Saturday, September 14, 2013

Resistanceless Resistance

Nearly everybody of note (and any number of un-notables) seem to want to bat around the concept of "leaderless resistance" and its pros and cons like a cat at Christmas with a wad of wrapping paper.

Well, spiffy, blogfodder for me, yay, and no muscle strain involved.


1) There ain't no leader.
2) There ain't no army.
3) There ain't no Rebel Alliance with an air force and a secret base squirreled away anywhere, or most of us would have run away to join that circus long since.

None of this should come as a surprise to anyone reasonably well-informed.
But the deal-breaker is
4) There ain't no Resistance.

Because, there isn't.
There's a trail of people ranging from the mildly amused to the frothingly malcontented who are all opposed to what passes for governance in these here United States. The vast majority can't and won't be gathered into anything larger than what would constitute a big rush at Wal-Mart on a Sunday afternoon.

Most of the few who'd actually show up couldn't pass muster at the recruiter's office, even were they inclined, and many of those because they already did so, and so long ago as to be time out of mind.

And what that leaves is nothing but a mob and a rabble, which is as far from a resistance as amoeba are from apes, even if we assume Darwin got it mostly right.

So, long before we get to a Rebel Alliance trying to reinstate the Old Republic, it would probably be helpful to have some actual rebels.

We aren't going to have those anytime soon, and here's why:

Americans are not "joiners", until push comes to shove comes to somebody starts shooting at somebody else, and then some.

Historical precedents?
The Declaration of Independence languished in Congress for more than a year after Lexington and Concord.
John Brown and his abolitionist fanatics were jeered by the bulk of the nation, not just even, but especially in the north, as a bunch of bomb-throwing lunatics. He was hung in short order without so much as a burp or hiccup from society. Fort Sumter was another matter.
It took Wilson the better part of three years of chivvying and multiple U-boat attacks, and Roosevelt two years, to get the US into separate World Wars, and even FDR had to wait until the Japanese helpfully sneak-attacked us. But the next day, the lines at the recruiters' offices were a mile long.

So we have a long and strong tradition, and not entirely unreasonable, to wait until someone starts shooting at us before anybody is inclined to reach for the rifles. This separates us from most of Europe, and all of Africa and Central and South America, and it's not really a bad thing.

So forget a leaderless resistance, or a led resistance, until you've first gotten Darth and his Evil Empire to square off against, unless you want to look like the 21st century equivalent of John Brown and his hapless bunch of nutballs. (Of which, even a casual tour of the interwebz will attest, there is currently no shortage. And most of them truthfully are people you wouldn't even speak to in person, and if you had the unfortunate luck to greet, would induce you to bathe afterwards, after securely bolting your doors.)

What does that leave?

Well, 21st century life has left us severely short of stevedores and farm and ranch hands of sturdy build and long hours of physical labor since youth. Which, once again, anyone who's ever run a platoon of recruits would confirm.

So the most important thing anyone can actually do, and which ups the stakes from internet bravado to actual get-off-your-ass commitment, is undertake the same regimen beloved of drill instructors since time immemorial:

> Go do PT.
Not pilates, or yoga, or tofu wrestling and coffee swizzling at the Bean and Bonehead Cafe.
Get off your ass, work on pull-ups, push-ups, and sit-ups, until you approach and/or exceed military-grade levels of performance (available any number of places online).
Then do at least a Daily Seven (look it up if you're unfamiliar!) of calisthenics as a warm up, and proceed to run, increasing distance and endurance, until you meet or exceed the same levels as the military ground forces expect.

> Get at least a decent rifle (first!) and a decent pistol, and learn to shoot both proficiently.
And not just at paper targets while you stand stock-still at rock-throwing range.

> Start hiking, and up the distance and weight carried, until you can carry say 60# for 20 miles in a day.

Boot camp takes sedentary videogamers and turns them into hardcore military animals by instilling physical fitness, rapid obedience to orders, and practical marksmanship into them, at which point they are barely qualified to begin to learn how to be part of an army, or the equivalent.

If any or all of that is beyond your means, will, or ability, then you've already self-selected yourself out of the pointy end of any resistance anywhere anytime.

Even if you do accomplish it, you may only end up more physically fit, and able to defend yourself from the dregs of society, which is no mean improvement in your status. But it isn't a green beret either. You undertake the preparation in the knowledge that events may transpire such that your further services are never required. O happy day.

And failing to do that means you also flunk the "rapid obedience to orders" component, in this case the order of common sense in making basic preparations, and which skill no one can inspire on the internet unless Jedi mind tricks would also work on you.

Those who attempt this, and have the will but not the ability, have thus selected themselves down from the pointy end, to a lower level of the pyramid, into the ranks of what John Mosby calls on his mountainguerrilla blog, the support or Auxilliary levels.

But if you aren't motivated to do something beyond banging on your keyboards, you're just part of the "chattering class", of which there is no shortage, and frequently little utility once things get sporty.

Less than one person in one hundred (or, probably, a thousand) will make or is making any attempt to achieve even such a basic level of personal preparation as basic physical and martial prowess coupled with the ability to take a hike.

Hence the title of this post, and the observation that the first ingredient for a salad is the unstated necessity to begin by planting a garden.

Go plant that particular Liberty Garden, or shaddup already.


John Gault said...

Your words have a ring of truth, your condescending attitude and strict adherence to protocol doesn't help. I readily admit that I am past my prime, no longer able to suffer through the strict, uncompromising standards you laid out (though there was a time when I could put them to shame.) I will hazard to guess that I am not alone, by a long shot. That our environment is full of those like me. Those who's quick and agile bodies have been replaced with a quick wit and an agile mind, and the wisdom that all the track laps and range time could never hope to replace. Those who may believe (and rightly so) that what you have experienced is but a shadow of what we have fought through. Winning a war takes more than training and experience, it takes those who map the paths, pack the lunches, fill the fuel tanks and remind the rest what is at stake. True, I may meet my end as nothing more than a step that lifts you up to glory, I will take pride in being that step.... you should to.

Aesop said...

Welcome to the auxiliary.

I not saying there's no pride in helping pack lunches, but football games aren't won by the people in the stands, no matter how loudly they cheer.

The folks arguing about who's gonna be the captain of the team, or whether there should even be a team, is a little premature, IMHO, when there aren't any players.

There's no shame in being old, but anyone who's predicating anything on the abilities of fat couch potatoes better learn to sing the government fight song rather quickly, or make out a will.

John Gault said...

Understood, I still believe that in a "Resistance" there is room for more than just the super-soldier. Being an old farm hand (my farm and mine and my wife's hands being the only ones keeping this place running) of just 53 years young, my "use before" date has yet to time out. Granted, the nightmares of my past battles have long passed and today's solders would leave me winded and wanton during a charge, but perhaps I could lay cover fire with my M1, or sniper with my 300 Savage. I'm still a crack shot, even at moving targets and I promise, you won't have to wheel-barrel me to the battle. Even the "fat couch potato" may be of some help, maybe to bunker behind, though their effectiveness at altering the trajectory of a 5.56 is in question.

I have little doubt that given enough motivation a "Resistance" would rise up, sporadic, chaotic and ineffectual at it's start to be sure. Turning it meaningful would take communication shielded from prying eyes, how could this be accomplished today? From my lips to your ear can't even be trusted with all the ass-kissing "see something, say something" folks loitering about. We should all learn smoke signaling....

Aesop said...

Communication is like bullet-resistant vests is like every horse ever:

"There's no horse that can't be rode, and no rider that can't be throwed."

You can shield any communication, the question is how much effort you're willing to put into it, and how long you want/need it to stay secure. The lazy in such cryptographic struggles are usually in the Loss columns afterwards, as the Japanese and Germans can attest.

Assuming a situation where an active resistance was needful, a zone safe for training, and the support of and/or through a friendly foreign power would be indispensable. Riffng on the original post, we ain't got that either.

And every person has utility... somewhere; it's just that the overwhelming numbers of couch potatoes always seem to want to opine on generalship, when they can't even master the complexities of being a private.

Which wastes bandwith, bamboozles the amateurs, and pisses off the professionals.

Chris Hernandez said...

Just found this thread. Aesop's post reminds me of what I've long thought about the resistance we faced in Iraq and what we continue to face in Afghanistan: "The dumb ones died, and died real quick. The smart ones figured out how to hit and run away." If there was a real "resistance" here, I would expect to see beaucoup corpses of overweight blowhards who thought their basic AR-15 proficiency made them unstoppable anti-government warriors. If someone is really serious about resisting anything, they actually prepare for it. If they're not, they scream loudly from behind a keyboard.