Clever tacticians know it: Strike the enemy at his weakest point. Believe it or not, that – not tanks, aerial warfare, or poison gas – was the biggest innovation that came out of World War I. Before that, nation armies would hurl themselves at one another’s strength, each hoping to destroy the another and win the war with a single overwhelming victory. But what if the enemy has no weak points? What then?
Then you create one.
I’d like my Gentle Readers to think about that for a moment. There are hidden subtleties in the notion. For one thing, it involves deception: the use of your forces and communication capabilities to lure your enemy into unbalancing his men, materiel, and maneuvers. For another, it can require that you accept a (hopefully) temporary imbalance among your forces, praying all the while that your enemy won’t notice it. Warfare between evenly matched contestants is like that. It’s true both at the chessboard and over a map of the world.
Weak points come in many varieties. Some arise from nature itself. For example, in Europe both the Belgian plain and the Fulda gap are notable invasion routes, sculpted that way by the forces that shaped the continent. There isn’t much one can do about them except to build fortifications…and as the French discovered in 1940, even that can’t do everything.
Another celebrated weak point is the salient: the protrusion of your lines in a fashion that creates attackable flanks. Attempts to exploit this tactical factor were a recurring feature of ground warfare on the Western Front of both World Wars. Field commanders learned to avoid creating salients the hard way. They also learned that presenting the opponent with an illusory salient – one that’s more apparent than real – can be a temptation he cannot resist.
In today’s rapid, three-dimensional warfare, the continuity and security of supply to one’s forces is a critical consideration. Historically, logistical factors have tended to favor the defender. That might not be true any longer in open warfare.
As for covert warfare, conducted against an enemy who’s unaware that he’s under attack, we might be seeing it in use today…against us.
Freedom is under attack today. In truth, it always has been, for there are always men who desire power over others, and they never relent. Freedom elsewhere than in the United States has been extinguished. Nowhere on earth other than here is there a place where governments are under proper restraint, where private citizens can do as they like with what is rightfully theirs, and where the agents of the State are bound to respect the inherent and inalienable rights of the individual.
Here in America, freedom has been under siege for a century and more. The Constitutional constraints we were told we could trust have eroded near to the point of uselessness. Men are imprisoned and kept that way without being charged. Their property is taken from them under flimsy, objectively indefensible pretexts. Some are killed outright and without cause, as witness Roseanne Boyland and Ashli Babbitt.
Yet such open assaults on the rights of men can be pointed out, used to raise a hue and cry, and directly fought. That’s why they haven’t yet become so commonplace as to be usual. But they’re multiplying. They occur with increasing frequency, and not always by the direct action of government thugs.
Our would-be tyrants are not satisfied with the brutalities enumerated above. They want our total subjugation. They want the state of existence a great writer described thus:
“Oh hell, are you going to let that dame talk you into letting the richest country on earth slip through your fingers?” said Cuffy Meigs., leaping to his feet. “It’s a fine time to give up a whole continent—and in exchange for what? For a dinky little state that’s milked dry, anyway! I say ditch Minnesota, but hold onto your transcontinental dragnet. With trouble and riots everywhere, you won’t be able to keep people in line unless you have transportation—troop transportation—unless you hold your soldiers within a few days’ journey of any point on the continent. This is no time to retrench. Don’t get yellow, listening to all that talk. You’ve got the country in your pocket. Just keep it there.”
“In the long run—“ Mouch started uncertainly,
“In the long run, we’ll all be dead,” snapped Cuffy Meigs. He was pacing restlessly. “Retrenching, hell! There’s plenty of pickings left in California and Oregon and all those places. What I’ve been thinking is, we ought to think of expanding—the way things are, there’s nobody to stop us, it’s there for the taking—Mexico and Canada, maybe—it ought to be a cinch.”
Then she saw the answer; she saw the secret premise behind their words. With all of their noisy devotion to the age of science, their hysterically technological jargon, their cyclotrons, their sound rays, these men were moved forward, not by the image of an industrial skyline, but by the vision of that form of existence the industrialists had swept away—the vision of a fat, unhygienic rajah of India, with vacant eyes staring in indolent stupor out of stagnant layers of flesh, with nothing to do but run precious gems through his fingers and, once in a while, stick a knife into the body of a starved, toil-dazed creature, as a claim to a few grains of the creature’s rice, then claim it from hundreds of millions of such creatures and thus let the rice gather into gems.
Ayn Rand’s focus was philosophical. She wrote of the ascent of a gospel of envy over the creed of the Declaration of Independence. Given her focus, her premise and the consequences she described are quite plausible. However, Americans remain largely immune to envy. We’re sympathetic to the plight of those who have not, but the great majority of us reject the calls for “social justice” from those who demand what’s plainly unjust. Indeed, a reaction against such tactics has been swelling, and might be near to a critical mass.
So our would-be tyrants are falling back on a reserve tactic.
We’ve frequently heard it said that they’re playing “the long game,” and it is true. Since 1900 at the very latest, they’ve been using a development many will not credit in their campaign. Quite recently it’s become overt, as has their exploitation of their preparatory work over the century past.
The tyrants knew from early on that one of freedom’s stoutest defenses is the diffusion of resources it makes possible. For decades there was no choke point in our supply lines. No one commodity, product, or service was available from a controllable handful of suppliers. Freedom and the technologies of transport free men developed made us capable of reaching over continental distances for what we want…and more important, for what we need.
To subjugate us, that had to be changed. Note the passive voice, for free men who want to remain free would not knowingly or willingly change it. But others saw the possibility early on. They pushed it as hard as they dared.
The counter-tactic to diffusion is centralization. Centralization of production. Centralization of supply. Centralization of transport. Centralization, most visibly these past decades, of regulation and control.
Have you been reading, these past couple of years, about the unprecedented rash of disasters afflicting food-processing plants? I have. Has it occurred to you to research the actual number of places where food is processed and packaged for transportation to the retail outlets where the great majority of us purchase it? There aren’t all that many. A couple of them are huge: large enough to control the greater part of our source of some food commodity we consume in quantity. By the way, are you aware that the USDA wants you to register your backyard garden? I wonder why.
Just about everyone is aware of what’s been happening to our supplies of oil, natural gas, and gasoline. I suppose it will surprise no one to “learn” that those things are important to keeping our homes warm, our electrical appliances running, and our cars capable of moving us about. Gasoline is being squeezed to unaffordability by many of the working class. Heating oil and natural gas are becoming dear enough that homeowners are lowering their thermostats and shivering. Quite a number are doing so in the dark, to keep their electrical bills from bankrupting them.
The steady inroads that foreign suppliers have made on our supply of regular prescription drugs should be news to no one. As regards the most common prescription medications, domestic suppliers are largely out of the game. A great many of them, especially the more affordable generic versions, are made solely in Red China. Have you had any difficulty getting the ones you need? Have you noticed a recent increase in the price?
As is commonly known, centralization is a characteristic of the city. Centralized transport, centralized water supply, centralized waste disposal. Getting around by car is difficult owing to clogged streets – often streets originally laid out for horse and buggy traffic. As for water and waste, when people are gathered closely together, the municipalization and centralization of those products and services follows naturally. And of course, the higher cost of doing any sort of business in a city will naturally reduce the number of sources of products provided by “mature industries,” such as food.
Add to this that about half the working population of these United States work for one of the Fortune 1000 – and the percentage rises yearly.
Beginning to get the point, Gentle Reader?
A substantial number of Americans have undertaken to stockpile important goods while they remain available. The colloquial term for this is “prepping.” The authorities have told their less future-oriented neighbors to suspect them of ill motives…especially the ones building or adding to their personal arsenals. As for that eccentric fellow down the street who’s exhorted them not to trust the continuing negotiability of the American dollar, well, he can’t be up to anything good, now can he? I mean, undermining our trust in the full faith and credit of the greenback! What can he be thinking?
Rates of violent crime and crimes against property are rising from coast to coast. The looting of significant retailers has become especially blatant. The police have been acting rather casual about it all, not to say lackadaisical. They’ve been discouraged from acting by their political masters; too many of the criminals are black, Hispanic or children of the Establishment. Under the circumstances you might expect that the police would welcome a rise in citizen armament for self-protection, wouldn’t you? As the more gently reared have been taught to say, that turns out not to be the case, especially in the heavily populated coastal districts.
Taxes are rising too. Every dollar the State takes from you is one less you have with which to supply yourself and your family with your needs. And let’s not discuss inflation, a wholly political phenomenon, at this hour. I haven’t the stomach for it.
At least we can all rest assured that our kids are learning about gender mutability and the inherent racism of all whites in their daily classes.
I had a very bad day yesterday, Gentle Reader. My beloved wife of 32 years had to have a cancerous tumor removed from inside her nose. I had to drive her a long distance at 4 AM, in the deep darkness, to the one and only place within our reach where the procedure could be performed. To add insult to cancerous injury, it’s left her disfigured, bleeding profusely, and dependent upon an incredibly powerful drug to dampen the pain.
If you were awaiting an explanation for the substance of the above – never mind the tone – you have it now.
If I may quote the Howard Beale character from Network, I don’t have to tell you things are bad. I probably don’t have to tell you they’re getting worse, and at quite a clip. But do I have to tell you what to do about it all?
Well, maybe. Even the smartest of would-be tyrants can be defeated by an aroused and determined people. But I did so seven years ago:
We must build up the molecules of safety, security, and social harmony: families and the communities they constitute.
Do you trust your spouse? I hope so. But many married persons don’t. There are a host of reasons, these days. Don’t give him any of them.
Children are inherently trusting until they realize that they’ve been deceived or betrayed. Accordingly, conserve your child’s trust in you: never lie to him, and never lead him to believe that he will (or might) get something he wants when there’s even a minuscule possibility that he won’t. The first phrase to be excised from your vocabulary is “We’ll see.” To you, that means “The possibility exists.” To him, it means “Yes, I’ll give it to you if you’ll just wait a moment.” Don’t bother to dispute the semantics; children are naturally inclined to hear what they want to hear. (Aren’t you?)
What about your neighbors? Do you trust them? Would you be willing to leave your neighbor free access to your home while you’re on vacation in a distant place? Time was, that was normal; people left spare keys with neighbors as a matter of course. What about today? Are you willing to let your neighbors know that you’re in violation of some unjust law – say, a law that offers them a bounty for snitching on you? And when you think “my neighbors,” how far from your front door does the phrase reach?
These are the areas where we can do useful work – work that promises a positive return.
If you failed to listen then, will you hear me now?
I hope so. For all our sakes.
Have a nice day.