A Saintly Machiavel

Psychologically speaking, July of 2020 was several eons ago. This blog, born of my feeble attempts to make sense of a crumbling social order, had not yet been conceived.

In the course of those feeble efforts, however, one memorable moment was my first encounter with the writings of Angelo Codevilla, whose The Covid Coup was (and remains) the most penetrating account of how and why our global elites are intent on systematically deceiving us about matters pertaining to the transmission and treatment of a certain novel virus.

As we learn from the testimony of his students and friends, mourning his recent death and painting a variegated picture of his life, Codevilla was a man destined for rule. In his scholarship and numerous writings, he unfolded the nature of statecraft; and from combatting radicals in student government, to exposing the ineptitude of American presidents, generals, and intelligence agencies, he demonstrated the propensity to practice what he preached.

The philosopher with whom his soulmates most frequently compare Codevilla is Machiavelli, whose Prince he translated for Yale University Press. With Machiavelli, he shared an awareness of the centrality of power in politics as it is actually practiced.

The lesson applies to more than panic-inducing pathogens. “One must realize,” he wisely notes, “that the ruling class’s campaigns regarding public health, global warming, race, the rights of women, homosexuals, micro-aggressions, the Palestinians, etc. etc. have far less to do with any of these matters than with seizing ever more power for itself.”

Recognizing this is the first step toward knowing how to organize an opposing campaign. But why take the trouble, and the risk, of doing so?

According to Machiavelli himself, the pursuit of power is paramount because, beyond the satisfaction of pressing desires, there is nothing but a hostile void. Though we might be jealous of our masters, we have no grounds for condemning their methods, if they succeed.

Not so for Codevilla, who, though a student of Machiavelli, was himself a Thomist.

As one of his students reports, towards the end of their first conversation, the professor scolded him for failing to recognize that an all-wise, all-powerful, and all-good Creator must be worshipped on a regular basis. When asked where to go to achieve such an end, Codevilla replied: “There are churches where men are worshiped and churches where God is worshiped. Go to the latter.”

In composing his most recent exposé of our overlord’s latest tactics, Codevilla stresses that “no human power can manufacture true and false, right and wrong, any more than we can make ourselves, and that, therefore, we are obliged to render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s.

It is no coincidence, he concludes, that an idolized and idolatrous Anthony Fauci “guided governors to permit people to congregate by the hundreds at Walmart and Costco, but to forbid them to do so in churches.”

Among the many devastations wrought by the present coup, Codevilla seems most pained to note that “this generation of church leaders . . chose to be complicit with tinpot Caesars. Hence, as Americans face the bitter fact that we have been hurt worse than for nought, the churches have largely disqualified themselves as arbiters of truth.”

At the time—months prior to the dumpster fire that was the 2020 election—I remember being both impressed, and disconcerted, by Codevilla’s lucid explanation of how “Trump let himself be scared into sheltering politically under what he supposed would be the protective professional wings of Dr. Anthony Fauci and the CDC.”

“Once Trump let go of the truth, he ceded control and entered a political blind alley.” Yet another case of our elected representatives’ routine betrayals of America’s “country class,” and effectual surrender to the ruthless machinations of our ruling class.

But Codevilla’s point is not to lament the malignity of our fortunes. Like Machiavelli, he believes that virtue can overcome enemies, though by virtue he means habits rooted in the worship of our Creator, and fidelity to an order that is outside of our making.

Even as we search for truth, and adhere to it ourselves, Codevilla calls upon us to get busy “discrediting [the COVID Coup lies and pretenses] and the reputations of those who made them.”

The only saintly response to an unholy war of falsehood and terror must be an even more forceful counterassault, wielding the weapons of truth and holy hope.

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