"The fact that the candidate you're being asked to vote for is at this moment rotting in an English jail shouldn't put you off! Sure, wasn't I in one myself till a week ago! They can jail us. They can shoot us. They can even conscript us! They can use us as cannon fodder in the Somme! But... we have a weapon more powerful than any in the whole arsenal of the British Empire! That weapon is our refusal! Our refusal to bow to any order but our own! Any institution but our own!" -- Liam Neeson in Michael Collins, 1996.
One of the joys of this weekend was meeting up with my brother from another mother over in Georgia -- he had been called to Atlanta by work on Friday and thus was within reach. He gave me a copy of the above book, Counterinsurgency by David Kilcullen.
Kilcullen is also the author of The Accidental Guerrilla: Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One.
I have not yet had time to finish the book, but I was struck by Chapter Five, "Deiokes and the Taliban: Local Governance, Bottom-up State Formation, and the Rule of Law in Counterinsurgency."
You can find this chapter on-line here at Google Books from pages 147 to 161.
It is based on a presentation Kilcullen made to the 2009 Wallace Wurth Memorial Lecture at the University of New South Wales, Australia. The speech can be found here. Kilcullen's presentation begins about 12 minutes in.
To understand what I am about to say, you must either read the above chapter, listen to the presentation, or both. Preferably both.
Assuming you have done so, and that you find much food for thought in Kilcullen's thesis, here is my initial reaction.
Kilcullen enunciates intellectually what I have long known in my gut, if more inchoately. Remember when I wrote "All civil war is local"?
When I quote (as I do frequently) Michael Collins speaking about "Our refusal to bow to any order but our own! Any institution but our own!" it is Kilcullen's thesis distilled down to its essence.
What Kilcullen reminds us is that all insurgencies are conflicts AT THE LOCAL LEVEL FIRST AND FOREMOST over legitimacy and competence. Legitimacy derives from the consent of the people and is an expression of their God-given inalienable rights to liberty, safety and property. Competence in providing those things is what determines success.
In this we have an advantage over the present domestic enemies of the Founders' Republic. Recall this from my Open Letter to American Law Enforcement.
Systemically, “duly constituted authority” derives its legitimacy from the founding documents of our country, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and from the Founders’ concepts of the rule of law. These have all been under attack for a hundred years or more by both corrupt political parties and their union and business familiars. The Constitution has become for some a joke and for others an inconvenient speed bump on the road to tyranny. As long as this degradation of the legitimacy of our political and legal system was perceived by only a narrow portion of the population, it was manageable in a societal sense. This is no longer true.
When a president and Congress robs one set of people to enrich their cronies, when they violate the settled rule of law regarding bankruptcy to stiff secured creditors in the case of General Motors while rewarding self-anointed unsecured creditors -- their political allies, the auto unions -- the rest of the population cannot fail but conclude that we are no longer under the rule of law, but the rule of men, which is to say, the law of the jungle. Or, put another way, they -- the “authorities” -- can do anything that the citizenry can’t or won’t stop them from doing. This is the societal Catch 22 we are now in (and have been for a while) that I call “Waco Rules.” . . .
Katrina showed us many things. It showed that in a disaster many cops will look to their families and not the public duty, leaving their fellow law enforcement officers with an even greater burden. It showed us that cops can be opportunistic criminals as well, partaking in looting with as much energy as professional criminals. It also showed us that the police no longer trust the law-abiding citizen with arms, depriving them of their only means of self-defense once the cops have moved on, thus leaving them to the tender mercies of robbers, rapists and murderers.
It is perhaps dangerous to make too large of a generalization, for there are many rural jurisdictions where this does not apply, but the fact of the matter is that by and large, the police no longer trust the people they are supposed to protect, and they especially do not trust an armed citizen, even if he represents no danger to the cop. This is standing the oath on its head. The people do not exist to serve the servant, but rather the other way around.
When a policeman pulls over a driver whose computer record shows not only the driver’s license of the vehicle’s owner, but the fact that they have a concealed carry permit, it is too often SOP for the cop to approach the vehicle, gun drawn, order the man or woman from the car, put them on their knees and cuff them before anything else transpires. These are not the acts of public servants but rather of an occupying army. And with each breach of trust, the glue holding society together is further weakened. For the more you distrust us, the more we are reminded to distrust you.
It is important to remember, Mr. and Ms. Law Enforcement Officer, that you need us, the law-abiding armed citizenry, one hell of a lot more than we need you. Just ask any criminal. Who is it that they fear most? The encounter with a policeman or a would-be victim who turns out to be armed? I tell you this uncomfortable truth and I hope you have the honesty to admit it -- the criminals of this country are far more scared of the armed citizenry than they are of the police.
It is not the fear of the patrol car that inhibits criminal behavior the most, but rather the prospect of screwing up and getting his brains blown out by a citizen in righteous self defense. And so, when you participate in citizen disarmament efforts, whether gun seizures like Katrina, or merely identifying otherwise friendly peaceable folks as “the enemy” just because they are armed, you are alienating your most valuable friends and empowering your most vicious enemies. Not to mention the fact that you are violating that sacred oath you took.
So ponder that deteriorating social trust that holds civilizations together, and then ponder this: the worst is yet to come.
What will happen when we are faced, God forbid, with some dislocating national disaster -- natural or man-made -- that makes Katrina look like a kindergarten playground? Now, even if you intend to run off like some New Orleans policemen did, to see to the safety of their families rather than keep order in the city, you are still going to need the cooperation of the armed citizenry in your home neighborhood to protect your family.
You -- ALL of you -- law enforcement officers, will then need us, the armed citizenry -- ALL of us willing and competent to muster -- to defend public order against the tide of chaos represented by five or ten million gang members and the tens of millions of panicked unprepared refugees or opportunistic criminals left unrestrained by a breakdown.
In their continued assault upon the Constitution and the Founders' Republic, these domestic enemies forfeit more of their legitimacy with every blow. In their ability to oppress the people by more taxes and greater constraints on their personal and economic liberties while at the same time being unable to provide true economic and personal security from the assaults of petty criminals or corrupt bureaucrats, the wannabe tyrants of the present regime -- both political parties -- alienate the people and force them back upon their own resources.
And who will be there, in the local world where they live, to help them fend off threats to their liberty, property and safety?
The armed citizenry will.
IF we have the sense to recognize the opportunity.
IF we have the determination to prepare for it.
And IF we have the guts to seize it.
The sense that that federal government has not only lost its legitimacy but its competence at doing the most basic of things grows daily.
Sometimes it is in big chunks like Katrina or the Gulf oil spill. Mostly it is in little pieces as when a SWAT raid kills a 7 year old girl or a corrupt politician goes to jail, or, more often, when they do not.
The federal Leviathan pretends to wield absolute power and absolute authority, yet this is far too large a country for them to do so. And as these elements of the regime gradually discredit themselves, more and more people are indeed paying attention to the little man, the humbug, behind the curtain. When enough of them do, the little man loses his hold over them all.
And all of this will be played out locally first: in our own neighborhoods, towns and counties. And it is there that we are strongest.
The people will be mobilized, as they always have been, by events in their own lives that radicalize them, that scare them, that get momma onto her high horse and daddy off the couch in response to her demand to DO SOMETHING!
When that happens, as it unfolds, we must be ready to provide that "something." We must be ready to insert ourselves, the armed citizenry, into the vacuum left by the collapse of order and the regime's inability to do anything but worsen things.
We must be ready, we Three Percent, to take the field as the legitimate and competent force of restoration, at first locally, and finally nationally.
We MUST be ready.
The regime, on so many levels, is an already rotted door.
When the time comes, when they provide us the excuse and the opportunity, we have but to kick it.
If we are ready.
If we have the courage.
If we are indeed the Three Percent we claim to be.