‘That Hideous Strength’

Before I became a contributor to LewRockwell.com, I found the site posted excellent articles, essays, and opinion pieces that provided explanations for much that is going on in our world, especially by the powers I’ve referred to in the past as the ruling class, that is to say the individuals who dominate the military-industrial-financial-media-political complex, people who influence so much of our daily lives, whether we like it or not. In addition, I think LewRockwell.com serves as part of what is good and noble in what I refer to as the “electronic Polis,” which means a community of people that can share and connect with one another, a venue where ideas going against the falsehoods and violence of the unthinking masses can be given voice, perhaps even wing, and bring strength and courage to those who would resist harm and doing harm, and most of all, to be aware of and resist evil.

Recently, the potential of imminent military conflict with Iran is in the news. As in my posts discussing the work of Professor Stephen F. Cohen, Washington is in a new Cold War, or perhaps to use a British term, something even more dangerous—a “war of nerves” with Russia, a war with casualties, war using terror tactics as this recent post by Manlio Dinucci details: Rand Corporation: How to Destroy Russia.

And of course there is also the trade war with China. Truthfully, I was unforgivably naïve and optimistic once Trump was elected, hoping he’d keep his promises on ending more wars: I’d never anticipated the Trump administration would be so belligerent to so many countries. Now my primary concern is that because many decades have passed since the last global military conflagration there is the possibility of a new conflict with even more devastating consequences, less to the perpetrators, as usual, and more to the innocents caught up in the conflict. Blue Notebooks Best Price: $19.98 (as of 08:10 UTC - Details)

While I will address below a secular discussion of this issue that might appeal more to those readers of this site who aren’t interested in the Christian perspective of contributors including Lawrence M. Vance, Jack Kerwick and Joseph Sobran, I believe an unfortunate answer to whether there will be more war initiated by Washington’s masters was provided in a recent post Lew Rockwell himself made on Political Theater. It was headlined “Disney’s New Film ’Tolkien’ Erases the Christian Faith,” also adding “And the Western Literary Tradition From the Story of the Author of ‘The Lord of the Rings.’

Reading the article I became aware of a book I’d never read despite my interest in Tolkien’s work, because of commentary in the article by the author Joseph Loconte; the work is entitled A Hobbit, A Wardrobe and a Great War. What to me makes the work both unique scholarship and especially powerful is it explains contrary to the perspective presented in this new film about the young Tolkien, Loconte makes clear Tolkien and C.S. Lewis’s Christianity influenced their understanding of the forces behind the great war in which they fought; and perhaps these forces are only understandable to be very real to the very young and the old who have become wise, and to those who have experienced the horrors of war themselves. I believe the heart of this understanding is explained in this excerpt from Loconte’s book:

The German artist Otto Dix survived combat in Champagne, the Somme, and Russia, but it changed him. “Lice, rats, barbed wire, fleas, shells, bombs, underground caves, corpses, blood, liquor, mice, cats, artillery, filth, bullets, mortars, fire, steel: that is what war is,” he wrote. “It is the work of the devil.”

Tolkien and Lewis would essentially agree. Central to their experience was an encounter with the presence of evil: the deep corruption of the human heart that makes it capable of hunting down and destroying millions of lives in a remorseless war of attrition.

A conviction emerged in both these authors, however, that the problem of evil was not explainable only in natural terms. Rather, evil existed as a darkness in the soul of every human being and as a tangible, spiritual force in the world. “The Shadow of that hideous strength,” wrote Scottish poet Sir David Lyndsay, “six miles and more it is of length.” Like the war they knew on the Western Front, the Shadow is a dehumanizing force. It seeks to dominate and destroy anything that resists its will. This is the irrepressible fact behind their stories, the reality that flings the characters into action.

Both Tolkien and Lewis knew that evil is very real, that it is a force both outside and within human beings and that we ignore its existence at our peril. Without the armor of a true Christian faith, without constant connection to the shield of love and power of the Holy Spirit, human beings are vulnerable. Hence while we can and others do try to explain events and anticipate the future using only secular reasoning, those like Tolkien and Lewis who have experienced the true horrors of war understand that there is something far more grave taking place; the battlefield on Earth is secondary to the battlefield within every living human soul. And it is the ones who in the words of author Ray Bradbury who “give their souls away” who are bringing us ever closer to ruin.

Unconsciously, when writing my own fantasy novels, I had very much the same perspective as these two greats. Unfortunately, popular modern iterations of fantasy fiction serve different agendas, as this wonderful essay on the end of the television series Game of Thrones by Tom Luongo makes clear:

Game of Thrones was a story built on classic archetypal, mytho-poetic storytelling ideas. But with the goal of undercutting them, of taking a more post-modernist approach, to just show chaos without structure and purpose, no ending could ever be satisfying…Heroic storytelling requires heroes to rise to their pivotal moments and, through their actions, create the opportunity for radical change. They are born out of and rise above the chaos of their times to make the hard choices and sacrifices necessary to preserve the world and build the foundation for the next one.”

However, aside from fantasy fiction, as Loconte makes clear in his book, including the participation of churches in supporting war, “The Myth of Progress” and the abandonment of the sense of the sacred, of God, of the nature of the Prince of Peace that preceded the First World War—all are factors that helped create the environment in which previously unimaginable horrors were born. At least there was the reaffirmation of the true Way of Jesus Christ in the all too brief Christmas Truce, which I have written about and also most eloquently on this site by the late William Norman Grigg entitled The Truce of God. Yet if anything, our current world is even more godless than the time before World War I, more focused on technology as the solution to life’s difficulties, and human beings are being taught in America by a constant bombardment of propaganda, especially in movies and books, to view “the other” as enemy, be they in our times Muslim, Iranian or Russian; the demonization of not just Putin but Russians and Iran is unrelenting and China is now being included. A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, ... Joseph Loconte Best Price: $6.99 Buy New $7.20 (as of 07:15 UTC - Details)

If indeed there is a greater force than the merely human behind triggering war, as Tolkien and Lewis believed, that dark power is still in the world today; certainly those who subscribe to Christian teaching understand. When I was young I thought the concept of demonic forces and “the prince of this world” outlandish mythology. Yet a young person isn’t frequently brought face-to-face with the worst human evil; and one can observe something beyond a mere human soul’s corruption when that evil is at its most violent: it does not have to be in war alone.

I recently wrote an article for LewRockwell.com on the nature of human consciousness that appeared on this site. I do not think it’s a great leap to then see those who do evil as souls connected to a spiritual “darknet” and we cannot ignore the fact of the ruling class’s love of occult symbols and events as discussed in these articles (I advise caution due to disturbing images) on the Economist, UNICEF’s bizarre masqarade and most recently end of April “human sacrifice” which discusses the Notre Dame fire. Excerpted from the article is the following observation by the author:

Today, the ancient practice of blood sacrifices still exists. However, in this age of mass media, the occult elite partakes in mega-rituals made to be witnessed by the entire world. Why? For increased magical potency.

“The human sacrifice required during many of these occult dates needs to contain the following elements, each one of which is exaggerated to the highest possible degree:

1. Trauma, stress, and mental anguish, sheer terror

2. The final act in the drama should be destruction by a fire; preferably a conflagration.

3. People must die as human sacrifices, especially children, since The Darkness views younger human sacrifice as most desirable”
– Ibid.

What greater corrupt occult event to trigger the above responses, then, than an unjust war of aggression resulting in mass murder? I cannot, not being an investigative journalist, say that members of the ruling class use occult images and actions because of actual belief and worship of the occult and evil, or as a psychological instrument of terror. The imagery from the articles I cited is very anti-Christ. Yet as Monsignor Charles Pope wrote on this site in Sobran Examines Hatred of Christ: Disbelievers can be His best witnesses:

To every secularist and atheist, I direct these questions: Why do you protest Christ and His Church so much? Why do you exaggerate our power? If we really are irrelevant, if our “day is over” and we are laughably outdated, then why the fear, anger, and protest? Do our “myths” scare you? If they are mere myths, then why fear them? Why don’t you direct the same anger toward Buddha or Muhammad? Is it that still, small voice in your conscience?

What is it? Why your sleepless wrath?

For that reason, although articles appear that are hopeful that war, which in the case of America against Iran would mean a bombing campaign and not the sending of millions of ground troops to invade, I believe conflict between the two nations is only a brief matter of time. Retired British diplomat Alistair Crooke wrote most recently on the website Strategic Culture an article entitled Bolton’s Trap: Iran Cast as a Nuclear Threat, Diverting us from his Occulted Project. I found this excerpt chilling:

The project to realise Greater Israel – resonating with metaphysical destiny, and redolent of special status, as when “all the nations” will pay tribute “to the mountain of Yahweh, to the house of the god of Jacob,” when “the Law will issue from Zion and the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem” – is music to Christian Zionist ears, since they believe this precisely is what will advance the return of their Messiah and bring Rapture closer.

Of course, any such project – implicit or explicit – could be expected to be opposed by a civilisation-state such as Iran, with its own very powerful, but contrasting metaphysics. For Greater Israel to be actualised, Iranian opposition to the Israeli ‘divine election’ plan must be curbed. Out of the Silent Plan... C.S. Lewis Best Price: $1.80 Buy New $7.50 (as of 07:15 UTC - Details)

Bolton is no Evangelical, but is closely allied with the Israeli Right. Ben Caspit, a leading Israeli commentator, expands:

“The US has no intention of invading Iran,” [my] Israeli source clarified, “but the Iranians are trying to signal to the Americans that [any escalation] … could cause serious damage to American interests and at a steeper cost than anything Saddam Hussein’s regime was able to achieve…”

Alistaire Crooke is also featured in this interview with Peter Lavelle, The End of the Unipolar moment, in which he states that the “elites” have two options: the collapse of their failing bubble making financial system or war.

Two points I’d like to make: First, Saudi Arabia is also pushing for America to attack Iran, not just the state of Israel alone, although I suspect it’s the dominant partner of the unholy trinity of Tel Aviv, Riyadh and Washington D.C. Second, I’d never have contact with Mike Pompeo but if by chance one of his minions were to show him this piece I’d advise him that he is in error on the Rapture. From the work Orthodox Dogmatic Theology:

A related error, widespread among contemporary Protestants, is that of the “rapture.” Unheard of before the 19th century, this belief has it that during the “great tribulation” near the end of the world (either before or after the “millennium,” according to various versions), true Christians will be “raptured” into the air to escape the sufferings of those who remain on earth. It is based on a misinterpretation of 1 Thes. 4 : 17, which teaches that at the very end of the world believers will be “caught up in the clouds,” together with the resurrected dead, “to meet the Lord” Who is coming for judgment and the opening of the eternal Kingdom of Heaven. The Scripture is quite clear that even the elect will suffer on earth during the “tribulation” period, and that for their sake this period will be shortened (Matt. 24 : 21 – 22).).

The very similar Catholic refutation of the Rapture is discussed succinctly in this article, Do Catholics believe in the Rapture? I, however, suspect that religion has less to do with Pompeo’s motives than the will to power and being under the influence of the darkness.

There have been excellent secular discussions of the looming Iran conflict on the pages of LewRockwell.com; articles include Iran, Make My Day, Says Trump by Eric S. Margolis. Kindly, Russian military analyst, historian and Russian Orthodox Christian The Saker responded to my email inquiry on Margolis’s statement, “Not full-scale war, but an excuse for the US and Israel to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities, key military sites and communications infrastructure as was done with Iraq. It won’t be back all the way to the Stone Age, but half way, so that Iran’s development is set back by a decade. Israel will then use its control over the US Congress to keep Iran under a very tight embargo.  The Pentagon’s original plan to punish Iran called for some 2,300 air strikes on Day 1 alone,” by writing in The AngloZionist Empire: a hyperpower with microbrains and no cred left:

Notice this sentence: “The Pentagon’s original plan to punish Iran called for some 2,300 air strikes on Day 1 alone”.  Can they really do that?  Yes, absolutely.  But imagine the consequences!  Margolis speaks of “punishing” Iran. 2,300 Air strikes in one day is not something I would call a “punishment”. That is a full scale attack on Iran which, in turns, means that the Iranians will have exactly *ZERO* reasons to hold back in any way. If the AngloZionists attack Iran with 2,300 air strikes on Day 1, then you can be sure that on Day 2 all hell will break loose all over the Middle-East and the AngloZionists will have absolutely *NO* means of stopping it.

This will be a real bloodbath and nobody will have any idea as to how to stop it.

And you can be darn sure that the Iranians will show much more staying power than the imperialists, if only because they will be fighting in defense of their country, their faith, their liberty, their friends and their families. To expect the Iranians to cave in or surrender in any way would be the most stupid notion anybody could entertain.

Could they really be THAT stupid in Washington DC? Perelandra (Space Tril... C.S. Lewis Best Price: $2.44 Buy New $6.47 (as of 07:20 UTC - Details)

I don’t know.

I’d also like to bring attention to other articles recently posted on LewRockwell.com that discuss the possibilities of war; Trump: Stop Playing With Fire also written by Eric S. Margolis, in which he states, “Trump is playing with fire by making threats against Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Libya, Cuba, North Korea and China.  He appears well on the way to a major war by either plan or accident.  He is provoking and trifling with two major, nuclear-armed world military powers, Russia and China.  Instead of capable diplomats, Trump keeps consorting with men of low character and even lower knowledge.”

Former CIA Analyst Ray McGovern wrote in Pretexts for an Attack on Iran:

“With Pompeo and Bolton on the loose, the world may be well advised to worry even more about ‘intended consequences’ from a false flag attack. The Israelis are masters at this. The tactic has been in the U.S. clandestine toolkit for a long time, as well. In recent days, the Pentagon has reported tracking ‘anomalous naval activity’ in the Persian Gulf, including loading small sailing vessels with missiles and other military hardware.”

Pepe Escobar believes that Russia’s government conveyed its displeasure regarding any possible American attack on Iran in this article: What Putin and Pompeo did Not Talk About. And Dimitri Orlov wrote about the failing American Empire here, America, You Are Fired!

While Pompeo and Bolton salivate over war with Iran, Paul Craig Roberts notes the disintegration of America, something I’ve also written about in Bolton’s Blunder: Hubris and Dead Empire Walking. Roberts wrote in Western Supremacy Is On Its Way Out and from my perspective provided indirect proof of the price to ordinary Americans of the American Empire and the warfare state:

“We are impoverishing ourselves without making a dent in world poverty.  For every person the US takes in, tens of thousands remain.  Already areas of the US look and function like India of 100 years ago.”

Mike Pence is blissfully ignorant that America is in terminal decline, evidently indifferent to all the obvious human suffering in his homeland: he is too much of fanatic and too ignorant to understand more war will hasten her end. In Mike Pence declares war on the world at West Point the Vice President said in his speech:

Some of you will join the fight against radical Islamic terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Some of you will join the fight on the Korean Peninsula and in the Indo-Pacific, where North Korea continues to threaten the peace, and an increasingly militarized China challenges our presence in the region.  Some of you will join the fight in Europe, where an aggressive Russia seeks to redraw international boundaries by force. And some of you may even be called upon to serve in this hemisphere. And when that day comes, I know you will move to the sound of the guns and do your duty, and you will fight, and you will win.”

I think the best response to Pence (and Bolton and Pompeo) recently posted to Lew’s site in this essay by Philip Giraldi: Washington’s Mighty Warriors: Draft Dodgers and Scoundrels:

Unfortunately the desktop warriors who are currently calling the shots in Washington have no idea what they might be getting into. The only former soldier among them is Pompeo, who is a West Point graduate. He missed Vietnam and has never been involved in actual combat. He is also is a Christian Zionist who welcomes a major war in the Middle East in hopes that it will bring about the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Neither Pompeo nor Bolton has any real understanding that war means death. If Bolton has his way, many thousands will die and the United States will be reviled by nearly the entire world. President Donald Trump for all his self-proclaimed “genius” status does not appear to understand that reality either. For him, megadeaths and national humiliation might mean little more than the numbers on a balance sheet when one is reckoning up the costs of constructing a building.

This impending tragedy must be stopped. Back in 2003, a hundred thousand Americans gathered at the Washington Mall to protest against the drive to invade Iraq. Nothing like that has developed yet, but the people must rise up to demand that the government cease and desist from doing things in their name that do not help a single American but instead only bring death and destruction. Trump promised to do that when he ran for president. It is past time that he fulfills that promise. That Hideous Strength ... C.S. Lewis Best Price: $2.31 Buy New $10.65 (as of 07:20 UTC - Details)

Let me return from the secular to the sacred, and the work of artists. As I wrote earlier, I think the push for war does not have an entirely human origin; it is not rational, despite the attempts by Pompeo and Pence to justify it; frequent lies are used, as the articles I cited make very clear. Yet Giraldi’s reminder of the protests in 2003 against the Iraq war is significant, just as the Christmas Truce, although not effective for those acts of defiance were not in vain. People who protest unjust wars of aggression are doing Holy work—even the unbelievers.

Composer Max Richter was one protesting in London and wrote of his experience in this piece published in The Guardian published on July 2016:  Millions of us knew the Iraq war would be a catastrophe. Why didn’t Tony Blair? For a brilliant modern composer of music, Richter also writes beautifully, powerfully. He writes not only of the protest but of a work of art he created to express his outrage at violence, a work so powerful one of the compositions from The Blue Notebooks, On the Nature of Daylight, was used in films but not attributed to the anti-war piece he composed:

I composed my album The Blue Notebooks as a protest. And 13 years on, with the costs of the conflict clear, my fury at the man who took us there is unabated.

On 15 February 2003, my partner and I packed our two young children into their pushchairs and travelled across London to take part in what has since become recognised as the single largest protest event in human history. Between six and 30 million people (depending on whom you believe) took part in about 600 cities worldwide, united by a belief that the proposed military intervention in Iraq was not justified by the facts. Sir John Chilcot has, in his newly published report, reinforced this view.

In the intervening years a gigantic political disaster, like some sort of all-consuming black hole, has devoured everything in its path including the credibility of our democratic process and any moral capital the west had. The human cost is staggering. The repercussions and aftershocks endless – international law, natural resources, political norms, the UN, religious tolerance, all irrevocably altered or destroyed, while, 13 years after the fall of Saddam Hussein, one of the oldest civilisations on our planet lies a shattered ruin; a destabilising presence in a fragile region, locked in a permanent civil war, with any prospects for a peaceful civil society decades in the future. Somehow, “We told you so” just doesn’t do it justice.


Prior to the decision to go to war being made – in the months the debates raged – I did the only thing I knew how which was to put my frustrations into a new piece. The Blue Notebooks would be a protest album about Iraq, a mediation on violence – both the violence that I had personally experienced around me as a child and the violence of war, at the utter futility of so much armed conflict. We recorded it in London about a week after the protests…


But any of these justifications for Blair’s actions – mad, bad or stupid – disqualify him from political high office, and his pitiful attempts at rebuttal this week (“I took the decisions in good faith”), as well as his efforts to resurrect the long discredited theory that Saddam was in some way responsible for 9/11, insult the memory of those hundreds of thousands whose lives were taken.

When I perform The Blue Notebooks now, it seems at once familiar and strange. Time has passed; I am a different person but the events of 2003 and their aftermath still resonate daily. All of us were changed during that political moment, but I remain convinced that human creativity can influence the world, or at the very least our perception of it, in some small way.         

On the Nature of Daylight [from The Blue Notebooks] – Max Richter Live at Le Poisson Rouge

(In case this “unofficial” video is removed from YouTube, this is the official video):

Of course, America does not fight unjust wars alone, as Mr. Richter reminds us. This article on The Saker’s site goes into the role of United Kingdom in doing the ungodly: The British Army and the “Extreme Right Wing”. The Space Trilogy (Out... C. S. Lewis Best Price: $49.95 Buy New $23.52 (as of 03:30 UTC - Details)

On this Memorial Day, one of the few websites that understood the holiday is a memorial to the dead, not a celebration of martial glory, is this one: LewRockwell.com and here’s a link to articles posted on that day: Lew Rockwell Memorial Day 2019. The recent victims aren’t only Iraqis, Syrians, Afghanis, and Libyans; the victims also include the Americans who went off to war. Caitlin Johnstone took comments of such victims recently posted to Twitter and incorporated them in her piece: The US Army Asked Twitter How Service Has Impacted People. The Answers Were Gut-Wrenching.

I believe the best art is guided by The Holy Spirit; I have no knowledge of Max Richter’s religious faith, if any at all. However, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis believed in the existence of evil that seduces and corrupts, that sanctifies murder in lies of heroism and patriotic “glory” in the act of war. That is my belief as well. And we are not alone in our beliefs for foremost in his understanding is the Lord Jesus Christ who prayed:

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one,” evil one meaning the devil.

Thus, I do fear that America is heading for another war soon, a major one, a war with consequences heretofore never imagined to this nation because so many in power allow themselves to be seduced, to be pawns of the evil one. If the occult articles are accurate, they are devoted servants and consider murder a (perverted) sacrament.

Certainly one of the most diabolical actions of the state is to weaponize religions in its wars. Most recently, the team at Southfront.org reported on the Orthodox Crescent of Instability:

The US continues its practice of creating zones and lines of chaos in key regions of the world. In the 2000s, it started a campaign to create an arc of instability stretching from Northern Africa to the east of the Central Asia. Now, more and more signals appear showing that there is a new project – to create a crescent of instability in Eastern and Southeastern Europe.

These campaigns actively exploited the religious factor in an attempt to undermine and discredit traditional religious systems. In the case of the Middle East, the target is Sunni Islam. It is being targeted by instigating various Islamic sects. In Eastern and Southeastern Europe, various artificial schismatic groups are used to combat the canonical Orthodox Church. In both cases, foreign powers have also been exploiting and supporting exotic sects, new-age-style beliefs and other “neo-liberal” constructs.

(This is Southfront’s YouTube channel video of their report)

Yet we must not lose hope; most of all we must not “be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

And we have to remember God’s abundant blessings in our daily lives.

Regarding the price of war and the costs even to Americans who wage it, this Memorial Day I had an encounter with an indirect victim. My brother took a different route and found an estate sale taking place at a large rambling old house only a few miles from my home, a house years ago had been owned by a physician. To his surprise, the current owner was a classmate from a private school that we attended, although I was four years ahead of them both. After he bought a piece, he picked me up to meet her and of course attending the same school we had in common teachers and students that we discussed. She had been taking care of her elderly mother who died late last year after a long illness. We shared memories of classmates who had passed. The Essential Saker: f... The Saker Best Price: $16.37 Buy New $27.95 (as of 09:30 UTC - Details)

Then I learned her ex-husband was in the Special Forces; I didn’t learn if he is still alive but she described as a good, loving and kind man. Yet she also discussed the toll of being a soldier’s wife on herself and her children, most of all for the children who were so often separated from their father, who could be called up without explanation and gone for an extended period of time, a time of not knowing.

I was surprised to learn that when my brother mentioned the true reasons of war and I discussed Butler’s “War is a Racket,” and that the wars are not fought for the good of the nation but for corrupt interests, including the Military-Industrial complex, other nations—the usual suspect—she heartily agreed. I suspect her husband knew that as well. She is a warm and kind person; I made a new friend.

On the way home a solitary blue heron flew, clearly visible only a few feet overhead through the sunroof of my brother’s car, a beautiful bird very much like a crane. I have written about cranes, wars, and the souls of the dead before here.

To me, it felt like a benediction.

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