PARABLES II: AN ESSAY
Edward E. Rochon
Edward E. Rochon on Shakespir
Parables II: An Essay
Copyright © 2015 by Edward E. Rochon
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Some Other Works by the Author
[Parables: An Essay
The Second Coming: An Essay]
Number Bases & Digits: An Essay
Super Intelligence: An Essay
Inquisition of Christ
The State & Statecraft: An Essay
U. S. Third Republic: An Essay]
Seven Month Pregnancy: An Essay
Table of Contents
I continue my original collection of parables essay in this work, discussing matters of salvation, perseverance, war and peace, anger and harmony. There is a very strong theological theme running through the work. Important questions in dealing with redemption, harmony and the like are suggested in the parables and descriptive dilemmas that might arise from the parables.
Repeating my caution from the previous essay, we do not suppose that the author is qualified to give answers and examples definitively, but suggest that anyone and everyone is qualified to ask questions and offer tentative answers, failing divine revelation to provide the information requisite to the question.
As before, there are a few questions that may have been touched on in some other essays of mine.
Chapter 1: Cross: Salvation or Vanity
PARABLE OF THE LIFEBOAT:
Two castaways drift at sea. One was injured in the sinking. He sees a bad situation, previewing his death. Wishing to go out of the world on the best of terms, he suggests that he simply slip over the side and let leave his fate to the ocean currents. The other castaway rejects the offer, admonishing the injured man not to lose hope and faith. An island could be just over the horizon with coconuts and water, or a merchant ship heading directly toward them just out of sight. The injured man insists he is likely to die, and so he might as well give up his life to save his mate, as this is the greatest of love and virtue. The other castaway opines that adage applies to him as well. He will risk his water supply, rowing strength and health to give his mate the best possible chance of survival. To do otherwise would be tantamount to murder. A suicide may not be murder, but to assist one has the stain of murder.
During the night the injured man slips overboard and is out of sight by dawn. His mate is angry. He even considers tossing out that man’s share of the water for his negligence in allowing him to slip overboard at night. But what would be the point? His friend’s gift would then have been in vain. Why not allow his friend the chance to redeem his friend’s good deed by increasing his own chance of survival? So in honor and in wisdom, he kept the water and rowed his lighter boatload to safety in the end.
Why would a disciple allow Christ to die for him, given the parameters that Christ laid down for his disciples? How is that admirable and Christian? But Christ gave no choice in the matter to his disciples. The will of God cannot be subverted. We see how the lifeboat parable applies. We might as well take the gift, the deed being done. We do wrong not to and act foolishly. The fact that Christ was ordered to offer himself is analogous to the grievous wound of the injured castaway. “My God, my God, why hast though forsaken me?” The situation is different in kind but similar in effect, that of the sacrifice of one’s life for another.
Chapter 2: Perseverance
PARABLE OF THE TWO ROADS:
There are two roads. One road has some forage and provender along its way. There are some brigands, but not too thick with them, there being some army camps along that road to suppress them. This road leads to a desolate desert in the end. Another road has little forage and provender, is thick with thieves, not well watered, but leads to a pleasant land, well watered, green, well tended and secure.
This can be seen as life. Quite often, dishonest gain is easier or seems easier than work that may entail hard labor. Getting by requires much forbearance, wisdom to avoid trouble, but leads to a happy place in the end, when traveling down that hard road with perseverance. The honest man must be weary of the dishonest; they distrust him though distrustful themselves and without excuse. Thieves skim off the easy earnings leaving the upright to hardscrabble subsistence. Wisdom says stay on the worse road for a time to reap a greater more enduring reward. This is equivalent to drinking the bitter medicine with side effects that ultimately leads to a cure and surcease from the medication. In the long run you suffer less, live longer and in greater health throughout your life. But you must have vision to see ahead and perseverance You need wisdom and virtue with the greater emphasis on wisdom. Virtue often fails, but wisdom stays locked on the prize that it knows can be had.
Chapter 3: Harmony & Anger
PARABLE OF THE SCIENTIST:
A scientist in the jungle suffered from insect pestilence, harassment from wild animals and unfriendly savages. He was often angry, but consoled himself by listening to music that he had brought with him. Looking at the stars one night, the music of the spheres made him think of the music of the womb and heart. He set to work on his inventions. A device that emitted insectivore sounds by day, bat sounds by night, along with trace scents of the little beasts that ate mosquitoes, flies, gnats and fleas were blended into a symphony of scent and sound. He kept the pests clear of him without poison. If the sounds and scents attracted insectivores, so much the better. These were soon clever enough to know the ruse by investigation, whereas the insect prey would spend no time for such reconnaissance. In the meantime the bats and insectivores offered further defense from pests. He recorded womb sounds, animal heart sounds and the like that reminded chimpanzees, baboons and wild cats of their mother’s wombs and father’s care when applicable. They became docile around his camp. These inventions were shared with the savages who deemed the scientist a demigod and benefactor to the tribe. Peace prevailed in the jungle.
Harmony produces peace and contentment, but wisdom and foresight are needful to bring it about. We must obey divine ordinances in subduing the earth to our needs or face the consequences of unrelieved harassment and the gnawing anger attendant to it.
PARABLE OF THE ENGLISH SCIENTIST:
An English scientist expatriated to a tropical jungle, set up camp and commenced his research. Some time later an Englishwoman scientist expatriated and set up camp in the same jungle. She would drop by at her neighboring Englishman’s camp and berate him for not keeping a proper camp, conducting himself with the natives in a proper manner, and in general, not behaving as a proper Englishman should. Pestered in this manner for some time, the scientist married a native girl. This was a great annoyance to the Englishwoman as was the expected result. She berated the scientist for not having a proper wife. The scientist pointed out that since he was a husband and she was not, this jungle habitat was the home of his native wife and not hers, that she was not justified or qualified to tell him what a proper wife should be or behave like, nor to tell his wife how to conduct her household and affairs in a proper manner. Moreover, she was a harping bitch, hardly a Godly candidate for wife by that measure, and he had taught his native wife to say grace before meals, making each repast the Lord’s Supper.
Harmony is struck by the chords that reverberate in our own hearts and circumstances. Bossy relatives and countrymen are a plague as viscous or more so than mosquitoes, gnats, fleas, wild animals and hostile savages.
PARABLE OF ORIGINAL SIN:
The child is born to parents who naturally are at odds with each other after the fashion of the long running war of the sexes. He is like an animal at birth, having little natural wisdom, and like other animals – apes his parents as best he can, perforce dealing with the inconsistencies brought on by the war of the sexes. Naturally, he is cajoled, tempted and manipulated to take sides in the war of the sexes, whether the child be a he or a she. The hand that rocks the cradle has the upper hand generally. Physical intimidation and control of money may offset this on the other side, depending on the circumstances. The child is hardly aware of the skein of conditioning that envelopes his brain, screws up his judgment, and skewed by divided loyalties and kinship. This becomes conditioned into the flesh and brain.
But after all, man knows nothing of life but what his consciousness reveals to him, including his memories in the world, his language, social setting and acquaintances. Mind is immaterial. The drivel of bouncing atoms or interweaving EMF is just that: drivel. There is not a shred of reasonable evidence that the mind is anything other than immaterial. So the true man is mind, not flesh. And mind comes from spirit, not matter. So God is the essential parent, and divine wisdom the essential mother. Freedom from original sin requires recognition of this, and systemically acting upon this recognition until every last vestige of the the demon possessed parents is expunged from the soul of the child.
DILEMMA: Why is the child put in this dilemma? Testing? Does not God already know the answer? Teaching? Well, yes, I suppose; it is a hard lesson, if teaching it be. Ah, but what about the endless time of eternity? It is a short time in comparison, we are admonished. Yes, yes, it seems like a long time. Certainly, we must strive to learn this lesson very quickly and to implement it in the same fashion. Is there a better way? “Now therefore, come out from among them and be ye separate.” Break the skein of entrapment by pulling away. Abhor the clinging, domineering mother and parent. Christ teaches universal conspiracy to corrupt our souls from the moment we are born and before the moment. Never doubt it. In our weakness, separate ourselves from the flock heading for the slaughterhouse of hell, while sustaining the cunning of the serpent, that innocent puppet of Satan, unfairly maligned, whose death is the symbol of salvation through Christ. The poison serpent is not the natural predator of man, but the constrictor who takes away the breath and so spirit from man, usually the small child and weak are the easiest targets of his mortal, lethal coil. The asp and cobra strike in self defense with their two swords, their fangs. Christ tells us two swords are enough. God incited the fiery serpents to attack Israel in the desert because of their sins, not the sins of the serpents.
Surely, we know it was Satan not an animal that corrupted Eve, a puppet master. Was not the serpent as much a victim as mankind, punished for the sins of another that abused him through trickery? But what of it? Whether to crawl on the earth without legs, or to walk with legs, it is the will of God, and snakes and animals are what they are, what God makes of them. Only man is not what he should be, having been corrupted. For of a surety, he did not come from dust, and cannot return to it. There was no life but the life from the spirit of God. It is spirit, not air molecules that enlivens man. The flesh returns to dust, but not the spirit. All Christianity is founded upon this truth, and the great liar denies this.
Chapter 4: Wild & Civil
PARABLE OF THE REFUGEE:
A man of the deep country had a farm. Brigands came down from the hills and afflicted the farms. Order broke down and wild animals proliferated, devouring livestock, attacking folk and casting a pall of fear upon the land, they and the brigands. Desperate farmers, driven by hunger and poverty, cast off civility for the dog eat dog ethos of the brigands. Neighbors preyed upon neighbors. Every man’s hand was against every other man. A man said to himself: “What good is this farm? Leave it to the wilderness. I will flee to the city behind safe walls.”
The mayor of the city was unwilling and/or unable to do anything about the chaos and wilderness about the city. The man having brought whatever goods and wealth he could scrape together, moved into the city. Greedy eyes noticed his entry and his goods. He was robbed of a portion of his goods the very night that he rented a place to stay. At least they could not steal the rent, having already been paid. He soon found that the tradesmen were extremely dishonest, constantly on the look out for means to defraud customers. The wilderness outside of the city deprived the city of much wealth that could have enriched the lives of its citizenry. And the proximity of lawlessness outside of the city gates only encouraged lawlessness within the city gates. It was the dog eat dog, him or me, do onto others before they do it onto you ethos.
The man threw up his arms in disgust. “If this is the way it is” he opined, “then I am a law unto myself, and God alone is my judge.” So he cut himself off from the community and conducted his affairs according to his own sense of justice, constantly vigilant to the depredations of his neighbors and strangers, seeking divine power and wisdom as the bulwark to his worldly salvation and well being.
DILEMMA: A city does not a civilization make nor people civilized. Wilderness outside the city walls portends wilderness within the walls. Civilization ultimately depends upon the civilized behavior of each man, of each family. In the end, even righteousness avails us nothing. Wisdom is the fortress and bulwark against iniquity. And wisdom begins on earth by recognizing things for what they are. If fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, emulation and so admiration and adulation of divine power and wisdom is the end of wisdom. After all, the beginning of a trip does not lead you one step closer to your destination until you start walking, rolling. The origin is zero distance along the path, and what fool wants to live in fear besides? If God has nothing against you, why fear him? If he does, your fear will not resolve the problem but the correction of the sin will. What about the melancholia, the bleakness of living in a lawless world? Ah, blot out the world with your own affairs, tending to the world only when it attempts to impinge on your door sill, your yard, your comings and goings. Otherwise, you might as well dream of better times, work to improve your own lot, to realize your dreams, and so ameliorate your despondency.
So we begin in Eden, end in the city of God, and will get neither unless we get both. Pandemonium must sink into the abyss, as Dathan and Korah sank into the desert of Arabia and Sinai for rebelling against Moses.
Chapter 5: Man & Woman
PARABLE OF THE LOVERS:
A man thought: one castle, one king, one ruler. A queen is a rebellion in the making, a conspiracy undercover and behind closed doors. She will turn my children against me, usurp my prerogatives, poison my dinner, fray my nerves, and conjoin an ocean of troubles and tumult about me. She will kiss the devil’s ass, the old misogynist, shun wisdom for cleverness, and think herself free in her unrestrained lust and abandonment, though utterly enslaved by the same. Covens as sewing clubs weaving mischief, cakes and pastry in place of sexual satisfaction, the grave as a mother and womb, and to hell with the future in lieu of the present and a lying past concocted from an icy teat of lies.
A woman thought: one castle, one queen, one ruler. A king is a trespasser upon prudence, an agent for an overbearing mother-in-law, an enemy beneath the covers. He will bully my children, usurp my prerogatives, intimidate me with slaps and punches, kicks and rants, abandon me when it suits him to feed my children on my own. He will spend his time with the boys in clubs, pubs, bars, playing fields, deriding me in concourse with his chorus of chums. He will not listen to me, satisfy me, respect me, honor me. Breach of contract as a marriage! A breach of breeches to mend and sew in lieu of pretty dresses and pretty things! Why should I obey a fool, drunkard perhaps, selfish unfair judge?
“But then who can you trust, saying all that?” the man opines. Fights with friends and foe alike, cockblockers, backstabbers. The whole wide world to hell in a breadbasket! Is one enemy easier to handle than many? Muscles versus cunning? Is that a fair fight? It depends. Aren’t we a pair? Isn’t that what we are? Do I hold the key to her prison? Does she hold the key to mine? Send in the clowns? Dicker and dodge for goods and services, burdens and trials? Which is healthier? Too many bumps on the playing field, in brawls? Too many drinks, too many bets lost, too many infidelities and whores? Is my career worth it, if the money is at too great a price of stress, integrity and honor, even if secret dishonor?
“But then who can you trust, saying all that?” the woman opines. Cat fights and slights with more accomplished tonguelashers, better judges of weaknesses and sore spots. The whole wide world leavened with the yeast of trouble and intrigue! Is one foe easier to handle than many? Cunning versus muscle? It depends. Aren’t we a twosome? Isn’t that what comes down the chute? Is paradise buried somewhere in a man’s eye? Am I an Eden if only he would see? A garden of bliss, of delight? Send in the rodeo clowns, bucking broncaroos? Rawhide and riding crops, spouses as domesticated animals! Which is healthier in the long run? No babies and stretch marks, or bastards and stretch marks? Can we really trust a queen bee that gets around, we the workers doing most of the child rearing. We may be social, but insects oversized? Do women lie too, bully too, steal too? It seems so. Maybe worse in the end?
“Oh, what do I know?” says the man. I need a wise mother more than a wife. What woman treats you better than your mother, for the most part?
“Oh, what do I know?” says the woman. I need a wise mother more than a husband or friends. What good are sympathetic fools for friends in the end?
Look for wisdom in a spouse before money, beauty, social status, frivolous wit or even compatibility. The best helpmate is the wisest helpmate, who is, in fact, a helpmate and not an enemy.
Chapter 6: Ways & Means
PARABLE OF THE EASY WAY:
A clerk sat on his butt all day and was weak in the legs, sore in the groin. The warehouseman came into the office to pick up some paperwork and drop some packing slips off. The clerk rose, and in doing so brushed off his desk a pen and some paperwork. He bent over from the hips with straight legs to pick up his pen. The warehouseman squatted to pick up the paper. The clerk thought this an excessive movement to pick up mere paperwork. And his own legs and groin were weak and sore from lack of exercise. The clerk went home, picked up a coal scuttle in the same manner, sprained his back, suffered from chronic pain for the rest of his life, so bad that even working at a desk was torment, lost his concentration, his job, the respect of his wife and children, and died alone and in poverty.
Two exercisers went to the gym. One strived to work out without any undue stress on his body. Rather than run, he used the cross trainer to relieve stress on his feet and knees. Rather than an intense short run, he ignored the 30 minute limit for machine use, and spent almost an hour on the machine, thinking he would make up in duration for what he lost in exertion. He went to the pool and used the same strategy. He exposed himself to chlorine for longer periods, used up more time, failed to stimulate his body to burn calories faster and more efficiently, conditioned his heart to an unhealthy humdrum of exertion, and was still overweight, only a bit healthier than he could have been, and with irritated skin and joints from chlorine exposure, mitigating what health benefits he derived. The other exerciser spent less than a third of the time doing more diverse and intense exercise, but not so long that it wore down his body to any degree, spent an intense 10 minute swim afterwards before the sauna, and was out of the gym sooner. He went home and prepared a high antioxidant dinner with some protein to repair any muscle damage, and was the healthier for it.
DILEMMA: The best way is always the easiest way, but the momentarily easiest way is not necessarily the best way from the overall aspect of a good life.
PARABLE OF TWO GENERALS:
General George S. Patton and General Bernard Law Montgomery had a rivalry. Patton did not like the British. Montgomery did not much care for his American allies. Patton was a risk taker; Montgomery was cautious and minimized risks. In Sicily, Patton ordered his subordinate to needlessly place his men at risk to beat the British to Messina to cut off a German retreat to the mainland. The Germans escaped anyway, Montgomery was irritated and Americans were dead needlessly who could have lived. The action could not be reasonably said to have speeded the invasion of the mainland, shortened the war in anyway, but merely increased Patton’s estimation in the eye’s of an ignorant world and in his own ignorant eyes. Later in France, Patton broke out of the Normandy beachhead and was heading for the Rhine against highly disorganized and evaporating opposition from the Germans who had been pummeled at Falaise and in the Caen area. Both Patton and Montgomery wanted to end the war with a concentration of allied power against the Germans, rather than a broad front planned by Eisenhower. The normally cautious Montgomery, seeing this, whipped up a risky plan to seize bridges in the Low Countries, achieving a Rhine crossing before the Germans knew what was happening. He used the excuse that the Germans were still bombing Britain with V-1 and V-2 rockets in from the Low Countries, and he needed to spare England from this.
This attack was hastily concocted, not well planned, and entirely out of character and design with Montgomery’s method of conducting war. He ignored evidence that German strength around Arnhem was greater than supposed. Due to the extended battlefield of airborne drops far behind enemy lines, a mixed British and American force, and the over-all poorly planned nature of the attack, Montgomery was unable to micromanage, control the battle, that was his customary way. He was noted for paying constant attention to battlefield dispositions by having constant reconnaissance and reports sent back to him, so as to avoid confusion and waste of effort, that so irritated him from the battles of the previous war. Another point, the quick armored and mobile battle plan of Montgomery was not well suited to the Dutch countryside with its polders, flooded fields, hedges and the buildup of German redoubts to prevent an easy access to the Reich through the shortest route. The attack took forces away from those needed to clear the Scheldt River access to funnel more needed supplies to the allies, the Germans having fortified and still controlling many ports behind Allied lines. Holland was more suited to British Tommies attacking on foot to dislodge or interrupt V-weapons sights. This is why little Holland was so often able to hold off the large armies of the Sun King, Louis XIV in previous centuries, allowing Marlborough to sneak through Germany and attack the enemy at Blenheim on the opposite front. So the whole affair was a jealous pick, playing on Eisenhower’s guilt and attempt to keep British and American forces in harmony, and Eisenhower’s disgust with Patton, who often exceeded orders, caused Ike embarrassment and so forth.
Instead of giving Patton enough fuel to get to at least the Rhine, and possibly a crossing, using the Black Forest to cover his flank, then shifting fuel back to Bradley and Montgomery for the destruction of German forces in the Rhineland, while Patton made a right hook a bit later to quicken the German demise in the Ruhr, allowing a close in battle against the remaining German forces, with no reasonable place to retreat, a great allied close in upper cut punch could have destroyed the Germans in the Ruhr, opening the road to Berlin, and ending the war by Christmas 1944.
DILEMMA: Patton was shameful in Sicily and Montgomery the same in Holland. As a practical matter, the greater crime was with Montgomery. His Bridge Too Far scheme failed and that was the opinion of his subordinates before it got underway. British and Americans died without adequate justification. Allied supplies were impeded to end the war sooner. The V-weapons were not promptly removed, as was more likely by allowing Patton to continue his left jab into Germany, and allowing British and Canadians to expeditiously clear the Scheldt River and advance by infantry, attack aided by airpower based in Britain and France, to destroy or cut off V-weapons supply in Holland.
Contrary to what George Patton claimed, war is not about risk taking, but about minimizing risk taking. It is indeed better to avoid losing a war, than to win a war at the risk of losing a war. Miss an offensive thrust and live to thrust again. Miss a parry and die or suffer grievous wounds that will greatly increase your chances of dying. The error here is in supposing that inactivity is invariably a low risk tactic. This is generally not so. The mugging victim is best off moving and not freezing to avoid being mugged. Even better to toss your wallet and gold watch at the mugger and keep moving away from him, if you value your life and limb over your possessions. The secret to staunching paralysis through indecisiveness on the battlefield due to lack of certain information is to actively reconnoiter the enemy dispositions. And you cannot do this sitting on your ass. The ostrich sticking his head in a hole is not a low risk strategy, but a high risk strategy. Good generals should always avoid making tough decisions by getting comprehensive intelligence through constant reconnaissance to make any decisions made a no-brainer. Well of course this is not very dramatic, is it? Screw drama, win the war in the most efficient way possible without high jinks, high drama, high casualties or any of that rubbish. In fact, it is better to lose a war and survive with a modicum of dignity intact, or to settle for a draw, and in so doing to survive, than to win and drop dead over the corpse of the enemy. War should not be a sport. The object of life is to live, not to win vain glory at the expense of health, peace and morals and sanity. George Patton was a blot on the reputation of the US Army, not someone to brag about. If Stalin assassinated Patton, he did the world a favor. Patton’s claims that he was always interested in saving American lives is a farce, motivated by vain glory. He was a war lover. If we attacked Russia, he would then look for more phony excuses to continue war somewhere else. He was a bloodthirsty demon with stars on his epaulets, and Dick Nixon was a pathetic wimp with a pacifist mother who felt the need to prove how tough he was, and so the Patton worship. Montgomery should have saved his whining and complaints after the war for his own recklessness and vain glory, rather than attacking Patton, Eisenhower and American generalship. He was the main reason why the war wasn’t won by Christmas, though with help from Ike.
So we must always see that minimizing risk does not always amount to doing nothing, and generally never does. Drill, drill, drill; recon, recon, recon; and when needed, kill, kill, kill.
PARABLE OF TWO MORE GENERALS:
General Ulysses S. Grant and General George B. McClellan, Grant something of a Patton but not really, and McClellan something of a Montgomery but not really. General Winfield Scott, the soldier of his age according to the Duke of Wellington, corpulent, old and going senile, told Lincoln, his cabinet, congress and the Union that the best way to attack the South was through the West and by blockade, given the lack of military forces and competence of the Union armed forces. The no-nothing public, no-nothing Lincoln, no-nothing cabinet and no-nothing congress chafed at this. They wanted a quick, cheap and relatively painless victory, except for whatever was required for their notions of pomp and circumstances of war. In the end, that was pretty much how it was won with much more trouble than was required. Scott was too feeble to command and opted out, though he survived the war.
Then came McClellan and Grant. Both won fame by victories in the West. One was cautious, the other a risk taker. McClellan was appalled at the thought of how much destruction would be required to reduce the South. He was admittedly more sympathetic to the South, more a racist than Lincoln, Grant or the average white American, but I reject the accusation that he was a traitor in Yankee blue. McClellan wanted to build up overwhelming force to attack the Army of Northern Virginia, so as to decisively defeat it, and have plenty of troops to move further South to put an end to any hopes of further resistance, without laying waste to the South. Jefferson Davis was a patron of his; he admired General Lee and his ilk. But he thought, a fait accompli is consistent with honor. They will simply see the writing on the wall and surrender after the decisive battle before Richmond.
McClellan had a problem. The ignorant public wanted quick results, the politician Lincoln and his ignorant cabinet and congress wanted the same. McClellan resorted to exaggerations of enemy strength motivated either by willful self-deception or outright cynical lies. In the end he was forced to fight before he wanted to. There is little doubt in retrospect that the Union could have supplied McClellan with the huge army he requested, using greenbacks, bonds, and diplomatic maneuvers to keep the European powers out of the war. He was forced to fight before he wanted to. He told Lincoln to seek victories in the West, rather than in Virginia to placate the public, as suggested by the Scott so-called Anaconda Plan, the blockade and the cutting of the South in two in the West. He congratulated Grant on his victories when achieved. But he was forced to move, would not risk the casualties and attendant destruction, and was removed by the President with backing by an irritated public. He continued with his over-estimation of enemy strength without adequate reconnaissance to back up his assertions. Robert E. Lee claimed that McClellan was the best Union general that he had to face. I agree with this.
The Union fantasies about quick victories dissolved into pools of Yankee blood. Lincoln called back McClellan. Lee moved north to incite rebellion in Maryland, hoping to inflict a humiliating defeat on the North, encouraging European recognition and strengthening of the peace party in the North. McClellan checked Lee at Antietam but with much criticism of his generalship. He was handed Lee’s overall plan in an intelligence coup but continued to over-estimate Lee’s forces and failed to destroy Lee’s army north of the Potomac, it always assumed that he could have done so by his critics.
Now these are the things the anti-McClellan crowd denigrate him for. First, he did not give his subordinate generals an overall plan of battle, resulting in confusion during the battle. Let us look at this; many people deemed McClellan disloyal to the Union, but Lincoln wanted to make it a Union war, not just a Republican Party War. McClellan and other generals were Democrats to mitigate this potential war policy weakness. McClellan, on his part, viewed most of his Republican subordinates as incompetents, and potentially disloyal. By disloyal, I mean that the idea of a Democratic general winning great victories could jeopardize radical Republican goals for a postwar America. I for my part do not believe McClellan deliberately sabotaged the Union war effort, but do believe his subordinates were incompetents and disloyal to McClellan. It is true that McClellan had political ambitions as history records with his run for President in 1864. Even loyal lieutenants such General Burnside were less than top notch generals. Note that Burnside replaced McClellan in command of the Washington forces and was utterly humiliated in battle by Lee’s army. Bear all this in mind. Why should McClellan trust any of these people?
Getting back to the overall plan of battle dissemination. Patton opined that the first thing that is always thrown out when the shooting starts is the war plan. I deem this true in general. Only an overall plan should be in a commander’s mind, and always ready to be scrapped when dictated by events. Grant held this view as well. Communications often break down in war at critical points. Flanks and commands are unaware of the precise situations in other fields. Even with instant modern communications, tired commanders can be too vague, or send bad information, or coded messages not translated properly or in time. Requesting more details by subordinates slows things down and offers opportunities for more confusion. The enemy has the same advantages, and while this confusion and/or qualification is in progress, uses its radio to set up and launch a quick attack not otherwise possible before modern radio communications.
The commander must be able to change a general plan at the drop of a dime. If he gives subordinates the overall plan and they are cut off from timely updates, they may make decisions not readily advisable by the situations before them, but with the view of fitting into the overall plan of their commanding officer, a plan that is no longer in effect, or is but to the consternation of the commanding general, thinking he told his subordinates who are in difficulties and/or out of contact, and feels obligated or trapped into a bad plan. Given this, a commander who simply gives corps commanders specific goals and instructs them to get back to him when goals are accomplished/not accomplished or irrelevant, since intelligence was faulty and the enemy is not there, or in the strength supposed, and the environment such as pontoons are not there or never were there or broken down. The Commander tells his corps commanders that if cut off or in difficulties, to do whatever is necessary to control the field of battle before them, until communications are reestablished and they receive new orders.
So there are problems with giving subordinates an overall plan of battle. You are well advised to keep it to yourself if you have one. Add to this that McClellan viewed his subordinates as incompetents and disloyal, and so much for this criticism of McClellan. And McClellan, on the face of it was right. They were disloyal and incompetents, no delusions on these points.
This leaves the question of McClellan’s fanciful and chronically inaccurate estimation of enemy strength. Well, this is hard to support. But even if McClellan did press the attack at Antietam and decisively beat Lee north of the Potomac, he lacked the manpower to quickly bring the South to heel. He would have been forced to the Sherman/Sheridan/Grant tactic of scorched earth, something he was loath to do. The acrimony of postwar problems would remain. The Jim Crow laws would remain for another century, exacerbated by the hostility to Northern depredations. The African-American was simply a football in a contest between cultural and economic interests. They were simply a convenient excuse that happened to be germane to the problem.
Now we come to General Grant. McClellan exited the scene again, and Grant’s star rose in the West. Grant used to mock Jefferson Davis for being an unwilling lieutenant in his victories. More to the point, that accolade goes more to Robert E. Lee. Davis was a competent and experienced soldier, an experienced administrator as Secretary of War, and a man that Grant held a grudge against due to a rejection of a request to advance his career goals. McClellan owed Davis a favor; Grant owed Davis retribution to an extent. What is certain is that if Jefferson Davis had his way, Grant’s star would have waned and retarded in its rise to glory. Davis wanted to reinforce Vicksburg in 1863 to prevent the cutting in half of the Confederacy as surmised by Scott’s Anaconda Plan. With the failure of the Antietam excursion, Davis saw no good reason to attack North given the situation in Mississippi. Davis was from Mississippi as well. But the prestige of Lee was so great, and criticism of his own handling of the war so great, he felt compelled to give in, most likely wrongly.
We can be certain there would have been no Fourth of July victory at Gettysburg, no Fourth victory at Vicksburg in 1863 if Davis had his way. If, let us say, Lee detached a corp under A. P. Hill across the mountains to cover and support the Tennessee front along with 50 to 60% of JEB Stuart's cavalry, Johnston would have certainly reinforced Vicksburg, stalling Grant, or forcing a retreat, or possibly defeating him in battle. Suppose parts of Stuart's cavalry continued to the east shore of the Mississippi, and Nathan Bedford Forrest crossed to the western side, supported by whatever troops could be mustered from Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana and pro-South Missouri recruits. He was good enough to at least threaten St. Louis, forcing Grant to look to his rear. With Johnston able to move his army to the Mississippi, Stuart raiding Western Tennessee and the length of the Mississippi north to Memphis, Grant and Sherman would have their hands filled. There would be no quick victory in the West, and given the disastrous previous campaigns in Virginia, no certain or likely breaking of the Army of Northern Virginia any time soon.
Moreover, if the South managed to pull off a Blenheim, shifting armies West without the Union catching on in time, a great victory in the West could have forced the war into a stalemate, effectively guaranteeing Southern victory, since their cause was simply to remain independent It is likely the Union would have won anyway, no Southern Blenheim forthcoming, but Grant would have been greatly frustrated.
Now Grant took Vicksburg and was given overall command of the Army and shifted to Washington. He should have continued the war in the West while simply holding down Lee in Virginia until Sherman won the War. Sherman burned down the wrong state. He should have first guaranteed the destruction of all activity east of the Mississippi by forcing Bedford Forrest into battle at the cost of the utter destruction of Mississippi and areas in the surrounding states, should Forrest fail to fight a fixed battle. The attack on Mobile, Alabama should have been pushed North and accelerated in timing to join Union forces in Tennessee. This would have double divided the South, geographically on the Mississippi, and demographically West of the Appalachian Mountains. Winter campaigns would have allowed Sherman to attack without too much pestilence and exposure problems around the southern end of the mountains, eliminating Florida, opening the path to Savannah, Charleston, and forcing Confederate forces in Atlanta to attack or watch the South disintegrate without giving a helping hand. Sherman’s likely victories would keep morale up in the North through 1864. If Lee tried to detach Hill and Stuart, Grant would then move against Richmond with Sheridan down the Shenandoah and his own immediate command against Richmond. With Hill and Stuart down South, he could reinforce his command more quickly by rail from forces west of the mountains. The mountains themselves would impede Southern thrusts into the West to take pressure off Lee and Atlanta.
Instead he chose to needlessly butcher his own men to sate his ill-advised impatience. He claimed he never maneuvered, but he did maneuver, just badly. Lee was right; it was McClellan, not Grant that was the best Union general. The Union should have stuck to the Scott Anaconda Plan more rigorously. Sherman’s untimely march through Georgia, while successful, was still ill-advised. Bedford Forrest should have been taken out ‘the fustest with the mostest’, no ‘ands’ ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’ about it.
George Patton was a first class asshole for the most part. He could put on a little charm when desperate to get what he wanted. Grant was a much more agreeable, upright character, but with a serious character flaw. He valued victory over life just as Patton did. He deserved the Mary Todd Lincoln epithet of ‘butcher’. Montgomery was a disagreeable asshole whereas McClellan was a more agreeable and considerate man. He did show discourtesy to Lincoln but not directly to his face, and not out of cowardice. Recall that he had a very low opinion of Lincoln’s character, though it did improve in his estimation over time somewhat. This deference may very well explain his chronic over-estimate of Southern forces. Rather than face the American people to their face directly, he chose dissimulation and failed. General Scott was completely right.
It is surely best to win a war with a minimum loss of life. Life, not winning, is always the first goal. As for life without honor? If that bothers you, attack when it is expedient to achieve both life and honor. Is it not said that it is better to be a live dog than a dead lion? Most American dogs can arguably be said to have the best situation in the house. “Who would want to be a general?” one disgusted American general opined during the Korean War. Another officer threw a proffered medal to the ground in disgust when ordered to fight a desperate, if not hopeless, battle. Of course, all dogs are known to die currently. You might say a tortured dog’s life would be best terminated quickly. We do have men who abuse their dogs. But why make such a decision? If you feel compelled to fight, then fight to kill, not die in vain glory. How do you know that faith cannot move mountains? You do not know, so do not presume. So the ‘better dead than (this or that)’ is pointless. You talk of character, but you are a defeatist from the start. If you want to live with honor, then you must live not die. Go to it.
People called McClellan: the Napoleon of America. It would have been more apt to call him the Marlborough of America. What about Duke John’s daring? The Marlborough adage, “Leave nothing to chance.” is apt. People overlook this side of Marlborough. Was McClellan a coward in battle as some claim because he kept much to the rear? I think generals should best stay close to the front at the most critical point of battle myself. Patton and Grant often did. Montgomery did not. McClellan was so horrified by his subordinates, I think he feared dying for the sake of his men, more than his own person. Ah, it cannot be proven. In general, a general should not worry about dying in battle. If his army collapses upon his demise, he should console himself that he would deserve to die. But as is so often the case, McClellan had little control over his army. His subordinates were political appointees. This is extenuating.
It also goes the other way. The commanding officer of the Australian forces defending Singapore at the outbreak of WWII was at odds with his British commander, General Percival. He told Percival his dispositions were wrong, and it turned out he was completely right. It is at least possible the bastion would have held without Percival’s incompetence at best. Some of Percival’s British troops stole or requisitioned some Australian uniforms and commenced looting, for which the Australians got the blame. Churchill did not want to prosecute the war in the Pacific. He sent an inadequately defended flotilla of two battleships that should have been supported by at least 20 warships, something the naval base at Singapore and support facilities in the Dutch East Indies and Australia could have sustained, except perhaps for major overhaul and renovations due to battle damage. Singapore helped protect oil in the East Indies. Australia could have supplied food, clothing, some parts. Conveniently, the supporting aircraft carrier grounded on its way to Singapore. So the flotilla was sunk with very suspicious behavior on the part of its antiaircraft guns. And the lack of adequate destroyer and cruiser escort made it much easier for Japanese torpedo planes to sink the battleship and battlecrusier. Percival’s utter incompetence doomed the bastion, though he had 2 to 3 times the men as the Japanese commander. The Australian commander decided his experience was essential to the salvation of Australia and bugged out. His own troops did not seem to hold this against him, though Percival and the British pressured for disciplinary measures.
The Aussie was given command of the western theater of Australia, where the Australians planned to hold the line against the Japanese, consigning them and destroying them in Australian deserts, swamps and jungles. The Commonwealth troops did not fair well against the Japanese in the Malayan jungles, so this was thought best, considering that Corregidor also fell to the Japanese onslaught, and that many Australian troops were POW’s or stationed in the Near East. General MacArthur was tricked out of going down with his troops in the Philippines. He decided to hold the line in New Guinea. The Aussie general idled away in the backwaters of Perth. MacArthur claimed that his Australian troops were damned near worthless, though the next stop for the Japanese would have been their homeland. When Douglas MacArthur could not get his way, he was not above exaggeration and/or outright lying. Australians had been mobilized for over three years and were tapped out for reinforcements. MacArthur’s only hope for more troops was from America, and so denigrating the troops he had worked to his advantage there.
I once had the misfortune to be a security guard at the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics, and I can tell you that the Australians are poor sports. Poor sports do not like losing, and people who do not like losing put up a fight. Basically, American and Australian troops were stabbed in the back in the Pacific, and Churchill and Roosevelt are the chief betrayers. Roosevelt’s own commanders at Pearl Harbor virtually accused him of treason. His family fortune was based on the opium trade in China, drug pushers. He sent vast supplies to Chang Kai Shek that were not properly utilized and could have been used by MacArthur or elsewhere. Corruption was rampant among the Nationalist Chinese. Vast quantities of American wealth was pilfered. General Stilwell on the spot, told Roosevelt this but his advice was ignored. Chang had earlier beat back the Communist threat by allying with gangster gangs, the very people that undoubtedly helped Roosevelt’s mama’s family grow rich in the drug trade. Roosevelt was not loyal to his wife, or his country, and blabbed on about the United Nations and world peace. Ernest King of the US Navy owed his post to Roosevelt, being overage, was an inveterate, disloyal womanizer, who would not stoop to screw any of his fellow officers’ wives given the chance. George Marshall had a personal grudge against MacArthur due to rejection of a command request, much as Grant had a grudge against Jefferson Davis. Eisenhower served under MacArthur in Manila and detested him. Roosevelt held a grudge against MacArthur who verbally attacked him when Chief of Staff, and was a potential opponent for presidential office. As for Roosevelt’s buddy, Stalin, Karl Marx was a London stooge of British Imperialist drug pushers and usurers. His concern for the poor and laborers is a joke.
They say Roosevelt helped MacArthur’s career, but this was only to neutralize him as an enemy that could potentially do him damage. Douglas could not open his mouth without saying something to get him in hot water. His mother had the political skills in the family. But he could do damage and help the Republican candidates that would brush MacArthur aside after he put his foot in his mouth one too many times. MacArthur was safer in uniform in a marginal command. MacArthur knew this but could not bear to end his career in defeat, unable to avenge Corregidor. His father was a hero; he was a hero, and that is what his mother, the daughter of a Confederate general expected of him all his and her life.
MacArthur used to say that there was no substitute for victory. Given the Korea and Vietnam debacles, this sounds appealing, but it is not true. There is no substitute for survival, and no man will tolerate indignities without attempting rectification. Even a coward tires of dying a thousand deaths, and we know what the cornered rat does when trapped, goes for the throat.
MacArthur contributed to his own demise in Korea. Like the general in Dr. Strangelove he assumed that once the Chinese came in, Truman would unleash everything. As usual, MacArthur displayed his political ineptness. He exposed his men to danger. He could not say that he was not warned by the Chinese beforehand of their intentions, and was ordered by Truman to stay away from the border and take precautions.
As for Roosevelt, Truman and the UN, I once ran across the son of a UN diplomat who had fallen out of favor with his father and was forced to take labor work in America. He informed me what a bonanza the UN was for smugglers, drug pushers, spies and the like, using diplomatic immunity, right after the fashion of the Roosevelt family line. And let us not forget about that evil war lover, cousin Teddy Roosevelt, forever attempting to drag America into any foreign war and intrigue possible. Joan Baez, the pacifist, scumbag , hypocritical murderer, tells a tale about the callousness of the UN from accounts told to her by her father. Donald Trump is worried about Latin American and Muslim criminals coming in to the country; he has plenty right down the street from Trump Tower in that other tower on the East River, East River Vice.
Other Works by the Author
Elements of Physics: Matter
Elements of Physics: Space
Elements of Physics: Time
Space as Infinity: An Essay
Space as Infinity II: An Essay
Unified Field Theory: An Essay
Collected Poems I
Golden Age Essays
Golden Age Essays II
Golden Age Essays III
Golden Age Essays IV
Golden Age Essays V
My current biography and contact links are posted at . My writings include essays, poetry and dramatic work. Though I write poetry, my main interest is essays about the panoply of human experience and knowledge. This includes philosophy, science and the liberal arts. Comments, reviews and critiques of my work are welcome. Thank you for reading my book.
A brief preface states the purpose. Chapter 1 deals with the passion of Christ and its justification. Chapter 2 deals with perseverance in a corrupt world, adhering to the straight and narrow road. Chapter 3 deals with harmony and anger in three parables. The first parable deals with a scientist using his skill to harmonize man with nature. The second parable deals with an English scientist harmonizing his life with woman. The third parable deals with original sin and how to harmonize man to God and removing the curse of that sin. Chapter 4 deals with the savagery of man and how to work around it to the good of civilization. Chapter 5 covers the war of the sexes again, suggesting that seeking a wise mate is the best method of marital bliss rather than beauty, wealth, social status and the more mundane things. Chapter 6 deals with ways & means of effecting success in strife and war in three parables. The first shows that the best way is the easiest way, but that the easiest apparent way is not always the easiest actual way. The remaining two parables deal with the careers of Patton & Montgomery in WWII, and Grant & McClellan in the American Civil War on the ultimate purpose of war and effecting that purpose.