A Little Less Foolish

“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.

20 thoughts on “A Little Less Foolish

  1. “What we do have is a raft of grifters shilling for our money and votes”
    In a long-established democracy, there are always two (and only two) political parties, or coalitions of parties: the friends of corruption and the sowers of sedition; those who hope to profit from existing abuses and those who hope to profit from the disaffection those abuses produce.
    Politicians of both factions are kept in check by recalling an observation of Talleyrand – that great survivor – “Governing has never been anything other than postponing by a thousand subterfuges the moment when the crowd will hang you from the nearest lamp-post, and every act of government is nothing but a way of not losing control of the people.”

  2. Americans are like sheep until an invisible line is crossed. We saw it at the Alamo, during the War of Northern Aggression, WW2. We are told the sleeping giant doesn’t exist, but I saw a million Tea Party demonstrate against the monsters in DC. Had they been really, really mad what might these people have done. A few years ago i saw thousands of Americans at the Grady ranch armed and ready to take on Obama’s armed thugs. Thank God some government employee realized the Concord bridge had been reached and all the government’s chest thumping was about to get a volley and hasily retreated.
    I saw it in Richmond when 50,000 armed Virginian’s showed their opinion of the government which was followed by 95% of the counties of VA telling Richmond to pound sand. I saw my uber leftist county government try to impose Richmond’s policies face record shattering townhalls where everyone told them in no unceratin terms what they could do with their policies.
    We see the public arming itself, each month more firearms are sold than the armies of the USA, China, and Russia own, each month. And the author tells me that there is no giant. He isn’t sleeping he’s dead.
    Well son poke that bear with your delusions and see what happens. When it comes and it is coming I don’t want to hear we’re all Americans. Americans know what America is and we know who aren’t Americans.

  3. Pingback: A Little Less Foolish | Reaction Times

  4. Oooh! Nugatory! My favorite new word of the year. Today’s epiphany is that the Democrats are in cahoots with the American drug lords. I am not sure what they are trying to accomplish with their panics and riots except to accrue more power to themselves. I am not sure what can be done except hope that the blue states go bankrupt. If that happens, it might mean the Federal government will take over those states and we will end up with Trump becoming our God-Emperor like Putin in Russia. Conservatives really need an expert propagandaist.

    • When I first learned the word nugatory as a boy, I thought it must be connected to nougat candy, which my grandmother made and I happily ate. I now understand that there is no etymological connection, but still see an analogy between things of trifling importance and a whipped up concoction of sugar, egg whites and nuts.

  5. I see that you’re waxing Bonaldian . . . or as the young’uns say, you’re black-pilled. It’s such an unattractive mode. Whether it’s realistic, I’m not sure. However, defeatism definitely ensures defeat.
    “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.”
    And what when our Salazar does arise? Your advice will make his advance more difficult. I know that it’s somewhat less annoying to live without hope rather than continually living with hope unfulfilled, but that is our lot.
    Unlike you and Mr. Bonald, I just cannot accept that this unprecedented madness can continue without self-destructing or igniting an overwhelming reaction. The sleeping giant continues to sleep because we still live in a relatively liberal society where a man may “define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life,” in the words of Anthony Kennedy, and live out such a life. The latter day Bolsheviks haven’t yet been able to stomp on all their enemies’ faces. They have taken over much cultural and political territory, but life largely seems normal in most places if one turns off the news. If we continue down our present road, more and more people will not be able to avoid struggle sessions. They will not be able to escape with their “privilege.” Then, you’ll see the giant start to stir. Life is too comfortable now, and people have a lot that they do not wish to lose. The clever know best how to navigate the troubled waters, and it is from the clever that such Salazars arise. The day is coming. Of course, civilization will lose a lot in the meantime, There will be much suffering and many souls damned. But the day is coming, and it will make the reactions of the last two centuries look rather restrained and civilized — because those generations were more civilized. The left has eroded the forces of civilization, and the consequent barbarism will be most horrifying. As I tell my circle when discussing current events, they deserve the country they’ll get.

  6. A defeatist says we should stop fighting. I am saying we should start. And we start starting by shedding our comforting illusions, or what the young’uns nowadays call copes. A defeatist declares “we have lost.” I am saying we will have deserved to lose if we place our hopes in a sleeping republican giants with a locker full of guns.

    • OK, fair enough. To bring us around the circle, how may we wake — if not the giant, then how may we wake individuals from their voluntary captivity? To bring in a Matrix reference again, how do we present the pharmaceutical choice? Of course, we should continue our own Samizdat — online and in person. Beyond that, I really have no idea. One cannot compete in the marketplace of ideas when a giant Wal-Marx occupies almost all of the market, when most of the shoppers are broke (i.e. incapable of evaluating or even following an argument), and when the market administrators won’t sell you a permit to set up shop. The battle for hearts and minds — well, we’re in a bad strategic position, to say the least. There’s Dreher’s “Benedict Option,” but I agree with whoever said that the ideologues won’t be content to allow alternative communities to carry on in peace. Even ten years ago, I remember reading stories from the U.K. about how more and more people thought that catechizing one’s own children in the Christian faith was child abuse. What about the old tried and true Anglo-American escape through migration (Puritans, Loyalists, and Mormons, oh my!)?

      • There are no more Utahs at the edge of the world. Our model for ethnic organization should probably be the Jews, or the castes of India. Endogamy and raising our children to look on outsiders as unclean. But in the short run we need to organize.

      • I agree. The Jews are the only viable model. We need to devise a version of the Jewish strategy appropriate to a lower-IQ population. Unfortunately, it would take someone in their IQ range to figure out what that would be. In-group preference must be a key part of it. Loyalty to the group has three components.

        Loyalty to people: When outsiders attack one of us, understand that they attack all of us. Don’t bother wondering if the criticisms are true; we don’t take criticism from outsiders. Reformers are traitors.

        Loyalty to ideological inheritance: Respect the Western cultural canon (“Western” here includes all the historically Christian lands, including Orthodox, and our Hellenistic predecessor civilization) and the historic Christian faith. Like the Jews, we should inspire enough loyalty in our children that they will remain on our side even if they lose the faith. Conversely, we have no interest in profession of a Christian faith “reimagined” to condemn what Christian civilization has historically been.

        Loyalty to spirit. The Jewish spirit is prophetic and revolutionary, but ours is priestly and conservative. Their great virtue is zeal to right injustice; ours is reverence for an existing order that manifests the Creator. We must never lose this basic orientation.

      • That is a very good summary. I would add a clause on ostracism/excommunication and adoption/conversion. O/E can get out of hand, but there has to be a means to expel traitors and free riders. This might also help with the IQ problem. Indeed, I think the explanation of Jewish IQ is ostracism of useless Jews, and assimilation of those UJs into the host population. The cultural membrane must also be somewhat permeable in the opposite direction, although every adoption must benefit the group and there must be a Spanish Inquisition to deal with the Converso problem.

      • “But in the short run we need to organize.”

        The obvious candidate for such organization is the Republican Party, but I have no hope for party operators. I was a Republican for about two years — from age 17 when I declared in order to vote in the primary until I disassociated myself from American politics after entering a puritanical phase in my rejection of democracy soon after. It took me some years to return — then as a registered independent, which I have remained. Reading Strauss brought me back — no one ever lives in an ideal regime, and we must do the best that we can with what we have. Obviously, but I hadn’t considered such before. Anyway, the GOP is close to useless as an instrument to save the republic. As Vox likes to say, what have “conservatives” actually conserved (among things contested)? I usually vote for them because they’re better than the alternative, but they themselves are often a waste of a public salary. During the current hysteria, for example, I tried to contact local Republicans to encourage them to intervene to save our monuments. Crickets chirping. If they could not or would not stop infanticide or the bizarro world attack on marriage, then what hope could we reasonably have that they would put forth any effort to fight after barbarians storm the city? Useless.

        Are there serious efforts to organize? Such is so much easier for leftists. We work (in non-“activist” jobs), have families, practice a real religion, and maintain non-partisan civic commitments. They have hordes of people who are willing and available pawns — and with a zealous commitment to the “Cause,” whatever it happens to be that day.

      • I agree with what you say about the GOP. I understand that my personal agenda cannot be the party platform, and that I must enter into a coalition with others, but the GOP has taken social and religious conservatives for granted. It knows we have no where else to go, so the most it does is fight brief mock battles and then surrender. Our organization must begin at a much lower level, and must take protection of social and religious conservatives as its first goal. This begins with psychological protection, with organized efforts to reassure social and religious conservatives that they are neither stupid nor crazy. That’s my goal when I write for the Orthosphere. I don’t know that I have accomplished anything, and do know that I can’t have accomplished very much, but that is my goal. When we overcome the trauma that has demoralized so many of us, we start our own long march through the institutions. This will have to be an underground movement that understands the arts of semiotic warfare and institutional infiltration, but we are a long way from that. A conspiracy cannot begin until the conspirators know each other. For instance, if your church or parish is evolving into a coven of social justice warriors, you must first identify the people who would oppose this if they were organized and knew how. You then need to bring that group together in ways that no one else notices. The “sleeping giant” will not wake, but if he did, his first instinct would be to swat your organization. So you must be “wise as serpents,” as the good Lord says.

  7. This current conflict is being fanned by the media (print, TV, digital media like Facebook, et al.) which are entirely controlled by zillionaires. If you want to fight this war, you need a zillionaire or two in your corner with their own media empire. Not sure if it’s worth it. The media panders to morons (we all have an inner moron that is entranced by heart rending disasters), so even if you have a media empire in your corner, you’re still going to get the same kind of crap.

    • As far as I can tell, the far right is absolutely penurious. I doubt we could rustle up the funds for a keg party, much less sustained propaganda and political campaigns.

    • Proof that it works.

      Al Capone is proof that Catholics are capable of leadership. The main thing that is needed is the will to survive.

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