I don't mean to offend. It's probably going to happen anyway.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Fallacy of the Quick Win

In a recent post, Oleg criticizes the 'marksman mindset' common to many discussions of a modern American revolution. The comment thread is really interesting, but I feel like it's missing some fairly important questions. There's rather a lot of discussion of various tactical and strategic subjects, but there's one question only tangentially mentioned at any point (at time of writing).

Who is the Enemy?

Some commenters were acting like the military is the thing to beat (as indeed was the tone of Oleg's original post) while others spoke of taking down the government establishment, while still others spoke of other strange permutations of organized violence.

If it comes to the point of needing violence to salvage this country, we have already lost.

Let me repeat that. Violence means we lose. Even should the military join the coup and every federal employee removed from office, if it comes to that point, it's all over. The fundamental nature of this country will be forever destroyed. A new country may arise from the ashes, with the same spirit as the old, but it will not be the United States.

Say then that this miracle coup has torn down the old Fed and placed a new, better .gov in place that will solve all the governmental problems in this country. Now what? Guess what? All the things we find so objectionable about the .gov today are representative of the minds of the people. Enough people are on the dole, enough people have no economic understanding, and enough people are single issue voters to stymie any attempt at a new government. At worst, you'd have another revolution on your hands as the rest of America decides it wants to go back to the way things were, and at best you restart the decline into our current predicament, with the added impetus of already having a population used to being ruled.

Who is the enemy? If anyone could conclusively show that one person was responsible for what's going on, I'd be right behind the mob going after them. That's sorta what happened with that whole British Monarchy thing, after all. Instead, we have a breakdown of the nation IN RESPONSE TO a breakdown of American society, not the other way around (though there is a bit of a vicious circle in it as well.)

There is no quick fix to this. It's not a case of "oh, well we just need to shoot all the bad guys then everything will be awesome again." If it were, it's possible half the country would end up dead. If this is going to be fixed, it's going to take work of the sort that lasts generations, not months. We didn't get here overnight, and we're not getting out overnight either.

It's also the sort of fight that's going to need to happen on pretty much every front at the same time. Electing principled politicians willing to do the unpopular, becoming active in governments from federal to township level, and, perhaps most importantly, doing our absolute best to raise new generations that will have the proper principles to move this nation in a good direction.

I'm not one to say that this country is beyond hope. She's in bad shape, but I don't think it's time to take her out behind the woodshed with the shotgun. It's going to take work, and she'll probably never again be entirely what she was, but it's not beyond hope. At least, that's what I keep telling myself.


  1. Good to see you back. Also, an astonishingly mature post for a college student. Are you a graduate student or an undergrad? And if the latter, are you age-appropriate? If so, I stand impressed. Most youngsters (forgive me) see the idea of revolution in black and white. The spectacles of age see shades of grey everywhere.

    You are wise beyond your years, I suspect. How old are you, anyway?

  2. I am a sophomore undergrad Mechanical Engineering student. I just celebrated my 20th birthday, so I am age appropriate.

    Thanks for your kind words. I try not to get carried away in absolutes. It helps that I think I've been raised right, and I see people say flat out wrong things with absolute certainty too often. It's led me to a mindset of challenging my own assumptions and certainties, and to be more willing to see the complexities of the other side. There are still certain fundamental values I hold that I won't shake on, but there are gray scales to a great many things. Disagreement on those fundamental values doesn't mean the other party is evil either, just, from my perspective, misguided. In my mind, the grayscale of the world does include black and white at opposite ends. They are rarely the locus of actions.

  3. We should always remember that peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding.


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