Two major issues bedeviling the Trump administration are health care and tax reform.  The key to resolving both is remembering that President Trump was elected a populist, not a Republican.  So far, what the Republican Party has offered on both issues has been its usual disinterest in the problems of people who are not from the .1%.  That includes most people who voted for President Trump.  Kicking your base in the butt is usually not smart politically.

What might the White House propose if it sought to offer populist solutions?  The key to health care is attacking the root of the problem:  vastly excessive prices.  Just as with the word “military”, if you can label something “medical” you can move the decimal point: everything costs ten times as much as it should.  I have a hospital bill sent to my grandfather, Bill Sturgiss, in 1952, his last year.  Everything except medications (which he got at half price as a druggist) came to $10 per day.  Accounting for inflation, that would equal about $200 a day now.  But a hospital room is not $200.  It is many thousands. 

I know of only one way to rein in costs:  Medicare for everyone, including prescription drugs.  I have been on Medicare for five years, and it works well.  It does not cover everything;  I also have supplemental private insurance.  But it covers the basics, which is what people most need.  That is what populist policies seek to do. 

How does Medicare control the cost? Simply. The provider bills x amount, but medicare says, “We only pay x-y.”  The provider cannot charge more.  Medicare for all would extend this pricing power to prescriptions.  If some profiteering scumbag buys a patent on an old, inexpensive medicine and raises the price by a factor of 500, Medicare would say, “Sorry, you will take the old price and like it.”  Any provider who now takes Medicare would have to accept the new, expanded Medicare.  Of course, people could pay from their own pocket for treatments beyond what Medicare considered justified.  But, again, for the people who voted for President Trump, the basics would be covered.  He would have delivered for his base.

Medicare also has the clout to take on a big and expensive problem into today’s health care: keeping people alive who have reached the end of their natural lifespan.  Often, the treatment is pure torture for the people involved.  They know it is time to go.  But the hospital will not let them.  And after torturing them uselessly for weeks or months, when the release comes, the provider sends an enormous bill to Medicare.  Who benefits?  Certainly not the patient.

One step in the right direction would be to allow people to choose hospice care over life-prolonging treatments when they want to.  Now, a doctor has to certify that further treatment is hopeless.  The decision should belong to the patient, not an entity that makes a great deal of money from prolonging treatment.  This is not assisted suicide.  It is just letting nature take its course while providing relief from pain.

On taxes, the White House could propose a populist tax bill with two basic elements.  The first is a series of reforms to the tax code, including large cuts in corporate taxes, that stimulate investment and create good-paying jobs.  There are policy institutes in Washington that specialize in determining how tax cuts should be structured to foster economic growth.  Not all tax cuts do so.  And some taxes, such as the federal gas tax, should be raised.  Our highways are falling apart and we need money to fix them.

What would make this tax bill populist is that it would raise, not lower taxes on the rich.  It should include a tax rate of at least 75% on all earned incomes over $1,000,000 a year.  Who needs more than $1,000,000 a year to live on?  Are they feeding the cat caviar?  The tax should not cover unearned income because that would discourage investment.  But the President’s populist base would get it that he is not just proposing tax cuts for the rich.

By adopting a populist rather than a Republican agenda, President Trump could potentially remake politics for a generation.  The next big political realignment will be uniting the anti-establishment elements in both parties, .i.e., the Trump voters and the Sanders voters.  A populist agenda can do that.  It is going to happen, from the left if not from the right.  It is in President Trump’s interest, and ours, that it be done from the right.

Charlottesville Was a Massive 4GW Failure

I’m sure that a lot of folks in the alt-Right, of whatever stripe, are feeling pretty black-pilled right at this moment. As well they should, because the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville was a disaster.  There’s no way to get around that. Don’t take what I’m about to say in the post below as “punching right”. Rather, understand it as me giving some well-meaning, and I believe much needed, counsel.

What everyone who is interested in this needs to understand is that the reason the Unite the Right (UTR) rally was a failure was because it completely neglected to take into account 4GW (Fourth-Generation Warfare) principles which can very easily be applied to civilian situations remaining at conflict levels below outright armed conflict.  In fact the leadership at UTR and during the subsequent chain of events once the rally got started broke just about every rule of 4GW that could have been broken.

My advice for any serious alt-Righter of any stripe who wishes to avoid future debacles like UTR would be to first, firstFIRST read Victoria by William Lind, and then familiarize yourself with Lind’s other materials on this subject.  If you haven’t done this yet, then stop what you’re doing, alt-Right involvement-wise.  You’re only going to hurt, not help your cause.

However in the meantime until you can do this, I’ll provide a few pointers as overview.

One of the cardinal principles of 4GW is that before you ever set foot on the battlefield you should already be tilting the battlefield in your favor.  Don’t fight the kind of battle the enemy wants in the place that the enemy wants to do so. So my first piece of (probably unheeded) advice would be to stop having rallies in the first place, at least of the kind that are likely to degenerate into brawls with antifa and BLM.

The fact of the matter is that right-wing activism always fails.  You’re not going to be able to steal a page from their playbook and turn the Left’s game against them.  This is because the Right does not have the institutional support of the politicians, bureaucracies, and other elements of the state apparatus. As a result, antifa can get away with beating you because the police will arrest you when you fight back.  In fact, the police may openly side with the antifas, as they did in Charlottesville.  Is it fair? Of course not. But life isn’t fair, so get a helmet.  Earlier this year, I thought there might be a chance that the legal climate for legitimate self-defence against antifas might be changing, but I have since revised that opinion in the negative direction. So the question is, why show up armed with sticks and shields if you’re not going to be allowed to use them without getting a criminal record?  Why give unsympathetic news media the opportunity to tar you dishonestly to millions of viewers across the country?  There are other means by which antifa and BLM can be countered (more on this below).

However, if Alt-Righters are bound and determined to continue to hold rallies, then they need to make some changes to how they operate.

First, your organisation needs to be decentralised.  When you’re the 4GW non-state actor in a conflict, it is not in your interest to give the hegemonic state enemy (in this case antifas, BLM, academia, the news media, and in many instances, the actual state) one or a few figureheads against which to strike.  Stop organising these very-publicly advertised rallies to be headlined by a few “big names” like Richard Spencer.  Instead, develop a heterarchic organisation based around small, local groups of trusted men (like, say, a männerbund).  Each group should have a leader who coordinates with other group leaders.  Be a distributed network rather than relying on a small number of centralised nodes.

Next, your organisation needs to maintain tight control on attendance and the activities of those attending.  Grow the organisation by vetting and integrating trusted individuals, not by throwing the gates open to large numbers of people who just “show up” for rallies.  Having a mentally unstable individual like James Fields just show up, be handed equipment with your group’s logo on it, and then turn around and run somebody over, giving the Left a massive photo-op, was a completely unforced error.  Additionally, this may also help you to avoid infiltration by law enforcement agencies, who will try to encourage violence and other lawbreaking.

Third, you need to plan what you’re going to do, and have contingencies in place, before you ever step into your cars to drive to the intended location.  This planning needs to go beyond the “show up here, walk here” level.  Group leaders need to have the layout of the entire area to be invested before they ever go in.  If the police show up “here” and try to bulldoze you into the arms of waiting antifa, then an escape route is “there.”  The area also needs to be “prepped” – teams of undercover spotters should be in place the day before to mark signs of antifa or other Left activity.  Find out where the ones with cars are parking and get license numbers and other info.  Perhaps even be on hand to photograph them before they “mask up.”  These spotters can double as “outrunners” immediately prior to and during the event.  Use unobtrusive, easily hidden two-way radios (or earbud-based systems like Spy Ear, if you can afford them) to keep in contact with those inside the action, warning of antifa and police movements.  As a 4GW actor at a force disadvantage, you can never have too much current information.

Speaking of information, you must, mustMUST control the flow of information into, out of, and about your rally.  We already know that all mainstream media outlets will be hostile to you and are going to present a distorted, one-sided view of the event.  It is imperative to have your own sources of information production and dissemination ready.  Do everything you can to counter the propaganda prior to your rally.  During the rally, be sure that you have multiple, disparately-placed sources recording the event and (this is important) streaming all photos and pictures to a secure server offsite, since antifas want to take away phones that could be used as cameras to record their activities.  Even better, use “spy” cameras which can be hidden on your person and record events without having to hold up a video camera or smartphone.  Have some of the spotters mentioned above embed near MSM journalists and try to blend in, thus allowing you to record events from the same angles as the media themselves.  The more of this information, the better.  Be creative.

Now, to move on to some other areas.

If you want to be successful in opposing the Left and advancing the alt-Right agenda, then you must be willing to operate within a realpolitik framework.  And rule #1 for realpolitik is this – you deal with the situation you’re in as it is, not as you’d like for it to be.  Relatedly, you need to understand the difference between social media and the real world.  The things you might do or say and think are funny on Twitter are often times not things you want to do or say in front of MSM television cameras.  We need to be ruthlessly pragmatic here.

This brings up an important point, which is that optics are everything.  I know a lot of folks in the alt-Right don’t like the term “optics” and think it is “compromise,” or even “cucking.”  However, to paraphrase James Carville, there’s a term for people who don’t care about optics, which is “loser.”  Frankly, people who aren’t serious about optics aren’t serious about winning.  Optics determines what millions of people – the people you’re hoping to sway if you’re smart and serious – will see, regardless of whatever the MSM and leftie outlets might say.  What do I mean?  I mean stop waving Nazi flags around and wearing t-shirts with quotes from Adolf Hitler and doing Nazi salutes.  Even if you mean it entirely ironically or non-seriously, nobody watching TV at home knows that.  If you’re actually a genuine National Socialist, well, understand that you are NOT, under any conceivable circumstances, ever going to rehabilitate the image of Nazism in the United States or other Anglospheric countries.  It will not happen.  You can cry about it, call people “cucks” for pointing out the obvious, or whatever else.  But people that we beat in a war that they declared on us first are not going to garner any sympathy outside your own circle.  Very, very few people whose Grandpa Bob fought the Nazis on Omaha Beach are going to side with you or want to be associated with any movement that even has a whiff of you around.  That is reality.

We know the radical Left is going to call us “Nazis,” regardless that it (most of the time) is not true.  They call everyone Nazis.  They call mainstream Republicans Nazis.  They call the NRA and gun owners Nazis.  They call all white people Nazis.  What’s not important is trying to virtue signal your way out of being called this by actually punching right.  What is important is making your case, while demonstrating via your optics that the accusation isn’t true.  Let folks see that it’s not “Nazi” to oppose white genocide and stand for the rights of whites, but that it’s merely what any right thinking, reasonable person would do.  Giving people the impression that you actually are a Nazi negates this entirely.

This illustrates two somewhat overlapping principles of 4GW, which are to maintain the moral high ground and to not harm the “civilian” population whose support you need and from whom you should be trying to draw resources.  In the United States and other Western nations today, if people perceive you to be an actual Nazi, you will not have the moral high ground.  If, on the other hand, they perceive that you are being falsely and unfairly accused of such by obvious liars, then you will have the moral high ground.

Hence, the next point is this – whether you like it or not, if you intend to get anywhere, you need the normies.  So don’t scare them.  There’s a reason they’re called “normies,” and this is because they are the norm.  They’re the mainstream.  Where they are at represents where the Overton Window is presently at.  And you have to be able to move the Overton Window before you can open it in your own house.

Hence, as much as it might pain some folks to do, the Alt-Right – if it is to actually sway large numbers of people, which is still important in our technically-though-not-really democratic system – must seek out areas of common ground with the broader Right – the alt-Lite, the free speech libertarians, the paleos, and so forth.  Identify areas of commonality such as opposition to antifa/BLM violence, opposition to one-sided application of laws, opposition to leftist attacks on free speech, etc.  Find things that normiecons will care about and focus on those things when dealing with normiecons.  Most normie conservatives won’t care that a white nationalist got de-platformed during a press conference.  They will, on the other hand, care that antifas are burning US flags and beating up cops in Seattle.  Meet the Alt-Lite where they’re at and use the Cernoviches and Posobiecs for the things they’re good for.  Instead of isolating ourselves, isolate the neo-Cons and the GOP cucks instead.

“But,” you might be saying, “I don’t like normiecons because they’re dumb and easily led herd animals!”

True.  They are.  But they can be woke with the right kind of red-pilling.  It took me a few years, but I transited from normiedom to NRx, and there are many others out there who can potentially make the jump to genuinely alternative Right circles as well.

The trick with most of the FReeper-style normiecons will be to reach them the right way.  We’ve already established that most normiecons are easily led.  So lead them.  Put the rope around their harness and draw them, step by step, out of the corral and into the real world.  One good way to do this is to understand the distinction between dialectic (argument) and rhetoric (appeal to emotion), extensively discussed by Vox Day (example here).  While normies may not be swayed by intellectual arguments presented in forums such as Social Matter (which are generally reserved for higher-level woke individuals), they may well be swayed by intellectual arguments disguised as emotional appeals which present dialectical facts and truths in a rhetorical way (which is why good memes are so effective).  Hence, what they “feel” in their heart will match what they “know” in their head and “see” with their eyes.  I cannot emphasise enough the importance of combining these two facets every time you deal with normies in any arena, whether online or in real life.

Further, activities of the Alt-Right designed to counter antifa/BLM more robustly than just through words on an internet forum must be geared towards gaining and keeping the moral high ground. Say you want to get back at the radical Left for pulling down Confederate statues by knocking over one of theirs.  Quick: make a decision – do you knock over a statue of Martin Luther King Jr. in Montgomery or a statue of Lenin in Seattle?  The right answer is Lenin in Seattle.  Even though they may do so wrongly, most normiecons still lionise King and think he was “a force for good.”  On the other hand, they all hate Lenin.  So if you knock over Lenin’s statue, not only did you do something many normiecons wish would happen anywise, but the Left doubly condemns themselves through their subsequent efforts to defend the statue and to criticise its toppling.  The optics on that will be radical Left fruitcakes defending an anti-American Communist who, directly or indirectly, murdered millions.  The wokeness would move from just a relative few folks on the Alt-Right to millions of normiecons.

On the other hand, if you topple the statue of MLK, you just handed the Left and the MSM the opportunity to saturate the airwaves for weeks with racist, white supremacist destruction of the statue of an “America hero of the civil rights movement.”  That would be stupid.  Don’t do stuff like that.

In closing, it ought to be obvious that the sclerotic, predictable strategies currently employed by the Alt-Right are not working anymore.  The Left has obviously adapted to them, and failing to anticipate this and to understand the ground they were on led to the shellacking the UTR ralliers received last Saturday.  The key is to develop more decentralised, more agile methodologies drawn from the principles of 4GW.  Knowing these principles, however, is only half the battle.  The other half is applying them intelligently in a way that maintains and keeps the leftist enemy always reacting while never able to act independently.  How individuals and small groups do this is, of course, up to them.  A final concept which is often applied by Lind when talking about 4GW is the use of auftragstaktik, roughly “mission orders.”  This principle essentially amounts to a unit being given an order to achieve a goal, while being left with the flexibility to determine the means of going about doing so.  This principle avoids the rigidity of top-down control that can hinder and even paralyse efforts to obtain the desired end.  In other words, alt-Righters who want to fight the Left can do better than to simply repeat what’s already been done.  Use 4GW principles, apply auktragstaktik, and be innovative.

 

This article was originally published at The Neo-Ciceronian Times.

The View From Olympus: The Identitarians

In Fourth Generation war, the most dangerous type of invasion is invasion by immigrants who cannot or will not acculturate. America has been fortunate in that most of our immigrants are Christians and can, in time,  become Americans culturally as well as legally. We do need to slow the rate of immigration greatly to permit acculturation.

But in Europe, the invasion is far more dangerous because most of the immigrants are Islamic. Many of them will not acculturate. They are there to change Europe’s culture into their own by offering the usual Islamic choice: convert or get your throat cut. Europe’s invasion by immigration is a threat to its historic, Christian identity.

Fortunately, a new political movement is rising in Europe to defend that identity. They call themselves Identitarians, and they are beginning to take direct action to curb immigration from North Africa. 

Several columns ago, I cautioned that if European governments will not act to defend their countries’ historic identities, their citizens will start doing so on their own. Virtually all of western Europe’s governments are dominated by cultural Marxists, which means they will put out the welcome mat for immigrants from other cultures (“multiculturalism”).  Cultural Marxists’ goal is to destroy Western culture and the Christian religion, goals set by Gramsci and Lukacs in 1919 and faithfully adhered to ever since. They will ally with anyone who will help them attain those goals, even people who will cut their own throats.

The July 21 New York Times carried a long article about the Identitarians titled “Italian Youths Find Mission in Disrupting Immigration”. The piece tells the story of a young Italian, Lorenzo Fiato, who helped man a small boat that attempted to block another boat that intended to “rescue” immigrants at sea and bring them to Italy. Many of the rescue boats are operated by left-wing non-governmental organizations (NGO’s). The Times reported that “More than 93,000 migrants, the majority sub-Saharan Africans, have been rescued and taken to Italian ports so far this year. There is a concern the  arrivals could top 200,000 by year’s end.      

The key paragraph in the Times article notes that

Mr. Fiato and his allies around Europe suspect aid ships of colluding with human traffickers and believe immigration amounts to a Muslim invasion. They wanted to disrupt and monitor the operations of rescue vessels and make sure they did not cross into Libyan waters, cooperate with human traffickers, or bring more migrants to Europe’s shores.

The Times added, “In Italy, members of Parliament have excoriated the mission. . .” Of course.

As Thomas Hobbes reminds us, the state arose for only one reason: to bring order. Immigrants from other, often primitive and hostile cultures bring disorder. If states refuse to keep them out and insist their own citizens just accept disorder and live with it, those states will lose their legitimacy. Fourth Generation war will spread as citizens do the only thing they can do to defend themselves, their communities, and their nations and take direct action against invaders. Their government will become irrelevant or a hindrance and people, especially young people, will transfer their primary loyalty away from the state to other entities, including movements such as Identitarians. The state has no one to blame except the cultural Marxists who make up the ruling class.

This is especially true in Italy where a solution lies ready at hand. Italy has a good navy that includes a strong amphibious force. That navy can easily make a lodgement on the Libyan coast, which is where most of the immigrants sail from and where, NATO having destroyed the Libyan state, there is no effective beach defense. Round up all the illegal African immigrants and dump them on the beach the navy has seized, then go back to sea. Not only will this save Italy from invasion, it will stem the migration as word spreads that you can no longer get to Italy. Lives will be saved because the African hordes will no longer put to sea.

Of course, the Italian government will do no such thing.  It doesn’t actually give a fig for the migrants’ lives (the Times, quoting the Italian interior minister, says about 2,000 have drowned this year).  All it cares about is destroying the Christian West by submerging it in an alien sea.  Can anyone still find Tarpeian Rock?

The View From Olympus: Misdefining the North Korea Problem

President Donald Trump is reported to be frustrated by the lack of good military options for dealing with the North Korea problem. This is not the fault of the U.S. military. It stems from an inescapable military reality: geography. Seoul, South Korea’s capital and most important city, lies close by the North Korean border. North Korea has thousands of artillery pieces, both guns and rocket launchers, within range of Seoul. If the U.S. takes any military action against North Korea, intended to delay or destroy its nuclear and long-range rocket programs, North Korea can roll those artillery pieces out of their caves and revetments, bombard Seoul for, say, 20 minutes, then roll them back in before we can attack them from the air. Then its our move: do we reply by starting an all out Korean war? What else can we do? We’re back to the current situation where all military options are bad.

But saying that all military options are bad is not the same thing as saying we have no good options. There is a diplomatic option that can get us out of our current frustrating situation.

To see that diplomatic option, we must first understand that we are misdefining the North Korea problem. The problem is not that North Korea is developing nuclear weapons to mount on ICBMs that will be able to hit American cities. Britain, France, and Israel all have submarine-launched missiles that can hit American cities with nuclear warheads. We don’t lose much sleep worrying about those weapons. Why? Because we have good relations with Britain, France, and Israel. If we were to develop good relations with North Korea, its missiles and nuclear weapons would not worry us any more, for the same reason. In other words, the problem is a policy and diplomatic problem, not a military problem. 

Can we develop good relations with North Korea?  It is certainly worth trying. There is no reason to think that Kim Jong-Un is irrational.  His primary objective is to remain ruler of North Korea. So long as the United States is his most dangerous enemy, that means deterring any American military action designed to unseat him. The best way to do that, from his perspective, is to be able to put a few nuclear weapons on American cities. That is a rational calculation.

Were we instead to offer to normalize relations with North Korea, his calculation should change. With the U.S. no longer a threat, he would have the option of stabilizing his rule by improving North Koreans standard of living. China shows that doing so can legitimize a ruling class.

Under its new president, South Korea would probably welcome an attempt by the U.S. to normalize its relations with North Korea. North Korea, in turn, is facing a disastrous drought and potential famine. It has every incentive to accept an American offer that would include substantial food aid. 

Donald Trump was elected President to bring change to Washington. He has said he would be willing to sit down with Kim Jong-Un over a hamburger and talk. When the Cold War ended, the Korean peninsula lost all strategic meaning for the United States. There is no reason we should have American troops stationed there. Normalizing relations with North Korea would lessen our international liabilities, save us billions of dollars annually, take thousands of American troops and dependents out of harms way, and make North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile programs irrelevant to us. 

It is not true that we have no good options in North Korea. We have a good option. Can the Trump White House look beyond the military options that have become America’s first choice in all situations? It was elected in part to do so. Before we find ourselves in a disastrous war, President Trump should call Kim Jong-Un and see what he likes on his hamburger.

The View From Olympus: Another Move Forward for Maneuver Warfare in the Marine Corps

In late June I attended a Marine Corps conference sponsored by Training and Education Command (TECOM) on the subject of how to teach maneuver warfare. This was the second conference in a series; the first was last fall. Both have been run on a civilian-clothes, no-ranks basis, which is necessary for frank exchanges. And both have been productive.

Last fall’s conference concluded unanimously, and correctly, that the Marine Corps has not institutionalized maneuver warfare. “Islands” of it form, based on commanders who get it. But when those commanders leave, the Second Generation sea usually sweeps over the island, obliterating it. The result is an eternal sine-wave and a Marine Corps that can talk about maneuver warfare but for the most part can’t do it.

This June’s conference addressed the question of what needs to change in training and education if Marines are to learn to do maneuver warfare. Training and education are not alone enough; the personnel system must also change in major ways. But TECOM has no control over that, so it rightly focused on what it can change.

One of the highlights of the conference was hearing from junior Marines, many of them Staff NCOs, what they are doing to teach maneuver warfare on their own initiative. Using case studies, tactical decision games, and field exercises, they are putting young Marines in situations where they have to make military decisions, then have their reasoning critiqued. Not surprisingly, the students love this approach to instruction–which all too often is still based on memorizing “learning objectives” and spitting them back on multiple choice tests–and they retain what they are taught.

The conference’s findings were boiled down into a three-slide brief for TECOM’s new commander, General Iiams. As with the previous conference, the findings were not a white-wash. The brief stated the problem frankly:

Our training and education system does not bridge the gap between theory and application, that is, between our warfighting philosophy and how we apply it.

It recommended some “High Payoff Targets” to begin to change this. The list is worth reviewing (words in brackets are mine, not the brief’s).:

  • Emphasize the primacy of force-on-force free play exercises. [Free-play training is the single most powerful tool to promote maneuver warfare, because those who operate maneuver-style usually win and Marines hate losing.]
  • Increase decision-making opportunities in schoolhouses, focusing on critical thinking rather than the order-writing process. [The German training literature says, “Don’t worry about the form of the order.”]
  • Improve the quality of instructors by improving instructor development. [Instructors now get so little preparation that they are put in a position where they have to teach what they do not know. The result is the blind leading the blind. It’s not the instructor’s fault, it’s a systemic problem.]
  • Ensure manning of critical billets with highly qualified individuals. [On a visit to the Führungsakademie several years ago, the head of the Ground Tactics Dept. told me, “I have the personal support of the Defense Minister in getting anyone I want as faculty, and a successful faculty tour brings highly-sought follow-on assignment or early promotion or both.” In contrast, our personnel system just spits out a warm body for a faculty tour and it’s considered a career-killer.]
  • Establish a professional adversary force at MAGTF-TC. [I have been calling for this for decades. As it stands, Marines leave 29 Palms thinking the French fire support coordination exercise they do is real war. That’s true only if you are fighting tires. Teaching tactics requires a free-play opponent, and until 29 Palms has an “aggressor” for non-live-fire free-play, we will continue to have a Second Generation Marine Corps.]
  • Provide top cover and support to current islands of success. [Again, this requires changes in personnel policy. You can only protect islands if new commanders are maneuverists. But at present, the personnel system does not even look at tactical ability in making assignments.]
  • Conduct training and education experimentation to address hard problems. [As the conference showed, we know what works: constantly putting students in situations where they have to make military decisions. The hard problem is getting Marine Corps schools to do that instead of teaching war by process.]

The brief’s concluding slide read:

The collective impact of these immediate actions will begin closing the gap between our maneuver warfare philosophy and habitual action, re-focusing on tactical cunning rather than technique and procedure.

General Iiams has the brief. In our meeting with him he seemed to agree with it. The question now is what, if anything, he will actually do. Das Wesentliches is die Tat.

 

PS: A Navy SEAL friend who was at the conference gave a great definition of the difference between education and training: “Which would you rather your daughter get, sex education or sex training?”

Snufflegate

The headlines of both the New York Times and The Washington Post were the same. In the largest type that could run in one line they screamed in outrage, “President Trump Blows His Nose!”

The Times reported that “In an action without precedent in the history of the Presidency, or at least without any precedent we find it convenient to remember, President Donald Trump yesterday publicly blew his nose.” The Times focused on foreign reaction:

America’s allies both in Europe and in Asia were dumfounded by the American president’s latest bizarre action. Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel noted that ‘this astonishing act was obviously preplanned, because the President was carrying a handkerchief. That makes it all the more puzzling.’ Soon to be ousted Prime Minister May of Great Britain, trying to excuse the president’s action, said ‘At least he didn’t do it, then call an early election.’ President Macron of France offered the usual Gallic sneer: ‘Is his head now completely empty?’ When asked if his comment might worsen relations, he shrugged, ‘You know we French are only polite when we are occupied by the Germans.’ Russian president Putin held a mic to his ass and farted. ‘At least I give you something worth writing about,’ he said.

The Washington Post as usual tried to shape domestic political reaction. It reported the House and Senate Democratic leadership saying, “We are shocked and appalled by this heinous action and we demand a full investigation of this matter. Why did the president not use his sleeve as Democrats do? Does President Trump not eat boogers? They taste kind of like oysters. Try it, you’ll like it.” The Democratic leadership had not actually said anything at that point, since the Post had not given them their lines. There is now rumor of a slight re-write.

The Republican Hill leadership affirmed the president’s right to blow his nose. “The president’s action is not unprecedented,” said Representative Paul Ryan. “It may happen less often than a presidential campaign talking to foreign governments–Israel anyone?–but President Lyndon Johnson is reported to have done it several times in the oval office while terrified Democratic Senators fought over his snot. President Bill Clinton is also reported to have blown, forcing a female intern to wipe it up with her blue dress. It is true most of us just swallow our snot, but if the president of the United States wants to blow, he can blow.” Asked by the Post if that included blowing up the world, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “Well, we hope not. Now if he wants to take out France, that’s okay. France is kinda close to North Korea, isn’t it?” Senator John McCain, Chairman of the the Armed Services Committee, added, “Is somebody talking about a war we’re not involved in? Where? Who? I want us in! I want us in now!” Senator McCain’s close associate Senator Lindsay Graham croaked, “Ribbit.”

But it was Post columnist Snidely Whiplash who broke the big story. “We have learned through our usual source, the Putzfrau who cleans our office, that the FBI is investigating President Trump for obstruction of nasal passages. Clearly, this is a much more serious matter than whether the president tried to give direction to the FBI, something routinely done by past presidents. Is there a single schoolchild in Kansas who thinks LBJ or FDR never told the FBI director to lay off? Come on. But collecting snot and putting it in his pocket, undoubtedly for nefarious purposes, well, that’s huge. Huge. White House insiders are already calling it Snufflegate. Is it an impeachable offense? Special Prosecutor Mueller is asking that question, or he will be after my column runs. Hey, so he wants good press. Who in Washington doesn’t? Is that a crime?”

The View From Olympus: Britons Strike Home?

“Britons Strike Home” is an 18th century naval song, a product of an age when Britain knew how to avenge insults to her soil and her people. She has now suffered three such insults in the last three months, and it is clear Britain’s ruling class hasn’t the ghost of an idea of what to do about it.

Of course, they have their rituals. There is weeping and gnashing of teeth, candles and flowers and balloons, benefit concerts and twaddle from politicians about “getting tough”. Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn gave a perfect example of the usual crap. According to the June 5 New York Times, he said in response to the London attacks,

We are all shocked and horrified by the brutal attacks in London. My thoughts are with the families and friends of those who have died and the many who have been injured. Today, we will all grieve for their loss.

Weakness drips from every line.

Prime Minister Theresa May, who is to Maggie Thatcher as Napoleon III was to Napoleon I, was no better. Saying “things need to change” and “Enough is enough,” she offered no action, just words. It seems that instead of “Britons strike home,” all the British elite of today can offer is “Britons strike your flag.”

What could be done? The British government surely knows which mosques preach Islamic puritanism. Shut them down and expel their entire memberships and their families. Similarly, when an Islamic terrorist is caught, expel his entire family, down to and including his most distant cousins.

Such measures and other like them would hold Britain’s Islamic communities responsible for policing their own. If they fail to, then they would pay a price. That price could and should be ratcheted upward for as long as Moslem terrorists who live in Britain carry out attacks there. Could it reach the point of expelling whole communities? If those communities cannot or (more likely) will not police themselves, then that action might be necessary.

Of course, the British elite is capable of none of this because it would violate its doctrine of “human rights”. Members of the elite believe such rights are absolute and cannot be tied to responsibilities. But rights without responsibilities are a recipe for chaos. Just look at America’s black inner cities.

The state arose to bring order, and if a state cannot bring order it loses its legitimacy. I think Britain is on the cusp of just such a development. How will it manifest itself? In a growing number of incidents in which ordinary Brits attack members of the communities from which the terrorists come.

It is easy to forget that the British working class, and the “permanent dole” class below it, like to fight. Along with rural Brits, they have provided the hard-fighting men who made the Royal Navy a winner for centuries. (They fought equally hard in the British Army, but British generalship usually undid them.) They fight to this day, in bars, soccer stadiums, and anywhere else they can. They enjoy it.

They will enjoy it all the more when their targets are non-British centers and sources of disorder in Britain. In narrow legal terms, most such people are British subjects (monarchies do not have citizens; they have subjects). But in the real world they are not British. They are not British in their ethnicity, in their culture, in their behavior, or in their religion. They are easy to recognize, and as more incidents of terrorism come from their communities, they will become targets. Britons will strike home.

This is not a good development, in Britain or anywhere else, because it means yet another state is weakening and moving toward collapse under the pressure of Fourth Generation assaults. It may be hard to envision the state collapsing in Britain, but if it cannot maintain order and public safety, that is where it is headed. I do not know how many more massacres by Islamic terrorists it will take, but at some point attacks on British Moslems will start to happen on a significant scale. The only way to stop it is for the elite to show it can act effectively against Moslem terror. But that is exactly what it cannot do, because its own ideology (of cultural Marxism, a.k.a. “multiculturalism”) prevents it.

The View From Olympus: A Glass Half Full

With the elements in the Trump administration pushing our continued intervention in the Middle East and Korea, plus backing away from better relations with Russia, the future was looking grim for America First. America First means keeping our distance from other peoples’ quarrels.

But some recent developments suggest the glass may be half full. On his recent trip abroad, President Trump refused to bow down to the great clay god NATO. The May 29 New York Times reported,

Mr. Trump declined to publicly endorse NATO’s doctrine of collective defense or to agree to common European positions on global trade, dealing with Russian aggressions or mitigating the effects of climate change.

Quelle horreur! It seems America won’t go down for Gdansk.

As the same issue of the Times wrote, President Trump’s approach to NATO worked. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said after her meetings with him, “Europe should pay more attention to its own interests ‘and really take our fate into our own hands.'” Hallelujah! This is just what successive American administrations have worked for for fifty years, without success: that Europe provide its own security, as it has the money, people, and technology to do.  President Trump has succeeded in doing what President Eisenhower expected and wanted. When NATO was formed, he said, “If we are still in this ten years from now, it will have been a mistake.” American defense of Europe was intended to be only a short-term measure while European countries recovered from the war. That happened a long, long time ago.

There’s more good news from President Trump himself: he has reportedly not signed on the idiot plan, pushed by his National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, to send thousands more American troops to Afghanistan in another doomed effort at “nation building”. The president knows sunk costs are no argument to continue what has failed. He wants to get out. He’s right and the war cabal around him is wrong.

Meanwhile, there is good news from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. In a speech in mid-May to State Department employees, he broke decisively with Wilsonianism, the notion that we can and should force democracy and “human rights” down the throats of every people on earth, with bayonets if necessary. The Secretary drew an important distinction between our values and our interests. Our values, he said, are “freedom, human dignity, the way people are treated…our values never change.”

Then came the key passage in his remarks, the one that threw off the albatross of Woodrow Wilson’s corpse:

And in some circumstances, if you condition our national security efforts on someone adopting our values, we probably can’t achieve our national security goals or our national security interests.

If we condition too heavily that others must adopt this value that we’ve come to over a long history of our own, it really creates obstacles to our ability to advance our national security interests, our economic interests.

In other words, our policies must be based on our interests, just as other nations base their on their interests. This is how the international state system works. It is reality.

That’s the half glass of good wine. But the empty part of the glass is of equal importance. Neither in President Trump’s remarks in Europe nor in Secretary Tillerson’s speech is there even a hint that they get the new strategic context, that is, the threat to the state system itself posed by Fourth Generation war. Both the president and the secretary speak and seem to think of a world where the basic conflict is between states, not between non-state entities (i.e., “terrorists”) and the state system. In a Fourth Generation world, this is a fatal weakness.

It is also a weakness politically, because the American people could and would grasp a need for an alliance with Russia and China, indeed with every other state, as the only way to defeat “terrorism”. By changing the context of international relations, President Trump and his administration could leave Senator John McCain and the rest of the warhawks high and dry on history’s beach, to shine and stink like the rotten mackerel in the moonlight they are (thank you, John Randolph of Roanoke).

President Trump won office by changing the political context. His administration is now floundering because he has allowed the establishment to suck him back into the existing context, which the establishment created and within which it thrives. An understanding of Fourth Generation war and the new international context it has created offers the president a chance to again pull the rug out from under the Establishment and plunge it into a context it cannot handle. That’s how to win.

 

Leftism on the Skids

Love him or hate him, Donald Trump has revealed the fundamental schism in American society: those who are believers in the system as it was, and those who realize it is time to jump off the sinking ship of Leftist social engineering.

The most controversial fact about the man is that he was elected in the first place, once we factor out the idiosyncrasies that bombastic men and strong personalities usually have, and he has united the confederacy of dunces against him with admirable efficiency. In doing so, he has smoked out the arrayed forces of the Left, including a propagandistic media and a vicious and dogmatic Establishment spanning government and industry which has thrived under Left-leaning presidents and their policies.

Media articles reveal the emotional nature of Leftist culture shock. After first insisting that the election was somehow illegitimate, Democrats seized on the hope that they could prove that Russia had somehow hacked the election. With that narrative waning, they tried to prove a connection between the Trump staff and Russian government interests. When that failed, they turned to claiming Trump had leaked intelligence or pressured James Comey to go easy on Michael Flynn.

Like a prisoner giving excuses, the Left seem to be inventing reasons on the fly to attempt to prove what they hope is true, and the reek of fixation and desperation portrays them in a morbid light.

For conservatives — whether they are Trump fans or NeverTrumpers — the Trump administration has offered a great boon, however. Trump is a red cape waved at the bull of Leftist emotionality. He represents the refutation of the Obama years and an American turn away from the socialist-leaning, Social Justice Warrior (SJW) infused, and anti-majority thread of Leftist rhetoric in the years since the L.A. Riots. Strikingly, this message resonates with not just his audience, but those proximate to them.

A recent survey reveals that Trump voters are motivated by concerns over changing American culture and identity more than purely economic concerns, although surely they have those following the disaster that was the Obama economy.

Among other details, the survey revealed that white working class voters — those without salaried jobs — were focused on the changes wrought by Leftist social engineering. 65% of them believe that American culture and way of life has deteriorated since the 1950s, 48% of them feel like strangers in their own country, 68% believe the US is in danger of losing its culture and identity, 52% believe that discrimination against the majority is as big of a problem as discrimination against minorities, and 60% of them want a strong leader who is willing to break the rules in order to fix this situation.

To Leftists, Donald Trump is a symbol of the actual threat; he represents the growing backlash against Leftist social engineering including the sacred cows of Civil Rights and bipartisanship. The Left enjoys the thought that it is above all of those ignorant dirt people out there “clinging to their guns and religion”, which is why Hillary Clinton referred to them as “a basket of deplorables.”

Now the narrative of the 1960s has flipped. The Right are opposing a Leftist establishment, and the “safe bet” for the average citizen is to go along with our increasingly Soviet-like Leftist overlords. This has been the situation since the 1990s when the Baby Boomers hit their 50s and took over. Trump has articulated this to us by following a relative moderate playbook, which has caused media and Establishment panic.

Leftist social engineering has created the world in which we find ourselves. A revolt against it is a revolt against Leftism. The parasites sense that their control is slipping, and that is why the news and government is full of apocalyptic statements and conspiracy theories aimed at displacing the rebellion against the Left. But the more the true believers demand we obey them, the more disobedient we become.

 

Brett Stevens blogs at Amerika.org

The Way Forward

For those of us on the Right who long despaired for the future of our country, Donald Trump offered an unlikely ray of hope. He defied cultural Marxism, a.k.a. “political correctness”. He promised to end the flooding of our country with foreigners and the export of its middle-income jobs. He rejected Wilsonianism and its endless wars for endless peace. In short, he promised to give us our country back.

That hope is now gone. The Establishment has launched a double envelopment of President Trump that shows every sign of succeeding. On the one hand, it has taken over his administration from the inside, giving us the usual policies of the Republican Establishment. On the other hand, it is drowning the president in a flood of mostly phony charges intended to drive him from office. Either way, it wins, and real conservatives are left with no voice and no hope in the political system. The most important lesson of the Trump presidency may be that reform through the system is impossible.

Where do we go from here? On issues such as foreign policy, trade policy, and immigration, we may be able to do little beyond wait for the disasters inherent in Establishment policy to unfold, then move in to pick up the pieces. Whether the state can survive such a monumental failure is an open question.

But on the most important issue, culture, there is a way forward. That way is Retroculture.

Retroculture is a call to revive old ways of thinking and living, with an emphasis on the latter. The basic lesson of America’s history since the 1960s is that the old ways worked and the new ways don’t. It does not require a great intellectual leap from that fact to wanting to live once again in the old ways, many of which had their origins in the Victorian period.

For millennia, when a society found itself decaying and declining, it turned back and attempted to revive a past when life was better. The Renaissance and the Reformation are both examples. The result was not an exact recreation of the past, but by drawing on the past these attempts have at least sometimes brought about a new synthesis that was an improvement.

At present, Retroculture is only a word and an idea. If we are to save and restore our country, it needs to become a movement. It will not be a political movement, aimed at gaining power in Washington and changing laws. That way has failed. Rather, a Retroculture movement will be individuals, families, and perhaps in time whole communities changing how they live. That is far more powerful than politics.

There is an obvious parallel between Retroculture and Rod Dreher’s “Benedict Option”. The difference is that Retroculture is secular. Because religious faith and worship were of central importance in the lives of our ancestors–just look at the churches they built–Retroculture will tend to lead people toward religion. But they can join a Retroculture movement on purely secular grounds, i.e., wanting to create a better life for themselves and their families by doing what works.

A Retroculture movement is a central theme in Thomas Hobbes’ novel Victoria (which, as his agent, I recommend) and also in the last book Paul Weyrich and I wrote together, The Next Conservatism. More than that, it is reflected in the lives of several important groups of people. One is the Amish, who live rural lives similar to those of 100 years ago, before Henry Ford’s Model T overran the countryside. Another group that embraces part of Retroculture is the home schoolers, many of whom home school to avoid the dreadful “education theory” that has replaced learning skills and facts with psychological conditioning and babble such as “self-esteem”. A college graduate of today knows less than a high school grad of 1950.

There is no single time period that defines Retroculture. Any time up through the 1950s, America’s last normal decade, will do. Our country was wrecked by the cultural revolution of the 1960s, and any model for present life drawn from before that catastrophe will be an improvement. Emmett Tyrrell once defined utopia as the 18th century with modern medicine and air conditioning.

Toward the goal of creating a Retroculture movement, this website is establishing a Retroculture bulletin board. Anyone who has ideas about Retroculture they want to share, or wants to connect with others choosing a Retroculture life, is welcome to post on it.

Retroculture’s home truth is simple: what worked before can work again. Ideologies promise perfect future societies based on this or that philosophy; invariably, they fail. Retroculture, in contrast, is based in reality, in the concrete, specific ways of living of our own forefathers. They were real, the ways in which they lived were real, and they worked. They built the greatest country on Earth. It wasn’t perfect; no human endeavor can be. But their America worked a whole lot better than the country we now know by that name. It’s time we brought that America back.