if you’re gonna do a write up on the Middle East? How the problems there could be solved or do we just let it burn itself out as we do with infernos to big to put out?

    Your blog is one that i follow very closesly. Unlike most of the manosphere which i feel have somewhat lost their way, you provide a more neutral and more importantly, rational stance. Your topics of war and philosophy are things i’ve always had a deep interest in, making your blog a gold mine for me.

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  4. Another home run by Quintus.

    I think the heart of moral rot in the West is the belief that nothing is worse than death. The fear of death above all else is a paralysis of the soul.

    It brings to mind John Stuart Mill’s comments on war.

    “War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth a war, is much worse…..A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice; a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice, — is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”

    Mind you, far too many wars waged today are without just cause.

    The sign of a dying civilization is one which will fight an unjust war without question but revolt at the thought of waging a just one for the sake of survival.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great article Quintus.

    I think the irreligious attitude of the West has a lot to do with the decline in fighting spirit. It seems since the medieval ages the dominant religion (Christianity) of the West has undergone a slow neutering process. I have nothing for against Christianity but it definitely at times was a great force for uniting Western people. However now I think Christianity only inspires vapid “love” and tolerance. I don’t think the crusaders would recognize what their religion has become.

    I think the only ideology that may have the power to unite Americans (not sure about Europeans) would be a sort of nationalism. You see this with the popularity of Trump who isn’t exactly a nationalist candidate but the closest thing we have and therefore very popular. And if Trump somehow loses this election I think it will only get more radicalized. A huge segment of the American populace is getting tired of the B.S. and is refusing to be neutered and fall in line.

    As time progresses and the social forces of progressivism become more dominant people are going to get sick of it. Eventually if a strong candidate is not found, I think people will drop back to a revolution. The only thing is by that time there may not be enough. Right now the middle American could take his country is he wanted. However in 50 years this may not be the case. The West is certainly going to undergo some changes in the next 50 years. Hopefully they can find a fighting force to keep themselves from complete destruction.

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  6. Eusibius said the core reason for the wickedness and loss of vision among the people was that they worshiped death as the ultimate power. They accounted chance and death as the end of all, which led to the same kind of idolatry that we see today. It was this empty vision that Abraham overcame as he rationally looked for the highest power and which he later made the ultimate sacrifice to prove.

    I was struck by the execution of that old man by law enforcement at the wildlife reserve in Oregon. I don’t know whether that killing was just or not, as the video is unclear, but countless leftists spat on his body, and we see the same leftists today hypocritically blocking freeways in Arizona and rioting in Chicago. But unlike the old man, these leftists are too cowardly to sacrifice their lives, and perhaps that is why they hated him so much.

    I do not count ISIS on the same level as the man in Oregon, because if you take away the profit from drug trade, the financial aid of governments, and blood oaths of loyalty, you would have nobody left. It is money and dark oaths of loyalty to the group that keeps them fighting, not spiritual conviction. The storied deal with the devil that Goethe spoke of explains what is going on and it is defeated surprisingly easily.

    But I also fear that the West has lost strength to fight at all. Early Christianity was persecuted both internally and externally. There were multiple groups burning them on the stake, but perhaps more effective was the internal subversion and apostasy that changed doctrine and brought internal strife. The moment anyone shows some kind of vision in the West, the media crucifies them and they either fall in line or disappear. Our external opponents are certainly dangerous, but we must first cleanse the inner vessel before we can do anything to stand up to them. Our definitions of justice and mercy have been incredibly twisted. Our worship of the material, the created over the creator, and reverence for death as the supreme power are the first place to look.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I talked about something like this in my own foundational philosophy and view of masculinity, the prospect of attempting to achieve “True Glory:” http://masculineepic.com/index.php/2015/09/08/what-is-true-glory/

    I wrote there that it’s because our modern society seemingly offers men, especially the young, and even some women, no prospect of achieving anything great, they go out and manufacture things to achieve a glory, like ISIS or becoming SJW’s.

    I think reviving some of the old epic traditions and inculcating them among the new generations is a crucial thing to do. Yet, I think this new Homeric-style philosophy is still too individual. Something on the level of the entire society is needed too, and the only thing I can think of right now is a new kind of nationalism.

    Trump is the best shot at ushering in some changes, but the man is no policy wonk or philosopher. He’s basically a form of very aggressive chemotherapy acting against rapidly-metastasizing cancer that will soon be terminal.

    We will need to form new institutions, new treatments for the body of the West, in his wake.

    “The side that was prepared to offer more of a sacrifice in blood was the victor.” This was an extensive theme in a manuscript of mine. I think we’re going to have to flesh out some new philosophies.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Man this is a great read. The work an this is amazing.

    The mindset if a fighter is important in dealing with the trouble and paradoxes of the world. Most great fighters don’t complain or criticize about having to explain what makes then a great fighter is the ability to keep getting up after they get viciously thrown down.

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  9. Probably your greatest article yet Quintus, fascinating comments by all the contributors too. I would love to share a beer or two with the guys that contribute here.
    On a somewhat related note there is the phenomenon of young German Women emigrating to Ireland because of the Muslim hordes that have practically taken over the German cities. They are emigrating not because they feel that German Men can’t protect them but because if they were attacked they feel that nothing would be done about it by the Cultural Marxist overlords.
    This Video explains more.

    Like

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