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Why Cobb and I Study War

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Cobb’s post about achievement, from which I just quoted, offers many points of resonance.

It is a popular idea, which may or may not be owned by the Left, that war is essentially stupidity writ large. That the act of war represents a failure of intellect - an inability to think through problems.

Our culture now honors pacifists more than warriors. But Gandhi and MLK were able to achieve their non-violent triumphs only in context of a peaceful society. The warriors created the opportunity for non-violent transformation. In most of the rest of the world of their times, Gandhi and MLK would have be strung up like Christ.

War is not necessarily stupid. It is horrible, and all that. But not everyone has the luxury of protesting in a civil society under the rule of law. It is that civil society which enabled a fortune vast enough to defend itself against most of the rest of the world.

I am studying the means of war because at this moment in American history the study of economics is fruitless. Nobody knows what to do with a surfeit of unemployed, educated, literate people but make them EGBOK promises. So what if that fails and we depose the promisers? We might very well suffer a coup of the sort Iran has suffered and what would all those angry people do?

Economics is an inconvenience to the state religion. We are reliving history, a depression, but at a higher level of assumed luxury. When the collapse comes, it will not be due to lack of food. We’re too good at growing it now. Intermittent power blackouts and fuel shortages will punish those who cannot plan ahead.

The collapse will end unearned comforts. Cobb wonders what those angry people will do. I do not wonder. The Katrina victims huddled at the Superdome, looting Walmart, and blaming everyone but themselves is the future for much of urban America.

You cannot transform rage into battlefield victory.

Which is why the anger will lead nowhere. The people who start the revolution will not be the ones to finish it. The future will belong to those who can self-order and find self-initiative to start rebuilding all the wealth we are now setting on fire.

When it comes to ultimate sacrifices, rich and powerful people always end up paying for soldiers. Nobody can match the organizations that print money, and even the narcotraffickers who printed cocaine were ultimately no match.

The importance of private wealth is not understood. Or ignored. Big bank takes little bank. If we rape the rich for our petty peacetime indulgences, there’s nothing left when the real trouble hits. Ghana did not bankrupt the Soviet Union.

Government wealth is no substitute, because there is no government wealth anymore. We do not have kings hoarding gold. We have bureaucrats counting paper promises. Those paper promises will not buy soldiers once the Federal Reserve’s ponzi scheme is exposed.

My point is that the greatest projects of mankind still do inevitably involved armed conflict, and when people starve that is what results. Feeding an army will always be possible and humans will not 'civilize' themselves past that. All the greatest mistakes end in war, it is how we solve ultimate problems. We will fight until we are exhausted of fighting, and the man who leads the most and smartest of his tribe to victory at war is by definition the greatest man.

Weakened in spirit and in economic disarray, the United States will be ripe for attack. There are always men who see war as an option, and they’re not all stupid.

Only people leveraged by a system whose roughneck roots they are completely isolated from can develop a worldview that defies the acknowledgment of war as the ultimate solution.

Peace is the ultimate luxury. Our civil society has rested upon our ability to defend it against other political conception of order. Men are not perfectible, and barbarians will test our gates.

I judge achievements by the willingness of those who oppose it to die trying. Whatever can be gotten can be gotten for a price. Every ethos that doesn't extend that to the ultimate price can and will be sold out, betrayed, undermined and refuted.

Give me liberty, or give me death. Take my liberty and I will give you death. War is sometimes the best available choice.

What I have isn't really much. It was hard won for me as an individual but the slightest war wipes me away.

My material possessions are transient and trivial. But my life, which only has value if I am a moral agent and free to choose, is everything. There is no compromising my humanity. Survival is my greatest achievement and my ultimate sacrifice.