Skip to comments.(Vanity) Chess, Tolkien, and The Return of the Republic: An Introduction
Posted on 01/31/2010 8:20:54 PM PST by grey_whiskers
One of the things which I have noticed as I have gotten older, and have become one of the when I was your age... crowd, has involved not just the downward trend of which ALL greybeards complain, but an increase in the rate and depth of the decline. More things are going downhill, faster, in more areas at the same time. I wish to draw some instructive parallels to recent events, by comparing them to martial events more remote: both the world of J.R.R. Tolkiens Lord of the Rings and to strategy within the game of Chess.
It has only been since the coming of an alternative media -- first Rush Limbaugh (a cloud the size of a mans hand); then Fox News, and the entire blogosphere -- that I have been able to get over the feeling of mixed bewilderment, and sometimes fatalism, with regard to society and the way things are going. In fact, I began to realize that Western Culture wasnt just helplessly falling, or subject to a series of unlucky breaks. In fact, as the remnants of Numenor cast upon the shores of the New World of Middle Earth -- we are under systemic assault by hostile forces. And, like Sauron, our foes know better than to attract attention to a single source which can be isolated, frozen, and polarized. Much better, our foe reasons, to work as a hydra through multiple guises -- the better to divide and harass (or as the MSM talking heads say with waggling heads and raised eyebrows, harris) the lovers of virtue and liberty. Fighting one foe in a straight fight is much easier to maintain ones motivation for, than a constant series of attacks by swarms of insects stinging you while little mop-dogs nip at your heels. (And the sheer imbecility of some of the attacks too -- as in the relentless rumor-mongering about Sarah Palin by admitted sexual degenerate perverts like Andrew Sullivan; as the double-standards concerning true sexual infidelity in left-wing public figures, or the disparagement of true grass-roots protests as teabaggers; as the constant sniping and infestation of chat rooms by trolls; or the relentless drumbeat of lawsuits flying thick and fast -- racial discrimination, the separation of church and state, saving the spotted owl, gay rights.)
It is the last aspect I wish to comment upon. Too often, it has been said, conservatives and Republicans are content to play checkers while our adversaries busy themselves with chess. And sometimes, it seems, three-dimensional chess. (And, for that matter, to return to the earlier reference to Tolkien, in all our wars with the Dark Tower...treason has ever been our greatest foe. See also Snowe, Collins, the gang of fourteen, Specter, Bob Barr...) The enemy is not looking at one move, nor at the next few moves: they are looking at the tactical position of their pieces at any one point, and seeing how they can best achieve strategic goals from their current position.
One of the most often repeated moves by the political left, upon the chessboard of current events and upon the body politic, is a move borrowed from real chess matches. This move is called forking. In this maneuver, one player (in our case, thatd be black, like Sauron) moves one of his pieces so that it simultaneously threatens two or more of the opponents pieces at the same time -- that is, if nothing is done, then the player making the forking attack can, on his next move, take his choice of which enemy piece to capture. Did I say if nothing is done ? That is actually rather misleading. There are two main responses to a forking attack, both of them bad. One choice is to pick one of your own pieces to save, and to move it out of the way. This means the opponent almost always takes your other piece with his next move. The other choice (not always possible) is to intersperse another piece, between the enemys piece and the piece of yours you are trying to defend. This means that following your turn, the enemy is ALREADY forking two of your pieces (the one which you just moved in to do the shielding, and the one which didnt get shielded at all). Sometimes this can be a desperate maneuver on your part to buy time, but it usually doesnt help: in chess, as in politics, the best defense is a good offense.
And so it is with the left. The forking attacks happen often in politics, from parliamentary maneuvers (such as that over the bailout, the stimulus bill, or the health care bill), to public relations (such as the sexual slandering of the Tea Party movement). Lets look at each of these separately. For the bailout, immediate, irrevocable, worldwide financial DOOM was imminent, unless we acted IMMEDIATELY and without reading the bill; of course, the other threat was of a gigantic increase in the government, the de-facto nationalization of the banking system, as well as an unspecified multi-billion dollar slush fund for use by the Democrats. The stimulus bill, similarly threatened a Great Depression (to be used to politically necklace the Republicans for another generation, much as Hoover bore the blame for FDRs first Great Depression) -- left unsaid was the real threat of financial meltdown by the reversion of the dollar to toilet paper, and the great collapse of the full faith and credit of the US government (see also Cloward-Piven strategy). Again, for the Healthcare bill, the hue and cry went out that the greedy insurance companies were shutting off care to millions, and that choice and competition (provided, for a price, by your friendly neighborhood Congresscritter) was the ONLY hope. Left unsaid, for a time, was the specter of socialized health care. For the Tea Party movement, the threat is more insidious: either suffer a true grassroots movement , hearkening in spirit back to the founding of our country (and by implication, allowing the souls and reputations of ALL who fight for freedom to be tarnished by petty, filthy, sexual innuendo) -- or, just as bad in another way, to be sidetracked from the movement towards freedom and out of the jaws of a hungry Leviathan, into childish, sophomoric squabbles, during which the very vermin who attacked *your* good name have the effrontery to superciliously chide YOU for bringing up off-color topics, while engaging in snide conspiratorial glances with their fellow orcs over what good fun it is to insult other people.
But -- keeping in mind that the best defense is a good offense -- there is one other type of response to a forking attack. And that is to go on the offense yourself. One can do this by (if possible) moving one of your own pieces to threaten, or to fork, some of your opponents pieces -- leading to a reconsideration of which of your pieces may or may not be worth which of his; or, even better, to directly attack your opponents piece which is doing the forking and removing it from the board.
So we see, since the overreaching of Obama, Pelosi, and Reid, that the people, and the opposition party as well, have begun to fight back. Surely, the bailout bill passed: but surprisingly, the grass roots and the GOP began murmuring about favoritism and the cost to the public purse, and hung the mantle of free-spenders once again about the Democrat neck. During the debate over Obamacare, two things happened: the rise of the Tea Parties and the Town Hall meetings -- where numerous people hitherto unconcerned with politics met SEIU intimidation tactics, baldface Democrat lies, and propaganda first hand, in person. And they did not like it. Sarah Palin regained the high ground politically and morally by calling out the liberals on Death Panels -- reminiscent of the prophecy in Lord of the Rings about the death of the Chief Ringwraith: not by the hand of man shall he fall.
When the Democrats then took the other approach of attacking the Tea Parties as Teabaggers, even more happened. Not only did they grow in strength and volume, but their voices were heard. Nobody on earth expected any difference from prior situations, where one or two progressive Republicans in the Senate changed sides -- but not this time. Even McCain, Graham, Snowe, and Collins held firm. (Kind of like the seige of Helms Deep.) And to continue the analogy, following the successful event, the beleaguered garrison has found succor in an unexpected place: they people themselves, roused from long slumber, have begun their own assault upon the strongholds of the Dark Lord. Not the Dark Tower itself, yet: that will wait until 2012. But for now, we are attacking Isengard, First there are reports of numerous Democrats resigning to spend time with their families -- the reports of Ben Nelson (Traitor- NE) being hooted out of restaurants -- but the death of Saruman himself, in the loss of the seat formerly belonging to the late Senator Ted Kennedy (Chappaquiddick - MA), to be replaced by a Republican: and in Massachusettes, no less!
And it is the last lesson here which gives me great hope and courage. For the people, and to a lesser extent the GOP, have begun to learn how to fight. And -- as in tales of old -- a thing is about to happen which has not happened since the Elder Days. The Ents are going to wake up and find that they are strong.
bumping for morning reading.
Realpolitik meets fantasypolitik at the bottom of the bird cage.
Wonderful! love it.
“The Ents are going to War!”
Speaking of tounament chess (for those who follow it), Magnus “the Kid” Carlsen won the Corus Chess Tournament in Holland. His current FIDE rating is 2810 — the top rated player in the world at the ripe old age of 20.
Um, I’ve won a lot of matches by picking up the extra move by setting up a forced mate while the opponent is greedily pulling a fork then taking the ‘prize’. Picking up two moves is even more devastating. But you have to have your forces arrayed properly to take advantage of the greed of the opponent ... if you know what I mean as it applies to the political scene we now face.
You forgot the hot, buttery grits. Mmmm-mm! Our country wouldn’t be the same without instant grits! And bacon!
“We’ll have the Republic back” ~ Claudius
Hey, what does pipe-weed and good ale have to do with good grits, much less the return of republicanism?
Instant?? I declare...
grits. its a southern food, made from coarsely ground corn :) goes real well with biscuits and gravy, with a big heap o’ bacon!
Most excellent vanity. Your lack of banality is hugh and series.
Long, but “anything worth saying, is worth taking a very long time to say”. What both sides took for granted as mere trees upon the land are indeed roused to anger. Are they ready to rise up and tear down the monuments to vanity, hubris and ego that the Sarumans among our own ranks have built unto themselves? Our own houses must be set in order first, otherwise the machinations of traitors will hobble the mighty on our side and keep them from joining the fray.
Enjoyed the ‘checkers-to-chess’ analogy. So true in so many ways. In politics the pendulum swings back and forth. For too many years, we’ve acted only on the pendulum weight, which would swing of its own inertia and gravity anyway if left alone. Meanwhile, our common enemy has been content to let the pendulum move on its own, saving his energy for moving the fulcrum point where it is fixed. The short-term swings keep the attention of the public, but the fulcrum point determines the arc it must follow. Evil felt they had moved it to where a tipping point could be achieved, and overreached in an attempt at a final crushing blow of force as evil always does.
We must understand that victory cannot be had by might alone. The forces of evil will always outnumber the good because we are all imperfect and, quite frankly, evil pays better. Liberty and virtue can only be defended, and will not last while the Ring of Power still exists. Our only chance lies in the resolve of the little people, so small they elude the gaze of even Sauron.
“And then something happened that the ring did not intend...”
IMO, that is TEA, or what TEA has the opportunity to be so long as we can keep both the Ring and our resolve to destroy it. We must not surrender the ring back into the hands of either side. Not even to the virtuous among them in exchange for promises to do only good. In the end, we Hobbits must send one of our own through the back way into the land of Mordor. It falls on us to cast that damnable ring back into the lake of fire at the heart of Mt Doom from whence it was birthed.
Then we can go back to drinking our mead, dancing with our little Hobbit wives, and singing our little Hobbit songs unnoticed and unharried by the power seekers. The Just among the mighty can do their part to defend the keep, hold the path, and light the way, but that is all. In the end it is the Small through their fealty to the kingdom of the Spirit, who topple the empires of the unjust.
“But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.”
It fell upon David’s shoulders to slay Goliath. Not by trying to beat Goliath at his own game, however. By being more keen and nimble. If we join in the tug-of-war being waged among the powerful, we will give no advantage and be trod underfoot. Better to stand off and direct a pinpoint blow at our enemy’s weakest point.
IMO - it is the power to create money out of thin air that is Tolkein’s Ring. It must be destroyed if the blessings of Liberty are to be handed to the next generation.
Hope you don’t mind the rambling.