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Tag Archives: war

Why Wars Are Becoming More Likely

The underlying force behind most developments we now see is very simple: overpopulation.  But there’s something more to it.  In a world that has had lowered levels of violence and modern medicine for awhile, there’s simply too many men.  Normally men die off at a higher rate than women which frees up some extra space.   Under these circumstances it’s easier to have a functional social contract where men cooperate instead of compete.  Without the usual forces of attrition, we end up with a massive sausage fest.   Add to that a declining economy, rampant elite overproduction, hostile state ideologies and it’s now hard for all but apex males to make it.  As the struggle for scarce success slots grows more intense, it drives coalitions of millions of men into direct competition for women and treasure.  As such conflicts grow in intensity, they eventually flare into open violence.  And of course, part of the deal is the violence clears out some of the dead wood freeing up some breathing room for the rest.  Anyone who doubts this principle has only to learn how the black plague ushered in a golden age in Renaissance Europe and Ming China.  When there’s just too many people, even randomly killing 1 out of every 3 improves life for the rest and allows people the space and leisure they need for innovation and achievement.  An environment always saturated to carrying capacity wallows in perpetual stagnation.  When there’s no more frontiers and empty continents to fill up, humans resort to other timeless safety valves, and when all others fail, war tends to erupt sooner or later.  The justifications people make up for history books come after the fact.

War is a gentleman’s agreement.  Two men who stand little chance of securing a pretty woman or property within their clan sometimes agree to risk their lives against a neighboring tribe to take control of scarce resources by conquest.  If both succeed, they both get a payoff, but chances are in war there will be casualties.  So in effect they wager that if they succeed one man will perish in the endeavor and the other reaps all the dividends.  They may fail and both perish of course, but they agree to take the risk because if they try to play it safe at home, they pass the rest of their miserable lives struggling for mere survival, trod on by the successful as unwanted surplus population.  Since the dawn of time, when the incentives are right, groups of men have made the gentleman’s agreement with the tacit understanding they are betting the other guy gets shot while they survive to profit from his efforts.  And of course those most closely related might behave altruistically with less reservation as worker ants devote their being to the genetic code of their queen.  Nature is harsh and living things must often undergo desperate measures against overwhelming obstacles to succeed and continue the species.  So until a transhuman era, humans will be thrust into the Darwinian melee by the necessities of competition for mates and scarce resources whether they will it or no.  Until then, only intelligent stewardship of human societies and the establishment of workable balances of power both internationally and internally makes peaceful times possible.  The foolish elites of Western nations have spent decades undermining a once stable system out of devotion to blind ideology and now act surprised when finally the inertia shifts and the system begins to tip towards entropy.

After Trump, Clinton 2nd Debate: Non-Partisan Good Will Is Gone

I saw Trump absolutely destroy Hillary on October 9th airing out her myriad hypocrisies for all the world to see and dragging her through the mud.  But I am just one person.  Across the internet I see Hillary supporters all think Hillary won, Trump backers like me all think he demolished her.  I can find only scant patches of somewhat neutral ground(all of it slanted one way or the other).   Trump supporters like me focused on his dominant presence, the threat to jail her, her visibly rattled and frightened appearance, his unapologetic crushing of her pathetic Lincoln excuses.
But Hillary supporters weren’t seeing the same thing the same way at all.  They saw a creepy, sniffling, hulking, stalking orange man trying to intimidate Hillary while she was trying to make intelligent points about policy.
Someone from another planet would never believe that both parties had seen the same event!

Even with the first debate, I can remember Trump supporters readily admitting he went in unprepared and having good-natured discussion with the other side over what he could have done better.
The second debate is the moment that any sense magnanimity and shared purpose between factions is lost.  A new age of tribes comes into being.
As of October 9th, the last pretense of cooperation within the American republic has been cast aside.  There is now only war.  No one will ever admit their candidate lost at anything out of a sense of fair play, they will relentlessly push for whichever functionary pushes their interests best so they get their piece of a steady dwindling pie and the other guy gets left out in the rain.  The civic life becomes like those two soldiers in Saving Private Ryan fighting over that combat knife.
It’s easy for everyone to get along in times of plenty, but when the good times dry up, humans play the primal monkey game of musical chairs.  Every round someone gets left out and “voted off the island.”
After years of economic stagnation only kept under control by easy money with low interest rates, the established system steadily falls apart nonetheless.

With the polls lately, I no longer know what to think.  It’s a cliche for supporters of a losing candidate to suppose polls are rigged but when you see swings of nearly 10 points with the same polls within a few days, I’m inclined to stop paying much attention.  At that point it’s just noise.  If the overall trend they indicate is true, though, Trump likely loses this election after all.  But let’s be clear, at this point nearly every established institution has now burnt its political capital and sacrificed its credibility to try to get Hillary into the oval office.  It’s so far gone at this point that it’s not completely out of the question that even the pollsters have done the same.  Even with Real Clear Politics average I’ve noticed that with the exception of LA Times tracking poll, they may have ceased including some more favorable results for Trump such as a recent Rasmussen poll.  Everyone has a dog in this fight like I’ve never seen before.  I no longer know who to believe.  The most important thing right now may be whether Trump can assume full control of his party and keep the coalition together in the midst of GOPe defections.

Establishment supporters suppose their golden world will roll on blissfully as it was once they’ve won the election.  No, the dynamics in play have irrevocably changed.  From this point the divide only grows more wide and more bitter no matter who wins or loses.
Just as supporters of either side now back the party line completely to the hilt unwilling to make any concessions whatsoever, millions of Americans will cease to see the ruling order as legitimate.
There is now a huge demand to provide services for a completely separate new culture.  After political purges on social media, there’s now attempts to start a new twitter, a new wikipedia,  a new reddit.  While geographic secession is difficult in a nation where all groups overlap, cultural secession and fracture is well under way.

Rational People Are Inimical To Social Cohesion

Functional societies so far require people to have weak powers of reason and to adopt starkly irrational beliefs.  Groups that can trick their members into acting against their individual best interests are those that thrive.

A typical man’s biological interests are best served by impregnating as many women as possible and providing as few resources as he can to each so long as the offspring survive, so he can continue to search for more.
The tradition of marriage harnesses his sexual energies into productive tasks that harm his own immediate interests but help the society.
Going to war is completely inimical to his interests.  As far as he’s concerned he loses all if he dies.  His death may preserve his society, but that serves him little solace if he is no longer alive.
Or take voting in elections, walking into stores without stealing, or any other activity inspired by moral imperatives.  If he thinks completely rationally, he understands that his life does infinitesimally little to win a war or his vote to win an election.  It is irrational for him to participate in these affairs.
His fear comes from moral imperatives—that if he doesn’t fight the invaders millions of other men will also stay home and everyone loses.  However, if he sees millions of other men willingly go to war it pays handsomely to defect and dodge the draft, ready to snatch up all the widows when the war is over.  The motto of all social relations is “Don’t be that guy.”
In the American Civil War, there were professional draft dodgers who made a living by snatching up money incentives to join then disappearing and doing the same thing again under another assumed identity.
In a strictly rational sense these guys were the winners.  The guys who cooperated and went to die or become cripples were losers.
Of course, war is a gentleman’s gamble, the survivors return bedecked with honors to a land less competitive than before.
But no one who takes those odds seems at first to think they’ll be the ones to lose the bet.
At the end of every war there’s cities erected for honorable men built grandly with marble whiter than bone and the door of every abode adorned with plaques emblazoned with soothing platitudes in all caps.  All to disguise the ugly fact that within lies a teenager who was torn to shreds by a landmine, sent to take the risks pulling chestnuts out of the fire for the dominant older men.  It speaks loudly that across the ages, we have to try so hard to make ourselves believe.  But if social norms are strong enough and everyone imbued with dogma from birth, most people gladly subsume their inner dissonance to fit in.

The trouble is that this trickery becomes much harder in a world where most people are literate and access to the internet is widespread.  People are pretty well bred for obedience to social norms, but given enough sources, a vocal minority begins to question and deviate, undermining the unity of the rest.
I have encountered inquisitive minds on the internet that perceive many of the same problems I do in modern societies.  But the proposed solution I most often hear is to bring back old religions or at least adapt them somehow to modern conditions.  I do not see how this can be so except by fundamentalist peoples demographically displacing technocrats over time.  And then the problem is not solved.  Either their society stays in the safety of stagnation or at length the new theocratic rulers are likewise corrupted as they advance and the cycle repeats as their creed too is unable to cope with the needs of an inquisitive and informed populace.  I see many merits in the arguments to bring back old creeds as a deliberate social strategy, but the need for people to be ignorant of their best interests for these systems to work suggests to me we must formulate an altogether new sort of system that makes use of game theory and takes informed, discerning people into account.

The Middle Class: Caught In Between

No one likes the middle class.
They’re like a teacher’s pet trying too hard to please the teacher.
Their masters look down on them with amused contempt.  Servile creatures who sell their souls for larger crumbs.
The working class despises their eagerness to sell out everyone else and envies their standard of living.
Confounded, the middle class tries harder to please yet still finds itself caught in the middle surrounded by enemies.
When things start going bad, they make excellent scapegoats while their masters stay in comfort.
The middle class is a buffer state, the first line of defense for people who matter.

Other than being in the middle of the hierarchy, there’s nothing middle about the middle class.  They’ve always been a minority, perhaps less than 20% of the population even in the best of times.  These are the people who’ve left behind the working class lifestyle, but are far as ever from any real power.  The middle class are the low level functionaries who typically rely on the good graces of the rich for their relatively privileged lifestyle. They are owned people like the workers but live under greater supervision with more responsibilities and expectations.
While a prole wanders from one job to the next knowing it will be the same as the last, losing a job for the middle class person can be a major life crisis that threatens to cast him back down into the seething mass of the working class.

The mentality of the middle class is one of anxiety, like that of a rodent or a deer.  They know they’re among the few who’ve managed to get ahead and are terrified of falling from grace.  If they fall, their family falls with them.  They’ve lost the ability to function in the rougher prole society.  Their sheltered helicopter-parented kids are easy targets in a prole school district.  They’re like cops getting sent to prison if they fail.  For them, there’s no going back.
Paul Fussell in his book, Class, had the insight to notice that they like everything to be bland and inoffensive from their food to entertainment.  So complete is their subservience and desire to avoid offense that it controls their lives even when they’re not working.  They try to imitate their superiors by being verbose and using lots of long words that disguise their real meaning, especially if it’s something possibly disagreeable.  Just think of the grey and boring names we associate with corporate jargon.  If a middle class person tells you their job title, it’s not clear what they actually do.

Peasants have revolts, the upper middle class, revolutions. The middle class has no rebellion.  Their fortunes are tied to the ruling order and they fear losing what they have too much to participate in upheaval.  They’ll usually still be fed when most proles are starving so will have even less incentive to betray their masters and join the destitute multitudes.

Like proles, middle classers are devoid of imagination and ideas.  Curiosity is alien to them.  The ideal middle class person needs to have enough brains to acquire skills and be likable to the right people, but any more than that is dangerous to the blind loyalty required of them.
They’re perfectly plain in looks possessing neither intellect or stupidity.  They’re the insipid gruel of humanity lacking in flavor or personality content to work at the same desk for a lifetime.
Proles are passive and impotent but at least they are passionate.
Proles are collectivist, they stick to the ways of their own kind.
The middle classers are conformist, their culture is their failure to imitate their betters.  They have no love for themselves, they care only for fashions handed down from above.

The lack of of identity and stuffiness of middle class culture makes it the first zone of society with potential for unsocialized malcontents to break off in search of meaning and belonging in life.  At present the middle class is shrinking from an all-time high to return to more normal historic levels.  Plenty of middle class children have failed to get the same status as their parents and find themselves alienated.
Middle class people are harmless to rulers as long as they stay that way.  But if too many of them slip towards proledom their better brains and higher initiative can cause some problems as they bring their resentments down with them and begin to inspire popular anger.

An American Mercenary Who Invaded Mexico With An Army of 45 Men

Back in the 1850s, a Tennessean named William Walker and his band of mercs launched an offensive on Baja California and successfully captured the Baja del Sur capital City, La Paz.
He proceeded to declare a Republic of the Sonora complete with territorial boundaries and its own flag.

Republic of Sonora Flag

Republic of Sonora map

More amazing still, he and his men managed to get out of there alive again after the Mexican government started sending armies into the region.

Walker was a real filibuster. Not one of our modern gerontocrats deadlocking sessions of congress. No he was a filibuster in the original sense of the word. A freebooter trying to conquer a sovereign state without permission from any state.
The age of manifest destiny in America fostered an entire generation of filibuster mercs who tried to take over countries and found their own colonies.

For Walker, his personal war with Mexico was just the beginning of his career.

Next, he showed up in Nicaragua with a private army of 60 men and tried to take over the country. He actually succeeded and declared the foundation of (another) new country complete with (another) new flag.

Walker's Nicaraguan Flag

As if taking on one country wasn’t enough, Walker soon found himself at war with Costa Rica as well.
He held on for awhile despite the odds and still managed to escape with the help of the US Navy.

Still not discouraged, Walker next tried to invade Honduras but this time he was caught by the British Navy, who had no intentions of allowing an American to mess around in a zone of influence so close to where they were already planning a canal.

The British simply turned Walker over to the Hondurans, who lost little time in putting him in front of a firing squad.

Walker had no military experience and little grasp of strategy, achieving many of his impressive victories with superior firepower. Both in Mexico and Nicaragua his campaigns were ended by disastrous incidents that led to his forces being cut off from their supply lines.
An impulsive fool, he actually seized steamships from Vanderbilt, the Robber Baron sponsor who was supplying him with food, arms, and transport.
Vanderbilt retaliated by giving gold and guns to Walker’s enemies instead to get revenge and to recover his steamships.
Predictably, Walker found himself suddenly stranded in a foreign country and would have gotten himself and his men killed then if the US Navy hadn’t picked them up.

Walker got his way as a crazily charismatic dreamer in spite of his ineptitude. Newspaper articles about his crazy exploits always got him new followers no matter how badly he screwed up…until his luck finally ran out.

William Walker picture

William Walker, a 5″2 120 pound dynamo of reckless ambition that got himself and lots of his followers killed while trying to found a private Latin American empire.

LINK

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