The View From Olympus 29: Shooters and 4GW

The recent shooting at Fort Hood raises a question: do these shooters, whether military or civilian, have anything to do with Fourth Generation war? The answer, I think, is “not yet.”

Some shooters are clearly acting as 4GW fighters. The previous mass shooting at Fort Hood was done by a Muslim, explicitly acting as a jihadi. But so far, this situation is rare in the United States. It is more common in Europe, where Islamic populations in countries such as France are increasingly open about the fact that they are waging war on the surrounding Western society.

If we consider the large majority of shooting incidents in this country, including that at Fort Hood and the Newtown, Connecticut massacre, they are at this stage crimes, not war. Crime relates to 4GW in that it represents a failure on the part of the state to deliver what it promises, namely safety of persons and property. That failure is a blow against the state’s legitimacy, which is the main stake in 4GW. In countries such as Mexico, crime has grown so widespread and vicious that it has put the state’s legitimacy in question. The Mexican state has lost its monopoly on violence, not only to the drug gangs but also to growing vigilante organizations formed to fight the gangs. The vigilantes are attempting to fill the vacuum left by the failure of the state.

But to understand the situation here and where it may be headed, another question may be useful: what would it take for currently random, individual shooters to become participants in Fourth Generation war? The answer, I think, is connectivity. If shooters here begin to be inspired by other shooters, saying, in effect, “He went out and shot people because he was angry, so I am going to do the same, because if a lot of people like me do it it will change the situations that make us angry,” then you are looking at something more than crime. Such connectivity would create a new type of 4GW player.

It is important to remember two facts about 4GW. First, there need not be any overt communication or coordination, much less any top-down structure, among the fighters. One inspiring another to act is enough. This is sometimes called “leaderless resistance.” Second, 4GW players’ motives need not be political. 4GW is broader than Clausewitz’s “extension of politics by other means.” Intense anger, even if unjustified and mixed with mental illness, can be a shared motive, just as rational as faith in a nutty religion or mentally unbalanced adherence to a cause such as animal rights. Throughout history, many fighters, and many causes for which they fought, have been nuts.

Obviously, it is important that the American state not allow shooters to move beyond crime to war. There are two actions it could take that would help prevent it. The first would be to interrupt, as much as possible, connectivity among real shooters. That means forbidding any publicity about shootings or shooters beyond the local level where a shooting has occurred. News media would be banned from covering the incidents. As much as is possible, personal electronic media would also be prevented from covering it, though that is obviously difficult. The answer to cries of “freedom of the press” is that the press is no more free than anyone else to shout “fire!” in a crowded theater. Enabling shooters to connect and expand the frequency and casualty count of shootings to where it becomes war is the equivalent.

Second, the state could break the connectivity between potential real shootings and virtual shooters. Lt. Col. David Grossman’s work has established a strong and undeniable link between shooters and violent video games. Virtually every shooter, in this country and elsewhere, has been a heavy player of those games. The horrible Breivik massacre in Norway, perhaps the worst of all the mass shootings, was don by someone who played violent video games up to sixteen hours a day.

Virtual shootings can inspire real shooters just as powerfully as can other real shooters, perhaps more so because the violence is real-time and graphic. If the federal government wants to prevent more shootings, it needs to outlaw violent video games. It won’t, of course, because the game manufacturers give money to Congressmen, while there are no checks for legislators who want to ban the games. Maybe someone should put out a Congressional first-person shooter game where the weapons are checkbooks.

Here we come face-to-face with the bedrock of 4GW. The state is losing its legitimacy because it lacks the will to do what is necessary to maintain domestic peace. If shooters are allowed to build connectivity to the point where they move beyond crime to war, American society will suffer. Measures can be taken to prevent that connectivity and break it where it has already formed, between real and virtual shooters. But the state won’t act, because it is weak and corrupt. Why should anyone give their primary loyalty to an institution that does not deliver what it promises? That should be the number one question in all of Washington, but it’s not even on the list.

Victoria: Chapter 5

About a week later I got a letter. It was from my old company Gunnery Sergeant, a black fellow and a good Marine. He was also a husband and father—rare among black males by the 21st century—and a Christian. He wrote to ask for my help.

Gunny Matthews had gotten out about a year before I did. He had done his twenty years and had a pension, and felt it was time to move on. He knew that the catastrophe that had overwhelmed many urban black communities in America by the 1970s—crime, drugs, noise, and dirt—was not due to “white racism.” It was due to bad behavior by blacks, toward other blacks as well as toward everyone else. He wanted to try to do something about it.

It was a measure of America’s decay that one of the most important issues facing the country—race—simply couldn’t be talked about. Not honestly, anyway. Oh, there was lots of talk about “racism” and how evil it was and how whites were to blame for everybody else’s problems. But we all knew it was bull.

The fact was that America’s blacks had crapped in their own mess kit. They had been given their “civil rights,” and had promptly shown they could not, or would not, bear the responsibilities that went with them.

Freedom is not doing whatever you want. Freedom is substituting self discipline in place of discipline imposed by somebody else. But nobody told America’s blacks that, so they just went out and did whatever felt good at the moment. The result was a black rate of violent crime twelve times the white rate. Most of the victims of black crime were also black.

Of course, not all blacks were into instant gratification and the drug-using, drug-dealing, mugging, car-jacking, fornicating, and whoring that it brought. But tribal loyalty was strong enough that most of those who lived decent lives wouldn’t condemn those who didn’t. The rest of America saw that in every city with a black government, which promptly descended into utter disorder and corruption. Detroit turned into 6th century Rome.

As early as the 1970s, the average white American spelled black c-r-i-m-e. That wasn’t prejudice, it was statistics. Anywhere near a city, if you were the victim of a random crime, the criminal was almost certain to be black. The only exception was if you were in a Hispanic neighborhood; the Hispanics were rapidly going the same instant gratification route the blacks had taken, with similar results.

Obviously, what was needed was a major crackdown. If a people cannot govern itself, then it must be governed by others. But the white Establishment hewed to the line that said blacks were “victims,” so their crimes could not be held against them. It was pure Orwellian Newspeak: criminals became victims, and the victims (at least the white victims) were the criminals because they were “racists.” So nothing was done, and blacks were emboldened to believe they could get away with anything.

The result, in time, was a full scale race war, which was in turn part of America’s second civil war. The blacks’ so-called “leaders,” most of whom derived fat incomes from their impoverished supporters, never seemed to care that when one tenth of the population goads the other nine-tenths into a war, it loses.

So Gunny Matthews had taken on quite a job. His letter told me how he’d tried to go about it.

The Gunny had grown up in Roxbury, near Boston, so that’s where he retired, “to help the people he knew best,” as he put it. There’s always advantage in fighting where you know the ground. A number of his friends and relatives lived in public housing, so he picked that as his Schwerpunkt, his focus of efforts. In most black communities, that was the worst place you could be. Drug dealers, drug users, prostitutes, the whole ugly smear ran the place, with normal people living in terror.

I’d seen in my job hunt the way government stuck its nose in where it wasn’t wanted, messing up people’s lives in the process. Gunny Matthews saw the other side of the coin, how government failed to do the things it was supposed to do. If there was one duty any government had, it was to protect the lives and property of ordinary, law-abiding people, regardless of their color. In the United States in the 21st century, it no longer did that.

The Gunny saw the problem in terms of counter-guerilla warfare. The scum were the guerrillas, and the key to defeating them was organizing the locals so they could stand up to the scum. He saw an opening, a “soft spot” as we called it in military tactics, in the fact that one public housing development had been given over to the tenants to manage. They formed a tenants’ association, and the Gunny helped them draw up rules for tenant behavior, a patrol system that tracked and reported violators, and liaison with the police. As soon as they identified a drug dealer or other scumbag, they got witnesses, brought the cops in and threw the trash out, permanently. Very quickly the place turned around. For the first time in years, the nights were not punctured with gun shots, there were no hypodermic needles in the halls and kids could play safely outside.

Then the feds came in, in the form of the Legal Services Corporation. Legal Services used tax money to pay lawyers to defend “the poor” in court. Only they had no interest in the honest poor. They were always on the side of the scum. They quickly went to court and stopped the evictions, on the grounds that the “rights” of the drug dealers and their molls were being violated. Just as quickly, the drug dealing, mugging and shooting started up again, and Gunny Matthews and his tenants’ association were back where they started.

He asked me to come down and give them some help. I knew how to fight enemy infantrymen, not lawyers and judges. But I also knew I couldn’t ignore the Gunny’s plea. If I was going to do something to take our country back, this was a place to start. So one snowy February day I loaded up the truck and headed to Boston. On the way, I did some thinking.

This wasn’t law, I realized, this was war. The Legal Services lawyers, the liberal judges who gave them the rulings they wanted, their buddies in the ACLU, they were just enemy units of different types. More, they were the enemy’s “critical vulnerability.” The scum depended on them; no lawyers, no scum (a point we have enshrined in Victorian law, where you must represent yourself in court). The tenants had already shown they could kick out the trash, if we could get the lawyers off their backs. So that had to be our objective.

The Gunny had set up a meeting with the tenants’ association for the night I arrived. They were a pretty down lot when it started. One mother of three kids, the association’s leader, tried not to cry when she explained how they thought they’d made a new start, then had it all taken away from them, thanks to Legal Services. They didn’t know what they could do, now. If I could help, they’d be grateful. But it’s clear they weren’t expecting much from a white boy from Maine.

“Okay,” I said, “here’s where we start. You’re in a war. You know that. You’ve got the bullet holes in your walls and doors to prove it. What we have to do is take the war to the enemy.”

“Amen, brother,” was the answer. “Are we gonna start shootin’ those lawyers?” one voice asked.

“That’s tempting,” I replied. “But you know that while they won’t put the drug dealers in jail, the law will come after honest citizens in a heartbeat. We’ve got to fight, but we’ve got to fight smart.”

I laid out a plan. The starting point was one of Colonel John Boyd’s maxims. Boyd was the greatest American military theorist of the 20th century. He said war is fought at three levels: moral, mental, and physical. The moral level is the most powerful, the physical the least (The old American military, in its love for hi-tech, could never understand that, which is why it kept getting beaten by ragheads all around the world.). We would focus our war at the moral level, and use the physical only as it had moral impact.

We’d start with the churches. Most of the black folk who were on the receiving end of black crime were Christians. We’d mobilize the Church Ladies—a Panzer division in this kind of fighting. We’d get them and the black ministers to go to white churches all over Boston and invite their congregations to visit the housing project. We’d let them see what those Legal Services lawyers and their friends among the judges and politicians were protecting. We’d take them through the drug markets, past the prostitutes, over the dazed, crazed addicts lying in the hallways. Then we’d ask them one question: Would they tolerate these people living in their neighborhoods? On the way out, we’d hand them a list of the names of their elected representatives with phone numbers.

The key judge, the one who always ruled in favor of the scumbags, was a federal magistrate, Judge Holland P. Frylass. We couldn’t touch him through the ballot box. But I thought there was another way. He was keen on making the folks in the projects live among the drug dealers and muggers and carjackers, but I suspected he would prefer not to do so himself. So we’d hold a raffle. We’d get black kids selling raffle tickets all over Boston. The proceeds would go to purchase the house next door to Judge Frylass’, in that nice section of Cambridge. We’d move in some drug dealers, whores, and gang members and see how he liked a taste of his own medicine.

Then a young mother, carrying one baby with two more grabbing at her coattails, spoke up. “That’s all fine, I guess,” she said. “But I got a drug dealer workin’ right outside my door. Somebody come after him, those bullets will shoot right through my walls and my babies and me. What you gonna do about him?”

“Swarm him,” I answered. The physical level of war also had its role to play.

“What you mean, swarm him?” she asked.

“Wherever he goes, or stops, we surround him. Twenty, thirty, fifty of us. We don’t touch him. We’re just there. We’re always there. We’re on every side of him. How much business do you think he’s going to do?”

“And just what do we do when he starts hittin’ out?” asked another woman in the crowd.

“Someone will always have a cell phone. He makes a move, we get it on camera. Then the cops can come in,” I replied.

But they knew the ground better than I did. “Hon’, we appreciate you comin’ all the way down here,” began one matron. “I think you’ve got some ideas we maybe can use. But this sure ain’t no boxin’ match. When these boys hit out, it’s with guns. Some of us gonna be dead if we try swarmin’ ʻem like you want.”

Now, I knew how to use a weapon, and I guessed I could shoot better than the average drug dealer. But I also knew I’d be the one in jail, not the drug dealer, if I got in a fire fight. And for a young, white, middle class male, jail in the 21st century meant homosexual gang rape. It was funny that the same bleeding-heart lefties who opposed the death penalty never made a peep about a punishment that would have appalled Vlad the Impaler. But I wasn’t anxious to have the joke be on me.

Gunny Matthews came to my rescue. “You folks know I’ve got a good relationship with the cops. You let me work on that one. I’ll get us some protection, protection that can shoot back. My question to you folks is, are you willing to do what the man says? We can talk here all night. But we’ve got to act, not just keep talking. Or give up.”

Das wesentliche ist die Tat. Always, in war, that’s what it comes down to. The important thing is the deed.

The Panzers were ready for battle. One of the Church Ladies got up. She was dressed perfectly for a shopping trip to Filene’s in 1955: floral print dress, pillbox hat, white gloves. “I can speak for my church,” said Mrs. Cook. “They sent me here as our representative. I don’t know whether it will work or not. But the Lord blesses those who try. He may bless us with success, and he will still bless us if we fail. I say we do it.” She turned to the young mother with the drug dealer camped outside her door. “Honey, I’m an old lady. If that bad man outside your apartment shoots me, I’m ready to go to Heaven. I’ll ʻswarmʼ him, as the man here says, even if I have to do it all by myself.”

“You don’t have to, Melba.” Her neighbor in the project was on her feet, in similar uniform, which events came to show was Urban Combat cammies. “I’ll be there too. I’ve got a heavy purse and a strong umbrella, and I know how to use both of them. We’ll ‘swarm’ this no-account piece of nigger trash all the way back to Alabama.”

With that the congregation were on their feet, Amening and Halleluliaing. I could understand now why, back in the 1950’s, so many Americans were enraged by the South’s segregation laws. It was the Mrs. Cooks they’d made sit in the back of the bus. If young blacks had tried to be like Mrs. Cook, integration might have worked.

What a pity so many chose Malcolm X and Snoop Dogg as their heroes instead.

Rethinking Christian Economics, Part 4: Socialism

The following piece is republished from In Praise of Folly. It is part of a short series on Christian economics.

 

Socialism is incompatible with Christianity for two reasons: 1) its founders were Satanists/atheists and 2) it destroys the Christian conception of charity.

Marx, Bakunin, and Proudhon, all founders of Marxism and anarchism were self-styled Satanists. In his younger years, Marx wrote a series of poems expressing his hatred of God, his desire to destroy because he could not create, and the selling of his soul to Satan. Below are excerpts from his poetic works:

On Hating God

“Heaven I would comprehend
I would draw the world to me;
Living, hating, I intend
That my star shine brilliantly …”[27]

On Destruction

“… Worlds I would destroy forever,
Since I can create no world;
Since my call they notice never …”[28]

“Then I will be able to walk triumphantly,
Like a god, through the ruins of their kingdom.
Every word of mine is fire and action.
My breast is equal to that of the Creator.”[29]

“I shall build my throne high overhead
Cold, tremendous shall its summit be.
For its bulwark — superstitious dread
For its marshal — blackest agony.” [30]

Satanism

“See this sword?
the prince of darkness
Sold it to me.”[31]

“With Satan I have struck my deal,
He chalks the signs, beats time for me
I play the death march fast and free.”[32]

We see in Marx’s Oulanem, A Tragedy in the words of Oulanem his full hatred of God, creation, and humanity:

“… I shall howl gigantic curses on mankind:
Ha! Eternity! She is an eternal grief …
Ourselves being clockwork, blindly mechanical,
Made to be the foul-calendars of Time and Space,
Having no purpose save to happen, to be ruined,
So that there shall be something to ruin …
If there is a something which devours,
I’ll leap within it, though I bring the world to ruins-
The world which bulks between me and the Abyss
I will smash to pieces with my enduring curses.
I’ll throw my arms around its harsh reality:
Embracing me, the world will dumbly pass away,
And then sink down to utter nothingness,
Perished, with no existence — that would be really living!”

“… the leaden world holds us fast,
And we are chained, shattered, empty, frightened,
Eternally chained to this marble block of Being …
and we —
We are the apes of a cold God.”

Further reading should be directed to Wumbrand’s Marx and Satan. Such ungodly hostility seems to be the product of a demon, and not a man.

On Proudhon

“On the other hand, Proudhon understood and felt liberty much better than he. Proudhon, when not obsessed with metaphysical doctrine, was a revolutionary by instinct; he adored Satan and proclaimed Anarchy.”[33]

“The spirit of analysis, that untiring Satan who continually questions and denies, must sooner or later look for proof of religious dogmas. Now, whether the philosopher determine the idea of God, or declare it indeterminable; whether he approach it with his reason, or retreat from it, — I say that this idea receives a blow; and, as it is impossible for speculation to halt, the idea of God must at last disappear. Then the atheistic movement is the second act of the theologic drama; and this second act follows from the first, as effect from cause. “The heavens declare the glory of God,” says the Psalmist. Let us add, And their testimony dethrones him.”[34]

On Bakunin:

“But here steps in Satan, the eternal rebel, the first freethinker and the emancipator of worlds. He makes man ashamed of his bestial ignorance and obedience; he emancipates him, stamps upon his brow the seal of liberty and humanity, in urging him to disobey and eat of the fruit of knowledge.”[35]

“God admitted that Satan was right; he recognized that the devil did not deceive Adam and Eve in promising them knowledge and liberty as a reward for the act of disobedience which he had induced them to commit; for, immediately they had eaten of the forbidden fruit, God himself said (see Bible): ‘Behold, man is become as of the Gods, knowing both good and evil; prevent him, therefore, from eating of the fruit of eternal life, lest he become immortal like Ourselves.’”[36]

We see that the Russian anarchist Nikolai Ishutin named the inner circle of his anarchist organization “Hell”[37]. Such blasphemes are not uncommon for the Socialists. Their atheism or Satanism is manifested in their hatred of God and man. Because they cannot create with their own hands, they seek to destroy that which has been made by the hands of others. That any Christian should be so stupid to believe the words of such animals (for I will not call them men), to believe that this monstrous ideology is compatible with the Gospel of Jesus Christ just shows us the depths of human ignorance and depravity.

Ivan Illich in his “We the People Interview” summed the problem of socialism thus:

“Then, in 300 and something, finally the Church got recognition. The bishops were made into something like magistrates. The first things those guys do, these new bishops, is creating houses of hospitality, institutionalizing what can be only what was given to us as a vocation by Jesus, as a personal vocation, institutionalizing it, creating xenodocaea, roofs, refuges, for foreigners. Immediately, very interesting, quite a few of the great Christian thinkers of that time, the year 300, 1600 years ago, John Chrysostom is one, shout, if you do that, if you institutionalize charity, if you make charity or hospitality into an act of a non person, a community, Christians will cease to remain famous for what we are now famous for, for having always an extra mattress, a crust of old bread and a candle, for him who might knock at their door. But, for political reasons, the Church became, from the year 400, 500 on, the main device for a thousand years roughly of proving that the State can be Christian by paying the Church to take care institutionally of small fractions of those who had needs, relieving the ordinary Christian household of the most uncomfortable duty of having a door, having a threshold, but being open for him who might knock and whom I might choose. This is what I speak about as institutionalization of charity. Historical root of the idea of services, of the service economy. Now, I cannot imagine such a system being reformable even though it might be your task and the task of courageous people whom I greatly admire for the impossible task they take on to work at its reform, at making the evils the service system carries with it as small as possible. What I would have chosen and as Mitchum and other friends have chosen together as our task is to awaken in us the sense of what this Palestinian, I say always instead of saying Samaritan, example meant. I can choose. I have to choose. I have to make my mind up whom I will take into my arms, to whom I will lose myself, whom I will treat as that vis-a-vis that face into which I look which I lovingly touch with my fingering gaze, from whom I accept being who I am as a gift.”[38]

Welfarism, reaching back to Christendom, reduces the poor man to a social problem. The poor man ceases to be a fellow human being made in the image of God to be saved and fed, but a social problem to be solved, a statistic and a manifestation of a socio-historical class. Such terms are dehumanizing and render man a cog in a machine rather than the Jew or the Samaritan.

The failure of collectivism is seen in the words of Robert Dale, the son of Robert Owen of New Harmony:

“All cooperative schemes which provide equal remuneration to the skilled and industrious and the ignorant and idle, must work their own downfall, for by this unjust plan of remuneration they must of necessity eliminate the valuable members –who find their services reaped by the indigent – and retain only the improvident, unskilled and vicious members.”[39]

Allow me to outline for the reader the Christian view of work and remuneration and then compare it with Socialism.

We see in Exodus 20:9-10 that people should labor six days and rest on the seventh because God worked for six days and rested on the seventh. For a Christian his work is an imitation of God’s work of Creation. We are co-creators with God. We see in Proverbs 6:6 and Proverbs 26:14 that God hates a sluggard and wants man to work. In Ephesians 4:28, Paul tells us that the new man in Christ does not steal any longer and in Ephesians 6:6 and Colossians 3:22-23 that we work not for ourselves or to please men, but to please God. Work is part of our worship to God. Our work must be of the highest caliber and we must engage in work as a duty toward God. In 1st Timothy 5:8 we see that a man who does not provide for his family is an apostate worse than a pagan. We see also in Ephesians 4:28 that a man should stop stealing so he can earn his own living in order that he might have something to give to a needy brother. In taking care of the elderly, specifically widows, we see in 1st Timothy 5:1-16 that if one is found to be a widow having grandchildren, we are to first take care of her; only if she has no living relatives is the Church to step in and care for her.

We see that work is holy and pleasing to God and that charity is based on subsidiarity. Subsidiarity is the principle that solutions to problems are to be first sought within the social level that they arise in. Only after an inability to solve the problem is a solution sought at the next level of social organization. For example, if a family has some issues, then a solution should first be sought within the family; if that fails, then friends and community; and if that fails, lastly the Church. However, we are not to take our grievances toward our brothers and sisters to courts of the state, per 1st Corinthians 6:1-6.

Socialism is by nature satanic. Socialism seeks to make a god out of the state. It destroys the family by removing the necessity for children. As Paul says, “first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents.” The state promises to take care of the children’s parents, obviating them of the need to fulfill the familial duty. In usurping the role of familial piety, the state is preventing Christians from developing this Christian virtue. By usurping the provision of one’s parents the state is rendering those who take its services as worse than infidels since children delegate the wellbeing of their parents to the state. The state subsidizes sin as anyone can see with the government’s liberal provision of condoms and subsidies for single mothers and homosexuals. A basic rule of economics is: You get what you subsidize. If the state really wanted to eliminate poverty and single-motherhood then it would stop paying for such behaviors.

The virtue of charity is undermined when the government taxes you to such a degree that you have no money to give for the provision of the needy; honest labor, which is the Apostle Paul’s solution to stealing[40], is also penalized since, one is squeezed so hard that in order to make ends meet he is tempted to steal; this in turn removes the disincentive to steal. Stealing is in fact encouraged since the government itself is engaged in legalized theft.

If people see the government stealing they are 1) discouraged from working since they will lose the produce of their labor and 2) inclined to view theft as an ever-lesser offense. A Paul declares in 1st Corinthians 6:10, thieves shall have no inheritance in the kingdom of God. In short, the socialist state seeks to be God in that it demands more than 10% of our income, renders it impossible for one to practice familial piety and charity, and removes the disincentive to steal.

In conclusion I have shown that Christian economics is neither capitalist nor communist. Both systems are based on ungodly humanist assumptions. The distributists are a disappointing alternative, due to their crypto-socialism. A true Christian economics is the only truly radical solution to both capitalism and communism and the only one able to truly meet the needs of individuals.

 

Notes

[1] “Usury”, last date modified January 30, 2014,  http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/14615-usury

[2] “Selfishness,”  last date modified January 30, 2014, http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/selfishness.html

[3] “Altruism,” last date modified January 30, 2014, http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/altruism.html

[4] “Charity,” last date modified January 30, 2014, http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/charity.html

[5] “A Future of Peace and Capitalism,”  last date modified January 30, 2014,  http://mises.org/daily/1559

[6] “Ten Ethical Objections to the Market Economy,” last date modified January 30, 2014,  http://mises.org/daily/1469

[7] Walter Block, Defending the Undefendable, ( Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2012), 129-130.

[8] G. J. Graves. “The Placer Country Railroad War,” Last modified January 1, 2003.http://cprr.org/Museum/Ephemera/RIC_Rail_1864.html

[9] ” The Colorado Railroad War.” Last modified 2014.

http://www.explore-old-west-colorado.com/Colorado-Railroad-War.html

[10] “Taxes Fair or Foul,”  last date modified January 30, 2014,  http://Distributistreview.com/mag/2010/10/taxes-fair-or-foul/#comments

[11] “Justice fairness and taxation part four,”  last date modified January 30, 2014,http://Distributistreview.com/mag/2011/04/justice-fairness-and-taxation-part-four/

[12] “The differential tax,”  last date modified January 30, 2014, http://Distributistreview.com/mag/2011/07/the-differential-tax/

[13] “A short primer for protesters,”  last date modified January 30, 2014,http://Distributistreview.com/mag/2011/10/a-short-primer-for-protestors/

[14] “Do We Agree?,”  last date modified January 30, 2014,http://www.cse.dmu.ac.uk/~mward/gkc/books/debate.txt

[15] “The Common Good,”  last date modified January 30, 2014,  http://Distributistreview.com/mag/2012/08/the-common-good/

[16]   “A Distributist Education,” last date modified January 30, 2014,http://Distributistreview.com/mag/2012/07/a-Distributist-education/

[17]  “The Guild System,” last date modified January 30, 2014, http://Distributistreview.com/mag/2011/11/the-guild-system/

[18] “Jobs and the minimum wage,”  last date modified January 30, 2014,http://Distributistreview.com/mag/2011/09/jobs-and-the-minimum-wage/

[19] “Errors of Libertarian Economics,”  last date modified January 30, 2014,http://Distributistreview.com/mag/2012/07/errors-of-libertarian-economics/

[20]  “Guilds,” last date modified January 30, 2014,  http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07066c.htm

[21] ibid

[22] ibid

[23] ibid

[24] ibid

[25] Address at the “Asahi Symposium Science and Man – The computer-managed Society,” Tokyo, Japan (21 March 21 1982); as published in The CoEvolution Quarterly (Winter 1983)

[26] “Willing Slaves of the Welfare State”, last modified Janurary 30, 2014,http://cslewisjrrtolkien.classicalautographs.com/cslewis/bookexcerpts/willingslaveswelfarestate.html

[27] “Young Marx,”  last modified Janurary 30, 2014, http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/download/Marx_Young_Marx.pdf

[28] ibid

[29] Richard Wumbrand, “Marx and Satan,” Living Sacrifice Book Co (December 1986), 13.

[30] “Marx’s Path to Communism”, last modified January 30, 2014, http://mises.org/daily/6179/Marxs-Path-to-Communism

[31] “The Player”

[32] “The Fiddler,” last modified Janurary 30, 2014, http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1837-pre/marx/1837-wil.htm

[33] “Recollections on Marx and Engels,”  last modified Janurary 30, 2014,http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/bakunin/works/various/mebio.htm

[34] “The Philosophy of Poverty:VOLUME FIRST.INTRODUCTION.,” last modified Janurary 30, 2014,http://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/economics/proudhon/philosophy/intro.htm

[35] “ God and the State,” last modified Janurary 30, 2014, http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/bakunin/works/godstate/ch01.htm

[36] ibid

[37] Paul Avrich, Anarchist Portraits, Princeton University Press (February 1, 1990),  41

[38] “We the People, KPFA ,”  last modified Janurary 30, 2014,  http://www.wtp.org/archive/transcripts/ivan_illich_jerry.html

[39] George Browning Lockwood and Charles Allen Prosser, The New Harmony Movement, Augustus M Kelley Pubs; New issue of 1905 ed edition (June 1905), 185

[40] Ephesians 4:28

 

Victoria: Chapter 4

My next battle started around the dinner table on Christmas Day, 2016, and I’m not talking about the fight for the last piece of Aunt Sabra’s blueberry pie.

It began when cousin John asked me what I thought I was going to do in the way of earning a living. Hartland wasn’t exactly a boom town, and hadn’t been for a good hundred years. I said I was thinking of farming. That, along with sailing or soldiering, was what we Rumfords usually ended up doing, and like most Marines I’d seen enough of boats to last me a while.

“What you gonna faam?” John asked, the flat, nasal “a” instead of “r” suggesting he hadn’t been outside Maine much.

“Waal,” I said, talking Down East myself, “I thought I might try soybeans.”

“Don’t see them much up heah.”

“Didn’t see wine up heah either ‘til Wyly put in his vineyard. I gather his wine is selling pretty well now,” I said.

“I’ll tell you why you don’t see soybeans up here or on many other family farms,” said Uncle Fred. “It’s oil from soybeans that makes money, and the federal government makes it just about impossible to transport soybean oil or any other vegetable oil unless you’re a big corporation. Under federal regulations, vegetable oil is treated the same as oil from petroleum when it comes to shipment. You’ve got to get a hugely expensive Certificate of Financial Responsibility to cover any possible oil spill. You’ll never get the capital to get started.”

“But vegetable oil and petroleum are completely different. That doesn’t make any sense,” I replied.

“I didn’t say it made sense, I just said that’s what Washington demands. It makes no sense at all. Spilled vegetable oil is no big problem. It’s biodegradable. But the federal government mandates a spill be cleaned up the same way for both, even though that’s unnecessary. You need to scoop up any petroleum product if it spills, especially into water. But if you just let vegetable oil disperse, bacteria will eat it up. Anyway, the government doesn’t care that we lose hundreds of millions of dollars each year in vegetable oil that isn’t produced or exported. The bottom line is, as a small farmer, you can’t do it.”

Great, I thought. First politics gets me thrown out of the Marine Corps, now it’s trying to keep me from farming. “Okay, I’ll grow potatoes. We certainly grow enough of those here in Maine,” I said.

“Only land up at the Old Place that’ll grow potatoes is the bottom land. Government won’t let you do that neither,” said cousin John.

This was starting to get old. “What do you mean the government won’t let me grow down there? That’s the best land on the place. The rest is just rock,” I replied.

“It’s the EPA, the so-called ‘Environmental Protection Agency,” answered Uncle Fred. “They declared all that ground a ‘protected wetland‘ a couple years ago. It’s yours, or ours, but it might as well be on the moon for all the good it does us. We can’t touch it.”

Protected wetland? Hell, I didn’t plan to grow potatoes in the ponds. “That’s our property. We’ve owned it since Andrew Jackson was President. And most of it’s dry. How can they tell us we can’t farm it?” I asked, betraying how much those of us in the military got out of touch at times.

That got the whole table smiling the thin smile that passes for a good laugh among New Englanders. “Property rights don’t mean squat any more,” said Uncle Earl, who was the town lawyer. “The government just tells you what to do or what not to do and dares you to fight them. They have thousands of lawyers, all paid by your tax money, and they can tie you up in court for years. You got a few hundred thousand extra dollars you’d like to spend on legal fees?”

I didn’t, nor did anyone else, I gathered. “So we’re helpless, is what you’re saying?” I asked.

“Pretty much, unless you’ve got a lot of money for lawyers or to buy some politicians and get them in on your side,” said Earl. “It doesn’t even matter if the law is with you, because you can’t afford the fight and they can. If they lose, it means nothing to them; they still get their paychecks from the government. If you lose, you’re finished, and even if you win, you’re usually finished because the legal fight has left you bankrupt. What it comes down to is that we’re not a free country any more.”

“What King George III was doing to us in 1776 wasn’t a hill of beans compared to this,” I said. “We didn’t take it then. Why are we taking it now?”

At that point, the women turned the conversation to how Ma’s stuffing was the best they’d ever had. It always was.

***

Early next year, that year being 2017, I stopped in at Hartland’s one industry, the tannery. My old high school buddy Jim Ebbitt was the personnel department there, and this matter of earning an income was beginning to press a bit on my mind. But I knew the tannery always had some kind of opening, and after my years in the infantry I didn’t mind getting my hands dirty. They didn’t call us “earth pigs” for nothing.

Jim was glad to see me, but he couldn’t give me any good news. “Sorry,” he said, “but like every American company, we’re having to cut jobs, not add ʻem. The problem is this “free trade” business. What it means is that American workers are up against those in places like Mexico, Haiti, and now all of central and south America, since they expanded NAFTA into AFTA and took in the whole hemisphere. Labor costs now get averaged across national boundaries; it pulls their wages up and pushes wages here down. Of course, we don’t actually cut wages, but with inflation rising, we don’t need to. We just keep wages steady and cut the number of jobs. Maybe that will keep this plant in business. Then again, maybe it won’t. In any event, it means if I had a job to offer you, and I don’t, you’d quickly find yourself getting poorer, not richer, if you took it.”

“But you just put a lot of money into this plant,” I replied. “Hell, it used to stink up the whole town. Now you can’t smell it. Maybe that EPA does some good after all.”

“You think so?” asked Jim. “You’re right that we had to clean up our processes here, and we did put some money into the place. But the main thing we did was move most of the work on the fresh hides to Mexico. That cut 23 jobs here, jobs now held by Mexicans. I guess you can’t make Mexico stink any worse than it already does.”

“And the EPA still isn’t done with us,” he added. “They’ve got another investigation going now, which will cost us tens of thousands in legal fees even if that’s all it does. Seems they think we’re still doing something to the river.”

“River looks clean to me,” I replied.

“It is clean. It’s cleaner than it’s ever been, at least since industry, and jobs, first came to this valley. But that doesn’t count to bureaucrats in Washington. They’ve told us we might have to build a full water treatment plant, which would cost us millions. If they rule that way, it’ll be the end of the company here. It would take us 50 years to pay off that debt. There’s not that much money in leather any more, not up against the foreign competition.”

I thanked Jim for his time and drove back to the Old Place. My mind was no easier. Next day I’d pull my last ace out of my sleeve and go see my cousin, who had a car restoration place down near Pittsfield. I knew he was doing well, restoring old cars and selling them to the Summer People.

“Sure,” Ed said, when I stopped in on him, “business is good and I need a couple folk. I know you’d do good work. But I can’t offer you or anyone else around here a job. EEOC won’t let me.”

“EEOC?” I’d heard the initials, but didn’t know much more about it.

“The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. They come around and tell you how many blacks, Hispanics, women, whatever you have to hire. Of course, all my employees are white, because everybody up here is white. I guess Maine winters are kinda hard on black folk and those from south of the border. Anyway, that doesn’t count with them. They’ve issued an order that the next six people I hire must be blacks. The effect, of course, is that I can’t hire anyone, not even you.”

This was the nuttiest thing I’d heard yet. “You must be kidding,” I replied. “How can they make you hire blacks where there aren’t any?”

“I don’t know,” Ed said. “But I can’t fight the EEOC in court. I’m a small business and can’t afford it. I just can’t expand, is what it comes down to. And you know how badly we need jobs up here.”

I did, from growing personal experience. “But someone must care that this is completely absurd,” I said. “There has got to be a limit somewhere to what Washington can do to us.”

“If there is, I don’t know where,” Ed replied, obviously a beaten man.

“You and I, and most folk up here, are members of the middle class. That means the government doesn’t do anything for us, it only does things to us. If you know a way to change that, I’d like to hear it. But these days, unless you’re some kind of “minority,” you don’t have any rights. Frankly, it’s just not our country any more.”

That summed it up pretty well. Somewhere along the line, in the last 30 years or so, somebody had taken our country away from us.
We remembered what our country was like. It was a safe, decent, prosperous place where normal, middle class people could live good lives.

And it was gone.

I was beginning to think that what I wanted to do was help take our country back. How I could do that, and how I could earn a living, were both puzzles. But where there’s a will, God often opens a way.

The View From Olympus 28: Interests

A realistic foreign policy is based not on Santa’s list of who is naughty or nice, but on interests. What are America’s interests in the Crimea or in all of Ukraine for that matter? It has only one: maintaining a good relationship with Russia.

It matters not a fig to America who controls the Crimea or Ukraine. These are local issues, of concern only to the locals. We should no more be preparing to take action over what Russia does there than Russia took action over our invasions of Grenada or Panama. Those places were in our sphere; Crimea and the Ukraine are in Russia’s.

In contrast, it is important to our interests to have a good working relationship with Russia. We need Russian help in other parts of the world, most of which we should not be involved in but nonetheless are. Russia is a major exporter of oil; a sudden tightening of the oil market could wreak havoc on our economy. The most important interest at stake in our relations to Russia, and it is a very important one indeed, is the fact that Russia holds Christendom’s vast flank that stretches from the Black Sea to Vladivostok. Islam, our common and deadly enemy, is pressing north along much of that flank. We need to make sure it holds, which means Russia merits our friendship and support, not “sanctions”.

Russia, America, and Europe share a common interest in ensuring that events in Ukraine do not generate ripples. While the likelihood of a 1914-style ladder of escalation appears small, all three parties need to work to keep it small. How fortunate America is to have the prudent, conservative (in foreign policy) Mr. Obama in office instead of a howler for war such as the senator from Hell, Mr. McCain, or his faithful Tonto the senator from Heck, Mr. Graham. The situation demands similar prudence on the part of President Putin and Chancellor Merkel.

The latter has regrettably been showing signs of forgetting a basic rule of central European diplomacy, namely that when Russia and Germany are allied both do well and when they are in opposition both do badly. The realism that seems to occupy the Russian Foreign Ministry might hit on a way to compel Frau Merkel to take a moderate course: compensation. Compensation is what traditional diplomacy would have offered Germany, as the primary European power. In return for absorbing the Crimea (and Russia should not try to take more, at least at present), Russia should offer Russian-held East Prussia to Germany. The Kaliningrad Oblast is a strategic liability to Russia, and offering it to Germany would put Frau Merkel in an interesting position, especially since many Germans who vote for the CDU would very much like to have Königsberg again. It would also royally sock it to the Poles.

A traditional, realistic Great Power approach appears to offer America’s interests, and Russia’s and Germany’s, the best protection in the Ukrainian crisis. However, it still falls short of the orientation all three Powers should share. That is the realization that in the face of the threat of Fourth Generation war to the state system as a whole, all three, and every other state too, should be setting aside the competition among states in favor of unity in defense of the state system. From that perspective, the current situation does echo 1914, where three monarchies that clung to an outdated paradigm, that of dynastic competition, doomed each other. The power of 4GW, vastly underestimated in all foreign ministries, is such that states that refuse to unite against it may similarly doom themselves. It may not look like that at the moment, but at the beginning of a paradigm shift, it never does.

Victoria: Chapter 3

One nice thing about Maine is that you can go home again. We Rumfords had been doing it for a couple hundred years. The men of our family, and sometimes the women too, would head out on their great adventure—crewing on a clipper bound for China, settling Oregon, converting the heathen (Uncle Bert got eaten in the Congo), going to war—but those who survived usually came back home again to Hartland and its surrounding farms.

Whether they returned as successes or failures made little difference. As I’d heard a chaplain say, in his day Jesus Christ was accounted a spectacular failure, so failure wasn’t something for Christians to worry much about. We had enough in our family to show we didn’t. I was just the most recent.

I wanted time alone to read, think, and simply live. I moved into what we called “The Old Place,” a shingle Cape Cod up on one of Maine’s few hills. The view down over the fields and ponds somehow helped the thinking part, especially in the evening as the water reflected the western sky, orange and crimson, fading to black.

No one had lived in the old place since my grandparents died, but we kept it because it had always been ours. It had no electricity, and the well worked with a bucket on a windless; by modern standards I guess it wasn’t a fit habitation. That suited me fine. I was tired of everything modern. I wanted a world with, as Tolkien put it, less noise and more green.

I’d put some money by during my time in the Corps, enough to cover me for some months anyway; the garden and deer in season (or, if need be, out of season) would keep me from starving. The whole country was overrun with deer, more than when white men first came to North America, because there were so many restrictions on guns and hunting. In some places they had become pests; we literally could not defend ourselves from our own food.

Once I got settled, I took up Professor Sanft’s books, “that golden chain of masterpieces which link together in single tradition the more permanent experiences of the race,” as one philosopher put it. Homer and Plato, Aristotle and Aristophanes, Virgil and Dante, and Shakespeare and the greatest literary work of all time, the Bible, which was once banned from American schools, which shows as well as anything what America had become.

I had some trouble getting going—Plato isn’t light reading—but I found my way in through my life-long study, war, beginning with the Anabasis of Xenophon. What a story! Ten thousand Greeks, cut off and surrounded in the middle of their ancient enemy, the Persian Empire, have to hack and march their way back out again—and they made it home. It was as exciting as anything Rommel or “Panzer” Meyer or any other modern commander wrote.

From Xenophon and Herodotus and Thucydides and Caesar and Tacitus and all the rest, military and not (I did finally make it through Plato, too), I learned three things. Maybe they were basic, even simple. I’m not a great philosopher. But they were important enough to shape the rest of my life.

The first was that these ancient Greeks and Romans and Hebrews and more modern Florentines and Frenchmen and Englishmen both were us and made us. They had the same thoughts you and I have, more or less, but they had them for the first time, at least the first time history records. Do you want a thoroughly modern send-up of Feminism in all its silliness? Then read Aristophanes‘ Lysistratait’s only 2500 years old. For a chaser, recall the line of 17th century English poet and priest John Donne: “Hope not for mind in woman; at their best, they are but mummy possessed.” Pick any subject you want, except science, and these folks were there before us, thousands of years before us in some cases, with the same observations, thoughts and comments we offer today. We are their children.
That led to my second lesson: nothing is new. The only person since the 18th century to have a new idea was Nietzsche, and he was mad. Even science was well along the road we still follow by the time Napoleon was trying to conquer Europe.

Back in the old USA, newness—novelty—was what everyone wanted. Ironically, that too was old, but early 21st century Americans were so cut off from their past they didn’t know it (or much else, beyond how to operate the TV remote and their cell phone).

You see, sometime around the middle of the 18th century, we men of the West struck Faust’s bargain with the Devil. We could do anything, have anything, say anything, with one exception: verweile doch, du bist so schön. We could not tarry, we could not rest, we could not get it right and then keep it that way. Always we must have something new: that was the bargain, and ultimately the reason we pulled our house down around us.

Satan, like God, has a sense of humor. His joke on us was that most of the stuff we thought was new, wasn’t. Especially the errors, blunders, and heresies; they had all been tried, and failed, and understood as mistakes long, long before. But we had lost our past, so we didn’t know. We were too busy passing around “information” with our computers to study any history. So it was all new to us, and we had to make the same mistakes over again. The price was high.

The third lesson, and the one that shaped the rest of my life, was that these thoughts and lessons and concepts and morals that make up our Western culture—for that is what these books contain—were worth fighting for. As Pat Buchanan said, they were true, they were ours, and they were good. They had given us, when we still paid attention to them, the freest and most prosperous societies man has ever known.

They were all bought at a price. Christ died on a cross. The Spartans still lie at Thermopylae. Socrates served Athens as a soldier before he drank its hemlock, also obedient to its laws. Cicero spoke on duty and died at the hands of the Roman government. Saints’dies natales, their birthdays, were the days they died to this world. Every truth we hold and are held by is written in blood, and sweat and tears and cold hours scribbling in lonely garrets with not enough to eat. None of it came cheap – none of it.

We Victorians, those of my generation anyway, know that fighting for the truth is not a metaphor. We killed for it and we died for it. By the 21st century, that was the only way to save it, weapon in hand. That, too, is nothing new, just another lesson we had forgotten and had to learn all over again.

A Reality Check For the Right

Caption the above photo.

“Misanthropy develops when without art one puts complete trust in somebody thinking the man absolutely true and sound and reliable and then a little later discovers him to be bad and unreliable…and when it happens to someone often…he ends up…hating everyone.” – Socrates, as depicted in Plato’s Phaedo

“All addiction is bad, whether to alcohol, morphine or idealism.” – Carl Jung

Recently, while watching Bill Maher’s HBO talk show, He noted with glee that Governor Jan Brewer, governor of my home state of Arizona, recently vetoed a bill that would allow people to refuse service to homosexuals on the basis of the freedom of personal association. Naturally, conservatives angrily railed at her. They called her a sellout, a phony, a hypocrite. The thing Bill Maher and all the conservatives did not take into account was that next year’s Super Bowl is due to take place in Arizona, and the NFL said it would pull out if she signed the bill into law.

Brewer is a true-blue conservative. Arizona is a state which is one of only four where a man can buy a gun with no waiting period, immediately put it under his coat with no concealed carry license, and walk outside onto the street legally. She also gave us the more important immigration status check bill which allows police officers to ask suspects their immigration status and prove it. She has pursued a rollback of abortion in the state. She cut taxes. As for the population, the Republican Party there is among one of the most conservative in the country. Arizona takes the lead when it comes to nationalist and conservative issues. Brewer is one of the “least worst” of the Republican cadre for taking the right stand when it comes to gun rights issues and immigration, and is not afraid to say so—even if she does it in “political speech” rather than make a cultural argument like national conservatives would. Regardless, she takes a stand for the right things.

So, did Brewer sell out? In a sense, yes, and in a sense, no. She made the right decision. Many hard-line conservatives would think not, and in any other situation, signing the bill into law would make sense. But if Brewer lost the economic boom of the Super Bowl over the bill, it would make her respected by only a minority of ultra-right-wingers, people she doesn’t need to further convince to keep her governorship well respected. It’s the moderates and independents she must convince. If she made herself look like such a fanatic that she could sacrifice the Super Bowl for a bill that has a great chance of being fought by the Supreme Court only to prove she was a conservative, she would be incredibly stupid. The NFL put her in a corner and she had to gnaw off a finger to escape the trap. She made a good move, and it’s better we keep her around than lose her due to an unrealistic adherence to principle at all costs. Had Murdock in Indiana and Akin in Missouri made the right calls instead of trying to impress conservatives, their Senate seats would right not be occupied by Democrats.

This little maneuver on the part of Brewer, in concert with seeing people online—particularly nationalists—griping about the imperfections of Vladimir Putin, spurred me to write a reality check for paleoconservatives and nationalists on the nature of politics and why we need politicians who make compromises. We need leaders who are smart enough to stick to what is truly important, but know when to back down from a fight instead of falling on their sword.

All too often, I see people throw away a politician because of a tactical move they made instead of understanding the big picture of what they are trying to accomplish. Over the past few years, my libertarian friends became very unenthused by Rand Paul’s behavior, such as endorsing Mitt Romney, supporting parts of the Patriot Act like being able to actually treat terrorists like terrorists, and not going all-out for legalizing hard drugs. White nationalists, who were somewhat excited about Rand Paul for a bit before they saw him not be a complete idiot about race relations, lost all faith in him after he basically disowned Jack Hunter (who was painted as a racist, albeit unfairly, and therefore politically toxic to Paul) and wrote in support of Martin Luther King, saying dumb things about the Republican Party being a beacon of “anti-racist conservatism” and that liberals were the real racists. Of course, that’s absolute crap he said just to ditch the fallout of his associations with known race-conscious conservatives. However, libertarians and white nationalists essentially vilified him for what amounts to good political moves without looking at the bigger picture: that even with all his flaws, Rand Paul would be our best president in decades—maybe even in a century—if he were to be elected. Rand Paul is not only popular and highly electable, but even if he explicitly does not care to advance white interests in the form of an ethno-state, his positions on war, taxes, NSA spying, drones, welfare, abortion, gun rights, affirmative action, and many other things are in our interest, and so far in office he has made good on his promises. He also was one of the few opponents of the immigration bill and highlighted the blatant electoral grab that the Democrats were trying for and called for strict voting regulations for new immigrants. Paul is also one of the few politicians in the Senate with a chance of winning the presidency who could make life better for conservative whites. He doesn’t need to impress the extreme right because he doesn’t need our votes. He needs middle-American moderate votes.

This one too.
This one too.

One of the biggest mistakes people make is assuming that a politician is a liar-manipulator-Machiavellian-evil-not-to-be-trusted-scumbag for making explicitly tactical moves. Most of the time politicians do this. When they do not, we fawn over them, believing that he is “one of the few” who is morally superior—“the chosen one”. Sometimes, these “chosen ones” take the guise of a man like Ron Paul, or in a less popular twist: Hitler. A politician like either of the Pauls is good for our society, but when we pedestalize anyone we set ourselves up for failure because human beings are not and cannot be perfect. Even if they are, we wouldn’t know because it would probably contrast with our starry-eyed idealism about the way things “ought to be”. People want their leaders to be pure. But what is best? A pure leader who gets nothing accomplished, or an imperfect, but accomplishing figure? If you adhere to your beliefs 100%, you may find yourself in a garage somewhere, angrily yelling at a television because the man who beat you is on it and is now enacting his agenda instead of yours. To win, you need to know the rules of the game.

Those that think there are absolutely no good politicians are just as delusional as those who think that politicians can be sliced up into neatly defined ideological sections. Most of the politicians we see on TV are untrustworthy and acting out of self interest—but that’s not why you vote for or against them. You vote based on one thing—what they accomplish. Whatever they say is meaningless. What they stand for is reflected in their votes and policies. The average person dismisses all politicians so they can absolve themselves of supporting the mess of democracy or popular government. Like many of us frustrated conservatives, they want to just give up at times and will only support a candidate who fits their rigid ideological view. But by doing that, you are allowing the enemy more tactical space to work against you. There have always been a large amount of opportunists in the political sphere, but the key is to pick the opportunist that benefits you.

This relates to the “lesser of two evils” argument that we are bombarded with, but there is truth to it. You should at least take the 30 minutes or less out of your day to vote for the lesser of two evils, because the minor amount of effort exerted can have a maximal amount of benefit. If you care about any issue at all, politics is something you should pay attention to. Taxes, guns, civil rights, diversity, NSA spying, and the candidates who support or are against any of these things stand to effect you. All too often, I see political idealists just throw up their hands and quit, or not even bother to get educated about political issues because politicians don’t fit some idealized version of a platform they want. I felt this way until I made myself listen to Ron Paul speak in 2011, and started educating myself because for once, a man on Fox News was saying things I largely agreed with. Government will never be perfect and politics will never be perfect, so waiting for the revolution (unless of course you are a Ukrainian) is simply an excuse for apathy.

Government is something that happens naturally, and without your participation, it will be formed without your input. It is unavoidable. Until nationalists and paleo-conservatives start voting for less-than-perfect candidates, they will get nowhere.

The world is not going to back to a dictatorship or monarchy any time soon—it’s going to be capitalist and democratic for the foreseeable future. That’s the reality, and fighting these things only on the internet is not going to help the cultural right. You cannot use politics or force either to reinstate traditionalism. It has to come organically. What politics is used for is to create conditions where that can happen. And as countries like Israel and Japan have shown, as well as various eastern European countries, it is possible to have a democratic and capitalist state while retaining a cultural and ethnic nationalist foundation for society. This should be our primary goal, and within that move to a better system later.

If this is taken into account, then nationalists and the right need to stop viewing politicians as vehicles for only their specific ideology. Because to survive politically, no matter how pure of heart a politician is, he will not survive unless he is tactically prepared and can make tough calls and appeal to various facets of society that are opposed to our cultural heritage. What this means is understanding when a politician makes an ideological move versus a political concession. Here in America, land of obnoxious optimism and everlasting smiles, when things don’t go our way, we drop off and turn out. We stop voting. We stop engaging. This is not the right course of action.

A good politician in my opinion is a smart, shrewd man who stands up for his beliefs, but knows when not to fight. He knows when to take a dive, like Brewer did. He knows when to back down. He should ideally (pun intended) be a mix of political shrewdness and staunch beliefs. A man who cracks an egg to make an omelet, so to speak.

If a candidate claims he supports the wrong countries and opposes “racism”(anything pro-Western culture, conservative, or white), but while in office stops sending aid to those countries and ends affirmative action, is that not better than a man who does the exact opposite? This is why looking at policy and action is more important than words. Politicians tell people what they want to hear. They always will. And if we want a guy in the White House who is on our side, we are going to have to hear a lot of pandering to the cultural left. It’s the cold, hard reality.

Let’s look at Ron Paul again. In the early ’90s he released newsletters in his name (which were most likely not authored by him, but were still published by him with his approval) that contained race-realist sentiments that bordered on racist for many people not attuned to the language of the cultural right. They also included a variety of culturally conservative “Angry White Male” statements which characterized his world view as both pessimistic and traditionalist. Still, Dr. Paul disowned them and refused to take responsibility for them, because he knew they would be politically damning, and rather stupid to do so. Again, a shrewd and good move. Regrettably, many on the cultural right now call Paul a traitor with a globalist agenda. He isn’t a white nationalist, but he is also not a cultural liberal.

So if we, the cultural right, want to accomplish anything, we can’t only go for purists. That simply is not possible in this climate. We have to transition to a climate where this is possible, and to do this, we need less-than-pure men right now.

All politicians and all leaders do things we dislike. It is the nature of leadership and politics. It can’t be avoided. We need a politician who can play the game as well as stand for a core ideology we support. We need to understand which is the better move in specific situations. We need to transition to a better world, a better country, and a better society, but right now we need someone who can get elected. We need to understand it’s about creating conditions for our traditional culture and identity to exist, and that by voting tactically, we can achieve the gradual transition to a better society. But first we need a reality check.

PLEASE, caption this one too.
GOOD LORD, caption this one too.

Rethinking Christian Economics, Part 3: False Distributism

The following piece is republished from In Praise of Folly. It is part of a short series on Christian economics. Footnotes will be provided with the final installment.

Distributism is the ideal that the economic goal of society should be to obtain the widest distribution of property amongst the most people. The end I agree to, but the means typically proposed to achieve that end I do not. Distributists in theory are almost libertarian in their desire to decentralize society, but in fact are more often than not crypto-socialists. If one visits the Distributist Review you will see the same flawed Marxist theories used ostensibly to decentralize property. But one cannot purse Christian ends by Marxist means, as I will discuss in depth later. We see John Médaille[10], David W. Cooney[11], Hilaire Belloc[12], and Thomas Storck[13] all arguing for the grossly unjust notion of a graduated income tax. In Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto, his second plank was the implementation of a progressive income tax. This is unjust in that it charges the rich man more than the poor and privileges the poor over the rich. We see in Exodus 30:15 that when YHWH required the Children of Israel to pay for the offering it was a flat rate of a half-shekel. The rich were not to pay more than the poor nor the poor more than the rich. When Samuel describes to the Israelites what the tyranny of a king would look like, he stated in 1st Samuel 8:15: “He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage, and give it to his officers and servants.” It is interesting to note the Children of Israel were required to tithe a tenth of their goods to God in Leviticus 18:26. We see that when a state seeks to take more than a tenth of our earnings it is usurping God’s sovereignty. If God demanded a tenth of Israel’s produce, then the upper cap of taxation is set. If a state seeks a tenth or more of a person’s income, it is claiming that itself is greater than God. When Distributists endorse plunder under the guise of a progressive income tax they are rebelling against God’s justice and claim to be gods themselves.

We see in Exodus 23:3, Leviticus 19:15, and Deuteronomy 16:19 that justice is blind and one is not to be partial to a poor man. According to Scripture, the Distributists are not inclined to justice, but to unrighteousness for they pervert justice toward the poor and take the blindfold off the eyes of justice. Why should a person be excessively taxed for having more than others? How wealthy are some of the proponents of Distributism? Why don’t they sell of all their superfluities of life and live a spartan existence and give the surplus to the poor? Rather than personally acting out what they claim to believe, they instead plunder the rest of us through the violence of the state. In his debate with George Bernard Shaw entitled “Do We Agree”[14], Chesterton foolishly argues that the coal industry should be nationalized by the British government. Mr. Chesterton’s arguments look quite silly after seeing the mismanagement of coal under English nationalization in 1946, which was undone through privatization in 1994 under the Coal Industry Act of 1994. This debate shows us again the crypto-socialist nature of Distributism.

The other pseudo-socialist aspect of Distributism can be found in the works of David V. Cooney[15], Stratford Caldecott[16], Hilaire Belloc[17], Thomas Stork[18], and Angus Sibley[19] who argue for Marx’s Eighth Plank: “Equal liability of all to labor. Establishment of industrial armies especially for agriculture.”

I am not opposed to Church influencing economic action and exerting a Godly influence in the marketplace, but I am opposed to economic charlatans who complain about corporate monopolies, granted by government, and seek to solve the problem by imposing government-granted monopolies of unions and guilds to resolve the resulting inequity.

In the Old Catholic encyclopedia, two types of guilds are mentioned: Merchant and Craftsmen Guilds. Merchant guilds were monopolies as described here:

“These differed from their predecessors, the religious or frith guilds, by being established primarily for the purpose of obtaining and maintaining the privilege of carrying on trade. Having secured this privilege the guilds guarded their monopoly jealously.”[20]

“The merchant guilds possessed extensive powers, including the control and monopoly of all the trades in the town, which involved the power of fining all traders who were not members of the guild for illicit trading, and of inflicting punishment for all breaches of honesty or offenses against the regulations of the guild.”[21]

“The merchants’ guilds aimed at securing commercial advantages for their members and obtaining the monopoly of the trade of some country or some particular class of goods. Not alone in the German cities, but also in all foreign countries where German commerce prevailed, corporations of this sort, guilds, or Hansa (the word Hansa has the same signification as guild)”[22]

The craftsmen guilds sought to break down monopolies:

“Seeing that the merchant guilds had become identical with the municipality, the craftsmen, ever increasing in numbers, struggled to break down the trading monopoly of the merchant guilds and to win for themselves the right of supervision over their own body. The weavers and fullers were the first crafts to obtain royal recognition of their guilds, and by 1130 they had guilds established in London, Lincoln, and Oxford. Little by little through the next two centuries they broke down the power of the merchant guilds, which received their death-blow by the statute of Edward III which in 1335 allowed foreign merchants to trade freely in England.”[23]

Given that craftsmen guilds lead to the breakdown of the guild system in favor of free trade, I doubt the Distributists have any love lost for them. The Distributist answer to corporate monopolies is to have more corporate monopolies, only these corporate monopolies are good because the “good” Catholics run them. Yet, if guilds were so great why did Pope Pius VII abolish guilds in the Papal States in 1807?[24]

Laborers forming fraternities or charities to take care of each other’s interests is not an un-Christian idea, but coercive and monopolistic enterprises are exactly what needs to be avoided, and to believe that another set of coercive monopolistic enterprises will counter the inequity is like believing that two wrongs can make a right.

Aristotle and Proto-Distributism

The positive argument for private property can be found in Book 1 of Aristotle’s Politics. Aristotle argues that man will work harder for the sake of what he owns. If all his possessions are held in collectively, then the tragedy of the commons will arise whereby resources and infrastructure are depleted but not replenished. This exploitation occurs because no one can lay claim to any of the produce of the land exclusively and each individual is given incentives to extract as much benefit as he can as quickly as he can. Furthermore, the virtues of continence and liberality cannot possibly be developed in a communist society. If all women are held in common, then the virtue of continence cannot be developed and if all land is held in common than liberality cannot be developed. The virtue of continence in general is related to self-control and in particular to sexual self-control. The virtue of liberality is giving from one’s own store to another at the right time, to the right person, for the right reason. Obviously both virtues would be impossible in a state of communism. Aristotle argues, correctly, that man’s desires are ultimately insatiable because they are unlimited, and thus they must be restrained by reason and force of habit, both of which being derived from education and the law. Widely distributed property is desirable because having a middle class is desirable. Aristotle points out in Book IV that the middle class is the mean between rich and poor, the former being in excess of wealth and the latter in a deficiency of wealth. The former seek to acquire total control over society, while the latter being envious are ungovernable. The middle class is thus in a position to serve as an impartial judge in disputes between the rich and poor. For a middle class to exist it stands to reason that property must not be concentrated in the hands of a few, but be widely distributed. The middle class has just enough property to avoid poverty, but not so much property that they can act despotically against the less fortunate while avoiding and perverting the law.

Having outlined the secular argument for widely distributed property, I will now turn to Holy Scripture. We see in the Pentateuch that God feared the concentration of power in general and the concentration of property in particular. In Leviticus 25:10-13 we are told that Israel was required after every fifty years to return the land to its original owner. This mechanism was set in place by God to keep property from gathering into the hands of a few men. God’s law against usury serves the same purpose. We see in Leviticus 25:23-28 that if a man has to sell his property to pay some debt, then 1) his nearest of kin is to buy the land back or 2) the man who received the property as a pledge of debt should, once the means of the indebted man have recovered, sell the land back to him or 3) if both means fail the land is to be returned during the year of Jubilee. We see in Numbers 36:1-13 while Zelophehad’s daughters were married into the tribe of their cousins, Zelophehad’s property remained in his tribe and was not transferred to his brother. God did not want property to switch hands from tribe to tribe. We also see the same principle at work in Judges 21:17 where for the sake of an inheritance the errant tribe of Benjamin is allowed to essentially kidnap the daughters of Shiloh at Schecem to be their wives. It was considered so important that the land apportioned to Benjamin not leave their control it was necessary to ensure the tribe’s survival.

The basic principle of distributed property is clearly seen in the OT. Therefore, given the best secular wisdom found in Aristotle and in divine wisdom in Holy Scripture, the moral and utilitarian reasons for distributed property can be clearly seen.

The Commons

I also contend that the medieval concept of the commons should be restored, at least in spirit. For in the words of Ivan Illich:

“People called commons those parts of the environment for which customary law exacted specific forms of community respect. People called commons that part of the environment which lay beyond their own thresholds and outside of their own possessions, to which, however, they had recognized claims of usage, not to produce commodities but to provide for the subsistence of their households.”[25]

The commons are a place that is not commoditized or bought or sold, but is set in place for the sustenance of family life for those suffering from either chronic or terminal poverty (due to illness or injury or physical disability). It is a sacred place where sacred time and work is kept. It is an attempt to be faithful to the divine command of the gleanings or, in Aristotelian terms, to the public land of a well-balanced commonwealth, which ideally contains both public and private land.

The danger of having people being employed by corporations or government is that when they are fired or their wages are cut they usually have no alternative to fall back on. If a man had his “three acres and a cow,” to quote Chesterton, he would have something to fall back on so as to endure the vicissitudes of life. Or, to quote Lewis:

“I believe a man is happier, and happy in a richer way, if he has ‘the freeborn mind’. But I doubt whether he can have this without economic independence, which the new society is abolishing. For economic independence allows an education not controlled by Government; and in adult life it is the man who needs, and asks, nothing of Government who can criticize its acts and snap his fingers at its ideology. Read Montaigne, that’s the voice of a man with his legs under his own table, eating the mutton and turnips raised on his own land. Who will talk like that when the State is everyone’s schoolmaster and employer?”[26]

To be a free man, one must own the land he stands on and be able to leave an inheritance for his children (Proverbs 13:22). All forms of property tax, inheritance tax, and death tax are unbiblical, for the state has no claim to a man’s property (1st Kings 21:1-29).

The View From Olympus 27: TTPs

An Army officer recently called me from the Fatherland with an important question: from a maneuver warfare (3GW) perspective, what are the differences between tactics, techniques, and procedures?

The U.S. military lumps all three together as “TTPs”. That is unfortunate, because tactics are not only different from techniques and procedures, they are opposite in nature. Combining opposites not only leads to confusion, in this case it has caused tactics to be subsumed by techniques, which from a maneuver warfare perspective is disastrous.

It is easiest to lay out the differences among the three by starting at the other end of the list, with procedures. A procedure is something done by recipe or formula that does not make contact with the enemy. An example is the procedure for clearing a jam in a certain type of machine gun. Once established, that procedure is valid for as long as that model of machine gun remains in service. It does not matter if the enemy figures it out, because he cannot take advantage of the knowledge. The procedure is focused entirely inward, on our machine gun. The enemy is irrelevant (beyond the fact that the gun usually jams at the worst moment in a firefight, as they all seem to do).

Techniques are like procedures in that they are done by recipe or formula. How to set up an L-shaped ambush, how to emplace a minefield, how to move through an enemy-held building or neighborhood, are all techniques. Troops (usually small units) learn them by rote and get good at them by repetition. However, unlike procedures, techniques do make contact with the enemy. Because the enemy learns (something all sides tend to overlook), he eventually figures your techniques out and comes up with ways to negate them or even turn them against you. That means techniques, unlike procedures, have relatively short shelf-lives.

Therefore, it is not enough to be good at techniques (though that is important). You also have to be good at inventing new techniques. Here the TTP spectrum begins to shift from science to art. This is also a point at which Second Generation militaries, with their inward-focused culture, tend to fail. They have little room for initiative or innovation, or for creative individuals. Often, they continue using techniques the enemy figured out long ago, which contributes to their defeat.

Tactics is the art of selecting the right techniques for a given situation, “right” meaning techniques that bring a decisive result at the lowest possible cost in causalities and time (those two can be in tension, although more often speed reduces casualties). Tactics is an art, and must never be done by recipe or formula. Every situation is unique and the commander must see it as such (what I call “the Zen of tactics”, which requires strong mental discipline). He must be able to think militarily, to look at a particular situation and quickly decide what to do. Regrettably, to my knowledge this is not taught in any American military school or college, with the exception of the Marine Corps’ Infantry Officers School.

Why? Because the Second Generation U.S. military has reduced tactics to techniques, hence “TTPs”. At this point, U.S. Ground forces essentially have no tactics. They just wander around until they bump into an enemy, then call for supporting arms. We are formulaic and predictable, which plays no small role in our continuing defeats.

Aggregating dissimilar things as if they shared a common nature is a serious error in logic. It is also a serious error in tactics. Modern, Third Generation tactics were fully developed by the German Army by 1918. If anyone knows the arguments as to why and how we benefit from being almost 100 years out of date, I would like to hear them.

Victoria: Chapter 2

When President Eisenhower of the old USA visited Dartmouth in the 1950s, he said it looked exactly the way a college ought to. By the late ’90s it still did, despite the fact that they’d built an ultra-modern student center on the traditional green —part of the “foul your own nest” maxim that ruled most campuses from the 1960s on. Those were the days when “art” was defined as whatever was ugly or shocking or out of place, not what was beautiful.

Professor Sanft had retired from the German department in 2012. Actually, he was driven out by the weirdos who then populated college faculties —the feminists, freaks, and phonies who had replaced learning with politics. I found him at a house in Hanover, which turned out to be not his residence but the college-in-hiding, otherwise known as the Martin Institute. It seemed some conservative alumni, recognizing that the barbarians were within the gates of their alma mater, had bought a house in town, brought in Professor Sanft and a few other genuine scholars, and were offering Dartmouth students the courses the college would no longer teach, like the great books of Western civilization.

I knew the prof and I would get along when I saw the Zeppelin poster on his office door and smelled the pipe smoke curling out the same. The office was a vast clutter of books and papers, pipes and walking sticks, straw hats and the occasional bottle of something refreshing; no old Sandinista posters on the walls here. Professor Sanft, dressed in a white linen suit for summer and the Raj, with a pink shirt and polka-dot bow-tie, bid me welcome. Jim Sampsonoff had written, saying I’d be by. I wasn’t quite sure why I was there, but the professor seemed to know.

“Jim says you’re interested in getting an education,” he opened.

“Well, I thought I already had one,” I replied. “I graduated from Bowdoin with a pre-med major, before I decided I’d rather make holes in people with a bullet than a scalpel. It’s quicker and more fun, though the pay is less.”

“What do you think an education is?” he continued.

“Going to college, taking some courses and getting a degree, I guess,” I responded, suspecting this was not the right answer.

“No, that’s just credentialing. It may help you get a job, but it won’t help you, yourself, much beyond that. Do you know what the word ‘education’ means?”

I allowed as I hadn’t thought about that much.

“It’s from the Latin ex, for ‘out’ or ‘beyond,’ plus ducare, to lead. An education leads you out beyond where you were, in terms of your understanding of life, the universe, and everything. Did Bowdoin do that for you?”

“Well, not really,” I guessed. But I wasn’t sure this was leading me where I wanted to go, either. “Jim said I should see you because you would help me understand why I got fired for doing what I thought was right. Would a real education help me understand that?” I asked.

“Yes, and perhaps a few more things besides,” answered Professor Sanft. “There was a fellow named Socrates, some years back, who had a similar experience. Ever hear of him?”

I had, and I remembered something about drinking some bad hemlock wine or some such, but beyond that it was hazy.

“You’re in the same situation as most of the students who come to me here,” he said. “You know where you are in space but not in time. You don’t know where you came from. You live in Western civilization, but you don’t know what it is. You don’t know that this civilization had a beginning and went through some rather remarkable times before getting to where we are today.”

“Without the songs and stories of the West, our West , we are impoverished,” he continued. “Weightless and drifting, we do not know where we are in history. We are what the Germans call mere Luftmenschen – in a free translation, airheads.”

The mention of history perked me up. Ever since I was about eight years old, I’d read a lot of military history. I learned to read not so much in school as by falling in love with C.S. Forester’s Horatio Hornblower novels, which followed a British naval officer in his career from midshipman through admiral, in the wars of the French Revolution and Napoleon. They were fiction, but rooted in fact. I didn’t realize it until much later, but they were also a great introduction to military decision-making.

“In the Marine Corps,” I said, “I saw that people who hadn’t read much military history could only follow processes, which they learned by rote. They could not understand the situation they were in. They had no context.”

“That’s an insight most Dartmouth students don’t have,” said the professor. “And it is what I’m talking about, on a larger scale. Just as your fellow Marines could not understand a military situation, so you can’t understand your situation in the war for our culture. Literally, you can’t see your place—situin it.”

“Jim said I was a casualty in the culture war. I always thought wars were fought by guys with uniforms and guns. I’m not quite sure what this ‘culture war’ is all about,” I said.

“Sadly, this great culture of ours, Western culture, is under attack,” the professor replied. “The universities today are active and conscious agents in its destruction. Indeed, they have generated theories as to why Western culture should be destroyed. Of course, they aren’t alone. The most powerful single force in America now is the entertainment industry, and it is also an agent of cultural destruction. Many of the politicians play the game too. The usual code-words are ‘racism, sexism, and homophobia.’ When you hear them, you’re hearing the worms gnawing at the foundation.”

I’d been told my high crime was “sexism,” so that clicked, and Col. Ryan was certainly a politician. It sounded as if there were a new battlefield I needed to understand.

“So where do I start?” I asked.

“By studying our culture – what it is, where it came from, what its great ideas and values are and why we hold them to be great,” Professor Sanft answered. “In other words, with an education.”

He’d brought me back to where we’d started, though now I grasped what he meant.

“That doesn’t mean going back to college,” he continued. “You can do it on your own. In fact, to a large degree, you have to do it on your own now, even if you are a college student. That’s why we have this institute, and why I’m here. And I can give you a small present that will get you started.” He handed me a copy of a book: Smiling Through the Cultural Catastrophe. “Another Darmouth professor, Jeffery Hart, wrote this a few years ago. Think of it as a road map, though I’ve heard it’s dangerous to give those to infantry officers,” Professor Sanft said.

“Thanks, I think,” I replied. Actually, we grunts did get lost a lot, we just tried to keep it a trade secret.

“It tells you what to read, what commentaries are best, and offers a few comments of its own,” Professor Sanft said. “The books don’t cost much, a tiny fraction of a year’s tuition at Dartmouth, but they’ll do for you what Dartmouth no longer does. They will make you an educated man of the West.”

I thanked Professor Sanft that day, though not nearly as much as I’ve thanked him since. I went to the Dartmouth Bookstore and stocked up. Maine would give me time for reading.

When we look back on our lives, incidents that seemed small at the time may take on great importance. That half-hour with Professor Gottfried Sanft changed my life. Most of my years since that day in Hanover have been spent fighting for Western culture, then rebuilding it, piece by piece, once the fighting part was done.

Thanks to Professor Sanft, this was one infantryman who wasn’t lost.