ISIS provides further proof that Machiavelli was right

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“If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there'd be peace.” – John Lennon

There are people in this world who don’t want a television set, they want your total obedience. If you are of a specific ethnicity or carry a certain religious belief and live in a particular area of the world, they want your blood. They want to kill the fathers and sons and own the wives and daughters.

“If everyone practiced being themselves instead of pretending to be what they aren’t, there would be peace.” – John Lennon

There are people who are evil. They aren’t pretending. Many past philosophers believed as John Lennon that mankind was generally good. Evil came from ignorance, not from innate character. Knowledge would make bad people good. And then there was Machievelli who said that was all nonsense.

“The main foundations of every state, new states as well as ancient or composite ones, are good laws and good arms you cannot have good laws without good arms, and where there are good arms, good laws inevitably follow.” -- Niccolo Machiavelli

Good arms and good laws are what’s necessary for a lasting state because the goodness of mankind cannot be trusted. There have been civilizations of the past which suffered greatly for being reasonable. They were wiped out by the civilizations that weren’t.

The strategy of ISIS in taking city after city has been to take out local law enforcement. They captured towns that didn’t have good arms. Even the utmost system of laws and justice ever conceived by man would mean nothing when the police lay beheaded in the streets. The blood of a sword is mightier than the ink of a pen.

Some people claim that in today’s world we have something called modern morality. We are somehow ethically superior to people of the past centuries and millenniums. When we call out crimes by those who have been herofied in history, we are told that those of the past cannot be judged by today’s moral barometer. “Modern morality” is a myth.

Ancient philosophers are among the most honorable people who ever lived, they were obsessed with virtues and ethics. The most famous among them died well over 2,000 years ago. There have always been good people. We don’t own the monopoly on proper moral conduct in modern times.

The people of the United States enjoy a country that’s made tremendous gains in social progress, but these are very recent gains. Women received the right to vote in the U.S. less than 100 years ago. In other parts of the world, people have suffered losses in freedom and quality of life. There is great suffering in this world despite what year is displayed on the calendar.

The peace that people in civilized societies enjoy is provided by organized law enforcement. Without such, peaceful communities could easily decay into violent chaos.

Many attacked Machiavelli for his views. But his is not an argument to be as cruel as your enemies, but be as strong and admittedly be as callous. Many attack Charles Darwin for the brutal reality of natural selection. But Darwin didn’t present evolution as a matter of morality, but a matter of reality. It is up to mankind to transcend the “might makes right” principles of nature.

We must be gentle and kind to the gentle and kind. We must care for the poor, the sick, the disabled, and the elderly. But when it comes to those who would do harm to innocents, we must be tougher, stronger, quicker and smarter. We must be better armed in wits and weaponry. The laws must be good and just. The arms must be strong.

When it comes to ISIS, the military response must be fierce. This enemy won’t be defeated with love, they must be subdued with fear. Curing the culture will take time and effort. In the lands savaged by ISIS, words will be useless unless they carry a big stick.

“At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst.” – Aristotle

“We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.” – George Orwell

-James Kirk Wall

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