Saturday, January 2, 2021

Turnaround Games And Rebellion Dreams

     There really isn’t much to say about the presidential election that hasn’t already been said, many times and quite ably. The election was stolen, everyone with three or more functioning brain cells knows it was stolen, and everyone knows that Congressional Democrats and the majority of Congressional Republicans will vote to certify it even so. Their motives might vary, but the result will be that Congress will certify a blatantly stolen election to get the anti-Establishmentarian Donald Trump out of the White House and install a properly house-trained Establishmentarian puppet. All that having been said, I’ll confine myself to a single observation. (About the election itself; you know very well that I can’t confine myself to a single anything. At least, not for long.)

     Had the presidency been stolen for a sitting Republican whom the GOP Establishment found to their taste, here is what would have happened:

  • Congressional Democrats would assail the election as obviously stolen;
  • Congressional Republicans would defend the election results as honest and valid;
  • We’d endure the same foofaurauw we’ve suffered since November 3, but with colors reversed.

     (Oh, one more thing: the media would side with the Democrats. We’d hear nothing from the Tappers, Stelters, Ryans, and so on about questioning the election returns being “sedition” or “treason.” But you could have worked that out by yourself.)

     If nothing else could have done so, this election has clarified the central political issue of our time: America’s federal government has far too much power, an incomprehensible percentage of which resides in the Oval Office. Therefore, merely saving Donald Trump’s second term is not enough.

     It’s time for other measures.

     According to James C. Scott as quoted by Tim Condon, “Irish democracy” consists of widespread passive resistance to the decrees of the Omnipotent State:

     Quiet, anonymous, and often complicitous, lawbreaking and disobedience may well be the historically preferred mode of political action for peasant and subaltern classes, for whom open defiance is too dangerous….One need not have an actual conspiracy to achieve the practical effects of a conspiracy. More regimes have been brought, piecemeal, to their knees by what was once called “Irish Democracy”—the silent, dogged resistance, withdrawal, and truculence of millions of ordinary people—than by revolutionary vanguards or rioting mobs.

     The premise behind “Irish Democracy” is that the State lacks the enforcement power to have its way with millions upon millions of rebels. It’s Mohandas Gandhi’s strategy, albeit without his overt confrontations with the institutions of government. “You can ignore the State and do as you please, as long as you keep your head down.”

     Interactions between individuals with compatible motives are the best settings for “Irish Democracy” style rebellious action. Here’s a typical case from the late Cyril Northcote Parkinson. A British subject is goggling over the bill from his surgeon:

     "Your fee of £4000," the patient said, "represents the proportion I retain from the last £44,500 of my income. To pay you without being worse off would mean earning another £44,500 more than last year, no easy task."

     "Well," replied the surgeon, "you know how it is. It is only by charging you that much that I can afford to charge others little or nothing."

     "No doubt," said the patient. "But the fee will absorb £44,500 of my theoretical income -- no inconsiderable sum. Might I ask what proportion of the £4000 you will manage to retain?"

     It was the surgeon's turn to scribble calculations, as a result of which he concluded that his actual gain, after tax had been paid, would amount to £800.

     "Allow me to observe," said the patient, that I must therefore earn £44,500 in order to give you £800 of spendable income; the entire balance going to the government. Does that strike you as a transaction profitable to either of us?"

     "Well, frankly, no," admitted the surgeon. "Put like that the whole thing is absurd. But what else can we do?"

     "First, we can make certain that no one is listening. No one at the keyhole? No federal agent under the bed? No tape recorder in the -- ? Are you quite sure we can keep this strictly to ourselves?"

     "Quite sure," said the surgeon after opening the door and glancing up and down the corridor. "What do you suggest?"

     "Come closer so that I can whisper. Why don't I give you a case of scotch and call it quits?"

     "Not enough," hissed the surgeon. "But if you made it two cases -- "


     "-- and lent me your cabin cruiser for three weeks in September -- "


     "-- We might call it a deal!"

     "That's fine. And do you know what gave me the idea? I studied Parkinson's Second Law and realized that excessive taxation has made nonsense of everything!"

     [C. Northcote Parkinson, The Law and the Profits]

     Removing the overt confrontations makes “Irish Democracy” much safer than any other form of rebellion. The State needs conspicuous, targetable rebels. It cannot use terror of its forces without someone to turn into an “example.” No conspicuous rebels means nothing for the State to crucify for the edification of the public. As we mathematical types like to say, quod erat demonstrandum.

     Think that through. What makes anyone, or any institution, conspicuous? One sufficient qualification is great size. The State loves bigness for that reason, among others. That’s why we have an economy dominated by a few thousand mega-corporations. It’s far easier to shackle a giant corporation than the ten thousand small businesses it replaced. The benighted thing can’t move quickly enough to get out from under the State’s crosshairs.

     Another sufficient qualification is noise. The angry, vociferous rebel is asking to be targeted by the State, whether he intends that or not. We may deem him noble for his outspokenness in the cause of freedom, but there’s no denying that he’s courting a huge risk. Should the State decide that he’s acquired enough of a following to be a genuine threat, that risk will be reified.

     The third sufficient qualification is disruption of an important aspect of the economic status quo. There are many things one can do that will send a tremor through the economy. Above a certain magnitude, such tremors threaten the self-seeking arrangements of people in power. When that happens, they will act against the disruptor. The “poster boy” for this phenomenon is Michael Milken, who despite having committed not even one illegal act, was targeted for destruction by the Establishment whose dominance and perquisites he threatened.

     Those three qualifications constitute a checklist: characteristics to avoid if you want to stay below the State’s radar.

     I could go on about this, but I don’t think there’s a need. The implications are fairly plain. If you deem the governments of these United States to have become illegitimate, you might find the notion of “Irish Democracy” attractive. Think about the observations above. Think about how you could arrange your affairs so as to dismiss the demands of the State while remaining free of its scrutiny. While it would be harder for some than for others, millions of Americans and their enterprises could contrive to ignore the demands and decrees of the governments that claim “authority” over us.

     There are other approaches of varying appeal, such as “going Galt.” They amount to the same thing: rebellion without the need to load the magazines and man the barricades. Choose the course that best accords with your tastes.


Doug1943 said...

Okay, so you're advising us to cheat on our taxes. Let our surgeon use our private yacht in return for a free operation. A couple of observations: some of us don't have private yachts. And operations in hospitals are certainly recorded and entered into insurance company records. As for cheating other ways ... well, that happens anyway, and not for ideological reasons. AND ... there are countries where this is widespread, like Greece, which is half-way in the Third World.

Surely it's better to fight for a government that only imposes necessary taxes. Yes, I know, easy to say, achieving it is a different matter.

But I would take issue with you in general: the Irish did not, in the end, just evade British rule as much as they could. They fought a war to get their independence.

I believe we need to think about how to organize in the US, with an eye to a future that is likely to be dramatically different from the past.

The Democrats have grabbed the poisoned chalice. Now they will drink from it. We need to take advantage of the convulsions that will ensue.

Francis W. Porretto said...

Advice? I don't give advice. I'm not a licensed, fully State-certified advisor! It would be wrong. I note patterns and perform analyses. Whether to employ them is at the discretion of my Gentle Readers.

If you want to take up arms, I'll look for your name in the papers. As Robert A. Heinlein wrote, "If a grasshopper tries to fight a lawnmower, one may admire his courage but not his judgment."

FredLewers said...

Death by a thousand cuts...
Stick and move...
There's a reason Sun Tzu is required reading at military schools worldwide...
Sun Tzu was Chinese...

Linda Fox said...

I'd never heard that phrase "Irish democracy", but, knowing what I do from having Celtic ancestry, it fits.

cecilhenry said...

I completely agree.

The idea of income tax has made people slaves to someone else's agenda.

'Necessary taxes'??

Progressive income tax, hell income tax is a basic plank of communism from 1848.

Work more, earn more, keep LESS. Its got to end

I know people who considered taking a second job as a university professor!!-- but decided against it because the AFTER tax earnings are LESS than minimum wage.

Its parasitism masquerading as 'social justice' or paying your fair share. ITs all a lie. Its all theft-- by government, and by your neighbour too.

Ethics are done in the West. Done.
Consequences are imminent.

WT874 said...

>Surely it's better to fight for a government that only imposes necessary taxes. Yes, I know, easy to say, achieving it is a different matter.

We did that. They blatantly cheated and got away with it. If you think there will ever be another election that isn't rigged you are delusional.