with a handgun to make the mercenariesrnleave town. The saint pointed out to thernmercenaries a lizard which was runningrnacross the road. Possenti shot the lizardrnright through the head, at which pointrnthe mercenaries decided that discretionrnwas the better part of valor; the) obeyedrnPossenti’s orders to extinguish the firernthey had started and to return the propertyrnthey had stolen. They then fled thernvillage, never to be heard from again.rn)ewish law comes to the same conclusionrnas the Vatican Pontihcal Council: “Ifrnsomeone comes to kill you, rise up andrnkill him first,” commands the Talmud.rnBystanders are likewise required to killrnpersons who are attempting rape. AsrnColumbia University’s George Fletcherrnexplains, while there is a duty to selfdefense,rnthe duty to defend others isrnseen as prior.rnThe ‘iew that forcible resistance tornevil is itself evil has serious implications:rnthat Patrick Henry and the other FoundingrnFathers were wrong to urge armed resistancernto the British Redcoats; that thernJews who led the Warsaw Ghetto revoltrnagainst Hitler were immoral; that JeffreyrnDahmer’s victims would have beenrnwrong to use a weapon to protect themseU’Cs;rnthat Saint Gabriel Possenti was arnparagon of evil; that Abraham shouldrnnot have rescued his kidnapped nephew;rnand that police officers who fire theirrnguns to protect innocent people arernsinful.rnConsider the situation of a mother inrna rough neighborhood, moments afterrnan escaped psychopath has broken intornher house. The woman has good reasonrnto fear that the intruder is about tornslaughter her three children. If she docsrnnot shoot him with her .38 Special, thernchildren will be dead before the policernarrie. Is the woman’s moral obligationrnto murmur “violence engenders violence,”rnand keep her handgun in therndrawer while her children die? Or is thernmother’s moral duty to save her children,rnand shoot the intruder?rnThe iew that life is a gift from God,rnand that permitting the wanton destructionrnof one’s own life (or the life of a personrnunder one’s care) amounts to hubrisrnis hardly new. As a 1747 sermon inrnPhiladelphia put it: “He that suffers hisrnlife to be taken from him by one thatrnhath no authority for that purpose, whenrnhe might preserve it by defense, incursrnthe Guilt of self murder since God hathrnenjoined him to seek the continuance ofrnhis life, and Nature itself teaches everyrncreature to defend itself.”rnHaving read through the Bible severalrntimes, I still can’t find the parts wherernGod (or even a minor prophet) endorsesrna handgun waiting period, one-gun-amonth,rnor any other item in the litany ofrnthe antigun lobbies and the religiousrngroups that endorse them. (Nor, ofrncourse, is there anything in the Bible implyingrnthat these proposals are immoral.)rnBut the idea that pacifism in the face ofrnviolent attack against one’s family orrnoneself is some kind of moral imperativernthat should be enforced by the state isrnnot only missing, it is contrary to commonrnsense and the Western religious tradition.rnMaking it illegal for citizens tornown firearms for defense of home andrnfamily may or may not be a good idearnfrom a criminological viewpoint—but itrnis certainly not God’s work.rnDavid B. Kopel is an associate policy analystrnwith the Cato Institute and researchrndirector with the Independence Institute.rnHis most recent book is Guns: WhornShould Have Them? (Prometheus).rnThe Revival ofrnRussian Paganismrnbv Wayne AUensworthrni.i The predisposition to religious belief,”rnwrote sociobiologist EdwardrnO. Wilson, “is the most complexrnand powerful force in the human mindrnand in all probability an ineradicable partrnof human nature.” Christians wouldrnagree with Mr. Wilson, but it is his fellowrnatheists, not Christians, who have dominatedrnthe religious (though not the trulyrnspiritual) life of this unfortunate centur}rnLike Emile Durkheim, modern barbariansrnsee religious ritual as a means ofrnconsecrating the group, the party, thernclass, or the race, the “core of society” asrnWilson put it in On Human Nature, andrnnot as a liturgical mechanism for mediationrnwith the Almighty. The intoxicatmgrnmix of myth and ritual serves to subsumernthe individual in the collective, tornbond him together with other adherentsrnof the secular faith, the Party hierarchyrn(Orwell’s Inner Party) guarding and interpretingrnthe sacred writings of thernProphet (Lenin, Mao, Hitler), the Leaderrn(Duce, Fuehrer, or Vozhd in the case ofrnJoseph Stalin) himself serving as thernHigh Priest, the remote keeper of thernkeys. Holy relics (Lenin’s mummifiedrncorpse comes readily to mind) are put onrndisplay and serve as the focus of publicrnrituals. The aura of the mystery of faithrnis retained.rnThe 20th century, no less than therntime of the Crusades or the turmoil ofrnthe Reformation, has been one of religiousrnwars and revolutions. Ideologuesrnof the far left have harnessed humanity’srnhunger for transcendence to the yoke ofrna teleological Marxism, with “History”rnpinch-hitting for God and a communistrnfuture as millennium. The far right,rnwithout Marxism’s convenient pseudotranscendentrnunderpinnings, has had tornfall back on an older cache of symbolismrnand myth to mobilize the faithful. True,rnnational churches can be useful for mobilization,rnbut only the heroic mythologyrnof paganism can free the race from thernfetters of Christianity. Fascism’s andrnNazism’s heroic vitalism, personified inrnwarrior gods and Aryan heroes, was propagatedrnthrough politicized revivals of paganism,rnthe premodern mythology ofrnthe Volk or the race. Onlv the cult of thernpagan warrior (as opposed to the Christianrnknight), so the avatars of neopaganismrnreasoned, could prepare the peoplernfor the brutal actions necessary to ensurernthe survival of the race in the mercilessrnstruggle for biological dominance.rnThe traumatic events of the lastrndecade have left the Russian peoplernshaken and adrift, and some ideologuesrnof the far right have sought to satiate thernreligious-ideological thirst of the peoplern(particularly young people) with a headyrnpolitical brew that disconnects the Russianrnnationalist impulse from Christianity,rnsubstituting a bastardized and politicizedrnheroic neopaganism for traditionalrnreligion. The neopagan revival itself canrnbe traced back to the 1960’s, when a distinctlyrndifferent breed of Russian nationalismrnreared its head, one that was anrnevolutionarv’ step awa)’ from the StalinistrnNational Bolshevism that had satisfiedrnthe religious-tribal imperative within thernRussified Soviet Union’s elite and dominantrnnation up to that time. Neopaganism’srnoriginal prophet was one ValeryrnSkurlatov, who played, and continues tornplay, the role of philosopher-priest inrnRussian neopagan circles. Skurlatovrnpopularized the pagan mythology of ThernBook of Vlas, a forgery originally concoctedrnby a Russian emigre, in the Brezhnev-rnera Soviet press. This chronicle cumrnAPRIL 1996/45rnrnrn