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.
Carthage 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.
The 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.