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To save America, What One thing is needful?

Has America abandoned that good part?

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the message was lost.
For want of a message the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail. (Proverbial)

 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.  And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.  But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me.

And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, you are careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary has chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. (Luke 10:42)

One of the keys to strategic success is the ability to hone in on what is most essential.  Yet, once battle is under way, it may be the hardest thing for a commander to do.  What Clausewitz called the “fog of war” is mainly composed of myriad bits of unevenly reliable information, which call attention to events here, there and everywhere. In the attempt to process this data, the mind turns this way and that in an inattentive frenzy of attentiveness.  It is SmallLogoLTLlike what the modern psychiatrists call a fugal state.  Despite it, the general must remain calm and capable of recollecting the meaning and purpose of every moment , so that he can catch sight of the crucial moment that offers to turn the battle against his foe.

The greatest generals (by which I mean, of course, those who were themselves truly responsible for their victories) have been the ones capable of conceiving a plan of battle that shapes events, and therefore anticipates them to such a degree that this critical turning point is not just something they see, it’s something they are looking for when it happens.  The coup d’eil that captures it is therefore not an incidental noticing.  It is a hunter’s sighting, a ‘gotcha’ moment, toward which the strategist has ordered every move, every preparation, including of course the preparation of forces trained to respond, in that moment, like the body of a well-schooled dancer or a superbly conditioned athlete.

To strategize in this way, you must know what you’re about.  You must know your own nature and character; the nature and character of the adversary; and the nature and character of the war that pits you against one another.  But you must especially know how these different dispositions collaborate, working together for or against your victory. Only then will you recognize what conjuncture of things must be arranged, not only by you, but also by human chance and God’s Providence (“The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord. Proverbs 16:33) in order to achieve it.

This knowledge is the one thing needful.  The rest is a matter of tracing out all its consequences, following and reversing the sequence of the proverbial rhyme until you are prepared to have some sense of the nature and location of the nail without which, at any given moment, one side or the other must lose the battle.  In the business of statecraft, of course, victory consists in the survival of a society, a nation or a civilization.  The field of battle is history.  The army is the whole race or people whose survival is at stake.  And the horseshoe nail is the one thing needful, the one thing without which the vital information on which their common life as a people depends, ceases to propagate, so that its growing absence brings on the disintegration of their very being.

Considered in this strategic sense, what do you think is the one thing needful when it comes to defending the Constitution of the United States and the liberty of the American people? I’m working on an article that conveys my thinking in this regard.  I’d be interested in yours.  Please leave a comment to let me know your thoughts.

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Steve June 18, 2014, 11:31 pm

    Dr. Keyes, I think the one thing needful is for us to turn to Almighty God with repentant hearts.

  • Walter Whiteman June 18, 2014, 4:19 pm

    In order to defend America, one must know where the battles are. Most Americans do not see a battle happening but it has been going on for decades. We are on the verge of a Socialist / communist ‘fundamental transformation’. Our govt and institutions have been infiltrated and integrated by socialists. Fraud has been used to accomplish much of it. Intimidation, slander and corruption and govt tyranny has been used to silence opposition to expose the fraud. Exposing the fraud used to push the LFBC, the COLB, the SSN 042-68-4425, the forged selective service card, the passport used to Pakistan, these would go a long way to alert the public of the fraud going on to capture the USA. The silence on this is nothing short of socialist / communist tyranny in this nation. Expose the fraud.

  • Dimitri Triantafyllides June 18, 2014, 1:04 pm

    What is needed is a clear definition of “rights”. The media and others have brainwashed us to accept their definition of rights, for example equating “civil” rights, to “gay” rights etc. A proper definition of a “right”, is not only that it is God-given and unalienable, but also, individual. There is no such thing as a “collective” right. Two persons don’t have rights that they don’t have as individuals. Civil rights are a right, not because minorities as a group have or ought to have rights that the majority had, but rather because all individuals should have the same rights. The civil rights movement restored individual rights to individuals, against those that were trying to protect a “collective” right (white supremacy). The right is wrong when trying to promote “traditional marriage” definitions because they are clinging on to a “collective” right. We on the right should want the government completely out of the marriage business, just like the remaining sacred functions of churches etc. If we do this, then the “gay” rights movement will have nothing to fight for. This would also help highlight the individual right to life of the unborn against the “collective” right of “women’s right to choose”.

  • Guy Stevenson June 18, 2014, 12:35 pm

    “We believe that justice is a better remedy than reaction, and that charity is a better solvent than revolution. For that reason invite all fellow citizens, all Christians, all Catholics, to seek out the solution of our problem in Him Who alone is the model of the rich and the model of the poor, the Exemplar of Capital and the Exemplar of Labor. To neither class does He belong exclusively, for He was neither rich nor poor; He was the Rich Poor Man, and the Poor Rich Man. He was the Rich Person Who voluntarily became a poor man, and therefore the One Who can call both to His Crib and to His Church. As a matter of historical record, He is the only One Who ever walked this earth of ours of whom both the Rich and the Poor, the Masters and the Servants, the Employers and the Employees, the Kings and the Carpenters, the Capitalists and Laborers can say: He came from our ranks; He is one of our own.”

    ~ Fulton J. Sheen, The Social Problem and the Church, The Spirit of Charity, Address delivered Jan. 2, 1938. (Justice and Charity, page 12)

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