The following piece was originally posted on Sipsey Street 8 December 2008 entitled We Are Expendable, Or, "Giving battle, but on different terms." Some recent conversations with folks who argue that I should not proceed with the armed civil disobedience campaign because I might get arrested or killed reminded me of it. Just like anyone else in this fight, I am expendable. I can only hope the trade-off is worth it.
We Are Expendable
"You don't understand," said the young naval officer, "we were expendable." He was very earnest as he lolled on the bunk of the officers' quarters of the torpedo station at Newport, along with the other three officers who had also just got out of the Philippines. I admitted I didn't understand.
"Well, it's like this. Suppose you're a sergeant machine-gunner, and your army is retreating and the enemy advancing. The captain takes you to a machine gun covering the road, 'You're to stay here and hold this position,' he tells you. 'For how long?' you ask. 'Never mind,' he answers, 'just hold it.' Then you know you're expendable. In a war, anything can be expendable -- money or gasoline or equipment or most usually men. They are expending you and that machine gun to get time. They expect you to stay there and spray that road with steel until you're killed or captured, holding up the enemy for a few minutes or even a precious quarter of an hour.
"You know the situation -- that those few minutes gained are worth the life of a man to your army. So you don't mind it. . ." -- They Were Expendable, W.L. White, 1942
In the interests of clarification of what Three Percenters stand for, I present the piece of mine below, Resolve, from last month. I would also like to add this little preface to it.
We have been called "insurrectionists" by the prags (among other things). Insurrection, in case you were wondering, is defined as "an act or instance of rising in revolt, rebellion, or resistance against civil authority or an established government." The key word here, and the action which our opponents wish to impute to us is "rising." As in the Irish Easter Rising of 1916. That is, the unilateral assault of revolutionary forces upon a government at the time and places of the insurrectionists' choosing.
If you read Resolve, you wll see that this is not what I have in mind, summed up in the injunction, "No Fort Sumters."
The prags allege that our strategy is flawed, either because we will lose political legitimacy by attacking first, or setting ourselves up for failure by sitting in our houses and letting ourselves be picked off one by one. Both of course are wrong.
Our model is rather Lexington and Concord. The British marched out, not intending to start a war but merely to carry out a lightning strike as they had during the Powder Alarm of 1774 and to be back in Boston before the "provincials" could react. They also intended to arrest Sam Adams and John Hancock along the way.
No one knows who fired the first shot. It could have been someone from either side. The Lexington militia under Captain John Parker were certainly not given any order to fire and it is a matter of historical fact that the British officers lost control of their troops. In any case, the blame fell to the British because they had come to the home turf of the provincials.
Parker's injunction to his troops is our own as well, "Don't fire unless fired upon." The British had a choice that April morning. The road forked and the Lobsters could have ignored the militia and marched down the left fork, without a confrontation. The vanguard chose the right fork and found, and later lost, a war.
But after the British onslaught and the militia "unassed the a.o." as they say in certain quarters today, the colonials were treated to British cheers and an 800 musket volley of celebration. As David Hackett Fischer described it in Paul Revere's Ride:
In the houses and woods along the road, the people of Lexington listened bitterly to the British cheers and began to count their dead. seven Lexington men had been killed and also one of the Yankee prisoners taken on the road, the unlucky Woburn man who was shot while "trying to escape." Nine other Lexington men were wounded, some severely. The toll was heavy in that small town. Eight pairs of fathers and sons had mustered on the Common. Five of those eight were shattered by death. Most families in that small community suffered the loss of a kinsman -- if not a father or son, then an uncle or cousin.The unlucky militiamen who were killed at the first fire of the British and in the headlong rush to get away by British bayonets, were, to use the phrase of the torpedo boat officer, "expendable." They were expendable by accident, for they certainly didn't intend to get shot that morning while merely standing in formation. But they were expendable by necessity as well. They had to die at the first, there on Lexington Green, so that all their countrymen would know from that point on that it was a war of defense against Crown tyranny. They had to recieve the first fire, and they did.
As the British troops disappeared into the west, the people of the town gathered on the Common. There was at first a sense of shock, a terrible numb and empty feeling of cruel and bitter loss. Then there was another raw emotion: deep, consuming, abiding anger. The people of Lexington asked themselves, who were these arrogant men in their proud red coats? By what right did they act as they did?
Other militiamen were now arriving from the far corners of the town. Those who had slept through the alarm began to appear, weapons in hand. Captain Parker mustered his company once again on the bloody ground. There were not sixty militia as before, but twice that number. The men were silent, grim and pensive. Most had lost friends and relatives only a few minutes before. Some wore bloody bandages. A few had faces and shirts blackened by powder stains. Their weapons were no better than before, but they replenished their ammunition from the dwindling store in the meetinghouse.
This time there were no consultations of debates. With a few terse words of command, Captain Parker ordered his company to fall in. The men were no longer in doubt about what to do. They were ready to give battle again, BUT ON DIFFERENT TERMS. (Emphasis supplied, MBV.)
And this is what the prags do not understand about us Three Percenters. We view ourselves as expendable. We don't want to. On the whole, as Mark Twain's candidate for the hanging said, if it weren't for the honor of the thing we'd rather skip it. Yet we know that someone must go first. Whoever it is will be chosen by our enemies, by the enemies of liberty and the Constitution, and not by ourselves. By taking the position that we do, it is not that we volunteer for suicide. We merely understand that to have principles means that eventually you cannot back away from them. Eventually, someone has to stand. And, in the nature of things, someone must be first. Like the machine-gunner at the crossroads, we can only hope that the sacrifice will not have been in vain.
And then, like Captain Parker's Minutemen, those of us who are still standing after the first fire will be ready, in overwhelming numbers, to give battle again, but on different terms -- Our terms. And on our terms, we will restore the Founders' Republic. If our opponents do wish to go here, they should take the other fork in the road. Or, better yet, stay in Boston.
So, for those of you who missed it the first time, or were a bit hazy about what I meant when you did, kindly read "Resolve."
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
by Mike Vanderboegh
5 November 2008
"Change has come to America." -- Barack Hussein Obama
If I may, I'd like to begin my first essay of the Obama regime by thanking U.S. Representative John Lewis, Democrat of Georgia, for clarifying matters.
As reported in Michael Calderone's Politico.com blog, there was "an emotional moment on ABC News, as Georgia Congressman and Civil Rights leader John Lewis told Charlie Gibson that today's election was 'a nonviolent revolution.'"
Well, yes, thank you. But revolution against what? Overturning what? The name-calling, nervous-nellie opposition bloggers within the dyspeptic "Second Amendment community" have been accusing us Three Precenters of seeking a revolution. My thanks to Rep. Lewis for reminding us that the revolutionists, Gramscian and otherwise, are on the collectivist side of this argument, thus proving my point that we are in fact Restorationists.
All we seek is the restoration of the Founder's Republic.
Death Knell: "The masks are going to come off."
There is of course much wailing and gnashing of teeth amongst the "pragmatists" about the utter failure of their politics. Indeed, as I know from personal emails, there is even despair and some panic in some of my fellow Three Percenters. I am grateful to my good e-friend "thedweeze" for forwarding this commentary from Perry de Havilland in London.
It says much of what I was going to say and does it more clearly and with fewer words.
Unlike many, well, most of my compatriots, I am not filled with a deep sense of gloom and foreboding at the prospect of the most left wing president since FDR gaining the White House. In truth, I can see many reasons to think it may well be a far better outcome than if a Big State Republican like McCain won.
Of course Obama will bring an avalanche of policies that will be truly appalling and quite wicked, of that I have no doubt, much like his predecessors in office in that respect. As the global economy continues to come unglued, everything Obama does to deal with the mounting crises will I fact make things worse. Civil liberties will be hammered, all in the name of 'fairness', and the flood of regulations pertaining to every aspect of economic life will grow into a drowning ocean.
And that is actually the good news.
Why? Because in truth the Republicans under John "I support the bailout" McCain would scarcely have done much better. The economic global meltdown is only just starting to roll: if you think the sub-prime mortgage crisis was the biggie, just wait until you see the fallout from the fun and frolics of the impending mess in other areas, such as debt swaps. This is all going to get worse, a lot worse, and Obama is going to do absolutely everything to dig the holes deeper. Looking back on this period ten to twenty years from now, the Republicans crying into their beer tonight will be saying "thank Christ it was not us in office then".
The lesser evil is not going to win this time and much as it may not seem that way now... or any time soon I suspect... in the long run this has a far far better chance of leading to the rebirth of a genuine pro-liberty, pro-market political culture that the gradual incremental surrender of recent times made impossible.
Many will find the glee of the statist left over the next few days and weeks hard to endure, but to be honest I have been walking around with a grin all day. Finally the era of gradualism is over and the masks are going to come off. The USA has voted for statism and it is going to get exactly what it voted for at a juncture in history where it will very quickly be impossible to hide the cost of those votes.
Obama is not the start of a new era - he is the death knell for the old one.
I agree, although I hasten to add the little prayer, "From his mouth to God's ears."
"Entering the Grey Zone"
Some of you might think that de Havilland and I are engaging in pollyannaish wishful thinking given the crisis we are about to face. However, it is not only gunnies of various stripes who are panicked at the thought of an Obama presidency.
An old friend of mine called me the other day to report that an FBI agent in the west had confessed his fears at church last Sunday. Obama, he worried aloud, was going to shove him and his agency where he did not wish to go. They were, he feared, "entering the grey zone." Now there is more than one way to interpret those words, but he made one thing explicit. He had zero interest in dying for the cause of gun confiscation. No doubt such thoughts are flickering through many minds in the federal law enforcement bureaucracy at this moment.
This is something for us Three Percenters to keep in mind. He fears the scenario of my novel "Absolved."
You know, "Absolved" is but the first of a trilogy. I will make a tiny news ripple here by saying that the titles of the follow-on books are "Resolved" and "Dissolved." As with everything else I write, this is grounded in the history of the Founding generation.
On 7 June 1776, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia presented a three-part resolution to Congress, which read in part:
RESOLVED, that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are ABSOLVED from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally DISSOLVED.
As a scribbler, I love the English language. We use one word in so many different ways and having so many different meanings that they become elements of logical poetry - sometimes illogical poetry if you believe any of my many critics.
Take the word "resolve."
Here are some definitions of 'resolve' on the Web:
- decide: bring to an end; settle conclusively; as in "The case was decided"
- conclude: reach a conclusion after a discussion or deliberation
- purpose: reach a decision; as in "he resolved never to be fooled again"
- answer: understand the meaning of; as in "The question concerning the size of Senator Schumer's ego cannot be answered"
- make clearly visible; as in "can this image be resolved?"
- find the solution; as in "solve an equation"
- resoluteness: the trait of being resolute; as in "his resoluteness carried him through the battle"
Resoluteness, purpose, decision, visibility, solution. These are multiple meanings but each has black-and-white clarity.
And make no mistake, it is our resolve which will carry us through "the grey zone." Let others doubt. We Three Percenters must not. We must be purposeful, resolute and decisive, even when the "pragmatists" are running around like chickens with their heads cut of, or slumping disconsolately in the corner as if someone pulled the plug on their video game.
No "Fort Sumters"
My Wolverine Grandpa used to say, 'When in peril or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout." He usually said it ironically when someone nearby was doing exactly that. He also would offer, "It might help if he flapped his arms." This is what is happening in many corners of our nation today, and it is exactly and precisely what we must not do.
Here, I think, is what we must do:
1. "Take not counsel of your fears." In the coming period many rumors will sweep the blogosphere. Imminent danger will perceived from a million different directions. But here is how we should conduct ourselves.
"Wilson, I'm a damned sight smarter man than Grant; I know more about organization, supply and administration and about everything else than he does, but I'll tell you where he beats me and where he beats the world. He don't care a damn for what the enemy does out of his sight but it scares me like hell." -- William Tecumseh Sherman as recalled by James Harrison Wilson, in Under the Old Flag.
Now Sherman wasn't saying that Grant should fail to seek through intelligence-gathering or scouting what the dispositions and the intentions of the enemy were. He was saying that you don't let your fears affect how you fight the enemy in front of you. Sherman also recalled that Grant worried less about what the enemy was going to do him and more about what HE was going to do the the enemy. As Three Percenters, we must only react to what we see and know and not some rumored threat. Above all, we must not lose our cool. We must always remain under control, and ready.
2. Work on the credibility of your deterrence. Deterrence only works if it's credible. We must ready ourselves for whatever comes. That means training, physical fitness, building up logistical bases, more training, marksmanship competence, organization, more logistics, more training.
We have our enemy's promises that they will negate any possibility of our using the standard methods of politics against them. They have won the "majority vote" decision.
But if we are to avoid conflict, we must convince them of how little this actually buys them in the way of power. We do that by building up the armed citizenry, one three-man buddy team, one six-man fire team and one squad at a time. Don't advertise. Friends and neighbors will do nicely.
And remember, you're doing this in case the deterrence doesn't work. This is as real as it gets, folks.
Act like it.
3. No "Fort Sumters." This means exactly and precisely what it says. We must not fire first.
Neither were the leaders of the Confederacy eager to start a war. Jefferson Davis and his cabinet, sitting in their offices in Montgomery (Alabama), much preferred to negotiate until they got their way. They always had, after all. In fact, Southerners in general considered Northerners to be incapable of standing up to them. They had seceded thinking the North would "just let them go." Should it come to civil war they were confident that the great European powers, desperately needing cotton for their mills, would intervene on the side of the Confederacy. The one possibility the South never considered was the one that actually happened: that the North would actually fight an all out civil war rather than let the Union be shattered and that England and France would not come to the aid of the South. Lincoln's adroit handling of the matter left Montgomery with few choices. If they attacked Fort Sumter, they'd lose both their moral high ground and their Northern allies. -- Joe Wheeler, Abraham Lincoln, Howard Books, 2008
We don't fire first, nor second, nor perhaps even third. This does not mean we can't defend ourselves. We must.
What it does mean is that the rest of don't react until everyone understands that it is collective self-defense. We must not cede the moral high ground.
If the Confederacy had not fired on Sumter, what would Lincoln have done? Whatever it was would have cost him the moral high ground and political legitimacy. And for the brave new world of imperial presidency that he was embarked upon, that might have led to an entirely different result. Division in the North, perhaps even impeachment. It is our enemies who are the revolutionists and the aggressors.
Take a stand on familiar ground and their appetites will do the rest. They will come to us. Just be ready. Then when it is apparent, ACT, at once and collectively, on familiar ground of our own choosing and in enlightened self-defense on a large scale seeking only the criminally culpable.
Which brings me to another component of the moral high ground:
4. And no OKC Bombings. The terrorist bombing of the Oklahoma City Federal Building on 19 April 1995 was more than the operation of "lone wolf" McVeigh, but I am not here to argue that largely undiscovered history.
Even if we accept the FBI explanation for it (and I do not), McVeigh targeted a building filled with non-combatants including a day care full of babies that could be plainly seen from the street or in a cursory reconnaissance of the building. It was simple terrorism and was used by the Clintonistas to discredit all their enemies, up to and including Rush Limbaugh.
So here's a warning for all you people who are seduced by the dialectic of 'The Turner Diaries'.
If you claim to fight monsters, it is important not to become one yourself. And I say to my fellow sheepdogs, that if you find someone who claims to be one of us turning feral, rip his throat out. This is the latest installment of the eternal struggle between sheepdogs and wolves.
Sheepdogs do not prey on sheep. They kill wolves.
Keep the difference firmly in mind.
5. Be patient. The raids do not begin tomorrow. It will take some time for the new regime to begin to suck up its courage, lay the "legal" predicate for its unconstitutional actions, tighten its grip and begin to squeeze.
We still have time to prepare, recruit, organize, train.
If, that is, we have resolve.
As a good old friend of mine just reminded me, this is not new. Like the Israelites, the American people have asked for a King and one has been given to them.
But I recall that the Founders went into battle, crying "No King but Jesus!" My agnostic and libertarian friends would doubtless choke on the last two words of that battle cry.
Let us at least agree on "No King!"
Let us also be prepared, trained, and patient -- but holding on ready. Let us never cede the moral high ground nor become the monsters we fight. But if our enemies insist upon it, let us fight for and let us win the restoration of the Founders' Republic.
In a word, let us be resolved.