CLAIRE BERLINSKI writes a fascinating essay asking the epochal question:  why is not the entire world population interested in finding out why the intellectual pathogen known as communism is not dead and buried?  What made it tick and what are the details of how it sustained itself in spite of the enormous death toll and deadening and zombification of hundreds of millions of the living?  Those of us on the individualist antiwar right loathe the National Socialists who are always fashionable villains but speak ill of the Commies and plenty of folks in the American intelligentsia will get misty or even hostile at the notion that Communism is one of the worst plagues in humanity’s history.  I never thought I would have to say this but they are back and communism is gaining steam again in the near future in America and we have a President who has been reared, mentored and influenced by Communism and its offshoots.  His ambitions to be a Red Czar are only tempered by his apparent appreciation that the platform will succeed in a program of gradualism versus the instant boil of a sharp-edged coup and institution of Marxist-Leninist principles immediately.  The slow boil continues. -BB


In the world’s collective consciousness, the word “Nazi” is synonymous with evil. It is widely understood that the Nazis’ ideology—nationalism, anti-Semitism, the autarkic ethnic state, the Führer principle—led directly to the furnaces of Auschwitz. It is not nearly as well understood that Communism led just as inexorably, everywhere on the globe where it was applied, to starvation, torture, and slave-labor camps. Nor is it widely acknowledged that Communism was responsible for the deaths of some 150 million human beings during the twentieth century. The world remains inexplicably indifferent and uncurious about the deadliest ideology in history.

For evidence of this indifference, consider the unread Soviet archives. Pavel Stroilov, a Russian exile in London, has on his computer 50,000 unpublished, untranslated, top-secret Kremlin documents, mostly dating from the close of the Cold War. He stole them in 2003 and fled Russia. Within living memory, they would have been worth millions to the CIA; they surely tell a story about Communism and its collapse that the world needs to know. Yet he can’t get anyone to house them in a reputable library, publish them, or fund their translation. In fact, he can’t get anyone to take much interest in them at all.

Then there’s Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky, who once spent 12 years in the USSR’s prisons, labor camps, and psikhushkas—political psychiatric hospitals—after being convicted of copying anti-Soviet literature. He, too, possesses a massive collection of stolen and smuggled papers from the archives of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, which, as he writes, “contain the beginnings and the ends of all the tragedies of our bloodstained century.” These documents are available online at bukovsky-archives.net, but most are not translated. They are unorganized; there are no summaries; there is no search or index function. “I offer them free of charge to the most influential newspapers and journals in the world, but nobody wants to print them,” Bukovsky writes. “Editors shrug indifferently: So what? Who cares?”

The originals of most of Stroilov’s documents remain in the Kremlin archives, where, like most of the Soviet Union’s top-secret documents from the post-Stalin era, they remain classified. They include, Stroilov says, transcripts of nearly every conversation between Gorbachev and his foreign counterparts—hundreds of them, a near-complete diplomatic record of the era, available nowhere else. There are notes from the Politburo taken by Georgy Shakhnazarov, an aide of Gorbachev’s, and by Politburo member Vadim Medvedev. There is the diary of Anatoly Chernyaev—Gorbachev’s principal aide and deputy chief of the body formerly known as the Comintern—which dates from 1972 to the collapse of the regime. There are reports, dating from the 1960s, by Vadim Zagladin, deputy chief of the Central Committee’s International Department until 1987 and then Gorbachev’s advisor until 1991. Zagladin was both envoy and spy, charged with gathering secrets, spreading disinformation, and advancing Soviet influence.

When Gorbachev and his aides were ousted from the Kremlin, they took unauthorized copies of these documents with them. The documents were scanned and stored in the archives of the Gorbachev Foundation, one of the first independent think tanks in modern Russia, where a handful of friendly and vetted researchers were given limited access to them. Then, in 1999, the foundation opened a small part of the archive to independent researchers, including Stroilov. The key parts of the collection remained restricted; documents could be copied only with the written permission of the author, and Gorbachev refused to authorize any copies whatsoever. But there was a flaw in the foundation’s security, Stroilov explained to me. When things went wrong with the computers, as often they did, he was able to watch the network administrator typing the password that gave access to the foundation’s network. Slowly and secretly, Stroilov copied the archive and sent it to secure locations around the world.

When I first heard about Stroilov’s documents, I wondered if they were forgeries. But in 2006, having assessed the documents with the cooperation of prominent Soviet dissidents and Cold War spies, British judges concluded that Stroilov was credible and granted his asylum request. The Gorbachev Foundation itself has since acknowledged the documents’ authenticity.

Bukovsky’s story is similar. In 1992, President Boris Yeltsin’s government invited him to testify at the Constitutional Court of Russia in a case concerning the constitutionality of the Communist Party. The Russian State Archives granted Bukovsky access to its documents to prepare his testimony. Using a handheld scanner, he copied thousands of documents and smuggled them to the West.

The Russian state cannot sue Stroilov or Bukovsky for breach of copyright, since the material was created by the Communist Party and the Soviet Union, neither of which now exists. Had he remained in Russia, however, Stroilov believes that he could have been prosecuted for disclosure of state secrets or treason. The military historian Igor Sutyagin is now serving 15 years in a hard-labor camp for the crime of collecting newspaper clippings and other open-source materials and sending them to a British consulting firm. The danger that Stroilov and Bukovsky faced was real and grave; they both assumed, one imagines, that the world would take notice of what they had risked so much to acquire.

Read the rest:

https://www.city-journal.org/2010/20_2_soviet-archives.html

I am starting to see an awakening among my colleagues and neighbors who pay attention and think through their suppositions that the Constitution may not be the ultimate panacea that the idolaters and hagiographers make it out to be.  I used to be a Constitutionalist and mouth the platitudes of getting back to the original intent and returning to our roots.  No more.  Thanks to my own research and the work of others such as Royce, Spooner and DiLorenzo, the curtain has been drawn back and we find the usual suspects – an enabling document not only for big government but the tools of repression granted.  The Constitution is a centralizing document.  This is why we almost had another war on American soil after 1783.

The Anti-Federalists were sounding the alarm against the imposition of a “gun in the hands of the national state” and the abilities of moneyed interest to purchase the barriers to competition they needed to legislative fiat.  READ the Anti-Federalist Papers soonest! The Constitution is a Hamiltonian monstrosity which was designed from the beginning as a mechanism to destroy the sovereignty of political subdivisions and subsume them to central planning whims of the Federal government.  Lincoln simply codified in blood and coda what Hamilton could not quite see through in his time.  From that point forward, the rest is the wretched history of the tentacle and grasping Leviathan that is these united States laboring under the Sovietized creature in DC.

Face it, if you are a Constitutional stalwart (whether an adherent of the original intent or the living document schools), you are a willing accomplice to the maintenance and expansion of big government.

See my essay on why the Articles of Confederation were superior:  https://www.lewrockwell.com/buppert/buppert29.1.html

I will be debating this very topic at Freedom Fest 2010 in Las Vegas in July. -BB

Venlet: On the Constitution as a “Counter-Revolutionary” Act — Parts I &II

Please read John Venlet’s essay here, to which I will refer as ‘Counter-Revolutionary — Part I’.

In a comment to John’s piece, I said that I would write up some thoughts on why I use the “Constitutional Restoration” as an organizing concept. As did John, I offer the same caveat — I speak only for me in what follows. Moreover, nothing below should be construed in any way by anyone as the giving of “legal advice”.

To begin, as a refresher, take a quick glance through each of these foundational American documents:

Declaration of Independence

Articles of Confederation

USC

BoR

Pretty rapid conceptual evolution, across less than twenty years of admittedly-tumultuous British and American history, wouldn’t you say?

I will leave it to others to recount the details of that evolution. Suffice it to say that the trend to centralized, national government has its roots in the very founding of the Republic.

And as we sit here, nearly 234 years after the signing of the Declaration, it is apparent to a growing plurality that the objective of the USC/BoR drafters — to cage the embryonic national government from all but a few limited, enumerated functions — has not been met.

For that plurality, the question arises as to remedies for this situation — discussions about which must be conducted within the context of Chapter 155 of Title 18 of the US Code:

  • § 2381. Treason
  • § 2382. Misprision of treason
  • § 2383. Rebellion or insurrection
  • § 2384. Seditious conspiracy
  • § 2385. Advocating overthrow of Government
  • § 2386. Registration of certain organizations
  • § 2387. Activities affecting armed forces generally
  • § 2388. Activities affecting armed forces during war
  • § 2389. Recruiting for service against United States
  • § 2390. Enlistment to serve against United States
I commend a slow, careful read of those statutes and the cases decided thereunder to any freedom-minded activist, coupled with a cold-blooded assessment of the Mighty Kenyan’s moral and legal compass, along with those of his state security toadies Holder and Napolitano. The material and sources cited here may be helpful in that assessment, as will Will Grigg’s recent thoughts on the subject.

But in risk, there is also opportunity. Read the full text of 18 USC 2385:

Whoever knowingly or willfully advocates, abets, advises, or teaches the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying the government of the United States or the government of any State, Territory, District or Possession thereof, or the government of any political subdivision therein, by force or violence, or by the assassination of any officer of any such government; or

Whoever, with intent to cause the overthrow or destruction of any such government, prints, publishes, edits, issues, circulates, sells, distributes, or publicly displays any written or printed matter advocating, advising, or teaching the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying any government in the United States by force or violence, or attempts to do so; or

Whoever organizes or helps or attempts to organize any society, group, or assembly of persons who teach, advocate, or encourage the overthrow or destruction of any such government by force or violence; or becomes or is a member of, or affiliates with, any such society, group, or assembly of persons, knowing the purposes thereof—

Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next following his conviction.

If two or more persons conspire to commit any offense named in this section, each shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next following his conviction.

As used in this section, the terms “organizes” and “organize”, with respect to any society, group, or assembly of persons, include the recruiting of new members, the forming of new units, and the regrouping or expansion of existing clubs, classes, and other units of such society, group, or assembly of persons.

But what if the agitator in question

…knowingly or willfully advocates, abets, advises, or teaches the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of restoring the government of the United States and the government of every State, Territory, District or Possession thereof, and the government of any political subdivision therein, to its Constitutionally-stated limits?

Aren’t the forces of tyranny potentially present in any centralized human endeavor thwarted — at least prior to the State’s inevitable use of force decision — by those who simply insist that Leviathan live within the constitutional cage designed for it more than 200 years before?

Make no mistake — this matter is NOT going to be settled by word games. The stakes are simply too high for all parties.

Leviathan will respond to the constitutionalists’ insistence with the only tools at its disposal — tooth and claw.

And when they do, the pragmatic constitutionalist will understand, once and for all, what Spooner meant.

In a few days, I’ll have the second half of my response to John’s article thought through and written.

Until then, think about these issues.

Your life, and those of your tribe, may depend on the correct answers.

See:

https://westernrifleshooters.blogspot.com/

I love a good turn of phrase and the proper elocution of the English language.  I find Winston Churchill to be one of the most eloquent and well versed humans in rhetoric and literature.  I found myself in thrall of his ideas for awhile enchanted by his articulation and my then-perceived notion that a well-spoken man was logical and possibly virtuous.  Speeches that rivaled the eloquence and power of the ancients in Greece and Rome (yes, I am an avid admirer of Cicero, et al). Then I discover his blood-lust for war and sheer statist proclivities through the good offices of Professor Raico.  As an avid consumer of military history, I had always been tangentially interested in Churchill in the war years and discovered over time he was a menace to humanity from his enthusiastic military disasters in WWI (Wilson’s War) to his shameful advocacy of mass murder from the air in strategic bombing to his group hugs with Stalin at Yalta and the final disgraces of madness like Operation Keelhaul to appease his fellow-travelers in the USSR.  A record of active complicity in evil that was only rivaled by our execrable and viscous  FDR (RedDR in more accurate parlance).

I  stumbled on Raico’s analysis in the audio collection of the book mentioned below and my opinion changed forever. Take the time to read the entire essay and the footnotes.  What you discover is that the tissue of lies and power aggrandizement that has been celebrated by the court historians has created this Sovietized nation we live in today.

I pursued other lines of inquiry concerning the frenzied and plentiful deception and propaganda operations performed by the British prior to the War to Save Joseph Stalin (others call it WWII):

https://www.amazon.com/Desperate-Deception-British-Operations-1939-44/dp/1574882236/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1274215749&sr=1-1

The massive fabrications and exaggerations in Churchill’s six volume treatment of the aforementioned conflict:

https://www.amazon.com/Command-History-Churchill-Fighting-Writing/dp/0465003303/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1274215499&sr=8-1

This may have been the embryonic moment when I started to question every notion I had of American and European history.  I have always been something of a skeptic but the essays of James J. Martin and Harry Elmer Barnes started to remove the scales from my eyes.  I started devouring more of the “other” historians whom the court historians sniff at in disdain.  The libertarian view of history makes the lens and filter even more clear.  We tend not to get caught up in party affiliations or preemptive judgments because we know the history of the growth of the state is all about power and control and the wrestling of one faction or another through force of arms or chicanery to get the farmed animals (the people) to yield to the farmers (the state).  The history of the US as of the rest of the world is basically one long sordid story of statist farmers and ranchers purchasing or bickering over the cattle or chattel rights, to use a more quaint but appropriate term.  Whether the economically illiterate Marxoid variants of yokedom or the more sophisticated farming operations of so-called “free market” states, the modus operandi is to either force or convince the producers to subsidize the looters and parasites (taxing authorities and their clients).  It is so simple it almost seems elegant. -BB

The Triumph of the Welfare State

In 1945, general elections were held in Britain, and the Labour Party won a landslide victory. Clement Attlee, and his colleagues took power and created the socialist welfare state. But the socializing of Britain was probably inevitable, given the war. It was a natural outgrowth of the wartime sense of solidarity and collectivist emotion, of the feeling that the experience of war had somehow rendered class structure and hierarchy — normal features of any advanced society — obsolete and indecent. And there was a second factor — British society had already been to a large extent socialized in the war years, under Churchill himself. As Ludwig von Mises wrote:

Marching ever further on the way of interventionism, first Germany, then Great Britain and many other European countries have adopted central planning, the Hindenburg pattern of socialism. It is noteworthy that in Germany the deciding measures were not resorted to by the Nazis, but some time before Hitler seized power by Bruning … and in Great Britain not by the Labour Party but by the Tory Prime Minister, Mr. Churchill.[160]

While Churchill waged war, he allowed Attlee to head various Cabinet committees on domestic policy and devise proposals on health, unemployment, education, etc.[161] Churchill himself had already accepted the master-blueprint for the welfare state, the Beveridge Report. As he put it in a radio speech:

You must rank me and my colleagues as strong partisans of national compulsory insurance for all classes for all purposes from the cradle to the grave.[162]

That Mises was correct in his judgment on Churchill’s role is indicated by the conclusion of W. H. Greenleaf, in his monumental study of individualism and collectivism in modern Britain. Greenleaf states that it was Churchill who

during the war years, instructed R. A. Butler to improve the education of the people and who accepted and sponsored the idea of a four-year plan for national development and the commitment to sustain full employment in the post-war period. As well he approved proposals to establish a national insurance scheme, services for housing and health, and was prepared to accept a broadening field of state enterprises. It was because of this coalition policy that Enoch Powell referred to the veritable social revolution which occurred in the years 1942–44. Aims of this kind were embodied in the Conservative declaration of policy issued by the Premier before the 1945 election.[163]

When the Tories returned to power in 1951, “Churchill chose a Government which was the least recognizably Conservative in history.”[164] There was no attempt to roll back the welfare state, and the only industry that was really reprivatized was road haulage.[165] Churchill “left the core of its [the Labour government’s] work inviolate.”[166] The “Conservative” victory functioned like Republican victories in the United States, from Eisenhower on — to consolidate socialism. Churchill even undertook to make up for “deficiencies” in the welfare programs of the previous Labour government, in housing and public works.[167] Most insidiously of all, he directed his leftist Labour Minister, Walter Monckton, to appease the unions at all costs. Churchill’s surrender to the unions, “dictated by sheer political expediency,” set the stage for the quagmire in labor relations that prevailed in Britain for the next two decades.[168]

Yet, in truth, Churchill never cared a great deal about domestic affairs, even welfarism, except as a means of attaining and keeping office. What he loved was power, and the opportunities power provided to live a life of drama and struggle and endless war.

There is a way of looking at Winston Churchill that is very tempting: that he was a deeply flawed creature, who was summoned at a critical moment to do battle with a uniquely appalling evil, and whose very flaws contributed to a glorious victory — in a way, like Merlin, in C.S. Lewis’s great Christian novel, That Hideous Strength.[169] Such a judgment would, I believe, be superficial. A candid examination of his career, I suggest, yields a different conclusion: that, when all is said and done, Winston Churchill was a Man of Blood and a politico without principle, whose apotheosis serves to corrupt every standard of honesty and morality in politics and history.

Ralph Raico is a senior fellow of the Mises Institute. He is professor of European history at Buffalo State College and a specialist on the history of liberty, the liberal tradition in Europe, and the relationship between war and the rise of the state. You can study the history of civilization under his guidance here: MP3-CD and Audio Tape. Comment on the blog.

This essay, which originally appears in The Costs of War: America’s Pyrrhic Victories, is respectfully dedicated to the memory of Henry Regnery, who was, of course, not responsible for its content.

See:  https://mises.org/daily/2973

It’s been a while, so please refresh on Part 1 and Part 2 of this series if you must.

So in the previous posts in this series we have learned how to analyze our environment and risks, inventory our skills, mental and physical readiness and our equipment. Now we come to the hard part- identifying gaps and shortfalls and determining how to address them.

We’ll begin by laying out our risk assessment (what scenarios are the most likely and what impact they will have if they occur), with our environmental conditions (how does the natural and man-made environment contribute to our our risks and scenarios) then cross reference our skills and equipment capabilities against those scenarios and conditions. This process is comparing what you can do right now with the conditions and scenarios created by a certain risk occurring. Ideally you would lay this out as a matrix- scenarios down the left hand column, skills and kit across the top, and 1’s or 0’s at the intersection wherein a 1 means that the particular capability meets the needs of the scenario and a 0 means it does not, or you have zero capabilities to address this particular condition or hazard.

Now we’ll move on to the second part of this exercise- determining gaps in your capabilities. Examine your matrix and find where you have a preponderance of 0’s- is it in food stocks, water supply or purification, self defense, first aid training, map reading, etc? These places where you have a 0 are where you gaps reside and this matrix gives you the start of a good road map to filling in those gaps.

So, we are at the point where we have gaps identified and hopefully you can prioritize them according to your needs (here’s a hint- prioritize them by the impact of the associated risk and it’s likelihood of occurrence). Before you go out a drop a bunch of cash (which for most of us is in short supply) determine whether the gap can be mitigated with a skill or a materiel. In general, skills and knowledge are cheaper to come by than equipment. If you have a gap that can be filled with training or with a materiel item, focus on the skill first. This can accomplish two things- you could mitigate the gap with knowledge alone, or if you must buy a piece of equipment, you now have the mental tools to evaluate the available options and determine which piece of equipment best fits your needs and your present skills. If this was my gap matrix, I would group my gaps into “like” categories and from there develop mitigation strategies that would address large groups of gaps simultaneously. This approach helps leverage limited resources.

In summation of the series- identify conditions, assess risks and scenarios, identify your capabilities, determine gaps and outline a mitigation strategy that focuses on skills rather than equipment.

I wanted to share this interview because if you have not read Higgs, you are the lesser for it.  He is almost in the same orbit as Rothbard when it comes to the intellectual foundations for pressing for liberty and freedom.  I especially appreciate the way he capitalizes on the singular advantage that libertarians tend to have when viewing history:  we know that power is the primary function regardless of alleged party affiliation which animates all lust for power.  Politicians, with rare exceptions, are sociopaths and psychopaths who are in the rarefied legal vocation of achieving wealth and prestige with no merit whatsoever.  The Republicans provide a great demonstration project for the alleged “small government” perspective in our electoral system: a clear explication for why the Grand Old Politburo behaved in such a Soviet fashion from 2000-2006 when they had all the power.  History is so much clearer when you realize it is the continuous and briefly punctuated march to total control of the populations the bureaucrats farm and the variations thereof.  The collectivists are murderously efficient when it comes to grabbing the levers of power and bulldozing all notions of decency and liberty in their path.  You will note that, excepting Ron Paul, not one GOP member stood up and asked that the Government got out of health care altogether much like our desires to get the government out of the classroom.  Period.  The powers that be are more concerned with the aggregation of the powers of arrest and confinement (and death in cases of resistance) to their ever expanding agenda of total control.  Those who think the election of new serial killers and gaolors in 2012 will turn this rusted hulk around will be sorely disappointed.  Continue to prepare for the worst. -BB

Robert Higgs

Daily Bell: What is going on now? How do the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq fit into the larger goals of the nation’s military industrial complex?

Robert Higgs: These wars have an overarching geopolitical goal, which is to make the United States the dominant power in the Great Game region, ensuring the exclusion of competing powers China and Russia and intimidating uncooperative regional powers, especially Iran. Underlying this goal is the U.S. power elite’s belief that they must control access to the vast energy resources of the Caspian Sea region and, not coincidentally, reap great profits for U.S. energy and energy-facility-construction companies in the process. The wars themselves, which have cost more than a trillion dollars so far, have been a godsend for the military leadership and for the tens of thousands of contractors and their employees who have been able to plunder the Treasury, owing in part to the loose or nonexistent accounting associated with doing business in the war zones. Of course, the war in Iraq has also been aimed at weakening or destroying Israel’s enemies.

Daily Bell: Will the West be going to war against Iran?

Robert Higgs: I hope not, but I do not know. I am certain, however, that if the U.S. military or its Israeli counterpart launches at attack against Iran, the result will be catastrophic in every regard and that the only possible gainers will comprise no one except the political leadership of Israel and a handful of political figures and their “intellectual” shills in the United States. War against Iran is simply another scheme to satisfy the neo-cons’ bloodlust and fulfill their ideological fantasies – nothing more and nothing less.

Daily Bell: What is the meaning of these serial modern wars? What is the West, particularly the Anglo-American axis, trying to accomplish?

Robert Higgs: Different persons and groups with influence on this war-making have different goals. The political leaders understand that war is the health of the state, and as the state’s kingpins they stand to benefit politically (and in many cases materially, in due course) from U.S. aggression against weak countries in the Third World. An array of economic interests – the so-called military-industrial complex – stands to gain profits, as do other parties, such as some of the big financial institutions. Influential political groups, such as the U.S. evangelical denominations, have become iron-clad supporters of militarism and of pro-Israel actions of all sorts. The military itself seeks to get or to maintain a gigantic flow of money and the power and positions associated with maintenance of a globe-girdling empire of bases. Overarching all of these particular interests is the shared ambition many members of the U.S. power elite have in maintaining U.S. global hegemony, and in using the leverage such hegemony provides to serve a variety of subsidiary interests, ambitions, and fantasies.

Daily Bell: Are you optimistic about freedom going forward? Has the Internet had a positive impact?

Robert Higgs: In the United States and other advanced Western countries, freedom continues to shrink. The wars in the Middle East and the current economic crisis have accelerated the movement toward totalitarianism. Meanwhile, however, in other parts of the world, most importantly in China and India, economic freedom continues to increase, with magnificent consequences for the economic well-being of hundreds of millions of people long trapped in poverty.

On balance, the Internet seems to have had a positive effect in strengthening the position of people who are resisting the ongoing growth of government. It has not been sufficient to stop that growth, but matters might have been even worse had the Internet not been available to permit the rapid, inexpensive transmission of counterarguments and counterevidence to the government’s unceasing lies and propaganda.

Daily Bell: What is the future for America? Is it in inevitable decline or will the Internet, like the Gutenberg press that came before, change the course of history for America, Britain and the West and help reverse the decline and usher in a modern Renaissance, etc.?

Robert Higgs: I foresee no new Renaissance. People in the West today are more inclined to believe economic, social, and political nonsense than their nineteenth-century ancestors were. Statism is rampant in many forms and many areas of social and economic life. People are ideologically brainwashed by the government schools and the mass media. The intellectuals are overwhelmingly opposed to economic freedom and inclined toward various more-or-less totalitarian schemes. Fears about a looming global-warming catastrophe and other ill-founded scenarios generate widespread delusions, receive constant stoking by the media, and keep the academics and the crony capitalists well served with grants, contracts, and consulting fees, among other things.

Daily Bell: What is the Independent Institute doing to arrest the authoritarian decline of the West and America in particular? Is it speaking out or is it involved in any particular educational endeavors?

Robert Higgs: The Independent Institute sponsors a wide variety of studies, conferences, and public programs to spread more reliable information about sounder analyses of economic, political, scientific, and related developments. Its fellows and affiliated scholars write and speak actively in diverse venues, on television, on the radio, and in personal appearances before many different groups in academia and among the general public. The Institute also operates a scholarship program to allow young people to attend private schools and a summer program for high-school and college students that focuses on instruction in the basics of philosophical, economic, and political understanding.

See the rest:

https://thedailybell.com/1017/Robert-Higgs-Independent-Institute-Free-Market-Thinking.html

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

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

And BY GOD, learn to shoot straight.

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

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

Great Britain versus The US Colonies
Belligerents

Great Britain

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

…these united States

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ralph Waldo Emerson, in his Concord Hymn described the first shot fired by the Patriots at the North Bridge as the “shot heard ’round the world”.

(more…)

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

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

Most people want security in this world, not liberty.

~H.L. Mencken, Minority Report, 1956

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

George Staropoli put it succinctly:

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

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

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

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

Regards,
Bill Buppert
Whiskey & Gunpowder

See:

https://whiskeyandgunpowder.com/rascal-rebel-rancheros/

 

Pay particular attention to the four levels of mastery mentioned in the essay below.  Whether you are improving marksmanship, trekking ability or simply honing already mastered skill sets (what the heck is that), use the four levels to determine what the training plan should be.  As a soldier and officer, I discovered that there is no ground-pounder worth his salt if he is not an effective teacher.  This is distinctly different from the indoctrination masquerading as teaching that goes on in the government education system in America.  There is no direct impact on the student as far as their safety and well-being immediately unlike the practice of marksmanship or mountaineering.Although I will submit that the present government monopolized system in America is creating a long-term hazard – enabling generations of unexamined subjects for the vast collectivist hell that has been under construction here since Teddy Roosevelt was in office.  That hell is very close to full fruition and implementation as the march to a Marxoid utopia gains more momentum.

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

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

Thanks to Mike V for the essay below. -BB

Praxis: Training Notes


US Soldier Training Iraqis in Map ReadingFrom a very serious, very experienced trainer up North we have these excellent points.Some training notes that might help folks move beyond “rote memory” and “group lock step”….

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Warning- Climbing is dangerous and should only be undertaken with the proper equipment and under experienced instruction. The post below is for informational purposes only.

What is Class 4 Terrain?

 

Class 1 Easy hiking – usually on a good trail.

 

Class 2 More difficult hiking that may be off-trail.  You may also have to put your hands down occasionally to keep your balance.  May include easy snow climbs or hiking on talus/scree.

 

Class 3 Scrambling or un-roped climbing.  You must use your hands most of the time to hold the terrain or find your route.  This may be caused by a combination of steepness and extreme terrain (large rocks or steep snow).  Some Class 3 routes are better done with rope.

 

Class 4 Climbing.  Rope is often used on Class 4 routes because falls can be fatal.  The terrain is often steep and dangerous.  Some routes can be done without rope because the terrain is stable.

 

Class 5 Technical climbing.  The climbing involves the use of rope and belaying.  Rock climbing is Class 5.  Note:  In the 1950s, the Class 5 portion of this ranking system was expanded to include a decimal at the end of the ranking to further define the difficulties of rock climbing.  This is called the Yosemite Decimal System (YDS).  The decimal notations range from 5.1 (easiest) to 5.14 (most difficult).  Recently, the rankings of 5.10 through 5.14 were expanded to include an “a”, “b”, “c” or “d” after the decimal (Example: 5.12a) to provide further details of the ranking.

 

Knowledge– Read the following books in this order- Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills (the seminal text on climbing, covers just about everything you’ll need to know), Rock Climbing Anchors: A Comprehensive Guide (specialized text that goes into more detail on anchors than M:FOTH),Rock Climbing: Mastering Basic SkillsAlpine Climbing: Techniques to Take You Higher and Climbing Self Rescue: Improvising Solutions for Serious Situations. All by The Mountaineers Press. After reading, sign up for classes with either the American Canyoneering Association, another accredited course or a very experienced individual. It’s like Appleseed- you can read “Fred’s Guide”, incorporate the lessons into range days and eventually make Rifleman on your own, or you can read “Fred’s Guide” and get hands on instruction from a Red Hat at an Appleseed and progress that much faster (and safer). Climbing Class 4 (never mind Class 5) involves risk due to the fact that you are defying gravity. Never exceed your current capabilities and skills, and leave enough energy in the tank for the descent. 70% of all climbing incidents occur on the descent due to exhaustion and mental relaxation / complacence. The information below is strictly on gear and is no substitute for quality instruction. I reference a lot of Black Diamond gear below, since they are a top manufacturer with a stellar reputation for quality, however any major climbing brand that is CE and / or UIAA certified will be just as good. Avoid “bargains” from unknown companies that do not QA / QC their equipment. Not only only are you “buying cheap and buying twice” you are putting your life on the line with sketchy gear. Spend a little more for quality.

Presently, I have most everything below except the rope, harness, helmet, gloves and anchors. I’ve acquired the gear piece by piece and it has not been a financial hardship as the individual components are relatively inexpensive except for the rope and anchors. For a belay device, I went with the ATC for its simplicity and ruggedness.

 

Belay Device: There are several different types to choose from- Figure 8, sticht plate, tube or “auto blocking”. Used for belaying a lead or second and rappelling.

 

Figure 8– simple to set up and use, unfortunately it will twist the rope to hell and gone. Economical option.

 

Sticht Plate– Old friction device that overcame the limitations of the Figure 8. In certain conditions may not provide enough friction to arrest a fall. Only 2 companies currently make plate devices. Old technology that is fading from use. I recommend passing.

 

Tube– Most popular type is the Black Diamond Air Traffic Controller (ATC). Simple, inexpensive ($20) device, handles a wide variety of rope diameters, non-mechanical and works in almost any environmental condition. Other manufacturers produce similar device types (Mamut, Petzl, etc). Best deal is the “Big Air” combo from Black Diamond, which is a basic ATC and locking asymmetric carabineer for $29. There are other ATC models “Guide”, “Sport” etc, but the basic ATC will do the job.

 

Auto Blocking– See the Petzl “Gri Gri”. Uses a clutch to slow the fall and lock off the rope. This device works similar to your car’s seat belt in that the rope can be fed slowly and smoothly out, but a sudden acceleration or jerk in the rope will initiate the locking mechanism. Mechanical device, only works with certain diameter and sheath material ropes, prone to incorrect rigging and is not idiot proof. Pass

 

Harness– Basic alpine or trad climbing harness should be enough. Purchase in person to make sure it fits. An ill fitting harness is uncomfortable and unsafe. Also recommend one with adjustable leg loops to accommodate a range of clothing options. Two gear loops are just about perfect for Class 4, 4 loops may be overkill. For those younger than 14 or 15, a full harness that attaches at the legs, waist and chest is required since their hips aren’t developed enough to prevent a slip out if they invert.

 

Slings / runners / cordelette– Used to build anchors and reduce rope drag. Get several 30cm, 60cm120cm pre-sewn runners / slings. Also get two 5.5 foot and one 9.5 foot lengths of webbing for building belay anchors. Get two lengths of cordelette (5-7mm accessory cord) for prusik loops used ascending or backing up a rappel. Get some other lengths of accessory cord to supplement slings and runners. Most economical is to purchase bulk spools of webbing and accessory cord and cut to size.

 

Anchors– For my local conditions I would stick with hexcentrics and stoppers. Enough to handle a wide range of crack sizes. Most expensive component in the kit. Your life depends on quality anchors, don’t go cheap. Used can be “ok” if the runners or wire hangers aren’t shot. Runners can be replaced with new slings or cordelette. Wires have to be factory replaced. Each anchor gets its own carabineer to “rack” on the harness’s gear loops and to attach to the runner. Other anchor options include snow stakes, pitons, ice screws, cams, looping a runner around a tree or rock, etc. They are condition dependent, as there probably isn’t anywhere in AZ where you can screw in a 10″ ice screw.

 

Carabineers

Locking– In addition to the locking carabineer for the belay device, have 2 aluminum locking carabineers on hand. For high friction / heat use in a Tyrolean Traverse, use steel lockers. Locking ‘biners are also used as part of the belay / rappel anchor and for backing up a rappel with a prusik loop.

Non-locking– 2 opposite and opposed non-locking carabineers equal 1 locking carabineer. Have enough ‘biners so that each sling / runner / cordelette loop has its own. Use D or asymmetric ‘biners. Oval ‘biners have lower strength since the gate takes the same of impact force as the spine. On a D or asymmetric ‘biner, the spine takes most of the force- if you look at the geometry of the ‘biner you can see how the force is distributed. An aluminum D ‘biner can withstand several more kilonewtons (kN) of impact force than a steel oval. If buying used, look for grooving from the rope, sharp edges, nicks, dings, bends, cracks, etc.

 

Rope: 10mm dynamic rope- here are two examples. A “dry treated” rope is nice, but in AZ, probably not necessary. 60m or 70m are standard lengths. Never buy a used rope. Without knowing how many falls it has taken, or its storage conditions, the rope has an unknown strength rating and should be avoided. New ropes start at around $100 and go up. If you have a rope that is more than 5 years old, it is probably best to retire it from a protection role. Most GI rapelling ropes are “static” and do not stretch when absorbing your impact on a fall. This is bad for two reasons- All the kilonewtons produced by the interplay of gravity, your weight and distance fallen are directly absordbed by your body and the anchor system. This can cause serious internal injuries and may “zipper” your protection out of their placements. Needless to say, this is bad. Dynamic ropes stretch, reducing the force imparted to you and the anchors.

 

Other: For local winter conditions above the snow line, very basic crampons and a piolet are nice to haves that will increase the safety margin. A helmet and belay gloves protect your head and hands and should be worn.

 

Physical Training: Class 4 and higher demands both aerobic and anaerobic conditioning, flexibility and strength training. Both Falcon and The Mountaineers Press have excellent books on climbing PT; I have both and I am drawing from them for my own conditioning routines. The good news is that training for climbing is not limiting. Unlike hard training for cycling, which develops absolute hammers for legs and a rock solid core but neglects the upper body, climbing uses all four limbs and aerobic / anaerobic conditioning. The training regimes listed in both books incorporates aspects of aerobic activities (running, cycling, fast hiking), strength training (weights, pull ups, push ups, core excersises) and flexibility.

 

Mike Vanderboegh penned this awhile back and it still bears repeating.  If you are not reading dusty old tomes and newer books alike to steep yourself in the soft and hard war that is beckoning, you are setting yourself up for failure.  I have been reading Heinlein since I was a wee lad and can’t help but recommend it for young and old alike.  This is the warfare coming to America whether you are prepared or not.  Scroogle or startpage 4GW and you will find countless mountain of information.  In addition to the essay below, I would direct your attention to the bottom for additional reading lists I have posted. -BB

Robert Heinlein: Pioneer Thinker in Fourth Generation Warfare

(Y)ou can forget all that dreck about 4GW and RMA. They are just Madison Avenue terms designed to extract a few more bucks from the taxpayers’ pockets. War has always been about will. Weapons, tactics, strategies are just tools used to affect the enemies will. Of course the ulitmate tool for that is a nuclear weapon. Nothing effects an opponent’s will more than killing him. And rumor has it that the long term effects are just as good as the short term ones. I assure you Custer will never again burn any Indian villages. — Tomanbeg on Strategy Page Military Science Fiction Discussion Board, 26 Sept 2003

“To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.”

-Sun Tzu, the Art of War

In January, 1941, after the fall of France and almost a full year before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, a small circulation magazine called Astounding Science Fiction began a serialized story (continued in the February and March issues) credited to “Anson MacDonald.” It was entitled “Sixth Column.”

Its author was in fact Robert Anson Heinlein, from an original idea given to him by Astounding’s editor, John W. Campbell. For the time, it was an incredible piece of work, and amazingly it still stands the test of time on very many levels. Sixth Column was later reissued in hardcover in 1949.

Yet, it was one of Heinlein’s most difficult projects to write, because it was a hand-off story concept and Campbell’s original story idea was light on specifics — especially science and military — and long on anti-oriental racism. It was so difficult that Heinlein never again accepted someone else’s idea as the basis for one of his novels. As Heinlein recalled:

Writing Sixth Column was a job I sweated over. I had to reslant it to remove racist aspects of the original story line. And I didn’t really believe the pseudoscientific rationale of Campbell’s three spectra — so I worked especially hard to make it sound realistic.

In Sixth Column (also known under the title The Day After Tomorrow)the United States has been conquered by the PanAsians, a combination of Chinese and Japanese, who have also taken the Soviet Union and India. In the process, they have developed a credo:

“Three things only do slaves require: work, food, and their religion.”

As Wikipedia notes,

“The book is notable for its frank and controversial portrayal of racism. The conquerors regard themselves as a chosen people predestined to rule over lesser races, and they refer to white people as slaves. . . . They require outward signs of respect, such as jumping promptly into the gutter when a member of the chosen race walks by, and the slightest hesitation to show the prescribed courtesies earns a swagger stick across the face.”

Yet the most heroic action taken by any character in the book is made by Frank Mitsui, an Asian American whose family was murdered by the invaders because they did not fit in the new PanAsiatic racial order. (Frank’s wife was black and his kids of mixed-race.) This was a daring plot element at the time.

And Heinlein does not whitewash his heroes either. The Americans return their conquerors’ racism by often referring to them as “flat faces”, “slanties,” and “monkey boys”. For this reason, Heinlein’s Sixth Column has been denounced as racist by some left-wing critics. It is not. It was, for its time, about as explicitly anti-racist as you could expect.

The Citadel, a top secret research facility hidden in the Colorado mountains is the last remaining outpost of the United States Army after its defeat by the PanAsians. Major Ardmore, sent by the War Department to convey final orders for independent resistance to the lab, discovers that a weapons development accident has killed all but six of the facility’s staff of over 300. The survivors are demoralized and want to quit. Ardmore takes command and soon the survivors learn the principles behind the weapon and how to control it. What they lack, Ardmore is painfully aware, is numbers to wield it in battle but first and foremost, an intelligence network to help them plan a campaign and target the weapon. Today we call this “Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield.” Ardmore finds his intelligence operative in a hobo named Jeff Thomas, a hobo who wandered into the Citadel as the war was drawing to a close.

(Heinlein’s characters draw their strengths from their unlikely life experiences. Thomas has learned from ten years as an itinerant laborer how to move without being seen, how to blend in, how to adapt to changing circumstances and he has the support network of other hobos. In the ruins of civilization, it is those who had the least to lose that survived the best. Perhaps, Heinlein hints, because their minds were already adjusted to dealing in adversity. Likewise, Ardmore is not a West Point trained officer. He is a marketing executive swept up in the war emergency. But this is key to his ability to think unconventionally and find a solution to the problems at hand.)

Robert Anson Heinlein, United States Naval Academy, 1929.

Inextricably linked with the concerns of pitiful numbers and lack of intelligence is the fact that the PanAsians make the Nazis look like pikers when it comes to retaliation against innocents for any show of defiance.

Everywhere (Thomas) found boiling resentment, a fierce willingness to fight against the tyranny, but it was undirected, uncoordinated, and in any modern sense, unarmed. Sporadic rebellion was as futile as the scurrying of ants whose hill has been violated. PanAsians could be killed, yes, and there were men willing to shoot on sight, even in the face of the certainty of their own deaths. But their hands were bound by the greater certainty of brutal multiple retaliation against their own kind. As with the Jews of Germany before the final blackout in Europe, bravery was not enough, for one act of violence against the tyrants would be paid for by other men, women and children at unspeakable compound interest. — p. 32

Once Ardmore is better informed about the conditions outside the Citadel, the more difficult his problem appears. The perfection of the weapon system leads others within the Citadel to want to use it immediately. Ardmore refuses.

Any way he looked at it, simple, straightforward military use of the new weapons was not expedient. Brutal frontal attack was for the commander who had men to expend. General U.S. Grant could afford to say, “I will fight it out on this line if it takes all summer,” because he could lose three men to the enemy’s one and still win. Those tactics were not for the commander who could not afford to lose ANY men. For him it must be deception, misdirection — feint, slash and run away — “and live to fight another day.” The nursery rhyme finished itself in his mind. That was it. It had to be something totally unexpected, something that the PanAsians wouLd not realize was warfare until they were overwhelmed by it.

It would have to be something like the “fifth columns” that destroyed the European democracies from within in the tragic days that led to the final blackout of European civilization. But this would not be a fifth column of traitors, bent on paralyzing a free country, but the antithesis of that, a sixth column of patriots whose privilege it wouod be to destroy the morale of invaders, make them sfraid, unsure of themselves.

And misdirection was the key to it, the art of fooling! — pp. 56-57

Here we have Sun Tzu’s dictum embraced, rather than the attrition warfare expressed by Tomanbeg above. Time and again in the book, the principles of maneuver warfare and 4GW leap from the page.

He realized suddenly that he was thinking of the problem in direct terms again, in spite of his conscious knowledge that such an approach was futile. What he wanted was psychological jiu-jitsu — some way to turn their own strength against them. Misdirection — that was the idea! Whatever it was they expected him to do, don’t do it! Do something else. — p. 199

And this was written in 1940!

As the campaign of psy-war and misdirection continues, Heinlein enunciates another maneuver warfare principle: subordinate commanders, right down to a fire team corporal, are to be permitted and encouraged to think for themselves and act decisively:

Thomas took the report and read it, then nodded agreement. . . “Perhaps we should have given more detailed instructions.”

“I don’t think so. Detailed instructions are the death of initiative. This way we have them all striving to think up some particularly annoying way to get under the skins of our . . . lords. I expect some very amusing and ingenious results.” — pp. 227-228

Finally, as the campaign enters its final hours, there is this:

How much longer, Chief?” asked Thomas.

“Not very long. We’ll let ’em talk long enough for them to know something hellacious is happening all over the country. Now we’ve cut ’em off. That should produce a feeling of panic. I want to let that panic have time to ripen and spread to every Pan Asian in the country. When I figure they’re ripe, we’ll sock it to ’em!”

“How will you tell?”

“I can’t. It will be on hunch, between ourselves. We’ll let the little darlings run around in circles for a while, not over an hour, then give’em the works.”

Dr. Brooks nervously attempted to make conversation. “It certainly will be a relief to have this entire matter settled onde and for always. It’s been very trying at times —” His voice trailed off.

Ardmore turned on him. “Don’t ever think we can settle things ‘once and for always.'”

“But surely — if we defeat the PanAsians decisively — ”

“That’s where you are wrong about it.” The nervous strain he was under showed in his brusque manner. “We got into this jam by thinking we could settle things once and for always. . . We should have known better; there were plenty of lessons in history. The old French Republic tried to freeze events to one pattern with the Versailles Treaty. When that didn’t work, they built the Maginot Line and went to sleep behind it. What did it get them? Final blackout!”

“Life is a dynamic process and can’t be made static. ‘— and they all lived happily ever after’ is fairy tale stupidity.” — pp. 231-232

“The price of liberty is eternal vigilance,” Heinlein tells us in Sixth Column, along with presenting a marvelous tale instructing us in the principles of maneuver warfare and 4GW. And he wrote it in 1940. That in itself is “Amazing.”

Get it.

Read it. You can find Sixth Column at most local bookstores.

Further reading in resistance and rebellion:

https://www.mcu.usmc.mil/lejeune_leadership/Accreditation/Counterinsurgency%20Reading%20List.pdf