Sun Tzu's ten rules for conservatives -- and how we can use them to win

The art of war is of vital importance for the state. And for us as well.
by T.J. Nelson


S un Tzu said: War is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. A kingdom that has once been destroyed can never come again into being; nor can the dead ever be brought back to life.

Sun Tzu
“He who knows my principles will be victorious; he who knows them not will fail.”

His meaning is plain: losing a battle means losing troops. Losing a battle could mean losing the war. The stakes are unimaginably high. Just as our military leaders do, we must study our defeats as much as we plan our victories.

What Clausewitz said in 430 pages and Liddell Hart said in 426, Sun Tzu said in a mere 10,485 words—not much longer than a typical editorial. We can use Sun Tzu just as the enemy uses Alinsky.

1. Sun Tzu said: Do not attack an army where he is strong.

A while back, Christian fundamentalists went on the offensive, trying to get the schools to teach creationism in science classes. Imagine our reaction if scientists tried to get the church to teach evolution in a church. Despite what some may wish to think, evolution is a strong theory, and the attempt failed.

Society has still not come to terms with the realization, from Darwin to the Pill, that we are biological entities and that biology, in the name of survival, trumps ethics. We must get out in front of that, by finding a way to integrate it with our respect for tradition, or to refute it.

2. Sun Tzu said: He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.

Conservatives lost the gay marriage battle when they allowed states to permit gays and single parents to adopt. This was the point the Supreme Court used to destroy the battle against gay marriage.

The courts demand consistency in the law. They will tolerate any kind of evil, from slavery to abortion, to maintain it. The left knows that a small court decision is a nose under the tent. We must fight issues when they're small, not wait until they're too big to defeat.

3. Sun Tzu said: Supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting.

By taking away the enemy's will to live, you will defeat him. One word: Hilligula.

4. Sun Tzu said: He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared.

If we constantly come up with new proposals and new ideas, the opposition will always be off guard. If we're always fighting defensive rearguard actions, we will always be unprepared for the next bizarre idea.

5. Sun Tzu said: If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.

Our greatest strength is that the enemy does not know us. It is a priceless gift from the news media. The enemy believes we are reactionary—that we only react and never invent new initiatives. We can increase our strength by taking the offensive intellectually. We must reject anti-intellectualism. Only with radical new ideas can we reconquer the universities.

6. Sun Tzu said: By persistently hanging on the enemy's flank, we shall succeed in the long run in killing the commander-in-chief.

Republicans succeeded in impeaching Bill Clinton, but were unable to administer the final blow. The public saw it as unfair to a likable president. But in the long run, it was a great victory. Almost no one today thinks Clinton is an honorable man.

7. Sun Tzu said: Move not unless you see an advantage; use not your troops unless there is something to be gained; fight not unless the position is critical. If it is to your advantage, make a forward move; if not, stay where you are.

The law values consistency above all else. Prominent legal scholars warned us that RFRA laws made the law inconsistent. When they were challenged, the courts steamrolled our position. To win a legal battle in court, we must propose laws that make the legal corpus more consistent. If we do this, we cannot lose.

As Sun Tzu might say, “Create an inconsistency in the law, and you will get steamrolled by the courts. Make the law more consistent, and a hundred lawyers can never challenge you.”

8. Sun Tzu said: In war, the way is to avoid what is strong and to strike at what is weak.

The enemy's two greatest weaknesses are their hatred of wealth and their lack of patriotism.

Example: global warming, as others have said, is the ultimate luxury good. This is why the ultra-wealthy like Al Gore and Tim Cook are in favor of it. We are so well off, they're saying, that we can afford something to make a useless, expensive gesture to say “I'm a wonderful, generous, caring person!”

This means the desire to be wealthy is still alive in America. It is an area that is completely undefended by the enemy. We have a powerful issue here.

9. Sun Tzu said: Humble words and increased preparations are signs that the enemy is about to advance. Violent language and driving forward as if to the attack are signs that he will retreat.

What we call P.C. is nothing more than pretense—pretending that everyone is the same, pretending to be offended, and so on. It's the enemy's microaggressions. The next time a person of gender claims to be offended by Ovid or Trump or Ted Cruz, just tell her her helpless tears of frustration are delicious ambrosia to you. Tell her to suck it up, call her a buttercup, and say that she (if she is indeed a she) should grow a pair.

Or to translate that into PC-speak, her micro-aggressions are devalidating my right to authenticity. We must own political incorrectness. Don't let the enemy steal it. They will try.

10. Sun Tzu said: If fighting is sure to result in victory, then you must fight, even though the ruler forbid it; if fighting will not result in victory, then you must not fight even at the ruler's bidding.

A battle against polygamy is very unlikely to result in victory. But as one commenter once said, polygamy is a crime that is its own punishment. Polygamy is already double jeopardy.

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