Maybe We Don’t Need to Win, Just Have Our Own Vine and Fig Tree

A few days ago I made some future references, quick comments and excerpts on others’ posts and ideas that needed fleshing out. The problem is that in the meantime more ideas and posts come down the pike from the many fine bloggers and commenters around the NRx. It’s like drinking from a fire hose, eating an elephant, among other tired cliches.

Then one swallow/bite at a time. Free Northerner gave us a Winning Conservative Strategy and as a former “political professional” I very much enjoyed his ideas, and especially visualizing what they would look like in practice. The picture of a bunch of sign-waving agitators in front of some Prog CEO’s home, yelling at him every time he takes out the garbage, is rather delicious, indeed. A certain portion of the ideas in Free Northerner’s piece were put into practice by the late St. Breitbart, though sadly none of his heirs seem to have stirred up near the trouble for the Left that he did, personally.

The incisive Henry Dampier then did his own spin on what he calls FN’s “laudable goals.” Bottom line: It would probably cost a lot more than a mere $142 million to merely make the effort as outlined, and:

  • Facing an enemy with far greater material resources, it is necessary instead to use unorthodox methods rather than direct confrontation to disrupt and destroy the systempunkts within their economic machinery.
  • Direct confrontation can be easily contained by the left: it is like a frontal assault on a fixed position with a predictable result.
  • The left can trivially contain any direct attack, because it is politically well-fortified against such attacks. It is like trying to attack Rommel’s tank divisions with a bunch of drunk amateurs driving golf carts. They will break at the first sight of the Panzers, and it is not responsible to tell them that they have a chance to win against him.

Agreed. To restate it in a slightly different direction, I don’t believe it’s possible to change society (including the whole of “The West” within that) through some kind of educational, political or propaganda action, given current conditions. As long as Real Housewives, NFL football and internet porn are available for the masses, as long as the grocery stores have some reasonable levels of foodstuffs, as long as the stations have gasoline, and, especially, as long as the welfare, food stamp and unemployment EBT cards still work, there will not be the levels of general desperation in the big democracies for the kind of mass scale upheaval that would result in regime change and a reorganization on nationwide levels to some kind of fiscally conservative, soundly moral society.

Having gotten this aired, it’s actually the earlier part of Free Northerner’s post that I’d like to talk about here:

Escalation dominance essentially means the actor controlling the highest level of violence (in the book’s case, nuclear weapons) can control all lower levels of violence by threatening to escalate the conflict to a higher level of violence. By controlling the tempo and threat of escalation, this actor can steer a conflict in such ways as to win lower level conflicts even in areas where he may be weaker.


Controlling the highest level of violence in American politics means that Conservative can control the tempo of lower-violence political conflicts (voting, law-making, regulation enforcement, etc.) and control the escalation of political violence (ie: voting to voter fraud; debate to ideological firings) through the implied threat of further escalation (you witch hunt me and take my job, I witch hunt you and take your job and reputation; you escalate to assault, I escalate to shooting).

I repeat: I am not advocating shooting liberals or doing anything illegal. My strategy does not include physical violence or criminality. I am simply explaining a concept that will under-gird the strategy.

While I haven’t read the book To Win a Nuclear War that he references, Game Theory is something that I do understand, and either the authors or FN have gone wrong, somewhere. Deterrence of this type works on the principle that the stronger side is actually prepared to use its weapons, even were it to result in the destruction of both sides. So all of Free Northerner’s caveats at the end of the quote essentially invalidate the beginning. The strategy only works if you are actually ready to shoot someone, as many someones as it takes to get your point across and cow the opposition into submission. Thus, his conservative’s campaign to cow the left is built on quicksand.

I don’t want to shoot anybody either. I mean I really, really don’t want it to come to that. Exit, partition, groups of like-minded people going their own way; that’s what I’m hoping for and expecting in the coming years, rather than some actual civil war. However, the basics of deterrence and of “escalation dominance” are already in place, at least in the U.S. and to a lesser extent, Canada.

Isn’t it intriguing that gun laws are practically the only thing that hasn’t been subject to the leftward “ratchet” over the 20 years? Outside of the sinkholes of New York, California and a few other crowded East Coast states, legal concealed carry has come to most of the U.S. On the federal level, after reaching its high water mark in 1993 with the ban on scary “assault weapon” pistol grips and large-capacity mags, so-called gun control is essentially a dead issue. Obama and his minions had their chances, and they didn’t even make a real effort outside of speechifying.

Why not? Escalation dominance.

The United States is in a unique position in world history in that it has a massively armed general population (yeah, Switzerland, big deal). The reason that there has never been a real confiscation effort, no matter how much Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer and Barack Obama want one, is that there is near-certainty that too many people would shoot back. In addition, no one knows how many police would actually carry out the orders. In Connecticut this year, tens of thousands of firearms owners apparently refused to comply with new laws, and the State Police were forced to reassure everyone that there would be no door-to-door gun confiscations.

The Left is pretty confident that they can drain the productive economy, reward their allies in business, finance and entertainment, heap scorn on Christians and decency, and get away with it. But they piss their pants at actually going out and prying real firearms out of real people’s hands.

I believe this is why there really will be a fairly amicable parting of the ways between the Left and the Reaction. American leftoids mostly don’t have the balls to shoot and/or imprison enough people who want to separate and live in a different way. They can keep their pesthole big cities and most of the tax-consuming population. Hell, they can keep everything but a few productive, healthy city-states.

Because mostly, from the President on down, they’re keyboard warriors who can’t hit what they’re aiming at.

12 thoughts on “Maybe We Don’t Need to Win, Just Have Our Own Vine and Fig Tree

  1. Pingback: Maybe We Don’t Need to Win, Just Have Our Own Vine and Fig Tree | Reaction Times

  2. Neo,

    I think FN’s failure rests on his unwillingness to say the following.

    “If you come to my home and try to make my daughter attend racial reconciliation classes, I will kill you. If you teach my children that marriage includes homosexuals cohabitating, I will kill you. If you teach my children that there is no God, or that there is Allah, or Vishnu, and such are greater than my God, I will kill you.”

    It is not sufficient for the cause of Man that we oppose only the final injustice. We must be prepared to escalate at the slightest provocation.

    When you say, ” I believe this is why there really will be a fairly amicable parting of the ways between the Left and the Reaction. American leftoids mostly don’t have the balls to shoot and/or imprison enough people who want to separate and live in a different way.” I believe you are mistaken. The “Left” relies upon force, or acquiescence to force, to change society. If you obstinately refuse to obey, and stubbornly retain some free will despite what the gov’t claims you owe, eventually “another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.”

    We still have the opportunity to hand them our shirt with our coat, or walk an extra mile, or demand they strike us with a fist, but when we are spent, what shall we do? We shall be dressed for execution.

    I do not believe Jesus was a god, but I can comprehend wise advice. Force your enemy to beat you, kill you, and imprison you. Only then may your enemy’s evil be revealed. Treating with these monsters as if they are righteous only increases their power over us.


  3. Isn’t it intriguing that gun laws are practically the only thing that hasn’t been subject to the leftward “ratchet” over the 20 years?

    I think this has much to do with the frame of the NRA, which is “we’re defending your God-given second ammendment rights.” They are, in other words, classical liberals. Freedom, baby. The Left is, of course, willing to dispense with any freedom at the slightest chance of equality. But they’re trapped a)in thinking those two are synonymns anyway; and b)by all the very exceptional (to the rule) progressives who just happen keep firearms but aren’t “Nazis” about it.

    Gun control is a losing issue for the Left, but one of very few, I’m afraid. Homeschooling (for now) is another one. But I doubt the right-leaning solutions, such as they are, scale well for the Right. One man’s guns is another man’s gay marriage. Unbridled freedom tends to win in this environment.


  4. Pingback: This Week in Reaction | The Reactivity Place

  5. The whole situation rather reminds me of this skit from Yes, Prime Minister.

    Adviser: Do you believe that the citizenry should bear arms to deter the state from behaving in a tyrannical manner?
    Conservative: Yes, certainly.
    Adviser: Why?
    Conservative: Because it deters.
    Adviser: Whom does it deter?
    Conservative: The government, from tyrannizing us.
    Adviser: Why?
    Conservative: Because they know that if they tyrannize us that we would overthrow them.
    Adviser: You would?
    Conservative: Yes, as a last resort.
    Adviser: And what is the last resort?
    Conservative: If the state were to try to take away our guns.
    Adviser: Why would the state try to take away your guns, risking being overthrown, when they can’t even keep guns out of the hands of criminals?
    Adviser: If they try anything it’ll be salami tactics.

    And so on. There also are some obvious parallels between the skit and what Russia currently is doing in Crimea.


  6. Hey NV, there was an implied “yet” on the end of that quote. As I mentioned later, my hope was to deratchet the conflict before we reached the “yet” point, but if that is impossible, then the right would have to be willing to escalate that last step.


  7. Free Northerner has some workable suggestions; but there’s one he left out. Manipulating the different factions of the “Cabal” to attack each other. This is already happening to a certain extent, but mostly inside institutions already completely controlled by them. The point is to encourage it in the public sphere. Communists/Socialists against corporatists; third-wave feminists against trans-genderists; Islamists against atheists; etc.


  8. Isn’t it intriguing that gun laws are practically the only thing that hasn’t been subject to the leftward “ratchet” over the 20 years? … Why not? Escalation dominance.

    I think it isn’t as simple as this, and looking at what other things are subject to the “leftward ratchet” helps to show why. Gay and transgender issues, racial issues, & everything associated with them have moved left, as have drugs; gun control, abortion rights, & tax rates have not moved much; income inequality has, if anything, moved right, with Social Justice taking away energy from class-struggle-type leftism & reducing ideological support for it by attributing everything to racism &c. Discourse on the role of religion in public life has moved left, but that hasn’t been a commonly debated issue (other than as it applies to sexuality &c.) since New Atheism, and the change is probably mainly caused by social atomization reducing the importance of religious communities. Based on this, I’d say the main cause of the “leftward ratchet” has been the Left’s use of what Scott Alexander calls a conceptual superweapon, whereby the Left has taken the concept of bigotry/prejudice, which was justifiably considered very bad due to its association with very bad things like the Nazis, Jim Crow, strong forms of patriarchy, &c., and attributed to it all of the Right’s positions on any issue where this was remotely plausible in order to trick liberals who think of the Nazis and the KKK as evil into grouping them together with mainstream Republicans. Thus, for instance, police reform or abolition has become more popular because ‘tough on crime’ can be called racist, cultural explanations for black poverty have become less popular because they have sometimes been used as a cover for racism, & various radical & ill-advised schemes to diminish ‘white privilege’ have become more popular because if you are convinced that racism clearly exists then denying it or urging moderation relative to it is evidence of racism (to be fair, it is true that black people are discriminated against in some areas of society, and some racists have pretended to be fair-minded in this way as with e.g. the theoretically race-neutral parts of the Jim Crow laws, though the conclusion that this must be true everywhere today is illogical and false). The claim of bigotry applied to gay and transgender rights is even more effective because there is a genuine difference in values between progressives and conservatives on this subject. On the other hand, ‘gun control is racist’ doesn’t make any sense, and applying race to abortion would embarrass the pro-choice progressives and so doesn’t get brought up (the ‘abortion restrictions are just men trying to control women’ argument does exist, but AFAICT the fetal personhood argument is too well-known for this sort of strawman to be very effective on this issue). From this, one can get a reasonably good idea of why American politics has moved left on some issues and not others. You are right that the threat of resistance is a reason to avoid large-scale confiscation of guns, but it’s far from the only factor influencing the direction of policy on guns.


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