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And the lesson for today is…

…from the Second Book of Kings, Chapter 20, Verses 12-19:

12 At that time Marduk-Baladan son of Baladan king of Babylon sent Hezekiah letters and a gift, because he had heard of Hezekiah’s illness. 

13 Hezekiah received the envoys and showed them all that was in his storehouses – the silver, the gold, the spices and the fine oil – his armoury and everything found among his treasures. There was nothing in his palace or in all his kingdom that Hezekiah did not show them.

14 Then Isaiah the prophet went to King Hezekiah and asked, ‘What did those men say, and where did they come from?’

‘From a distant land,’ Hezekiah replied. ‘They came from Babylon.’

15 The prophet asked, ‘What did they see in your palace?’

‘They saw everything in my palace,’ Hezekiah said. ‘There is nothing among my treasures that I did not show them.’

16 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, ‘Hear the word of the Lord: 

17 the time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your predecessors have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the Lord. 

18 And some of your descendants, your own flesh and blood who will be born to you, will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.’

19 ‘The word of the Lord you have spoken is good,’ Hezekiah replied. For he thought, ‘Will there not be peace and security in my lifetime?’

While I would not go so far as to claim this post was divinely inspired, 2 Kings 20: 12-19 actually was the lesson in a church service broadcast on Radio 3 on Wednesday morning. I caught a little of it while in the car heading down to Bisley to perform an activity that once would have been proudly described as contributing to national security. (Do not try this line now.)

Anyway, for some reason over the next few days I found myself paying a little more attention to news stories like this one from today’s South China Morning Post,

“US blacklists about 60 more Chinese firms including top chip maker SMIC and drone manufacturer DJI”,

…or to this one from the BBC two days ago, “Huawei: Uighur surveillance fears lead PR exec to quit”,

Or to any of a thousand others. But what is the lesson for today? What should we do about the threat from the People’s Republic of China? “War is the health of the state”, wrote Randolph Bourne, and cold war is its daily vitamin pill. It was not so long ago that people like me were enthusiasts for China’s turn to capitalism. I still am, mostly. Now that their rulers have cast off all but the fig leaf of communism, a significant fraction of the human race has been lifted out of poverty in my lifetime. The Chinese people are not free, but they are much more free than they were in the days when the Eight Revolutionary Operas were almost literally the only music allowed. I am happy for them.

Yet when I see that famous video of Joe Biden, the man soon to take up residence in the White House, jovially saying, “China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man”, I cannot but remember the words of the prophet:

And some of your descendants, your own flesh and blood who will be born to you, will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.’

‘The word of the Lord you have spoken is good,’ Hezekiah replied. For he thought, ‘Will there not be peace and security in my lifetime?’

16 comments to And the lesson for today is…

  • Snorri Godhi

    Naively, I assumed that

    War is the health of the state

    was born as a Rothbardian slogan.
    But Wikipedia informs me that that is not the case.

  • Eric

    I used to be an enthusiast for China’s return to capitalism as well. No longer. Back in the heady ’90s we thought the country would be unable to adopt a market economy without relaxing its hold on the people. Instead, they embraced fascism.

    With the help of capitalism they’re now wealthy, powerful, and belligerent fascists.

  • George Atkisson

    The only problem that China faces, is that Chairman Xi wants China to be the world’s preeminent Hegemon on his watch and be revered as wearing the Mandate of Heaven as a crown. Therefore the push for control of the South China Sea and the financial dominance of Australia, the Philippines, and Malaysia. The revelation of significant Chinese support of the Dems fraud machine in this past US presidential election is under investigation by the Department of National Intelligence. Biden/Harris will talk big but take no action in defense of Taiwan, which China will invade and annex as soon as Xi is certain the US is out of the picture. Blackmail of the Biden family? Moving when Harris is replacing Biden due to sudden media reports of Dementia? China has a plan and the US does not under a Dem administration. Following the humiliation of the US will be a series of attacks on the US dollar (already facing crippling deficits and inflation) to remove the dollar’s status as the worlds reserve currency. That will make China supreme in world affairs. Only President Trump stood in their way, and he has no allies in the Media, Congress, or the Courts in fighting the obvious fraud. A dark and grim future, indeed. We shall see.

  • One result of the Chinese communists adopting so much of capitalism is that it makes them much better at realising Lenin’s old slogan:

    “The capitalists will sell us the rope with which we shall hang them.”

  • John Lewis

    Biden and his grifting family have already been paid by China for all of America’s future lunches. Few people seem to care.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    John Lewis writes, “Biden and his grifting family have already been paid by China for all of America’s future lunches. Few people seem to care.”

    Quite. Like King Hezekiah they think ‘Will there not be peace and security in my lifetime?’

    Perhaps Joe Biden would actually be relieved to think that Hunter Biden would end up as a eunuch in the palace of the emperor of China. It’s a nice soft job that keeps a wayward boy out of trouble.

  • APL

    John Lewis: “Biden and his grifting family have already been paid by China for all of America’s future lunches.”

    It’s a long standing Democrat tradition. Clinton reputedly sold the technology to the Chinese to jump several generations of technology permitting them to create multiple reentry warheads for their nuclear arsenal.

    I am suspicious of McConnell too. It’s as if Senatorial prestige and very comfortable salary isn’t enough!

  • Paul Marks

    Natalie – whose face is on Chinese money?

    It is the face of MAO – the largest scale mass murderer in human history.

    “Now they have cast off the fig leaf of Communism” – the People’s Republic of China has done no such thing, nor CAN IT do so. The power of the CCP dictatorship depends on Marxism – and on the promise of World Domination.

    “But they do not practice a socialist economic system” – but they do practice a Leninist POLITICAL SYSTEM.

    Mr Putin in Russia is a violent criminal – he has no political philosophy. But the Chinese dictatorship does have a political philosophy – one that involves the destruction of the Western World.

    This has been ignored by the “Pragmatist” Western elite since since the time of Richard Nixon and Edward Heath – because Pragmatism denies the concept of objective truth (as well as objective moral right and wrong – remember President Nixon and Prime Minister Heath allied with the largest scale mass murderer of all time, their action was despicable).

    The “international community” (the Credit Bubble elite) are happy with People’s Republic of China “leadership” because they hate freedom as much as the CCP dictatorship do – they support a sort of “Social Credit” system.

    Under the system supported by the international Credit Bubble elite (the system already in operation in the People’s Republic of China) everyone who comments on this site would be excluded from the economy and society – we would be starving on the streets. Is that what you want?

    Still there is little point getting into an argument over this – as soon the PRC will have won.

    Due to Election Fraud, their puppet Joseph “Joe” Biden will be President of the United States from January 20th – manufacturing will continue to go to the People’s Republic of China (as it has for DECADES now) and the West will be destroyed.

  • Paul Marks

    As for showing people your wealth – true, only a fool does that.

    Show enemies (such as the government or the Woke banks) your gold and silver – and they seek to steal it.

    Show enemies your military capacity – and far from it being a “deterrent” to them, they will work to subvert it.

    But then the United States is subverting its own military – Frankfurt School Marxism (rejected in China) is spreading decay in the military, under the “Diversity and Inclusion” agenda. These Frankfurt School of Marxism “Critical Theory” have spread from the schools and universities to all institutions – including the military. They even control medicine – with such things as the New England Journal of Medicine and the Harvard Medical School now mainly being concerned with Frankfurt School of Marxism “Black Lives Matter” propaganda.

    The Chinese despise the Frankfurt School (and rightly so) – indeed there is even a character in modern Chinese for “white leftist”, to use this term in relation to another Chinese person is a deadly insult.

    Marxist, Leninist, in their political system (their desire for dictatorship and world conquest) they are – FRANKFURT SCHOOL Marxist they are NOT.

  • John Lewis

    Re “selling” (effectively gifting after the kickbacks) technology to China I understand that Canada is still training Chinese army reps in the finer points of cold-weather combat.

    Cracking contribution to world peace eh Gromit?

  • Snorri Godhi

    MAO – the largest scale mass murderer in human history.

    Hmm… I think a case can be made that Ancel Keys was the greatest mass murderer in human history.

    I am willing, even eager, to grant that Ancel Keys probably thought that he was saving lives. But it also seems likely that Mao, Stalin, and Hitler likewise thought that, on the balance, they were making the world a better place.

  • bobby b

    Snorri Godhi
    December 19, 2020 at 3:09 pm

    “Hmm… I think a case can be made that Ancel Keys was the greatest mass murderer in human history.”

    And the influence of Minnesotans on history marches on. A lot of sugar-beet money financed the University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic back when Keys was influential.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    We never heard Sauron’s side of the story in The Lord of The Rings! Perhaps all that mass murder could have been plausibly explained if only the power-hungry hobbits hadn’t acted so arragorntly! All that tree-felling was essential! You can’t stop progress! I think that Stalin and Mao could have come up with glib excuses if only we had stopped to listen, and stopped to smell the flowers (Orc-hids, of course).

  • Paul Marks

    Nicholas – there is a book (I can not remember the title) that does this, it takes the side of Sauron and explains that “orcs” were really nice industrial workers and that Mordor was a wonderful place of reason and scientific advance – destroyed by evil Elves and savage human slaves.

    The book is written by a Russian Gentleman.


    Yes Snorri and bobby – it is very harmful to health (in lots of ways).

    As a child I avoided sweets – now I do not really care about my health.

  • The Wobbly Guy


    I can live with a social credit system. In many ways Singapore is even stricter than China with our social restrictions. As the joke goes, we’re a ‘fine’ country.

    The deviants (homos, lesbians, trans, etc)? I have no opinion on them, but I’ll laugh long and hard when they are put down hard by the CCP. Serves them right for trying to impose their beliefs and values on the rest of civilization, they’re now hoisted on their own petard.

    The Muslims? Too bad, they didn’t want to reform, so they’ll pay the price. If they are in re-education camps, well, we have less potential domestic terrorists to worry about.

    I said this before – I’m okay with the CCP taking over. In terms of values and lifestyle, what I have is very much in line with prevailing CCP ideology, other than my preference for more free speech rather than less. I’m very much a pragmatist.

    All these crazy stupid leftists and religious fundies (especially the abrahamic ones) have no idea what they’re in for. I’ll have buckets of popcorn ready to enjoy their tears. Heck, I’m already enjoying heaps of schadenfreude with the Uighurs in concentration camps, especially from whining leftoids. What did you expect would be the end result of your policies? Utopia?

    So sure, keep opposing Trump, the one man who dared to do anything substantial about China. To China, Biden is a walking joke. Kamala? If you thought they were dismissive of Obama, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

  • Rich Rostrom

    AFAICT, the vast majority of Americans don’t get it.

    The ubiquity of Zoom, for instance. A friend of mine mentioned how he has used it successfully. I pointed out that this is like using software from the Gestapo. It barely made a dent in his complacency.

    ISTM that there are two forces at work.

    One is the natural human desire for freedom. This includes freedom from corrupt and incompetent government, which is the inevitable end state of authoritarian and totalitarian regimes. That was the force the brought down the Soviet Union, and which throughout history has upheld liberty and justice.

    The other force is the human desire to get something for nothing. This force drives crime, corruption, and ultimately tyranny.

    Historically, justice has been achieved through rule of law. Law can also serve tyranny, and justice has sometimes been achieved outside law (i.e.revolution). The great task has been to keep law the servant of justice while upholding law against corrupting forces.

    China is a large, organized corrupting force which is outside the scope of any law. I don’t know an open society can cope.