The Wisdom of Joel

by Timothy Lane11/17/15

The Bible is a very large book, and anyone who wants can find anything they want in it — whether to use it to support their position, or to mock those who try to follow the Bible. So I realize that one of my favorite passages is hardly typical. Reading Joel 3:9-10 in the Revised Standard Version (which is the one handy to my laptop):

Proclaim this among the naitons: Prepare war, stir up the mighty men. Let all the men of war draw near, let them come up.

Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears; let the weak say, “I am strong.”

There have been times when this was done quite literally; when we visited the Museum of the Confederacy, we found sabers manufactured by the Nashville Plow Company. It’s a great passage for an army brat, not so much for any sort of pacifist (and thus any liberal).

But, regardless of who likes it or who doesn’t, just as there are times when this admonition is unnecessary and thus undesirable, so there are also times when Joel provides an excellent recommendation. There are probably few people this side of George Patton (or maybe John McCain) who would like to follow Joel 3:9-10 all the time. Unfortunately, there are many people who prefer to ignore this admonition all the time, and those people are in charge of protecting our country.

I once read a recommendation that before naming a Secretary of the Interior, one should take him to see Bambi and see if he cries at the end. Equally, before endorsing anyone for President, or Secretary of State, or any position in the Department of Defense, we should present this passage from Joel and see how they react.


Timothy Lane writes from Louisville, Kentucky and publishes the FOSFAX fanzine.
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17 Responses to The Wisdom of Joel

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Come on Virginia, don’t let me wait…you Catholic girls start much too late…

    Oh…sorry…wrong Joel. But perhaps a modern recasting would be:

    Beat your timeshares into low-income housing, and your tuning forks into Obama phones; let the meek say, “I’m a victim.”

    Maybe that loses something in translation. But, seriously, the purpose of reality for a Leftist is to prove their crank theories. War is the fault of George Bush and others who wish to profiteer. There’s never a bad guy that people are trying to defend themselves against.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Personally, I much prefer “Piano Man” to “Only the Good Die Young”.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        Just about anything on “The Stranger” album, “Just the Way You Are” is probably my favorite.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Don’t go changin’…to try and please me…

          And this was written by the man who ditched his long-suffering and loyal wife (she had been his manager and was there in the lean years) for a supermodel…and then drank to such excess that he lost her. Billy, you needed to go a’changin’ to try and please someone, for sure.

          But I was practically raised on Billy Joel. He was good. He was mediocre. And sometimes, such as with songs as “Prelude/Angry Young Man,” “The Entertainer,” or “Summer Highland Falls,” he was brilliant. Well, not “was.” He’s not dead. And I assume he’s still making or playing his songs.

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            One should not look to musicians (artists in general) for moral or political edification. They are rarely worthy of emulation in anything other than music.

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              Yes. Artists certainly are a breed unto themselves. And that’s a way of understanding the destructiveness of the Left. They envision a Star-Trek (Next Generation) type of utopia where we can all be artists and express ourselves, unburdened by the usual drudgery of life.

              Again, I would say there’s nothing wrong with art, or expressing yourself, per se, but that utopian vision tends to make little monsters of us all. Do we really want to fashion society around the mores of the theatre? I don’t think so. But the Left is about normalizing perversity and immorality under the guise of “liberty,” “expression,” or whatever watchword you choose.

              But a society of hippies doesn’t work (literally and figuratively). The hippies, and the Left, can exist only to the extent that they are parasites on what others have made. Whether living off of daddy’s money (while smoking pot and dreaming of “social justice”) or living off “the rich” (while smoking pot and dreaming of “social justice”), both are moochers not producers.

              This is one way to understand Merkel and the EU. They are living off the destruction of European civilization. They have no choice (at least in their own minds) but to import Muslims to be the children that their barren (literally) ideology has robbed them of.

              Look at the money we are borrowing and printing. Obama is a classic example of the Leftist parasite, making his mark by tearing down and generally demeaning America and the West. And what is he building? Nothing but destructive delusions that can ever only be short-term.

              And one reason I am not so fond of the music that I once was is that it is thin in this regard. Much of what we call pop music is the emanation of children in sometimes adult bodies. It’s interesting in the case of Joel that he was trained as a classic pianists. And I think that helped to raise his music up. But it’s still pop.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        “52nd Street” is also very good.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          You just want to be a Big Shot.

          But any follow-up album to The Stranger was bound to be a bit of a letdown. The Stranger is one of those desert island albums. If you were going to be (perhaps for being a conservative) stranded on a desert island for a few years, what 25 albums would you take? This might be one of them.

          “My Life” is a splendid little ditty from 52nd Street.

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            I will cheat a little because some of the choices are double albums and compilations .

            1. Revolver – The Beatles
            2. Sgt. Pepper’s – The Beatles
            3. The White Album – The Beatles
            4. Chicago Transit Authority – Chicago’s 1st album
            5. Chicago 16 – Chicago
            6. Rapture – Anita Baker
            7. The Essential Billy Joel – Billy Joel
            8. High Adventure – Kenny Logins
            9. Running in the Family – Level 42
            10. Tears for Fears 1st Album – Tears for Fears
            11. The Very Best of Elton John – Elton John
            12. Yes Songs – Yes
            13. Yesterday Once More – The Carpenters
            14. Looking Back – Hall and Oates
            15. Keep Your Distance – Curiosity Killed the Cat
            16. The Byrds Greatest Hits – The Byrds
            17. Best of Cream – Cream
            18. Crosby, Stills and Nash 1st Album
            19. The World of British Classics V – Delius
            17. Grieg, Piano Concerto, Falla and Chopin – Novaes
            18. Parsifal – Wagner
            19. The Brandenburg Concertos, Bach – Neville Marriner
            20. The Well-Tempered Clavier, Bach – Schiff
            21. The Planets – Holst
            22. Brahms Symphony No. 3
            23. Brahms Symphony No. 4.
            24. Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2
            25. Concerto de Aranjuez – Rodrigo

            The list is subject to change depending on my mood.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              I would agree with a lot of the popular music, though which would make my list of 25 is an interesting matter. My classical tastes are heavily based on what is most familiar to me, which primarily means Tchaikovsky. Of course, I’d include a good bit of Petula Clark, and my list would be heavy on greatest hits compilations (and perhaps some sound tracks).

              • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

                I like Tchaikovsky’s 4th symphony a lot, and it could make the list as well.

                I would also include Debussy, but I couldn’t find the exact album I had in mind so I left it out.

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              Frank? Frank? Where the heck is Frank on this list? Has to be a typo. 😀

              I’d definitely have Sgt. Pepper on there.

              • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

                Sorry, I don’t own a Sinatra album, so could not include one on my list. I don’t know which one is his best.

            • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

              While brushing my teeth, I was listening to music in my head and have decided to change two selections.

              For The Beatles’ “White Album” I would substitute Queen’s “Night at the Opera”.

              For “Chicago 16” I would substitute Led Zeppelin’s fourth album, sometimes known as the “Stairway to Heaven” album.

  2. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    There is also a verse in the Bible mentioning that for everything there is a season. This is basic human understanding.

    What the left has done is to pretend and fool too many that there is no time for beating our plowshares into swords. That way, when the time comes for the left to use force to take over, many will be unable to put up any resistance.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      That’s Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, and it concludes with “a time for war, and a time for peace.” It’s also the basis of the song “Turn, Turn, Turn”, which was originally sung by the Byrds.

  3. Anniel says:

    Timothy, I am so glad you wrote this, we are so far away from what we MUST do. The justification for this action is urgent, especially after listening to both parties in the wake of France’s circumstances. My Muslim friends hate weak men, and we have so many of them. I sound like a war hawk

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