A Man’s Guide to Dining Etiquette and Proper Table Manners

Why are table manners and etiquette so important as to be mentioned on a blog that rarely troubles itself with such mundane matters?  Frankly, manners are the lubricant of civilization and make for a far more urbane and less trouble society.  Best of all, the government has nothing to do with it except when it comes to the regrettable outlawing of the “meeting in the morning” or dueling in other parlance.  And yes, I do think dueling has huge practical value to keep a society buoyed upright.  When I say civilization, I am referring to the stateless enterprises of convivial conversation, the enjoyment of food and the spontaneous discoveries at every event hosting friends and family.  My wife is a southern belle whose manners and knowledge of etiquette are exquisite and rather deep respectively.

Eric Hoffer says that rudeness is the weak man’s imitation of strength.  He is correct and it offers a tremendous description of the current emasculation of American, if not all northern hemispheric, society.  Chivalry is strength because if honor is a gift a man gives to himself then that is a direct reflection of his treatment of those who are either weaker or disadvantaged compared to him.  Grace is not simply a religious artifact but a reflection of how a man carries himself and how his remembrance does not make people bitter.  The bully has no grace.

Often the English would say the greatest sin of a gentleman is boorishness but I would submit the greatest sin of a gentleman is not to be gentle at all. -BB

“Good manners will open doors that the best education cannot.” -Clarence Thomas

Why Table Manners Matter by Antonio Centano

As a young Marine Corps Officer, I was dumbfounded one afternoon when after training on the Mark19 we transitioned into a class on proper table manners.  Taught by a petite older woman, the class covered the basics of dining etiquette. We practiced these skills at various unit dinners over the next six months. At the time, I thought the classes were useless and a waste of my time.  Yet as it turns out, while I never again fired that heavy grenade launcher, the skills I learned those evenings concerning table manners have enhanced my enjoyment of dining for over a decade.

Whether dining with a 4 star general, toasting with a Medal of Honor recipient, or sitting with friends and family on Christmas Eve, an understanding of dining protocol makes time spent with others around a table more enjoyable.  When you know the rules there is no awkwardness or questions about how things should be done; instead there is only opportunity to spend quality time with the company present.

The Need for Better Dining Etiquette

When I began to spend more time outside of military circles I noticed that many men had never been taught proper dining etiquette.  I was amazed when I returned to graduate school and met people who were spending 100K on their education but were sabotaging their own interviews over a meal that they ate from their plate like a horse.  Still other times I would witness friends embarrass themselves by eating half the food on their plate before noticing everyone else was waiting to give thanks.  A man in the year 2010, like his great-grandfather in the year 1910, still sits and eats three meals a day.  The purpose of this article is to give you the basics to dine with respect like he did.

If nothing else, live by these four rules:

  1. Pay attention to your hosts – Being an observant diner and picking up on cues from your host will enable you to avoid 95% the embarrassing situations you could find yourself in. Simple things like waiting to eat until you see others eating and using the utensils others are using will enable you to “wing it.”  However, this constant observing and following does not allow you to relax and enjoy the evening.
  2. Chew with your mouth closed and do not talk with food in your mouth – Yes, in the year 2010 we still have a problem with men chewing with their mouths wide open.  And if you have something to say, refrain from filling your mouth the moment before.  In order to recover if expected to speak, only put a single bite in your mouth at a time.  The days of stuffing your mouth with as much food as it can hold are over.
  3. Bring your food to your face, not your face to your food – You shouldn’t be leaning over your food, shoveling it into your mouth with a distance traveled of only 6 inches.  Instead, sit straight, balance a single bite on the utensil of choice and bring it directly to your mouth.  And never drink from your soup bowl.
  4. Say Thank You, Please, and Excuse Me – These small words are magic and should be used liberally.

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The New Secessionists by Chris Hedges

One of my readers, Hugh K, sent me this link and I am obliged for his message.  I appreciate the increasing exposure the secessionist sentiment that is coming to the fore in the national conversation.  For too long, it has been buried by the Lincolnian legacy of violent response to self-determination and the entire program by Lincoln and his successors to put us all on the plantation.  Uncle Sam is rocking on the veranda sipping adult beverages while the rest of us are bent over in the fields for the tax eaters.   I enjoyed Naylor’s book but part ways with his anti-capitalist intimations in the book.  I happen to think that most big business in these united States is a creature of big government whether it is the automotive companies and their slavish attitude to regulation and unions or the military industrial complex which has benefited greatly from the neo-imperialism disguised as heroic flag-waving.  The beauty of secession is that the dozens of nation states that calve off the corpse that is the Federal government in the future will allow folks to vote with their feet.  A revisit to my past essays on secession will give you a glimpse of what that political landscape will look like.  I will tell you this:  we are going to wake up one morning and be caught just as flat footed when the “other” Soviet Union started to dissolve in 1989.  The usual suspects did not see it coming because they had no vision whatsoever that their power could ever be challenged much less despised so deeply.  Most government bureaucrats go to work every day thinking they are enshrined in a noble cause because they have rationalized away their evil and their everyday business is the nation’s business.  They have lost their humanity.  The entire structure in these united States is built on a rather simple proposition – if the majority wish to take your wealth, labor and time for the common good, your resistance, if any,  will be met with fines, jailing, maiming and killing.  It is a social contract in which you are cattle in a feed lot and you better like it.

If Vermont secedes, I will visit but I won’t stay because a whole army of my countrymen are going to tear the country asunder and remake it into dozens and possibly hundreds of choices among which will not be gulags and miniature models of the very system that enslaves us all today from Mordor on the Potomac.

Better men preceded us who said enough is enough and those shadows you see marching on the horizon are more of those men. They are coming and they are none too happy.

As Alexandr Solzhenitsyn said:  “You only have power over people so long as you don’t take everything away from them. But when you’ve robbed a man of everything he’s no longer in your power — he’s free again.”

Check out this podcast with Michael Boldin of the Tenth Amendment Center:


Outstanding job, Mike!  -BB

united States (in Liberty)

Acts of rebellion which promote moral and political change must be nonviolent. And one of the most potent nonviolent alternatives in the country, which defies the corporate state and calls for an end to imperial wars, is the secessionist movement bubbling up in some two dozen states including Vermont, Texas, Alaska and Hawaii.

These movements do not always embrace liberal values. Most of the groups in the South champion a “neo-Confederacy” and are often exclusively male and white. Secessionists, who call for statewide referendums to secede, do not advocate the use of force. It is unclear, however, if some will turn to force if the federal structure ever denies them independence.

These groups at least grasp that the old divisions between liberals and conservatives are obsolete and meaningless. They understand that corporations have carried out a coup d’état. They recognize that our permanent war economy and costly and futile imperial wars are unsustainable and they demand that we take popular action to prevent citizens from being further impoverished and robbed by Wall Street speculators and corporations.

“The defining characteristic of the Second Vermont Republic is that there are two enemies, the United States government and corporate America,” Thomas Naylor, who founded Vermont’s secessionist movement, told me when I reached him by phone at his home 10 miles south of Burlington. “One owns the other one. We are not like the tea party. The underlying premise of the tea party movement is that the system is fixable.”

Naylor rattles off the stark indicators of the nation’s decline, noting that the United States stands near the bottom among industrialized countries in voter turnout, last in health care, last in education and highest in homicide rates, mortality, STDs among juveniles, youth pregnancy, abortion and divorce. The nation, he notes grimly, has trillions in deficits it can never repay, is beset by staggering income disparities, has destroyed its manufacturing base and is the planet’s most egregious polluter and greediest consumer of fossil fuels. With some 40 million Americans living in poverty, tens of millions more in a category called “near poverty” and a permanent underclass trapped by a real unemployment rate of 17 percent, there is ample tinder for internal combustion. If we do not undertake a dramatic reversal soon, he asserts, the country and the global environment will implode with catastrophic consequences.

The secessionist movement is gaining ground in several states, especially Texas, where elected officials increasingly have to contend with secessionist sentiments.

“Our membership has grown tremendously since the bailouts, since the tail end of the Bush administration,” said Daniel Miller, the leader of the Texas Nationalist Movement, when I spoke with him by telephone from his home in the small town of Nederland, Texas. “There is a feeling in Texas that we are being spent into oblivion. We are operating as the cash cow for the states that cannot manage their budgets. With this Congress, Texas has been squarely in their cross hairs, from cap and trade to the alien transfer and exit program. So many legislative pieces coming down the pike are offensive to people here in Texas. The sentiment for independence here is very high. The sentiment inside the Legislature and state capital is one of guarded optimism. There are scores of folks within state government who are supportive of what we are doing, although there is a need to see the public support in a more tangible way. This is why we launched our Let Texas Decide petition drive. We intend to deliver over a million signatures on the opening day of the [state legislative] session on Jan. 11, 2011.”

Miller, like Naylor, expects many in the tea party to migrate to secessionist movements once they realize that they cannot alter the structure or power of the corporate state through electoral politics. Polls in Texas show the secessionists have support from about 35 percent of the state’s population, and Vermont is not far behind.

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Austrian Economics Rising by Thomas Eddlem

I have been an adherent of the Austrian School of Economics since a sophomore in college.  I went to Humboldt State University in CA and if you found Berkeley to be too right wing and oppressive, you came there.  It was one of the V.I. Lenin satellite schools in the CA University system filling young skulls with high sounding collectivist offal that would make a Communist blush (would that make them more red?).  Hidden in the economics department were two Austrian adherents and sympathizers, Professors Grobey and Kasun, who had managed to burrow in to the system and were carefully grooming and shaping young minds to fight the state at the most fundamental level, the level of production.  Through the lens of Rothbard and von Mises, all the puzzle pieces fell into place to show how economics is not a system of governance but that anarcho-capitalism is a way to produce the greatest wealth imaginable by tapping the atomistic self-interest of tens of thousands.  I learned that most macroeconomics from Marx to Keynes was nothing more than a sophisticated academic rationalization for the monopolistic application of violence by the state to satisfy its own yen for power and control. Murray Rothbard has been the single greatest influence on my intellectual life. Period.  I have those two anonymous professors hidden in the redwoods of northern CA to thank for this wisdom and the path I set upon.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Austrian path, read the following primer on why they are right and will continue to be so. -BB

“Peter, you have been mocked on all of these financial shows going back to 2005. Going back to 2005! Not only did you predict problems, you actually explained what was going to happen. Why didn’t anybody listen? You were Cassandra!”

— MSNBC commentator Joe Scarborough to “Austrian school” economics adherent Peter Schiff on Morning Joe, March 25, 2009

Scarborough’s reference to Cassandra — the character from Greek mythology given the gift of prophecy and the curse that nobody would believe her predictions — was particularly apropos to the Austrian school of economic theory until the latest economic crash. The name of this free-market economic school acknowledges the fact that many of the school’s “founding fathers” were Austrian nationals and disciples of the Austrian economist Karl Menger. Of course, the “Austrian school” is not a school in the traditional sense of the word denoting a physical structure; the term defines those who believe in pure free-market economics and laissez-faire principles. The Austrian school has a long history of amazingly accurate economic predictions while at the same time being completely ignored by the political establishment and virtually ignored by the mainstream media.

Prescient Predictions
But that lack of credibility to the public faded entirely once the Austrian school’s predictions again came true. One of the few exceptions to the media blackout against the Austrian school before 2008 was Euro Pacific Capital President Peter Schiff, now a candidate for the U.S. Senate in Connecticut, who had given a number of television interviews in advance of the current recession. Schiff repeatedly pointed out with astonishing accuracy what would happen and — more amazingly — why it would happen. Among the more famous of these interviews was an August 28, 2006 CNBC-TV debate with Reagan-era “supply-side school” economist Arthur Laffer. Laffer, a famed economic advisor to President Reagan, is perhaps the most prominent of the supply-side theoreticians and best known for the “Laffer curve” that explains how government can extract the most taxes from taxpayers without choking economic activity. After hearing Schiff predict a severe recession in 2007 or 2008, Laffer replied:

What he’s saying is that savings is way down in the United States, but wealth has risen dramatically. The United States economy has never been in better shape. There is no income tax increase coming in the next couple of years. Monetary policy is spectacular. We have freer trade than ever before…. I think Peter is just totally off base, and I just don’t know where he’s getting his stuff.

Schiff replied: “When you see the stock market come down and the real estate bubble burst, all that phony wealth is going to evaporate and all that is going to be left is the debt we accumulated to foreigners.”

Laffer next bet Schiff a penny in the same interview that Schiff was wrong. Laffer claimed he hadn’t paid Schiff the penny on HBO’s October 24, 2008 Real Time With Bill Maher show.

Schiff was not the only Austrian to accurately predict the current recession. Congressman Ron Paul made virtually identical predictions. Interviewed on February 23, 2010 — shortly after Paul won the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) presidential straw poll on who conservatives would like to run for the next presidential election — on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Scarborough noted:

Here’s what Ron Paul predicted in 2003 about … the bubble that was growing through Fannie and Freddie and the banks: [Video clip] “Ironically, by transferring risk of a widespread credit default, the government increases the likelihood of a painful crash in the housing market. Like all artificially created bubbles, the boom in housing prices cannot last forever. When house prices fall, homeowners will experience difficulty, their equity will be wiped out. The more people who will be investing in the market, the greater the effects across the economy when that bubble bursts. Even Fed Chairman Greenspan has expressed concerns that government subsidies make investors underestimate the risk of investing in Freddie and Fannie.” You called it right. That was in 2003, Congressman. 2003, five years and five days before the crash. How did you know?

Actually, Rep. Paul had also said essentially the same thing a year earlier than that, in a July 16, 2002 speech before the U.S. House of Representatives.

How did he know? Representative Paul explained to Scarborough that he was

just trying to understand economics from an Austrian free market perspective. It sort of goes to show that with a little perseverance sometimes you can come as a winner in the end. And I think we are winning on arguing the case for free markets over government intervention…. It isn’t me that makes these predictions, it’s the predictions made by good Austrian economists, people like Mises and Hayek and Rothbard and Sennholz. They taught us this, it’s available, and the young people especially are responding to this and studying this school of thought.

Austrian school economics received a massive national hearing during Rep. Paul’s presidential race in 2008, though — like Cassandra — his predictions of an economic crash were not accepted by enough Republican Party primary voters to win him the presidential nomination. That has all changed since the crash, Rep. Paul told The New American in an interview for this story. He sees a rising interest in the Austrian school: “There has been a dramatic change with the collapse in the economy because the Austrians predicted it. They’ve been right before.”

He’s right on both counts. The media is covering Austrian economists more than ever. Rep. Paul has been a frequent guest on national television and enjoyed two national best-selling books, The Revolution: A Manifesto and End the Fed, since losing the Republican presidential nomination. His “Campaign for Liberty” — a non-political interest group founded to continue the grass-roots activism of mostly younger 2008 campaign volunteers — received more than $4 million in donations in just the first few months after President Obama was elected. Rep. Paul acknowledges that “the campaign lit a match.” But he’s quick to add that “the work was done many many years ago,” by Ludwig von Mises and others.

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A Lethal Hypocrisy by James Bovard

I love James Bovard.  He is one of the only writers out there who consistently uses horrific anecdote after anecdote to answer the perennial question from our government supremacist colleagues:  “Well, when has THAT ever happened?”  He stocks his literary pond with all manner of misshapen and deadly species of government abuse and tyranny.  In this gem, he calls Bill Clinton on the sheer hypocrisy of his notions about violence.  It is not simply Clinton but the entire breed of sociopathic extremists who make up the political class in this country.  We recently watched the movie “2012″ and I was struck by the fact that the “continuation of government” was so important that the politicians and their sycophants got a free ride on the arks but the hated capitalist producers had to pony up one billion Euro each for a seat and the film portrayed the entrepreneurs as greedy but the politicos as selfless saviors of humanity.    What balderdash but the public has been trained to coddle and admire these rapacious parasites at the expense of the actual producers.  This has been helped in no small way by the government monopoly on education and the Marxoid fashion trends in thinking in Hollywood.  It was a pleasant distraction to see the White House destroyed by the storms and an aircraft carrier.  Violence begets violence and without it government could not exist.

In honor of the Waco dead – the men, women and CHILDREN murdered and the Federal agents killed, I wanted to mention this on April 19th but the festivities in 1775 were of higher importance to me.

For a really startling analysis on why government is a machine fed by death and destruction, watch this brilliant video sent to me by my son:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xbp6umQT58A

Government Child Abuse Prevention - Kill 'em All

Yesterday, on the fifteenth anniversary of the attack on the federal office building in Oklahoma City, former President Bill Clinton had an op-ed in the New York Times headlined: “Violence is Unacceptable in a Democracy.”   The article settles any doubts about whether Clinton was one of the most talented demagogues of modern times.

Casting a net of collective guilt over much of the 48 contiguous states, Clinton announced that the 1995 bombing was the fault of people who believed “that the greatest threat to American freedom is our government, and that public servants do not protect our freedoms, but abuse them.”  People who distrusted government helped echo ideas which somehow  persuaded “deeply alienated and disconnected Americans” to carry out the attack.

In other words, people who harshly criticize the government are guilty of  – or at least complicit in -  mass murder.

It would be difficult to contrive a storyline to better exonerate all government actions.    We still know far too little about the actual facts of the Oklahoma City bombing.  We do know that the perpetrators were guilty of a heinous crime and deserved the harshest punishment.    But that is a topic for a different day.

Clinton declared that “we do not have the right to resort to violence — or the threat of violence — when we don’t get our way. “

Unless you’re the government.

The four million Americans arrested for marijuana violations during Clinton’s reign were victims of government violence and government threats of violence.  The “fact” that Clinton never inhaled did not prevent the drug war from ravaging far more lives during his time in office.  The number of people arrested for drug offenses rose by 73% between 1992 and 1997. The Clinton administration bankrolled the militarization of local police, sowing the seeds for  a scourge of no-knock raids at wrong addresses and a massive increase in efforts to intimidate average citizens in big cities around the country.

During Clinton’s reign, the IRS seized over 12 million bank accounts, put liens on over 9 million people’s homes and land, directly confiscated more than 100,000 people’s houses, cars, or real property, and imposed over 100 million penalties on people for allegedly not paying sufficient taxes, paying taxes late, etc.   The IRS knew that millions of  citizens were assessed taxes and penalties that they did not owe. A 1997 audit of the IRS’s Arkansas-Oklahoma district found that a third of the property seizures carried out violated federal law or IRS regulations. Former IRS district chief David Patnoe observed in 1998: “More tax is collected by fear and intimidation than by the law.”  The Clinton administration fought tooth and nail against a law Congress passed in 1998 to curtail IRS depredations against innocent Americans.

Clinton’s op-ed mentions, almost as an aside, that the Oklahoma City bombing occurred on the second anniversary of the final assault at Waco.  In 1995, Clinton denounced the Branch Davidians as “murderers” for their response to the 1993 Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms attack on their home.  Clinton used that label even though a  Texas jury found no such guilt – and even though the BATF apparently shot first and did not have a proper warrant for its no-knock, military-style raid.

Clinton was commander-in-chief when the FBI 54-ton tanks smashed into the Davidians’ home, collapsing 25% of the ramshackle building on top of residents before a fire commenced that left 80 people dead.  His administration did almost everything it could to cover up the details of federal action at Waco, spurring the widespread distrust which Clinton later denounced.

The federal raid in April 2000 to seize six year old Elian Gonzalez was Clinton-style non-violence at its best. The late-night surprise attack went as planned – nabbing the boy and leaving shattered doors, a broken bed, roughed-up Cuban-Americans and two NBC cameramen on the ground, writhing in pain from stomach-kicks or rifle-butts to the head. But a photographer caught the image of a souped-up  Border Patrol agent pointing his submachine gun toward the terrified boy.

Clinton administration officials rushed to explain why the raid was practically a demonstration of Gandhi’s teachings in action. A few hours after the raid, Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder asserted that the boy “was not taken at the point of a gun.” When challenged about the machine-gun photograph, Holder explained: “They were armed agents who went in there who acted very sensitively.” Attorney General Janet Reno stressed that the photo showed that agent’s “finger was not on the trigger.” Two days later, Reno declared, “One of the things that is so very important is that the force was not used. It was a show of force that prevented people from getting hurt.”  By Reno’s standard, any bank robbery in which no one gets shot is merely a nonviolent exchange of bags of money. White House spokesman Joe Lockhart, responding to a question about the use of excessive force, stressed that the agents “drove up [to the Gonzalez house] in white mini-vans” – as if the vehicle’s color proved they were on a mission of mercy.

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The Battles of Lexington and Concord

I just spent the entire weekend with a few dozen of my fellow Americans shooting an Appleseed event in southern Arizona soaking up the history of April 19/1775 and sending lots of rounds downrange in a deliberate fashion to hone skills and allow men to “see what they are about”.  I know, I know, this the same date the media and usual suspects will obsess over the events at Waco and the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma.  It is not that I don’t mourn for the dead in both those events but this particular time and date 235 years has a much more direct correlation to our current pathos and misery.  We are here and suffering under this monstrous Federal leviathan because we forgot who we are.  The men and women who stood up to the mightiest military machine on planet Earth on that fated day in 1775 knew that liberty and freedom had a price.  They knew that their neighbors and friends and family did not exist off of each other in the Remora Nation we created here and now.  They were Porcupine Nation and proud of it.  Never once would they lift a finger against the mighty British empire unless they had been provoked and worse.  Theirs was a society of hard work and volunteerism and to quote Natty Bumpo when accused of being a loyal British subject in “Last of the Mohicans”: “Frankly, I ain’t subject to much at all” or Captain Reynolds in “Firefly”: “I ain’t runnin’ no more, I aim to misbehave.”

Take the time today to search the ‘net if you have History Deficit Disorder and educate yourself.  Lord knows you can even unplug the infernal device and pick up a book like “Paul Revere’s Ride” by David Hackett Fischer.  If you want to live free, stop just thinking about it.  Educate yourself, turn off the TV, turn a trade into a hobby or vice versa.

And BY GOD, learn to shoot straight.

You can own the finest weapons produced but if you can’t deliver consistent shots out to 500 meters, what good are they?  They are Liberty’s Teeth and need to be cared for as well as you may.  We have resisters in Afghanistan defending their homeland from foreign invaders (again) with rifles nearing a hundred years old and they are winning.  Those men know what they are about.  Do you? -BB

Date Wednesday, April 19, 1775
Weather ~55-65`F, winds calm
Location Lexington and Concord Massachusetts

Great Britain versus The US Colonies

Great Britain

Casualties Force: 1500
Killed: 73
Wounded: 174
Captured: 53

…these united States

Force: 3800
Killed: 49
Wounded: 39
Captured: 0

The Battles of Lexington and Concord were actually the first military engagements of the American Revolutionary War. They were fought on April 19, 1775, in Middlesex County, Province of Massachusetts Bay, within the towns of Lexington, Concord, Lincoln, Menotomy (present-day Arlington), and Cambridge, near Boston. The battles marked the outbreak of open armed conflict between the Kingdom of Great Britain and its thirteen colonies in the mainland of British North America.

About 700 British Army regulars, under Lieutenant Colonel Francis Smith, were ordered to capture and destroy military supplies that were reportedly stored by the Massachusetts militia at Concord. Dr. Joseph Warren alerted the colonists of this. The Patriot colonists had received intelligence weeks before the expedition which warned of an impending British search, and had moved much, but not all, of the supplies to safety. They had also received details about British plans on the night before the battle, and information was rapidly supplied to the militia.

The first shots were fired just as the sun was rising at Lexington. The militia were outnumbered and fell back. Other British colonists, hours later at the North Bridge in Concord, fought and defeated three companies of the king’s troops. The outnumbered soldiers of the British Army fell back from the Minutemen after a pitched battle in open territory.

More Minutemen arrived soon thereafter and inflicted heavy damage on the British regulars as they marched back towards Boston. Upon returning to Lexington, Smith’s expedition was rescued by reinforcements under Hugh, Earl Percy. A combined force of fewer than 1,700 men marched back to Boston under heavy fire in a tactical withdrawal and eventually reached the safety of Charlestown.

The British failed to maintain the secrecy and speed required to conduct a successful strike into hostile territory, yet they did destroy some weapons and supplies. Most British regulars returned to Boston. The occupation of surrounding areas by the Massachusetts Militia that evening marked the beginning of the Siege of Boston.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, in his Concord Hymn described the first shot fired by the Patriots at the North Bridge as the “shot heard ’round the world”.
The British Army’s infantry, nicknamed “redcoats” (but dubbed “lobsterbacks” and sometimes devils by the colonists), had occupied Boston since 1768 and had been augmented by naval forces and marines to enforce the Intolerable Acts. General Thomas Gage, the military governor and commander-in-chief, still had no control over Massachusetts outside of Boston, where the Massachusetts Government Act had increased tensions between the Patriot (Whig) majority, and the Loyalist (Tory) minority. Gage’s plan was to avoid conflict by removing military supplies from the Whig militias using small, secret and rapid strikes. This struggle for supplies led to one British success and then to several Patriot successes in a series of nearly bloodless conflicts known as the Powder Alarms. Gage considered himself to be a friend of liberty and attempted to separate his duties as Governor of the colony and as General of an occupying force. Edmund Burke described Gage’s conflicted relationship with Massachusetts by saying in Parliament, “An Englishman is the unfittest person on Earth to argue another Englishman into slavery.”

The colonists had been forming militias of various sorts since the 17th century, at first primarily for defense against local native attacks. These forces were also called to action in the French and Indian War in the 1750s and 1760s. They were generally local militias, but there was communication and some coordination at the provincial level. When the political situation began to deteriorate, these existing connections were put to use by the colonists for the purpose of resistance to the military threat.

This battle is generally described as the opening battle(s) of the American Revolutionary War.
Dartmouth’s instructions and Gage’s orders

On April 14, 1775, Gage received instructions from Secretary of State William Legge, the Earl of Dartmouth to disarm the rebels, who had supposedly hidden weapons in Concord, and to imprison the rebellion’s leaders. Dartmouth gave Gage considerable discretion in his commands.

On the morning of April 18, Gage ordered a mounted patrol of about 20 men under the command of Major Mitchell of the 5th Regiment into the surrounding country to intercept messengers who might be out on horseback.This patrol behaved differently from patrols sent out from Boston in the past, staying out after dark and asking travelers about the location of Samuel Adams and John Hancock. This had the unintended effect of alarming many residents and increasing their preparedness. The Lexington Militia in particular began to muster early that evening, hours before receiving any word from Boston. A well known story alleges that after nightfall one farmer, Josiah Nelson, mistook the British patrol for the colonists and asked them, “Have you heard anything about when the regulars are coming out?”, upon which he was slashed on his scalp with a sword. However, the story of this outrageous incident was not published until over a century later, which suggests that it may be little more than a family myth.

Lieutenant Colonel Francis Smith received orders from Gage on the afternoon of April 18 with instructions that he was not to read them until his troops were underway. They were to proceed from Boston “with utmost expedition and secrecy to Concord, where you will seize and destroy… all Military stores… But you will take care that the soldiers do not plunder the inhabitants or hurt private property.”Gage used his discretion and did not issue written orders for the arrest of rebel leaders.
Successful Colonial intelligence

The rebellion’s ringleaders – with the exception of Paul Revere and Joseph Warren – had all left Boston by April 8. They had received word of Dartmouth’s secret instructions to General Gage from sources in London long before they had reached Gage himself. Samuel Adams and John Hancock had fled Boston to the Hancock-Clarke House, home of one of Hancock’s relatives in Lexington where they thought they would be safe.

The Massachusetts Militia had indeed been gathering a stock of weapons, powder, and supplies at Concord, as well as an even greater amount much further west in Worcester, but word reached the Colonists that British officers had been observed examining the roads to Concord. On April 8, they instructed people of the town to remove the stores and distribute them among other towns nearby.

Margaret Kemble Gage, who may have given the leaders of the rebellion military intelligenceThe Colonists were also aware of the upcoming mission on April 19, despite it having been hidden from all the British rank and file and even from all the officers on the mission. There is reasonable speculation, although not proven, that the confidential source of this intelligence was Margaret Gage, General Gage’s New Jersey-born wife, who had sympathies with the Colonial cause and a friendly relationship with Warren.

Between 9:00 and 10:00 p.m on the night of April 18, 1775, Joseph Warren told William Dawes and Paul Revere that the King’s troops were about to embark in boats from Boston bound for Cambridge and the road to Lexington and Concord. Warren’s intelligence suggested that the most likely objectives of the British Army’s movements later that night would be the capture of Samuel Adams and John Hancock. They worried less about the possibility of regulars marching to Concord. The supplies at Concord were safe, after all, but they thought their leaders in Lexington were unaware of the potential danger that night. Revere and Dawes were sent out to warn them and alert Colonists in nearby towns.
Militia Warned

Dawes covered the southern land route by horseback across Boston Neck and over the Great Bridge to Lexington. Revere first gave instructions to send a signal to Charlestown and then he traveled the northern water route. He crossed the Charles River by rowboat, slipping past the British warship HMS Somerset at anchor. Crossings were banned at that hour, but Revere safely landed in Charlestown and rode to Lexington, avoiding the British patrol and later warning almost every house along the route. The warned men and the Charlestown colonists dispatched additional riders to the north.

After they arrived in Lexington, Revere, Dawes, Hancock, and Adams discussed the situation with the militia assembling there. They believed that the forces leaving the city were too large for the sole task of arresting two men and that Concord was the main target. The Lexington men dispatched riders in all directions (except south to Waltham for unknown reasons), and Revere and Dawes continued along the road to Concord. They met Samuel Prescott at about 1:00 a.m. In Lincoln, these three ran into a British patrol led by Major Mitchell of the 5th Regiment and only Prescott managed to warn Concord. Additional riders were sent out from Concord.

Revere and Dawes, as well as many other alarm riders, triggered a flexible system of “alarm and muster” that had been carefully developed months before, in reaction to the British colonists’ impotent response to the Powder Alarm. “Alarm and muster” was an improved version of an old network of widespread notification and fast deployment of local militia forces in times of emergency. The colonists had periodically used this system all the way back to the early years of Indian wars in the colony, before it fell into disuse in the French & Indian War. In addition to other express riders delivering their message, bells, drums, alarm guns, bonfires and a trumpet were used for rapid communication from town to town, notifying the rebels in dozens of eastern Massachusetts villages that they should muster their militias because the regulars in numbers greater than 500 were leaving Boston, with possible hostile intentions. These early warnings played a crucial role in assembling a sufficient number of British colonial militia to inflict heavy damage on the British regular army later in the day. Samuel Adams and John Hancock were eventually moved to safety, first to what is now Burlington and later to Billerica.
British Army and Marines Move Out

Around dusk, General Gage called a meeting of all of the senior officers of his army at the Province House. He informed them that orders from Lord Dartmouth had arrived, ordering him to take action against the colonials. He also told them that the senior colonel of his regiments, Lieutenant Colonel Smith, would command, with Major John Pitcairn as his executive officer. The meeting adjourned around 8:30 p.m. After the meeting, Percy mingled with town folk on Boston Common. According to one account, the discussion among persons there turned to the unusual movement of the British soldiers in the town. When Percy questioned one man further, the man replied, “Well, the regulars will miss their aim”, “What aim?” asked Percy, “Why, the cannon at Concord” was the reply. Upon hearing this, Percy quickly returned to Province House and relayed this information to General Gage. Stunned, Gage issued orders to have the entire 1st Brigade under arms, and ready to march at 4 a.m.

The British regulars, around 700 strong, were led by Lieutenant Colonel Francis Smith. They were drawn from 11 of Gage’s 13 occupying infantry regiments. For this expedition, Major John Pitcairn commanded 10 elite light infantry companies, and Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin Bernard commanded 11 grenadier companies.

Of the companies, Smith had about 350 men from the grenadier companies (specialist assault troops) drawn from the 4th (King’s Own), 5th, 10th, 18th (Royal Irish), 23rd, 38th, 43rd, 47th, 52nd, 59th Regiments of Foot (infantry regiments); and the 1st Battalion of His Majesty’s Marine Forces (the Marines).

Protecting them were the light companies (fast moving flankers, skirmishers and reconnaissance troops), around 320 men, from the 4th (King’s Own), 5th, 10th, 23rd, 38th, 43rd, 47th, 52nd, 59th Regiments of Foot, and the 1st Battalion, Marines. The companies each had their own lieutenant, but the majority of the captains commanding them were volunteers attached to them at the last minute, from all of the regiments stationed in Boston.

The British began to awaken their troops at 9 p.m. on the night of April 18 and assembled them on the water’s edge on the western end of Boston Common by 10 p.m. The British march to and from Concord was a terribly disorganized experience from start to finish. The boats used were naval barges that were packed so tightly that there was no room to sit down. When they disembarked at Phipps Farm in present day Cambridge, it was into waist-deep water at midnight. After a lengthy halt to unload their gear, the approximately 700 regulars began their 17 mile (27 km) march to Concord at about 2 a.m. During the wait they were provided with extra ammunition, cold salt pork, and hard sea biscuits. They did not carry knapsacks, since they would not be encamped. They carried their haversacks (food bags), canteens, muskets, and accoutrements, and found themselves in wet, muddy shoes and soggy uniforms. As they marched through Menotomy (modern Arlington), sounds of the colonial alarms throughout the countryside caused the few officers who were aware of their mission to realize that they had lost the element of surprise. One of the regulars recorded in his journal,

“We got all over the bay and landed on the opposite shore betwixt twelve and one OClock and was on our March by one, which was at first through some swamps and slips of the Sea till we got into the Road leading to Lexington soon after which the Country people begun to fire their alarm guns light their Beacons, to raise the Country. . . . To the best of my recollection about 4 oClock in the morning being the 19th of April the 5 front Compys. was ordered to Load which we did.”

About 3 a.m., Colonel Smith sent Major Pitcairn ahead with the latter’s ten companies of light infantry and ordered him to quick march to Concord. At about 4 a.m., he made the wise but belated decision to send word back to Boston asking for reinforcements.

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Rascal Rebel Rancheros by Bill Buppert

Linda Traynham managed to get a a spot for me on W&G and I am honored.  She is a delightful and erudite Texan who corresponds with me regularly.  Take a gander at her scribblings on W&G for they are worth your attention.  I penned this a catharsis after most unpleasant general homeowners meeting for our Homeowners Association which is populated by the usual timid and statist souls who seem to people most of these organization.  Timid in the respect that they fear being left to their own devices and worst of all, don’t trust their neighbors with private property. -BB

Apr 15th, 2010 | By Bill Buppert | Category: Economics, Featured, Morning Whiskey

Most people want security in this world, not liberty.

~H.L. Mencken, Minority Report, 1956

Saturday night ended my tenure on the local Home Owners Association (HOA) Board as I was vigorously voted out of office. Not only did I lose but the President (I was the VP of the Board) took a few moments before the meeting’s official commencement to indecorously launch a personal ad hominem attack against me for sowing so much discontent including the barbs and arrows of instigation, burrowing in the organization and egads, even quoting from my blog; in fact, quoting from the text of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals which I have permanently posted as a warning to others. I am now stigmatized as an “agitator.” My riposte to this completely unexpected broadside was that I would not engage in personal attacks or handbag fights. I also reminded the audience that my original platform on which I was elected was rather clear at the outset: private property rights and secession. I had a reputation as the sole “Nay” vote for many of the initiatives of the HOA, for which I was held in low regard.

What, you may ask, is my offense? I wished to secede from the HOA and questioned its very existence.

In yet another quixotic enterprise of the sort I am known for, I thought I would work within the system to make it better. Two years earlier I had stood for the vacancy with a simple two tier platform. I would approve any architectural review where the adjoining neighbors agreed because private property had primacy over the HOA and I would press for secession of the Rascal Rancheros as we had come to be called. We are a band of nine lots with our own road connected to the northwestern perimeter of the HOA. The entire HOA is comprised of nine-acre minimum parcels in the country. We Rancheros are unanimous in thinking that the dues paid year after year for essentially being ignored and seeing them used on the other side where a greater number of homeowners live was an inglorious arrangement. We even had to pay for our own cattle-guard to replace the rickety gate at the entrance to the road where it met the main arterial. We were rather alarmed for our safety because there were incidents where large groups of illegals from our Southern neighbor would gather for pickup which meant that to get to our homes, we had to exit the vehicle and open the gate and then close it behind us, a potentially hazardous undertaking. Arizona is an open range state and we could not leave the road unattended by a barrier, as we were responsible for ensuring our cattle did not use our road to go for a stroll on the highway where a collision would have a bad ending for all parties involved.

The cattle guard enterprise provided a great demonstration project to me where through no coercion or from a directive on high, free Arizonans got together and pooled expenses and labor to benefit a group sharing the road. Now, mind you, this was done for a bridge project on the other side where most of the HOA lives and many volunteer hours were used but the lion’s share of the cost was borne from the collective (there is that word) coffers of the HOA for that project. This was not the case on our side; all the monies and labor were from the Rascal Rancheros above and beyond the tribute paid already. It was decided at the beginning of my tenure that we would not accept offers of help and money from the Association in spite of the squeaky wheel (me) being on the board. The thinking was that if they had ignored us for five years, if we accepted a scintilla of Caesar’s coin, they would haughtily proclaim that we were benefiting from the HOA membership. We were on our own and used the board membership to press for our rights. (Ed. I have two cattle guards myself, and here in Texas the welded pipe alone runs $4500. Bill says he managed for $3000 plus their considerable labor digging a trench, installing the cattle guard, and rebuilding the fence.)

On the Board, I have always offered a gentlemanly comportment even when we disagreed and I refused to participate in personal attacks. In the months preceding the General Meeting in April, the whisper campaigns began and the usual suspects would fill hours of leisure time damning or speculating on the nefarious intention of myself and any other Rancheros who would dare to ask The Question:

We wish to secede as friends and neighbors with no acrimony and simply pursue a neighborhood arrangement where private property is respected and no taxes/dues are levied and no liens are threatened for non-compliance with a quasi-government regime known as an HOA. Can we go now?

A hushed voice would mutter: “Why, that would be anarchy?” To which I would respond with a delighted “Yes, Indeed!”

The malice and ill temper we experienced was amazing to those unacquainted with these disagreements. There is nothing personal in this request and it is a question that has confronted mankind since time immemorial. It is the authorship of tribes and nation-states at the macro-level and the germination of divorces in Western culture. It is the genesis of self-determination and the individualistic notion of being left the hell alone. There was even one impassioned question at the annual meeting Saturday asking who would maintain the roads if the HOA were not there. As if, in the absence of a stick or fetter, everyone would simply helplessly watch their roads fall into disrepair as they gorged themselves on cheap carbohydrates and regretfully took their eyes off the television screen momentarily to gaze wistfully at the pothole-ridden wreck in front of their homes. Walter Block addresses this with alacrity in his pioneering work on roads. Over 60% of all unimproved roads in Kansas, for instance, are in private hands and maintained by the owners. Before we emigrated to Arizona from Idaho we had a quarter miles driveway we maintained to our home in the country. And, gasp, we had a part of it we shared with a neighbor which we maintained voluntarily. (Our quarter mile white gravel road requires very little maintenance, and I could buy a great deal of gravel for the $5,000 the local fellow wants to pave it. I had him make me a 75? long parking area instead. It cost half as much–ouch–but it is far more useful. This is a beautiful example of the difference between what governments and associations think the peasants should have and what we’re willing to pay for ourselves. Ed.)

Of course, all this speaks to a deeper philosophical issue within the problem: naked fear of freedom. No matter the government entity, whether the collectivist Forbin Project in DC or the local HOA, there is a real doubt that once the threats, liens and stukach pipeline to local authorities is somehow thwarted and people are free to dispose of and manipulate their private property as they wish, all hell will break loose and these former HOA enclaves will become festooned with lime green trailers, brothels, drug dens and huge endless junkyards (wait, are we talking about FEMA camps in New Orleans or government housing projects?) People left to their own devices without restrictions in place will do as they wish with their private property. The most laughable objection by the mandarins who insist the HOA is a positive force is the notion that if you signed on to join, why should you have recourse to leave? (Editor’s note: I have never seen a case where “membership” in an HOA was voluntary; “joining” is written in deed restrictions. A contract where only one party benefits is not valid.) With that logic there would be no divorce and we would still be a British colony. Sheer balderdash. Almost makes an HOA sound un-American but that brings me to my next point.

I submit that it is now viewed as un-American if you don’t submit to authority. The HOA debacle just brings the message home in a very personal way that those who cherish freedom and liberty are now the odd men out. You should have seen the look of sheer fright and terror on some of the faces in the audience when the possibility of secession or dissolution was entertained (albeit briefly).

The HOA president ironically hoisted her argument on the quote from Edmund Burke, which she had written on the whiteboard, to wit: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” (Laughter from the Editor. On our side at least briefly, albeit unkowningly, was she?!) Burke wrote this in Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents, 1770. In The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, edited by Henry Froude, Oxford University Press, 1909, Volume 2, page 83, He was speaking to the evils visited upon the citizens by government. One can only approximate an HOA as a quasi-governmental entity if it has the power to foreclose and take your house for failing to pay tribute. A curious quote indeed but even Burke saw this when used by politicians as a cheap ploy and a substitute for critical thinking.

It is an advantage to all narrow wisdom and narrow morals that their maxims have a plausible air; and, on a cursory view, appear equal to first principles. They are light and portable. They are as current as copper coin; and about as valuable. They serve equally the first capacities and the lowest; and they are, at least, as useful to the worst men as to the best. Of this stamp is the cant of not man, but measures; a sort of charm by which many people get loose from every honourable engagement.

Again, the primary cause of all the bitterness and calumny in my local HOA was the thought of loosening the fetters and letting private property owners make their own decisions absent approval of their putative betters on the Board. Again, hubris prevailed at the meeting when one of the outliers in the audience mentioned this was not a ballot as indicated but a straw poll. The response was that the sentiments of the paying members would be taken into account but the Board would do as they wished per the CC&Rs. (Your Editor again: man, that’s true representative government.) It goes to show that even at the smallest level, the excesses of collectivism and government corruption are a clear and present danger to those who simply wish to live free. L. Neil Smith made the observation that if a man has to be convinced to be free, why would he deserve it? Back in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, if a man felt hemmed in or bothered by the ever encroaching government presence, he could head west but then we arrived at the Pacific Ocean and had nowhere to go, unless you set sail. (Ed.
Robert Heinlein: “When a civilization has grown to the point where ID is required, it is time to move on.”)

I think HOAs have become the monstrous and destructive entities they are because of the odious marriage with government which they embraced with a full measure of enthusiasm. Refuse to put the proper paperwork in for architectural approval despite the onerous compliance with the tax-eaters at the Building Department? We will put a lien on your house and render it useless as private property. Have you grown apart and wish to leave? Tough, we need your money and we can tell you what to do. (ROFLMCutePosterior off. I was threatened with a court order by the Redland Woods HOA in San Antonio unless I submitted a building plan for adding four windows to the third floor of my house. So I complied with the following: “1. Cut holes to accomodate finished window size [60 x 30) in the walls. 2. Frame said holes in with 2 X 4 timber as appropriate. 3. Install windows by nailing to the new studs. 4. Repair sheetrock and paint. 5. Restore outer walls to conform to the new windows.” That was the end of that. Without so much as a comment from the bad guys! Put in new windows without their permission? THERE goes the neighborhood.)

George Staropoli put it succinctly:

With this understanding that the HOA is a legal form of governance, our elected officials must accept the de facto reality that HOAs are indeed an un-American political government that control and regulate the people within planned community subdivisions. Our elected officials must refute the neo-American false arguments that HOAs are not governments, a self-serving argument to permit the special interest lobbyists to formulate, and to establish control over, the legal structure of this authoritarian government. The HOA, not being subject to the Constitution and the 14th Amendment, denies citizens their privileges and immunities otherwise protected from all public government denials. Our elected officials need to realize that the pro-HOA lobbyist position is an affront to and a rejection of our (theoretical) system of government.

Another question emerges: is the surrender of liberties and private property rights worth the alleged protection or increase in property values? Will this long term belief make Americans callous or even hostile to individual rights and prerogatives?

If you are thinking about buying in an HOA community – walk away.

Thieves respect property. They merely wish the property to become their property that they may more perfectly respect it. ~G.K. Chesterton

Bill Buppert
Whiskey & Gunpowder



A Manual for Civilization by Alexander Rose

Mr. Rose gives me yet another list to add to the list I wrote of earlier in the Dan Forrester Memorial Library.  The written tomes that will reignite a civilization that will rise out of the ashes of the inevitable mess we leave behind as a result of our current behavior.  It goes without saying that if this were left to a government entity, they would screw it up somehow.  I have mentioned before that I have a library annex in my house and I also recommend the 1910 version of the Britannica.  In addition, locate copies of the Everyman’s Library, a partial or complete set of the Loeb Classical Library and whatever you can get from Liberty Fund books.

If one can find a rather robust and fool-proof way to preserve digital data, a full dump of all the electronic offerings of the Ludwig von Mises Institute would be a fine jump-start for the Phoenix project after the Fall.

Please feel free to write me with any further suggestions for this new Library of Alexandria. -BB

April 6th, 02010 by Alexander Rose – Twitter: @zander

Trees appear in the modern ruin of Detroit.Trees on the second story of the abandoned Carnegie Library in Camden NJ. Photo: Camilo Jose Vergara.

Today we received another email about creating a record of humanity and technology that would help restart civilization.  The latest one is inspired by an essay that James Lovelock published in Science over 12 years ago called A Book For All Seasons (excerpt):

We have confidence in our science-based civilization and think it has tenure. In so doing, I think we fail to distinguish between the life-span of civilizations and that of our species. In fact, civilizations are ephemeral compared with species. Humans have lasted at least a million years, but there have been 30 civilizations in the past 5000 years. Humans are tough and will survive; civilizations are fragile. It seems clear to me that we are not evolving in intelligence, not becoming true Homo sapiens. Indeed there is little evidence that our individual intelligence has improved through the 5000 years of recorded history.

Over the years these proposals have been in different forms; create a book, set of books, stone tablets, micro-etched metal disk, or a constantly updated wiki.  I really like the idea of creating such a record, in fact the Rosetta Disk project was our first effort in this direction.  These Doomsday Manuals are a positive step in the direction of making a softer landing for a collapse, and the people creating them (like ourselves) are certainly out to help people.  It took millennia for the world to regain the technology and levels of societal organization attained by the Romans, so maybe a book like this would help that.

However it also seems that these efforts tap a romantic notion that we would all love to find something like this book from a past or otherwise alien civilization.  My worry is that it also feeds off a (likely incorrect) feeling that somehow collapse might be a fun challenge to live through, and that everyone kind of wants to be the monk in A Canticle For Leibowitz or Mel Gibson in Road Warrior.

My bet is that the reality of watching your civilization (and population) collapse is likely one of the worst things anyone could experience.  I am also not so sure the problem is just knowing how to remake a technology.  For instance after the fall of the great Egyptian, Mayan, and Roman empires we had evidence and examples of their engineering achievements all around us.  But aqueducts or senate buildings are worthless without a society around them to maintain, contextualize and protect them.

It is also worth pointing out that there are likely well over a billion people on earth who currently don’t interact with formal economies or technological society at all.  They will be very well adapted to a post collapse world, you should find some and make friends.  They will likely be far more helpful than a manual on restarting the internet, because they know how to gut a deer.

In any case I thought I would create this blog post which I will try and keep updated as these proposals and efforts come to me (and hopefully come to fruition).  I will also list some of the resources that I usually refer to when I get these inquiries.   Please note these resources are extremely biased toward the English language, the United States and Western culture.  Also note that one of the first things that comes up when creating any compendium style work is the issue of copyright.  It might sound ridiculous that you might worry about copyright in a doomsday manual, but if you want to publish it and get it into peoples hands before the apocalypse, you are going to have to deal with it in some way. Please feel free to use the comments field to make suggestions and pointers and I will integrate them here as well.

Projects that are attempts in this direction:

  • The Rosetta Project: A multi-millennial micro-etched disk with a record of thousands of the worlds languages.
  • Westinghouse Time Capsules: Two time capsules (they actually coined the term for this project) by Westinghouse buried at Worlds Fair sites, one in 01939 and the other 01965 to be recovered in 5000 years.  They also did the very smart thing of making a “Book of Record” and an above ground duplicate of the contents on display.
  • The Human Document Project: A German project to create a record of humanity that will last one million years.
  • Crypt of Civilization: A airtight chamber located at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, Georgia. The crypt consists of preserved artifacts scheduled to be opened in the year 8113 AD.
  • The Voyager Record: The Voyager Golden Record are phonograph records which were included aboard both Voyager spacecraft, which were launched in 1977. They contain sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth, and are intended for any intelligent extraterrestrial life form, or far future humans, who may find them.
  • Georgia Guidestones: The four granite Guidestones are covered in inscriptions written in 8 major languages that describe the tenets of their imagined Age of Reason.
  • (added) Doomsday Chests by Noah Raford
  • (added) The Forever Book an idea by Kevin Kelly

Content that has been discussed to be used for these projects:

  • The Gingery books always seemed to me to be a great first pass on how to re-start manufacturing technology
  • (added) The Lets Say Youve Gone Back in Time poster to help you restart civilization by Ryan North the creator of the awesome Dinosaur Comics
  • (added) The Way Things Work by David Macaulay.  This is a fantastic book, but it might leave people thinking that all technology is powered by woolly mammoths and angels.
  • The Harvard Classic’s originally known as Dr. Elliots Five Foot Shelf are often referred to as an item that should go into a record like this.
  • Encyclopedia Britannica People often suggest using the latest version that is now out of copyright.  I believe this is the 13th edition but so far I have only found digital copies of the 11th.
  • The Domesday book: The Domesday Book is the record of the great survey of England completed in 1086.  It would be interesting to find surveys and census’ from around the world
  • The Mormon Genealogical Data:  This is also held in a bunker outside Salt Lake City Utah, but it might be nice to have a record of gene lines for a future civilization to better understand its past.
  • The Top 100 Project Gutenberg books: If you are concerned with archiving works in copyright this is a great source to find texts that are free to use.
  • The Internet Archive: An archive of complete snapshots of the web as well as thousands of books and videos.  Incidentally you would also get all of our scanned page content from the Rosetta Project with this.
  • Wikipedia: The text only version of this is actually not that large, and could be archived fairly easily.  Also one of the few sources that is beginning to get filled out in many languages and is also not held under a copyright.
  • How to field dress a deer: PDF pocket version from Penn State College of Agricultural Science (living in Northern California, I think this one will be especially handy).

This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 6th, 02010 at 3:10 am and is filed under Digital Dark Age, Long Term Science, Long Term Thinking, Technology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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Thinking Rationally About Terrorism

How Messrs. Mueller and Stewart managed to get this published in one of the premier house organs of the Warfare/Welfare State is beyond me.  A discussion of risk abatement in a world we made ourselves.  The last paragraph describes the present Total State as a “self-licking ice cream cone” which is an accurate but embarrassing admission.  Why is most of the planet gunning for us?  It is not because of our freedoms, that is is the war the US Government is waging domestically; it is because we are politically incapable of minding our own business.  We are the nude guest at the birthday party batting at what we thought was a pinata but which is actually a dozen hornet’s nests bundled together.  They should enjoy their dessert while they can because the halcyon days of endless spending and taxing are drawing to a close.  We could adopt two policies that would instantly lower the risk of terror even more dramatically:  first, we strip and gut all Federal gun laws from the books and second, bring all the troops home from around the globe and shutter every overseas base we possess. -BB

An impressively large number of politicians, opinion makers, scholars, bureaucrats, and ordinary people hold that terrorism — and al Qaeda in particular — poses an existential threat to the United States. This alarming characterization, which was commonly employed by members of the George W. Bush administration, has also been used by some Obama advisers, including the counterterrorism specialist Bruce Riedel. Some officials, such as former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, have parsed the concept further, declaring the struggle against terrorism to be a “significant existential” one.

Over the last several decades, academics, policymakers, and regulators worldwide have developed risk-assessment techniques to evaluate hazards to human life, such as pesticide use, pollution, and nuclear power plants. In the process, they have reached a substantial consensus about which risks are acceptable and which are unacceptable. When these techniques are applied to terrorism, it becomes clear that terrorism is far from an existential threat. Instead, it presents an acceptable risk, one so low that spending to further reduce its likelihood or consequences is scarcely justified.

An unacceptable risk is often called de manifestis, meaning of obvious or evident concern — a risk so high that no “reasonable person” would deem it acceptable. A widely cited de manifestis risk assessment comes from a 1980 United States Supreme Court decision regarding workers’ risk from inhaling gasoline vapors. It concluded that an annual fatality risk — the chance per year that a worker would die of inhalation — of 1 in 40,000 is unacceptable. This is in line with standard practice in the regulatory world. Typically, risks considered unacceptable are those found likely to kill more than 1 in 10,000 or 1 in 100,000 per year.

At the other end of the spectrum are risks that are considered acceptable, and there is a fair degree of agreement about that area of risk as well. For example, after extensive research and public consultation, the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission decided in 1986 that the fatality risk posed by accidents at nuclear power plants should not exceed 1 in 2 million per year and 1 in 500,000 per year from nuclear power plant operations. The governments of Australia, Japan, and the United Kingdom have come up with similar numbers for assessing hazards. So did a review of 132 U.S. federal government regulatory decisions dealing with public exposure to environmental carcinogens, which found that regulatory action always occurred if the individual annual fatality risk exceeded 1 in 700,000. Impressively, the study found a great deal of consistency among a wide range of federal agencies about what is considered an acceptable level of risk.

Vastly more lives could have been saved if counterterrorism funds had instead been spent on combating hazards that present unacceptable risks.

There is a general agreement about risk, then, in the established regulatory practices of several developed countries: risks are deemed unacceptable if the annual fatality risk is higher than 1 in 10,000 or perhaps higher than 1 in 100,000 and acceptable if the figure is lower than 1 in 1 million or 1 in 2 million. Between these two ranges is an area in which risk might be considered “tolerable.”

These established considerations are designed to provide a viable, if somewhat rough, guideline for public policy. In all cases, measures and regulations intended to reduce risk must satisfy essential cost-benefit considerations. Clearly, hazards that fall in the unacceptable range should command the most attention and resources. Those in the tolerable range may also warrant consideration — but since they are less urgent, they should be combated with relatively inexpensive measures. Those hazards in the acceptable range are of little, or even negligible, concern, so precautions to reduce their risks even further would scarcely be worth pursuing unless they are remarkably inexpensive.

If the U.S. Department of Homeland Security wants to apply a risk-based approach to decision-making, as it frequently claims it does, these risk-acceptance criteria seem to be most appropriate. To this end, the table below lists the annual fatality risks for a wide variety of these dangers, including terrorism.

See the rest:


Does it matter if you’re murdered by a Nazi instead of a Communist??

I am often asked what political party I sympathize with and whether I vote or not?  The answers to both is none and no.  As Mike so ably points out, the left-right dichotomy is a false pretense, a distinction that does not exist.  You would be hard-pressed to look at the party platforms of the Communists and National Socialists and find much fundamentally different between the two.  The largest common idea they share is the distinct monopoly on institutionalized violence or the threat thereof the State will possess.  It is as simple as that.  No sophisticated discussion of consent of the governed (what a polite word for sheep) or the finer points of civil liberties.  Even in these united States, the thinnest veneer of civil rights can be vanquished in an instance during a routine traffic stop or with the stroke of a pen as in the latest health care debacle.

Your relative freedom is conditioned by your compliance with the state in all its myriad controls imposed you large and small.

So stop employing meaningless terms like left and right, Democrat or Republican or such;  the only distinction that truly matters is what are you willing to say no to and what are you willing to die for.  When does the individual matter?  The country is in the hazard and we are now at a point where the alleged freedoms we have will literally be worth the paper they are printed on whether that is the unloved (and deservedly so in my mind) Constitution or the Federal Reserve Notes you buy your baubles with.

Weather ahead:  stormy and gloomy. -BB

Cartoon at the time of the Hitler-Stalin Pact, 1939.

On 1 July 1946, a nine-year-old boy named Henryk Blazczyk left his house in Kielce, Poland, without telling his parents that he was going to visit family friends in a village almost 25 kilometers away. His parents became frantic and searched everywhere in Kielce without success. That night, his father Walenty reported the boy missing to the police. On the evening of 3 July, Henryk came home.

Afraid of punishment, Henryk spun a tale to deflect blame. Jews, he indicated, had kidnapped him and placed him in a cellar. He had escaped with the help of another boy. The next morning, 4 July, Henryk, his father and a neighbor reported this story to the police. On the way, Henryk embellished it a bit when he pointed out a Jewish community building/hostel on Planty Street where he said he had been held and indicated a man standing outside it, Singer Kalaman, as his abductor.

The police took him seriously, patrols were dispatched, and Kalaman arrested. In the process, townspeople heard from the police that the rumor about children being held in the house was true and that they were searching for murdered Christian children.

At first, the crowds that gathered watched passively. Then the authorities got involved, especially the local chief of the Department of Public Security, the political secret police, and his Soviet advisor. To reinforce the police, 100 soldiers led by five officers were dispatched to the house on Planty Street. All were told that Christian children had been abducted and murdered by the Jews there for use as “leavening” in matzoh bread. Tensions rose immediately.

With the secret police looking on, the crowd began demanding the Jews be killed. The soldiers and police went into the building, ordering all Jews to surrender their arms. Some gave them up, but not all. After they were disarmed, the pogrom began. Forced out into the street, Jews were shot and beaten to death over a five hour period. Members of the crowd, the police and the military took part while other just watched. Violence spread through the town as Jews were tracked down and attacked, even being pulled from trains passing through Kielce.

The madness lasted until about 3 p.m. when other troops from a nearby school run by the Interior Ministry and from Warsaw finally succeeded in restoring order. At least 42 Jews died in the pogrom, including a mother and her baby who taken from their home and beaten to death in the street. Wounded Jews being transported by ambulance to the hospital were waylaid and beaten again, some of them fatally. Among the dead were the Chairman of the Jewish community in Kielce, Severyn Kahane, shot by police while appealing for help, young Zionists who wanted to leave Poland for Palestine and Jewish soldiers who had fought in the pre-war Polish army, the guerrilla Home Army and even those who had fought with communist partisan bands. One woman was killed simply because she was helping wounded Jews. 3 soldiers and policemen were killed in self-defense by Jews before they were murdered.

In Poland, Communism, Nationalism, Anti-Semitism, historian Michal Checinski states that the pogrom was instigated by the Soviet advisers present in Kielce. “The political opposition suffered by gaining a bad reputation abroad [...] the attention of Western media was turned away from the rigging of an important national referendum by the Polish authorities. The Soviet Union achieved an important political goal when mass-emigrating Polish Jews overflowed the Displaced Persons camps in the western zones of Germany and Austria and, at the same time, undermined British rule in Palestine.”

22,000 Jews had lived in this medium-sized city in southeast Poland before the war. When the city was liberated from the Nazis by the Soviets, only 2 remained alive in hiding. With war’s end some 150 to 200 Jews filtered back to Kielce. Of these, 42 were killed and 40 wounded by the 4 July pogrom. The rest left quickly. Indeed, the Kielce pogrom started an exodus of Jews from post-war Poland. It is estimated that of the 244,000 Jews who had returned to their homes in Poland after the war, only 80,000 remained by 1951.

Kielce was no stranger to pogroms, having suffered one in 1918 during which 4 Jews were killed and more than 230 wounded. The victims of the 1946 pogrom were descendants of the victims of the 1918 outburst. Almost all of them were Holocaust survivors or veterans of the guerrilla war against the Nazis.

Pity the Jews of Kielce. In 28 years they had been murdered by Christian Polish monarchists, German Nazis and their Polish minions and, finally, by Polish communists overseen by their Soviet masters.

So, tell me. Which was worse, being killed by monarchists, Nazis or Communists?

Ask the dead and they will tell you: there is NO difference.

There are no “right wing” or “left wing” distinctions when it comes to government-sponsored violence. From Auschwitz to the Gulag to the killing fields of Cambodia to Mao’s Cultural Revolution, a bullet in the brain of an innocent is still a bullet in the brain of an innocent, regardless of the excuse. Whatever its espoused ideological roots, government murder is collectivism.

Collectivism is a term used to describe any moral, political, or social outlook, that stresses human interdependence and the importance of a collective, rather than the importance of separate individuals. Collectivists focus on community and society, and seek to give priority to group goals over individual goals. . . Specifically, a society as a whole can be seen as having more meaning or value than the separate individuals that make up that society. Collectivism is widely seen as being opposed to individualism. — Wikipedia.

This whole left-right paradigm came about accidentally anyway. During the early French Revolutionary era of 1789-1796, this referred to the seating arrangements in the various legislative bodies of France. The aristocracy sat on the right of the Speaker (traditionally the seat of honor) and the commoners sat on the left. And while this may have made sense in late-Eighteenth Century Franch, it does no longer.

From the point of view of the victims, the only political continuum that makes sense is that of collectivist tyranny on one end and the individual religious and political liberty, free markets, right to property, right to arms and rule of law represented by the constitutional republic. Take your left-right line, if you like, and pull each end down and make it a circle, ends touching. Now at the bottom of the circle you have Stalinism, Maoism, Hitlerism and Mussolini’s fascism cheek by jowl. That is where they belong, together. By their fruits ye shall know them, and that is how we should classify them.

Farther up each arc of the circle you may place monarchism, socialism (remember, the difference between socialism and communism is that the Commissar has a gun). Throw tribalism in there. Arrange your militarists, monopolists, Christian theocrats and Islamofascists as you please. At the apex of my circle is the minarchist constitutional republic.

There government is small, safe and unburdensome. That government does not execute people for reasons of the collective unless they’ve committed a real crime against another citizen. And people are citizens there, not slaves, not servants, neither “Lords” nor “Comrades.”

Indeed, the only forces served by the adoption of the left-right continuum are those of the collectivists. Only in such an artifical construct could bolsheviks pretend to be the enemy of predatory imperialist monopolists, Nazis pretend to be the bulwark of Western Civilization against Stalinism and the Ku Klux Klan pretend to be defending “patriotic America” from the Nation of Islam, and vice versa. They are all power-hungry murderers seeking excuses for more murder to slake their tyrannical hunger.

The left-right continuum is a lie, crafted by liars for the purpose of recruiting the gullible to their murderous causes. On a slightly less criminal use of the left-right lie, we have the recent crop of “the right wing extremists are coming to get your momma” column from the likes of Bonnie “Round up all the haters” Erbe, Tim “Roiling Hatred” Rutten, and Sara “Bring on the Civil War” Robinson.

By their lights, using the right-left continuum, I am a “right-wing extremist.” I am a Christian. I have been an ardent advocate of the armed citizenry for two decades now. In the ’90s I was a leader of constitutional militia. In 2005, I helped work the border with the Minutemen. I am a small “r” republican. I believe in the constitutional republic of the Founders, in individual liberty, free markets, God and the deterrence of tyranny through preparedness. Not in that order. I am proud to say that I have been on the enemies lists of three consecutive White Houses now. I vehemently opposed the PATRIOT Act. I despise Rush Limbaugh, Dubya and Sean Hannity. I have fought — literally fought at street level — green-teethed Ku Klux Klan sheetheads, neoNazis and anti-semites all my life. During the Clinton Administration, we in the Constitutional militia movement had to embarrass the FBI into arresting some of the Aryan Republican Army bank robbery gang who were being allowed to walk the streets of Philadelphia free as birds. Just ask Eric Holder about Michael Brescia, he’ll remember. For my pains I was called “anti-government” and blamed for the Oklahoma City bombing, as was Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich and others. This technique is by no means original. It too is part of the collectivist lie.

I despise collectivism in all its forms. And yes, the Bush-hating, 911 Truther, Holocaust-denying anti-semite and Nazi who killed the guard at the Holocaust Museum was a collectivist, just like fascists are collectivists, socialists are collectivists, and communists are socialist collectivists with guns. So for that matter are tribalists, Jihadis and other religious fanatics. The Holocaust Museum shooter isn’t one of ours, Mr. and Ms. “Progressive.”

He’s one of yours.

He was and is a collectivist.

And the likes of Erbe, Rutten, Robinson, and yes, Obama, would lump me in with my life-long enemies because it serves their lie, and bolsters their argument for my repression, and, carried to its conclusion, sanctions my official murder. They are liars just like Henryk Blazczyk was a liar, only they’re adults and they lie on a grander scale.

There are people on my side (well, they say they’re on my side anyway) who say we have to apologize for the vehemence with which we defend our liberty and property and who say we must “tone down our rhetoric” and apologize for collectivist haters getting the wrong idea from our message.

This is ludicrous on its face. Why should I tone down my rhetoric or apologize for neoNazi terrorists like James von Brunn and Scott Roeder when I have been fighting them almost all my life? To do so would be to buy into the lie myself, and cede the moral high ground of the fight for individual liberty to lying ideological cross-dressers.

I reject the left-right lie, and all the types of tyranny that it camouflages.

Mike Vanderboegh
PO Box 926
Pinson, AL 35126

Another Savage War of Peace as US Gunships Shred Civilians

My oldest son sent me this video yesterday and I hesitated to open it.  I am a retired career Army officer and I had a sense of what I would see.  I know that the US armed forces are incapable of conducting a counterinsurgency culturally and professionally and that the employment of technology is the seductive siren song of all present operations.  Watch the footage and let it burn into your mind that this is a fifteen minute operation by one unit in a long and bloody conflict that has scarred a nation and left a trail of tears throughout the region.  What is most horrific (and that is saying a lot) is the impassioned request to open fire on a van that is rendering assistance to wounded men and YOU CAN SEE TWO CHILDREN sitting in the front seat.  They light it up and shred the van and its occupants.  This is the tip of the iceberg and who knows what horrors await us revealing worse atrocities by the few journalists not in the thrall of the Red Terror in the WAFL (War on Freedom and Liberty) House.  I have always been opposed to the war on Terror (what a silly notion, like the War on the Hasty Ambush) but this seals the deal.

Follow the link to the story and watch the video.  Now.

Want to know something even more sinister?  This gun camera footage is coming home and this technology will be used by Americans on Americans.  You have a front row seat to see just what will be visited on your own children here in the streets of America as DC’s war on freedom continues afoot.  We are crumbling economically by the hour with the mandarins in Mordor on the Potomac cooking up lethal fiscal cocktails that will only worsen an already deepening crisis.  You can rely on our rulers to do the wrong thing every time. History shows that there is no perfecting the Soviet model.

Those storm clouds on the horizon?  That has nothing to do with global warming.  There is a rage growing in America that will not be sated until all the guilty parties who make war on the world and seek to strangle us at home are no longer at the levers of power. -BB

The website Wikileaks.org today publicly issued a classified US military video from July 12, 2007, showing Apache helicopters killing at least a dozen civilians, including two employees of Reuters. The video had previously been sought by Reuters in its own investigation of the killings, and an encrypted copy had reportedly been smuggled to the website, who finally decrypted and released it.


The video (see below) shows the soldiers in the helicopter watching the group of civilians walking casually down the street, and then declaring that one is holding a rocket-propelled grenade launcher (apparently the camera held by one of the Reuters employees). The helicopter then opens fire on the civilians, killing all but one, who is seen badly wounded as the crew discusses whether or not to kill him. When a van arrives and begins to cart off the wounded or dead bodies, the helicopter attacks it as well, killing several others and wounding two children. One of the voices on the video then glibly remarks that the injuries of the children are the fault of the van driver for “bringing their kids to the battle.”

US officials have confirmed the authenticity of the video but have largely declined comments on the question of why the troops so eagerly attacked the group, let alone attacked the people trying to rescue them. The State Department officially declined comment at today’s press conference, while the Pentagon maintains that the soldiers acted appropriately in the killings and no investigation would be held.

At least as troubling is the Pentagon’s unwillingness to explain why, at the time of the killings, they claimed troops were “engaged in combat operations against a hostile force,” when the video clearly shows no action at all taken by the civilians in question, who are summarily mowed down by helicopter gunfire and never had a chance to react one way or another.

A retired US intelligence officer speaking about the video on MSNBC said that it appeared to show violations of the military’s rules of engagement and that the soldiers should have made some effort to capture any suspects instead of just killing them en masse. He described the period after the initial firing, in which the troops mull killing the wounded Reuters employee (who is eventually killed when the van is attacked) as particularly disturbing.

Though Wikileaks’ release was scheduled well in advance, the release comes at a particularly inopportune time, as the US military is still scrambling to explain away the killings of several civilians (including pregnant women) in an attack on an Afghanistan home. In that case as well, the military lied about a “firefight” which never happened, and even blamed the deaths of the pregnant women on insurgents that were never present at the site.



Village Praxis Series: Training Notes

Pay particular attention to the four levels of mastery mentioned in the essay below.  Whether you are improving marksmanship, trekking ability or simply honing already mastered skill sets (what the heck is that), use the four levels to determine what the training plan should be.  As a soldier and officer, I discovered that there is no ground-pounder worth his salt if he is not an effective teacher.  This is distinctly different from the indoctrination masquerading as teaching that goes on in the government education system in America.  There is no direct impact on the student as far as their safety and well-being immediately unlike the practice of marksmanship or mountaineering.

Although I will submit that the present government monopolized system in America is creating a long-term hazard – enabling generations of unexamined subjects for the vast collectivist hell that has been under construction here since Teddy Roosevelt was in office.  That hell is very close to full fruition and implementation as the march to a Marxoid utopia gains more momentum.

Skills, whether fixing a car or climbing a scree run or hunting game are not simply about the physical manipulation of tools but the grokking of a combination in the interface of the experiential and the intellectual.  Your ability to teach marksmanship, for instance, will by implication require you to know why weapons behave the way they do and how to read a target to determine diagnostically why a shooter is making the mistakes they are. A large part of good luck is meticulous planning and war-gaming of contingencies;  here is a guarantee:  you will never exceed your highest level of training.

Put together a plan and unplug yourself from the electronic ether and LEARN something and keep doing it.  Match your skill sets to your region and what you are interested in accomplishing.

Thanks to Mike V for the essay below. -BB

Praxis: Training Notes

US Soldier Training Iraqis in Map Reading

From a very serious, very experienced trainer up North we have these excellent points.

Some training notes that might help folks move beyond “rote memory” and “group lock step”….

Energize your FTX’s by Determining Skill Mastery and Adapting Your Style to the Men

If you’re using “Group Lock Step” methodology when you train your folks and you don’t see a high level of enthusiasm for training, you might be using the wrong method for the group you have under your ‘wing’.

Sometimes, believe it or not, trainers don’t take into account various levels of skill mastery or consciousness that their trainees have in various tasks. Trainers are human, and sometimes have the mistaken pre-conceived notion that everyone they are going to train is most likely brand new to the subject or cannot process information or learn quickly. Don’t think so? Ask a group leader you trust to critically observe your next training session. Have him to note how you talk to the men, their reaction, how many get bored (and how fast that happens), start side conversations and even wander off to do something else. If this is happening, chances are that you are using ‘group lock step’ training methods on a group that needs to have their training flow adapted to the level of skill mastery they possess which is higher than you’ve guessed. To be clear, if the example used above is occurring in your group, it’s a bad thing, because not a lot of effective training is being accomplished, and if you’re like others, you realize we don’t have much time to spare. But don’t take it personally–it’s not your fault to this point, because ‘group lock step’ is usually what most folks who’ve served in the military or other public service organizations are indoctrinated with when they are taught to instruct.

Group lock step is the kind of training where the group only goes as fast as the slowest guy. When bringing a large group of people into an organization that has specific behavior requirements or task performance requirements, such as a professional military organization or a large manufacturing plant, it usually works. However, even in those places, as folks advance and their potential is developed, the ones who can get away from group lock step training and get into areas they can learn based on their ability to master a task or subject.

Here’s an example of group lock step applied to an imaginary class on ‘ruck sack familiarization’:

Instructor (in an authoritarian, “Full Metal Jacket” DI type voice): “This is your ruck sack…get-to-know-it. Today, we will learn the basic parts of the ruck sack, their function and basic ruck sack terminology. At the end of the day, you will recite the definitions of each part. Then, tomorrow, if any of you have what it takes, we will move on to putting the ruck sack on and adjusting the shoulder straps which will also be evaluated not only by how long it takes you to do it, but how smoothly you can do it. From there, those who proved they can hack it will learn about loading it with your personal belongings. I will watch each step you take. If you do something wrong, I will dump your ruck sack out and you will begin again. You will have 3 chances to do it right. By the end of the next 3 days, you will have learned all about your ruck sack and will be able to take it into the field!”

So, how many guys you know are going to enjoy that kind of instruction? I’m betting not many.

Now, make no mistake, group lock step training has its place, usually when bringing individuals from diverse backgrounds into a culture that everyone is totally equal and egos must be ‘trimmed’ before the group can effectively perform or with an entire group that has no skill mastery of the subject you are going to cover, but even then, as the group gets into the subject, group lock step has to be modified as the individuals in the group start to learn at different paces, picking up the elements of the task series more quickly or more slowly than you are presenting them.

In our environment where everyone involved has the freedom to stay or leave as they choose, this method can lead to the downfall of your group. Why? First, many of your folks are probably veterans who most likely feel they’ve already “paid their dues” and have various levels of mastery in the skills you’re trying to teach, re-teach, or maintain mastery in. Secondly, group lock step instructors tend to be very autocratic in delivery on every subject or task dealt with, and men who’ve ‘been there, done that’ don’t appreciate that particular style, let alone guys who are brand new to your group. Very few will appreciate the “PWE” (prick with ears) type of trainer.

In our world, we usually have a group with a spread of comprehension abilities and experience where some learn very fast and some learn very slow, and one or two just might take a lot longer to “get it”. These facts should demonstrate that group lock step will not be effective in most cases because a significant percentage of your group will get bored from not moving forward at a pace that keeps them engaged in what you’re trying to accomplish. You’ll know if this is the case when your FTX attendance starts to drop and before you realize it, all that attend are you, your training assistant, and your closest buddy in the group.

So, if you want to energize your FTX’s by getting your more experienced people engaged and basically break out of group lock step into a much more effective method of training, you must understand and accept that mastery of task performance is based upon ‘task maturity’. We’re not talking about age, emotion or intellect here. Maturity in this case is defined as the level of possessed ability to perform the task with little or no error without any prompting from supervisory or instructor personnel.’ In plain language, it means how well the trainee can do the task without thinking. Determining task maturity is the key to the speed with which the trainee can move through a set of tasks you are training him on.

Generally, your men will fall into one of the following categories in their overall ability to perform in the field. Later, we’ll look at how your men can be tops in one area and clueless in another, and how to recognize and get them into the top level of mastery. So, let’s go over the four categories of skill mastery.

Unconsciously Unskilled: “I don’t know what I don’t know.” This is the brand new guy who shows up and hasn’t even bought a MBR yet because he doesn’t know what he should have. He doesn’t know a flank from a front, a false horizon from a real one, and what’s more, he knows it and knows that you know it. If the SHTF now, this guy, out of necessity, and if he wants to live, should be paired up with a fully trained man and be told: “You do exactly what I tell you, no more, no less.” To do otherwise in this case would be to put him and your entire group in jeopardy. But, all things being equal, and the S has not HTF, this is the man you will have to start slow with until you see how quickly he can pick things up.

Consciously Unskilled: “I know I don’t know much.” This is the guy who’s been to a couple FTX’s with you and has been jolted awake and now understands that he does not know much about surviving in a hostile environment. He may have learned that he’s not in the shape he thought he was; he doesn’t know about camouflage or first aid that much; and he sure doesn’t know what it takes to move undetected through an area where people are hunting him. Basically, he’s in ‘boot camp’ in your group. Again, assigning him to a more experienced man might help him out, especially if your experienced man has a heart to help out the “newbie”. “Do as I do” comes into play, and high levels of encouragement when he’s having problems learning a particular set of tasks.

Consciously Skilled: “I know how to do it but I have to concentrate on it.” This guy has successfully completed all your ‘basic’ requirements. He’s qualified on the AQT, he is fit enough to demonstrate all your PT requirements, he’s seen the importance of having all the required gear, he knows how to blend in with his surroundings, he knows his rifle fairly well, and so on. But, he has to be reminded from time to time because the skills haven’t become ‘second nature’ to him where he not only can perform them without thinking, he knows when to perform them without thinking. You’ll see errors in his performance at this stage. He’ll need correction, reinforcement, and possibly retraining on a given task or subject. However, it’s important to note that at this stage, the trainer should be encouraging and save any ‘negative reinforcement’ for dire situations, because at this point you’re trying to get him to the top category of skill mastery.

Unconsciously Skilled: “I don’t have to think about it; I just do it.” You know this guy as soon as you see him. He doesn’t need to be told how to do something. He just does it, sometimes anticipating what, where, who, when, and how. He’s the guy who can do everything you require quickly and effectively, and then he turns quickly to help someone else get through the task who’s not so fast. He’s the guy who, when he does ‘screw up’ a task, can laugh at his own mistakes and joke about being a prime example of what not to do. Bottom line: He’s got his act together.

Each of these categories also have complimentary training styles you might find successful employing with the various levels of skill mastery enountered:

Unconsciously Unskilled: Tell them how to do what you want them to do. Be firm, but talk to them the way you want to be talked to in the same situation. “Ok, this is how you set up material to build a fire when you don’t have accelerants. First, you gather tinder. Tinder is any material that will catch a spark and flame within a very short period of time. Some examples are…. Ok, now that you know what tinder is, I want each of you to get at least two handfuls in the next 15 minutes and come back here.”

Consciously Unskilled: Encourage them through the steps. Not so much telling here as helping them figure it out and reinforcing their learning with praise (not effusive…a simple, “good job!” could be the ticket). “Each buddy team needs to set out all the materials for a fire within 50 minutes. This includes tinder, match sticks, logs, and, of course, the position you’ve prepared to build the fire at taking into account wind direction, overhead smoke dispersion, and heat reflecting material. Remember, lay your material out before you start to make a spark! It’s more efficient when you have a small flame going to have everything you want at your finger tips! You guys did this great yesterday, so I know you can do it well again today!”

Consciously Skilled: Participation. Let them work through it and be there to back them up when they ask for it. When they’re stumped or having problems, you can get them thinking by saying, “How would you do it?” or “Remember when we did it yesterday?” or “You can do it…take a breath and relax…now, what comes next?”

Unconsciously Skilled: Delegation. Look for results. Allow improvisation, modification, and initiative. “Men, each buddy team needs to have their shelter constructed and camouflaged within 2 hours. It must meet our sanitation and defensive posture requirements as well. I’ll be by to check on you later. Let’s go.”

Movement between the skill levels can be extremely fast or slow, depending on the task complexity, prior experience, and individual ability to pick things up. Think of skill mastery being on a continuum with an indicator that slides on a silicon rail. This is where it gets tricky.

Why? Because you, the trainer, have to recognize almost immediately when a person you’re training slides from Unconsciously Skilled to Consciously Skilled or any other category of skill mastery and adapt your training style to where they are at the moment.

So where do you start, you might wonder. On day one, the first FTX your man attends. Make some time before you start to talk to him about his experiences. Get an idea of where he is by observing him with the other men. How does he handle his equipment and weapon? Is he at ease, clumsy, or somewhere in between? Does he seem fit or is he a chain smoker? Is his clothing arranged “hollywood style” or for function? All these factors may help you determine where’s he’s at in skill mastery. Time will be your major measuring tool. As the day wears on, you’ll be able to observe what you need to in order to determine the most effective training style.

Employing this system across the board will provide a large return on the investment of time you and your folks have put into getting themselves ready for what appears to be in the future.

Many thanks to Mike V for this brilliant essay and you can find more at the Sipsey Street location in my links.

Doug Casey on Anarchy

Another brilliant explanation of the “gentlest” political philosophy on Earth.  It is hard to recount all the insightful explanations he provides but this should further stiffen the spine of those among you who are finally waking up to the greatest scam in human history – government.  For instance, it isn’t that I don’t like cops, I simply don’t need them.  And they do far more harm to liberty on an everyday basis than Stalin could have dreamed of.  Secession is not only an adjunct of free men but you practice it everyday even if you are a collectivist.  Did not get a decent meal and refuse to return to that restaurant?  You have stopped buying a certain car brand or make?  You have decided a particular friend is noxious and destructive to your life so you dissociate yourself?  Have you gotten a divorce?  All are smaller forms of secession and the world did not shift off its axis and destroy itself.  I got an email the other day from a friend with this quote:

“Under the Equal Access to Justice Act, a court can award fees to a prevailing party if it can be shown that the government acted “in bad faith, vexatiously, wantonly, or for oppressive reasons.”

Good God, when is that NOT the case.  What a cogent and concise description of what government does everyday courtesy of the folks who don’t understand the irony of the provision.  Become a modern day abolitionist and declare for freedom.  Let’s finish what Wilberforce started. -BB

Sacred Cows Make the Best Burgers...

L: Doug, you keep saying you’re an anarchist. I suspect most of our readers know that doesn’t mean you like to wear black army boots and throw Molotov cocktails at McDonald’s restaurants during WTO protests, but I’m not sure how many really know what it is you do mean. And since this is central to your world-view and hence touches on all your thinking as an investor and speculator, it seems useful to clear the air. Few may agree with us on this topic, but let’s talk about anarchy.

Doug: Sure. If people aren’t open-minded enough to even consider an alternative view, they’re their own worst problem, not my ideas. In point of fact, anarchism is the gentlest of all political systems. It contemplates no institutionalized coercion. It’s the watercourse way, where everything is allowed to rise or fall naturally to its own level. An anarchic system is necessarily one of free-market capitalism. Any services that are needed and wanted by people – like the police or the courts – would be provided by entrepreneurs, who’d do it for a profit.

Look, I’d be happy enough if the state – which is an instrument of pure coercion, even after you tart it up with the trappings of democracy, a constitution, and what-not – were limited to protecting you from coercion and absolutely nothing more. That would imply a police force to protect you from coercion within its bailiwick. A court system to allow you to adjudicate disputes without resorting to force. And some type of military to protect you from outside predators.

Unfortunately, the government today does everything but these functions – and when it does deign to protect, it does so very poorly. The police are increasingly ineffective at protecting you; they seem to specialize in enforcing arbitrary laws. The courts? They apply arbitrary laws, and you need to be wealthy to use them – although you’re likely to be impoverished by the time you get out of them. And the military hardly defends the country anymore – it’s all over the world creating enemies, generally, of the most backward foreigners.

In a free-market anarchy, the police would likely be subsidiaries of insurance companies, and courts would have to compete with each other based on the speed, fairness, and low cost of their decisions. The military presents a more complex problem, beyond our range here, although we’ve gone into a lot of aspects in our discussion on terror last week and the military a couple months back.

L: That’s a lot for most mainstream folks to swallow at once, Boss. On the other hand, the way I see it, it would be inconsistent with my libertarian principles to demand that anyone agree with me – but I don’t need to be helping those who would enslave me to make money anyway. That said, let’s try to ease into this…

Doug: So, let’s start with a definition. Many people think of anarchy as being chaos. They see riots and chaos on TV from some place in conflict and think, “What anarchy!”

L: That’s if the talking heads don’t tell them that what they are seeing is anarchy to begin with.

Doug: Right. But chaos and bomb throwing are not anarchy. Chaos is the actual opposite of anarchy. Anarchy is simply a form of political organization that does not put one ruler, or ruling body, over everyone in a society. Whether that’s actually possible is a separate matter. This is what it means. And I see it as an ideal to strive for.

L: I’m looking at Webster’s, and it says that anarchy is: A: Absence of government. B: A state of lawlessness or political disorder due to the absence of governmental authority. C: A utopian society of individuals who enjoy complete freedom without government. People might say you’re focusing only on C.

Doug: Look at the etymology. It comes from the Greek anarchos, meaning “having no ruler,” an-, not, and archos, ruler. Definition B has come into popular use, but that doesn’t make it right.

“Anarchy” is a word that’s been stolen and corrupted by the collectivists – like “liberal,” It used to be that a liberal was someone who believed in both social and economic freedom. Now a liberal is no better than a muddle-headed thief – someone who’s liberal only with other people’s money.

I refuse to let the bad guys control the intellectual battlefield by expropriating and ruining good words.

In any event, there’s no conflict whatsoever between anarchy and the rule of law, since there are private forms of law and governance. That’s what Common Law is all about. So the correct definition is a combination of A and C.

But I never said a truly free, anarchic society would be a utopia; it would simply be a society that emphasizes personal responsibility and doesn’t have any organized institutions of coercion. Perfect harmony is not an option for imperfect human beings. Social order, however, is possible without the state. In fact, the state is so dangerous because it necessarily draws the sociopaths – who like coercion – to itself.

What holds society together is not a bunch of strict laws and a brutal police force – it’s basically peer pressure, moral suasion, and social opprobrium. Look at a restaurant. The bills get paid not because anybody is afraid of the police, but for the three reasons I just mentioned.

Read the rest:


You Might Be a Statist If…? by Wilton Alston

Like Wilt, I too am a list junkie and thought this was especially salient for all the self-deceiving subjects out there who think the only choice is what is available at the voting booth.  Too many great points to grok at once but the vast number of unexamined in the boobosie would benefit from taking the list and tackling one a day.  Thanks Wilt! -BB

The wrong interpretation...

Having always liked those you-might-be-a-[whatever] lists, it seems that now might be a time to come up with one of my own. No doubt some entries have been left off, but this is a good start.

You might be a statist if…

  • You vote in every election, but soon after your candidate takes office, you wonder aloud (or secretly) about his qualifications.
  • You have voted for political candidates in your own party, expecting them to care more about you than the people who actually paid for them to be elected.
  • You have voted for political candidates in different political parties than your own, expecting a different result than voting for a candidate in your own party.
  • You believe some bureaucrat in Washington, who doesn’t know you from Batman, actually cares about you.
  • You complain to all who will listen about the terrible policies of The Other Guy, but somehow think Your Guy’s policies, demonstrably no different, are better.
  • You think that a person who happens to show great skill in one narrow area, such as public speaking, is qualified to make decisions about the lives of others across many areas, as if the fastest runner in a tribe is automatically qualified to be Chief.
  • You hate greedy corporations, but think an organization such as a government – itself beholden to (and factually a horribly-mutated form of) a greedy corporation – will protect you from (… wait for it …) greedy corporations.
  • You think welfare only happens when the government gives money to poor people, or to rich people, or to people of another race, or to people of another socio-economic strata, or to corporations, versus whenever any organization takes money from one person via violence or coercion and gives it to another.
  • You think it is possible for a government to change the laws of supply and demand or determine an appropriate response to scarcity.
  • You’ve ever used the terminology “public option” and weren’t talking about making a Number 2 in the woods.
  • You think the land mass – and the people inhabiting it – on one side of an imaginary line in the sand called a border, are objectively better than the land mass – and the people inhabiting it – on the other side of that imaginary line in the sand.
  • You think some guy in a special uniform is objectively different from you in terms of morality and rights.
  • You believe that rights are obtained by declaration, or via guns and violence, or by the application of all three.
  • You think that rules written by members of the State can be used to control the State, as if consulting an old piece of parchment very closely and then yelling “Article 76!” was ever a reasonable response to a corrupt man holding a gun.
  • You get squeamish about shooting someone yourself, but have no compunction with having a nameless, faceless representative of the State shoot someone on your behalf. (The further away this person lives, particularly if it’s someplace you cannot find on a map without help, the better.)
  • You think it is morally justified to install an army base in the vicinity of a so-called foreign people, but would cry foul at the top of your lungs if the roles were reversed.
  • You think it can be morally justified to withhold trade with the people of a country – called an embargo or imposing sanctions – in order to blackmail the ostensible ruler of that country to do your bidding, but do not understand that such an action is morally equivalent to holding an innocent person hostage in order to illicit a certain action from someone who knows them.
  • You think your neighbor, or some guy on the other side of town, should be restricted from owning a firearm, since he might be psychopath, while simultaneously assuming that some other guy, who also might be a psychopath, can be armed because a third guy or group of people – none of whom you have ever met – authorizes it.
  • You think that one person can morally make decisions about the appropriate use of the private property of another person.
  • You think the moral nature of theft, murder, slavery, assault, and kidnapping change dependent upon the size of the group that authorizes these actions.


The moral nature of a man is unchanged by the existence of an organization or his position within that organization. Organizational pursuits wherein the only real criteria for participation is desire and the threat of negative market response is non-existent – such as politics and government bureaucracy – will, given time, attract those who are both desirous of the benefits afforded by the available ways and means and motivated by the lack of negative feedback. (In other words, losers.) Inevitably, such organizations morph toward becoming chronically inefficient or oppressive, or both. (It is ironic that one of the main arguments against anarchy is also the reason one should most urgently support it.) This will happen no matter if people are inherently good or inherently bad since the ability to off-load responsibility and rent-seek – intrinsic qualities of any state – increase given a monopoly of violence and coercion. If there is no penalty for doing dumb stuff, more dumb stuff gets done. While this situation might ultimately be worse if people are inherently evil it makes sense to keep the old fable in mind. Since it was a snake when you picked it up, eventually you will get bitten.