Wednesday, January 9, 2013


How can we lose when we're so sincere?
Charlie Brown, in Peanuts

The Second Amendment to the Constitution is under attack as never before. The excuse is the murders in Newtown CT , Aurora CO and other places. Make no mistake, though: these are simply excuses to enact intentions held for years. The real goal is to gut the Bill of Rights, and always has been. The same people who exploit the fears of the caponized pacifists will then turn their attention to "common sense speech control" and "common sense religion control." We've mostly given up on due process already. It's been done before, it's going on now, and anyone who thinks the US is immune is dreaming. People are people, all over the world and throughout history. Don't believe me? Read "The Politics of Obedience: Discourse on Voluntary Servitude" by Etienne de La Boetie. Written in the 16th century, by a Frenchman no less, it describes our situation with frightening precision.

What do we see opposing the latest wave of totalitarianism? Reasoned discourse. I can't recall how many editorials I've read which, with commendable logic and using the best available data, point out that gun control is absolutely ineffective in accomplishing the (publicly) stated goals of the gun-ban lobby. That's true, and it matters nothing. This isn't about reason and data.

Get over the idea that the Constitution protects anything. The Constitution is the embodiment of some of humanity's noblest ideals, but by itself gives no more protection than their Torah scrolls did to the Jews of Europe. What does matter? Power.

What is power, then? In physics power is the rate at which work is done, that is, accomplishing some change in the world. Work is accomplished when a force acts on an object, displacing it. So--- power depends on resources, but power doesn't exist until resources are used to accomplish work. Socially, money is not power. Guns are not power.
People are not power. Knowledge is not power. A supertanker full of gasoline is only a toxic spill waiting to happen until it is converted into a force, say a push on a piston via controlled combustion. When the piston moves a distance, that's work, and when that work is repeated over time you have power.

No resource confers power unless it is used and no power is produced without cost. That's a law of nature, as true socially as it is physically. How much power one can produce, at what cost, depends on how efficiently our mechanism works. If two mechanisms are opposed, like linked locomotives pulling in opposite directions, the better designed and operated one will dominate. The same is true in civil conflict, whether electoral or armed.

So far, those who stand for the Constitution have spent resources creating the political equivalent of sound and fury. It may make us feel good to watch, but like a fireworks display over a gulag it doesn't leave us any better off. What's necessary is to use the resources we have--the people, the money, the time, the intelligence-- to create and apply power. Force, multiplied by leverage, over time.

How should that power be used? The first thing we think of is resistance, because all we really want is to be left alone to live peacefully. But that's playing defense, and you can't win playing defense. You just lose more slowly. To win we need to use power to build something, to offer an alternative to the gilded prison that our opponents are creating. Power has to be used to communicate and persuade, as well as to dominate.  As to tactics, I'll leave that to the more knowledgeable. A man's got to know his limitations. But our goal should always be to win. Period.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I welcome your comments.