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Do not give in to Evil, but proceed ever more boldly against it

Monday, August 4, 2008

What Is To Be Done - Sitrep: August, 2008

Inspired by Billy Beck's comment and originally intended as comment at Kevin's place here, the comment software refused to accept the essay due to the number of "carriage returns":

One of the many aspects of the First Major North American Unpleasantness (1754-1783) that has not made most history books was the amount of internecine looting, slaughter, rapine, and arson that occurred over the course of our own Thirty Years' War.

Take any two or more groups from the contestant set (British military, North American British military, French military, North American French military, nominal Spanish forces, post-4/19/1775 "American" military, aboriginals allied with one or more of the former, irregular troops allied with one or more of the former, so-called "civilians" allied in thought and deed with one or more of the former, and the "just leave me alone" civilians), mix them vigorously, and you can bet pretty safely on very ugly things having happened, repeatedly, to all, by all.

At stake economically was control of the North American continent and its resources, including (especially?) its broadly-defined tax base. Having defeated the French, British, Spanish, and their proxies by 1848, the Federals next turned domestically. That issue was largely decided as of 4/9/1865, with the final skirmishes being fought during the period from March, 1933 through August, 1971.

In securing for itself global hegemony for the fiat US dollar, the FedGov in Washington won the war not only for North America's economy, but for the entire world's economy - at least for a time. But in doing so, it laid the foundation for its own demise.

Once Nixon closed the gold window, the die was cast. The nearly forty years of FDR and post-FDR rampant deficit government spending, backed with reckless expansion of the US money supply by the Fed Reserve, was there as precedent for all future Presidents and Congresses to follow, right up to the very edge of the national bankruptcy abyss.

It is there, today, that we totter - $9.5 trillion USD in debt to the ChiComs, the oil-producing nations, and other strategic competitors, with a cool $52 trillion USD (more than 3X annual world economic output) pending and growing in unfunded future FedGov liabilities.

However, the essential philosophical questions at hand in that economic contest - today, 300 years in the past, and for as long as homo sapiens remains extant - are the same essential questions underlying the "pragmatist" vs. "absolutist" POV on guns and defiance towards government:

Who owns you, your life, your freedom, and your property?

Is it you?

Or is it someone else?

What if that someone else promises to let you control some of your life, some of your freedom, some of your property?

Does the answer change?

Does the answer change if that someone else guarantees to keep your control of your life, freedom, and property at a very high level, according to a written document that you have read and approved?

What if that someone else threaten to seize some or all of your life, freedom, or property if you don't submit to the rules of that someone else?

What if those rules that you previously accepted are changed by that someone else?

Does the answer change now?

What if that someone else gives you property it has seized by force from someone else in exchange for your cooperation?

What if that someone else promises to leave you, your family, and your property alone if you simply provide information on local "domestic terrorists"?

Does the answer change now?

And what, if anything, are you personally willing to do about it?

[A note to the "no initiation of force" crowd: if you don't think that the collection of taxes at the Federal, state, and local levels is not backed with both implicit and explicit governmental force directed against your property and, ultimately, your life - just stop paying taxes and watch what happens.

Force was initiated a LOOONG time ago, FWIW.]


Those questions - who owns me and my stuff, and what am I willing to do in support of my position - underpin both all of the prior conflicts on this continent and today's escalating confrontations here in the US.

The opposing forces remain the same. On the one side, there are elites (be they royalists or collectivists or any shade therein) who believe that those "others" outside of the elite are mere cattle destined solely for ever-more-efficient exploitation. The concept that such peons would possess a galaxy of rights simply by virtue of their existence is heresy to the elites. After all, without untermenschen, how do we know who are the Übermenschen?

On the other side are individualists, who by definition have a hard time getting along with anyone - most of all each other.
:-D

Thing is, there are an awful lot of individualists who, as history students, have learned that the elites' tactics seemed to have trended over the past century from subordination/exploitation/exile towards mass extermination (at least of those deemed as dissidents, both individually and collectively).

Ergo, goes the thinking, since by virtue of one's individualist status, one has already been likely marked by the elites for torture and post-information-extraction extermination, why would any rational opponent play the elites' game?

Why wouldn't the rational opponent play his/her own game, according to their own rules, mindset/skillset/toolset, and timetable, against whichever of the elites' minions and their allies is available?

Isn't that a better choice on the available information as the former United States, its neighbors on the North American continent, each country's residents, and our global strategic competitors/lenders hurtle towards the coming 21st-century high-tech Major Unpleasantness, especially when compared to the electoral arithmetic and cultural improbability of a decisive victory for individual freedom via the so-called political "soft war"?

It's unpleasant in the extreme to face, but the pro-freedom, pro-individual, pro-principles segment of the American populace is a decided (and frankly, despised) minority.

Plans predicated on any other demographic assumption will almost certainly come to ruin.

And to those who say such beliefs render their adherents into criminals and will lead to anarchy, isn't that where we are today?

Or are rational folks supposed to accept that we live today in a nation ruled by laws, not men, and that the five-Robed-Wonders temporary majority in Heller has mooted answers to all of the essential questions posed above?

Tempus fugit.

15 Comments:

Blogger Kevin said...

And to those who say such beliefs render their adherents into criminals and will lead to anarchy, isn't that where we are today?

Yesterday I drove to the grocery store and exchanged some of my fiat currency for foodstuffs, some of which was imported at ridiculously small cost from the other side of the planet. Today I went to the government-built rifle range and shot two government-contract manufactured rifles chambered in government-contracted calibers, one of them using government-surplus ammunition. I drove to and from the range on government contracted and maintained roadways that were patrolled by government agents placed there to ensure that users of the roadways obeyed the government's traffic laws, and who would, should there be an accident, respond with life-saving efforts up to and including airlifting victims to the nearest trauma center for treatment.

Never once did I fear feral gangs might come and take from me my property or my life. Nor did I fear Federal gangs might do the same.

So no, we don't have anarchy today.

But there sure do seem to be some people out there just waiting for it with bated breath.

August 4, 2008 at 3:11 AM  
Blogger Concerned American said...

Try doing the same shooting thing in DC, MA, NJ, Chicago, NYC or CA. Not everywhere is AZ, amigo.

Re the fiat for foodstuff exchange, didn't it take more of the fiat currency this year for the same amount of food as opposed to last year? Didn't it take much more fiat to buy the same amount of food as it did five years ago?

As to the patrolled by government agents thing, aren't they The Only Ones we read so much about?

Pointing out the problems doesn't create the issue.

Averting one's eyes from the problems does exacerbate the issue.

You're better than this, Kevin.

August 4, 2008 at 3:21 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Not everywhere is AZ, amigo.

But it's not anarchy anywhere.

Let me paraphrase a line from the film Serenity: "We get anarchy, I guarantee, you'll see somethin' new."

Re the fiat for foodstuff exchange, didn't it take more of the fiat currency this year for the same amount of food as opposed to last year? Didn't it take much more fiat to buy the same amount of food as it did five years ago?

On a face-value level? Yes it did. As a percentage of my personal income? Not even close.

As to the patrolled by government agents thing, aren't they The Only Ones we read so much about?

Here you're insinuating that all government agents do the "Only One" stuff. They don't. When I get my post finished I'll have something to say further on this topic.

Averting one's eyes from the problems does exacerbate the issue.

Who's averting? I'm just not looking at the world through shit-colored glasses.

You're better than this, Kevin.

Hopefully we all are. But it's a faint hope at this point.

August 4, 2008 at 4:23 AM  
Blogger Concerned American said...

"Shit-covered glasses", eh?

Well, that's something to look at...but I gotta tell you, in wiping them off and looking around, I see:

1) A bankrupt and corrupt Federal legislative, executive, and judicial branch;

2) Similar status at the state and local levels;

3) A grasping American electorate ignorant of our history, our founding governmental principles, and their own personal culpability for and in the coming shakeout;

4) An economy teetering on the brink of serious recession, at best;

5) Expanding organized gang activity in most urban, suburban, and rural areas;

6) A fractured and discordant "freedom movement" far more interested in slashing at each other than engaging the statists;

7) The two major political parties interested solely in perpetuating and expanding their power over the citizenry;

8) Britain, Canada, and the EU plunging into soft (for now) totalitarianism; and

9) Surveillance and analytical technology deployed by .govs at the Fed/state/local level that would make Orwell crap.

Are these things not there?

If they are, am I overweighting the significance of them, individually and taken en masse?

What is the exact point of departure between our trains of thought?

Somewhere, the idea that I look forward to this shitstorm got generated.

So let me be clear:

- I support and engage in political activity where a concrete goal is in sight - GA's new concealed carry law is an example of same, which I supported with money, phone calls, and letters.

- That being said, I am a strong believer in multiple fallback plans, especially when outnumbered and outresourced.

- I also believe that, in a phrase I learned from your writings, that "the courts will not save us". Heller is a perfect example of that premise, with its "yes, 2A is an individual right" left hand and its right hand bearing wholly-fabricated "reasonable restrictions" on place, type, and persons.

Pretty crappy trade-off, IMHO, given the 2A's "shall not be infringed" language.

You think the ratifying generation would have signed up for Scalia's version of the Second?

I don't think so either.

Oh well....the crowd keeps saying it was a famous victory...so that makes it so, right?

To me, the points of divergence are a) tactical (e.g., is it wise to say publicly that gun confiscation will lead to mass bloodshed?) and b) strategic (what is the likelihood of large-scale gun confiscations, and what to do about same?).

We disagree on those points, I think, and so be it. FWIW, I hope you and the other pragmatists are right. I have no desire to die anywhere else than in bed fifty years from now.

But I fear you are not right. And I fear even more that we (that's you and me) who know the difference between freedom and slavery will not be able or nor even willing to find each other come that dark and stormy night - should it actually come.

On that dark and stormy night (if it comes), we'll find out exactly how many police and other .govs are "The Only Ones" interested in preserving, at all costs, their pensions, regardless of the Constitution and God-given human rights.

My bet, based on the hundreds of cops, agents, judges, and prosecutors I worked with over the years as a .gov drug prosecutor, is more than 90%. That blue wall of silence that allows the currently-manifested "Only Ones" (both known and unknown to the general public) will get even more inpenetrable once enforcement of the new AWB II and other "domestic terrorism" laws gets rolling.

It's not known as the "Just-us" system for nothing.

And the "anarchy" point? Tell me you don't see that word as appropriate as applied to our country's financial situation, and the ever-growing gulf between the Republican/Democratic ruling elites and the citizens whom they are to represent?

The fact that actual anarchic bloodshed is currently confined to the Mexican border and the urban ghettos of LA, DC, Philly, Boston, Houston and other places where the white folks don't go is of little comfort to me.....

You do good work, and you're a thoughtful guy. Put as much work into preparing and vetting Plan B as you do in defending Plan A, and you'll be all right, no matter what happens.

For Liberty,

Peter

August 4, 2008 at 5:26 AM  
Anonymous Billy Beck said...

"Never once did I fear feral gangs might come and take from me my property or my life."

You're not talking about "anarchy", Kevin. You're talking about chaos.

This is a categorical difference.

The original point stands.

August 4, 2008 at 6:10 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

To me, the points of divergence are a) tactical (e.g., is it wise to say publicly that gun confiscation will lead to mass bloodshed?) and b) strategic (what is the likelihood of large-scale gun confiscations, and what to do about same?).

Here's the key difference between us. You can say that gun confiscation will lead to mass bloodshed all you want. You may even believe it. But I don't.

And I have New Orleans as evidence. Where was the 3% there?

Our job, Mr. Phelps, if we choose to accept it, is to build that coalition that you think is out there and that I think isn't.

Yes, conditions are pretty grim, but that's over the horizon for the overwhelming majority of the public.

Vanderboegh states that he thinks that with 3% of the gun-owning population willing to pull triggers supported by 10% more willing to supply and protect them that we can overcome . . . whatever. I don't think so. I think the 3% part might be right, but the support echelon needs to be closer to 30%.

And we don't have anywhere near that. I'm not even convinced that the 10% is there, yet.

And Billy, chaos is what follows anarchy. It's a damned short step.

This message will self-destruct in 30 seconds.

August 4, 2008 at 2:29 PM  
Anonymous Thomas said...

I live in Texas. It's not a Justice Department anymore. They have signs that say "Law Enforcement Center".

I've family that are Quislings but I'll stick with being one of the merry band of 3 percenters if need be and I won't shelter the Quislings if it comes to those days. Freedom is thicker than blood.

August 4, 2008 at 4:38 PM  
Blogger The_Chef said...

I'm not sure if I agree with your economic analysis.

let me preface this by saying that I am a supporter of a bullion or commodity backing to the US Dollar. I also think the Federal Reserve is a very very bad thing.

I'm not sure if the situation is as dire as many people want to think it is. Markets are very resilient as a rule and we've seen that in our country.

The inflation of the US dollar is a serious problem with no end in sight due to the political impotence of the Gov't.

Prices are affected by inflation but not equally nor are they affected at the same time, fluctuations in market conditions and the way in which money is injected into the economy tend to destabilize the upper levels of the macroeconomy by distorting things like the market for loanable funds, which ultimately affects all consumers but in different ways.

The problem is the Federal government, more damage was done to the US economy with the founding if the Federal Reserve than most of the citizens of this country know. They all see as a savior rather than a destroyer.

August 4, 2008 at 4:58 PM  
Anonymous Bill said...

Billy Beck is absolutely correct, you are talking about chaos, not anarchy. Huge difference, in fact, about as far apart as you can get.

You seem to have a poor grasp of economics if all you care about is that the higher cost of everything doesn't really affect you. Inflation is the government's hidden tax, and it destroys wealth like all of the others, some would say more so.

Maybe some "only ones" aren't behaving badly in your eyes, but they are ramping it up more and more every single day that goes by.

Time to take the rose colored glasses off and have a look see.

August 4, 2008 at 8:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I'm with you fella's" Oh Brother Where Art Thou.

August 4, 2008 at 9:35 PM  
Blogger Concerned American said...

Our job, Mr. Phelps, if we choose to accept it, is to build that coalition that you think is out there and that I think isn't.

Actually, I'll bet that there aren't more than (reaching into an orifice to retrieve an unsubstantiated piece of data) 100,000 really serious folks left in the country.

I agree that the numbers are upside-down, and that expanding that number is an urgent priority.

Talking about ultimate issues, as frightening as that legitimately is to many (most?) people, is the fastest way to do so, IMHO.


And I have New Orleans as evidence. Where was the 3% there?

Agreed, although NO was a threshold event for many people.

Vanderboegh states that he thinks that with 3% of the gun-owning population willing to pull triggers supported by 10% more willing to supply and protect them that we can overcome . . . whatever. I don't think so. I think the 3% part might be right, but the support echelon needs to be closer to 30%.

And we don't have anywhere near that. I'm not even convinced that the 10% is there, yet.


Once again, agree that the numbers are upside-down.

How best to change those numbers - quickly - is a key question.

I don't know the answer to what will work, but I do know this -- a large number (the majority?) of American gun owners would, if the game started tonight, comply with new .gov rules saying "turn in any rifle centerfire with more than 4 + 1 capacity".

Those folks are, in my view, beyond reach in the near term.

The folks that interest me are the "heck no" part of that population, as well their more-vehement brethren and sistren - the "eff no, and if you come here, I'll kill you and take your guns" segment.

Converting as many of the "heck no" crowd into the "eff no" crowd seems to be the key, whether Major Unpleasantness can be forestalled or is in fact inevitable.

Got any suggestions?

August 4, 2008 at 11:51 PM  
Anonymous Billy Beck said...

"And Billy, chaos is what follows anarchy. It's a damned short step."

Sez you. Convince me. I don't have a reason in the world to believe that, and I don't think you do, either.

August 5, 2008 at 12:18 AM  
Anonymous BillH said...

As long as the "unpleasant incidents" like Waco and NO are few and isolated, growing the freedom loving crowd who might be enlisted to actually do something will be tough.

As long as we can eke out a few 5-4's every now and then, that crowd won't grow on its own, because too many will be willing to accept "the win" to realize they just lost another piece.

For every city like D.C. or Chicago, or states like CA or NY or IL, we have states making gains like GA or even ID, so the crowd doesn't grow. (So many Idaho gun owners are ignorant of the situation in the rest of the country, I'd say there wouldn't be many of them who see anything coming down the pike, much less be willing at this time to do much about it).

As long as the anti's, the elites, and the .govs play that game, it will remain a chess game, and the so-called 3%ers will be a secret decoder ring bunch with very little impact on the lives of the rest of America's sheep.

My fear has always been that freedom might die an incremental death here, just as it has in Britain, AU, and the EU. In fact, the Founders warned us of that very thing.

The standoff between a few "wackos with guns" and an occassionally "heavy handed gov't agency" will most likely continue because they are tiny incidents to the 97%.

Our job, besides trying to avoid getting too PO'd at each other, is to wake up as many sheep as we can as fast as we can, so that they too can join us in our outrage at the loss of liberties. When most of the country couldn't even get a yawn going about the NO confiscations, or bother to be "indignant" about a situation like Waco or some of the recent no-knock raids, I'd say we've got more pressing problems in front of us than the flame wars currently blowing back and forth our corner of the internet.

There isn't just one answer. Figure out Plan A, plan B, and start working on a plan C. Not many of us own a single firearm. None of us should be relying on a single vision or a single plan. Just mho.

August 5, 2008 at 12:39 AM  
Blogger Concerned American said...

Another element to consider:

With due respect to all folks that are here (self included), the people who truly have their Plans A-F thought through and their stuff in one bag are NOT participating in this discussion.

The people who are here are either idealistic, foolish, or some combination thereof (and that most certainly includes this cat). Wise ones do not lightly speak ill of the government in writing, as Solzhenitsyn discovered with his letter-borne comments about "the man with the moustache".

If I were the State, I'd be a LOT more concerned about the people in this country who are currently observing OPSEC and COMSEC, while sharpening their edges.

Agitation is a necessary aspect to increasing the size of the forces with which Government must contend.

So is the infrastructure needed to sustain a dissident movement over time.

So is developing and maintaining the moral and physical courage to continue marching towards the opponents' lines, knowing how strong he is and how few and fractured your side is.

None of those elements of resistance are developed by sugarcoating the reality of what is happening today and what can logically be extrapolated from those events about tomorrow.

So let's coax people gently into the freedom pool, and assure them that the water won't hurt them.

But let's also have the intellectual and operational integrity to raise the issues of why they must learn to swim if they expect to survive.

The transnational socialists are NOT going to go away.

Freedom and individual dignity are NOT on the rise in the country and across the globe.

There is a reckoning en route, and it's not generations away.

Those who plan to make it through that struggle will need to know how to swim like hell.

August 5, 2008 at 12:59 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

If anyone cares, my response to Vanderboegh is up.

August 5, 2008 at 5:58 AM  

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