Month: October 2016

The road goes on forever, but the party’s already ended

shutterstock_142573684.jpgMany people failed to grasp the last several posts I wrote and gathered the mistaken conclusion that I have turned into a David French, Ben Shapiro or worse yet, Glenn Beck. The ‘Never Trump’ movement is cowardly, infantile and a naked grasp for relevance and readership by pundits quickly becoming irrelevant. Modern day Sophists descended from on high, telling the deplorables to get back in line with the Red Team statists or, gasp, we will be…deplorable…morally bankrupt…horrid little monsters that will prove Hillary’s statements correct. Whatever. The pundit class has not comprehended the sea change in media and aside from a very few, is only somewhat less extinct than the major media at this point. The new media complex of an innumerable number of blogs, Twitter accounts, and websites like Breitbart and Buzzfeed also suffer a lack of true perspective. Oft times a newly minted journalism major has very little grasp on what life as an adult is really about, and far too few are well-read enough to really proffer any real insight in the first place.

Given the newest chapter in the Anthony Weiner saga, the previously dismal looking chances of a Trump presidency have begun to brighten. I am still of the opinion he will never see the presidency, but the Clinton machine appears unable to shake the scandals as the election draws to a close. Unfortunately, many are under the impression that the Trump Train will ride in like Julius Caesar and vanquish the bureaucracy. In reality, the difference to D.C. between a Hillary or Trump presidency is one of a friendly or unfriendly ‘revenuer’ showing up in Franklin County during the Prohibition. More or less ‘shine may leave, but one man will not change an entire black market built around a single commodity. D.C. is built around one commodity, power. Every single person in the federal government has a vested interest in maintaining or increasing the size of the feeding trough, as do the oft-ignored private sector companies and contractors who have revenue streams relying on government contracts. Obama didn’t see the grants for $1M wasted on koozie research or $2M for jazz playing robots, I guarantee they never came across his desk. That…that is D.C., heroin addicts in charge of the poppy fields. It pains me to hear serious discussions about whether a single man is going to take on 2M+ bureaucrats and destroy the livelihood of several of the richest counties in the world…with a hostile Congress and 40% of the country convinced he’s the antiChrist.

We have heard endless discussion about the anger and frustration of the voters, and Trump being a symptom of the disease. Pray tell, why are we looking to a symptom to fix the disease? Trump is a shot across the bow, but unfortunately the American public has the collective memory of a goldfish. Talk to me when Congress finds the sand to actually make budget cuts, stop the NSA from stalking us, address unfunded liabilities or the myriad of other systemic problems with nearly every social program right now. If you are under the mistaken impression that the least powerful branch of government can somehow reign in the other two without massive abuse and overreach, then you are part of the problem. For every FDR, there has been a Congress to bankroll the programs and a judiciary to put a shroud of legitimacy around it. Look at the makeup and the voting habits of the 73rd Congress and you realize that while FDR was the CEO, Congress was the Board and CFO. Will actual conservatives enjoy a 70% majority in the House and 60% in the Senate? Of course not. What is being asked of him is on the scale of FDR, but even more radical. All of that assuming he threatens and browbeats SCOTUS into submission like Roosevelt. No, Trump will change little inside the White House. I submit he would do more lasting change if he lost and remained a public figurehead than if he won and was coopted into the Leviathan. Simply put, did eight years of Reagan solve anything? Did it reverse the path that FDR charted out for 20th century America? Tell me this will be different with a straight face.

c824f0e54cc69d89fe95f934213e9f18.jpgSome of you won’t like this, but it needs to be said. Lose the emotion and look at the situation rationally. The root issue here is the product being sold to us, not management. The product sucks. Our infrastructure sucks, forced pseudo-single payer sucks, the economy sucks, legalized government stalking sucks, Cold War 2.0 sucks and everything these people touch winds up poisoned. The answer isn’t to hope for an Iacocca, the answer is to quit serving me crap and charging me for chocolate. I don’t want a redo, I wan’t a refund. Talk to your neighbors and community that is angry about increasing government overreach, corruption and incompetence. Engage with them and point them in a direction that has long term consequences, not a flash in the pan that will effect no systemic fix. Auto-delegitimization is happening as we speak. Good. Use that frustration people feel to accomplish something real. Reform your own little community or your own neighborhood. Build something that lasts more than a presidential election and has a whole lot more benefit to your daily life than someone thousands of miles away who won’t ever interact with you. I don’t want to want to reform the latchkey tyranny we have created, I want to make it irrelevant. The best way for me to do that is build a local community. Turn the angst to something productive and start building. Be there for your neighbors, do more and be better than what you seek to replace. The most revolutionary thing you can do today is stop grumbling and start grinding. The long game requires consistent, small steps in the right direction. Part of that means making friends and not being the antisocial weirdo at the end of the street. Go forth and make the Beltway irrelevant.

 

Edit: In likely a vain attempt to prevent commentators from derailing this off to a direction that is pointless, this is not about whether you should vote for Trump or not. I’m not saying he would be a worse bureaucrat than Clinton or not to go out and vote. This is about the electorate and not the candidates. 

-Jesse James

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Personal Time

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Burying my grandfather today. We lost another old farmer to the inevitable march of time. His wife is taking it understandably hard, as is my mother. Prayers are appreciated. There are more important things in life than this, as much as I love y’alls acerbic commentary. Responses will be dealt with tomorrow and comment approval will suffer delays as well, unless I’ve approved comments of yours in the past. Take the extra time and go hug someone you love today.

 

All the best,

Jesse James, Esq.

Participation Rate: COINrage, Obamacare and the business model of tyranny

“The Afghan army is useless and the police are corrupt…So what does McChrystal propose? More useless troops and corrupt police. It’s a counter-intuitive solution…It’s all fine on paper, but that doesn’t translate into success on the ground.”

-Dan Plesch, Director of the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy at the School of Oriental and African Studies.


 

Counter insurgency (COIN), has largely been the method by which the American Empire has intervened in the Middle East post-2001 and spread…democracy. It pains me to hear that phrase, simply because it papers over the fact we are invading a sovereign country and represents a singular level of jingoism about America. If we spent half as much time and treasure on our own government rather than meddling in other nations’, perhaps a Clinton/Trump election and $20T in debt would not be staring us in the face. The empire always comes home, and I believe in the next six months we will see the tactics used overseas showing up on our front door.

slide11I would suggest another look at what COIN is and during that reading, you take them  and replace it with me. Ponder what a truly successful COIN operation looks like, not the failed attempts in the last decade. The Philippine-American war is rather insightful here, and perhaps you may find a few other inconvenient truths about American interventionism. I would also recommend looking at the supposedly successful COIN operation that the British ran in Kenya, and the brutality required for it to succeed. Concentration camps, starvation (quaintly known as ‘food control’), complete upending of the judicial system (special courts for terrorists…something we would never do here), forced labor and a militarization of the local law enforcement. Reading through the implementation of COIN by state actors is equal parts horrific and a word salad justifying the actions and explaining away the failure of it. As an academic exercise I was attracted to the concept, but to see its implementation in realpolitik is altogether a different matter. It is tyranny of the worst kind imposed on an indigenous population, successful only if you are willing to commit incredibly depraved acts as a state actor. The Dangerous History Podcast has an excellent discussion of irregular warfare with Bill Buppert, and I highly recommend it for a quick primer. Much credit goes to both of the gentlemen for putting a fine point on the historical roots of COIN.

The relevance of COIN to the American public is how similar it is to the business model of several of the most recognized legislation in America. It is imperative that I understand and work within the laws of economics, because my livelihood directly depends on my ability to do so. I don’t mean the dark arts of economists who largely compete with weathermen in the predictive accuracy department, but the concrete world of make money…or go out of business. Market share is a large determiner of you business plan, whether you intend to make artisanal bird feeders for $10,000 a unit or sell tacos for $1. Your market share largely determines whether you have a large or small amount of growth opportunity and the volume of your sales. Without getting into the technical aspects, it is one of the pillars of a successful business and a huge factor in determining capital expenditures and the viability of your business model. It does not take an MBA to realize any plan requiring 100% market share to succeed is only somewhat less insane than Greenspan and Yellen’s monetary policies. Obamacare is an excellent illustration of this, a key part of maintaining the financial integrity of the plan is enough net-positive contributors (young, healthy people) to offset the net-negative contributors (older, or chronically ill people). The issue is convincing the net-positive contributors to buy into the plan, when there is a financial disincentive to do so. There are ways to do so, but the government, conveniently enough, can simply frame the question in a way my employer never will be able to. Join or else. Mandatory compliance is a business model only afforded Mordor on the Potomac, and likely one of the reasons they come up with such hare-brained, ill-advised ideas that would never work in the private sector. Social Security is another prime example. Regardless of whether I am willing to sign a binding contract forever releasing myself and the SSA from any monetary obligations to each other, I am still required to pay into it for my own good. Even as part of the 1% in the educational hierarchy, I simply cannot be trusted to know what is good for me.

mau-mau-afpThe moral dilemma that rises out of this situation creates an impossible choice for the state. The problem children must be brought to bear for the plan to succeed or the plan fails, hurting the very people it is intended to help. It devolves into a situation of picking which animals are ‘more equal’ than others. The squeaky wheel cannot possibly squeak enough and must be drug along against its will. I believe you see this in the operational decisions made by empires in the long and sordid history of COIN. The existing social and political order is already destroyed, presenting the occupational force with the choice of success at any price or leaving the people they intended to help in an even worse situation than when the occupational force got there. Consider the situation in Afghanistan, the destruction of cities and basic infrastructure as both sides fought over urban centers and the wholesale upheaval of the social and governmental status quo. Either the U.S. left the country in ruins with the eventual return of government by the Taliban or became the bad guy to beat the bad guy. I simply do not want to contemplate the extent we would have to go to eliminate the Taliban/AQ/IS/___ presence in Afghanistan. You cannot force someone to change their mind and as the British have so amply illustrated in their colonial adventures, you are left with the choice to liquidate the population to the point of nearly 100% compliance.

Those who read my previous post about identity politics and its destruction of the middle ground will see this article as a description of the possible likely secondary or tertiary outcome of that mentality. That article was originally the introduction to this one, but I felt it deserved treatment as a separate topic. Both sides of the aisle view the other as an insurgency within their own country. The TEA party, at its core, was an expression of frustration by a plurality of the electorate that they did not feel their interests were being represented by the GOP. I believe it was the beginning of the schism we have seen this year, and it was suppressed or sufficiently co-opted to divert the aims of it. Once again it proved the age old fact that the more you beat down on an ideology, the more steel it puts in their spine. Middle America cannot relate or empathize with the coasts and particularly the segment dominating the media establishment and the coverage. Neither can most of the people in Hollywood or the New York/D.C media establishments comprehend how someone in Nebraska or Appalachia sees the world. I don’t think they particularly care to understand how they see the world either, and I suspect middle America has arrived at the same conclusion over the last decade if media’s trust rating is any indication. On November 9th COIN comes full swing onto American shores, and most won’t even recognize it. How far that goes is a matter of speculation, but I don’t see anyone looking to moderate the discussion.

The statists have provided a year-long commercial to those awake enough to see that a one-size-fits-all policy does not work for shoes or people. The statists continue to govern in a way that demands near-100% compliance and it will continue to force them to do increasingly extreme things. Rather than rethink the assumptions that put you into that unwinnable position in the first place, the plodding toward tyranny will continue. The word is often misunderstood, it is derived from the word illegitimate, a status rather than a method. The last time the US government was seen as illegitimate by a sizable amount of the population was in Lincoln’s time, and he also made the decision that to save America he needed to kill a sizable chunk of Americans. Six hundred and fifty thousand Southern souls later, the matter was decided. A large chunk of the country was burned, pillaged and a wound created that is still evident to this day, but he accomplished his goal. Was it really worth 11 stars on the flag? I submit by the time he realized the war would not be over in a couple months, he was already too invested to quit. Free to agree is not free. That goes for the Red Team and Blue Team. When disagreement and non-compliance is not tolerated, or liberty as it’s quaintly referred to, there will always come a point at which no amount of soft or hard power can stop it. Mrs. Clinton will likely be our next president, but I am uncertain she possesses any real grasp of the national zeitgeist, much less what the average person experiences day to day. Whether it is malevolence or simply ignorance, I believe she will alienate and marginalize a large enough number of people to create unrest of one kind or another. Given our government’s inability to see anything beyond the problem directly in front of it, I suspect an overreaction and digression into a COIN approach to American citizens. Regardless of whether it is soft or hard power, the escalation will continue. Brace for impact.

 

Jesse James

Killing Civility: The drone strike mentality and destruction of the moderates

In an era of weaponized sensitivity, participation in public discourse is growing so perilous, so fraught with the danger of being caught out for using the wrong word or failing to uphold the latest orthodoxy in relation to disability, sexual orientation, economic class, race or ethnicity, that many are apt to bow out. Perhaps intimidating their elders into silence is the intention of the identity-politics cabal — and maybe my generation should retreat to our living rooms and let the young people tear one another apart over who seemed to imply that Asians are good at math.

Lionel Shriver


 

intersectionalityOne need look no further than Twitter, or the headlines of major news media outlets on either side of the aisle to see both candidates being described as ‘Nazi,’ ‘pig,’ and ‘witch’ or ‘demon.’ Likewise, much screaming has emanated from both sides as we slowly watch the second and third order effects of identitarian politics begun in the 50’s and 60’s fully mature. Set aside your political views for a moment and pretend this is a race for class president rather than the highest national office. The strange new world in which we find ourselves in has stripped the intellectual landscape of any hope for a middle ground and the next president will be in the extremely uneasy position of a hopelessly fractured nation. To keep the good news coming, the Millennials are now of voting age and this will likely become the new normal, not simply in elections but in society as a whole. I look at the difference between the world my sister (7 years my junior) remembers and the world I grew up in and it is markedly different. The country can survive a statist such as Wilson or FDR, but I have serious doubts the country will come out of this unbloodied.

Identity politics is nothing new, but the statists have certainly seemed to wield the tactic significantly better in the last several decades of politics and social discourse. Combined with Hegelian dialect, it proved to be very successful at carving out a base among minorities during the LBJ era and while still retaining the Northeast elite. Like Penicillin, the statists used this newfound tool with abandon, and slowly it has not only succumbed to the law of diminishing returns, but spawned things completely immune to it. We have seen the saturation limit reached in the last eighteen months, but rather than adopt a different tactic the statists have resorted to even greater extremes. A new gender or microagression (pumpkin spice was the latest one) is discovered nearly every other day, creating a new class of victims with their own identity flag to fly. Political, ethnic, social, economic, regional, state, gender, sexual orientation and others I have surely forgotten have erected an insurmountable barrier to even basic communication between citizens. One now cannot utter a greeting to someone without risking offense to their preferred pronouns, look at them wrong, smile at them wrong or somehow approach them wrong. How can we possibly coexist in an environment like that?

maxresdefaultThe alt-right represents the adoption of identity politics by the ‘conservatives’ now, as the Millenials who grew up with nothing more than identity politics in the 2008 and 2012 elections declare that all is fair in politics and war (though I repeat myself). Initially greeted with cheers by some, as it portrayed a movement willing to go toe to toe with the statists in the fecal slinging department. I understand the visceral reaction, because many Americans were simply tired of being painted as closet KKK or somehow wanting to bury people they disagree with on social or political issues in the backyard. It is insulting to be consistently cast as the root cause of America’s ills when your primary goals in life are were a mortgage, raising your kids and maybe a hobby or two. By wielding the bat of identity politics, the statists on both sides of the aisle have resorted to a drone strike mentality. Assassinate the character, and ridicule anyone who comes under the spotlight, in many cases ruining their business, personal life or more. Millions have engaged in this on various social media and the mass media platforms have pivoted like never before to this new 60 second news cycle. Every time this nuclear option is used, it creates blowback. In Afghanistan we found every time we killed someone’s kid, wife, cousin, brother, father or husband who happened to be standing next to a bad cellphone or just lived too close to someone we didn’t like, it created more terrorists than we killed. You can’t kill enough ‘collateral damage’ and ‘maybes’ to end terrorism. Likewise, you can’t dox or insult people fast enough to stop the madness. Someone sees it and says ‘Gee, they are just like me!’ and the cycle perpetuates.

Regardless of your thoughts about the alt-right and whether you agree with many of their policies or members, I submit they represent the end of civility and community within the political sphere and likely in the social sphere for much of America. Both Trump and the alt-right are a symptom of identitarian politics being carried to its logical end. Simply put, Marx won. The culture, family and community is in disarray and cannibalizing itself…a political and social melee that is dragging this entire country into the grinder. What this represents for the patriot community is a choice. Does the community gaze inward, coalesce and turn into one of the few remaining holdouts of sane people? Or, do we actively participate and marginalize possible supporters? The election will be over shortly and the political signs will be tossed in the trash. I’m speaking about three weeks from today, when 40% of the country is furious and the other 40% is filled with bloodlust and a desire to punish those who disagreed with them now that ‘their candidate’ is in office. Political balkanization will be virtually complete and social balkanization will not be far behind. It is my opinion that this will represent a penultimate opportunity to lead in your own community. Do not succumb to the drone war mentality, it is self-destructive and self-defeating. I promise you, you cannot create enemies fast enough to win. I’m not suggesting peace at any price, but the avoidance of opening up a second, third or fourth front. People don’t think clearly under emotional distress, so I offer this suggestion to you, dear reader. Chill out and prevail.

 

Jesse James

 

Edit: This post was originally an introduction to the Participation Rate: COINrage, Obamacare and the business model of tyranny. As such they should be read in conjunction with each other to fully grasp the point being made and a more in depth discussion of the ‘drone mentality’ discussed here. Much wailing and gnashing of teeth will occur in the author’s household  if questions/comments/rude, snide remarks demonstrate a clear failure to heed this helpful tip. 

Barba non facit philosophum

An intellectual heavyweight weighs in. Read it twice. Being outgunned is a problem, behind the mental power curve is defeat.

brushbeater

Every once in a while a concept comes along that’s so bad it must be addressed- or at least, countered with something rooted in anything aside from abject pontification. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve been a registered Libertarian since being eligible to vote- the Patriot Act pushed me in that direction, discovering a whole world of folks who seemed to embrace the philosophy of Locke with the passion of Thoreau and the rejection of the nepotism that comes from the two party snake. A lot of the talking points at least sound good, Survivalism and self-reliance was a long-standing cornerstone, the people seemed at least concerned with preserving and advancing the interests of individual liberty, a personal life philosophy of mine and one that’s becoming ever more difficult to reconcile.

Philosophy keeps being used- as with the classic exchange between Alec Lemas and Fiedler in Le Carre’s The…

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Deus Ex Machina: Crucifying the dream of limited government in the U.S.

I have been told by a respected member of the patriot movement that I routinely bring up rather heretical topics. I consider it a compliment, but also consider this a trigger warning…apparently the statists are not the only people who get bent out of shape confronting inconvenient truths. Much debate and discussion has occurred among the various free-thinkers here in the U.S. about the future of our government and what the replacement will look like. Thankfully, we have seen a gradual movement beyond ‘restoring the Constitution,’ but the discussion continues to be mired in the desire for the unattainable. I intend to put the matter to rest, driving a stake through the heart of the libertarian, anarchist, and paleoconservative. Undoubtedly this will result in consternation among the diehard supporters, but I believe looked at objectively, the facts will speak for themselves.

spr.jpgA government is an ethereal mixture of reality and perception. Governments exist at the whim of the populace at large, they rely on compliance by the vast, vast majority of the population to function. Consent of the governed is not a philosophical statement, but a statement of fact. A microcosm would be the nearest city to me, having a population of ~70,000, and a combined LEO presence of 300. Assuming every LEO will act in unquestioned obedience, it leaves us with a ratio of 233:1. In a strictly rational sense the perception of omnipotence, or at least near omnipotence is a larger part of the equation than the reality of non-parity of weaponry on a national scale and parity at the local level. As a result of this reliance on perception, a government is ultimately a reflection of the aggregate zeitgeist, intellect and education of the population. The government may have a long tether, but it is tethered to the population nonetheless. The services, authority and control that are acceptable will manifest themselves. Some will ask about PRNK or PRC and state that surely people cannot want that level of tyranny. The continued compliance of the general populace means that logically we must draw that conclusion. Perhaps revolt would be of horrific consequences, but the population is still making the choice that compliance is preferable to revolt. Few governments have the capability to quell a true rebellion of a simple majority of their population, and even fewer have leaders willing to exterminate 51% or more of their population.

The dire warnings of Jefferson, Franklin, Adams and other luminaries about the necessity of a specific culture and education level to maintain a constitutional republic largely fell on deaf ears. Because governments are a function of the aggregate populace, we can draw correlations between the manifestation of particular types of governments and the supporting populations. Populations who can support nearly all of the responsibilities historically delegated to governments, such as infrastructure, economic and social safety nets, and dispute resolution require the median citizenry (50th percentile) to operate at a higher function of both intelligence and self-regulation. Contra, the higher burden placed on a government, the less intelligence and self-regulation is required  by the citizenry. In social contract theory this can be explained through an equilibrium of exchange between the two parties, citizens and the government. Few services and regulation in exchange for a low level of compliance and monetary compensation for providing regulation and services (taxes). Abundant services and massive regulation require large amounts of compliance (a crude form of behavior modification) and monetary compensation. The entire philosophical idea can be expressed in terms of a bivariate quadratic equation, the respective unknown variables being self-regulation and external regulation in its most basic terms, but always self-balancing.¹

The application of this theory to modern and historical nations, particularly in the case of the United States, illustrates the problem with the forms of government having less regulation than the current model, a significantly degraded constitutional republic, or more accurately a socialist democracy. Many within the libertarian, anarchist and other more classically liberal forms of government focus on the proof of concept. Unfortunately, this philosophical exercise ignores the real-world limitations of the populace. In essence, they have designed a modern GE turbofan before the discovery of superalloys. The plan is sound, but the prerequisites are nonexistent. “The U.S. ranked 16th out of 23 countries in literacy proficiency, 21st in numeracy proficiency, and 14th in problem solving in technology-rich environments, according to the OECD survey.²” In terms of strictly literacy, “50% of adults cannot read a book written at an eighth grade level, 45 million are functionally illiterate and read below a 5th grade level, 44% of the American adults do not read a book in a year, 6 out of 10 households do not buy a single book in a year.³” The Flesch-Kinkaid scale ranks the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence at a 17.8 and 15.1 grade level, respectively. While unscientific, I believe it is completely reasonable to assert a wholesale ignorance of the philosophical, economic and moral philosophies that gave rise to the constitutional republic in the United States. Aside from the esoteric knowledge, the social norms have also been removed, leaving no functional bulwark to provide social pressure to behave responsibly in fiscal, personal or social matters. The populace has largely lost the ability to delay gratification for future growth, voluntarily place the benefit of the community or household over personal gratification and actively engages in persecution of deviation from the mean, providing a disincentive to excel in any meaningful field of work. In simple terms, the American populace has devolved to a point below which the original design of a constitutional republic can function. The equilibrium is becoming increasingly unbalanced as the populace fails to self-regulate and thus continues to push more and more decision making upon government entities.

finalAs the graph illustrates, I believe there is ample evidence to a positive correlation between the median intelligence and morality of a population and the type of government supportable by the population. As one increases along both the x and y axis there is a divestment of decision making by governmental bodies, because at its heart it is an inefficient way to distribute resources and artificially suppresses cultural and economic advancement. While IQ fails to wholly encompass the idea of intelligence, it serves handily as a label. What is truly meant by this label is the collective practical, philosophical and mathematical knowledge relating to everyday activities. At the level of anarchy the vast majority of the population requires a working knowledge of free market economics and possession of sound business acumen, as well as the foresight to make pragmatic contributions to public infrastructure. An example of this would be local businesses collectively widening and repaving a road to provide increased traffic flow for the town,indirectly benefitting the proprietors and recouping the expenditure via increase customer flow. As one moves down the curve, less and less collective intelligence is required. Statism for instance requires no thought by the local businessmen and substitutes that private exchange of ideas for a government order to widen and pave the highway, likely to increase traffic flow to the state-owned store where the profit-motive is nonexistent.

As you may note, a high level of intelligence without a moral bulwark results in sociopathic behavior. An amoral society cannot be a free society. Again, if we look at local businesses in an anarchist society we see the need for implicit trust between the owner and his customers. While in some cases tainted product might become immediately apparent, often it is not the case. Independent bodies might be established to ensure consumer confidence, but the opportunity for bribery and graft still exist without any moral component. Quite simply, individuals must discern between what they can do and what they should do. Simply because one has the ability to strip mine upstream from a local town and poison the water supply does not mean it is a moral decision. Maintaining a free society absolutely requires a significant level of cultural investment and the passing on of similar values to succeeding generations to prevent devolution or a complete crash to statism or tribalism. Conversely, cultural values and morality have little place and virtually no influence in highly regulated societies. As we have increasingly seen in the U.S., the religious and cultural spheres are being eclipsed by regulation stating what is and is not acceptable to believe, practice and say. The reason I specifically referred to Western cultural values is the undeniable fact that Western society has been the only segment of the world population to evolve past a functional monarchy. While Japanese and Chinese cultures have a long and storied tradition of relative stability, neither has been able to create a populace capable of sustaining more than a monarchy. Recent history has relegated them to either a constitutional monarchy that is quickly failing and a devolution back to statism.

Anarchy, panarchy, paleoconservatism and libertarianism are all exciting and largely untested forms of government. Interesting to contemplate and discuss, I do not discount the ideas as invalid, ignorant or irrational. What has been lost in translation is their unattainability. While most of the proponents of these forms of government are largely educated and moral people, there seems to exist a projection by many supporters that everyone else is much the same. If history, statistics and personal experience are any indication, one must take a decidedly low view of the public at-large in the United States. I believe the 2016 election cycle illustrates that point rather well. One candidate is markedly less felonious than the other, but in a nation of 360M+ people, these are not the two most qualified or even in the 1% of the most qualified. So my anarchist friends, I don’t hate you. I don’t even disagree with you on many things. I wish there were more of you. However the idea that people incapable of behaving responsibly with what limited freedom we have in this country will transform into a nation of John Adams’, Frederick Bastiats and Adam Smiths, is a vampire sucking valuable time and energy up from surviving the plunge to tribalism we are currently in. While not pleasant, it is time we put a stake in its heart and let it die. No doubt if we manage to survive the next few decades it will be a topic worthy of discussion, but even among many patriots and most conservatives, advanced forms of government are simply unsustainable. The public is now the equivalent of a 500 lb. obese pre-diabetic and we are arguing about whether he should climb K2 or Everest. Let it break and get out of the way. I know it sucks, but let go. A toast, here’s to the ideologues on the right side of the Bell curve and the wrong side of history. May we once again not only rise to such great heights as a people, but surpass them.

Jesse James

¹[ Nx² + Ny² = 0 ] I lack the necessary mathematical acumen and time to come up with an equation accurately representing the proposed model, but I believe this could be an advancement in our understanding of political theory. Pointy-head math types are free to email me.

² https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/10/08/us-adults-rank-below-average-global-survey-basic-education-skills

³http://literacyprojectfoundation.org/community/statistics/

The Punic Wars: Schrödinger doesn’t matter if you don’t get in the box

My fascination with the Punic Wars began when a kindly old man at church began giving a twelve year old kid old copies of Military History magazine. I dutifully recreated the battle on the dining room floor with Risk soldiers, providing ample plastic punjii sticks for all who dared intrude. I cannot point to a single moment where young JJ left the reservation, but I suspect my intense admiration for Hannibal had at least some effect. His invasion of Italy is one of the penultimate examples of simply refusing to play inside the box that ‘everyone’ agrees you have to play in.

Hannibal_traverse_le_Rhône_Henri_Motte_1878.jpgCarthage was a seafaring city, relying on their naval prowess in the First Punic War to unsuccessfully defend the homeland. For their leading general to suggest not only a land engagement against THE Roman legions but also an invasion from the north, was so far off the reservation Hannibal probably couldn’t even see the Andrew Jackson Casino on it. Those of you unaware of the topography of Europe will want to note that the Pyrenees and Alps represent significant obstacles to marching elephants and tens of thousands of men through Spain and into Italy.  Hannibal continued to demonstrate near prescience when it came to the Roman strategy, culminating in the Battle of Cannae and the utter destruction of eight reinforced legions with a force roughly half that size. The essence of his success was Hannibal’s utter refusal to operate within the accepted ‘box’ of military doctrine. Everybody knew that you didn’t drag an army over not one, but two mountain ranges, let your center collapse on purpose in battle and pick fights with a Roman army twice your size. Everybody was wrong.

Carthage enjoyed success under one of the most brilliant tacticians to ever grace the planet, but as politicians are wont to do, Hannibal’s talent was wasted on half-measures and incompetence. After Hannibal’s defeat at Zama and Carthage’s surrender, the city continued to decline militarily. Cato and other patricians had wanted Carthage razed and Scipio had declined to do so, offering Hannibal reasonable terms and allowing him to remain as a suffete. The Romans began to get hungrier, fueled by the insistence of Cato that Carthage still represented an existential threat to the empire. Like the U.S., Rome needed a pretext for war and commenced to making ridiculous demands to get one. First they demanded the children of the nobles, then presumably to reduce crime in the city, Rome demanded the weapons and armor of Carthage. Finally, Rome settled on the utterly reasonable demand that Carthage demolish the city and rebuild it further inland. Carthage responded by declaring war and Rome sent Scipio once again after little success from more politically favored generals. After a lengthy siege, Carthage burned for seventeen days, the  entire city was razed to the ground and the 50,000 people who hadn’t been starved, raped to death or died on the walls were sold into slavery. Losing to Rome was less than ideal, particularly if your empire had very personal and ugly history with them.

schrodingers-catThe statists have been making increasingly ridiculous demands on the dirt people, in the form of one emergency measure or another, assuring us the entire time it is needed to keep us all safe from ourselves and ‘for the children.’ The state demanded a piece of our gross income, demanded control over state commerce, demanded we ask permission to own a gun and told us what kinds we could buy, demanded we surrender basic dignity to fly, demanded to read our emails and watch us everywhere, and have recently upped the demands to include reparations and murdering or assaulting those who disagree with their demands. There seems to be a general consensus that the sky people see us as an existential threat. Their approach has been much the same as Rome’s, pushing for an increasingly absurd list of concessions that makes little sense to the average dirtling. The demands make perfect sense however when viewed through the paradigm as a pretext for war or self-immolation, whichever the dirt people choose. The Romans knew Carthage wasn’t going to move the entire city inland and that is PRECISELY the reason they made the demand. One can now begin to understand the results the statists would like to achieve, and the position in which they believe themselves to be. Schrödinger  famous thought experiment comes into play here. The statist’s don’t know whether we will choose self-immolation or war, but it simply doesn’t matter. The cat may have bought an hour if the vial doesn’t break, but the ultimate result is never in question, merely the timeline. America and the patriot movement is moving along the same timeline. The Trump election is the dirt people sweating because the clock has hit fifty-nine minutes and there’s a 50/50 chance that vial is about to break.

All well and good, right? Most people paying attention are aware that the statists feel the dirt people are an existential threat. While we are a productive lot, productivity that can be replaced by Third World refugees who are not armed, uneducated and used to living in a centralized state, we are not irreplaceable. To put a fine point on it, we are not needed, and more importantly not wanted. The crux of the matter is how to respond to this incremental push towards war. The parallels break down in many respects when you factor in the parity of force and the nature of internecine conflicts. The truth remains however that we are in a box. Much like the proverbial cat Schrödinger used to explain quantum mechanics, you have two options, but one result. But…what if the cat chose to chew through the box?

The collective reaction of the patriot movement, not-but-still-kind-of III%ers and Constitutionalists has generally been thus far stupidly predictable. Newtown. Gun rush. Charlotte. Gun rush. The time in between? Pretty much the same. They push, we back up a step and bristle. The statists galvanize, fund, equip and structure an entire cultural movement inside of two years? We bristle. The statists effectively have a weaponized subset of the the population with built in deniability. Our response has effectively been the same since Waco. Despite its stunning effectiveness thus far…perhaps we should cease with the deceased equine flagellation and refuse to play inside the box. I don’t know your area like you do, or at least I shouldn’t. The statist’s greatest weapon at this point is twofold, 1) economic and historical ignorance, and 2) identity politics. Some of you are convinced that we cannot turn the tide, and perhaps you are right. How about the tide in your town? It would be ___ number of people NOT shooting or informing for the other side. The BLM people are impossible to reason with? Have you tried? Do you even know who the community leaders are in the black community? Perhaps the fallacy of the Great White Bogeyman becomes harder to believe when the GWB makes some killer barbecue and can find common ground with you. The paradigm might even shift if the GWB, gasp, agrees with you about police overreach and doesn’t have some deep, dark desire to ride around in white hoods and terrorize them. I suspect this would cause significantly more consternation for the statists than continued stockpiling of ammunition.

What I am suggesting here is not some Glenn Beck-esque kumbaya session with an utter abandonment of values and a good cry session. Community outreach is about identifying a need, finding a way you can meet that need, and effectively meeting the need. The implementation of this is intensely local, I doubt it will work in places like San Francisco or Camden, but the rest of the country is a hodgepodge. You will never convince the hardliners, but the other 60-70% of the population is largely up for grabs. Go out and grab them, and I don’t mean the ones that already look like you, talk like you, and vote like you. Quit being intellectually lazy! It is no great feat to go out and nudge someone who is an eight on the Freedom Scale™ to a nine. Many of the people tacitly supporting BLM or Hillary or perhaps neither are woefully ignorant on where our republic came from or why they should even care. The Bubba Republicans don’t know why they are voting for the Red Team anymore than the BLM people do. Get out of your comfort zone and be a Hannibal. Refuse to play the game and do what the enemy considers impossible.

Many will skim this and come away with the conclusion that I am living in 2008 or maybe 1858. What is being discussed here is not a political goal, or some way to avoid the terminal trajectory we remain on. I’m talking about not allowing the statists to continue to isolate our ideology and our culture. Opportunities exist to deny the enemy of that advantage. We should be able to educate people about WHY our ideas are better than theirs, in a non-confrontational and informative way. Moreover, there is no reason not to be ambitious about that and any other ways you come up with to engage your community. While you may not find anyone you want in a ranger grave next to you, it could be the difference between a phone call saying there’s some shady guys in uniform looking for you and someone calling the guys in uniform. The defeatist mentality I have seen many take, convinced we are the ‘only ones’ and anyone outside our .00001% must be an alien life form is both unhelpful and boringly predictable. It is merely grumbling while the city is dismantled and moved inland one…last…time. Go engage your community, and be charming, disarming and the person that somehow seems to know everybody. I don’t agree with many of the people who call me a friend, but that doesn’t prevent me from using them for intel and fostering a relationship that will hopefully move them closer to supporting my goals and ideology. In closing, figure out how to break the box or make your peace with the inevitable outcome.

 

Jesse James