Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Life-Giving Sword

In this age of the common man, where hero and warrior are maligned, where the effeminate urbanite is exalted, the act of killing has been demonized by the aristocrat, and forbidden under any circumstance.  Polite society shuns even the notion of physical conflict as academe heaps scorn on those stout souls who posses the temerity to defend themselves against the ogres and goblins of our age.

 It was not always so.

 In ages past, thinking men who gave contemplation to the laws of nature and to nature’s God were drawn inexorably to the logical conclusion that man was endowed with certain personal rights derived from his peculiar position as having been created in God’s image.  It was observed that the beasts of nature were provided by providence with tooth and claw, with fang, poison, or brute power.  Nature’s harsh law provided for defense and the implementation of killing, Res ipsa Loquitur.  So much the more, should man wield the power of death justly.  It is a lamentable fact that, in this world of corruption, man must avail himself of tools of power to thwart the wicked intentions of his fellow man.  Sadly, as once great societies tend toward decay and dissolution, the noble principals once commonly known among citizens become perverted.  For instance, “Thou shalt not kill,” does not forbid killing under any circumstance but forbids the act of murder.  Indeed, the charter for human government is expressed to Noah in Genesis 9:6, “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.”  Here is the limited purpose of human government expressed and here government is charged with the power of capital punishment.  Furthermore, government is charged to execute justice not promote reform: “And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.” Exodus 21:23-25  Government, not the individual, is to exact a just recompense once immanent peril is extinguished.

 In a more noble age, where the souls of heroes and warriors were forged in the foreboding darkness of vast wilderness, men were expected to deal with violent action and to confront it, to master it with success.  It was, in fact, a moral imperative to confront violent aggression and to triumph over the wicked aggressor.  The ancient samurai knew this code and gave it a name: The Life-Giving Sword.  When confronted with the wicked aggressor, who by his actions condemned himself to his ignoble end, the ancient warrior responded with a righteous indignation and cut down the evildoer.   The ancient sword saint would accomplish his purpose upon the evil aggressor and thereby spare any future victim; his sword gave life to those who would otherwise be defenseless.

In our day, we see the spirit of the ancient warrior and sword saint when a man takes up the defense of himself or another to thwart the actions of the thug, robber, rapist, murderer, or terrorist.  Though the warrior must now often sulk in the shadows, while the dandy struts about in polite society to the praise of the sycophant urbanite, he must still honor his ancient heritage, living by the principal of The Life-Giving Sword. 

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