Chris was kind enough to answer some questions from the ZeroGov staff about himself, his books and his prognostications for the future.  Enjoy.  I highly recommend them.  Chris' responses are in italics. You can buy it here. Be sure to look for the second volume if you are interested. -BB
  • What motivated you to write Operation SERF?
I started writing the first book purely for fun during some of my limited free time on weekends one winter.  It was an exercise in creativity which was encouraged by author/blogger Charles Hugh Smith.  The entire book was originally posted as free weekly installments on his website.  The idea grew larger than I had initially imagined and the web series became the first book of a trilogy.  My time spent boots on the ground in Iraq and my studies of the collapse of Yugoslavia gave me both the concrete hands-on experience and academic knowledge needed to breathe life into a fictional scenario.  But aside from the creativity associated from doing art for the sake of it, part of my motivation was to warn my fellow Americans about a devastating course should we chose such a path in the future.
  • How close are we to a collapse similar to the book’s portrayal of the slow and grinding fall into the abyss?
Right now we as a nation could go either way.  Keep in mind that I'm thinking about a time-line over the next 10 years.  I'm focused on economics today because that is the main crossroad we're at in 2011.  The question we're faced with now is can we create enough jobs for not only the adults who are currently out of work, but all the new graduates who will be seeking work each year from here on out.  The question tomorrow at the next critical junction will be do we have the natural resources and fuel supply to meet the demands of a growing population.  No matter how I project various scenarios out in my own mind, my intuition tells me we will be forced to change our way of life.  I'd like to think we're capable of decentralizing governance and production to meet regional needs in a sustainable way, but I doubt the people currently in power are capable of relinquishing their grips on the reins.  I see no evidence yet that the flawed personalities of our so-called leaders who've brought us to the brink of collapse will be miraculously healed in time to avert a hard landing.  Therefore as it stands now, their proposed solutions will either still fail or only bring greater strife.
  • Since writing the book, have real time events around the globe caused you to think that it may happen just as you extrapolated?
The word “austerity” had not yet entered the common American vocabulary when I began writing the book in late 2008, but in 2011 we're beginning to understand how it will affect local, state and federal budgets.  It will take a few more years before we see how this plays out on the street in concrete terms.  More people will become unemployed and even if they're able to find work later, it won't be for the same pay they had in the past.  Their standard of living will fall.  When there's no money to fix the infrastructure and the concrete literally begins crumbling under our collective feet, only then will the people who've had continuous employment all along realize that our slow downhill trend had been afoot the entire time.
“Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.” -Winston Churchill (in a brief moment of intellectual sobriety)
I am just finishing Joshua Ramo’s book, The Age of the Unthinkable: Why the New World Disorder Constantly Surprises Us And What We Can Do About It. A scintillating read but the treatment of the subject in Ramo’s book is superficial at best.  This is a reflection of his journalist pedigree and affiliation with Kissinger Associates.  Kissinger is by far one of the most exaggerated intellects to ghost foreign policy circles since it became its own area of academic inquiry in the twentieth century.  He is emblematic of the journalism profession today.  Ramo said the following in an interview:
“You espouse that average citizens should take control of their lives and live in a "revolutionary" manner. What do you mean? Can established governments and revolutionaries co-exist?” “Sure they can. Google and the US government get along fine (more or less). What matters is that we all do three things: first we have to live lives that are very resilient, which means taking care of ourselves, our savings, our family and our education so we can adjust to a rapidly changing world. Second, we all have to participate in a caring economy, devoting some of our life to helping others instead of relying on the government to help others for us. And finally we have to be innovative in how we live and think. We have to try to think of new ways to make a difference in the world as individuals, to help prepare our children to manage and control their own lives instead of relying on big corporations or the government to do so.”
All of these ideas are excellent but this is the same author who rightfully condemns the blindness and stupidity of government behavior in everything from the fatal Israeli incursion into Lebanon in 2006 and the resulting mauling by Hezbollah to the sclerotic and ineffective regulation of complex financial markets; he then veers into a list of things the government can do right to include total government provision of healthcare.  What?!  Ramo, you miss your own message. Government cannot provide resiliency in the sense you recommend except in the maintenance of its own power by either violently rending its neighbors or cannibalizing its constituent parts to keep it alive.  There is only one imperative ALL governments share and that is self-preservation and opportunistic expansion at every turn.  Ramo treats resiliency as a positive attribute at the individual level but misapprehends its application to gun-run organizations like the state where innovation and effectiveness are always subjugated to the aforementioned imperative.
Publisher’s Note: Skip put together yet another outstanding tool review for the Village.  He is working on his comprehensive Amagi as we speak and we will publish that in the near term.  It is the one-stop shopping for delineating armaments packages for the Village faithful.  I do want to emphasize that it is one thing to have the kit but if you don’t train and prepare ahead of time, the most expensive and high-speed kit available will do you no good whatsoever.  A large part of good luck is meticulous and comprehensive planning and preparation (this applies to all aspects of life).  We have adopted the gas impingement versus gas piston systems for the family of AR platforms we have evolved to for reasons of costs and accuracy.  It has been a bit sad to evolve away from the FN FAL platform but technology marches on.  A preview of the M110A1 Carbine platform we are adopting can be seen in the review photos.   Therefore, this tool is critically important to keep everything in proper working order. Comments and discussion on this review is here: -BB A truly functional tool is one that compliments your equipment and other tools in such a way that means less overall equipment while you are on the move. It is for this reason I have evaluated the Combat Application Tool Inc. in the .223 (CAT-M4) and .308 calibers (CAT-762), as well as the new Tactical Tolerance Talon chamber tool. The analysis of capability vs. load definitely favors the CAT M4 over any bolt carrier or bolt cleaning tool with its very capable task of not only cleaning the carbon build-up inside of the bolt carrier of the AR-platform, but the tail of the bolt itself. Many a bore brush has lost its life, unknowingly damaged bores, and ended up discarded prematurely by the misapplication of using a bore brush to remove carbon build up on the bolt and bolt carrier.

Any soldier knows that carbon build-up is very difficult to combat in the field, and this tool fits the bill wonderfully. The capability vs. load test method is, quite simply put, “Is the benefit worth the weight?” Look at the discarded gear for miles past any large trail-head and you will understand the essence of this method. I have compiled a few suggestions for Combat Application Tool Inc., and of course, the operator that will deploy in harm’s way with the never ending possibility of a malfunction attributed to weapon maintenance, ammunition quality, and/or operator error.

The purpose of the Talon is to clear the chamber lugs quickly. In the 10-step AR Check by Ned Christiansen, step number 5 states: “Remove bolt and check for presence and condition of gas rings and check barrel for obstructions.”
Tom Ball died on 16 June 2011 by his own hand in front of a courthouse in New Hampshire.  Like the gentleman who crashed a plane into an IRS building last year, his self-immolation was a message to America.  When you take everything from a man, he may become the most dangerous man around because he has nothing to lose.  His travails in the Federal and State child-legal-industrial complex is emblematic of the callous and imperious disregard for liberty exhibited by every agency in existence.  The IRS and Mr. Ball’s particular target of ire are merely examples of a runaway system that treats people like cattle and grinds them into a somnambulant zombie population that shambles to work and surrenders nearly 60% of the proceeds to one government entity or another along with compliance to a mountain of regulations impossible to comprehend.  This is a harbinger of things to come.They have yet to release the video footage of his demise. Tom Ball left the following testimonial after his unseemly death. Notes in the Margin: Posting has been somewhat marginal lately because most of the writers and staff of Zero Gov have been contending with the massive Monument Fire in southern AZ.  None of us have lost homes but we did get the opportunity to practice what we preach and host evacuees in our homes and horses in our paddocks as guests of the spontaneous order of helping neighbors and friends without resorting to violence. That fire appears to be near containment now and we will get back to work. I will be on Adam Versus the Man tonight (1900 EST 6/23/2011) with Adam Kokesh: -BB A man walks up to the main door of the Keene N.H. County Courthouse, douses himself with gasoline and lights a match. And everyone wants to know why. Apparently the old general was right. Death is not the worst of evil. I am due in court the end of the month. The ex-wife lawyer wants me jailed for back child support. The amount ranges from $2,200. to $3,000. depending on who you ask. Not big money after being separated over ten years and unemployed for the last two. But I do owe it. If I show up for court without the money and the lawyer say jail, then the judge will have the bailiff take me into custody. There really are no surprises on how the system works once you know how it actually works. And it does not work anything like they taught you in high school history or civics class.
"My subject, then, fellow citizens, is American slavery. I shall see this day and its popular characteristics from the slave's point of view. Standing there identified with the American bondman, making his wrongs mine. I do not hesitate to declare with all my soul that the character and conduct of this nation never looked blacker to me than on this Fourth of July!" -Frederick Douglass
I always hear folks saying, "if we could only get back to the Constitution". Well, in the spirit of the 4th of July coming up in a couple of weeks, I would like to examine the founding documents of this country with the hopes of pinpointing just where we went off track. Did we actually get away from the Constitution? I would like to start with the Declaration of Independence. In my opinion, the Declaration is pure American poetry, and the first couple of paragraphs are beautiful. It's enough to make you proud to be an American again. Here we go- The Declaration of Independence In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776. The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,--That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. I would like to examine this sentence very closely- That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their JUST powers from the consent of the governed. Do you see that word--Just--in there? I would like to define that word, as it was put there for a reason. It does not say "deriving their powers from the consent of the governed".
Publisher's Note: Sometimes someone comes along who simply explains a complex phenomenon in such clear and unguarded terms that you stand up and take notice.  I find Marxism to be a vapid and ultimately, infantile, view of the world that has one sole interest - to invest a self-selected nomeklatura with the means to ideologically and morally justify the creation of a prison state.  To stamp out  individual volition and embrace the culture of the ant and the bee.  To ensure that harmony is struck no matter what the human cost.  Absent violence and mass privation, Marxism in the world of humanity simply does not ring true to both its ambitions and the fruit of its practice.  Marxism is, at bottom, a death cult. -BB
"He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother." - George Orwell, 1984
  There is a three stage answer to that. My interpretation of Obama, which I believe is correct beyond a reasonable doubt, is based in what Stanely Kurtz uncovered about him (augmented by some other background on him) while researching Radical-in-Chief. That said, my conclusions begin where Kurtz stops. I don’t think that he would necessarily disagree with me, but to say what I do about this would mark him as a “right-wing extremist.” There are certain places one must not go. First, there’s no question that Obama is, as you say, a “political animal,” but that’s a secondary characteristic. He is not simply another Bill Clinton. Far from it. He does not exist just to get elected. He expects to get elected. And he expects to be elected to fulfill a purpose, not simply to be re-elected. Second, as Kurtz demonstrates beyond any doubt, Obama is a born and bred to be radical socialist. Only a few times does Kurtz let slip the ‘M’ word, but I have no doubt, none whatsoever, that not only is Obama a studied Marxist, but that he is in almost every respect an orthodox Marxist. This might confuse some because he took on the “community organizer” guise at an early age, but the theory behind that modality, as Kurtz shows, is to move Marxist concepts stealthily through grassroots organizing which eschews the use of Marxist language and to create a broad-based revolution from below, rather than from the top down. But of course that phase is ipso facto over with when Obama becomes president. It’s no more bottom up; he is at the top. But, as to community organizing, he still does that, but he’s doing it from the top (that’s another discussion, how he does that).

"I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery" -Thomas Jefferson A majority of people seem to believe I must have had a "conversion experience", a traumatic encounter with some agent of The State, such as an arrest for violating some governmental rule, to have become as skeptical and outright opposed as I am of the legitimacy of all forms of The State. This belief seems strange to me.  Must you see your best friend murdered before you hate murder?  How hard must you contemplate rape before realizing it is wrong? Probably some people came to libertarianism in its most radical form because of an event of this nature.  More people undoubtedly will in the future, while some will always feel they deserve anything done to them by The State and will never lose their patriotic [sic] fervor no matter how much it harms them and their loved ones. In my case, however, there was no horrible event to make me dislike the externally-imposed form of coercion commonly known as "government". It was simply a lifetime of observation and an inner need for peeling away the inconsistencies I discover. The more I saw and the more I learned the less I bought into the lie that government was "necessary" or "good". I began to see that every excuse for having "government" was based upon a trained helplessness, and every justification for The State necessarily ignored both solutions that were known and within reach, and the demonstrable harm that comes from relying upon coercion to get your way, rather...

Publisher's Note: All of you are aware I think voting is nonsensical and does nothing more than lend legitimacy to the statist quo.  Nonetheless, Jim March has produced an expose that I think is instructive to bolster my case.  Voter and voting fraud is epidemic in America and the world.  Yet, the state cannot even keep its grubby paws off THAT system without trying to game the power brokers and give advantage to the rulers every time.  If voting could change the system in a significant way, it would be illegal. For a witty compendium on why non-voting is the only virtuous course of action: -BB Introduction OK.  This is a weird situation.  I’m going to make some extraordinary claims here, and by law I’m unable to prove them.  That alone should tell you something has gone funky here. In short, when I finally had a chance to compare a county’s list of registered voters (Apache County) against the Arizona Secretary of State’s database of who’s registered, I found no matches at all in the year of initial voter registration that we would expect the most support for: 2009. In other words, the county thinks these people are registered, the state doesn’t.  Which should be impossible – because due to recent federal laws and statewide procedures changes, they claim to be operating out of the same database. What’s going on here?  I have no idea.  But I can tell you this – it ain’t working the way they say it’s supposed to work.  It can’t be.  Something is broken or operating in full-on retard mode, or worse there’s fraud afoot.  I dunno, but I do know this needs looking into. Welcome to the sausage factory.  Grab some nose plugs or a barf bag and do try and keep up. The Process They Claim Is Going On In most counties (Pima notably excepted), when you register to vote you fill out a paper form which gets it’s contents typed into a computer database.  That database doesn’t reside in your county (again: Pima excepted).  Instead, the election clerk in, say, Apache County uses a terminal application on a PC that talks to a database in Phoenix, at the AZ SecState’s office.  The application is provided by ES&S (Election Systems and Services), one of the major vendors of electronic voting systems – but unlike electronic voting machines, no outside auditing of the statewide voter registration database is mandated.

I don't hate cops. Wait, let me clarify. I don't hate cops, and neither should you. Let me clarify further. It's become a theme in libertarian, anarchist, gun-rights and drug-rights communities to bash police officers. I've seen the sentiment "The only good pig...

  Available here: I had the pleasure to pick up Larry’s book and I was surprised at the number of revelations in store.  I consider myself a senior member of the gun community in both the use of firearms and contending with the constant government depredations and threats visited on the gun community yet I had no idea the breadth and depth of gun cultures and ownership off our shores.  I have often thought that if these united States are the freest country in the world for guns, the planet must be a hoplophobe's paradise.  Not so.  We are considering a move overseas and Larry’s book was most instructive.  He was most kind to answer the ten questions I sent him.  I am certain that if anyone has any further questions I may not have entertained, we will post them to the ZeroGov Forum and discuss them there.  BTW, the US is number nine of the list meaning that eight nations are freer than America with respect to gun rights. -BB 1. What motivated you to write the book? I was motivated to write my book on gun laws in numerous other countries around the world when I realized that U.S. anti-gunners were either misinformed or untruthful when they claim the U.S. is the only country in the world with free and easy gun ownership rights and the only country with a gun culture. It seemed important to me to get accurate, usable information into the hands of our own defenders of the right to own and use firearms. 2. I was very surprised at the results in the book because we are propagandized to think that we are the only country on earth that protects private firearms ownership. Private ownership of firearms is seen by a significant number of people around the world as a deterrent to crime, civil unrest and tyranny, as evidenced by how quickly guns and ammunition are spirited away from battle sites or places where police confrontations have occurred and hidden.  Also some—but not all—nations that have been cruelly overrun by neighboring aggressors subsequently tend to allow relatively free and easy private gun ownership.  Finland, Switzerland and San Marino are examples.  Government officials in Israel, Belgium and Thailand have forgotten their lessons, but still allow some gun ownership. 3. Any updates or addition or deletions since you published the book? Gun laws on an international basis are a sometimes fast-moving target.  Change seems to be common.  This change, however, has—of late—been relatively modest.  Gun owners and citizens in general seem to have united within their various countries to minimize and deflect any significant tightening of rules and regulations.  This has been demonstrably true in England, Brazil, France and Switzerland.