“So what is to be done?”
John Hartley, Orthosphere (June 12, 2020)
I wish I had a wise and wily answer for Mr. Hartley, who asked his question in a comment on my post “Under the Heel of Armed Doctrine.” Alas, sixty-two years have shown that I am neither wise nor wily, although I have sometimes benefited from good lucky and God’s grace. I will admit that there were times when I fancied myself a master strategist, or what used to be called a long-headed fellow, and when I sat, fingers steepled and forehead knit, plotting the downfall of my enemies. But these times were in retrospect farces, since I am no Napoleon, just a melancholy fool.
Abandoning the idea that I was wise and wily was, however, the wisest and wiliest things I ever ever did, and I think that this is the first thing “we” must do as well. By “we” I mean the traditionalists and reactionaries who come to places like the Orthosphere for succor and solace. I mean men and women who are grieved, angry (and afraid) when the barbarians urinate on the memory, the faith and the statues of our fathers. We are not wise, or wily—or numerous. We are really just melancholy fools. And when we admit this, we grow a little less foolish.
We grow a little less foolish when we admit that we have no generals, and certainly no general staff. When I say that we have no generals, I mean of course that we have no leaders or friends in high places. None. When I say that we have no general staff, I mean that there is no plan. What we do have is a raft of grifters shilling for our money and votes, and a carnival midway’s worth of quacks hawking patent medicines made of alcohol, opium and sugar.
We grow a little less foolish when we admit that the “sleeping giant” is not a giant and that he will never be roused. Our fellow Americans are managed by an extremely efficient system of propaganda and social control, and can be made to believe and do just about anything they are told. I just this morning read some deluded Dutch courage from a man who reminded no one in particular that the Left was toying with the “sons of patriots who fought . . .” We grow a little less foolish when we admit that this is just bluster from the LARPing minutemen who always have been, and always will be, heading out for Lexington and Concord in just a few minutes.
We grow a little less foolish when we admit that our leaders are not awed by armed citizens, and in fact find the use and display of guns a very convenient means to defame us as violent rednecks, and quite often to put us in jail. We grow a little less foolish when we admit that our enemies are wise and wily, and so have already disarmed us without taking away our guns. Our enemies understand that power does not come out of the barrel of a gun, but rather out of the mouths and keyboards of people who have the power to say what a shooting means. And since any shooting by people like us means we lose, all of our guns are politically nugatory.
We grow a little less foolish when we admit that our enemies hate us and plan to destroy us. This means that we must admit the utter failure of what I call the First Things strategy, naming it for the magazine that attempted to bring traditional Christianity into the “public square” through intelligence and good manners. Politics is not a graduate seminar, a debating society, or a book club. We grow a little less foolish when we accept the fact that the “public square” is always just Tiananmen Square, Maidan Square, or the Place de la Concorde. It is the place where power eliminates its enemies.
If a leftist invites you to debate or speak freely, he is inviting you to get in the tumbrel and take a short ride to the Place de la Concorde. If a 2A believer encourages you to stock up on ammo, he is setting you up to be one more piece of evidence in the argument against 2A. If some LARPing minuteman lulls you with a fairy tale about a “sleeping giant,” he telling you to hit the snooze button and go back to sleep for just a few more minutes. And if anyone tells you he is your general or a courier from the general staff, you can be sure he is a plant, a phony, or (if you take what I have written to heart) a bigger fool than you.