Cheering Capitalism

Boo, Vilani!

Capitalism & the Free Markets — the self-conscious version — is a Solomani invention. Vilani culture (and, to a certain extent, even agriculturally-based feudalism) is naturally statist, “from each according to his ability, to each according to his social rank/caste, as determined by the Ruling Party Aristocracy.”

(See both the MegaTraveller VIlani and Vargr supplement and the easier-to-find Traveller: Interstellar Wars for details.)

Even in Classic Traveller, the Vilani Megacorporations — well, three of the four — are grounded in the ‘corporate-caste’ system: and, with the institutional memory of corporate bureaucracy still strong, see competition as fundamentally illegitimate.

“It’s far more easier and cost-efficient to simply shoot competitors, or have the local or Imperial government or wealthy Noble houses drive them as illegal due to licensing and expensive regulations, or get subsidized by the government, or be the government, rather than drive them out business by competing for fickle — even (gasp!) nonconformist, deviant, and unpredictable — customer attention.

All that chaotic and disorganized Solomani nonsense about free markets and economic growth (read: Filthy Economic CHANGE) really should be banned from the Imperial public… and is banned on responsible, stable, Vilani-dominated worlds!”

The fourth Vilani megacorporation, Zirunkariish, was founded in -425 Imperial. As it is focused in insurance, banking, and investments, it could not exist during the Ziru Sirka, which was not a money economy.

Within these boundaries, the Vilani have come up with their own peculiar form of collectivism. Under the Imperial system, there is a basic standard of living to which everyone is entitled; while not lavish, it is more than adequate to support life. As in Terran society, there are rewards for hard work and success. But these rewards are usually not monetary, but directly material. Housing is handed out by one’s employer, as are food, clothing, entertainment devices, and other “perks.” The higher one is on the social ladder, the better one’s standard of living.

Of course, this concession to Human acquisitiveness has been placed within boundaries that keep it from getting out of hand. For example, the only way to get better perks or a higher standard of living is through promotion. In other words, there is no impersonal way of acquiring them – one’s superiors decide when they are deserved. In Terran society, no matter how you get the money, you can buy the goods. In the Imperium, if you’ve produced like no one else, but at the expense of others, you’re more likely to be demoted than promoted.

This is not to say that Imperial society has no money; it’s just that money exists entirely for accounting purposes. It’s associated with a person as one of several metrics used to eval- uate him, but he has no control over it. Money in Vilani space has long since evolved to become a virtual representation of production, with no other social or legal role.

You might call the Vilani economy a greatly improved and expanded form of the social credit system, as per Red China. However, the actual Chinese system is largely a way to track financial debt for most people, and not a way to actually abolish money. Only political annoyances – especially those digging into government corruption – get to discover the special features of the system.

“Centralized top-down governments think alike, be they Solomani or Vilani.”

“Just wait till you discover the mind-rapers, ruling a land where Happiness is Mandatory…”

Anyways, as Zirunkariish…

  • is based on the existence of money, “a disgusting Solomani innovation!”
  • was never an actual branch of the First Imperium and,
  • is far younger than the three descendants of the bureaux (a mere 1,500 years old as of the Classic Traveller era, instead of 5,500 years old like the other three Vilani megacorporations),

…the respect and prestige attached to Zirunkariish in Vilani circles is notably less than that to the other three Vilani Megacorporations.

I have a suspicion that the enormous banking profits earned by the shareholders and senior management helps to ease the pain of Displeasing the Ancestors and ignoring the Ancient Traditions. Piling a few million into a Ancestral Shrine, or a few billion into a major ritual-focused Vilani Priesthood, has a way of quieting the most hide-bound Vilani traditionalists.

“There are reasons why Vland is a wealthy TL 15, and not fixed at the TL 11 level of three millennia ago, ‘as the traditions dictate.'”

“I see where you’re coming from. But back in the Quarter, a lot of the most powerful worlds are 1) Vilani or Vilani-dominated and 2) absolutely locked-in at TL 11.”

“That’s because the local Solomani cultures are technologically behind the Vilani of three millennia ago. And they are either Hindu – who think that the universe is an illusion, dismissing Einstein, claiming technological advancement is a waste of time, and astrology is a genuine science – or they are Islamic, longing to recreate the glory of a pre-spaceflight civilization, and suspicious of heretical ideas.”

“Fair enough. But at least they aren’t Secularist, who believe that random chance is a creative force (given enough billions of years), and that men can become women merely because they say so – and punish those who say otherwise!”

“Few Imperials are that foolish or delusional, to believe that their opinion and feelings actually change reality, or that complex information-rich systems magically make themselves given enough time. Most stand in the Intelligent Design category, with the struggle focused on the actual identity of the Designer.”

“You are assuming that the Designer is a person. Maybe so: but many Imperials believe that the Designer is a Life-force; or an impersonal Law or Tradition; or the First Star, the Great Mind that exploded in the Big Bang; or even (behind closed doors) a psionic energy that permeates everything. Or that we live in a computer simulation, not so far from Hindu views.”

“Fleeing the Creator, they worship the Creation. A shame.”


This also means that the ‘corporate culture’ of Zirunkariish is distinctly different from that of the other Vilani megacorporations: less traditionalist, more creative and innovative, more tolerant of deviations from Official Corporate Culture, more willing to flex the rules and try out some promising small-scale experiments.

I also believe that their Mixed Vilani ways of thinking, coupled with the profits of financial instruments which can be trusted by major corporations (“It’s Vilani, so we know it’s reliable and solid!”) was a decisive factor in making the pre-Imperial Civil War Pure Solomani-dominated Nobility into the post-Civil War Mixed Vilani Nobility.

Yay, Solomani!

(Actually, “Yay, Christ!”: the Solomani are far too focused on the mystical powers of their DNA, and not focused enough on the Commandments that is supposed to shape their ethics and law. But anyways…)

Naturally, I prefer the Free Market system, as I have no interest in eternal stability and a great interest in gaining more wealth. And as a historical matter, both the self-consciously free Free Market as well as the self-conscious search for technologically innovation are rooted in Christianity.

A few quick links to make my case, based on North’s economic work and discussed on my other blog:

I have always preferred the pre-Civil War corporate Solomani Nobility – where the Imperial Palace was a floating city, a beautiful paradise — over the post-Civil War Mixed Vilani Nobility — where the Imperial Palace was a floating armoured ball, hiding and fearful and heavily armed. Peh.

“But the Palace of Martin II was open, beautiful, graceful… and shot down during the Imperial Civil War. The Grand Palace of Arbellatra is a good deal more sturdy, and ready for anything.”

“A fearful king would be safer, hiding himself under the rocks which cannot collapse.”

“You have heard of meson weaponry, yes? And the Grand Palace can at least move – and perhaps even has jump capacity!”

“The ability of your stronghold to run away — even having tons of armour on your palace — is no assurance of protection.”

“As Emperor Strephon discovered, at the hand of his friend Archduke Dulinor.”

“There’s always a weak point: Strephon can’t be faulted for not being the all-seeing, all-knowing Lord of All. Still, he should have had a better plan for failure… something that didn’t involve the death of ten trillion of his subjects.”

“Few absolute monarchs want to plan out all the contingencies of their early death too clearly, if only to protect themselves from making those plans a reality.”

And finally: as the free market has no need of a Planning Board, staffed by the right sort, even the disaster like the Rebellion and the Virus infestation can be overcome… without waiting for permissions and plans by the Proper Authorities.

You know, those bureaucrats and nobles and experts and CEOs who have been dead for quite some time now, as of 1201 Imperial – the start date of the post-apocalyptic Traveller: The New Era milieu.

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Welcoming the Far Future

Or, How Christianity Invented the Future by Bojidar Marinov

Even if you go to Wikipedia and read the article on “Future,” you will see that that article is quite short, with a few sketchy paragraphs on each of the disciplines of physics, philosophy, and religion, and half of the article devoted to side issues like art styles, and music and literary genres that have adopted the concept as foundational (like futurism and science fiction). It even lacks serious references for additional reading: no books, only a few references to marginal encyclopedias and newspaper articles. To compare, the article on “Mysticism,” for example, is about 8 times longer, very detailed and comprehensive, and has about 150 references, all to serious academic studies.

So, despite the enormous importance of the Future as a concept to our civilization (and to our storytelling), Academia doesn’t like to define it as a philosophical concept.

Can you guess why?

Now, there is a good reason why modern philosophy – especially modern secular philosophy – is incapable of even beginning to define the concept of the future. That reason is that modern philosophy has fallen victim to its foundational premise: that whatever definition or logical rule we use, it cannot refer us us back to anything supernatural, or to any other and higher reason or mind outside and above the human mind and human experience. Everything man uses to define himself and the world around himself must be based on “natural” assumptions, meaning naturalistic assumptions. All the foundations for our definitions must be grounded in man’s direct sensory experience. You know the regular atheist excuse for an argument: “If I can’t see your God, then He is either non-existent or irrelevant.” Philosophers know that such excuse is rather primitive and low-brow, and they seldom use it directly, it is still, as a philosophical presupposition, embedded deeply into the modern secular thought. So when it comes to definitions of things that require some open display of non-sensory faith, philosophers are rather timid to take up the challenge.

“I can’t touch the future: therefore, it doesn’t exist!”

And it is not just modern secular philosophers. All pagan religions follow the same pattern. Well, of course, all pagan religions are by default naturalistic, given that their “gods” are simply part of the universe itself, and therefore are under the same limitations as man in terms of definitions. How can a pagan god, limited in his very being to the position of simply another being within space and time, experience the future so that he can define it? … So pagan religions never talk about the future, it is never a concept that they either define or visualize. In fact, to a great extent, it is something they are afraid of.

** Waves to the Vilani. **

[Marinov discusses the Aeneid, a beautiful Roman work that is grounded in the fear of the future.]

Then what was the promise for the people of Rome in it, and what was the appeal of Octavian’s reign? It was not progress. It was stagnation. The more things changed before that, the worse the world had become. Octavian came with the promise that nothing will ever change again. The old golden age was gone. A new one was not coming. The only hope was that time would somehow freeze and there won’t be future. And that’s what Octavian promised to do. In fact, that was a major part of his propaganda campaign. His main adversary, Mark Anthony, served him with the main propaganda pitch by fleeing to Egypt and becoming a lover to Cleopatra; all that Octavian had to do is declare that Anthony wanted to introduce changes, and bring Egyptian customs to Rome. Right there, Anthony lost all his appeal with the people of Rome. No one wanted changes. Everyone was afraid of what the future would bring. Octavian’s promise of eternal stability and no future changes was all that the people wanted.

In Traveller history, the Ziru Sirka, the First Imperium (created by the Vilani) started exactly when the Western Roman Empire fell, in AD 473.

“Coincidence? I think not!”

They hated the future and change so much that whenever anything new appeared, they made sure they destroyed it. When an inventor showed Emperor Tiberius a new metal he created out of dust – which must have been aluminum – Tiberius had him executed. The steam engine was known for two centuries in the ancient world but no attempts have been made to put it to productive use. The Chinese culture made an amazing number of discoveries very early in its history, and yet, the government and the culture never applied them to mass use, and in fact, by the early 20th century, the average Chinese lived no differently than his ancestors 20 centuries earlier. And I am sure I don’t have to explain to my listeners the Buddhist and Zen-Buddhist views on time. In short, time is an illusion for them. As is all existence, of course.

The Jews, of course, were the sore thumb. They not only believed in time, they eagerly expected the future. They counted the years to that future. Their prophets tried to examine it, and some even to fast forward to it. Some, like Simeon and Hannah, lived in the Temple waiting to see the future. But their view was still stagnant. Given that the future was focused on a specific single event: the coming of the Messiah. What after that? The Jews didn’t know.

Marinov is correct… but don’t count out the Orthodox Jews just yet. With four kids per couple, they are still a people with a plan for the future!

Christ not only delivered the redemption. He also delivered a view of the future shocking to everyone, including the Jews. On one hand, he was the fulfillment of the expectations of the Jews. On the other hand, however, he was the destruction of their expectations. From a Jewish perspective, history was supposed to end right there, at the coming of the Messiah. He was supposed to defeat His enemies and establish the Throne of David, and rule over the world. And the world was supposed to enter the same stagnant state that the Aeneid postulated about the reign of Augustus: everything would be perfect, nothing would change anymore. That’s what the disciples expected of Jesus, as is obvious from their reactions to His eschatological passages: “Are you going to restore the Kingdom now?” Or, “Who of us will be greater in the coming Kingdom?”

Jesus, however, had a different view of the future, one that would shock both Gentiles and Jews. He scandalized the Gentiles by saying all their past to which they clung so religiously was nothing. That the future was that mattered. That change is not demonic and dark, but is the only way they can enter the Kingdom of God and find purpose. That God had prepared for them – if they trusted in Him – unspeakable blessings, that the past knew nothing about. All your poets, philosophers, kings, heroes, gods and semi-gods were blind. There was no Golden Age in your past. The future is what matters.

Especially the Far Future, as any believing Christian could tell you.

“Jesus Christ, the original Traveller.”

(I’m not sure if He is the original star-crossing, multi-world, FTL Traveller though. There’s a lack of detail in the Biblical narratives to make a conclusive ruling.)

In any case, all believing, victory-oriented Christians can agree: leave the Golden Age conservative whining for the pagans.

That was a war. When you read all the Roman edicts against the Christians, what is the main argument there, sometimes repeated three or four times in the same edict? That Christians did not follow the ancient ways and did not honor the past and the ancestors. They had higher expectations of something the Gentiles did not understand: the future.

The Rapture-ready masses, fearful of the future, have FAR more in common with the pagans than they think.

The scandal was much graver for the Jews, however. They were OK with a faith in the future. The scandal that Jesus brought to them was not that the future is important. It was that the event they have been waiting for was not the end of history but rather its beginning.

The Jews, in the end, were just a door God used to physically get into History.

Still, there is something about them… after all, it is God that opens the womb, and it is the Orthodox Jews — not White Americans or Black Americans or even Christian Americans — who are having the kids.

Something to consider, hmm?

Either way, the vision Jesus introduced of the future was a shocking novelty, and Christians were specifically persecuted for it. We won’t understand it unless we understand that for the pagan world, the future was demonic and was to be feared. In fact, all change was demonic and was to be feared. And here was this new religion which not only disrespected the past but it also promised cosmic and gigantic changes on earth, and its followers were actively involved to make those changes and to build that new civilization they wanted, the Kingdom of God. They were somehow sure that those changes would bring something new and better, and were so committed to bring them about that they were willing to die for the privilege. Even an avowed enemy of Christianity like Karl Marx acknowledged this unique view of history and the future. In his address to the Hague Congress in 1872, he said the following (take note of the language of “new” and “old”):

Someday the worker must seize political power in order to build up the new organization of labor; he must overthrow the old politics which sustain the old institutions, if he is not to lose Heaven on Earth, like the old Christians who neglected and despised politics.

That’s where he got his idea of change and optimism for the future: from the Biblical idea of Heaven on Earth. And then he rightly mocks Christians for abandoning their own idea

There was a time when Christians walked with their head up high, shaping the future. Instead of crawling on our bellies before Our Betters, begging for mercy, hoping that things will Just Stop Changing.

It’s long past time to straighten our spine, and walk upright like a man. Rather than crawl and beg like a dog.

But the reality is, before modern Christians abandoned that idea, the only bearer of a true concept of the future – or of any concept of the future at all – was Christianity. Everywhere where Christianity touched, it was met with opposition not so because people were hostile to the idea of a Savior Who gave His life for His people, but because they realized that Christianity meant death to their concept of history. It demanded a full break up with the past, a full commitment to the future, and an uncompromising belief in the benefits of change. Any change. In culture after culture, we see the same motif as we saw in the Roman edicts against Christians: “Christians abandon the heritage of the past and dishonor the ancestors.” When King Boris I moved to Christianize Bulgaria in the 9th century, that was the only objection of his nobles: This is a war against our past. And my native country wasn’t an exception. No matter where you are from, when you look back at the history of your ancestors, you will see the same pagan refrain: Your Christianity dishonors our past.

Yes, it does. It does it because it presents to you a God who is above time and has created time, and He controls past and present and future. And He commands you to abandon your past and your pagan heritage, and instead of heritage and looking back, He invites you to adopt a hope, a faith, and looking forward. Your past is worth nothing

The Old School Vilani didn’t like Christianity. You can be sure of that!

But the foundation of their culture died back with the Ziru Sirka. In the end, the Shadow-Emperor couldn’t stop The Future from arriving.

Millennia later, a good chunk of Vilani culture still has a powerful influence within the Third Imperium… but it is far, far weaker than it was before, and (outside of the Vilani Cultural Region) not nearly as united, uniform, and unchanging as it was. Even Vland herself has changed, moving up to TL 15 as the need for wealth and power today squeezed out the hunger to Keep Things Exactly the Same, back at TL 11.

The Vilani love their Traditions… but they love their Prosperity just as much. And as Vilani Pragmatism stood with Prosperity, not the Traditions, things Started to Change.

The Vilani Consensus took a huge hit, though. Even though the Vilani are still definitely more homogeneous than the Solomani, trying to paper over an ever-increasing number of differences and divergences grows more and more difficult. And then there is the insurmountable problem of the Solomani ancestors, and honouring the Solomani traditions of those ancestors.

What is worth everything is the things that God has prepared for you, what no eye has seen and no ear has heard, and no human mind has conceived (Isaiah. 64:4; 1 Cor. 2:9). Christianity radically shifted the focus of men from the past to the future, and thus created a radically new mentality, one that has never existed before. And it scared the daylights out of the pagan culture. Or, rather, scared the darkness out of it. You want to know where the original idea of progressivism came? It was from Christianity. Modern Progressives have simply stolen the idea and have stripped it of its Christian roots. And, they have only done it because Christians have abandoned the idea of progress.

When Christians start looking to the Far Future with confidence, instead of a craven and cowardly fear, they will rise to be what they should have always been.

If want to know what a culture thinks of the future, see how it treats its young people. Does it trash them, bash them, and distrust them? That culture has lost its vision of the future. Does it trust them, uplift them, encourage them, arms them with purpose and vision? That culture has broken its chains with the past, has abandoned its idolatry of the ancestors, and has adopted an optimistic outlook.

It is for this reason why, when we look at the days of Christendom in Europe and North America, we see that the majority of the important figures in those centuries were men in their 20s and 30s. Luther was 34 when he nailed the 95 theses. Calvin was 21 when he broke openly with the Roman Catholic Church, and he was 27 when he fled Paris and settled in Geneva. By that time, he already had written half of his Institutes – at least the first version. The majority of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were young men that today wouldn’t even be seriously considered for political office. Men joined the military or the Navy at unbelievably young ages – some even starting at 9, and some reaching commanding ranks by the age of 16. This speaks much about these young men, but it speaks even more about the society around them which saw no issue with giving them authority over older men. Benjamin Franklin was 70-year-old at the time of the American Revolution, and he worked with young men 50 years his junior, and discussed politics with them, and issued proclamations with them, and we never ever see him even mentioning this gigantic age gap between him and his co-workers and co-conspirators. Never even a condescending word or a patronizing tone. Same thing with George Washington or some of the other older men among the revolutionaries. To compare, Lafayette was only 20 when he joined the Revolution; and yet, we see no hint of any distrust or patronizing of the Frenchman by any American Founding Father.

When you love and welcome the Future, you love, respect, strengthen, and honour the young.

When you hate and detest the Future, you do your level best to carve it up before it is born.

(Or at least poison the youth, if you can’t kill the future under cover of law.)

…it was the church that had dropped the ball. Pessimistic eschatologies – amillennialism and premillennialism were already creeping in. By the beginning of the 20th century, the church had surrendered to pessimism. And with it, the Western civilization.

And Christians learned to crawl, and beg, and fear the Future… and human Masters.

Time for a change.

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Echo Base

A good survey of the Star Wars Rebel base. Just in case your PCs want to launch a rebellion against the Imperium.

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Messy Situations

What I like most about Geography Now’s presentation is that it goes in-depth into the issues, and is far more fair to both sides than I would be. Good stuff!

Of course, most mercenary PCs just want to open fire, and not worry about the complex background of whatever nasty situation they are in. However, I am targeting the minority who want to try their hand in properly resolving the situation, and damp down the cycle of violence.

My discovery? Yes, religion is involved: but the direct cause of the conflict is a desire for secession, and the contrary government drive to suppress secession. It’s unfortunate that many minorities – after a long, long fight – are fairly satisfied with a high degree of autonomy, but (ignoring the question of fault) this broad peace didn’t happen for the Rohingya.

As for Myanmar itself:

All these fights the PCs get into occur in a big universe, and a lot of context.

Probably the most interesting thing of Myanmar (from a Traveller perspective) is the large number of minorities, under the largest ethnic group, the Burmese. The Burmese leadership is learning to be less oppressive: for example, they changed the name of the country from Burma to Myanmar).

Replace “Burmese” with “Solomani”, and you might have a model for the Second Solomani Confederation on your hands.

I don’t think this would work for the Vilani, who insist on cultural conformity… and don’t mind genocide.

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Truthers: After the Victory

First, let me join the crowd recommending your purchase of Mongooses’ Traveller Companion.

(Yes, I’m a day late and a dollar short. As usual…)

Now, to the point.

There is an oversight in the optional Truther career path: what happens when he succeeds in changing Establishment & public opinion?

Now, this is a rare thing. Not only does doubt need to be put on the Establishment narrative: a specific alternative narrative needs to be accepted by 1) the Truther community 2) academic specialists 3) the general public 4) The political Establishment.

For example, most Americans don’t accept the official story of the Kennedy assassination, nor the 9/11 attacks. And there are some excellent reasons for this. BUT, as there is no single alternate narrative to unite behind, the Official Story wins by default.

“Its what’s in the textbooks, on the mainstream media, in the newspapers.”

a.k.a.

“But they are the gatekeepers. They are guarding all the doors, they are holding all the keys which means that sooner or later, someone is going to have to fight them.”

Someone.”

“I won’t lie to you, Neo. Every single man or woman who has stood their ground, everyone who has fought an Agent has died. But where they have failed, you will succeed.”

It ain’t easy, to jump all four hurdles… and even if it’s done, it usually takes more than one lifetime… but it is doable.

What happens if the Truther… the Rebel… The Prophet… The Revolutionary… wins?

Does he just go down the route all the other Truthers follow, to become the new mouthpiece of the Establishment? Then he should be kicked out of the Truther career path.

Or does he look for a new bit of suppressed truth, and starts banging on that? Then he should remain on the Truther career path.


Note: just because the Truther becomes the new Voice of the Establishment, does NOT mean that the Truther was always wrong or lying, right from the start!

This directly leads to a grim but inescapable truth: sometimes, sometimes…

(…grits teeth, steels himself to speak a hard truth…)

…the Powers that Be are right.

Not merely right in the usual Secular sense of “right makes might” or “the Courts/Power Elite/Party/Priesthood says it’s true, so therefore it is true”; but right in the objective/realist, Christian sense of the term: “they are speaking the truth”, a.k.a. “they are accurately describing reality.”

(Collapses from exhaustion.)

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The Military Gospel

From Marinov on Facebook

My views of the military have evolved over the years, so now I don’t recommend any young person going there, except in some very limited circumstances.

But . . .

Contrary to all the whining about this recruitment campaign, it is actually the work of a genius. It is the perfect ad campaign for a place like the military. It sifts out people obsessed with their own egos, and only attracts those who don’t care about emotional pain, but are eager to find purpose and meaning in life.

The campaign is a small copy of the Gospel call of Jesus Christ: (1) You are a sinner (or, in military language, a worthless piece of crap, forgive my French). (2) There is redemption for you (you can have purpose and meaning, and a new life). Those who can’t die for themselves and live for a higher purpose, won’t be attracted to it. Only those worthy of the call will take it, because they don’t care what they are called, as long as there is work for them.

Offensive language and condescension have their rightful place, modern political and churchian correctness notwithstanding. Ask anyone who has survived through a boot camp.About this websitert.com‘Gamers, snowflakes & selfie-addicts’: UK army lures recruits with bizarre ad

I always found it interesting & challenging, seeing the military from a Christian perspective. I serve a Lord who will – after centuries of patience – order (and get!) the genocide of an enemy nation, yet refuse to have King David build His Temple because he is ‘a man of blood’.

Christ strongly backs a Roman centurion, insisting that he has more faith than any Israelite… and yet, we are also to turn the other cheek, and walk the extra mile for even a foreign oppressor.

(Christ also on occasion asked his apostles to carry a few swords… so the Second Amendment is, indeed, Biblically endorsed!)

One of God’s titles is Lord of Host (Host = Army)… with Christ having His enemies killed right before Him.

But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.

Luke 19:27 (ESV)

…and Himself covered with blood:

Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 1His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

Revelation 19:11-16 (ESV)

And then, you get some kind of ferociously enforced pacifism going around:

The wolf and the lamb shall graze together; the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain,” says the Lord.

Isaiah 65:25 (ESV)

A mix of great violence, self-sacrificial generosity, and in time a rewriting of the nature of life itself.


If these images are confusing to you, imagine them from a Traveller alien perspective, with the Blood Vargr giving a strong thumbs up for Christ covered in blood, and a strong thumbs down for His hatred of wolves.

Or the K’kree, who are good for making lions eat straw, but begin to scream as they discover that God enjoys the smell of burning animal fat, keeping that for Himself.

If anyone of the common people sins unintentionally in doing any one of the things that by the Lord’s commandments ought not to be done, and realizes his guilt, or the sin which he has committed is made known to him, he shall bring for his offering a goat, a female without blemish, for his sin which he has committed. And he shall lay his hand on the head of the sin offering and kill the sin offering in the place of burnt offering. And the priest shall take some of its blood with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering and pour out all the rest of its blood at the base of the altar. And all its fat he shall remove, as the fat is removed from the peace offerings, and the priest shall burn it on the altar for a pleasing aroma to the Lord. And the priest shall make atonement for him, and he shall be forgiven.

Leviticus 4:27-31

As to exactly why the burning fat is so pleasing to the Lord: well, that’s one’s easy. Just consider it as a symbol of His enemies, burning and burning and burning… with the scent of Justice providing a certain satisfaction to the Lord of Host.

God is Good, and Just, and Holy… but nobody ever said anything about God being Nice. Luke 19:27 is just the tip of the iceberg, when it comes to disproving that assertion!

And yet, Christ is the Lamb, the True Offering, removing the sin that all those bulls and goats could never do.

And Christ is also the Lion of Judah, tearing apart the limbs of His enemies.

Something for the K’kree and the Vargr (and the Aslan!) xenoculturalists to chat about. Remotely, of course, as the K’kree could never stand the smell of flesh (cooked or not), that all meat eaters have.

Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the[c covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Matthew 26:26-28
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Facing Mercenaries

From Quora,

What is it like to face mercenaries in a fight?

Roland Bartetzko, former German Army Paratrooper, Croatian Defense Council, Kosovo Liberation Army

During my time with the Croatian Defense Council in the Bosnian war we were facing an enemy that had some former British SAS soldiers in its ranks.

When the war between Croats and Bosnians started in 1993 most foreign volunteers joined the Croats, but a few decided to try their luck on the Bosnian side. There were not many of them, maybe just a handful or even less, mostly working as instructors or advisors, but because of them we completely had to change our routines and tactics.

Especially at night we were much more alerted. The war in Bosnia had a routine: Enemy artillery always started shooting in the afternoon when it was less hot. There usually were no night attacks or any other surprises.

But with the British on the other side things changed: We got attacked at night and in the early morning hours. The enemy improved its defense positions and we suffered a lot more casualties.

There was also a psychological side to it:

When you know that in front of you are former SAS soldiers, things look much different and you better keep your eyes and ears open.

In the end these guys were fighting for a cause they believed in, just like I did, so it’s not fair to call them “mercenaries.” They were professional soldiers and really had a big impact.
 
They had our respect.

Of course, facing ex-SAS mercenaries is going to be different than facing, say, Columbian troopers (fairly common in Yemen a few years ago), or Cuban ‘advisors’, or Gurkas.

And indeed, some mercenaries are choosy for who they work for: others, not so much.

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