The View From Olympus: It Works!

Some time ago, I wrote a column proposing a solution to the mass shooter problem.  I suggested we form a national militia made up of men who pledged that, if they encountered an active shooter, they would attack him.  I noted that some of the attackers would probably die.  But they would almost certainly reduce the overall death toll, and they would reverse the moral calculus.  The focus, instead of being on the shooter, would be on those who acted to stop him.  That, in turn, over time might well reduce the appeal of becoming a shooter and begin to put an end to the mass shooter epidemic.

Well, it works.  We’ve seen it work in two recent situations.  A shooter opened fire in a classroom of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte on April 30.  The May 7 New York Times reported that:

He kept charging.  A bullet to the torso did not stop Riley Howell.  A second bullet to the body did not prevent him from reaching his goal and hurling himself into the gunman, who fired at point blank range into his head. . . 

He tackled the gunman so forcefully that the suspect complained to first responders of internal injuries. . . 

That final shot marked the end of what could have been a far worse massacre, the police told his parents.

 “The chief said no one was shot after Riley body slammed him,” said his mother, Natalie Henry-Howell.

On Tuesday, May 7, at the STEM High School in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, a similar story played out.  When a shooter walked into a classroom, three male students went for him.  The May 10 New York Times wrote that:

(Brendan) Bialy, the STEM School student, described the takedown of the gunman as an effort among (Kendrick) Castillo, himself and a third boy he declined to name, citing the boy’s wishes.  Mr. Castillo was closest to the shooter suspect, about a foot away, when the suspect walked into their English class.

Once Mr. Castillo got up, so did Mr. Bialy and the other boy.  They slammed the gunman against the wall.  He fired his pistol once or twice in the skirmish, hitting Mr. Castillo.  Students tried to tend to him, but he was unresponsive, Mr. Bialy said.

“Kendrick refused to be a victim,” Mr. Bialy said.

Again, the death toll was kept down because unarmed men attacked the shooter.  Interestingly, the Times added:

Even younger children were prepared to take action.  Nate Holley, a sixth-grader at the school, recounted to CNN how his teacher moved the class into a closet during the shooting.  Standing in the corner, Nate got ready.

“I had my hand on a metal baseball bat, just in case,” said Nate, 12. “Cause I was going to go down fighting if I was going to go down.”

In both incidents, the shooters have received virtually no publicity.  The focus of attention has been entirely on the guys who stopped them, especially the two who died doing so.  Again, at the mental and moral levels, this is of central importance to de-motivating potential shooters.

As I said in my earlier column, the attempts to professionalize response to active shooters by leaving the problem to the police have usually failed, for a reason the police can do nothing about.  By the time they get there, even responding as fast as they can, it’s too late.  We have another mass casualty event.  Only men immediately present can act in time to limit the casualties.  In both of these cases, the fact that they were not armed did not prevent them from stopping the shooter.

It would fit President Trump’s approach to problems well if he took the lead to do what needs to be done.  The militia we require has no uniforms or weapons and costs no money.  It is simply a register of men and boys who have taken a pledge to attack any active shooter they encounter.  We need women and girls to do the opposite, to run and hide.  Why?  Because otherwise the men will drop the mission to protect the women.  It’s simply human nature.

The President could also direct the armed forces to provide military funerals for anyone who dies stopping a shooter–deservedly, Riley Howell was given one–and awarding a military medal would also be appropriate.  Casualties in 4GW here at home deserve no less honor than casualties in overseas wars.

A republic requires courageous citizens, not an administered people.  The two young men who died in these incidents were exactly that.  They set an example of how to stop a phenomenon that, by undermining the public’s sense of safety, undermines the legitimacy of the state.  The rest of us now need to build on the foundation they have laid.

Interested in what Fourth Generation war in America might look like? Read Thomas Hobbes’ new future history, Victoria.

A Key to the Border Crisis?

Even the Left now admits that we have a crisis on our southern border.  President Trump did not invent an emergency, it’s real.  Illegal immigrants are pouring across in numbers greatly in excess of what we have seen in the past.

President Trump wants to halt the inflow, but he appears to be stymied as to how to do so.  The problem is that if these immigrants claim asylum, as they do, courts have interpreted U.S. law so as to give them a “right” to remain here while their application for asylum is processed.  The number of asylum claims is so great that hearings are backlogged for years.  We do not have enough room to hold them while they await their hearings, so they are released–to disappear into the millions of illegal immigrants already here.  As the word spreads southwards that you can stay in the U.S. if you just say the magic word “asylum”, the caravans grow in number and size.  We are left helpless in the face of an invasion.

As I have written previously, every country in the northern hemisphere will eventually have to use deadly force to defend its borders or be submerged in a sea of barbarians from the south.  But we are not yet at the point where we have the moral courage to do that.  So, in the meantime, what is the Trump administration to do, keeping in mind Bismarck’s dictum that politics is the art of the possible?

The starting point, I think, is the realization that what we are witnessing is gross abuse of the request for asylum.  If we look at precedent, asylum is something that has sometimes been granted–it is not a right–to individuals who are being persecuted by their own government.  That is not the case here.  These are economic migrants, or people simply fleeing crime and disorder.  They are not victims of government persecution.  Nor are we dealing with individuals, for the most part.  Whole families, large ones, request asylum.  Indeed, small children are being sent alone.  Are we to assume their government is persecuting them for political reasons?  If not, then precedent says they have no grounds for claiming asylum.

Similarly, because people seeking asylum were fleeing their governments, they claimed asylum as soon as they got over the border into a different country.  The fact that they are not doing so here by requesting asylum in Mexico is also evidence that their claim is fraudulent.

My proposal, then, is that the Trump administration declare that all claims of asylum by immigrants who come in groups, including families; who are minors; who come from countries where the likelihood of political persecution is small; and who have not requested asylum in the first foreign country they enter are ipso facto fraudulent.  Such immigrants have no right to a hearing, hence no right to remain in this country.  When apprehended, they will immediately be sent home.

The Left, of course, go to court and get some liberal federal judge to rule that such action by the administration is unlawful.  The key here is for the administration to appeal the case as directly and quickly as possible to the Supreme Court, in the meantime continuing to enforce its ruling that such claims are ipso facto fraudulent.  The authors of our Constitution did, you may recall, anticipate strife among the three branches of the federal government.

So long as the Trump administration continues to enforce the new policy, with mass expulsions of people attempting to commit fraud, the Left as well as the Right will want the Supreme Court to rule quickly.  The abuse of the request for asylum is, in these cases, so blatant I am confident a majority of Justices would rule in the administration’s favor.

Interested in what Fourth Generation war in America might look like? Read Thomas Hobbes’ new future history, Victoria.

The View From Olympus: A Maneuver Warfare Revival?

One of the principal themes of the military reform movement of the 1980s was the need for America’s armed services to move from firepower/attrition warfare to maneuver warfare.  Historically, these are, respectively, the French way of war and the German.  The former reduces war to merely putting firepower on targets in a mutual attrition contest.  The latter uses surprise, speed, and the indirect approach to shatter the enemy’s ability to respond cohesively, on both the physical and mental levels.  When the two doctrines met on the battlefield in 1940, the French, who had more tanks and better tanks than the Germans, went down to defeat in six weeks.

In this country, the push for maneuver warfare peaked in the early 1990s when the U.S. Marine Corps, under Commandant General Al Gray, formally adopted maneuver doctrine and wrote some first-rate field manuals to explain it.  The U.S. Army dabbled around with it a bit, and under General Wayne A. Downing U.S. Special Operations Command issued a maneuverist field manual of its own, USSOCOM Pub 1, Special Operations in Peace and War.

But that was as far as maneuver warfare went.  No service institutionalized maneuver warfare, which means the Marine Corps could talk about it, but no one could actually do it.  Our way of war, as we see in Afghanistan, remains a matter of putting firepower on targets.

The fact that putting lots of firepower on lots of Afghan targets has not moved us any closer to winning that war may be one reason my sources are now reporting a revived interest in maneuver warfare.  U.S. Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley recently testified to the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee that the Army must have a new helicopter in order to do maneuver warfare against the Russians or the Chinese.  The fact that he tied maneuver doctrine to a piece of equipment suggests his grasp of it is not deep.

Of more importance are reports that the new Marine Corps Commandant, who should take over this summer, is a maneuverist, as is the current 2nd Marine Division Commander.  The Marine Corps’ formal adoption of maneuver warfare began in 2nd MAR DIV in the 1980s when General Gray became the division commander.  It would be a logical place for a new Commandant to begin the task of making maneuver warfare something Marines actually do, not just talk about.

How might a Commandant and Marine division commander go about making maneuver warfare real?  The single most powerful tool is free-play training.  In free-play training, the unit being trained has to go up against an opponent in a field exercise who can do whatever he wants to defeat them, and is not so small as to be a tethered goat.  Currently, some Marine units do what they call force-on-force training, but it is not the same.  Current force-on-force training is almost always scripted, so that the opposing force (OPFOR) is predictable and has to lose.  This is training for an opera company, not a military.  What defines war is the independent, hostile will of the enemy, which means he keeps doing things you never expected.  Only free play training allows the OPFOR to exercise an independent, hostile will.

Free play training quickly creates a maneuver warfare mindset because the side that comes up with the most creative, imaginative tactics usually wins, and Marines don’t like to lose.  Inward focus, which is the essence of firepower/attrition warfare, makes you slow and predictable; outward focus, where Marines of every rank take the initiative to get the result the situation requires, usually brings victory.  In other words, free-play training connects Marines’ desires to win to the behavior maneuver warfare requires.  That is exactly what the Marine Corps needs to do to make maneuver warfare its real, not just its formal, doctrine.

For even free-play training to give maximum value, Marines will also need to learn how to critique.  Most Marine “critiques” are just narratives of events, with the universal conclusion of “The comm sucked but we all did great.”  A real critique focuses on critical junctures, points where action or inaction, right action or wrong action pushed the result one way or the other, and then draws out why events at that point went the way they did.  This in turn requires that the leaders of a critique have military judgement, that they be able to think militarily.  Because no American DOD schools teach how to think militarily, such people are rare in the Marine Corps and our other services.  They will most likely be found among servicemen who, on their own time, are serious war gamers.

Will this all be just another flash in the pan?  Probably.  But I’m glad the Marines are at least making an attempt.  Second Generation, firepower/attrition warfare is hopeless in Fourth Generation war, where the more firepower you put on targets, the more quickly you ensure your own strategic defeat.  Unless the U.S. armed forces can learn to do maneuver warfare–maneuver in all three dimensions, physical, mental, and moral–we would be better off replacing them with an 800 number that says “We surrender” in a variety of languages.

Interested in what Fourth Generation war in America might look like? Read Thomas Hobbes’ new future history, Victoria.

Getting It

The Left has adopted the word “woke” to describe people who have accepted the ideology of cultural Marxism and are willing to act on it.  The equivalent I hear most often for the Right is “getting it”.  What does it mean to “get it”?

First, it means understanding that the Left is no longer made up of liberals.  It is now dominated by cultural Marxists, believers in the ideology concocted largely by the Frankfurt School that translates Marxism from economic into cultural terms.  Like all Marxists, cultural Marxists are totalitarians.  There is nothing “liberal” about them, in any sense of the word.  Their goal, as we see from what they do on college campuses they control, is to punish any thought or expression that deviates from their views.  The usual terms for such a deviation are “racism”, “sexism”, and “homophobia”. (Denunciation for these imagined sins is itself “ism-ism”, the magical belief that realities such as differences among races or between the sexes can be nullified by calling them names ending in “ism”.)  Cultural Marxism’s call for “equality” is a lie; it seeks to put Blacks over White (and Asians), women over men, and gays over straights.  Everything noble, beautiful, or grand is to be pulled down while whatever floats down humanity’s sewer is to be plopped on the civic altar with a demand we bow down and worship it.

Second, America is not a democracy.  It is an oligarchy, run by a “new class” that rules both in Washington and on Wall Street.  The new class has three main characteristics: it can’t make things work, it uses its wealth and power to exempt itself from the consequences of things not working, and it cares about only one thing, namely remaining the new class.  It is made up overwhelmingly of people who want to be something, not people who want to do something.  It knuckles under to cultural Marxism not because it believes in it–t believes in nothing but its own right to money and power–but because it is made up of moral cowards.  Principles have a nasty habit of getting in the way of career progression.

The Wall Street wing of the new class–each wing supports the other–has become the top 1% financially in part by exporting the jobs of middle-class Americans.  By moving a great deal of our manufacturing abroad, with white-collar jobs now following fast, the 1% has obliterated the blue-collar middle class that was the pride of 1950’s America.  Middle class Americans now find themselves falling further and further behind until they can no longer afford a middle-class way of life.

Third, this whole rotten structure is about to fall.  Heartland Americans are fed up with cultural Marxism, also known as “political correctness”, that’s one of the main reasons they voted for President Trump.  The 2016 electoral map, seen by county, shows a vast red America with a few tiny blue enclaves.  Red America will not let itself be ruled by those enclaves any longer.

Economically, the whole world is headed for a massive debt crisis, which means not a recession but a depression.  When that hits, everyone but the 1% will become poor.  Already, young people entering the labor force find it almost impossible to get a job with a living wage.  In a depression, no one can find work, and moving home with mom and dad isn’t an option because they don’t have any money themselves.

Does this mean revolution?  Over roughly the past five centuries, it might have.  Now, in an era when the state is in decline, it is more likely to mean devolution.  People will seek, and find, ways to disconnect themselves from the new class, a.k.a. the Establishment, and Washington; from cultural Marxism and its clients; and from a dead globalist economy.  To the degree this happens peacefully, it will not be a bad thing.  A return to local economies, local government, and local solutions to problems would be beneficial and welcome.  This shift is in fact already underway, drawing on ideas from both the Left and Right.

Unfortunately, neither Washington, nor Wall Street, nor the cultural Marxists are likely to step aside voluntarily or peacefully.  The collapse of the current order will probably get messy.  Disorder is not something any conservative can ever welcome.  But “getting it” includes being ready if disorder comes.

Interested in what Fourth Generation war in America might look like? Read Thomas Hobbes’ new future history, Victoria.

A False God Fails

As Great Britain moves towards its independence day, i.e., Brexit, a false god is failing: the god named “democracy”.  Prime Minister Theresa May, who should have gone back to her kitchen long ago, has made such a bloody mess of it that Britons are questioning the system that put her in office.  The March 31 New York Times says it bluntly:

It has amounted to a hollowing out of confidence in democracy itself.

“I don’t think the central institutions of government have been discredited like this in the postwar period,” said William Davies, who teaches political economy at Goldsmiths, University of London. . . “the political elites–people just want them to get off the stage.  I don’t know who they want to replace them.  But there’s a sense a reboot would be something people would be in favor of. . .”

“I think people have totally lost confidence in democracy, in British democracy and the way it’s run,” said Tommy Turner, 32, a firefighter.

Fortunately for Britain, democracy, in the form of the House of Commons, does not rule at all.  There is still the House of Lords, which is usually more sensible than Commons, and there is the real sovereign, Queen Elizabeth.  If all else fails, the Queen can rule as well as reign.  Evelyn Waugh put British democracy in its place; when asked why he did not vote, he replied, “I do not aspire to advise my Sovereign on her choice of servants.”

Since World War II, Western political elites have promoted democracy as the universal patent medicine.  Whatever ails a society, the cure is democracy.  Democracy is the only possible form of government for any and all peoples, regardless of anything beyond their own village.  This is, of course, the Whig view of history.  As the late rector of my (Anglican) church said, “It is true only of Britain that its whole history can be summed up in four words: Tory good, Whig bad.”

As our ancestors knew, democracy is suitable for few places and those small.  New England town meeting democracy works.  It works because it is small, so people know whom and what they are voting for.  They cast their votes seriously because they will themselves be directly affected.

Democracy works in Switzerland.  It works because, again, it is local–the cantonal, not the federal, government is the most powerful–and because the Swiss are a serious people.

Democracy used to work in the United States, in Great Britain, and in a few other places.  But both Americans and their British cousins have become frivolous peoples and their governments are now centralized and remote.  The result is what history has seen many times: democracy has made way for oligarchy and both countries are now ruled by a political elite that is both incompetent and corrupt.  The false god has failed.

So what comes next?  China is working hard to make the world safe for autocracy, and for most of the world, that is a good thing.  As the Chinese people say, “Better a hundred years of tyranny than one day of anarchy.”  A competent, benign autocracy is the best most of the world’s people can realistically hope for. They will be lucky if they get it.

Another alternative is to reduce the scale of government, to push power down so that most governmental actions are taken at the local level.  This would reflect the important conservative principle of subsidiarity: all decisions should be made and action taken at the lowest possible level, with matters being pushed higher, to state and local governments, only when local solutions are impossible.  But that would displace the corrupt oligarchy in Washington (and London and Berlin etc. etc.,), which will resist with all its vast resources.

A third possibility is Fuhrerprinzip: power goes to whomever can lead and get results.  Somewhat discredited since 1945, when the results were not entirely happy, the elevation of strong leaders to power, at every level within a state, not just at the top, has its merits.  As we tire of the consequences of worshipping weakness, womanishness and “victimhood” among the ruins of our culture, an opposing cult is likely to arise, one that favors the strong, the masculine, and the winners.  At a certain point in decline, results become more important than process.

And finally, there is my favorite: legitimacy, i.e., rule by a monarch from a princely house.  As British democracy fails, Her Majesty waves her wave and waits.  Prince Charles waits too, and he is a doer.  He would make a splendid monarch for a post-democratic Britain.  Commons will still sit, of course, but it will no longer be a dictator.  The British constitution will be restored and rebalanced.

And here?  My choice would be an Austrian Hapsburg, ruling benignly over many local democracies.

Someone once asked the Austrian Emperor Franz Josef what his actual job was.  He replied, “Protecting my people from their government.”  That sounds like just the job we Americans need done in Washington today.

Interested in what Fourth Generation war in America might look like? Read Thomas Hobbes’ new future history, Victoria.

Global Warming

A March 15 article by Larry Kummer at the Fabius Maximus website discusses how global warming advocates have misused a worst-case scenario to generate panic.  Titled “About the corruption of climate science”, Kummer’s piece details how politicians are misrepresenting climate projections, especially one called RCP 8.5.  That their goal is to create fear should not surprise us: from the government’s perspective, fear is a growth industry.

Russell Kirk called conservatism “the politics of prudence”, and prudence suggests we should pay some attention to climate change, or, to be more precise, increasing volatility in weather.  That is something we can observe happening.  Conservatives’ belief in stewardship means we owe it to future generations to hand them a planet in at least as good condition as we received from our forefathers.  Reducing our own consumption, including of fossil fuels, is desirable.

But the Left seeks far more.  In fact, its goal is nothing less than total control of every aspect of human life, which we call “totalitarianism”, justified by fear of climate change.  Since everything a person does, including breathing, affects the climate, if climate change is a huge threat, someone needs to control everything.  That “someone” should obviously be whoever is most concerned about the climate, i.e., the extreme environmentalists and the larger coalition of which they are part, the culturally Marxist Left.

Every totalitarian ideology offers a one-factor explanation of why it deserves power over everyone and everything.  For Marxism-Leninism, it was that the whole condition of man and society was determined by ownership of the means of production.  The Communist Party, through the state, therefore had to control all producers and consumers, i.e., everyone.  Today’s cultural Marxists argue that all of history is determined by which groups, defined by race and gender, have power over which other groups.  Therefore, they, through the state, must have complete control over all such groups and everyone in them.  National Socialism justified its demand for total control by the need for racial purity, since race determined everything, and Fascism’s power derived from its theory that everyone was defined by their corporate role in society.  Mussolini said, “Everything for the state, nothing against the state, nothing outside the state.”  Italy’s congenital inefficiency made sure that didn’t happen, but it is what all ideologies seek–including the ideology of environmentalism, for it is ideology, not science, that drives those sowing panic about global warming.

Theirs is an ideology of which we should warn even more strongly than other ideologies, because, again, everything we do affects the environment.  This makes their demand for total control seem even more justifiable.  Add in widespread public panic over increasingly volatile weather and you have an excellent basis on which everyone should surrender their freedom.  Why, humanity itself stands on the brink of extinction.  How can you justify your puny desires to do as you please?

We need a global warning against overstatements of global warming and its consequences.  In fact, we have been for several centuries in a period of unusual climate stability.  We cannot expect that to go on forever, because we know that in the past, the climate has changed and weather has become more volatile.  Human ingenuity should prove adequate to deal with it, so long as we do not block that ingenuity through too much government intervention.  Yes, overpopulated areas with dysfunctional states and cultures are likely to suffer, as they will under any scenario.  The solution is not to let them come here, unless we want to become them.

Meanwhile, when we hear hysterical statements about global warming ending life as we know it in a few decades, we should remind ourselves that this is politics, not science.  It is politics designed to panic us into surrendering our freedoms to a new, hideous totalitarian ideology.  For those who want to see how such a totalitarianism might play out, read about Cascadia in Thomas Hobbes’ recent novel, Victoria.


I just returned from three weeks in the Confederacy, where the breezes were balmy, the barbeque wonderful (conveniently, the Confederate government has outlawed any open observance of Lent) and the support for President Trump strong among his base.  The Establishment’s endless venom directed against the president has, if anything, helped him.  I sensed he may be taking on the status of a tragic hero, a good man trying to do the right thing who is thwarted at every turn by wicked forces at court.  That is a somewhat ironic image for Donald Trump, but it is politically powerful. If I’m right, his enemies have given the president a wonderful gift.

I don’t think the base’s support for President Trump is a function of his position on issues.  Some issues obviously are important, especially immigration and the wall.  Native-born Americans have come, in too many places, to feel like strangers in their own country.

But something far more powerful than any issue is motivating the base: an ever-stronger feeling that it’s us against them.  “Us” is average people who work for a living, follow the rules, go to church on Sunday, and try to be good fathers, mothers, and neighbors.  “Them” is a mix of elites who despise average people, blacks and immigrants who live on working Americans’ tax payments while committing violent crimes and the Globalist 1% who get rich by exporting average peoples’ jobs.

Within this framework, “us” sees President Trump as their champion, and attacks on him just solidify their support for him.  “Them”, meanwhile, are seeking their champion for the 2020 election from among a whole pack of skunks and weasels.  What if the Democrats nominate someone from the far Left, someone as clearly “them” and Trump is “us”, and win?

From what I heard from the base during my trip, I don’t think it will accept that outcome, not when a radically Left Democratic president starts opening the borders, turning the White House into a LGBTQ wedding chapel and lets millions of black criminals out of jail while giving them the vote.  At that point, there is going to be a rebellion.

In much of the South, the rebellion could take an old/new form: nullification.  That issue seemed to be settled before the Civil War, when the Supreme Court ruled that states could not nullify acts of the federal government.  But in recent years, nullification has come back, not from the Right but from the Left, and, because it is coming from the Left, it has been accepted by the Establishment.  Two clear cases are laws regarding marijuana and enforcement of federal laws against illegal immigration.  On the former, state after state has legalized marijuana despite federal law that makes its sale or use illegal.  It is as clear a case of state-level nullification as I can imagine.  With regard to illegal immigrants, many Left-ruled cities have proclaimed themselves “sanctuary cities” where local police will not enforce federal immigration laws.

This country’s legal heritage is Anglo-Saxon, not Roman, law in which precedent is highly important.  Precedent has been established in both these cases that nullification is legal and the federal government should defer to it.  The Left has set the precedents, but the Right can use them.  What if Texas responds to opening of the borders by sending the National Guard and civilian volunteers to close it again?  What if South Carolina refuses federal orders to release prisoners?  A Supreme Court attuned to interpreting rather than creating laws would face conflicting precedents.  It could get interesting.

If nullification fails, the Trump supporters I talked to throughout the South will not just say “Oh well, we tried, I guess we just have to accept being second-class citizens in our own country.”  They are going to fight back.  How, I don’t know.  So long as a buoyant economy continues, it may provide enough glue to hold the country together.  When the debt crisis hits and with it a second Great Depression, all bets will be off.

One thing is certain: the vast geography of red America, as seen in the 2016 election, will not allow itself to be ruled by the tiny blue enclaves–enclaves which cannot feed themselves.  If the checkpoints start going up, that will be relevant.

Interested in what Fourth Generation war in America might look like? Read Thomas Hobbes’ new future history, Victoria.

tR Live: Episode 13

The traditionalRIGHT staff and William S. Lind discuss the week’s news every(-ish) Sunday night at 7:30 PM EST. Submit questions and comments to be read live via the chat or at send them here.