What's worth war...and what isn't
What's really worth fighting? What's just politics? What's your opinion?
Because I’m being lazy this morning, I’m going to go with a listicle format, which, for the record, I despise. There are some things worth going to war for, and there are many things that aren’t worth it. Obviously, your mileage may vary on what you think is war-worthy, but in many cases, people who say something is “war!” only mean that when they want you to fight, and they benefit from you as a foot soldier in their cause.
For example, let’s start with Canadian truckers, because it’s about as left-field (north field?) a think as I can think of right now, plus it’s relevant given the news that GoFundMe has impounded $10 million in donations in support of a Canadian trucker convoy protesting their nation’s COVID-19 restrictions.
Not only is GoFundMe withholding the funds that were donated to feed and fund a large truck convoy heading to Ottawa from all over the frozen north, but if you donated to that cause, and fail to request a refund, they’re going to donate your money to whatever cause GoFundMe wants. GoFundMe might take your Canadian trucker anti-mandate money and give it to a George Soros fund.
GoFundMe is basically cooperating with the Canadian government, which doesn’t like truckers converging on Ottawa. The government claims the convoy has created a surge in “unlawful acts including harassment, mischief, hate crimes, and noise violations.” Oooh, noise and mischief!
What about Black Lives Matter donations to pay bail for people who engaged in simply burning down businesses and throwing rocks at police? That was perfectly fine for GoFundMe.
But is it worth war? Is it worth never using GoFundMe again?
I’m going to put it in the “No” column. I know that’s not going to be popular among those who think this is an unforgivable betrayal, but it’s been long known that GoFundMe is a liberal organization that bends to government when the government is aligned with its liberal beliefs, and opposes the government when the government is….well, Trumpy. Going to war for that is like peeing in the ocean to get even with the fish.
Now that I’ve set up some ground rules, let me do the lazy part and make a listicle. Here’s some things it’s not worth going to war for, that if you believe the folks who are asking you to fight, you’ll find they’re more about their own pecuniary or career interests than the cause they say is a war.
Stolen election audits of voting machines: not in Georgia, not in New Hampshire, not anywhere in the U.S. There might be errors (there always are), but these are local issues. Giving money to a national “stop the steal” is basically like giving it to GoFundMe for the Canadian truckers…it won’t end up where you think it goes.
Voting rights, as in opposing checking IDs at voting locations. Whoever wants to vote, gets to vote. Even if it’s provisional, I don’t see ballots being snatched from anyone’s hands who shows up at a polling place.
Giving water bottles to voters in line, or for that matter, not giving water bottled to voters in line. Can we get more petty about this?
Not funding the police. You see what happens when we take money away from police departments. Cops have jobs, and guess what? They go where they’re paid the most. Once a department has been stripped of the best and brightest, guess what you have left? That’s right again! The worst cops. The ones who shoot innocent people, make poor decisions, and drag old ladies from cars.
Funding the police with private funds. Enough said.
Punishing Republicans for opposing Trump. Politics is about getting elected. Making the GOP more Trumpy is simply giving more people a reason to vote for Democrats. It’s like the Russian army in WWII having two front lines: the one facing the enemy, and the one behind that one to shoot deserters.
Purifying social media from dissent on masks, vaccines, and even facts if they’re used by the “wrong people.” And also, why did NASA erase all the tapes of the Apollo 11 landing? And why isn’t the government coming clean about alien tech? I know! It’s a war on disinformation.
Boycotting liberal tech companies. It’s not war. First of all, just try boycotting Google or
Boycotting professional sports. It’s like trying to boycott ice cream. Unless you are absolutely committed to living without the NFL, MLB, NBA, what have you, and purge even the thought of your teams from you life, you’ll fail. Eventually, you will go back to rooting for your side. Besides, the boycotts rarely work.
“Banned” books that are added or removed from school curriculum. If your kid wants to read “Maus” or some old Dr. Seuss book, by all means, they can read it. Schools can teach—or not teach—particular books. There is a war worth fighting for kids, but not dealing with what books are in the school library. Even if Amazon won’t sell it, someone will.
Here’s the things that many people justify as “not war” because it’s inconvenient to them, but in reality, are worth fighting for. Politically, too many times Democrats and Republicans decide to alter reality—or deny it—to pretend these issues aren’t real, or that the people fighting in these wars are just partisans. It’s almost always a fatal mistake.
Jobs. Why do you think that despite the economy adding over a million jobs in the last few months, it doesn’t feel like a recovery? That’s because people in low-paying, part-time jobs want to make more money, get more benefits, and have more job security. Unions are not doing well (besides public service unions), and companies have not yet woken up to the fact that they won’t weather this out and come out the “other side.” Barack Obama said “those jobs aren’t coming back,” and this time, it’s the workers who aren’t coming back, at least not without a better deal.
Kids. School boards which imperiously declare that parents have no role in their kids education will soon be booted from office. School administrators used to having the school board kiss their behinds will soon find the lips that caressed their backsides replaced with a hobnailed boot. Parents deeply care about what their kids are learning. Stupid tricks like Common Core and smuggling CRT through the 1619 Project end up boiling the blood of parents. Minority parents who are told by Democrats they are rabid Trumpists and racists because they voted Republican don’t easily forget the lesson. Kids being forced to use bathrooms with the opposite (biological) sex, indoctrinated in racial guilt, and denied opportunities in the name of “equity” will result in a war, and the parents will win.
Human rights. It’s wrong for Coca Cola to go to ground on China because 1.4 billion Coke-drinkers live there, while the Chinese government is committing genocide against the Uighur people. It’s wrong of NBC to talk out of both sides of its mouth because of its lucrative Olympics contract. It’s wrong of Disney, the NBA, and Harvard University to defend China while they openly commit crimes and acts of war against American institutions, buying influence, twisting ams, and disappearing critics. China is not America’s friend, though they are our co-dependent trading partner. It’s an unhealthy, dysfunctional, harmful relationship. It’s worth the moral equivalent of war to fix it. The Chinese increasingly think it’s worth the real thing—war—to take Taiwan. One day, it’s going to cost someone’s blood.
Lebensraum. Translated from German, it means settler colonialism, or control of land for the purpose of its conqueror. The Nazis put it to very good use, but the concept predates them by far. Most of Africa was controlled by Lebensraum-seeking European powers right up until the mid 20th century. Arguably, America’s “manifest destiny” was nothing more than Lebensraum. And today, Russia is using Lebensraum to surround, choke, and absorb Ukraine, because it sees NATO’s democracy-promoting roots as too confining for Vladimir Putin’s ambition. We might not be able to do a lot about Ukraine, militarily—not at this point—but we can commit to punish Russia should they march on Ukraine by denying them air supremacy. We haven’t taken that step. I think we should.
True equality. As a Christian, I believe all people are equal in the eyes of God. I also believe it because under the first millimeter of skin, we are all the same. There should be no difference in how people are treated because of the history of the color of their skin. I say “history” because even if the actual machinery of racism is removed, the historical connections, combined with NIMBYism, friendship circles and nepotism, continue to promote to the race-tinged results. Ask Brian Flores how that works. While you’re at it, ask Silicon Valley venture capitalists how many Black, hispanic and women highly-compensated employees get the brass ring. I’m glad the Southern Baptist Convention’s executive committee put aside a century of racism to name a Black pastor as its chairman. God is pleased when we repent, and repentance is only possible through sacrifice.
Heaven. Not everyone will agree with this one, but the Bible says in Matthew 11:12, “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence, and the violent are taking it by force.” In this chapter, Jesus is explaining who is really is. John the Baptist was in prison, awaiting his execution at the hands of King Herod. He questioned his own cousin, “are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” Jesus answered definitively. We are to sacrifice at times, even with out lives, in the cause of Christ. If our faith is subservient to our comfort, our wealth, our security, or even our lives, then our faith at some point will be tested, and fail. The ultimate war is not one in this world—it’s the war for our own souls, and once our souls are saved, the war to save all others.
Notice that “liberty” is not a war. Liberty comes in Christ, and in the equality we have in God’s eyes. Masks are not a war, as vaccines are also not a war. The same God that saves our souls can handle us entering heaven by COVID-19, or healing us to remain here. It’s our choice, but that’s not our war. It’s much harder to love your unvaccinated neighbor, or to love your masked work colleague, depending on your political position on those issues. The war worth fighting is to do the hard thing, not the expedient thing.
Feel free to chime in here in the comments. I’m interested in you, the reader’s, opinion, freely and honestly offered. What’s worth war to you and what’s a phony war to you? Enjoy the weekend, and find something non-football to do.
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Phony war: Cancel culture. To the extent that it's happening, I think it's being used as an excuse to get rid of dead wood. Your best defense against cancel culture is creating more value than you extract. If your current organization doesn't appreciate that, find one that does (or start one yourself). And if you're not creating more value than you're extracting, don't be surprised if you get "cancelled".
Real war: Election integrity. Not in the sense of voting machines, voter IDs, or stuff like that, but at the level of fixing the holes and unclear elements in our processes. More "fix the Electoral Count Act of 1887" than passing Democrats' bloated "voting" bill.
Phony war: The latest Supreme Court nomination. Expect a lot of Kabuki Theater (for fundraising off the rubes), but Joe Biden's nominee will be confirmed to the Supreme Court.
Real war: Automation. While we're angsting about American jobs being stolen by foreigners, we're COMPLETELY unprepared for the day when those expatriated jobs come back to America, but are given to robots instead of humans in the new industrial corridors. When Labor itself becomes the property of Capital, a lot of humans will be squeezed out into irrelevance.
Phony war: Falling birth rates. Combined with automation, we will find decent ways to cope with living with a stable or even shrinking population (ignoring immigration). We need to figure out how to transition out of a growth-dependent economic system and acknowledge that Planet Earth has an optimal carrying capacity and adapt accordingly, but I'm confident we'll figure it out.
Real war: Establishing an interplanetary frontier. I don't share your Christian metaphysics, so don't have a heavenly fallback for when humans tip the planet into a viscous cycle through climate change or a rogue asteroid decides to "dinosaur" us. Within our reach is the technology and means to start establishing footholds off-world both to generate new opportunities for growth for the human species as well as serving as backups, should something happen to Earth. We're on the cusp of a civilization-wide transformation akin to the colonization of the Americas, and we should be pushing to see it through. A lot of the issues that we have now on Earth can be addressed by giving more folks their own spaces to be themselves far enough away from everyone else (see Turner's frontier thesis). Just as the American frontier freed many from the bondage in which they found themselves, I believe an interplanetary frontier will do the same for humans on the whole. (Beltalowda!)
I am not a well educated, prolific writer. I am a grandma who is very concerned for the country we are leaving to my precious loved ones. I agree with most of what you wrote. I can't even remember this soon what it was you typed that I was not on board with. So for me that would be a phony war. Your right to your opinion and to have it published and read is very important to me. But I draw the line at misinformation and lies that endanger others. That is a battle I am willing to fight. God's got this and I know how the story ends, it's the living in between that has me concerned. I am almost 65 and this is not even close top the "wonder years" I grew up in. We can't get those back and I am not sure we want to. The politicization of everything under the sun from straws to vaccines has me completely lost about how I can make a difference, but I know in my heart I have to do SOMETHING. Thank you for always being a voice calling for reasonable people to behave reasonably.