Village Praxis Series: Levels Of Medical Kit by Keegan Buppert

I am honored to present a guest post from my 15 year old homeschooled son, Keegan, who will be elucidating the varieties and levels of immediate first aid kits to increase prep proficiency for the coming bad times. -BB 

Put yourself in this scenario. Two people have a head-on vehicle collision and the people are in critical condition and are going to bleed out before the EMT’s can arrive. What are YOU going to do? The importance of medical kits has gone increased significantly  since it is not a safe world any more. Soldiers in Afghanistan now have advanced medical kits so they can give themselves aid. From WWII to modern day, medical kits have advanced by light-years saving many lives. The different levels of medical kits go up to level 5. Lets start with level 1 EDC (Every Day Carry). Many people don’t carry these on their person, but some people do.  Level 2 is an IFAK (Individual First Aid Kit). The kit is made to aid one person.  Level 3 is a medical kit that can aid 2-3 people. Level 4 is a Combat Trauma Bag. Basically, it’s a large messenger bag that, depending on how you pack it, can aid 4-8 people. Level 5 is a portable hospital, which explains itself. People seem to be turning their eyes away and ignoring the facts of self-preparedness, but the few who are ready will survive.

First, the EDC level 1 kit is a very personalized kit that fits the needs of your work place and family. Many people do not carry EDC medical kits, which should give you all the more reason to carry one yourself. The EDC kit usually contains one package of quick clot one tourniquet and one pair of medical gloves. You can go to your local surplus store and buy a pack of quick clot for around 15 bucks and a tourniquet is anywhere from 15 bucks to 30 bucks. The gloves are dirt-cheap. It’s cheap, it’s effective, and it works. Personalizing your kit depends on if you have any allergies or have medication you need in an emergency.

Next, the level 2 kit is an IFAK (Individual First Aid Kit). Soldiers in Afghanistan carry these and the point of an IFAK is to treat the soldier that got hit so the medic doesn’t run out of bandages or tourniquets or quick clot.  The contents are one Israeli bandage, one pack of quick clot, one pack of compressed gauze, one pack of medical tape, one pair of shears, one airway tube, one needle and one Israeli bandage. Pricing these depends on where you get them online. They are about 30-75 dollars depending on the grade. However, if you go to a surplus store a nice kit is 40 bucks. The kits soldiers carry now, compared to WWII, are night and day.

Furthermore, the level 3 is for 2-3-people, it is more advanced and carries twice as many supplies as an IFAK. The pouches vary. It’s personal preference. Now if you are buying one of these bite down hard and say ouch because these kits can go anywhere from 50-150 dollars. The advantage to having a more advanced kit is that it can treat more people, which means more lives saved. Medical kits are best for bugging out because they are medium in size and will treat the people in your group. Being able to carry twice as many supplies is a nice advantage and puts your mind at ease knowing that you won’t run out of supplies.

Moving on. Level 4 is a Combat Trauma Bag, roughly the size of a messenger bag that can treat 4-8 people. Level 4 is for the more advanced in the medical field or someone looking for more options. Advantages are that you can keep anti-itch cream allergy medication, snakebite kits, and so on. Stocking these bags can get very spendy very fast. Most people just buy the standard kit, but it’s better to get everything slowly so it’s personal for your wants and needs. Being able to treat 4-8 people is a massive advantage considering most people will not have one. That means you need to take charge and do what’s right.

Last is the Level 5, the portable hospital. It gives you so many options and treats many people depending on how much you stock the backpack. Blackhawk makes a very durable S.T.O.MO.P. II medical backpack that will fit anything you need in it and then some. Now portable hospitals go for around 500 bucks, but you can fill it for a little less and the unnecessary stuff you don’t need doesn’t go in. What if you have elders in your group? You will have to pack their medications.  What if there are people who have asthma? Professionals in the medical field should use portable hospitals or military, otherwise you could do more harm than good.

There are disadvantages to all of the levels of medical kits. Level one has only treatment for one person. When it’s used and you need it again, it’s not there. The level 2 can only treat you and is very limited. The level 3 kit is medium size and there are few disadvantages to it. Level 4 is extremely hard to carry around and it’s bulky. Level 5 is very heavy and bulky and you can’t put it in your car because of the chance of it getting stolen. When the lights go out, the phones are dead and people need your help, grab your medical kit and get to work. You can’t bring people back from the dead, but you can save lives. When that time comes will you be prepared to take it on?

 

The Helots Applaud by Bill Buppert

The Boston events of 19 April 2013 would leave any sane person incredulous.  On this same day in 1775, residents of Massachusetts massed to fight and repel uniformed soldier intent on enforcing weapons disarmament provisions issued by the government.  On the same day in 2013, two suspects conducted a horrific bombing of innocents at the Boston Marathon.  The ensuing manhunt for two naturalized US citizens by the police army of 10,000 from local to Federal level resulted in one suspect killed and another found by a private citizen in his backyard. This despite the wholesale search and cordon by the constabulary to locate him by trampling various sacred jurisprudential cornerstones of property rights and again regarding the Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the Big Government Perpetual Machine called the Constitution.  There are already accounts verifying that the goons frog-marched the property owners out and stormed the house after the clown posse stack-up. All brushed aside in the ensuing panic of thousands of cops bullying the cowering and supine citizens of Boston.  The citizens being a pale and distant relation to the original denizens who would not have tolerated the jack-booted nonsense for a moment.

Once again, the clown posse comprising the bloated domestic national security apparatus fumbles and fails in the most basic tasks.  Cops are historians in addition to their duties as heavies for whatever government clique happens to be in power.  They are a reactive element that always fumbles the ball afterwards. What heroic action they took in the contemporary or classical sense evades me during the entire crisis.  They certainly looked like pimped-out mall ninjas in their XXXL military kit and one could read the starry-eyed eagerness to respond to disobedience with maximum prejudice.

Again, no conspiratorial fever swamp laps necessary to acknowledge that the geniuses at the FBI and most likely dozens of other equally incompetent federal agencies and their tentacled poodles in the 19,000 law enforcement(!) agencies in America  had been tracking the suspects for years since the lion’s share of domestic terror incidents are conducted under the careful coaching and ministrations of the undercover agents, confidential informants sympathizers and other useful idiots in the Federal entrapment industry.  In this case, the Soviet Policy Law Center may have missed successfully predicting the perpetrators of the bombing since they were not white supremacists or heavily armed libertarians or, worse yet, potential Amish beard thieves.

Here is what we are to believe, again no conspiracy theories: the hundreds of billions of dollars devoted to the hundreds of thousands of minions, bureaucrats and low-lifes that populates the various fatherland security entities were caught flat-footed again in spite of an admitted observation trail and harassing of the suspects, the presence of thousands of over-fed law enforcement buffoons straight of central casting for Idiocracy and a self-admitted bomb threat exercise during the event. What happens?  The IEDs are successfully detonated and kill and maim innocents.  The reaction of the surviving population of Boston?  A craven and cowardly obedience to the martial law declaration as they are threatened, cajoled and demeaned by thousands of costumed agents of the state entering homes uninvited and most likely taking notes for future terror visits on the populace. And what do the craven and cowardly citizens of Boston do?  Not only do they surrender and submit as they shiver in uncontrollable fear at the prospects of both private and government terror visited upon them; in the most sycophantic and servile fashion the Helots applaud.

The Helots applaud.

Legions of the informally house arrested step onto the streets and greet the very people who would cage them at any time if the circumstances dictated it or they were ordered to do so.  This would be akin to the slaves on the plantation heralding the return of fugitives with fulsome praise and gratitude for the captor.  Or Spartacus laying down his sword and surrendering his army and exposing his neck for the cleave to end his life. Or Michael Collins heaping accolades on the abusive Blacks and Tans in Ireland at the beginning of the 20th century.

Or the residents of Lexington and Concord on that fated day in 1775 not only surrendering but happily and bodily turning over John Hancock and Samuel Adams and other upstanding citizens, leading the British Regulars to all the hidden caches of weapons and munitions and then escorting the triumphant Regulars with a parade as they marched back to Boston with their seized booty.  Men who did not know what they were about as individuals nor had their measure in the defense of freedom and liberty.

No Helots then…

Today, the Helots applaud.

 

 

Popcorn Sutton: Whiskey Rebel by John Meyers

 

“Jesus turned water into wine, I turned it into damn likker” – Popcorn Sutton

Appalachia’s history is largely comprised of tales of resistance of one form or another.  The poster child of Appalachia’s rebellion against unjust authority has always been the Moonshiner, the maker of non-government approved distilled spirits. These spirits were commonly referred to in the southern lexicon as moonshine, mountain dew, white lightning, “painter piss,” or perhaps more simply “likker.” There is no moonshiner more infamous than the Smoky Mountain’s own, Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton. He was not only one of the most famous makers of illicit liquor, but he also led his entire life in defiance of government authority and was quite a character to boot.

Sutton was born in Haywood County, North Carolina, a rural mountainous county on the Tennessee border. At an early age he learned whiskey making from his family and local whiskey makers a like in Haywood and neighboring Cocke County, Tennessee. In due time, he became a well-known whiskey maker in the region. Taking full advantage of the legal jurisdictional confusion between the two states, he plied his trade to the fullest. This was a very common practice employed by bootleggers and moonshiners in years past, when one sheriff would get on your trail you hopped across the state or county line and continued your business.

The tradition of whiskey making as employed by mountain folk originates further back than many people realize. It comes from the Poitín tradition popular in the peat bogs and mountain regions of Scotland and Ireland where most of the ancestors of the southern mountain people originated. While the mountain region of the Southern states lacked wheat, rye or barley for malt historically, residents of the region adapted using Indian corn and malted corn for the fermenting agent. Whiskey making is considered as sacred a right as bearing military style and cosmetically offensive “assault weapons” or keeping livestock. Moonshining in the southern mountains is not only justified on the grounds of natural rights, but also on even simpler grounds. Many makers of illicit whiskey, when asked why they do it have the simple answer of “… my daddy made whiskey, and his daddy made whiskey, and his daddy before him made whiskey, so I’m just gonna keep makin’ it to.”

Popcorn was a dyed in the wool capitalist and largely libertarian in his dealings and belief system. What set him apart from the rest was his unique marketing strategy. He boasts in his book “Me and My Likker,” that him and his father were not political beings, but instead sold moonshine to folks at the polling place on Election Day. This is a much more effective use of time than trying to vote yourself free. He was fiercely independent even to the extent of purchasing his own casket, flowers and the shovels needed to bury him before he died. He is on record of stating that even though he was extremely sick late in life and had amassed a pile of medical bills, “the government nor the county doesn’t pay my bills, I do.”

Popcorn’s first run in with the law was in 1974. He was arrested and later convicted on illegal production of untaxed whiskey, among other charges. In typical mountain fashion, the day after he was released on bond after his arrest, he went right back to the same spot where he was arrested and set his still back up. He figured that was the safest place to be back in business.  When speaking of his arrests he was fond of saying “I didn’t steal anything here… I paid for the copper, the sugar, the corn…so I don’t see where I broke the law anywhere.”

Over the years he built up quite a reputation. From selling jars of likker directly out of his junk shop in Maggie Valley, NC to even being close friends with a Federal Judge. He had a unique marketing strategy of writing books about himself and even appearing in documentary films. Many stores in Maggie Valley, North Carolina carried his books and movies and for 50$ each they could be yours. Many still do to this day, years after his death. When confronted about why it might be a bad idea to appear in a movie that depicts him breaking the law, his response was, “You cant sell it if nobody knows you got it.”  He would charge $3 to have your picture made “with a real mountain moonshiner” at his store.

Popcorn set up whiskey making demonstrations at a number of public events and fairs throughout the area over the years. At one event at the Museum of Appalachia, he was running real whiskey out of his still and people were complaining to the owner that he was getting everyone drunk. When he was told to stop, he packed up and left. When he talked about quality of his product, he displayed a wonderful and basic free market sense. He stated that he didn’t sell any bad whiskey and he made the best because ‘no one would come back for more’ if it wasn’t the best. He was in it for repeat business, not a ‘one time show.’

Soon Sutton’s business took a turn for the worse. In 2007 he found his still house on fire on his property in East Tennessee. The responding Fire department and Sheriff’s office quickly discovered his moonshine operation. Three 600 gallon stills were discovered and gallons of mash and whiskey. He urged them not to report him, however these state actors being the good little goons that they are, soon had ABC agents and ATF on the scene where he was charged with possession and manufacturing of illegal and untaxed distilled spirits and felony possession of firearms. Like many mountain men, Popcorn was commonly known to always carry a pistol in his pocket, no CCW permit or state permission needed.  Another Haywood County, NC resident, 5-Time Banjo Champion Raymond Fairchild carried what he refers to as “the law” in his pocket, a small revolver. This was during a time when the concept of a CCW permit didn’t even exist.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Akpndr7nzhs)

Popcorn was sentenced to probation. He didn’t quit making whiskey. He went bigger than before. He set up a few 1000 gal. stainless steel stills. He soon found himself the victim of under cover buying operations by federal and state alcohol enforcement agents. He was charged again with possession, manufacturing and selling of illegal and untaxed whiskey. They reportedly found 1700 gallons of whiskey in his possession. He was convicted soon after in federal court.

On an ironic note that is pertinent to us in the Liberty movement, the head of this ATF operation was none other than the Butcher of Waco, James Cavanaugh. This man had the audacity to claim he was ridding society of vermin by arresting Popcorn Sutton and that “the truth though, is that moonshine is a dangerous health issue and breeds other crime.”  This man has the audacity to say such a thing after he is personally responsible for being behind an operation in 1993 that killed and burned 80 innocent men, women and children at a church in Waco, Texas. It seems James Cavanaugh is still on the job keeping America “safe.” (Lord, help us)

While on house arrest waiting his sentencing to be handed down, Popcorn Sutton remained ever defiant. When the letter came for him to report to federal prison to serve 18 months for his ‘crimes,’ he channeled Patrick Henry. Sutton died for his beliefs. Instead of reporting to serve this unjust sentence to the federal gulag, he committed suicide by gassing himself to death in one of his automobiles, known as the “3 Jug Ford” (He paid 3 jugs of whiskey for the car). When news of Sutton’s death in 2009 was reported, an entire region mourned.

Appalachia celebrates The Resistance.  Mountain culture nullifies bad laws. Most of history is a celebration of the law-breakers. Do we celebrate the Jewish Resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1943 or the Nazi Troops “just doing their jobs?” Stories abound to this day of Popcorn’s death. Some residents of Haywood and Cocke counties believe he faked his own death and is still alive. A Judge spoke at his public memorial service, praising this notorious outlaw. Hank Williams Jr., the country music legend, also appeared. It is nearly unanimous among folks in the region that the arrest of Popcorn for these non-crimes was not only unjust but also despicable. They cite nothing but the Non-Aggression principle in his defense.

While Popcorn had a troubled personal life and can be accurately described as a ‘dead beat father’ his estranged daughter, Sky Sutton, commented that Popcorn went out in a ‘blaze of glory’ and ‘on his own terms…flipping his middle finger as he went.’

The Appalachian region displays a unique example of resistance to arbitrary authority. It was not until the mid 20th century until the various governments had much affect on the region. For much of its history, the region was largely operated on a stateless model. Disputes to this day are often settled without interference of state sanctioned law enforcement. Federal revenue agents tasked with capturing moonshiners and busting up distilling operations in years past often never returned home after entering the mountains.

Due to geographical isolation and terrain, governments have historically had very little effective rule in mountainous areas. We need only mention the Pashtun’s of Afghanistan or the mountain peoples of Southeast Asia to illustrate this point. Nearly every community in the southern mountains from Georgia to Maryland has a story or three of how these men resisted authority they never consented to. During the Whiskey Rebellion in the late 18th century, it is reported that at least one tax collector’s nose was ground off on a grinding wheel in western North Carolina. The voluntary clan-like structure and kinship among mountain people created a sort of guerrilla underground. News of ATF and ALE/ABC agent activity was trafficked amongst this network. Mountain men are by nature suspicious of the outsiders or ‘outlanders’ due to being exploited by government and carpet baggers for generations. Informants are still considered the scum of the earth in these parts, as are ATF and alcohol enforcement agents. Historically, the ‘revenuers,’ a branch of the US treasury department, when they made their first big push into the mountains in the later 19th and 20th centuries, were largely comprised of agents recruited from prison and the criminal elements of society. Much like how most cops are now recruited from Middle-east war veterans.

The culture was so entrenched in nullification of so many of these tyrannical laws that it often allowed the laws to be broken out in the open, as Popcorn Sutton is a vivid example of. Much like Ireland’s guerrilla mastermind, Michael Collins when he appeared at a funeral with a very large bounty on his head, with support of the population, you can be successful. “Illegal Likker” and marijuana grow plots are still found in quantity nearly anywhere in the southern Appalachian region to this day.  A jar of likker can be found at any college party or bartered amongst neighbors. At one point, being in mere possession of a piece of a whiskey still was a “crime” punishable with prison time. Many people did not take lightly the idea of their family, friends and neighbors being sent to jail for possession of inanimate objects. Later in life, Popcorn Sutton drove around a restored Model T Ford with a retired copper whiskey still in the bed of the truck proudly on display.

Cocke County, Tennessee, where Sutton spent a large part of his time was once considered the “Moonshine Capital of the World.” Locals bragged that at one point you could buy whiskey every 100 yards on Cosby Creek. Brothels and Cock fighting rings were also common.

Appalachia remains a fiercely independent region to this day. An underlying theme in most stories relating to the region is that for every injustice, the government is generally behind it. Folks are taught to celebrate the outlaws and those that resist oppression. Someone who opposes the State is very likely to gain popular support in the hills. In one of his last and best acts of defiance, Sutton created a lasting legacy. He is featured in documentary films such as “This is the Last Dam Run of Likker I’ll Ever Make” or “The Last Run” demonstrating his craft from beginning to end, ultimately teaching entire generations of people across the world how to make whiskey and defy government encroachment of their natural rights. Even in his death he is inspiring more folks to take up the cause. Popcorn defied authority until the end. His foot marker is shown below.

 

Profiles in Resistance: The Calculus of Defiance by Joshua Van Buskirk

Georgio Grivas

Joshua is a former student of mine and I am honored that he is inaugurating our new series, Profiles in Resistance, with a real firecracker of an opening salvo.  Every new millenium is filled with hope of changing the eternal dynamic and ratcheting back the factors in human slavery.  Many suggest this may well be the Chinese century and I would like to hope that may not be the case at all; it may very well be the final century that the predatory state and its apparatchiks retain humanity in its clutches.

Joshua’s timely Cypriot observations dovetail nicely with the frustrated British experience trying to keep the Irish under their thumb from 1916-22. -BB 

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the

oppressor, it must be demanded by the oppressed.

- Martin Luther King, Jr. “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”

Resistance is not a new part of the human experience. Resisters have challenged the meddlers of the world for as long as anyone has asserted authority where it ought not be asserted. Those that challenge the meddler known as the state have several unique qualities that enable them to resist and, in many cases, win against overwhelming odds. The principles that make resisters successful are critical thinking, forcing the enemy to fight on the resister’s terms, exposing the vulnerability of the state, and economic sustainability.

    Critical Thinking

Men become civilized, not in proportion to their willingness to believe, but in their readiness to doubt.

- H. L. Mencken

Resisters are the contrarians among us. Skeptics by nature, resisters ask “why” until the answers become insufficient. The ability to ask these types of questions requires critical thinking. Therefore, the resister is often middle class, highly educated and skeptical. For example, Fidel Castro and Mohandas Gandhi studied law before leading revolutionary social movements. Both Abimael Guzmán, of the Shining Path, and Martin Luther King, Jr. had PhDs in philosophy before they challenged their respective governments. Mao Tse-Tung worked as a librarian before taking on both the Japanese and the Chinese Nationalists. Ernesto “Che” Guevara  was a  medical student before joining Castro in Cuba.

Not only must the founders of revolutions be critical thinkers, but the foot soldiers and junior leaders of a resistance movement must also be independent-minded. Often operating using a de-centralized model, the resister must be able to think for himself and act in the absence of orders from his chain of command. A good example of this is the cell structure implemented by the Shining Path. Although highly centralized at the strategic level, at the tactical level, the Shining Path’s decision making was left to individual commanders:

Local militants were organized into cells, similar to contemporary terrorists cells, and for security reasons had limited contacts outside their immediate five- to nine-member unit. Even a regional commander had direct contact with no more than eight other insurgents.[1]

The Shining Path, like many resistance movements, was forced by military necessity to operate independently, thereby enabling its fighters to adapt their plans to the situation on the ground. Such flexibility and the capability to operate without guidance from higher headquarters allows the resister to out-think and out-maneuver his government opponent, whose focus is not on critical thinking.

Government forces are focused on blind obedience and ensuring that orders are not questioned. The ability to think independently may lead to soldiers having thoughts that deviate from government-approved opinions and, consequently, dissension in the ranks. The soldiers of the state spend their time implementing a national policy drafted by academics and politicians, not considering whether something is right or wrong. These soldiers are also unable to think about the long-term effects of such policies when applied to the local situation. The government’s steadfastness to policy and doctrine enable the resister to out-maneuver state forces by being flexible and adapting to the situation. By being a critical thinker, the resister forges his own path and refuses to fight a traditional battle.

Fighting on the Resister’s Terms

The Guerrilla has the initiative; it is he who begins the war, and he who decides when and where to strike. His military opponent must wait, and while waiting, he must be on guard everywhere.

            -Robert Taber

Part of being a critical thinker is doing what works. Typically, governments rig the rules to ensure that the customary or acceptable means of opposition are ineffective. In Guerrilla Warfare, Mao Tse-Tung illustrates how the successful resister will do the opposite of what is expected. When the conventional forces zag, the resister zigs.  During a resistance, Mao says to:

“…select the tactic of seeming to come from the east and attacking from the west; avoid the solid, attack the hollow; attack; withdraw; deliver a lightning blow, seek a lightning decision. When guerrillas engage a stronger enemy, they withdraw when he advances; harass him when he stops; strike him when he is weary; pursue him when he withdraws. In guerilla strategy, the enemy’s rear, flanks, and other vulnerable spots are his vital points, and there he must be harassed, attacked, dispersed, exhausted and annihilated.”[2]

Mao says that fighters should be contrarian and use the advantages that being small affords the movement: speed, agility and being seemingly undetectable to the heavy hand of conventional forces and conventional thinking. Do not play by the rules or use the conventional wisdom; make your own rules. As Malcom Gladwell has pointed out, the Davids of the world beat their Goliaths by refusing to do what was expected by the opposition. By following this advice, the resister leaves the conventional forces of the state baffled, confused and, in many cases, bankrupt.

Countless successful insurgents have utilized these principles. For example, insurgents often hide in mountainous terrain, where conventional forces have difficulty with both the physical and human landscape.

A mountainous physical terrain is difficult for large mechanized forces to traverse and easy for guerrillas to hide in. By refusing to fight in the open, the resister forces the government to fight on his terms. A good example of this is Fidel Castro in the Sierra Maestra. When Castro’s men  were pursued into the mountains, the Cuban government’s forces were frustrated through ambushes, thick vegetation, and an elusive enemy that seemed to be everywhere, but at the same time nowhere to be found. Castro so effectively fought the government’s forces that he was able to convince the Cubans in the urban areas that opposing the Batista government was possible. Without the myth of state invulnerability, Batista was forced to flee the country, thereby dissolving his government.

In the mountains, the human terrain is also inhospitable to government forces. These rural areas tend to receive less government funds and services. Rural people are also unaccustomed to having others tell them how to live their lives. Zomia is perhaps the best example of this principle. As a mountainous rural region, its people remained, as James Scott stated, masters of “The Art of Not Being Governed.”

This type of resistance is not limited to Southeast Asia. In Peru, for example, the government only provided security, infrastructure and money to those of European descent residing in the lower elevations of the coastal region. Simultaneously, it ignored the needs of the indigenous people in the mountainous interior of the country. Such disparity made the area ripe for revolution and led to the rise of the Shining Path.

The Shining Path was able to use the mountains to hide within the countryside and among the people. The leader of the Shining Path, Abimael Guzmán, directed his followers to engage in hit-and-run tactics against the Peruvian government, steal from the government, and assassinate political opponents. By adopting unconventional tactics on difficult terrain, the Shining Path pushed the Peruvian government outside of its comfort zone. Had Guzmán not been captured in 1992, it is possible that the interior of Peru would have won de facto independence from the coastal areas.

Destroying the Invulnerability of the State

The government is not concerned about the loss of a few policemen, or even an arsenal, but it is terrified of the attendant publicity,which casts doubt on its stability.

            -Robert Taber

Part of not playing by the rules is ensuring that military operations come second to the battle of persuading the people. Ultimately, a government cannot exist without some sort of consent by the governed. At the very least, the ruled must resign themselves to government control. The two most dangerous ideas to state are therefore 1) that the people do not need it, and 2) that the government can be defeated. Once the people are persuaded of these two points, no government can exist.

Of these two ideas, proving the vulnerability of the state is the more difficult. The state has a powerful Army, Navy and Air Force, all outfitted with the latest technology. Many believe the only thing that could beat such power is another state with an equally powerful military. The resister proves the vulnerability of these conventional forces by opposing them and surviving to tell the tale. Most people assume that any one individual opposing the state would be crushed by the full might and power of an empire. However, when the state fails to crush that individual, it shows that resistance is possible and lowers the cost of others joining the resister’s movement. It also makes the resistance leader appear larger-than-life. For example, Mullah Omar and members of the Haqqani Network actively opposed the Soviet Union and the United States in Pashtunistan and are still alive to inspire others. The inability to stop these individuals illustrates the failing of massive armies with overwhelming technological superiority. Of course, the loss of such leaders is a propaganda coup for the government. However, as Al-Qaeda has proven, such leaders are easy to replace at a very low cost.

 The Economics of Resistance

He who wishes to fight must first count the cost. When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men’s weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be dampened. If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your strength. Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the State will not be equal to the strain. Now, when your weapons are dulled, your ardor dampened, your strength exhausted and your treasure spent, other chieftains will spring up to take advantage of your extremity. Then no man, however wise, will be able to avert the consequences that must ensue… In war, then, let your great object be victory, not lengthy campaigns.

 –Sun Tzu, the Art of War

Perhaps the best trait the resister brings to a war against the state is economic sustainability. Unlike traditional states, resisters can fight at significantly reduced rates compared to their opponents. As it stands today, for instance, insurgents in Afghanistan can make highly effective Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) for the shockingly low rate of 265 USD as of 2009. Compared to the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on the Counter-IED Operations Integration Center (COIC), it is not surprising that the US government has racked up 16 trillion USD in debt in order to fight people who refuse to play by the rules.

The concept of counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency being financially unsustainable is not isolated to recent times or to the mountainous terrain. On the small Greek island of Cyprus, Georgios Grivas was able to frustrate British forces between 1955 and 1960. Grivas was able to force the British Empire to hemorrhage both men and resources while fighting against a relatively small group of guerrillas. By 1956, the British had increased their forces to 22,000 men to fight 273 of Grivas’ full-time soldiers.[3] Fielding such a large army came at large expense for the British. On the other hand, Grivas’ men maintained their supplies by raiding remote British outposts, from which they stole food, ammunition and weapons. By the end of the conflict, the British had increased their presence in Cyprus to 43,000 soldiers. The increased number did little to stop Grivas’ forces and did much to convince both the British people and the British government that the occupation of Cyprus was not economically feasible. Due to exhaustion, cost and lack of political will, the British granted Cyprus its independence in 1960.

The example of Cyprus is one of many. One can look to Tito’s struggle against Hitler, Castro’s against Batista and many others to see how a small band of dedicated resisters can be an expensive opponent. Moreover, it is an endeavor that often only forestalls the inevitable defeat of the state.

 Conclusion

 The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all.

- Thomas Jefferson

As the internet and technology continue to spread information and even the battlefield between non-state and state actors, this problem will only get worse for governments and empires. In the American military, it costs billions to build a surface ship, but the missile that destroys it costs merely a fraction of that. Empires fall for financial reasons, and governments may collapse for the same reasons. When that happens, we can thank the resister.


[1]Buikema, Ron; Burger Matt “Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path)” page 85: Casebook on Insurgency and Revolutionary Warfare Volume II

[2] Tse-Tung, Mao “On Guerrilla Warfare” page 46

[3] Taber, Robert “War of the Flea” Page 130