Wednesday, May 16, 2018


I got PM'ed by a friend about the recent blog-fodder.

"What are you trying to do? Jump-start a revolution? Run a battalion? Create your own team of death ninjas? I just don't get it, or see the ultimate point..."
In order:
A) Not as such. I think we'll get one regardless of what I do, eventually.
B) Be still my beating heart. Actually, I want a full corps, as in a few divisions. Starting with a fire team, and then a squad, and building upwards into bigger pieces. But I digress.
C) Not hardly.

D) The greater question, the ultimate point, is rather simple.

Things are sliding. We may fight cultural holding actions. We may garner a respite, as we have done now until 2020, maybe until 2024. Or until one presidential heart attack, mind you. We may even, at some places and times, push the tide back.
(Cf.: the Netherlands, from 1600-present. It can be done. That's a post for another day.)

But for all intents, civilization in general, and Western civilization in particular, has been oozing towards a tipping point for 50 years, and probably closer to a full century.

Every step forward is counter-balanced by two steps back, in every single case.

What any earnest and thoughtful person is, and should be, doing, is bracing for impact.

"Oh Aesop, you're being Chicken Little. Everything's not falling apart..."

The combined debt of the world is more than some recockulous multiple of what the whole thing is worth, in annual terms, and has been for years.

If you're in America, the dollar in your hand is worth $0.03, in actual constant-dollar terms. In other words, less than the cost to purchase the materials and print it. "Weimar and Zimbabwe called, and asked if you'd like to get together for lunch sometime..."

In short, the global economy is, and has been for some time, Wile E. Coyote after he goes off the edge of the cliff, but before he looks down. We are, in effect, just waiting for society to look down. Then the long, whistling descent before the puff of dust at impact.

The pinnacle of modern technology, daily multitudinous miracles in which we live and breathe and have our being in, for those of us not living in mud-hut Third World sh*tholes, hangs on distribution and supply strands of money, materials, energy, food, water, communication, and everything else, which are as fragile as molecular-sized strands of glass. One disruption, let alone a systemic shock, and the whole house of cards goes away like frost on the lawn on a hot day. For years, decades, maybe centuries. Maybe forever. At any rate, probably until long after your travails on this spinning sphere have reached a dirt-nap ending.

And if, and far more likely, when, any or all of that happens, people revert from apes to lizards on the evolutionary scale. It will become society against nation, nation against region, region against town, town against tribe, tribe against family, and family against self, at a speed that would astonish Charles Darwin. But not so much astonishment for C.S. Lewis, John Calvin, or William Hobbes.

Solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.

That's your life in a State of Nature, when the veneer of civilization is rubbed off of human existence. For some people in some places, it's every day right now. Don't expect a lot of sympathy from them when you soft-hands lot have to suddenly join them in that plight. They'll be sizing you up for the stew pot, like as not, come that day.

And at that point, the survival of you yourself, your family, your tribe, and if you're very lucky, your town, against the hordes of savages dying but not yet dead from terminal lack of foresight or forethought, let alone preparedness, will depend on what you bring to the table.

You do PT, because strong, healthy, fit  people can do more work, live better, last longer, run faster, and they're generally much harder to kill.

You learn First Aid because things go wrong; this world will kill you with all the concern and compassion the magnifying glass has for the ant, as it focuses the sun's rays to produce a momentary micro-wisp of steam. Go watch the stop-action of Mt. St. Helens erupting, or any one of dozens of YouTube videos of the Fukushima tsunami, just for a refresher of how much Nature loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.
This primal reality is exactly what Steven Spielberg tapped into in the masterful first five minutes of Jaws. Nature is The Shark, and you're Chrissie, butt-naked, clueless, and about to get the last ride of your life, right to the death knell of that floating buoy, in agony, cold, scared, and finally knowing that everything is about to end for ever, and for real.

Ask not for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee...

And that's been true since we left the Garden/climbed out of the trees, and deep down in your brain, at the lizard level, you know this. And if you forget it at the wrong moment, you end up in a footbath-sized pan of Tupperware, far beyond the point when you can protest that "This is no boating accident!" What this is, is Life. And Life includes Death.
So you learn ways to put yours off as long as possible.

You learn how to shoot and handle weapons, because you don't have great size, speed, claws, fangs, endogenous venom, a tough hide, monstrously thick bones, or a dinosauric shell, carapace, or scales. But with a good weapon, and diligent application, you can take down things that do. And more importantly, deny and dissuade hordes of your fellow soft-shelled Slow Pork comrades, bent on putting your hide on their barn door, and your Stuff in their pockets. Like they will, for every reason from primal survival to jealousy and envy, going back only as far as Cain.

You learn fieldcraft, because teams defeat individuals, going back to apes wielding bones at the Monolith, and there are right ways and wrong ways to do things once you slip the bounds of polite society.

You learn individual survival skills because you might be caught out, cut off, or left alone, and you want to live to rejoin your team or tribe, and be able to fight another day, get back to your family, and continue to propagate the species, because it's programmed into your very DNA, in ways you haven't ever really considered.

That's why we cover this stuff.

If anyone still can't grasp that, or agree to it, by all means: eat, drink and be merry.
Don't worry about anything, nor everything.
It'll be fine.
Trust me.

And when disaster or calamity or an angry mob happens, and you've wasted not a single thought or effort in your entire selfish and thoughtless life to avoiding that eventuality, hug your teddy, cry for mama, and resolve to taste very bad.

Or cut to the chase, and just kill yourselves.

"In case of the bright flash of a nearby nuclear detonation, wrap yourself in a clean white shroud, and walk slowly towards the cemetery."
"Why 'walk', Comrade?"
"So as not to create a panic." - Soviet Union civil defense joke
As I told you at the outset:


James M Dakin said...

Think of those people who love you. Now think of how they screw you. Divorce, children disowning a parent or fighting over their possessions once dead, turning in your brother because he is the Unibomber. Now, think about all those people that don't like you, don't care if you live or die. They will screw you quicker and harder and more often. You have to trust someone, but always have a plan B with them. And forget all that horseapples about charity and compassion and being a white knight. Screw 'em all because that is their plan for you. Last one in the stewpot wins.

Anonymous said...

My Teddy bear fits fine in a ruck, so I can still shoot and have him along.

Reltney McFee said...

Ref your correspondent's question: Why promulgate this stuff? Because, you can be the guy who makes things happen, be the guy who watches things happen, or the guy who asks, puzzled, "what happened?"

Being an ex street medic, watching the guys asking, "what happened" was the source of an endless stream of merriment.

I do not want to be that source of merriment.

Reltney McFee said...

Oh: Thank you for your syllabus and course outline. Shows a lot of work, and a lot of thought. I appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

This information is making me recall that "Far Side" comic where the kid has his hand raised.
"May I be excused, my brain is full."

Okay, not really, but there is a lot of information, so I'm consuming it at a leisurely pace.


S18-1000 said...

I prefer to explain my reasons for being prepared with the parable of Little Red Riding Hood.

Little Red Riding Hood has completed her walk to Grandma's and back. She is ready to sleep and is snuggled in bed. Before she drops off, she sighs and says:
"Oh, I was so lucky today! The Big Bad Wolf didn't eat me!"
The Wolf, prowling in the dark just outside, slinks up to the window. Having heard Little Red Riding Hood, he whispers back:
"Yes, you were lucky TODAY. But you must be lucky every single day. I only have to be lucky ONCE."

I can be wrong a thousand times about CWII/WW3/fire/flood/tornado/riots/economic collapse/pandemics, but if I am right ONCE, and you're not ready, you're gonna have a really bad time.

JJ said...

Your friend should wake up, get on his knees and thank you profusely for the effort you are putting in to educate and train him on how to survive should "CWII/WW3/fire/flood/tornado/riots/economic collapse/pandemics" befall us.

1chota said...

thank you very much for your hard work.
May God bless you and yours,

Anonymous said...

Keep it up. It has value. The system no longer works for us. Protecting us/you is secondary to protecting "the system". We're in this alone. The veneer has worn off, gone are the days where we look out for each other or "to serve and protect" means anything today. I get it, now if I can only bring others to get it.


Anonymous said...

This article makes persuasive reading, especially the bit where he lists the factors that make up indications of a pending revolution/civil disorder etc.

Food for thought, eh?

Phil B

Aesop said...

Saw that earlier this week. It's been making the rounds.

The only encouraging news is that all sorts of sites have stumbled onto the idea that there isn't going to be any Big Blue Wave in the mid-terms in November, for the same reason Shrillary wasn't really 98% likely to win in 2016.

Anonymous said...

Nice when the weak sisters self-identify. Keep driving on, you are doing God's Work.
Found at Van Der Leuns under " Rifles in the dark"
" The ability to fight separates the murdered from the free".
You are offering people an opportunity for emancipation.
Boat Guy

RSR said...

Timely, this popped up earlier this week:

Lost Kinship
I did a long interview with Jack Murphy and Ian Scotto for SOFRep Radio earlier this week (the first 45 m or so prominently features my staccato/machine/Boydian gun style of thinking/speaking).

We talked about many of the topics I'm currently writing about in greater detail with The Global Guerrillas Report. Topics such as China's tyrannical social credit system, open source political parties (they have already rolled the Republican party and they are about to do it to the Dems), how moral warfare works online (shaming and naming, etc.), and modern Tribalization.

In the last segment, we touched on something I haven't written much about yet: the potential for widespread civil conflict in the US and how that impacts our thinking on resilience.

Why so pessimistic? It's becoming clear that the US doesn't have a shared narrative anymore. A narrative, combined with rituals and traditions, that provides us with us the basis of fictive kinship.

A kinship, not based on DNA, that allows us to trust each other rather than as strangers/enemies.
A shared understanding of moral and ethical conduct (the soft elements that make it possible for a legal and regulatory system to work).
An understanding that we are better off together than apart.
Where did our fictive kinship go?

We killed it. We didn't alter it, adapt it, or evolve it. We strangled it and the rising sociopolitical incoherence we are seeing is the result.

The big question is whether we can survive the future without it? I suspect the answer to that is more no than yes. If that's true, it makes civil collapse a very viable future.


John Robb

PS: I'll be writing about the potential for civil conflict in the US and how that impacts our thinking on resilience in a future Global Guerrillas Report.

FiftycalTX said...

no thoughts on the Ebola case that was just confirmed in the city with more than 1 million people?

Aesop said...

One case is just one case. No big deal.

It's when it starts morphing to two, four, eight, 16, 32 in a few weeks (like it does)that it starts getting dicey. In a city of >1M just improves the odds that it hops a plane to another continent before anyone's looking for it.

If Dallas had gone to four or eight cases in 2014, it would've gotten away from us in the U.S., and we would've been off to the races.

Jackasses with double-digit IQs forget that at the latter stage of the 2014 outbreak crisis, we had exactly one open BL-IV patient bed left, for the entire United States.

After that, hospitals become ghost towns pretty quickly.

Mike_C said...


It's fine as a "conversation starter" means to get people to think about the issue, but it's a grossly oversimplified model.

The immediately obvious problem is the model treats the probability of an insurrection as uniform (constant) over time, which I would argue is untrue. If for the sake of discussion we take one year as the smallest time-increment over which "stuff" changes (or better to say that we base computations on a mean risk over 365-day intervals), IMNSHO the probability of things getting sporty is much higher in 2018 than it was in say 1978, or 1988, for example.

Anonymous said...

I love the "math case" for experiencing violent rebellion in our lifetimes, both the one linked to and the one Kurt Schlichter did. The problem is that both of them forgot one important thing: the OTHER revolutions in American History, one successful and the other unsuccessful. The first was Bacon's Rebellion in Virginia (1676) and the second the rebellion against Sir Edmund Andros in 1689, a part of the greater "Glorious Rebellion" taking place in England. Although separated by a dozen years, in many ways they are symptoms of the same issues, so I think we can treat them as one larger rebellion against Royal Authority. In any event, that adds a THIRD rebellion to the mix, and thus increases the likelihood of such an occurrence by, as my poor math skills recon it, one-third. Or, you do the math (I certainly won't, I'm a historian, not a hard-sciences kind of guy, unfortunately.) (If you want to really get into some fun, you can say that the JFK Assassination was a coup-d'etat, with the RKF and MLK assassinations being part and parcel of it, and the various rioting that accompanied those later events counting as a violent response to them. Or not. But it would suggest that at least one such event per century has been our historical norm, and the odds of one coming up in any given year increases dramatically.)