Sunday, January 5, 2020

The Most Fearsome Weapon

     If you’re a government – and please, Gentle Reader, for your soul’s sake, don’t be one! – your most imperative need is for weapons. Indeed, you seek revenue more to support the purchase of weapons than for any other need. But weapons come in many varieties. Those preferred by a government will differ from those preferred by a private citizen. It behooves the private citizen to understand why this is so.

     The first reason that comes to mind is the military aspect of a government: its need to arm its troops in preparation to defend the country. Oddly, the sort of weaponry soldiers need isn’t that different from what a private citizen would prefer...well, until you get to the shoulder-fired rockets and such, anyway. Rifles and handguns serve the needs of the soldier and the citizen equally well.

     The second reason is the deterrence of crime and the operation of the justice system: in other words, the police. Yet here again, the policeman and the citizen tend toward the same sort of weaponry for the most part: largely handguns. So far, government’s weaponry preferences and those of the citizenry appear to be a decent match.

     But after those two considerations, the mind of the decent American tends to hit a stumbling block. What other reasons does a government have for seeking weapons? If we can determine those, they will lead us to the kind of weapons the government will seek. The right tools for the job, and all that.

     Incidentally, in case you were wondering, this piece is about the execution of Qassem Soleimani and the reactions to it on the Left. You’ll see the connection soon enough.

     The State is based on threat. – Robert Anton Wilson
     The dynamic of governments is to grow. – David Friedman

     A government’s most important weapon is not a material item that a man can hold in his hands. Indeed, it’s the exact opposite. Its principal function is to inhibit the use of material weapons against the government itself. That weapon is fear.

     A government actively desires that other governments fear what it can do. That fear – specifically, fear of the consequences of a test of arms against nation X – deters other governments from attempting to impose their wills on nation X by force or threat. While that deterrence holds, nation X can remain in being, exercise its prerogatives, and keep its cannons shiny rather that soil them with actual use.

     Beyond that, a government desires that those under its jurisdiction fear to offend it. That of course includes fear of the consequences of rebelling against it. As long as the citizenry is kept adequately fearful of what might follow a serious act of defiance, the government can maintain itself in power over the citizenry, with all that implies.

     Fears useful to the government don’t end with fear of the government itself. First, each government will do what it can to get its citizens to fear other governments – and to value “their” government as an indispensable defense against the others. Second, a government that seeks additional power over its people will find it useful to get them to fear one another – and to look to the government for protection. But third, and arguably more important in our time, governments can exploit the fear of “non-state actors” – terrorists – to get their citizens to accept measures they would never have deemed acceptable in an earlier era.

     This is not to say that terrorists are a chimera we ought not to fear. They most certainly should be feared – and fought. But beware the politician who demands additional power over you — through surveillance, disarmament, increased taxation, or other measures – as a way of “protecting” you against terrorism.

     Beware even more of the politician who opposes taking the fight to the terrorists, when and where it becomes possible.

     No figure is more derided by students of the pre-World War II years than Britain’s Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. Chamberlain’s attempts to purchase peace from the Third Reich through appeasement seem to us today to have been foolish, foreseeable failures that would only encourage further Nazi rapacity. But be aware that in Chamberlain’s time majority sentiment approved of his actions. He was roundly and soundly applauded for his negotiations with Hitler’s government at Munich in 1938, which led to the Munich Agreement.

     In retrospect, the unlimited voracity of the Nazis is clear. Indeed, it became clear less than a year after the Munich Agreement was negotiated and signed. We of today tell ourselves that we know better than to appease a tyrant. But there are those in the corridors of power who seek to persuade us that in dealing with the Nazis of our time – Islamic terrorists – Chamberlain’s approach would be “safer.”

     I hardly need to present a forest of links. You can read about the would-be appeasers on many sites. Indeed, you probably already have. Many are Democrats in federal offices. Some are NeverTrumpers. There are many in the entertainment industry, where pseudo-pacifist sentiment is rampant. And perhaps some of them sincerely believe that Americans would be safer were we to let the Iranians have whatever they want in the Middle East, including de facto dominance of the government of Iraq. But sincerity is not a trait easily found among politicians on the Left.

     The Democrats who seek to castigate President Trump for his strike against Iranian terrorist fomenter and organizer Qassem Soleimani are doing so for purely political reasons. Terrorism isn’t exactly something they like, but they hope to exploit the fear of terrorism, if suitably excited, as a political weapon. They hope to regain federal dominance in November, and exciting increased fear among ordinary Americans of “what Iran might do to us” is one of their tactics toward that end.

     I prefer President Trump’s approach: Promise the Iranians, the premier state sponsors of terrorism in our time, that any harm they inflict on Americans or American interests will be repaid swiftly and tenfold. Even if the consequences should include more terrorism in the near term, consistency in Trump’s fashion will ultimately convince the Iranian theocrats that they’re up against an opponent they cannot defeat – an opponent ready, willing, and able to destroy their nation entirely. It will be their task to appease us out of doing so.

     The Left, which values power and nothing else, doesn’t like the idea that we might fear less. They want more fear, the better to rationalize and institute the Total Surveillance And Total Control State for which they yearn. All persons, communications, and movements would be monitored. Privately owned armament would be outlawed; after all, we don’t want guns to get into the hands of terrorists! And of course there would be a massive increase in taxation. The listeners on the phones, the watchers in the towers, and the monitors of “social media” have to be paid, don’t y’know.

     Listen to the ones with a public platform. Their attempts to engender fear among us are undisguised. But whom ought we to fear more? President Trump, who has resolved to answer the use of force with greatly superior American force, and thus compel the ayatollahs and their minions to sue for peace? Or the mouthpieces of the Left, who would have us do nothing because “we don’t want to make them angry?”


pc-not said...

Great analysis. I appreciate the refresher course in world history. And you tweaked a dormant thought in the recesses of my brain concerning the connections of red flags by government to enable tyrannical measures via the fear process. 9/11 first comes to mind, but we won't revisit that open can of worms today.


We make decisions based on what we know. At the time, Hitler was considered by many to be another person who could be bought.

More importantly, and this applies to both personal lives as well as nations, we like to avoid hard decisions. We also want a "good option"... but sometimes, there are no GOOD choices, only the least-worst choice, and often that least-worst presents as the hardest one.

Glenda T Goode said...

It seems that the left is more concerned about instilling fear in US citizens than it is in dealing with foreign threats. Ever increasingly restrictive gun regulations reflect a fear as well within the left for those of us who prefer to hold the ability to defend ourselves.

Chamberlain bargained from a fearful position. He feared war. He feared bloodshed and carnage and made a deal with the devil in hopes of avoiding such things. It was not to last as we well know.

The fact is that a bully is someone who holds an advantage of potential violence over another. A bully takes advantage of their position. While we see individual bullies often we fail to recognize nations as bullies. Germany bullied the world into attaining more land for its third reich.

Germany was certainly a bully. As was and is Iran. China bullies its people. The nations in the world with the most restrictive laws and regulations, some of which are social in nature, are the big threats to peace in the world.

Trump responded to Iran's bullying in Iraq and has threatened more attacks against Iran if they do not stop their aggression. This is not the same as bullying. This is actually drawing a line in the sand and perhaps Obama ought to pay attention as this is how it is actually done.