Monthly Archives: May 2009

>Anarchism and American Traditions

>This essay was suggested by a commenter:

Anarchism and American Traditions (1908)
by Voltairine de Cleyre (1866-1912)

AAT.1 American traditions, begotten of religious rebellion, small self-sustaining communities, isolated conditions, and hard pioneer life, grew during the colonization period of one hundred and seventy years from the settling of Jamestown to the outburst of the Revolution. This was in fact the great constitution-making epoch, the period of charters guaranteeing more or less of liberty, the general tendency of which is well described by Wm. Penn in speaking of the charter for Pennsylvania: “I want to put it out of my power, or that of my successors, to do mischief.”

AAT.2 The revolution is the sudden and unified consciousness of these traditions, their loud assertion, the blow dealt by their indomitable will against the counter force of tyranny, which has never entirely recovered from the blow, but which from then till now has gone on remolding and regrappling the instruments of governmental power, that the Revolution sought to shape and hold as defenses of liberty.

AAT.3 To the average American of today, the Revolution means the series of battles fought by the patriot army with the armies of England. The millions of school children who attend our public schools are taught to draw maps of the siege of Boston and the siege of Yorktown, to know the general plan of the several campaigns, to quote the number of prisoners of war surrendered with Burgoyne; they are required to remember the date when Washington crossed the Delaware on the ice; they are told to “Remember Paoli,” to repeat “Molly Stark’s a widow,” to call General Wayne “Mad Anthony Wayne,” and to execrate Benedict Arnold; they know that the Declaration of Independence was signed on the Fourth of July, 1776, and the Treaty of Paris in 1783; and then they think they have learned the Revolution – blessed be George Washington! They have no idea why it should have been called a “revolution” instead of the “English War,” or any similar title: it’s the name of it, that’s all. And name-worship, both in child and man, has acquired such mastery of them, that the name “American Revolution” is held sacred, though it means to them nothing more than successful force, while the name “Revolution” applied to a further possibility, is a spectre detested and abhorred. In neither case have they any idea of the content of the word, save that of armed force. That has already happened, and long happened, which Jefferson foresaw when he wrote:

“The spirit of the times may alter, will alter. Our rulers will become corrupt, our people careless. A single zealot may become persecutor, and better men be his victims. It can never be too often repeated that the time for fixing every essential right, on a legal basis, is while our rulers are honest, ourselves united. From the conclusion of this war we shall be going down hill. It will not then be necessary to resort every moment to the people for support. They will be forgotten, therefore, and their rights disregarded. They will forget themselves in the sole faculty of making money, and will never think of uniting to effect a due respect for their rights. The shackles, therefore, which shall not be knocked off at the conclusion of this war, will be heavier and heavier, till our rights shall revive or expire in a convulsion.”

AAT.4 To the men of that time, who voiced the spirit of that time, the battles that they fought were the least of the Revolution; they were the incidents of the hour, the things they met and faced as part of the game they were playing; but the stake they had in view, before, during, and after the war, the real Revolution, was a change in political institutions which should make of government not a thing apart, a superior power to stand over the people with a whip, but a serviceable agent, responsible, economical, and trustworthy (but never so much trusted as not to be continually watched), for the transaction of such business as was the common concern and to set the limits of the common concern at the line of where one man’s liberty would encroach upon another’s.

AAT.5 They thus took their starting point for deriving a minimum of government upon the same sociological ground that the modern Anarchist derives the no-government theory; viz., that equal liberty is the political ideal. The difference lies in the belief, on the one hand, that the closest approximation to equal liberty might be best secured by the rule of the majority in those matters involving united action of any kind (which rule of the majority they thought it possible to secure by a few simple arrangements for election), and, on the other hand, the belief that majority rule is both impossible and undesirable; that any government, no matter what its forms, will be manipulated by a very small minority, as the development of the States and United States governments has strikingly proved; that candidates will loudly profess allegiance to platforms before elections, which as officials in power they will openly disregard, to do as they please; and that even if the majority will could be imposed, it would also be subversive of equal liberty, which may be best secured by leaving to the voluntary association of those interested in the management of matters of common concern, without coercion of the uninterested or the opposed.

AAT.6 Among the fundamental likeness between the Revolutionary Republicans and the Anarchists is the recognition that the little must precede the great; that the local must be the basis of the general; that there can be a free federation only when there are free communities to federate; that the spirit of the latter is carried into the councils of the former, and a local tyranny may thus become an instrument for general enslavement. Convinced of the supreme importance of ridding the municipalities of the institutions of tyranny, the most strenuous advocates of independence, instead of spending their efforts mainly in the general Congress, devoted themselves to their home localities, endeavoring to work out of the minds of their neighbors and fellow-colonists the institutions of entailed property, of a State-Church, of a class-divided people, even the institution of African slavery itself. Though largely unsuccessful, it is to the measure of success they did achieve that we are indebted for such liberties as we do retain, and not to the general government. They tried to inculcate local initiative and independent action. The author of the Declaration of Independence, who in the fall of ’76 declined a re-election to Congress in order to return to Virginia and do his work in his own local assembly, in arranging there for public education which he justly considered a matter of “common concern,” said his advocacy of public schools was not with any “view to take its ordinary branches out of the hands of private enterprise, which manages so much better the concerns to which it is equal”; and in endeavoring to make clear the restrictions of the Constitution upon the functions of the general government, he likewise said:

“Let the general government be reduced to foreign concerns only, and let our affairs be disentangled from those of all other nations, except as to commerce, which the merchants will manage for themselves, and the general government may be reduced to a very simple organization, and a very inexpensive one; a few plain duties to be performed by a few servants.”

AAT.7 This then was the American tradition, that private enterprise manages better all that to which it IS equal. Anarchism declares that private enterprise, whether individual or cooperative, is equal to all the undertakings of society. And it quotes the particular two instances, Education and Commerce, which the governments of the States and of the United States have undertaken to manage and regulate, as the very two which in operation have done more to destroy American freedom and equality, to warp and distort American tradition, to make of government a mighty engine of tyranny, than any other cause, save the unforeseen developments of Manufacture.

AAT.8 It was the intention of the Revolutionists to establish a system of common education, which should make the teaching of history one of its principal branches; not with the intent of burdening the memories of our youth with the dates of battles or the speeches of generals, nor to make the Boston Tea Party Indians the one sacrosanct mob in all history, to be revered but never on any account to be imitated, but with the intent that every American should know to what conditions the masses of people had been brought by the operation of certain institutions, by what means they had wrung out their liberties, and how those liberties had again and again been filched from them by the use of governmental force, fraud, and privilege. Not to breed security, laudation, complacent indolence, passive acquiescence in the acts of a government protected by the label “home-made,” but to beget a wakeful jealousy, a never-ending watchfulness of rulers, a determination to squelch every attempt of those entrusted with power to encroach upon the sphere of individual action – this was the prime motive of the revolutionists in endeavoring to provide for common education.

AAT.9 “Confidence,” said the revolutionists who adopted the Kentucky Resolutions, “is everywhere the parent of despotism; free government is founded in jealousy, not in confidence; it is jealousy, not confidence, which prescribes limited constitutions to bind down those whom we are obliged to trust with power; our Constitution has accordingly fixed the limits to which, and no further, our confidence may go… In questions of power, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”

AAT.10 These resolutions were especially applied to the passage of the Alien laws by the monarchist party during John Adams’ administration, and were an indignant call from the State of Kentucky to repudiate the right of the general government to assume undelegated powers, for said they, to accept these laws would be “to be bound by laws made, not with our consent, but by others against our consent – that is, to surrender the form of government we have chosen, and to live under one deriving its powers from its own will, and not from our authority.” Resolutions identical in spirit were also passed by Virginia, the following month; in those days the States still considered themselves supreme, the general government subordinate.

AAT.11 To inculcate this proud spirit of the supremacy of the people over their governors was to be the purpose of public education! Pick up today any common school history, and see how much of this spirit you will find therein. On the contrary, from cover to cover you will find nothing but the cheapest sort of patriotism, the inculcation of the most unquestioning acquiescence in the deeds of government, a lullaby of rest, security, confidence – the doctrine that the Law can do no wrong, a Te Deum in praise of the continuous encroachments of the powers of the general government upon the reserved rights of the States, shameless falsification of all acts of rebellion, to put the government in the right and the rebels in the wrong, pyrotechnic glorifications of union, power, and force, and a complete ignoring of the essential liberties to maintain which was the purpose of the revolutionists. The anti-Anarchist law of post-McKinley passage, a much worse law than the Alien and Sedition acts which roused the wrath of Kentucky and Virginia to the point of threatened rebellion, is exalted as a wise provision of our All-Seeing Father in Washington.

AAT.12 Such is the spirit of government-provided schools. Ask any child what he knows about Shays’ rebellion, and he will answer, “Oh, some of the farmers couldn’t pay their taxes, and Shays led a rebellion against the court-house at Worcester, so they could burn up the deeds; and when Washington heard of it he sent over an army quick and taught ’em a good lesson” – “And what was the result of it?” “The result? Why – why – the result was – Oh yes, I remember – the result was they saw the need of a strong federal government to collect the taxes and pay the debts.” Ask if he knows what was said on the other side of the story, ask if he knows that the men who had given their goods and their health and their strength for the freeing of the country now found themselves cast into prison for debt, sick, disabled, and poor, facing a new tyranny for the old; that their demand was that the land should become the free communal possession of those who wished to work it, not subject to tribute, and the child will answer “No.” Ask him if he ever read Jefferson’s letter to Madison about it, in which he says:

“Societies exist under three forms, sufficiently distinguishable. 1. Without government, as among our Indians. 2. Under government wherein the will of every one has a just influence; as is the case in England in a slight degree, and in our States in a great one. 3. Under government of force, as is the case in all other monarchies, and in most of the other republics. To have an idea of the curse of existence in these last, they must be seen. It is a government of wolves over sheep. It is a problem not clear in my mind that the first condition is not the best. But I believe it to be inconsistent with any great degree of population. The second state has a great deal of good in it … It has its evils too, the principal of which is the turbulence to which it is subject. … But even this evil is productive of good. It prevents the degeneracy of government, and nourishes a general attention to public affairs. I hold that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing.”

AAT.13 Or to another correspondent:

“God forbid that we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion! …What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that the people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take up arms … The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.”

AAT.14 Ask any school child if he was ever taught that the author of the Declaration of Independence, one of the great founders of the common school, said these things, and he will look at you with open mouth and unbelieving eyes. Ask him if he ever heard that the man [Thomas Paine] who sounded the bugle note in the darkest hour of the Crisis, who roused the courage of the soldiers when Washington saw only mutiny and despair ahead, ask him if he knows that this man also wrote, “Government at best is a necessary evil, at worst an intolerable one,” and if he is a little better informed than the average he will answer, “Oh well, he was an infidel!” Catechize him about the merits of the Constitution which he has learned to repeat like a poll-parrot, and you will find his chief conception is not of the powers withheld from Congress, but of the powers granted.

AAT.15 Such are the fruits of government schools. We, the Anarchists, point to them and say: If the believers in liberty wish the principles of liberty taught, let them never entrust that instruction to any government; for the nature of government is to become a thing apart, an institution existing for its own sake, preying upon the people, and teaching whatever will tend to keep it secure in its seat. As the fathers said of the governments of Europe, so say we of this government also after a century and a quarter of independence: “The blood of the people has become its inheritance, and those who fatten on it will not relinquish it easily.”

AAT.16 Public education, having to do with the intellect and spirit of a people, is probably the most subtle and far-reaching engine for molding the course of a nation; but commerce, dealing as it does with material things and producing immediate effects, was the force that bore down soonest upon the paper barriers of constitutional restriction, and shaped the government to its requirements. Here, indeed, we arrive at the point where we, looking over the hundred and twenty five years of independence, can see that the simple government conceived by the revolutionary republicans was a foredoomed failure. It was so because of: 1) the essence of government itself; 2) the essence of human nature; 3) the essence of Commerce and Manufacture.

AAT.17 Of the essence of government, I have already said, it is a thing apart, developing its own interests at the expense of what opposes it; all attempts to make it anything else fail. In this Anarchists agree with the traditional enemies of the Revolution, the monarchists, federalists, strong government believers, the Roosevelts of today, the Jays, Marshalls, and Hamiltons of then – that Hamilton, who, as Secretary of the Treasury, devised a financial system of which we are the unlucky heritors, and whose objects were twofold: To puzzle the people and make public finance obscure to those that paid for it; to serve as a machine for corrupting the legislatures; “for he avowed the opinion that man could be governed by two motives only, force or interest”; force being then out of the question, he laid hold of interest, the greed of the legislators, to set going an association of persons having an entirely separate welfare from the welfare of their electors, bound together by mutual corruption and mutual desire for plunder. The Anarchist agrees that Hamilton was logical, and understood the core of government; the difference is, that while strong govermnentalists believe this is necessary and desirable, we choose the opposite conclusion, No Government Whatsoever.

AAT.18 As to the essence of human nature, what our national experience has made plain is this, that to remain in a continually exalted moral condition is not human nature. That has happened which was prophesied: we have gone down hill from the Revolution until now; we are absorbed in “mere money-getting.” The desire for material ease long ago vanquished the spirit of ’76. What was that spirit? The spirit that animated the people of Virginia, of the Carolinas, of Massachusetts, of New York, when they refused to import goods from England; when they preferred (and stood by it) to wear coarse, homespun cloth, to drink the brew of their own growths, to fit their appetites to the home supply, rather than submit to the taxation of the imperial ministry. Even within the lifetime of the revolutionists, the spirit decayed. The love of material ease has been, in the mass of men and permanently speaking, always greater than the love of liberty. Nine hundred and ninety nine women out of a thousand are more interested in the cut of a dress than in the independence of their sex; nine hundred and ninety nine men out of a thousand are more interested in drinking a glass of beer than in questioning the tax that is laid on it; how many children are not willing to trade the liberty to play for the promise of a new cap or a new dress? That it is which begets the complicated mechanism of society; that it is which, by multiplying the concerns of government, multiplies the strength of government and the corresponding weakness of the people; this it is which begets indifference to public concern, thus making the corruption of government easy.

AAT.19 As to the essence of Commerce and Manufacture, it is this: to establish bonds between every corner of the earth’s surface and every other corner, to multiply the needs of mankind, and the desire for material possession and enjoyment.

AAT.20 The American tradition was the isolation of the States as far as possible. Said they: We have won our liberties by hard sacrifice and struggle unto death. We wish now to be let alone and to let others alone, that our principles may have time for trial; that we may become accustomed to the exercise of our rights; that we may be kept free from the contaminating influence of European gauds, pageants, distinctions. So richly did they esteem the absence of these that they could in all fervor write: “We shall see multiplied instances of Europeans coming to America, but no man living will ever seen an instance of an American removing to settle in Europe, and continuing there.” Alas! In less than a hundred years the highest aim of a “Daughter of the Revolution” was, and is, to buy a castle, a title, and rotten lord, with the money wrung from American servitude! And the commercial interests of America are seeking a world empire!

AAT.21 In the earlier days of the revolt and subsequent independence, it appeared that the “manifest destiny” of America was to be an agricultural people, exchanging food stuffs and raw materials for manufactured articles. And in those days it was written: “We shall be virtuous as long as agriculture is our principal object, which will be the case as long as there remain vacant lands in any part of America. When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become corrupt as in Europe, and go to eating one another as they do there.” Which we are doing, because of the inevitable development of Commerce and Manufacture, and the concomitant development of strong government. And the parallel prophecy is likewise fulfilled: “If ever this vast country is brought under a single government, it will be one of the most extensive corruption, indifferent and incapable of a wholesome care over so wide a spread of surface.” There is not upon the face of the earth today a government so utterly and shamelessly corrupt as that of the United States of America. There are others more cruel, more tyrannical, more devastating; there is none so utterly venal.

AAT.22 And yet even in the very days of the prophets, even with their own consent, the first concession to this later tyranny was made. It was made when the Constitution was made; and the Constitution was made chiefly because of the demands of Commerce. Thus it was at the outset a merchant’s machine, which the other interests of the country, the land and labor interests, even then foreboded would destroy their liberties. In vain their jealousy of its central power made enact the first twelve amendments. In vain they endeavored to set bounds over which the federal power dare not trench. In vain they enacted into general law the freedom of speech, of the press, of assemblage and petition. All of these things we see ridden roughshod upon every day, and have so seen with more or less intermission since the beginning of the nineteenth century. At this day, every police lieutenant considers himself, and rightly so, as more powerful than the General Law of the Union; and that one who told Robert Hunter that he held in his fist something stronger than the Constitution, was perfectly correct. The right of assemblage is an American tradition which has gone out of fashion; the police club is now the mode. And it is so in virtue of the people’s indifference to liberty, and the steady progress of constitutional interpretation towards the substance of imperial government.

AAT.23 It is an American tradition that a standing army is a standing menace to liberty; in Jefferson’s presidency the army was reduced to 3,000 men. It is American tradition that we keep out of the affairs of other nations. It is American practice that we meddle with the affairs of everybody else from the West to the East Indies, from Russia to Japan; and to do it we have a standing army of 83,251 men.

AAT.24 It is American tradition that the financial affairs of a nation should be transacted on the same principles of simple honesty that an individual conducts his own business; viz., that debt is a bad thing, and a man’s first surplus earning should be applied to his debts; that offices and office holders should be few. It is American practice that the general government should always have millions of debt, even if a panic or a war has to be forced to prevent its being paid off; and as to the application of its income office holders come first. And within the last administration it is reported that 99,000 offices have been created at an annual expense of 1663,000,000. Shades of Jefferson! “How are vacancies to be obtained? Those by deaths are few; by resignation none.” Roosevelt cuts the knot by making 99,000 new ones! And few will die – and none resign. They will beget sons and daughters, and Taft will have to create 99,000 more! Verily a simple and a serviceable thing is our general government.

AAT.25 It is American tradition that the Judiciary shall act as a check upon the impetuosity of Legislatures, should these attempt to pass the bounds of constitutional limitation. It is American practice that the Judiciary justifies every law which trenches on the liberties of the people and nullifies every act of the Legislature by which the people seek to regain some measure of their freedom. Again, in the words of Jefferson: “The Constitution is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the Judiciary, which they may twist and shape in any form they please.” Truly, if the men who fought the good fight for the triumph of simple, honest, free life in that day, were now to look upon the scene of their labors, they would cry out together with him who said:

“I regret that I am now to die in the belief that the useless sacrifices of themselves by the generation of ’76 to acquire self-government and happiness to their country, is to be thrown away by the unwise and unworthy passions of their sons, and that my only consolation is to be that I shall not live to see it.”

AAT.26 And now, what has Anarchism to say to all this, this bankruptcy of republicanism, this modern empire that has grown up on the ruins of our early freedom? We say this, that the sin our fathers sinned was that they did not trust liberty wholly. They thought it possible to compromise between liberty and government, believing the latter to be “a necessary evil,” and the moment the compromise was made, the whole misbegotten monster of our present tyranny began to grow. Instruments which are set up to safeguard rights become the very whip with which the free are struck.

AAT.27 Anarchism says, Make no laws whatever concerning speech, and speech will be free; so soon as you make a declaration on paper that speech shall be free, you will have a hundred lawyers proving that “freedom does not mean abuse, nor liberty license”; and they will define and define freedom out of existence. Let the guarantee of free speech be in every man’s determination to use it, and we shall have no need of paper declarations. On the other hand, so long as the people do not care to exercise their freedom, those who wish to tyrannize will do so; for tyrants are active and ardent, and will devote themselves in the name of any number of gods, religious and otherwise, to put shackles upon sleeping men.

AAT.28 The problem then becomes, Is it possible to stir men from their indifference? We have said that the spirit of liberty was nurtured by colonial life; that the elements of colonial life were the desire for sectarian independence, and the jealous watchfulness incident thereto; the isolation of pioneer communities which threw each individual strongly on his own resources, and thus developed all-around men, yet at the same time made very strong such social bonds as did exist; and, lastly, the comparative simplicity of small communities.

AAT.29 All this has disappeared. As to sectarianism, it is only by dint of an occasional idiotic persecution that a sect becomes interesting; in the absence of this, outlandish sects play the fool’s role, are anything but heroic, and have little to do with either the name or the substance of liberty. The old colonial religious parties have gradually become the “pillars of society,” their animosities have died out, their offensive peculiarities have been effaced, they are as like one another as beans in a pod, they build churches – and sleep in them.

AAT.30 As to our communities, they are hopelessly and helplessly interdependent, as we ourselves are, save that continuously diminishing proportion engaged in all around farming; and even these are slaves to mortgages. For our cities, probably there is not one that is provisioned to last a week, and certainly there is none which would not be bankrupt with despair at the proposition that it produce its own food. In response to this condition and its correlative political tyranny, Anarchism affirms the economy of self-sustenance, the disintegration of the great communities, the use of the earth.

AAT.31 I am not ready to say that I see clearly that this will take place; but I see clearly that this must take place if ever again men are to be free. I am so well satisfied that the mass of mankind prefer material possessions to liberty, that I have no hope that they will ever, by means of intellectual or moral stirrings merely, throw off the yoke of oppression fastened on them by the present economic system, to institute free societies. My only hope is in the blind development of the economic system and political oppression itself. The great characteristic looming factor in this gigantic power is Manufacture. The tendency of each nation is to become more and more a manufacturing one, an exporter of fabrics, not an importer. If this tendency follows its own logic, it must eventually circle round to each community producing for itself. What then will become of the surplus product when the manufacturer shall have no foreign market? Why, then mankind must face the dilemma of sitting down and dying in the midst of it, or confiscating the goods.

AAT.32 Indeed, we are partially facing this problem even now; and-so far we are sitting down and dying. I opine, however, that men will not do it forever, and when once by an act of general expropriation they have overcome the reverence and fear of property, and their awe of government, they may waken to the consciousness that things are to be used, and therefore men are greater than things. This may rouse the spirit of liberty.

AAT.33 If, on the other hand, the tendency of invention to simplify, enabling the advantages of machinery to be combined with smaller aggregations of workers, shall also follow its own logic, the great manufacturing plants will break up, population will go after the fragments, and there will be seen not indeed the hard, self-sustaining, isolated pioneer communities of early America, but thousands of small communities stretching along the lines of transportation, each producing very largely for its own needs, able to rely upon itself, and therefore able to be independent. For the same rule holds good for societies as for individuals–those may be free who are able to make their own living.

AAT.34 In regard to the breaking up of that vilest creation of tyranny, the standing army and navy, it is clear that so long as men desire to fight, they will have armed force in one form or another. Our fathers thought they had guarded against a standing army by providing for the voluntary militia. In our day we have lived to see this militia declared part of the regular military force of the United States, and subject to the same demands as the regulars. Within another generation we shall probably see its members in the regular pay of the general government. Since any embodiment of the fighting spirit, any military organization, inevitably follows the same line of centralization, the logic of Anarchism is that the least objectionable form of armed force is that which springs up voluntarily, like the minute men of Massachusetts, and disbands as soon as the occasion which called it into existence is past: that the really desirable thing is that all men – not Americans only – should be at peace; and that to reach this, all peaceful persons should withdraw their support from the army, and require that all who make war shall do so at their own cost and risk; that neither pay nor pensions are to be provided for those who choose to make man-killing a trade.

AAT.35 As to the American tradition of non-meddling, Anarchism asks that it be carried down to the individual himself. It demands no jealous barrier of isolation; it knows that such isolation is undesirable and impossible; but it teaches that by all men’s strictly minding their own business, a fluid society, freely adapting itself to mutual needs, wherein all the world shall belong to all men, as much as each has need or desire, will result.

AAT.36 And when Modern Revolution has thus been carried to the heart of the whole world – if it ever shall be, as I hope it will – then may we hope to see a resurrection of that proud spirit of our fathers which put the simple dignity of Man above the gauds of wealth and class, and held that to, be an American was greater than to be a king.

AAT.37 In that day there shall be neither kings nor Americans – only Men; over the whole earth, MEN.

Mother Earth 3, nos. 10-11, December 1908-January 1909

>Denninger: Thuggery and Mob Action, Government Style

Read Karl Denninger’s column in full, along with the embedded links.

Then re-read it.

Do you understand yet?

Your government is nothing more and nothing less than a racketeering organization.

And otherwise-savvy folks, such as Denninger, expect the Department of Justice to be effective in cleaning up the mess.

Beck called it the other day:

I don’t know how much more clearly to put it: they will steal anything they think that they have to in order to grease this thing along. That has been the way of it all the way so far and there is nothing to change it now.

Make ready to repel boarders.

>Codrea: Inspector X

>Go and read David’s Examiner column today for his interview with a former ATF inspector.

Tactical question for your consideration: Assuming that there are a significant number of “reluctant” officers/agents/enforcers amongst the OpFor, what are the most efficient ways to convert those folks into informants/operatives for freedom?

Or is such a question hopelessly naive?

>Speaks For Itself

From Theo.

>Steyn: Live Free or Die

>From Mark Steyn, from Hillsdale College via Maggie:

My remarks are titled tonight after the words of General Stark, New Hampshire’s great hero of the Revolutionary War: “Live free or die!” When I first moved to New Hampshire, where this appears on our license plates, I assumed General Stark had said it before some battle or other—a bit of red meat to rally the boys for the charge; a touch of the old Henry V-at-Agincourt routine. But I soon discovered that the general had made his famous statement decades after the war, in a letter regretting that he would be unable to attend a dinner. And in a curious way I found that even more impressive. In extreme circumstances, many people can rouse themselves to rediscover the primal impulses: The brave men on Flight 93 did. They took off on what they thought was a routine business trip, and, when they realized it wasn’t, they went into General Stark mode and cried “Let’s roll!” But it’s harder to maintain the “Live free or die!” spirit when you’re facing not an immediate crisis but just a slow, remorseless, incremental, unceasing ratchet effect. “Live free or die!” sounds like a battle cry: We’ll win this thing or die trying, die an honorable death. But in fact it’s something far less dramatic: It’s a bald statement of the reality of our lives in the prosperous West.

You can live as free men, but, if you choose not to, your society will die.

My book America Alone is often assumed to be about radical Islam, firebreathing imams, the excitable young men jumping up and down in the street doing the old “Death to the Great Satan” dance. It’s not. It’s about us. It’s about a possibly terminal manifestation of an old civilizational temptation: Indolence, as Machiavelli understood, is the greatest enemy of a republic. When I ran into trouble with the so-called “human rights” commissions up in Canada, it seemed bizarre to find the progressive left making common cause with radical Islam. One half of the alliance profess to be pro-gay, pro-feminist secularists; the other half are homophobic, misogynist theocrats. Even as the cheap bus ‘n’ truck road-tour version of the Hitler-Stalin Pact, it made no sense. But in fact what they have in common overrides their superficially more obvious incompatibilities: Both the secular Big Government progressives and political Islam recoil from the concept of the citizen, of the free individual entrusted to operate within his own societal space, assume his responsibilities, and exploit his potential.

In most of the developed world, the state has gradually annexed all the responsibilities of adulthood—health care, child care, care of the elderly—to the point where it’s effectively severed its citizens from humanity’s primal instincts, not least the survival instinct. Hillary Rodham Clinton said it takes a village to raise a child. It’s supposedly an African proverb—there is no record of anyone in Africa ever using this proverb, but let that pass. P.J. O’Rourke summed up that book superbly: It takes a village to raise a child. The government is the village, and you’re the child. Oh, and by the way, even if it did take a village to raise a child, I wouldn’t want it to be an African village. If you fly over West Africa at night, the lights form one giant coastal megalopolis: Not even Africans regard the African village as a useful societal model. But nor is the European village. Europe’s addiction to big government, unaffordable entitlements, cradle-to-grave welfare, and a dependence on mass immigration needed to sustain it has become an existential threat to some of the oldest nation-states in the world.

And now the last holdout, the United States, is embarking on the same grim path: After the President unveiled his budget, I heard Americans complain, oh, it’s another Jimmy Carter, or LBJ’s Great Society, or the new New Deal.

You should be so lucky.

Those nickel-and-dime comparisons barely begin to encompass the wholesale Europeanization that’s underway. The 44th president’s multi-trillion-dollar budget, the first of many, adds more to the national debt than all the previous 43 presidents combined, from George Washington to George Dubya. The President wants Europeanized health care, Europeanized daycare, Europeanized education, and, as the Europeans have discovered, even with Europeanized tax rates you can’t make that math add up. In Sweden, state spending accounts for 54% of GDP. In America, it was 34%—ten years ago. Today, it’s about 40%. In four years’ time, that number will be trending very Swede-like.

But forget the money, the deficit, the debt, the big numbers with the 12 zeroes on the end of them. So-called fiscal conservatives often miss the point. The problem isn’t the cost. These programs would still be wrong even if Bill Gates wrote a check to cover them each month. They’re wrong because they deform the relationship between the citizen and the state. Even if there were no financial consequences, the moral and even spiritual consequences would still be fatal. That’s the stage where Europe is.

America is just beginning this process. I looked at the rankings in Freedom in the 50States published by George Mason University last month. New Hampshire came in Number One, the Freest State in the Nation, which all but certainly makes it the freest jurisdiction in the Western world. Which kind of depressed me. Because the Granite State feels less free to me than it did when I moved there, and you always hope there’s somewhere else out there just in case things go belly up and you have to hit the road…

Read the rest.

Then ask yourself the question: what exactly is the duty of an honorable citizen when his government and many of his countrymen are thugs, leeches, and other assorted vermin?

>Repost: Scoped Hunting Rifles as Long-Range Rifles


(click to enlarge)

From someone who knows his a** from his elbow, and more:

In case folks haven’t figured it out by now I’m pretty interested in long range shooting. I’m just not all that interested in playing rifle platoon games with active duty rifle platoons. I think it’s something that just kind of happens when you’re a combat veteran and 40 years old. You just want to stay the hell away from all that drama.

Here’s a technique that folks might find of use — nothing I invented but on the other hand something that isn’t taught much anymore. Just the simple use of scope zeroing to get you out past the effective range of the average troops ability to hit well with his rifle. The best part about it is almost any decent hunting rifle/scope combo will have you getting pretty effective hits out to 600 yards.

This technique has its roots way back when sniping with optics and smokeless powder cartridges was in it’s infancy, probably sometime during WWI since Herbert McBride mentions long range zeros in “A Rifleman Went To War”. It was a lot more important in those days than now though, as they didn’t have the very nice LR optics that we are blessed with today, sporting repeatable external knobs, side focus etc. The scopes back then were low powered, dark, fragile and lacked any kind of repeatable means for compensating for elevation (some early attempts were fielded but scope technology wasn’t up to the task yet), let alone windage.

Yet even those things being true, the rifleman of the day jumped right on the early optics and did a bang up job. There is probably a lesson here somewhere. It shouldn’t be lost on folks that knowledgeable rifleman, in the days long range iron sight shooting was taught, could see the benefit of optics even when they sucked. Simo Hayha killed over 500 Russians, mostly during the harsh Finnish Winter. Lyudmila Pavlichenko (Russian college chick) killed over 300 Germans with her SVT40. Mathias Hetzenauer was awarded the First Class Iron Cross for his efforts whittling down Russians. These folks averaged several hundred kills each and certainly there was a host of “unknowns” doing the same thing.

While there was an eclectic variety of rifles used everything from sporters to the latest in semi-autos, to include the first forward mounted telescope to see issue, they all had one thing in common. Not many of them had as good an optic or a rifle that was any more accurate that the average off the shelf hunting rifle that we take for granted now. I’ve had opportunity to mess with several vintage sniping rifles, M1D’s, Springfield 1903-A4s, Enfields, Mosin Nagants, Mausers including the Swede and German rifles. None of them had anything over a generic Remington ADL and a Leupold 3X9 VXII

The reason these rifleman (and chicks) did so well in combat had to do with what they had between their ears and not in their hands.

Something else you come to realize when you start studying the subject is that most sniper casualties are inflicted from 300 to 500 yards, shorter distances being the exception in MOUT operations and of course the proverbial 1000-yard shots in the desert wars. The fact remains that under practical conditions (that includes current efforts) the shots are in the 300 to 500 yard slot. The reason being is simple – it’s not that the rifles lack precision or the rifleman lack the skill. It’s simply the fact that folks don’t make themselves easy targets in combat theaters.

I could keep going, as this is a pet subject, but I’m going to stop and hope I’ve made a case for the “why”. 

Now to the meat of things with the “how”. Pretty simple really: just jock the rifle’s zero to take advantage of the distances shot the most. With a 500 yard zero you can use simple on target hold offs to compensate for the range and since a picture is worth a thousand words, I have included a picture of a chart from a vintage training manual.

The hardest part about the whole deal is getting the good 500 yard zero. What I do is zero the scope at 500 yards and them mark the adjustment turret under the cap and then return the zero to a more manageable 200 yard zero for hunting. Any decent hunting scope is repeatable enough to make this work, I haven’t had any problems even with “friction” adjustments on an old Leupold. 

Then of course you need to practice and tune things up for you.

Folks that have followed the “Mil-dots vs. Ballistic-Plex” discussions on the gunboards will also  recognize right off the bat how useful the bargain priced Ballistic-Plex reticle could be if you needed to draft your hunting rifle into active duty.

Food for thought….

>Go Ahead and Jump

>From Thomas Knapp at The Center for a Stateless Society via Bill St. Clair comes this quote:

…We, the frogs of 2009, permit ourselves to be subjected to horrors at the hands of government which our forebears of 1976 would have rejected out of hand, which our ancestors of 1876 would have treated as revolutionary casus belli, and which the generation of 1776 would have simply found itself unable to envision.

Thirty years ago, we’d have laughed at the suggestion that government-issued ID and entry in a government database might one day be required to purchase “over-the-counter medicines” like pseudoephedrine.

Only a little more than a hundred years ago, morphine was an “over-the-counter” medicine.

Two hundred years ago, the idea of requiring doctors to be licensed by the state was unheard of and would have been rejected as alien to basic American principles of government.

It’s not the nature of the state which has changed over the centuries. Rather, what has changed are the technologies available to the state’s factotums for the purpose of turning up the heat beneath us frogs — and, apparently, our willingness to tolerate the slow but steady increase in temperature. If you don’t believe me, ask Pierre-Joseph Prodhoun:

To be governed is to be kept in sight, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right, nor the wisdom, nor the virtue to do so…. To be governed is to be at every operation, at every transaction, noted, registered, enrolled, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished. It is, under the pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be placed under contribution, trained, ransomed, exploited, monopolized, extorted, squeezed, mystified, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, despised, harassed, tracked, abused, clubbed, disarmed, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and, to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, outraged, dishonored. That is government; that is its justice; that is its morality…

Read the whole thing.

And remember: even a little action banishes fear, and prepares the actor for bigger things.

Got rocks?

>Three Must-Reads

On the road again, so just enough time to post:

Denninger: Gubbermint is Robbing You

Vanderboegh: More Gangster Government

Tigerhawk: Something Awful Is Being Done To You

Then I suggest you review the John Boyd OODA Loop materials in the left margin, and answer this question:

Which side — freedom fighters or government tyrants — has the faster (and thus better) cycle time through the Observe-Orient-Decide-Act loop?

>Quote of the Week

It’s not about tea parties.

It’s about 147 grains of justice.

— Free American, this weekend around a campfire

(Photo by Oleg)

>Cannibalism, Justified Resistance, and What Happens After ‘Fort Sumter’

>21 months ago, I posted this link from The Everlasting Phelps, along with this excerpt from Phelps’ piece:

I am almost physically ill with the dread I am feeling right now. I’ve said before that I have thought about armed revolution before. It is something that I think everyone who considers himself a patriot has to think about ahead of time. You might think about it and say “never”, but you need to think about it.

I am reminded of the cannibal paradox. The paradox is that there are a lot of people in starvation scenarios who turn to cannibalism and starve anyways. They starve because the cannibalism taboo is so strong that they wait too long and are past the point of no return before they do what they need to survive. There is [also] a point of no return when it comes to revolution.

Since that post, the statist Democrats have been able to hold and grow their control of both Federal legislative houses, while simultaneously electing the nation’s first Socialist President. That President is in the process of completing his executive branch appointments, all of whom are cut from his own elitist, power-aggrandizing cloth. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano has released two “intelligence reports” labeling Constitutionalists and veterans as potential “extremists”, while her domestic security mechanism grows like Topsy:

As part of the new ever-more-centralized-and-powerful Federal government, the President plans to name one of his old friends, Professor Cass Sunstein, to head the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. A noted academic, Professor Sunstein believes that the Internet

– is creating political ignorance through its abundance of content choices,

– requires an updated “Fairness Doctrine” to counter partisan blogging, and

– should have a “cooling-off period” imposed on its users to encourage “civility”.

Don’t believe me — go and read this article.

And, lest we forget, there are the President’s actions in the economic arena that, if attempted by anyone other than the country’s first black President, would have led to Congressional investigations, if not actual impeachment.

So what?

Here’s the fundamental problem. Section 2 of Article II of the US Constitution lists the only powers held by the President:

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.

Section 8 of Article I similarly lists the only powers held by Congress:

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

To establish Post Offices and post Roads;

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;–And

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

Having read the complete lists of authorized acts for both the President and the Congress, is there anyone in the audience who wants to argue that we still live under the government envisioned by the Founders and the ratifying generation?



Hearing nothing, let me ask you this: what are the obligations of a citizen, who has sworn an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, when confronted with the question and answer above?

What does it mean to “protect and defend” something that successive generations of Presidents, executive branch appointees, Congresscritters, and Federal judges have robbed, beaten, raped, and finally dumped, bleeding from every orifice, into a roadside ditch to die?

Is there not a duty to first say, “Enough – no more!”?

But what then?

What is the duty of that hypothetical oath-bound citizen when Leviathan merely laughs, while looking for its next target to savage?

Most freedom-loving Americans are somewhere thrashing through the personal thinking-and-action-path that will be created if Leviathan starts to actively squash dissent, seize arms and ammunition, and similar trigger points.

But what happens if Leviathan is too smart to fall into the Waco II trap?

What if Leviathan and its minions simply say, “We won, and you voted for me”?

What if Leviathan simply imposes confiscatory taxes, bankrupts the nation’s finances, seizes private property to “help deal with the economic crisis”, increases domestic intelligence gathering and surveillance, and doubles-down on the bet that Jeff Snyder called it right in “Walter Mitty’s Second Amendment”?

Read this passage from Snyder, and honestly ask yourself whether American society has become more freedom-oriented or more slavery-oriented since Snyder’s essay was first published in 1997:

…The people could have their guns. What did the rulers care? They already possessed the complete obedience that they required.

In fact, in their more Machiavellian moments, the rulers could be heard to admit that permitting the people the right to keep and bear arms was a marvelous tool of social control, for it provided the people with the illusion of freedom.

The people, among the most highly regulated on earth, told themselves that they were free because they retained the means of revolt. Just in case things ever got really bad. No one, however, seemed to have too clear an idea what “really bad” really meant. The people accepted the fact that their government no longer even remotely resembled the plan set forth in their original constitution. And the people’s values no longer remotely resembled those of their Founding Forebears. The people, in their naiveté, really believed that the means of revolt were to be found in a piece of inanimate metal! Really it was laughable. And pathetic.

No, the rulers knew that the people could safely be trusted with arms. The government educated their children, provided for their retirement in old age, bequeathed assistance if they lost their jobs, mandated that they receive health care, and even doled out food and shelter if they were poor.

The government was the very air the people breathed from childhood to the grave. Few could imagine, let alone desire, any other kind of world.

To the extent that the people paid any attention to their system of government, the great mass spent their days simply clamoring for more or better “programs”, more “rational” regulations, in short, more of the same. The only thing that really upset them was waste, fraud, or abuse of the existing programs. Such shenanigans brought forth vehement protests demanding that the government provide their services more efficiently, dammit! The nation’s stirring national anthem, adopted long ago by men who fought for their liberty, ended by posng a question, in hopes of keeping the spirit of liberty alive.

Did the flag still fly, it asked, over the land of the free?

Vanderboegh is right when he urges that American freedom fighters should avoid giving the Obamites the “Fort Sumter” provocation that will be used to imposed draconian measures such as martial law, random “gun safety” roadblocks, weapons confiscations, and other outrages.

But just like the taboo against cannibalism, each individual needs to weigh the benefits of avoiding anti-government provocations against the risk of being too weak (both psychologically and militarily) for any post-taboo actions to succeed. Moreover, if the oath to protect and defend the Constitution is to be meaningful, each citizen bound by that oath must both acknowledge and discharge the duty of action (remember, “protect” and “defend” are both action verbs, as we used to learn in grammar school) created when the Constitutional form of government is violated.

For in the end, there is no chain of command for American freedom fighters. The lack of centralized command-and-control mechanisms that insulate leaderless insurrections from many conventional military tactics also leaves the “launch order” as a matter of individual (or small group) discretion.

Choose wisely.

And remember, if a provocation is needed by Leviathan to advance its objectives, and judicious American gun owners refuse to supply one, one will be provided, courtesy of your tax dollars.

And thus we will plunged, even after acting with reason and prudence, into the post-Sumter world.

Make ready.

>Codrea: Congressman Peter King Plots Terrorist Act

>David Codrea explains in his Examiner column how a Republican Congressman plans to abolish due process for any person considered by the Attorney General to be an “extremist”:

…Here’s what I get from King’s bill: They will be able to put a person’s name on their “prohibited” list using redacted documents that can be withheld from the victims under the guise that releasing the information compromises national security. They will be able to do this without having convicted that person of a thing in a court of law–the accusation is enough…

Read all of David’s column, then pass it to others.

It takes a lot to appall me.

But Representative King has done so.

These people really seem to want a confrontation, so that they can roll out the next stages in their race towards American totalitarianism.

Tempus fugit.

>Quote of the Week

>From The Mental Militia, via Bill St. Clair:

Build a politician a fire, and he will be warm for a day.

Set a politician on fire, and he will be warm for the rest of his life.

>’Shout Our Oaths in the Tyrant’s Face’ – Washington, DC — June 13, 2009

>Join the Oath Keepers on the Mall in Washington, DC on June 13, 2009 as they join Gathering of Eagles and Pro Troop Events for a “Muster on the Mall”.

As the storm clouds continue to build across our country, take one day from your busy schedule and renew your oath to protect and defend the Constitution from ALL enemies, foreign and domestic.

You and your fellow Americans, military and civilians alike, will demonstrate by joining us in Washington your resolve to do whatever it takes to return this country to its heritage as a limited-government republic.

Stand with us, and tell your public servants that you will not only disobey, but actively oppose all of the Ten Orders We Will Not Obey.

Show the statists of both parties and every government agency that you have the courage to stand up in public and tell them each:


As Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes says:

With the latest DHS smear document, the Domestic Extremism Lexicon, labelling “constitutionalists” and “patriots” as extremists (which means the same thing as “terrorists”), it is clear that if you dare to support the Constitution, and dare to quote the founding fathers of this nation, and take the Constitution seriously, then you will be considered an “extremist” and a threat to the powers that be among the political elite.

This is the tactic used by all governments that turn oppressive: use vague, broad brushed labeling of people as “enemies of the state” to marginalize them and increase the artificial divide between the people and the police and military, and then use that labeling and marginalization to make people afraid to speak up, to chill their speech, and silence them out of fear of being singled out for persecution. The DHS reports are such broad smears that they basically boil down to “anyone who doesn’t agree with us is a potential terrorist.”

The final stage of persecution is to actually apply all the powers of the state against anyone who does dare to speak out, arresting them on trumped up charges of terrorism, for example. We are still in the smear and marginalization stage, and are also beginning the chilling of speech stage, but we can see where this is headed.

But as these veterans point out in their Oath Keepers videos, the DHS smears of veterans, constitutionalists and patriots is backfiring just as badly as Obama’s suggestion that disabled and injured veterans pay for their own medical care. Nothing is waking up the people, and especially the veterans, like these leaked government “reports.”

This is not Germany, the USSR, or communist China.

This is America, and attempts to chill our speech and marginalize us only make us stronger and more resolved to speak out.

Join us as we shout our Oaths in the tyrant’s face, publicly defying this man and his ilk, each of whom wants you cowering and terrified as they execute their masters’ commands:

See you on the Mall.

>Tactics in Counterinsurgency

>From Small Wars Journal:

FM 3-24.2, Tactics in Counterinsurgency was released on 21 April and is available here at Small Wars Journal.

This field manual establishes doctrine (fundamental principles) for tactical counterinsurgency (COIN) operations at the company, battalion, and brigade level. It is based on lessons learned from historic counterinsurgencies and current operations. This manual continues the efforts of FM 3-24, Counterinsurgency, in combining the historic approaches to COIN with the realities of today’s operational environment (OE)—an environment modified by a population explosion, urbanization, globalization, technology, the spread of religious fundamentalism, resource demand, climate change and natural disasters, and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

This manual is generic in its geographic focus and should be used with other doctrinal sources.

>Obama and the Neo-Marxist Left

>Take the time to read this essay from Dr. Sanity.

Understand as well what it means to be one of the official “designated enemies”.

‘Scapegoat’ doesn’t begin to cover it.

>Beck: A Question of Will

>“This much I will also say: I have never, ever seen actual gangsters in power before. Bob Tyrrell was right about the Clintons. They were ineffectual, in the end. Shakespearian, perhaps, in their MacBethian ways, but too cowardly to be real gangsters. This Obama guy is showing true observers of the game what the difference is between the way things were done in the backwater gangster spa town of Hot Springs and a big muscular professional crime capital like Chicago. For this gang, crime is politics and politics is crime. But even there, the self-enrichment theme is something that can be tolerated, though barely. It’s the interlaced matrix of socialist revolution that ups the stakes, the obvious rush toward kleptocracy and worse.”


The Ozark Long March was a long con with pretensions to worse things. It was a strictly hick little operation that they had going down in Arkansas. This isn’t to discount how rotten it was, as someone like Jerry Parks might finally attest if he were here, now, all these years later. The thing is that politics and crime were merely mutual opportunities to them. I refer to them as The Former First Grapple because they really were at cross purposes in many ways. Rodham was the political brains of the outfit, the one on a real ideological mission who had latched onto a decent piece of live horseflesh. The Lying Bastard himself was in it for the thrills. Camille Paglia fingered him when she wrote, “He wants all the cheeseburgers in the world.”

The basic contradiction is that for it all to have been anything but a con, it must have been Rodham in the Oval Office. Only she would have made it all real.

It’s McPhillips’ “interlaced matrix” that has me wondering. Of course, it’s a naturally notable fact that Long March veterans like Emanuel have glommed their angles in this deal, and it’s interesting to point out that Emanuel was a Rodham-camper in the old days. He’s one of the ideologues, contrast to Maximum Bill’s crime family types back in the day: Lindsay, McLarty, Watkins, Thomasson, et. al. The fact that he’s of the Chicago mob, uh… komsomol, is what makes all this more important than a convergence of old-timey hood-hooks and big-time opportunity.

See, there are ideas at work here. Not like when the light bulb blinks on over one’s head in a cartoon and he suddenly knows how to thread a nut & bolt together. No, it’s about how to run the world — cognition brought actively to politics with a plan and a will: this is ideology.

And what I still wonder is how deeply Obama understands his work. I believe that many of those around him do, but I am not yet sure that he knows how far he will have to go in order to put the ideology to work in America. His indulgence of the grinning (leering?) moron Cass Sunstein (an almost Speerian character to Obama’s dreams of social architecture) makes me question whether he really thinks he can just slide his rot down the American gullet without much of a gag. (Of course: to ask that is also to wonder at the American capacity to swallow, another very good question in recent decades.)

Obama is in the driver’s seat as was never a circumstance for the ideology during The Ozark Long March. The power and ideology are united as they weren’t in 1992 or 1996. What’s at question to me is the will.

My sense of it is that there is real steel under the paternal urbanity. Right now, it’s mostly manifest in the drive to action, but it’s just coming to grips with the action of power; how far, wide and fast these levers of power reach and what can be done with them. This necessarily includes political calculations (I did not believe for one second White House disclaimers of interest in the Tea Parties), although any rational calculation, by a collectivist, of ethical and political conditions in America now can only encourage the most aggressive action on every front.

The questions here are necessarily mirrored: how many Americans are prepared for what the program will call for? How well do they understand what’s going to happen?

They’re real questions, of course, but practically impertinent at the moment. They would only really matter if they had practical bearing on the socialist course, but they don’t right now.

>Vanderboegh: An Open Letter to AG Eric Holder

>(A distribution note to Three Percenters: Cast this one far and wide, folks. I have been told we need to make sure that the adults in the permanent bureaucracy exercise some control over their temporary charges, no matter how short-sighted, immature and petulant the Obamakiddies seem to be. The children are on the playground with loaded firearms, playing with societal forces they scarcely understand. Of course, this is putting the very nicest face possible on such potentially deadly behavior. Do I think it will work? Unlikely, but we have to try anyway.)

No More Free Wacos: An Explication of the Obvious Addressed to Eric Holder, Attorney General of the United States

Explication – noun; the act of making clear or removing obscurity from the meaning of a word, symbol or expression. — Webster’s Dictionary.

5 May 2009

Dear Eric,

I believe I’m entitled to use your first name, since you have expressed an interest in circumscribing my liberty and seizing my personal property, to wit, three heretofore legal semi-automatic rifles of military utility (mistakenly dubbed “assault rifles”). Anyone who wants to do something so personal and intimate as to commit premeditated theft upon you need not be given any honorifics, don’t you agree? I mean, if a street thug announces that he wishes to rob you, there is no need to address him as “Sir” this or “Mister” that. Why should rapacious government thieves who announce their intentions so boldly be treated any differently? If you are offended by the fact that you are unused to being addressed in this manner, I can only say that you are not as offended as I am at the prospect of your administration trying to steal my property and liberty.

But, that is not why I write you today. No, I received what I believe to be a credible report this afternoon about someone whom the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives views as a real thorn in their side. The substance of the report has it that you, or someone in your office, has, in reference to this friend of mine, muttered something very much like the following:

“What miserable drones and traitors have I nurtured and promoted in my household who let their lord be treated with such shameful contempt by a low-born cleric! . . . Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?”

That, of course, was Henry the Second speaking of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket, in the year of our Lord 1170.

Shortly thereafter, four of Henry’s knights, Reginald Fitzurse, Hugh de Moreville, William de Tracy, and Richard le Breton entered Canterbury Cathedral, and beat Becket to death with clubs, scattering his brains on the floor. “Let us go,” said one, “this fellow will not be getting up again.”

That political murder had great consequences for Henry, and he regretted it the rest of his long reign.

But enough of Henry. Let’s talk about the alleged threat. I am sure that this is a base canard, something attributed to you by someone who just wishes to make trouble. However, as it happens, this is not the first time, or even the second, that I have heard such threats attributed to your department since the election.

Yet, surely, such an educated man as yourself would not make King Henry’s mistake. However, it seems likely that it did come out of your department, so let us say that in some perverted attempt to convey a threat to “this troublesome priest” one of your subordinates actually uttered it. Let us say, for purposes of hypothetical argument, that it is in some sense, true.

I know how agencies can spin out of control if not properly guided by upper management. So do you. I’m sure that you saw the television images out of Texas on 28 February and 19 April 1993. I think you would agree with me that neither of those days likely represented the official policy of the Clinton administration. Yet, they happened.

Subsequent to that, citizens formed self-defense militias, millions more of your hated “assault weapons” were imported and sold before the ban and we spent the next seven years staring uneasily at one another, waiting for the next government-issue bloody shoe to drop. Oh, yes, and your party lost control of the Congress, with even President Clinton blaming it on the passage of the Brady Bill and the Assault Weapons Ban. The Law of Unintended Consequences sure sucks, doesn’t it?

But, the other shoe didn’t drop.

Yet, there’s something you should understand about that whole process. As an amateur historian and keen observer of current affairs I can see it without difficulty.

You only get one free Waco.

If the statistics on the sales of firearms and ammunition tell you anything, you ought to understand that the same dynamic is at work now and yet from your point of view you haven’t DONE anything to deserve it. Oh, you’ve muttered occasional threats to reinstate the Assault Weapons Ban, but no one believes politicians when they speak anyway.

So why, you may ask yourself, is this happening?

Like I said, Eric, you only get one free Waco. It was your original sin. The botched raid, the massacre, the cover-ups, we’ve been through them already. You may remember that no one was held to account for that — not very reassuring to the citizenry. And if, as is apparent, someone in the Department of Justice hasn’t learned the lessons of the first Waco, we, the millions of “bitter clingers” out here in fly-over country, have. We have no reason to be trusting of your motives. For we, and you, have been here before.

So, let me explicate the obvious: There are no do-overs, not when it comes to your employees killing American citizens for bad reasons. Look around, count the guns, estimate the billions of rounds of small arms ammunition in private hands, and consider that the latest Janet has already declared most of the rest of us, including veterans, “domestic terrorists” anyway. Do you think we have not noticed? Do you think we do not remember the misdeeds of the last administration you were a part of?

In addition, recent government misconduct — bureaucratic, legal and judicial — in the Wayne Fincher and David Olofson cases (the same kind of chicanery that rightly caused you to overturn the conviction of Alaska Senator Ted Stevens) has convinced many of us that there is no percentage in betting on a fair trial if the ATF sets their sights on us and we are not part of the Mandarin class.

If we are no longer under the rule of constitutional law but are merely subject to irreversible bureaucratic diktat and we do not fancy being railroaded in a patently unfair federal trial where expert witnesses are denied access to evidence, then our options when approached by ATF agents are rather limited. It is plain, in the absence of the right of a fair trial, that a target of ATF investigation has little to lose by resorting to the right of an unfair gunfight. This may be an unintended consequence of those cases. It is nonetheless real.

Wake up and smell what your administration is shoveling from downwind, where we are forced to stand. And please understand the predicament you’ve put yourselves in by your present and former bad behavior.

There will be no more free Wacos.

Please, for all our sakes, counsel your employees, who apparently seek to curry your favor by misquoting you, that replicating 1993 is neither good policy nor is it your intention. We don’t need any more itchy trigger fingers in this country.

And Eric, not to put too fine a point on it, but you and I both can make an educated guess about what mischief will likely ensue if ANY high-profile Second Amendment activist “has an accident”. Best to tell your lads and lasses to stick to those nice safe paper cases (you know, the ones with the 4473s completed with a “Y”, rather than “yes”) and confine their wet-work fantasies to their off-duty reading. There’s still lots of vicious drug gangs, murderous career criminals and real terrorists out there to keep them busy without picking a fight with honest American gunowners who merely want to be left alone.

Thank you for your kind attention in this matter. I wish you a nice, full and safe term of office. Really.

Mike Vanderboegh
PO Box 926
Pinson, AL 35126

>Ron Paul on Secession


Watch it and pass on to others.

>Thuggery and the Obamites: The Chicago Way

> Another commenter on yesterday’s Olofson post wrote this note:

Your final point (3) on the failure of the rule of law is summed up and confirmed by the statements on this financial blog, of all places.

Here’s the full entry, as cited by the commenter:

I Can Only Hope This Proves To Be Inflammatory Nonsense
Submitted by ep on Sat, 05/02/2009 – 23:11

One of the great pleasures of writing finem respice relates to the wide variety of surprises that one finds in one’s inbox as a consequence of having an audience of any size at all. Write about finance long enough with the same electronic mail address and a number of interesting anecdotes will flutter your way. Write just a little bit longer and a shocking tale will pass under your eyes once or twice. Stick it out for two and half a hundred weeks and one is like to hear something quite disturbing. Hang in for more than a pair of years and a truly horrifying, bone chilling narrative will eventually confront you. Today, I have the distinctly unpleasant distinction of being on the receiving end of exactly this sort of recollection. That is, a bit of dialogue so genuinely awful that- were it not from a source I consider impeccable, and unimpeachable- I would not dare to credit at all. Unfortunately, I must do precisely this, and personally believe it to be totally, frightfully accurate. I take no pleasure in relaying it, instead hoping that someone more directly in the business of running such matters down and printing them will carefully document it and- if true- expose it, or- if not- discredit it quickly and finally. This (as yet unproven) yarn goes exactly like this:

Confronting the head of a non-TARP fund holding Chrysler debt and unwilling to release it for any sum less than that to which it was legally entitled without compelling cause, this country’s “Car Czar” berated the manager of said fund with an outburst of prose substantially resembling this:

Who the fuck do you think you’re dealing with? We’ll have the IRS audit your fund. Every one of your employees. Your investors. Then we will have the Securities and Exchange Commission rip through your books looking for anything and everything and nothing we find to destroy you with.

Faced with these sorts of threats, in this environment, with valued employees in the crosshairs and AIG a fresh, open wound upon the market, the fund folded.

It is a tale literally so outlandish and difficult to picture that, in these circumstances and given the source, it rings absolutely true. Consider all this in a larger context where:

You see Non-TARP entities claiming that:

…we have been systematically precluded from engaging in direct discussions or negotiations with the government; instead, we have been forced to communicate through an obviously conflicted intermediary: a group of banks that have received billions of TARP funds.1

…not to mention the fact that the salary, bonus and “stress test” results for TARP banks are all within Treasury’s control.

Then you have White & Case attorney Tom Lauria, describing the experience of one of his clients, holders of Senior debt in Chrysler, to Frank Beckmann:

Lauria: One of my clients was directly threatened by the White House, and in essence compelled to withdraw its opposition to the deal under threat that the full force of the White House press corps would destroy its reputation if it continued to fight. That’s how hard it is to stand on this side of the fence.

Beckmann: Was that Perella Weinberg?

Lauria: That was Perella Weinberg.2

We see the White House Chief of Staff (whose primary finance and economics qualifications appear to be a Bachelor of the Arts degree from Sarah Lawrence College- apparently appealing because of its strong ballet program- and a Master of the Arts in Speech and Communications) calling the plays over at Treasury for the last several months. To wit:

On Jan. 20, Timothy Geithner took control of the Treasury Department, directing the government’s response to the financial crisis.

Within three weeks, the White House tightened its grip, alarmed by the poor reaction to Mr. Geithner’s performance during the rollout of his rescue plan, government officials say. Since then, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has been so involved in the workings of the Treasury that “Rahm wants it” has become an unofficial mantra among some at the Treasury, according to government officials.3

We have senior government officials apparently ordering, or at least strong-arming, the Chief Executive of a publicly-held firm to make or avoid certain disclosures and to close a merger, “or else.”4

We watch the White House fire the Chief Executive of General Motors after he makes the most generous settlement offer to bondholders (to whom he owes fiduciary duties) up to that point, and smile gently when Wagoner’s successor puts the screws to financial creditors and eases up on the UAW.

It is my deepest wish at this point that there is nothing about this latest bit of Car Czar thuggery even remotely based in fact- as this would mean that this country has truly and unarguably descended into fascism.

I use this term, “fascism,” quite deliberately. I also use it well aware that many will consider it needlessly inflammatory. Be this as it may, I submit there is simply no other term that properly describes the style and tenor of government emerging both in public and behind once closed doors.

While it has seemed fashionable in past to brand the leanings of the current administration towards the left-biased “socialism,” or even “communism,” neither of these definitions withstands simple scrutiny. Nothing about these goings-on rises to the level of sophisticated argument required to sustain a claim that the state should a priori own the means of production. Nor does the present administration seem to harbor this as a goal. (It is not entirely clear if this is the result of philosophical or practical limitations, though I suspect the latter). Instead, the rhetoric flashing about commands subservience to the state, particularly by those industrialists and financiers whose acquiescence is required to maintain the machinery of commerce and the illusion of normalcy. Consider, then, these more elaborate definitions in light of what we have seen just in the last sixty days:

Fascism varied from nation to nation, but in its simplest terms it was a doctrine that sanctified the interests of the nation-state and minimised the rights of the individual.

The roots and antecedents of fascism can be traced back to the French Revolution of 1789, which ushered in ideals of liberalism and representative government that eventually spread across Europe as the old political and social order was overturned. During the nineteenth century, liberalism went hand-in-hand with a wave of nationalism that resulted in the unification of Italy and Germany in the 1860s and 1870s. Many believed, however, that liberal democracy had failed to curb the excesses of capitalism, providing instead the conditions under which the strong could prey on the weak. The 1890s saw an intellectual revolt against the dominant ideology of liberalism and capitalism. As a result, two major doctrines gradually emerged in opposition to liberalism. On the Left it was challenged by Marxism, which burst onto the European scene in Russia; and on the Right it was attacked by a right-wing movement that came to be known as fascism.

Fascism therefore emerged in direct opposition to liberal democracy, because fascists contended that democracy had created class conflict and that individual rights undermined the authority state. Fascists opposed communism because they argued that communism (or socialism) deliberately inflamed class conflict for revolutionary purposes, and this also threatened the nation-state. What distinguished fascism from other right-wing political movements was its ‘revolutionary’ intention to replace the existing political structure with the ‘one-party totalitarian state’ that would eliminate class conflict by encouraging the people to place the nation-state before their own self-interests.5

The core mobilizing myth of fascism which conditions its ideology, propaganda, style of politics and actions is the vision of the nation’s imminent rebirth from decadence.6

[Fascism is] a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.7

I would gleefully wake in the morning to find my words of this evening alarmist, overwrought, and at variance with the facts. Until then, these connections so perfectly match descriptions of what would amount to nothing less than rank thuggery on the part of Mr. Rattner, that I cannot think of a better term- once removed from its unduly prejudicial context in Modern European history- to describe what appear to be the goals, aims and methods of this administration.

I am at a loss.


1. “Statement From Non-Tarp Lenders of Chrysler,” The Wall Street Journal (April 30, 2009).
2. Tyler Durden, “The White House Threatened To Destroy Perella Weinberg’s Reputation,” Naked Capitalism (May 2, 2009). 6.5 MB .mp3 file.
3. Deborah Solomon, et. al., “At Treasury, Big White House Role,” The Wall Street Journal (May 1, 2009).
4. “Excerpts From Ken Lewis’s Testimony,” The Wall Street Journal (April 23, 2009).
5. David Welch, “Modern European History,” Routledge (1999).
6. Roger Griffin, “The Nature of Fascism,” Routledge (1993).
7. Robert Paxton, “The Anatomy of Fascism,” Vintage Books (2005).

[Art Credit: Brian De Palma “The Untouchables,” Film (1987), From the Author’s Private Collection. Robert De Niro as the ultimate crony capitalist, Alphonse Gabriel “Al” Capone in the brilliant Brian De Palma film. Oddly, the experience of hearing his orders: “I want you to get this fuck where he breathes! I want you to find this nancy-boy Eliot Ness, I want him dead! I want his family dead! I want his house burned to the ground! I wanna go there in the middle of the night and I wanna piss on his ashes!” is probably only slightly more daunting than hearing one of the President’s “Czars” threaten to order the IRS to do violence to a citizen.]

And if you have any doubt whatsoever as to what it is going to take to banish this cabal of thugs, statists, and collectivists permanently from the Amercian scene, take a good hard listen to Jimmy Malone as he schools you:

>Vanderboegh: A Response to "A Simple Matter of Force"

Read Mike’s commentary on yesterday’s Olofson post.

Remember: The Obamites want freedom-loving Americans to react. Commenter MALTHUS said a mouthful yesterday:

The enemy properly goaded and guided in his reaction will be your major strength.–Saul Alinsky

Here we begin our lurching toward the abyss. As patriots find themselves vexed by repeated violations of their God-given rights, the temptation of anarchy beckons.

This would be a grave mistake.

The Clinton/Obama cabal is well-versed in political jujitsu. All the forces of repression and subjugation are available to them. To directly challenge their authority by initiating armed resistance would simply strengthen their hold on power.

We can sap their power indirectly; we must do so by rebuilding our own crumbling foundations.

Volunteer to teach a Sunday school class. Meme: Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God.

Read up on the literature of liberty: the Anti-federalist papers, Frederich Bastiat’s “The Law”, Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom”.

Take a course of instruction on small unit tactics. Gabe Suarez, et al, offers them. As Alinsky (op. cit.) has noted, a threat is more to be feared than the threat’s execution. Don’t make empty threats; instead, be a palpable one.

Now is the time to prepare yourself morally, mentally and militarily. The fight will be joined sooner than anyone could want.

The best strategy is to let the other guy make the first fatal mistake. You cannot know the time or place of its happening but you can put your logistical house in order so as to better your chances of prevailing.

God speed.