What relationship is defined by having no rules?
Trust me: it’s not one of the more obscure puzzles you’ll encounter:
“Are you ready?”
Christine raised her chin and presented her mentor with a feral smile. She had waited for this morning with a Christmas-like anticipation.
“Bet your ass.” I’ve never wanted to be anywhere as much as I want to be here in your basement, with you, learning this. Except in bed with you, in your arms.
Louis grinned. “You might find yourself changing your mind about that. What is combat, Christine?”
“What is combat? How does it differ from other kinds of human interaction?”
“Well, you’re trying to hurt somebody.”
Louis cocked an eyebrow. “You’re never trying to hurt somebody under other circumstances?”
She thought it over. “Well, yeah.”
“So what’s the difference?”
“Well, you have to have an opponent.”
He waited in silence.
“And he has to be trying to stop you.”
“From doing what?”
“Whatever you’re trying to do!” She was growing impatient.
“And what are the rules?”
“Um, do there have to be any?”
He shook his head. “There have to be none.”
“You heard me. If it’s combat, it has no rules, only objectives. That’s really the defining characteristic.”
He went to a wooden rack across from his punching bag and lifted a large, gently curved sword from it. She had never seen him handle the thing before, and had wondered why he had it.
“This is a medieval saber. A thousand years ago, it was one of the most potent weapons a man could carry. Moreover, possession was restricted by law. You had to be a member of the ruling class to own one legally.”
He swung the sword in a complex pattern that defeated her attempt to track it.
“You can kill with one of these, if you have enough strength and skill. Of course, it’s a little conspicuous, and it takes a lot more effort to use than most people would guess. Would you want to have to tote one around?”
“And why is that?” He laid the tip of the saber in his left hand and held out the sword as if offering it to her.
“Because there’s better available. We have guns now.”
He nodded. “Yes, we do. And for quite a wide range of combat situations, a gun is a better weapon than a sword. In fact, there are a number of cases where bare hands are better than a sword, but that’s beside the point for now. If you were in a combat situation, where you had this and your opponent had a gun, what could you do about it?”
She looked hard at the old weapon. It had a certain antique beauty and simplicity, but she couldn’t imagine ever wanting to wield it.
“Not a lot. Try to take the gun away from him, maybe?”
Louis snorted. “I hope you never have to do that, Chris. The odds are going to be on his side. But one thing you wouldn’t do is to shout, ‘Hey, that’s not fair.’ Right?”
She laughed. “Silly man!”
His face went dark. “I’m trying to make a very important point here, Chris. Combat means no rules. What he has is what you have to deal with, period. If you can’t face his size, his skills, or his armament, you’d better be prepared to run.”
“Well, you know I can do that.”
He glowered. “I said prepared to run.” His voice had acquired an edge she hadn’t heard before. “Emotionally. You don’t ever duke it out with someone who’s got the edge. A lot of guys have been killed by pride and unwillingness to admit they’re facing superior force. Chris, this might be the most important thing anyone will ever tell you. Do you understand?”
[From On Broken Wings]
Ponder that for a moment.
- Involving two or more persons,
- In which there are no rules,
…must be regarded as a combat situation. At any moment, one of the others could decide that it would suit him to kill you. Why not? After all, there are no rules. If he’s not personally inhibited against committing murder, and if the profit to him would outweigh the costs and the risks, why shouldn’t he take your life?
There are ritualized forms of combat, bound by systems of rules – sometimes quite elaborate ones – but those should be regarded as games, to keep the meaning of the term combat simple and pure. In the passage above, Louis was speaking of such a combat. He sought to introduce Christine to the skills she would need to survive, after his departure from her life. (Read the book to learn why she would need them.) But before he could do so, he had to impress upon her that in our temporal world, there are situations in which there’s “no referee,” no one to call “time out,” and the distinct possibility of a mortal outcome for one of the participants.
In the uber-situation we call “our country” or “society,” the rules are those laws which are reliably observed by the great majority and enforced against the unruly minority. But what if the laws are no longer reliably observed by the majority and enforced against the unruly? What if those the rest of us have entrusted with the enforcement of the laws decide to join the lawbreakers?
Isn’t that, by the logic of the exposition above, a combat situation?
Think about it.
This piece of two days ago has received a fair amount of attention. Some of the feedback has been incredulous, along the lines of “Are you seriously saying that ‘our preeminent law enforcement agency’ has become a criminal gang?” I’ve had to resist a strong temptation to respond with sarcasm. But yes: that’s exactly what I’m saying. The FBI is now acting as if there are no rules which it or its agents must observe.
The implications should chill anyone’s blood. The FBI’s excesses go back several years. No one in a position of authority has made more than a token attempt to curb that agency. Now that it’s being wielded in the service of a political agenda, anyone who differs from that agenda must regard himself as in combat with the FBI and the forces it wields. Nor is the FBI the only such combatant we face. The entire federal government has been “weaponized” against the common American citizen.
There are no rules.
I don’t see a need to bludgeon my Gentle Readers with this. You’re too intelligent, and have been paying just as much attention to developments as I. Even the powerful, highly evocative term anarcho-tyranny fails to capture the extremity of our current, combat situation. In short, it’s fight-or-flight time for anyone determined to speak his mind against the Usurper Regime.
There is no Last Graf. Many are persuaded that they haven’t any way to resist Leviathan, much less fight him. Others question whether, given the immensity of the forces against us, there’s any point to trying. And others, may God guard and guide them, are preparing to take active roles in the war that’s been declared against us – a war that with every passing hour is ever less decorated with the trappings of law.
For my part, I can do little. I’m old and unwell. But at least I can see to it that my Gentle Readers are prepared emotionally.
Have a nice day.