Friday, December 21, 2007

The Once And Future Christendom - From death of the West to knights of the

September 10, 2007 Issue
Copyright © 2007 The American Conservative

The Once & Future Christendom

From death of the West—to knights of the West

by James P. Pinkerton

The Call of Duty—and Destiny

In one of the great epics of Western literature, the hero, confronted
by numerous and powerful enemies, temporarily gives in to weakness and
self-pity. "I wish," he sighs, "none of this had happened." The hero's
wise adviser responds, "So do all who live to see such times, but that
is not for them to decide." The old man continues, "There are other
forces at work in this world … besides the will of evil." Some events,
he adds, are "meant" to be, "And that is an encouraging thought."

Indeed it is. Perhaps, today, we are meant to live in these times.
Perhaps right here, right now, we are meant to be tested. Maybe we are
meant to have faith that other forces are at work in this world, that
we are meant to rediscover our strength and our survival skills.

And so the question: can we, the people of the West, be brought to
failure despite our enormous cultural and spiritual legacy? Three
thousand years of history look down upon us: does this generation wish
to be remembered for not having had the strength to look danger
squarely in the eye? For having failed to harness our latent strength
in our own defense?

With apologies to the frankenfood-fearers and polar
bear-sentimentalizers, the biggest danger we face is the Clash of
Civilizations, especially as we rub against the "bloody borders" of Islam.

What if, in the coming century, we lose that clash—and the source of
our civilization? What if Muslims take over Europe? What if "Eurabia"
indeed comes to pass? Would Islamic invaders demolish the Vatican, as
the Taliban dynamited Afghanistan's Buddhas of Bamyan in 2001? Or
would they settle merely for stripping the great cathedrals of Europe
of all their Christian adornment, rendering them into mosques? And
what if the surviving non-Muslim population of Europe is reduced to
subservient "dhimmitude"?

It could happen. Many think it will. In July 2004, Princeton historian
Bernard Lewis told Germany's Die Welt that Europe would be Islamic by
the end of this century, "at the very latest." Other observers, too,
have spoken out: Melanie Phillips in Londonistan, Bruce Bawer in While
Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within,
and Mark Steyn in America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It.
Admittedly, these writers share a mostly neoconservative perspective,
but such can't be said for Patrick Buchanan, author of the book that
out-Spenglers Spengler, The Death of the West: How Dying Populations
and Immigrant Invasions Imperil Our Country and Civilization.

On the other side of the great divide, militant Muslims are feeling
the wind at their backs. Last November, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, leader of
al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, released an audiotape in which he vowed, "We
will not rest from our jihad until we are under the olive trees of the
Roman Empire"—which is to say, much of Europe. This August, Iranian
president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, traveling to Afghanistan, declared,
"There is no way for salvation of mankind but rule of Islam over
mankind." To be sure, there's no shortage of Christians who speak this
way, but none of them are currently heads of state.

If demography is the author of destiny, then the danger of Europe
falling within dar al-Islam is real. And in addition to the teeming
Muslim lumpen already within the gates, plenty more are coming.
According to United Nations data, the population of the Arab world
will increase from 321 million in 2004 to 598 million in 2050. Are
those swarming masses really going to hang back in Egypt and Yemen
when Europe beckons? And of course, over the horizon, just past Araby,
abide the Muslim multitudes of Central Asia and Africa, where tens of
millions more would love to make the secular hajj to, say, Rome or Berlin.

In other words, if present trends continue, the green flag of
Islam—bearing the shahada, the declaration of faith, "There is no god
but God; Muhammad is the Messenger of God"—could be fluttering above
Athens and Rotterdam in the lifespan of a youngster today. If so, then
the glory of Europe as the hub of Greco-Roman and Christian
civilization would be extinguished forever.

If this Muslimization befalls Europe, the consequences would be
catastrophic for Americans as well. Although some neoconservatives,
bitter at Old European "surrender monkeys," might be quietly pleased
at the prospect, the fact is that a Salafist Surge into the heart of
Europe—destroying the civilization that bequeathed to us Aesop and
Aristotle, Voltaire and the Victorians—would be a psychic wound that
would never heal, not across the great sward of America, not even in
the carpeted think-warrens of the American Enterprise Institute. A
dolorous bell would toll for all of us, scattered as we might be in
the European Diaspora.

So for better ideas, we might turn to J.R.R. Tolkien. The
medievalist-turned-novelist, best-known for The Hobbit and The Lord of
the Rings, has been admired by readers and moviegoers alike for his
fantastic flights. Yet we might make special note of his underlying
political, even strategic, perspective. Amid all his swords and
sorcery, we perhaps have neglected Tolkien's ultimate point: some
things are worth fighting for—and other things are not worth fighting
for; indeed, it is a tragic mistake even to try.

In his subtle way, Tolkien argues for a vision of individual and
collective self-preservation that embraces a realistic view of human
nature, including its limitations, even as it accepts difference and
diversity. Moreover, Tolkien counsels robust self-defense in one's own
area—the homeland, which he calls the Shire—even as he advocates an
overall modesty of heroic ambition. All in all, that's not a bad
approach for true conservatives, who appreciate the value of lumpy
hodgepodge as opposed to artificially imposed universalisms.

So with Tolkien in mind, we might speak of the "Shire Strategy." It's
simple: the Shire is ours, we want to keep it, and so we must defend
it. Yet by the same principle, since others have their homelands and
their rights, we should leave them alone, as long as they leave us
alone. Live and let live. That's not world-historical, merely
practical. For us, after our recent spasm of universalism—the
dogmatically narcissistic view that everyone, everywhere wants to be
like us—it's time for a healthy respite, moving toward an
each-to-his-own particularism.

Tolkien comes to the particular through the peculiar, creating his
Bosch-like wonderland of exotic beings: Elves, Orcs, Trolls, Wargs,
Werewolves, Ents, Eastlings, Southrons. To audiences relentlessly
tutored in the PC pieties of skin-deep multiculturalism, Tolkien
offers a different sort of diversity—of genuine difference, with no
pretense of similarity, let alone universal equality. In his world, it
is perfectly natural that all creatures great and small—the Hobbits
are indeed small, around three feet high—have their own place in the
great chain of being.

So the Hobbits, low down on that chain, mind their own business. One
of their aphorisms is the need to avoid "trouble too big for you."
Indeed, even Hobbits are subdivided into different breeds, each with
its own traits. Frodo, for instance, is a Fallohide, not to be
confused with a Harfoot or a Stoor. Tolkien wasn't describing a clash
of civilizations—he was setting forth an abundance of civilizations,
each blooming and buzzing and doing its own thing.

In addition to the innate differences, Tolkien added a layer of tragic
complexity: the enticement of power. Some races in Middle Earth were
given Rings of Power—19 in all, symbolizing technological might but
also a metaphor for hubristic overreach: "Three Rings for Elven-kings
under the sky / Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone /
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die." One notes immediately that the
Hobbits, along with other categories of being, have received no rings.
Again, Tolkien's world doesn't pretend to be fair; we get what we are
given, by the design (or maybe for the amusement) of greater powers.
Only one threat endangers this yeasty diversity—the flowing tide of
overweening universalism, emblemized by Sauron, who seeks to conquer
the whole wide world, and everyone and everything in it

Of all the men and mice in Tolkien's bestiary, the Hobbits are his
favorite. Jolly good peasants that they are, Hobbits never hunger for
martial fabulation or Riefenstahlian dramatization; their nature is to
accomplish their mission first and brag about it only afterward. And
the Hobbits' biggest mission, of course, is the destruction of the One
Ring. In Tolkien's tale, there aren't 19 Rings, as thought, but
actually 20, and that 20th Ring, the One Ring, or Ruling Ring, is most
to be feared. Loaded as it is with Wagnerian overtones, the One Ring
is Tolkien's symbol of evil, or, more precisely, it symbolizes
temptation, which leads to evil. Even the dreaded Sauron is but a
slave to his ambition to acquire the One Ring—and if Sauron can get
it, then all hope for freedom and difference will be lost under his
world-flattening tyranny.

Happily, unique among sentient beings, the Hobbits seem relatively
immune to Ringed seduction. Hobbits like to smoke and drink, but all
grander forms of world-girdling intoxication are lost on these simple
folk. Hobbits just want their Shire to return to normalcy.

Enter Frodo, hero Hobbit. Tolkien, who served as a second lieutenant
in the Lancashire Fusiliers during the Great War, modeled Frodo,
admiringly, after the Tommies—the grunt infantrymen—who fought
alongside him. Neither a defeatist nor a militarist, Tolkien admired
those men who were simultaneously stoic and heroic. In the words of
medieval historian Norman Cantor, "Frodo is not physically powerful,
and his judgment is sometimes erratic. He wants not to bring about the
golden era but to get rid of the Ring, to place it beyond the powers
of evil; not to transform the world but to bring peace and quiet to
the Shire." Because of their innate modestly, only Hobbits have the
hope of resisting the sorcery of the Ring. Frodo volunteers to carry
the Ring to the lip of a volcano, Mt. Doom, there to cast it down and
destroy it once and for all.

And even for Frodo, the task is not easy; he's that lonely epic hero
who wishes that none of this had happened. But as the wise Gandalf
tells him, it was meant to happen And so it goes: events unfold to a
successful but still bittersweet conclusion.

Indeed, the greatest desire for power, Ring-lust, is felt by men, not
the lesser beings. And so when our heroes are confronted by two
dangers—the danger from Sauron's encroaching army, hunting for the
Ring, and the infinitely direr prospect that Sauron might gain the
Ring—it is a mostly virtuous man, Boromir, who is most sorely tempted.
Don't destroy the Ring, Boromir insists; use the Ring to repel Sauron:
"Take it and go forth to victory!" In other words, use the Ring to
guarantee triumph. But that's Tolkien's point: absolute power is
always tempting—and always corrupting.

The good are good only as long as they resist temptation. A wise Elf,
Elrond, answers Boromir: "We cannot use the Ruling Ring … the very
desire of it corrupts the heart." That is, a good man who uses the
Ring automatically becomes a bad man, who would "set himself on
Sauron's throne, and yet another Dark Lord would appear." And so the
varied group convened by Elrond—Elves, Dwarves, Men, and
Hobbits—agrees to an arduous plan. The Council of Elrond will fight
Sauron's army through "conventional" means, while a smaller team, the
Fellowship of the Ring, chiefly Frodo, crosses into enemy territory in
hopes of destroying the sinister golden band. But as Tolkien makes
clear, the Ring threatens to overwhelm everyone, and everything, with

Tolkien died in 1973. During his lifetime, and ever since, critics and
pundits have put their own spin on his work. He was writing, it was
said, about the totalitarian temptation. About the lure of fascism. Or
maybe about the Circean song of communism. Or perhaps it was all a
jeremiad aimed at industrialization. Each of these was, of course, a
universalism, and so each was, in its way, antithetical to the natural
variegation that Tolkien so treasured.

The author himself abjured simplistic allegorical explanation, perhaps
in part to keep his multiple audiences happy. In the '60s, for
instance, the Hobbits were celebrated as proto-hippies, inspiring
jokes about what might be tamped into their smoking pipes; the whole
oeuvre was seen as a druggy trip. But Tolkien once confided, "The Lord
of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work;
unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision." That is,
Catholic in the sense that reality and history are complicated, that
the world is rich in majesty and mystery, that human nature is but a
poor vessel. In his world, the Shire is Christendom, and Christendom
is the Shire.

Yet more than three decades after Tolkien's death, new
universalisms—new all-encompassing ideologies—have gained prominence,
vexing, once again, tradition and difference throughout the world. One
such universalism is capitalist globalism. In the late '80s, Francis
Fukuyama published his legendarily misguided piece "The End of
History?" suggesting that the West had found The Answer. Madeleine
Albright expressed similar hubris when she declared that America was
"the indispensable nation." And Thomas Friedman has since argued that
everyone has to submit to "golden handcuffs," managed by planetary
financiers, even as the wondrous force of capitalism "flattens" the
world. But of course, it took Paul Wolfowitz to bring Rousseau to life
in another century: Uncle Sam would force people to be free. And how
are these bright bold visions working out, in the wake of 9/11, in a
world that includes IEDs, Hamas, Hezbollah, and Al-Jazeera?

Defending—and Redefining—the Shire

Underneath his neo-medievalism, Tolkien preached realism. He wrote,
"It will not do to leave a live dragon out of your plans if you live
near one." That is, the dragon, red in tooth and crescent, is lurking.
It cannot be ignored.

Nor can we ignore the painful reality of a genuine fifth column in the
West. This summer, Gordon Brown's government concluded that 1 in 11
British Muslims—almost 150,000 people living in the United
Kingdom—"proactively" supports terrorism, with still more rated as
passive supporters. And this spring, a Pew Center survey found that 13
percent of American Muslims, as well as 26 percent aged 18-29, were
bold enough to tell a pollster that suicide bombing was "sometimes"
justified. These Muslim infiltrators, of course, have potential access
to weapons of mass destruction.

So what to do? Call the ACLU? The United Nations?

That won't work. Just as the Roman Empire's dream of universal
dominion once collapsed, leaving the peoples of Europe to create new
institutions for their own survival, so, today, any thought that the
United Nations could save us from ruin has evaporated. The Blue
Helmets have fallen, and they can't get up.

At the same time, at a level just below the UN, the vision of an
ever-expanding European Union, to include all the states touching the
Mediterranean, has happily collapsed. Now it seems certain that even
Turkey will never be admitted. Increasingly, people see that in a
world of transnational terrorism, the key issue is not figuring out a
common agricultural policy that unites Denmark and Cyprus, but rather
a common survival policy for Europa, from the Pillars of Hercules to
the Ural Mountains.

So we must look to older models for hope and survival—models more
faithful, more fighting, more fertile. A case in point is France. To
be sure, on the Mars-Venus continuum, most Americans regard the French
as hopelessly Venus, but they were Mars in the past. Perhaps their
most virtuous Martian was Charles Martel, King of the Franks, who
defeated the Muslim invaders at the Battle of Tours in AD 732. In the
words of the contemporaneous chronicler, Isidore of Beja, "In the
shock of the battle the men of the North seemed like a sea that cannot
be moved. Firmly they stood, one close to another, forming as it were
a bulwark of ice; and with great blows of their swords, they hewed
down the Arabs." The defeat of the Muslims was one of the "Fifteen
Decisive Battles of the World," according to 19th-century historian
Sir Edward Shepherd Creasy, because it saved the West from destruction.

The French have remembered "Charles the Hammer" ever since, even
naming warships after him. Indeed, across 2,000 years, from
Vercingetorix to Charlemagne (Martel's grandson) to Napoleon, the
French have showed plenty of fight, and usually much skill. That's why
there's still a France. And now, despite their recent failures and
cupidities, the French are showing renewed determination, as in the
election of Nicolas Sarkozy, a man who based his campaign on restoring
border security, as well as law and order, to his beleaguered nation.

Meanwhile, as European birthrates plummet, the continent faces the
prospect of demographic desiccation. Yet surely a civilization-saving
alternative to imported Muslimization must be found. One option,
bringing in Eastern Europeans to Western Europe, is probably less than
desirable because those Eastern Europeans are needed where they are,
to defend Russia and Ukraine against the New Tatars further east. A
better solution would be to bring the poorer children of Europe—from
countries such as Argentina—home to Europe, allowing the New World to
help rescue the Old World.

But we need bigger and broader ideas as well, to replace the doddering
vision of international law as the antidote to terrorism.

The Revival of Christendom

Two years ago, the Eurocrats in Brussels drafted a 300-page EU
constitution that consciously omitted reference to Europe's
specifically Christian heritage. The voters of France, as well as
Holland, rejected that secular document.

Maybe there's a lesson here. The people of Europe might not be so
eager, after all, to declare that they are "united in diversity." What
does that phrase mean, anyway? How about trying to find something that
unites Europeans in unity? How about a revival of Christendom as a
concept—as a political concept? A revival, or at least a remembrance,
of Europe's cultural heritage could be the healing force that Europe

After all, it worked in the past. In the words of the 19th-century
French historian Numa Denis Fustel de Coulanges, the victory of
Christianity marked "the end of ancient society"—and all the petty
divisions that went with it. Fustel de Coulanges continues, "Man felt
that he had other obligations besides that of living and dying for the
city. Christianity distinguished the private from the public virtues.
By giving less honor to the latter, it elevated the former; it placed
God, the family, the human individual above country, the neighbor
above the city."

As history proves, a larger communion can be built on such sentiments.
In the 9th century, Alcuin of York declared that the crowning of
Charlemagne as the first Holy Roman Emperor would bring forth a new
Imperium Christianum. Ten centuries later, Hilaire Belloc asserted,
"The Faith is Europe. And Europe is the Faith." Indeed, during those
many centuries, Europe enjoyed a pretty good run. Only in the last
century—the century of atheists, psychiatrists, and National
Socialists—has Europe's survivability come into question. Today, the
Christian author Os Guiness puts the issue plainly: "A Europe cut off
from its spiritual roots cannot survive."

Some will smile at the thought that Christianity might be part of the
solution to the problems of the Third Millennium. Admittedly, there's
an element of faith in the idea of trying to revive the idea of
Christian unity. But Christendom is the Shire Strategy, applied.

To keep the peace, we must separate our civilizations. We must start
with a political principle, that the West shall stay the West, while
the East can do as it wishes on its side of the frontier, and only on
its side. The classical political maxim cuius regio, eius religio
("whose region, his religion") makes sense. To be sure, it has been
unfashionable to talk this way in the West, but Muslims are avidly
applying it as they set about martyring the remaining Christian
populations of Iraq, Lebanon, and Egypt. So we of the West can build
walls, as needed, and as physically imposing as need be. Going
further, we can finally recognize the need for an energy-independence
embargo, so that we no longer finance those who wish to conquer or
kill us.

For obvious reasons, strategic as well as moral, the Western political
alliance must be bigger than just a few relatively friendly countries
along the other side of the Atlantic. It should include, most
pressingly, Russia. Vladimir Putin might think of himself as a rival,
even a foe, of the United States, but he knows he faces a mortal enemy
in Islam; it's the Chechens who are killing his soldiers. So as Russia
enjoys its own Christian revival, a reconciliation with mostly
Christian America is possible. Immediately, America should renew the
spirit of Ronald Reagan's 1983 Strategic Defense Initiative speech, in
which the Gipper called for including Moscow inside the protective
shield. So instead of building missile-defense sites in Eastern
Europe, dividing Europe from Russia, the United States should put
those sites in Russia's southern reaches, to face the real enemy,
which is Iran and the rest of nuclear Islam. Even Putin has suggested
this defensive placement, perhaps because down deep, he, too,
understands that the Christian West should be unified, not divided.

But what of Christians elsewhere in the world? What, for example, of
Latin America—which includes the likes of Fidel Castro and Hugo
Chavez? And even more urgently, what of Africa, where Christians are
suffering from many afflictions, including the inexorable Muslim
advance, pushing south past the 10th parallel into the Christian
populations of countries including Nigeria, Sudan, and Ethiopia? How
to withstand these many challenges?

The answer: through political co-operation. In Tolkien's world, it was
the Council of Elrond. Perhaps in our world, it could be Council of
the West.

It's been done before. In AD 325, Constantine the Great convened the
Council of Nicaea, drawing together quarrelsome bishops from across
Europe to hammer out the basic doctrines of the church. Constantine
was the first Christian Roman Emperor, although he concerned himself
more with geopolitics than theological minutiae. "It is my desire," he
told this first ecumenical convocation, "that you should meet together
in a general council … and to know you are resolved to be in common
harmony together." The council was a success, producing the Nicene
Creed, which united European faith for centuries to come.

But today, how to find a new unity that reaches across oceans and
continents, to include the likes of Putin and Chavez? Answer: with
great difficulty, not all at once, and with no certainty of success.

And what of other hard cases? What of Africa? The Christian countries
of Africa are part of the Shire Strategy and need to be embraced with
tough love. The immediate mission is to delineate a Christian Zone and
a Muslim Zone, dividing countries if need be. All Christians, and all
Muslims, have a stake in minimizing conflict; the obvious way is by
separating the combatants. So a wall should go up between the warring
faiths, and then a bigger wall, until the flashpoint risk of
civilization clash goes away. Then, and only then, might we hope to
find workable solutions within the Christian Zone.

Some will insist that this neo-Constantinian vision of muscular
political Christendom is implausible—or inimical to world peace. But
in fact, whether we like it or not, the world is forming into blocs.
Samuel Huntington was right about "the clash of civilizations"—but
with political skill, we can keep clashes from becoming larger wars.

No matter what we say or do, the blocs of Hindus, Chinese, and
Japanese are all going their separate cultural ways, rediscovering
their own unique heritages. And Islam, of course, is at odds with all
of its neighbors. In his book a decade ago, Huntington, mindful of the
indirect danger posed by American universalism, was even more mindful
of the direct danger posed by Muslims: "Islam's borders are bloody and
so are its innards," he writes. "Muslim bellicosity and violence are
late-twentieth century facts which neither Muslims nor non-Muslims can
deny." That's bad news, but there's a silver lining: if Westerners,
Russians, Africans, Hindus, and Chinese all feel threatened by
Islam—and they all do—there's plenty of opportunity for a larger
encircling alliance, with an eye toward feasible strategies of
containment, even quarantine. But not conquest, not occupation, not
"liberation." So the big question is whether or not Christians will
continue to be divided into four blocs, as they are at present:
Western, Russian, African, Latin. Can four smaller Christian blocs
really become one big bloc? One Christendom? Perhaps—borrowing once
again from Tolkien—such unification was meant to happen.

That is an encouraging thought: a Council of the West, bringing all
the historically Christians countries of the world into one communion.

The Rescue of Israel

But what of Israel? If East is East and West is West, what of the
Jewish state, which sits in the East? After all, the entire Middle
Eastern region is looking more and more Mordor-like. Tolkien described
that terrible wasteland: "High mounds of crushed and powdered rock,
great cones of earth fire-blasted and poison-stained, stood like an
obscene graveyard in endless rows, slowly revealed in the reluctant
light." Not much hope there, at least for Westerners. Whatever
possessed us to think we could make Muslims into our own image? Was it
a Ring that lured us?

We can make two points: first, Israel must survive, and second, on its
current course, Israel will likely not survive.

In recent years, Israel finds its strategic situation worsening. It is
increasingly confronted, not by incompetent tinhorn dictators but by
determined Muslim jihadists, many of whom live in the Palestinian
territories, some of whom live within Israel itself. Meanwhile, Iran
proceeds with its nuclear program, while Pakistan, just a heartbeat
away from Taliban-ification, already has its nukes in place, ready for
export should the right fatwa be uttered. And the Russians and the
Chinese, empowered and lured by high energy prices, have their own
designs on the region, which include no good tidings for Jews.

Unfortunately, if we look forthrightly into the future, we can see
blood and fire ahead for Israel. Aside from the civilization-jolting
moral tragedy of a Second Holocaust—a phrase used freely, albeit not
lightly, by such Jewish observers as Philip Roth and Ron
Rosenbaum—there would be the physical devastation of the Holy Land.
How would Christians recover from the demolition of the Church of the
Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem? How would Diasporic Jews absorb the
Temple Mount's obliteration? And how, for that matter, would Muslims
react to the detonation of the Noble Sanctuary, which sits atop that

Any destruction of Israel would be accompanied, one way or another, by
the destruction of much of the Middle East. If Masada came again to
Zion, it would likely also be a Strangelovian doomsday for tens or
hundreds of millions in the Middle East. And it might mean the
annihilation as well of other Muslim religious sites, from Qum and
Karbala to, yes, Mecca and Medina.

Some say that the solution to Middle Eastern problems is some sort of
pre-emptive strike: get Them before they get Us. That, of course, is
exactly the sort of bewitching that Tolkien warned most strongly
against—the frenzy to solve a problem through one hubristic stroke, to
grab the One Ring of power for oneself, even if that grabbing
guarantees one's own fall into darkness.

A better vision is needed. The Council of the West must do its duty,
to Christians, to Jews, and to the need of the world for peace. Having
agreed that Israel must survive, within the protective ambit of
Christendom, the council could engage Muslims—who are, themselves, in
the process of restoring the Caliphate—in a grand summit. Only then,
when West meets East, in diplomatic twain, might a chance exist for an
enduring settlement. When all Christians, and all Muslims, are brought
to the bargaining table, they all become stakeholders in a pacific

This summit of civilizations would be difficult and expensive, even
heartbreaking. It might take a hundred years. But let us begin because
the reward could be great: blessed are the peacemakers.

The Knights of the West

With great effort, the West could unite around the Shire Strategy,
seeking to secure and protect all our Christendom, spanning oceans and
continents. But it won't be easy. It will take more than diplomacy—it
will take strength.

This Shire is ours now, but the way things are going, it won't be ours
permanently. So we must vow to defend the Shire, always. In the last
of the "Rings" films, Aragorn the Strider proclaims, in full St.
Crispin's Day mode, "A day may come when the courage of Men fails,
when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it
is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields when the Age
of Men comes crashing down, but it is not this day! This day we fight!
By all that you hold dear on this good earth, I bid you stand, Men of
the West!"

We in the West will always need warriors. We must have chevaliers sans
peur et sans reproche—"Knights without fear and without reproach"—to
safeguard our marches and protect our homes. Men such as Leonidas,
whose Immortal 300 held off the Persians at Thermopylae in 480 BC,
long enough for other Greeks to rally and save the nascent West. Or
Aetius, the last noble Roman, who defeated Attila the Hun, Scourge of
God, at Chalons in AD 451. Or Don Juan of Austria, who led the Holy
League to naval victory over the Turks at Lepanto in 1571. Or Jon
Sobieski, whose Polish cavalry rescued Vienna from the Turks in 1683.

These are not just legends, not just fictional characters—they were
real. And if we dutifully honor those heroes, as heroic Men of the
West and of Christendom, we will be rewarded with more such heroic men.

Future epics await us. Future Knights of the West, ready to defend
Christendom, are waiting to be born, waiting for the call of duty. If
we bring them forth with faith and wisdom and confidence, then also
will come new heroes and new legends.

Maybe it was meant to be. And that is an encouraging thought.


James P. Pinkerton is a columnist for Newsday and a fellow at the New
America Foundation in Washington, D.C. He served in the White House
under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

No comments: