Eric Frank Russell, one of the most talented writers of his day, left as his legacy to the developing field of science fiction a magnificent novella titled “And Then There Were None.” (Yes, I’ve commended it here before this.) This novella is so powerful, and so memorable, that it was awarded a place in the Science Fiction Hall of Fame despite being utterly free of the usual pseudo-science / gee-whiz technology by fiat that characterized science fiction at that time (1951). I regard it as required reading for anyone who wants to understand what it takes to prevail against an enemy — any enemy. Russell called it The Weapon: capitals mandatory.
Russell’s Weapon was quite simple: “I won’t.” Just two words! Amazing! (Yes, Ayn Rand managed to knock it down to one word – “No.” – six years later, but she had to write a half-million-word novel to do it. You pays your money, et cetera.) Its simplicity has commended it to readers for seventy-two years. It’s made Russell a hero to freedom advocates forever more.
The Weapon is unanswerable and unstoppable. More, it’s useless to those who desire to oppress us. But there is a cost to it: one must be ready to face the consequences…and those can be quite painful. For those who desire our subjugation can wield other sorts of weapons, the fire from which is not to be lightly accepted nor easily weathered. One of them is on my mind this morning.
I know that most Gentle Readers are dismissive of video presentations. Unfortunately, I can’t provide a useful transcript of this one. But despite its length – 17.5 minutes – the video is eminently worth your time, I promise you:
Matt Walsh would once have been called a “controversialist.” And there’s no question that his forthrightness upsets a lot of people. Beyond question, having one’s nose rubbed in an unpleasant fact has an upsetting effect, regardless of the specifics of the fact. But as Matt makes plain in this video, that doesn’t keep it from being a fact.
Matt has fingered the most distressing tactical feature of contemporary argument: the exploitation of the disinclination among good persons to court conflict – i.e., to upset anyone – including conflict with openly evil persons. “You’re being too rough!” and “You’re hurting people’s feelings” are accusations Matt has faced many times. You see, he dares to speak plainly of actions undertaken to do grave harm to children and our society.
(Say, remember when “It’s for the children!” was the unanswerable justification for any and every Leftist lunacy? I do.)
Yes, the subject is the transgender madness: specifically, how it’s affecting American children.
Many who agree with Matt about the facts of the matter are horrified by his bluntness. But Matt is merely stating observable facts. To criticize a man for speaking the truth is to endorse dishonesty. But he who states a preference for dishonesty, even if he limits it to certain subjects, has condemned himself as dishonest. On what subjects could he be trusted thereafter?
George Orwell’s vital essay Politics and the English Language comes immediately to mind. Indeed, Orwell was speaking of this very thing. If you haven’t read it recently, do so before continuing on here.
In his classic treatise The Art Of War, Sun Tzu posited that perfection in warfare lies in inducing your enemy to surrender without ever meeting him in battle:
In the practical art of war, the best thing of all is to take the enemy’s country whole and intact; to shatter and destroy it is not so good. So, too, it is better to recapture an army entire than to destroy it, to capture a regiment, a detachment or a company entire than to destroy them. Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting….Therefore the skillful leader subdues the enemy’s troops without any fighting; he captures their cities without laying siege to them; he overthrows their kingdom without lengthy operations in the field.
This ideal can only be achieved by weakening the enemy’s will through non-martial sallies: combative strokes that appear unrelated to the combat.
In the ideological warfare of our time, “You’re hurting my feelings!” is the stroke that has most successfully weakened the will of the Right. Indeed, it has proved so potent that many commentators in the Right, perhaps unaware of what they’re doing, have picked it up and wielded it against themselves and others of like mind.
They balk at calling evil evil.
They balk at calling insanity insanity.
They balk at calling cowardice cowardice.
Because such statements might hurt someone’s feelings.
How do they rationalize this? They don’t. They simply say “There’s no need to be so rough.” “You can make your point more sensitively.” “You’ll never convince them like that.”
Convince whom? The enemy, whose open agenda is the maiming of children? The anathematization of all that is right, good, and decent? The destruction of American society itself?
Matt Walsh has pinned the matter to the wall.
I’ve noted, in other contexts, that once you’ve realized that you’re at war, before all else you must identify the enemy. If you’re unwilling to do that, you become a “Jim Taggart caricature:”
[James Taggart] “What I mean is, there are practical problems to solve, which…For instance, what was that matter of our last allocation of new rail vanishing from the storehouse in Pittsburgh?”
[Dagny Taggart] “Cuffy Meigs stole it and sold it.”
“Can you prove that?” he snapped defensively.
“Have your friends left any means, methods, rules or agencies of proof?”
“Then don’t talk about it, don’t be theoretical, we’ve got to deal with facts! We’ve got to deal with facts as they are today…I mean, we’ve got to devise some practical means to protect our supplies under existing conditions, not under unprovable assumptions, which –”
She chuckled. There was the form of the formless, she thought, there was the method of his consciousness: he wanted her to protect him from Cuffy Meigs without acknowledging Meigs’s existence, to fight it without admitting its reality, to defeat it without disturbing its game.
The next step after that is to determine whether the enemy can be induced to surrender without fighting. But in ideological combat, that is only possible if the enemy can be persuaded that he’s unwittingly gone wrong or has been misled. That’s a judgment that must be accurate. To treat a hard-driven, undauntable enemy that thirsts for your blood as someone who can be “reached” is perhaps the worst of all possible mistakes, for he will use your error to disarm you.
Massive plaudits to Matt Walsh. He has done the Right a service whose importance is impossible to overestimate…if we’ll just take it seriously.