Publisher’s Note: It appears my notoriety as an anti-government zealot has come to the attention of the rulers and they use both me and my site as an exemplar of non-violent anti-government writing and speaking. I may be the subject of a number of classes for the government’s cop-roach enforcers at all levels. If this turns out to be the case, I wear the badge proudly and hope against hope that some of the mandarins who read my screeds discover a burr in their intellectual saddle or the tiniest seedling of doubt planted in their minds on the wrong-headedness of maintaining and expanding totalitarianism on the North American continent much less the collectivist impulse that makes America an armed and dangerous agent of the state disease planet-wide.

Zero government is not a wild-eyed notion of fantasy. A world without rulers but abundant with rules in a voluntary society riffs off human nature in a far more effective and moral way than any self-professed statist government. The true fantasists are the long train of psycho- and sociopathic rulers and their collaborators who insist that initiated violence and the creation of prison states is the only proper way to organize society and serve humanity. Throughout the ages, from the Stoics to Wilberforce to the abolitionists and the modern abolitionist movement in small pockets of humanity, the notion has been both simple and elegant: how can a man be free if his choices of not harming others ultimately puts him in jail or worse? It is no harder than that.

The world is at a tipping point where the forces of statist darkness are gathering strength while the brotherhood without banners fights a constant rearguard action as it retreats into insignificance in the face of totalitarian ambition.

Your choice is clear: either you are a slaver or not. -BB

“But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain – that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.”

-Lysander Spooner

 

Slavery was codified in the founding documents of America in deeply flawed and tyrannical instrument called the Constitution. The abolitionist spirit in America as exemplified by Garrison and Douglass were a tremendous boon to awakening Americans to the cause but it never took despite the alleged reasons for the War of Northern Aggression being fought to free the slaves which became a cynical Lincolnian calculus to boost flagging efforts to get the North behind the eradication of the South.

The Constitution simply guaranteed the “peculiar institution” in the US and the addition of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850 weaponized the Federal government’s ability to maintain the institution of chattel slavery. The post-war amendments abandoning slavery were nice window-dressing but simply drove the overt impulse to chattel ownership underground into a more under-handed and devious form of slavery to make the proceeds from servitude more palatable to the masses and the twentieth century would provide the progressives and collectivists with the tools they would need to make slavery more profitable for the rulers than they ever imagined.

There are a number of markers of true freedom but the most telling is the ability to opt-out of the chained condition once harnessed. So what is slavery by definition?

The Oxford English Dictionary (American) put it thus: A person who is the legal property of another and is forced to obey them. If you doubt in modern America, you are not a slave, be advised you are delusional.

The US government owns you in so many ways, you haven’t a shred of self-determination short of suicide. Many in the commentariat to include myself have detailed ad nauseum the tremendous tax burden in the US for producers, the leasing of employees by the Federal government to employers at a terrific burden to the efficacy and virtue of any above-ground American business and the raft of regulations and rules that make every American a felon in their day to day life. If you run a business and have not been paralyzed from the neck up in a skiing accident and become a collectivist, the truth is crystal clear. If you are simply a salaryman, one look at your tax liabilities once “paid” should further clarify your status as a slave.

After years of government schooling, I am still investing thousands of hours to deprogram myself from the nonsense and dig myself out of the epistemological hole that the entire wretched system is designed to bury us. Civics is nothing more than a clever moniker for government obedience training. A system that celebrates slavery as freedom and peace as war in a war that would embarrass both Huxley and Orwell.

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Publisher’s Note: This guest post draws on a guerrilla tactic known as social trolling to diminish and destroy government psychological operations directed against captured populations whether a result of invasion or the occupation of land masses by the usual  suspects to organize and regulate tax cattle farms. Make no mistake that governments are merely the vampire writ large and various defenses need to be erected to disorient and eventually disrupt their ability to initiate and use violence to organize society. While I don’t agree with everything, his thesis is thought-provoking and gets people pointed in the right direction. -BB

Events in America occur so rapidly that to believe any one person can ever find the full truth about any single event is truly laughable.  We strive, daily, to maintain control of our surroundings; perceived knowledge gleaned from the various sources at our disposal helps us to believe that we possess control of ourselves and the environment we live in.  Are we concerned enough, or perhaps paranoid enough, however, to read through the information that is fed to us in search of a motive?  While I certainly do not promote paranoia or distrust of anyone, I do promote the premise that at this point in history we are being deliberately misled.  I suggest we place less credibility and importance in the social messages presented by media until we can reestablish our own beliefs and our own reality as a people of this nation.  We can accomplish this by examining how media serves to enrage and divide an otherwise cohesive country, taking an honest look at what is happening while we center ourselves around public distractions, discussing traditional attempts to change our direction and how they can be co-opted by division, considering methods of change that have shown signs of success, how we can modify these methods to specifically target the problem of a divisionary message, and what these efforts might accomplish in the larger scale of American social practice.

Division amongst the American people serves to keep us at odds with each other while fear ensures that we stay dependent on our government.  John Avlon at The Daily Beast wrote, “As news of a new ‘credible’ threat swept across the nation on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, Americans were abruptly reminded that terrorism is always one bad day away from being issue No. 1.”  Messages of terrorism plots both overseas and at home in the states are a staple of daily news reports.  We are constantly reminded that the next “bad guy” is just around the corner.  Meanwhile, the Trayvon Martin controversy, built in part by a month long media feeding frenzy that has yet to completely subside, set a new standard for building tension among races. If we look closely at our news and media, we will notice that every issue presented has two sides, and two sides only.  It has always been black or white, liberal or conservative, terrorist or citizen, consumer or dangerous individual, good guys or bad guys.  We notice that in the 2012 elections Dr. Ron Paul chose to forego the libertarian title in favor of the republican banner to receive any notice at all.  In the political and social scheme of modern day America independent parties and mindsets that step outside of the carefully erected parameters quickly become silenced.

Meanwhile, as the media presents us two different cages which we may inhabit, outside of the standard press we discover that an incomplete list, found at Wikipedia, with 134 total citations, displays over 63 cases of police brutality between 2001 and 2011 that have gone unreported and unemphasized.  If we follow independent news sources we discover that, on average, a new case of police brutality or a violation of constitutional rights is occurring on a regular, almost daily, basis.  While it would be remiss to state that these cases receive no coverage, most people can agree that they do not receive the same attention as “The Royal Wedding in 2011,” for example.  Most would argue that they should receive equal if not more coverage than such frivolous events.  More startling yet is the signing of the National Defense Authorization Act that occurred under cloak of night on December 31st 2011. “It allocates funding for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, but also includes “counter-terrorism” provisions which would allow the military to detain anyone on US soil indefinitely, without needing to guarantee a trial,” wrote one contributor at The Open Globe. During the first week of 2012 we may have heard a few talking heads on the radio voice their disgust regarding the bill that finally legalized indefinite detention sans trial or lawyer, but if we did it was brief.  The true coverage came from independent news sources which were mostly comprised of online articles and YouTube videos.  By January 17th 2012, the general public was content to go about their lives as displayed by Thetvaddict.com, which listed NCIS, Last Man Standing, and Glee as the top rated television programs for that day.  What is the point in all this? When our media wants us to pay attention to an issue, it is everywhere.  Real issues that actually affect us as a people are glossed over summarily.

Some people, however, observe issues in our society and political system and strive to do something about them.  We have all paid witness to, through one media or another, concerned citizens’ attempts to “Wake people up” or “Change things”.  These attempts usually come on the heels of some perception gained from mainstream media.  These perceptions may include our party based political system, race tensions, religion, or any of the other myriad conceptualized “Issues” gripping our times.  We have all seen how protests have gained attention only to fall unnoticed in their due time, how verbal disagreements have led to violence thus creating  new issues, and how racial tensions serve to further divide us as people.  It seems that our attempts to work within the box to solve our nation’s problems are ultimately futile, if not destructive.  A great example is found in the firestorm of the “Occupy Movement” in 2011.  Michael Calderone at The Huffington Post wrote in his article aptly titled, “EXCERPT – OCCUPY: Why It Started. Who’s Behind It. What’s Next.”, “Occupy Wall Street’s amorphous, seemingly leaderless, and non-partisan movement presented unique challenges for journalists experienced in covering protests with clear demands and cable talking heads accustomed to neatly categorizing dissent as either good or bad for one political party or the other.”  What happened next was only to be expected.  We see the divisionary tactics of the media coming a mile away, and do nothing to hedge against being discredited.  What started as a unified people coming together, regardless of political boundaries, eventually developed into a left-wing jubilee, complete with singing hippies and “Down with capitalism!” workshops.  While we strive so hard to overcome division and make a difference in our country, our efforts eventually end in being co-opted and dismantled.

Other forms of protest and activism seem to have taken a more significant turn.  We begin to edge closer to what I feel is the ultimate solution to ineffective activism when we analyze the anomalous “Anonymous.”  Emil Protalinsky at ZDNet.com points out that vote by vote, the Anonymous collective was voted TIME Magazine’s most influential person for 2012.  Anonymous was the greatest supporter of if not among the arbitrators of the Occupy Wall St. Movement.  How then, are they so influential with their greatest accomplishment torn asunder by the repetitious efforts of divisionary media?  We can answer this question by looking closely at their techniques.  In viewing any of hundreds of YouTube videos or “Pastebins” issued by the hacker collective, one message is clear: Anonymous is leaderless, it is decentralized, it has no specific message, and no specific agenda.  When the media failed to categorize the collective into a political or social group, they initiated a vilification campaign.  Upon that initiative, Anonymous launched a collective effort to destroy corruption and undo censorship.  Within weeks we saw corrupt security firms’ sites defaced and their records published.  We saw companies like Sony and MFGlobal as well as firms like the FBI having their network presence effectively diminished in light of censorship and unconstitutional investigation.

In 2011, at the apex of their hacktivist effort we saw “Operation Syria” which was the first time we had seen an activist group of any kind take on an entire government.  The following was written by an anonymous poster on a Wikipedia page designed to display a timeline of the group Anonymous’s accomplishments: “In early August, Anonymous hacked the Syrian Defense Ministry website and replaced it with a vector image of the pre-Ba’athist flag, a symbol of the pro-democracy movement in the country, as well as a message supporting the 2011 Syrian uprising and calling on members of the Syrian Army to defect to protect protesters.”  We can look at groups like Anonymous and acknowledge their accomplishments.  We can believe in what they do or we can dispute their efforts as being morally wrong; they do not care either way.  Of this I am assured.  What then, can we learn from them if we choose to take on efforts of our own?  If we look at their beginnings, it becomes clear that everything started for this group on the internet and spread henceforth.  Their efforts have always been anchored in aggravation, shock humor or “lulz”, intentional irritation with the end goal resting on enlightenment, or in short, trolling.

According to Paul Gil, who writes for About.com, “An internet ‘troll’ is an abusive and obnoxious user who promotes hate and disharmony in online communities.”  That is an abrasive assessment to be certain, though there is some truth to it.  While many communities find trolling to be an offensive activity that disrupts their otherwise peaceful online encounters, not all trolling is enacted with those purposes in mind.  In many cases trolling will occur with the intention to help people come to conclusions on their own regarding various moral, religious, or political opinions.  Generally, when this happens the troll in question will set out with that goal in mind and will search until he has found an environment that is conducive to his “lessons”.  Though other users will almost always be offended and angered in the process, if they think about something they might have not thought of without the trolls intervention, then the troll has done his job.  The chance of a troll on a website having any sense of morality to his purpose is probably fifty-fifty, but in this modern day, when it seems that the whole world is up in arms with a message to convey, the chances are increasing.  Jared Newman from TIME Techland (a subsidiary of TIME Magazine’s online site) reports that “Being obnoxious on the Internet may soon cease to be a fundamental right in Arizona, where lawmakers approved a measure that effectively makes trolling illegal.”  With this measure setting a precedent in Arizona, and the group Anonymous, being effectively hunted down and arrested by our own FBI, we can make the assumption clearly that trolling and online activism have been raising some eyebrows and stirring the social-political pot.

We know that trolling works and we decide to follow the guidelines that took a group of hackers to international levels of effectiveness, where do we go next?  To look at it simply, I recommend we do just what Anonymous did: take it to the streets.  What does that mean exactly?  Shortly after several successful online campaigns, Anonymous helped organize Occupy Wall Street.  They stepped out from behind their computers, donned “Guy Fawkes” masks, and marched into the streets to stand up for what they believed in.  They committed to traditional protests and demonstrations.  We have shown already how the traditional protest no longer works: it becomes divided and cast into obscurity.  Had they followed their proven online tactics into the public and physical arena, I would not be writing about this topic and “Social Trolling” would be a household name.

Social Trolling, as recommended by this writer, is the act of using the divisive and frightening messages presented to us by our media, and applying it aggressively to the public, in a way that will dull the messages impact thus diminishing the effects of division and fear.  This is not a new concept.  Linda Kiltz with ICMA Publications referred to flash mobs when she wrote, “Generally, flash mobs are groups of people who congregate in public spaces to carry out incongruous acts and leave after a brief period of time.  We have seen such groups on YouTube and television advertisements doing everything from dancing and singing, to freezing in place and chirping like birds.” Traditional protests are also a form of social trolling, though we are familiar, by now with the path they take.

When implemented correctly, social trolling should make people nervous without anyone approaching them.  It should offend people.  The best troll will do his work based off of that week’s news reports.  In 2010, a friend and I set to coughing and sneezing in a crowded gas station.  To the resentful looks of the patrons therein we responded only, “Damn swine flu!”  Exercised correctly, social trolling will lead to laughter, making new friends, and the broadened views of the masses.  Exercised incorrectly will land trolls in jail.  The beauty of the method is that, in the end, everyone involved should appreciate the other individual; the message to be delivered above all others is simple: “I love you because you are a human being, just like me.” This message in and of itself can complicate the masses quickly.  It is the most dangerous thing that someone can say at this place and time in history.  Even if we did away with the “trolling” aspect altogether and simply told people with whom we are unfamiliar that we loved them, the upset over time would be immeasurable.  The message is legitimate if we believe in the goodness of other people and have faith that division will dissolve when we remind them of our shared humanity.  If we choose not to love people or choose not to convey that message, then simply disturbing peoples’ sensibilities can be fun as well; at that point however, we diminish the effectiveness of the act considerably.

What could happen if this message got out?  What might take place if everyone decided that race, gender, sexual preference, religious preference, political affiliation, or potential to inflict harm did not matter?  Imagine if one day the new trend was to allow the nightly news to continue reporting its normal content but to take its messages with a grain of salt when it came time to make conclusions about other people.  The social landscape could be permanently altered.  Cornelius Holtorf wrote in his Museum International article “Ironic Heritage: overcoming divisions between communities through shared laughter about the past,” “In this situation, celebrating a non-existent common national heritage means celebrating the existing divisions within civil society that threaten social cohesions” in reference to an area in which a minority of residents are not native to said area.  I retain and submit that U.S. citizens want to love their fellow citizens.  It is not in the true nature of any person to automatically fear or hold suspicion for another human being.  Division and fear are taught.  Division and fear can be done away with.

We have looked at how fear and division is implemented in our country, what other events may be occurring that we could be paying more attention to, what others have tried and why it has or has not been effective, what methods have had success, how we can use these successful methods to specifically promote social cohesion, and what the effects might be if we were to succeed.  It has become common knowledge that our system is failing.  We have put too much trust in our leaders and forgotten about our fellow man.  In 2012, we can look at our country with fresh eyes and work, under the premise of love instead of hate and fear, towards rebuilding what we have lost.  We started as a nation of the people.  We recognized the power of unity.  Reclaiming that power is the only trick we have not tried.  It is the only method that will work.

Works Cited

Holtorf, Cornelius. “Ironic Heritage: Overcoming Divisions Between Communities Through
Shared Laughter About The Past.” Museum International 62.1/2 (2010): 91-95. Academic Search Premier. Web. 3 May 2012.

Kiltz, Linda. “Flash Mobs: The Newest Threat to Local Governments” ICMA Publications.
ICMA Publications, Dec. 2011. Web. 3 May 2012.

OpenGlobe. “Obama signs controversial NDAA bill into law” The Open Globe. The Open
Globe, 1 Jan. 2012. Web. 3 May 2012.

Newman, Jared. “Arizona Looks to Outlaw Internet Trolling” TIME Techland. TIME Magazine,
3 Apr. 2012 Web. 3 May 2012.

Anonymous. “List of Cases of Police Brutality in the United States” Wikipedia.
Wikipedia Foundation Inc., 5 Mar. 2012. Web. 3 May 2012.

theTVaddict. “TV Ratings: Tuesday January 17 2012 (Viewership Steady Amidst CBS Reruns)”
TheTVaddict.com. theTVaddict.com, 18 Jan. 2012. Web. 3 May 2012.

Protalinski, Emil. “Time Magazine readers name Anonymous ‘most influential person’” Zero
Day.  CBS Interactive, 18 Apr 2012. Web. 3 May 2012.

Anonymous. “Timeline of events associated with Anonymous” Wikipedia. Wikipedia
Foundation Inc., 17 Feb. 2012. Web. 3 May 2012.

Avlon, John. “Forty-Five Foiled Terror Plots Since 9/11”  The Daily Beast. Newsweek, 8 Sep.           2011. Web. 3 May 2012.

Calderone, Michael. “EXCERPT – OCCUPY: Why it Started. Who’s Behind It. What’s Next.”

The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc, 11 Jan. 2012. Web. 3 May 2012.
Gil, Paul. “What is an Internet ‘Troll’? How Should I Deal With Trolls?” About.com.  About.com,  ND. Web. 3 May 2012.

 

“The tragedy of modern war is that the young men die fighting each other – instead of their real enemies back home in the capitals.”

-Edward Abbey

Question obedience and not authority, the rest will follow. As individual human beings, we come into the world naked and leave on a slab or in a coffee can in the same condition barring what was in the mind, heart and soul at the conclusion of the life lived. Volumes of books have been written on the life worth living and millions of solutions offered to live the good life or the examined life or the other life on and on. Some use philosophical or religious justification for their achievement or sloth.

Unfortunately, the world is filled with far more shirkers than workers and consistent misidentification and conflation of activity with productive work.

We live in a world dominated by a government supremacist mindset that impoverishes the imagination of the poor and elites alike. A world where the human has become so cowed by law, star stuck by regulation and strangled by taxation, it appears forward progress to the promise of our youth is stunted and nigh impossible.

Look around you. Are you acquainted with grown men who spend all their non-work (or is it activity?) hours in a masturbatory dalliance with electronic friends in an insipid game or bathed in the ghost-light of the glass teat for six or more hours every day? Do you have friends or family whose fascination with a sport or sports team is so morbid they cannot talk of anything else? Are friends or neighbors who can barely get out of their own way in a race to exceed their height by their girth through indiscipline, gluttony and simply bad eating decisions in your social circle?

Please remember that the men of today are nothing like the men of yesteryear. One can find modern conveniences and advancements in science and engineering to make for a marvelous new civilization. Right now, no other generation in the entire planetary history of humanity has more information been available horizontally and vertically at the disposal of every person alive. Ever.

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The state calls its own violence ‘law,’ but that of the individual ‘crime’.”

~ Max Stirner

The state is driven by the notion that it can commit immoral acts to achieve moral ends. Absent terroristic styles of governance, it has no authority to exact the shaping of society it desires. Terrorism is the politically motivated threat or use of violence against innocents and non-combatants.

The government practices this in wartime and in times of peace. The basis of all forms of anything other than self-governance in shaping society by the state involves institutions of violence most moral human beings would find repugnant. Most decent men and women would no more beat a man into submission or shoot a dog in fear for their lives absent the very protection the political classes and their praetorians enjoys as special prerogatives. The causal everyday violence of statist employees whether armed or not is apparent everyday whether in your own personal encounters to the flood of news reports that show that the police are simply not in the business of being moral beings but wholly owned subsidiaries of evil political will.

I have written extensively on police violence and just finished a five part series on the growing murder culture of American policing and the tidal wave of reports substantiating the militaristic and occupation trend of cop behavior in America is well documented.

The US is an occupied nation by an alien totalitarian culture emanating from DC and its subsidiary political apparatchiks throughout the docile state units of the massive government parked in North America. The usual suspects in the media and the house totalitarian organs like the Washington Post and New York Times go out of their way to justify the enormous surge in police and government violence throughout the land.

“One would be hard-pressed to find one of the badged waddlers not retreating to the “following orders” shtick so chic among the constabulary in America. Much like patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel, the excuse of simply following orders is the last refuge of the human refuse acting as police officers throughout America. They also enjoy snickering that they only enforce the law and don’t make it therefore excusing themselves from any moral judgment in executing immoral laws.

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“Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”

– Hanlon’s Razor

If government had a working axiom, it would be this: To pursue and defend mediocrity wherever it is found and to institute it where it is absent.

The larger a government, the more idiotic and destructive its behavior appears to both the casual and educated observer. Historical hindsight provides legions of examples of government not only doing stupid things daily and reinforcing failure but creating advance extinction events that spell their doom as they happily march to their own funeral.

One can suppose that a confirmation bias exist in its functionaries and bureaucrats that make them immune to common sense and inevitability. A large percentage of government officials and a little less so their apparatchiks peppering the thousands of agencies in the US seem oblivious to the sheer lack of efficacy and effectiveness in accomplishing anything they set out to do. A small percentage of those, larger among elected officials, are psychopaths and sociopaths whose very life trajectories demand the subordination of others through threats or actual violence; government legitimizes criminal violence in the minds of the actors and the half-witted supporters of government supremacism. The state is the world’s leading provider of rationales for using immoral means to achieve moral ends and every sober observer can see how that has ended. Whether the slow and sclerotic death of vital commerce systems like the Keystone Keynesian recipe for national economic seppuku so popular with the mandarins in DC or the naked economic illiteracy of the Keynesian cousin in Marxism, the results are the same. The formation of vast prison states where every human transaction is vertically and horizontally regulated through taxation, regulation and police violence.

Historically, the only liberation that occurred has been the death knells of these systems as they were riven by war, collapsed of their own contradictions, like the USSR or simply crushed every incentive through moronic regulation, excessive taxation and iatrogenic effect like the US and the EU.

The freed market has a severe disciplinary function that culls bad business and removes poor entrepreneurs; the price signals dictate who continues to purchase goods and service now and into the future. Bad business simply ceases to attract consumers who vote through purchase and the ineffective firm dries up and blows away to make way for a more effective competitor.

Governments don’t do that nor do they have the incentives to do. The state works on perverse incentives that collectivizes risks and privatizes reward to politically connected mechanisms. This is one of the reasons the franchise at the atomistic level makes zero rational sense in any meaningful way and why focused and targeted lobbying of elected interests and their tentacled regulatory agencies are hypersensitive to political fortunes and trade winds. In other words, the single vote cast by a human in an election in America has an extraordinarily low percentage of effectiveness while the focused purchasing of political influence through lobbying has tremendous benefits. One need only look at the money spent to win the crime family position in the White House to see the results. Obama and Romney each spent approximately one billion a piece to seize control of a potential budget exceeding 3.8 trillion dollars in acknowledged spending.  One can see the cold logic in spending that amount of money to gain control over the Federal purse strings and the huge violence apparatus it wields over the tax cattle known as citizens.

I employ the term acknowledged because the government clearly cooks the books as evidenced by scandal after scandal and the sheer ineptitude and incompetency of the DoD accounting infrastructure as an example.

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Publishers Note:  Hunter is a young man I have had occasion to meet only in the ether on the Interweb. He is a bright and enthusiastic abolitionist who came to it at an early age. He is yet another budding guest author who has offered me an essay to publish to help lessen my writing burden. I am crafting two more books this year and time is a harsh disciplinarian. In the following effort, he offers a simple but vital remedy to what ails most of us in these tempestuous times in the Endarkenment in the USSA. Enjoy. -BB 

The world is indeed waking up. I’ve noticed this reoccurring theme of cynicism throughout individuals I talk to who are actually intelligent enough in the first place to understand the puppet show right in front of our eyes, see it as though it will never change. Being somewhat of a pessimist myself, I can definitely understand this but if you can force yourself for just one moment to look at it all objectively, you may come to understand the situation from a different perspective.

Throughout history, there have been two types of people: those like us (you that are reading this right now) who are proactive and are the first to seek out the issues within society and the world itself in order to “keep the ball rolling” in an evolutionary sense. We are Progressives, but not as the State or many common folk would describe. Instead, we are progressive in that we simply want to create a world that is desirable to live in. one that is free of oppression from the State or our blinded brother and sister.

Then, there are those who simply follow along. They (understandably so) only do what is necessary to get from point A to point B without questioning why they have made the journey in the first place. We’ve given them more names than I can even think of, we like to call them “asleep” or “sheeple”. I don’t mean to speak of them in a demeaning or negative tone, because “The mind only sees what the eye’s allow”, therefore you should not look down upon them, pity them, or even be ashamed. In fact, by calling them the names I referenced earlier, we have done what the State has done to us:  it lowers their status from fellow man, to lesser-than human.

Is that now what our fight is against in the first place? I’m not here to just call you anyone out or take the route of “holier than thou”, but to point out a problem and pose a solution. Instead, be patient. Likely, unless you were born into a family that was by nature already aware of the evil that is the State, you were asleep once too. Be willing to compromise in order to reach the goal that is true freedom. Being an anarchist, libertarian, or even someone who just wants smaller government means you may find yourself conflicted when someone proposes an idea that reduces the size of the State without destroying it… This is still a step forward. Understand that they are the same as you, and whether they realize it or not, the only desire they have is to live free, be happy, make mistakes, and face the consequences themselves in order to learn.

Unfortunately, with the existence of these people who are less inclined to seek truth, they will not evolve as we do. It’s not something they seek and so they require a stimulus, something that will “prod” them into questioning the entire ordeal. Those of us who are awake look around and see people who don’t care and don’t question. It’s easy to become pessimistic, cynical, even somewhat arrogant and claim “things will never change…”. I’m here to ask you to be patient.

I’ve noticed within my generation (I’m young, only 19) a massive change in the way things are done. I am among those who are ambitious, and I thank my parents for that. Many get stuck in the route of wanting handouts and waiting for the world to align itself to their will. Personally, I’m still working within the system. I work between 20 and 60 hours a week while going to university on scholarship in order to get a job that will sustain me and a family. Even before I was put through the amount of stress I’ve come to experience, I was asking questions. Since then I’ve done quite a lot of questioning and research within not just my group of friends, but acquaintances I meet every day or through social networking and there is always a reoccurring theme… People are getting sick and tired of it all. They may not understand what “it” is, but they all agree something is indeed wrong and needs to change. My generation specifically is tired of doing what is asked of them and even going above and beyond, only to be put in debt and beaten down regardless. We are chasing the “American Dream” still as many others are, and even those who are working the hardest aren’t being rewarded. Now I know many of you will read this and say, “well why are you wasting your time?” and that isn’t the point. The point is that it’s all reaching a tipping point now. Those people who are asleep, the ones who live in this world and society we have created without asking questions are receiving a stimulus that forces them not out of desire, but out of nature to ask “Why am I doing this?”. My point in telling you all this, which you probably already know and understand, is to ask you to be patient. Be patient with those whom you find unintelligent. Be patient with those who you find distracted. Be patient with the youth and with your fellow man in general because now society is hitting a wall…one that forces the evolution of society to no longer depend on the proactive people like us, but on the very direction of the world as a whole. Be patient in order to give yourself peace which will only manifest itself in a clear mind and make you a more effective and integral part in the revolution against the State.

It may take the entire system as a whole collapsing before we have the opportunity to bring about the end of the State as a whole…but until then we must function within it. Being patient and optimistic will only keep your mind focused and improve the chances of less destruction and death being necessary in order for a free world to prosper in the end.

Publisher’s Note: Jim Klein has been a friend of mine and this site for years and he is one of the smartest observers in the individualist abolitionist milieu out there. He always makes a clear and concise case for why life should triumph over death and peace is a better solution than government subsidized and incentivized eternal conflict. Enjoy. -BB

“Hey Joe, may I borrow your lawnmower?”

“Sure Tom, there’s half a tank of gas in it.”

There.  That’s a loan.  Joe loaned Tom his lawnmower.  It was an agreement.  It was about something physical–the lawnmower–but the loan itself was just a mental act.  It was an act of consent between two volitional men.

There’s nothing else to it.  If Tom fills up the tank, then it was a profitable loan for Joe.  If he empties the tank, then it was a loss for Joe.  But neither profit nor loss has anything to do with the nature of the loan.  We can add terms to the loan–Tom will sharpen the blade, fill the tank, pay some money, use it for one day–but none of those terms change what the loan is…a mutual agreement, a promise to deliver or use a good or service.

That’s what your money is…that and nothing else.  It is a loan, a loan originated at a Central Bank and passed through many, many hands until it gets to you.  It is a promise to do something.  The Banks and government promise that others will accept that money “as payment for all debts, public and private.”  And you–the borrower–promise something too, that you will provide a good or service sufficient to have someone else trade that much money–their claims to loans–with you.

But no matter how many hands are involved, and regardless of how people value the goods and services for which they trade, it’s still just a loan.  It’s something you promise; it’s something you value; it’s something you think and choose.  If the loan is collaterized, then there is a good or service behind the loan, such that if one party defaults, then the good or service belongs to the other party.

At one time, money itself was collaterized, usually with gold.  This did not change the nature of a loan.  Through fractionalized banking, the relatively stable amount of collateral backed an ever-increasing supply of money.  So while the note said that it was a claim against gold, it wasn’t.  Like all loans, it was a claim for someone’s promise, in this case Central Banks and governments, to come up with the gold if necessary.  But there was far less gold than the amount collaterized, again owing to fractionalized banking.  In common lingo, we call that “cheating,” especially when you know you can outlaw the requirement to honor the collateral of the loan, if it ever comes to that.

It’s an old story—an unsuccessful con man becomes a successful strong-arm man.  On the societal level, we call this “order.”  But it only works orderly if everyone involved sticks to their promises.  We already know the Banks/government don’t stick to their promises.  They issue an ever-growing amount of money to denominate a population’s goods and services–and along the way make a profit just for issuing the loan in the first place–and are offering a claim not only on current goods and services, but future ones as well.  This is often the case with a loan.

Notice that the scam of ever-increasing loans would be immediately obvious were it not for taxes and the various sinkholes of governments.  While a government needs taxes for its own (claims to) goods and services, it also needs a way to take money “off the table,” so to speak, in order that nobody notices the insane growth of loans in circulation.  It does this at origination, whereby the issuance of the loan itself requires an ongoing fee, commonly called “interest.”  Through the never-ending issuance of money, and the associated interest that goes along with it, a certain amount of the ever-cycling money is paid as interest to the Central Banks.  As with a “rake” in a poker game, this keeps the money in circulation–on the table, we could call it–steady enough and low enough so that each participant is satisfied with what he believes will be his claim to goods and services.  Were it not for these “originating fees,” ultimately paid by taxes, the participants would quickly see that they are trading current labor for a promise of much less labor–via goods and services–in the future.  They would quickly say, “No deal.”

But they don’t, because a percentage of those claims are constantly funneled “off the table” through the simple waste of Government and especially through the never-ending charge for the origination of the loan.

None of that is the point of this essay.  All of that is about the denomination of goods and services, but it is not about the goods and services themselves.  That is “The Other Side of the Equation.”

However you denominate something–with beans, scrip, money, numbers alone, whatever–the relevant thing is what’s being denominated.  In a single word, that is called production.  Production is what we do to create goods and services.  Production is the action of obtaining goods, adding value and offering the products to others.  Production is the act of doing a service that others wish to have done.

While it’s no secret that our money has been tricked out, generally in order to have a claim against the future labor of future generations, that oddly doesn’t matter right now.  We’re all alive now; we can just ignore that for another day…which is good, because it’s not literally the money that will kill us or future generations.  Falling for the scam of the money, is what does that.

What matters right now is what’s being produced, and what will be produced.  It is this half of the equation, which presages the downfall of this society.

Around the world, production has been stifled on levels never before known in history.  Working is heavily penalized and not working is heavily subsidized.  When you penalize something, you get less of it; when you subsidize something, you get more of it.  Really, it’s quite that simple.  When a large part of a population doesn’t produce–and worse, sucks the production of others for their bare subsistence–the amount of total production goes down.  Duh.  Never mind the unconsumed production which can be used for even further production gains…those are called “investments” in a sane world.  These days, “investments” means “bets.”

And yes, you can add in the increased efficiency of technological advances, but that’s effectively a mulitplier constant.  That’s because this is what humans do—they create, they optimize, they figure out how to get more production out of the same time of labor.  Humans have been doing this since the dawn of the species.

When they stop doing that, for whatever reason, production dwindles.  This is the situation today.  Production is sucked away in order to be wasted by government, which is inevitably a less efficient use of goods and services.  Production is sucked away for the so-called “Free Shit Army.”  Producers are so fed up that many have withdrawn of their own free will and “gone Gulch.”  Whatever the causes, production–real production, not the denomination of production–has been declining for a long time now, in the USofA.

Perhaps most egregiously, because ultimately it’s all we have, the time for production is ever-dwindling, owing to the vast amounts of time and effort devoted to regulations and bureaucratic overhead.  An hour abiding a regulation is an hour not producing.  It goes on and on and on…the production of free-willed individuals, even those willing to offer it in trade for money, is going down.  And down and down and down.  It is only a matter of time, should this trend continue, that the production will not be sufficient to produce the bare sustenance of food, clothing and shelter.  Go look up “Holodomor” to see what happens then.

Notice that the denomination of this production doesn’t matter at all.  You could have ever-inflating money, ever-deflating money, gold, scrip, whatever…the only thing that matters is that a unit of production be what the trader believes it to be, and likewise the denomination be what it appears to be.  This is historically the scam of currency—it isn’t.

That’s all.  The issue of freedom is the issue of production.  Production is what we do.  And until men and women are free to do it–without regulation, without permission, without being forced to denominate it in fake loans for future slavery, without having the  results of their production sucked away by those who produce nothing at all–then nothing will change.  It will be an ever-growing claim against present and future slavery, until the slavery isn’t sufficient to even feed us any more.

How does one stop this madness?  Simple…produce for yourself and those for whom you wish to produce.  Accept whatever denomination that honest people agree to trade, or even no denomination at all.  That last would be “barter” and while not ideal for complex societies with massive division of labor, it may yet prove to be all we have left.  Till then, there’s lead, gold, silver, bitcoin and a thousand other choices.

Money is not inherently a scam.  Nothing is a scam until information is fraudulently offered or withheld.  But currency money is a scam right now, all the world over.  This is becoming widely known, so it’s only a matter of time until Central Bank money will no longer be accepted by free individuals in trade for their goods and services.  Hopefully that will stop the massive penalties for producing, and especially the theft of that production, called wealth, from those who produce.

It’s either that, or eventually we all starve.  Joe’s loan was not Joe’s lawnmower.  Money is not wealth.  Maybe things will change when this becomes widely recognized.  The Central Banks of the world may be able to make money worthless, but they can’t touch the creation of wealth without the producer’s consent.  That’s entirely, meaning literally 100%, up to the producer of it alone, and nobody else.

Out-good ‘em.  They’ll never see it coming cuz they don’t know what it looks like.

 

 

Publisher’s Note:  This is James’ first contribution to the blog and he does an excellent job talking about the book. I highly recommend James J. Martin’s book Men Against the State for an earlier compendium about 19th century individualist anarchists in America. -BB

Libertarian Anarchy: Against the State

Gerard Casey, an Associate Professor of Philosophy at University College in Dublin, Ireland, and an Adjunct Scholar at the Mises Institute, has written a concise, excellently sourced treatise promoting the political philosophy he labels “libertarian anarchy”.

Professor Casey writes in large part from a Rothbardian perspective, as one sees by his very first sentence:  “States are criminal organizations”. He distinguishes libertarianism from libertinism, noting that libertarians may live by strict moral principles, yet “the law has no business enforcing purely moral considerations”.

Casey describes the “limited objectives” of his compact, well -written and well -argued brief for liberty as the following:

1)     To show the anti-libertarian character of states and state action

2)     To argue for the presumption of liberty

3)     To make the case for libertarian anarchy

4)     To show that law does not require state sponsorship

5)     To demonstrate the illegitimacy of the modern state by means of an attack on the representative nature of democracy and the validity of state constitutions

He accomplishes these objectives, to this reader, without exception. He provides an apt metaphor of the state as “the Wizard of Oz, a small man with a megaphone pulling levers behind a curtain”.

Casey begins by addressing the overriding myth prevailing in contemporary society, “The belief in the legitimacy and necessity of the state”.  He quotes James Scott: “Until shortly before the common era, the very last one percent of human history, the social landscape consisted of elementary, self- governing, kinship units that might, occasionally, cooperate in hunting, feasting, skirmishing, trading and peacemaking…..It did not contain anything one would call a state…Living in the absence of state structures has been the standard human condition”.

Casey shows how statism in inextricably linked to warfare, aggression, and theft. “The making of the modern state and the making of war go hand in hand, and money, other people’s money, lots of it, is required for both.”

Casey attacks the presumed moral legitimacy and ‘special status’ of the state and state actors. “If someone wants to make the case for the privileged moral status of state actors, the burden of proof resides with them”.   Further, the “principal concern” of his book is to refute the claim that the “the creation, the administration and enforcement of law” …..”cannot be provided by any other body” than the state.

Casey delivers some knockout rhetorical blows against statism and statists. “The greatness of our historical leaders is built on the mangled bodies of the poor, the defenceless and the politically gullible”.  He lists a sample of the “innumerable legion of petty tyrants that have plagued the world” consisting of the “Alexanders, Caesars, Napoleons, Hitlers, Stalins,Clintons, Blairs and Bushes”.

He paints a positive, life affirming portrait of libertarianism, explaining how it is premised upon the Non Aggression Principle (NAP), the Golden Rule (Reciprocity) and freedom, leading to human flourishing. “Freedom is essential to human flourishing…..’Coercing people’, writes Sartwell, ‘reduces them to the status of inanimate objects’ and serves….’to attack the status of human beings as moral agents’.”

While confirming that for libertarians, “liberty must be the default position for any ethical or political theory”, Casey stresses that liberty is not the be all and end all of human existence, but rather the most fundamental social value. In other words, quoting Lord Acton, “freedom is the highest political end, not the highest end of man per se”.

Casey cites the NAP in distinguishing libertarianism from classical liberalism and conservatism, as well as from modern, activist liberalism\leftism. ”Both the liberal and the conservative are selective in those spheres in which they will allow liberty to operate”. The conservative allowing liberty in many economic areas but not in morals or military and nationalistic concerns, while the modern liberal is more tolerant of private moral choices, yet is compelled to call for more and more central planning in the economic and industrial areas.

Regarding the always heated disputes as to whether anarcho-commmunism\socialism or anarcho-capitalism represents “true” anarchism, Cases explains:

“I believe we are free to bind ourselves by entering into informal and contractual relations with others, even relations in which we voluntarily subordinate ourselves to other. I do not accept the common claim of anarchists from the left side of the political spectrum that such relations are necessarily anti-anarchic. If we are not free to bind ourselves then we are not really free, our liberty is compromised. The form of anarchism that accepts this radical notion of freedom, our freedom to bind ourselves, I call libertarian anarchism.”

So the author prefers the term “libertarian anarchism”.  What about that old rhetorical bugaboo, capitalism? Casey concedes:  “The term ‘anarcho-capitalism’ is used by some to name the position I am defending here.”

He acknowledges that ‘capitalism’  “carries so much emotional and conceptually confusing baggage” that it is not likely to “be used in a neutral, descriptive way”.  He notes that Rothbard, perhaps the father of anarcho-capitalism, or at least its most well  known proponent,  distinguished between ‘free market capitalism’ and  ‘state capitalism’. The latter, of course, is what passes for free enterprise capitalism today in most people’s eyes, the corporatist, bailed out, propped up, subsidized, mercantilist, bastardized version of real freedom in economic pursuits.  As Rothbard put it, the difference between these two versions of ‘capitalism’ is “precisely the difference between…peaceful, voluntary exchange” and  ”violent expropriation”.

So, providing that no coercion is used, any set of economic  arrangements  is acceptable.  Libertarian anarchists, according to Casey, believe that their role is not to endorse any particular economic system but, quoting Sneed, “to destroy the state in order to allow all economic systems to complete on a voluntary basis”.  To that, Casey clarifies, “any set of voluntary arrangements that do not violate NAP”.

Casey goes on to discuss fundamental principles of property rights, and addresses common criticism of anarchy, and anarchists. He weaves into the discussion, succinct and pointed analysis of political theorists, philosophers and economists, from the ancient to the contemporary, including Aristotle, Aquinas, Hobbes, Locke,  Bastiat, the great Lysander Spooner, Kirk, Hayek, Walter Block, Bruce Benson, Randy Barnett, and innumerable others.

He explains how law is not imposed from above by those in authority, but derives from the common experiences and reasoning of the people who subscribe to the law, community norms, usual and customary standards, judicial opinions and the like (otherwise known as common law). However, the judicial opinions, legal standards and rulings are not some mysterious gift handed down by above, but tried and true principles, rules and rational decision making used to resolve disputes. In other words, the laws of a society are created and rise from the bottom up, and are not properly viewed as hierarchical edicts imposed on a people, or a community.  Legal change occurs by evolution, not (legislative) revolution.

Of course, as NAP is entirely consistent with the universally sacred concepts of respect of human dignity, individual autonomy, the golden rule\reciprocity, and natural rights, what hopefully evolves in any given society will be completely consistent with natural law. Those societies and communities that respect and honor natural law and natural rights will expect to grow, prosper and flourish, especially over time.  Moreover, due to respect of universal human natural rights such as individual sovereignty, the right to travel, freedom of association and the abolishing of arbitrary, government imposed borders and barriers, communities (business, legal and otherwise) needn’t be tied to artificial and geographical restrictions.

Casey discusses anarchic societies, of varying sizes and times, to give examples of “anarchy in action”. He emphasizes the importance of kinfolk, restitution, and non- violent and non-coercive methods of keeping law and order, including such varied, voluntary approaches as disapproval, ostracism, boycott, blacklisting, blackballing, banishment and expulsion\exclusion, for those who refuse to obey societies norms, pay their debts, honor legal judgments, respect the rights of others, maintain a surety or insurance, or membership in a DRO.

Casey clarifies that he is not claiming these societies are examples of pure libertarian anarchism or any kind of imaginary utopia, but he brings them up “to show that there have been societies that functioned without a state apparatus”.  As even (neo-conservative historian) Francis Fukuyama wrote, all over the world for most of human history people owed obligations “not to a state but to kinfolk, they settled disputes not through courts but through a system of retributive justice”. Casey then specifically discusses a few examples, including Eskimo society, Somalia, ‘medieval ’ Ireland (really, about 500 BC to 1600 AD), with an emphasis on the use of customary, kritarchic (rule by judges)  as well as polycentric law for private dispute resolution, including use of surety’s, dispute resolution organizations (DRO’s), and what today would be called insurance.  For more examples of anarchic societies throughout history, be sure to check the end notes and bibliography.

Casey’s fundamental thesis, as one would expect, is that the state is illegitimate, its “office holders” thieves, authoritarian control freaks, and frauds.  He demolishes trite, grade school “social studies” propagandistic canards like the myths of political democracy, “representation” and the completely discredited notion that states can effectively “limit” and restrain themselves through Constitutions and “checks and balances”.  The preposterous idea that statist Constitutions are “contracts” (‘social’ or otherwise) is fittingly and easily disposed of.

Casey concludes his work, stating: “What I have tried to do in this book is to make the case for libertarian anarchy and the illegitimacy of the modern state- two sides of the same coin.” He recaps how he accomplishes this, by citing to the ideas of other brilliant minds, and including many of his own.

The book is very well sourced and includes a bibliography that any “libertarian anarchist” (or classical liberal\minarchist) would enjoy perusing.  For any of you interested in the topic, and indeed, whether one is anarchist, minarchist, or simply interested in competing political theories and analytical discussion, I highly recommend this extremely readable, engaging and instructive work.

“Gentlemen, when the enemy is committed to a mistake we must not interrupt him too soon.”
― Horatio Nelson
The current strategic climate in DC reveals a deeply flawed and idiotic tendency to think that the mandarins in Mordor can simply click their ruby slippers and wish things to happen. The huge strategic blunders of the Busheviks is of a different ocher and hue than the mismanagement in DC today. The post 9/11 answer was to get the US involved in endless and ultimately fratricidal conflicts throughout the Middle East and the Horn of Africa for no better reason than bluster and the military industrial complex wagging the mangy mutts in the Pentagon and Capitol Hill. The new occupant of the Offal Office is indeed altering course but frustrated by the emergence of a Russian power that refuses to yield to American huffing and puffing. Aside from the hubris of lecturing the Russians on invading other countries, the failure to prevent the Russians from doing as they wish as regional hegemons is the signal to America that the 21st century is no longer theirs to control nor rule as a hyper-power astride the globe.
Ever since the first American imperialist excursions into Canada and Mexico and the subsequent invasion of the globe in 1893 after the Lincolnian coup that sealed the fate of the nation and put all Americans on the plantation. US bloodthirstiness in planetary command and control has known no limits but after the War to Safe Josef Stalin made the world safe for communism, American successes militarily have been few and far between. Even the allegedly successful Gulf War I simply laid the foundations for the ensuing conflicts and reemergence of global non-state actors.
The rest is history and the last two presidents have been strategic bumblers of historic proportions.
I often think WWI lasted from 1914-1945 with a Cold War bridge in the interregnum years and consider the conflict from 1938-1945 to be the War to Save Josef Stalin. So I would like to examine a slice of the strategic dissonance that affected both sides in that storied conflict.
“Defeat Germany first” characterized the germination of any global strategy on the part of the allies, the United States and Great Britain, in particular.  Even after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the priority remained in the European Theater of Operations (ETO).  US naval advocates naturally objected to this priority in the war.  WWII forced a particular focus due to the breadth and width of the conflict that essentially embroiled every continent on Earth, including naval engagements near Antarctica.
The locus of strategy finds its working component in the operations conducted to fulfill the goals and ambitions of the grand strategic/strategic intent of the combatant nations.  Very little coordination was necessary due to their paucity in national membership and the sheer span of distance between the two largest compatriot nations in the Axis alliance. This simplified the strategic framework for both nations, Germany in particular.  The German military staff and associated civilian components probably brought the deepest and best expertise to crafting and fleshing out a strategy married to operations that would achieve the goals.

(more…)

In this celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day, we should reflect on the liberation of Ireland at the beginning of the twentieth century as a demonstration project of how it is done. Michael Collins would play a larger than life role in bringing this divorce in the court of world opinion and rubbing the English nose in it. He would be an unknown contemporary of other giants like T.E. Lawrence and Paul Emil von Leetow-Vorbeck at the turn of the collectivist century.He would stare down one of the other giants, the statist and war-loving Winston Churchill and win. -BB

“Realists appealed to Collins. There would be no more glorious protests in arms, he decided. He built a cadre of realists around him, first in the IRB, then at Volunteer headquarters, where he took over Pearse’s old post as Director of Organization before becoming Director of Intelligence, finally in Dáil Eireann, as the underground government’s very effective Minister for Finance. Collins was a doer. Essentially a well-informed opportunist with very few scruples, his entire ideology could be stated in five words: ‘The Irish should govern themselves.’” 

–  Sean Cronin, “Irish Nationalism: A History of its Roots and Ideology”

“The characteristics which mark Collins out as a remarkably successful Director of Intelligence during the War of Independence include his evident appreciation of the importance of the collection and assessment of information as primary elements of intelligence operations which should precede action; his partial penetration of his adversary’s own intelligence system; the efficiency and ruthlessness with which action based on good intelligence was taken; and his success in preserving the security and efficiency of his own organization both in Dublin and in Britain despite the pressures it operated under because of the constant threat of raids, arrests and the capture of documents.”

 –  Eunan O’Halpin, “Collins and Intelligence: 1919-1923 From Brotherhood to Bureaucracy” (in the anthology Michael Collins and the Making of the Irish State)

 Introduction

Michael Collins was a tough young Irish operative during the seminal years of Eire’s final divorce from the United Kingdom at the beginning of the twentieth century.  This essay will attempt to discover if Collins was the culminating point that brought Number Ten Downing Street to the negotiation table, stared down Winston Churchill and came home with the solution for Irish independence from the British Crown.

Ireland was invaded and occupied the British crown in 1169 and suffered a brutal occupation punctuated by indigenous risings, rebellions and pockets of resistance. Sinn Féin emerged in 1905 to formalize a political vehicle to liberate the Irish from the British occupation.  These sophisticated rebel organizations started to emerge in the in the 19th and 20th century, culminating in the 1916 Easter Rising which led to the mismatch and overreach that would be the undoing of English rule over the Irish.

Michael Collins would emerge as the premier guerrilla leader during the crucial struggle between 1916 and 1922.  He embodied the early germination of the non-state soldier as a twentieth century variation on the age-old warrior in history and fought in Ireland under a variety of covers and positions within the political hierarchy of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB).  Collins would fight for the next four years culminating on Bloody Sunday on 21 November 1920.

 The Rising in 1916

During the Easter week of 24-30 April 1916, the IRB fielded the Irish Volunteers and smaller elements of Irish nationalists rose in armed rebellion in Dublin against the British crown.  The violence was a tremendous shock to the authorities in London and they reacted with enormous disproportionate use of military and constabulary forces to quell the rebellion.   “The British Army reported casualties of 116 dead, 368 wounded and nine missing. Sixteen policemen died, and 29 were wounded. Rebel and civilian casualties were 318 dead and 2,217 wounded. The Volunteers and ICA recorded 64 killed in action, but otherwise Irish casualties were not divided into rebels and civilians.” [1] Executions and reprisals followed and Collins started to rise in the ranks to prominence in the aftermath of the Fort Sumter of the twentieth century Irish revolution against the Crown and eventually a bloody civil war that would pit Irishman against Irishman.

An increased colonial imperial presence started to expand its reach on the southern island that was the heart of the rebellion.  England was on a war footing in her third year of fighting in the First World War and troop movements and weapons availability were quite abundant for the forces deployed.  The British had to invest in a counterinsurgency campaign and still had upper tier members of the military high command with bitter memories of the COIN difficulties in the two Boer conflicts fought less than a generation before.

The Rebellion in Earnest

The IRB and the other militant organizations started to realize that the war would have to be one of the classic insurgent and conducted in “suit and tie” as it were, assuming aliases and slipping through the mass base undetected.  Collins would for three years hide in plain sight in Dublin and its environs posing as a businessman named “John Grace”.  Great Britain would respond with one of the most slipshod and misinformed counterinsurgency (COIN) campaigns in recent history with a number of missteps that would eventually cost them the conflict and the island of Eire would eventually float out of the Dominion orbit. Some suppose that if that had not occurred during wartime, that the COIN may have had an even chance of success but the “modus operandi and outlook…had been shaped during wartime for the intelligence apparatus which required intelligence officers to cut corners, dispense with vetting procedures and cold pitch informers.” [2] The British also severely underestimated the IRB/IRA counterintelligence operations being conducted against them.

Once the British introduced the Blacks and Tans, a paramilitary police unit in concert with the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC), the atrocities started to even gain attention in England and some Members of Parliament warned that the harsh treatment would lead to a deepening resistance and compel the populace to close ranks with the rebellion.  Contrary to the popular media, the massacre at Croke Park in 1920 where 13 civilians died was at the hands of the RIC and some auxiliaries. Nonetheless, a critical mass of English brutality was having a measured effect on the Irish mood that the IRA took full advantage of and Collins hatched a plan to assassinate members of the intelligence organization known as the Cairo Gang headquartered in the Castle.

 Bloody Sunday

The propaganda war on both sides was quite effective although one can say the Irish rebellion had an advantage between a sympathetic USA and British public becoming exhausted with the expense and the apparent atrocities starting to percolate for the unintended conflict that Great Britain had been escalating since 1919.  Even Churchill grew weary in 1920: “What was the alternative? It was to plunge one small corner of the empire into an iron repression, which could not be carried out without an admixture of murder and counter-murder…. Only national self-preservation could have excused such a policy, and no reasonable man could allege that self-preservation was involved.”  One can bookend this speech with one of the greatest speeches Churchill even made on 8 July 1920 concerning the British military massacres of Indians at Amristar on 13 April 1919 (also known as the Jallianwalla Bagh Massacre) and his condemnation of British military excesses in the Raj, one cannot help but think he was conflating some of that brutality with what was transpiring in Ireland during the war.[3] Churchill’s reputation as one of the finest speakers in the English-speaking world gave him a platform which enthralled millions in the British public whether broadcast or read transcripted in the daily newspapers.  The daily mauling of Irish civilians by British occupation forces may have started to gain more traction.

On 19 June, 1920 the commanding officer of the RIC in Listowel informed his ranks:

“Now, men, Sinn Fein have had all the sport up to the present, and we are going to have the sport now. The police are not in sufficient strength to do anything to hold their barracks. This is not enough for as long as we remain on the defensive, so long will Sinn Fein have the whip hand. We must take the offensive and beat Sinn Fein at its own tactics…If a police barracks is burned or if the barracks already occupied is not suitable, then the best house in the locality is to be commandeered, the occupants thrown into the gutter. Let them die there—the more the merrier. Should the order (“Hands Up”) not be immediately obeyed, shoot and shoot with effect. If the persons approaching (a patrol) carry their hands in their pockets, or are in any way suspicious-looking, shoot them down. You may make mistakes occasionally and innocent persons may be shot, but that cannot be helped, and you are bound to get the right parties some time. The more you shoot, the better I will like you, and I assure you no policeman will get into trouble for shooting any man.” [4]

The perfect storm was emerging that would lead to the operation that would change the course of the conflict and eventually draw the British to the negotiating table to parley for a conditional settlement and peace that may free the Irish from English dominion.

Collins would strike the match that would put the British in the hazard.  His “Squad” was comprised of volunteer gunmen and supporting elements that would target the Cairo Gang at Dublin Castle who were a key component of the intelligence complex the English had deployed into Ireland to quell the rebellion.  The popular media has greatly exaggerated the importance of the Cairo Gang in the vast network of intelligence assets the Crown had deployed but the propaganda impact coupled with what would happen within hours of the assassination would force the British government to find a solution the IRB and indigenous Irishmen would agree to.

“Shortly after eight in the morning, [Collins’ men] converged on eight different addresses in Dublin.  Nineteen soldiers, one or two of them probably not agents, were roused from their sleep and shot.” [5]

Of these, thirteen were killed and six wounded according to official reports. When Collins would hear the news, he would say: “Good God. We’re finished now. It’s all up.” [6] This was not the blow the popular media makes it out it to be ands tends to be exaggerated.  This was a propaganda blow but had a relatively minor operational impact from an intelligence perspective.

“In hindsight, Collins’ operation, although executed with imprecision was a shock to British intelligence but quite limited in scope.  The IRA succeeded in eliminating only a small fraction of the legion of British intelligence operatives, although there is no question that a few of those assassinated were among the more experienced and aggressive operators. At the end of the day IRA gunmen killed seven confirmed intelligence officers, two legal officers, one informer, and two Auxiliary temporary cadets, while wounding four more suspected spies.” [7] Collins blow would nonetheless have far-reaching effects that would happen just that afternoon.

The day was not over as the bloody-minded British Blacks and Tans and some associated constabulary possibly seeking revenge opened fire at the football pitch in Croke Park that afternoon by killing 12 civilians and maiming hundreds of other players and spectators in what would become the Croke Park massacre that would even upset the British government at the ferocity and brutality of the attack after the stinging rebuke Churchill had spoke against mere months before in the Parliament during General Dyer’s trial for the Indian massacre.

Conclusion

A mere two years later in December 1921, the Irish would get their independence after almost eight hundred years as a mostly unwilling vassal of the United Kingdom.  This would spark a vicious civil war between two competing factions that would be long and bloody.  Collins would be assassinated himself in his personage as the military commander of free Ireland by a rival Republican faction in August 1922.

Collins was an able commander and essentially one of the first successful non-state soldiers of the twentieth century although T.E. Lawrence may tangentially take the laurel for being a state soldier commanding an entire army of non-state soldiers in WWI during the British fight against Turkey in the Middle East.  One must entertain the counterfactual that had Collins not struck such a blow and reaped the unintended windfall of English brutality and callous disregard for human life at Croke Park that same afternoon if the Commonwealth may have remained intact.

“… [G]iven time, strength and public support, the British forces could have reduced rebel operations to negligible proportions. Nevertheless, these quintessential conditions were missing. While the IRA survived, political pressure on the British government increased and though the balance was tantalizingly fine, the IRAS held out longer than the government’s nerve.  That was what mattered.” [8]

Collins survived and went toe to toe.

Collins was at the right time and right place to take full advantage of English missteps and capitalize on the unintended profit from Churchill damning the military brutality by Raj forces in India resulting in thousands of civilian deaths and maiming.  Many forces were starting to coalesce to include the post-WWI exhaustion of Britain, British financial woes and the consolidation of Irish guerrilla forces under a capable and effective leadership. The combination of ruthless efficiency, political stellar alignments and the sheer exhaustion of the British public with the conflict most likely tipped the balance for Collins and his confreres.

A single day in which both the protagonists swung at each other may very well have set the conditions for Irish freedom.

Bibliography

[1] Foy, Michael, and Brian Barton. The Easter Rising. Chicago: The History Press, 2011.

[2] Hittle, J.B.E. Michael Collins and the Anglo-Irish War: Britain’s Counterinsurgency Failure. Washington DC: Potomac, 2011.

[3] Herman, Arthur. Gandhi & Churchill: The Epic Rivalry that Destroyed an Empire and Forged Our Age. New York: Bantam, 2009.

[4] Wilson, A.N. After the Victorians: The Decline of Britain in the World. New York: Farar, 2005.

[5] Coogan, Tim Pat. Michael Collins: The Man Who Made Ireland. Boulder: Roberts Rhinehart, 1992.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Hittle, J.B.E. Michael Collins and the Anglo-Irish War: Britain’s Counterinsurgency Failure. Washington DC: Potomac, 2011.

[8] Doherty, Gabriel, ed. Michael Collins and the Making of the Irish State. Dublin: Mercier, 1998.

 Recommended Reading

Barry, Tom. Guerilla Days in Ireland. Cork, Ireland: Mercier, 1995.

Cronin, Sean. Irish Nationalism: A History of Its Roots and Ideology. New York: Continuum, 1982.

Dwyer, T. The Squad: and the Intelligence Operations of Michael Collins. Cork, Ireland: Mercier, 2005.

Foy, Michael. Michael Collins’s Intelligence War: The Struggle Between the British and the IRA 1919-1921. Charleston: The History Press, 2006.

Gleeson, James. Bloody Sunday: How Michael Collins’s Agents Assassinated Britain’s Secret Service in Dublin on November 21, 1920. Guilford: Lyons Press, 2004.

Hart, Peter. The I.R.A. at War 1916-1923. New York: Oxford USA, 2005.

Schneider, James. Guerrilla Leader: T. E. Lawrence and the Arab Revolt. New York: Bantam, 2011.