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Go away and come back

Monday 12 September 2022 at 7:45 in the morning

We went away this past weekend to a fishing camp which was located at the end of a fifty minute drive along a rough track over Laurentian rock. We drove at somewhat better than a walking pace. I recommend the periodic withdrawal from wider society, and the fishing camp was the perfect retreat: no yoga, no periods of silence, no meditation. Just reasonable people conversing on a dock and occasionally going boating on paddle boards and canoes. No fish were caught or harmed, it being the wrong season for trout on the surface . Plentiful food, wine and booze, though less than we  did in our forties.

In the time away, Her Majesty the Queen died, the Russians suffered a large defeat in Ukraine, and Pierre Poilievre was decisively affirmed as Conservative leader.

I don’t think that it is possible to exaggerate the immense stabilizing influence of Queen Elizabeth on the United Kingdom or the world. For seventy years she maintained a discreet and effective role as advisor and occasional admonisher to the great. She lived a life of unimpeachable dignity while still showing that she was not deceived by earthly pomps and quarrels. She was a devoted Christian and I think some of her annual Christmas messages were in fact sermons of profound relevance.

When we got the news we were in a restaurant in the village of St Jean de Matha, surrounded by French Canadians having lunch, who treated the matter, as I suppose legions of other nations would have,  with courtesy and respect. The Queen had earned the respect of people of many nations, including republicans of the breakaway United States. I think everyone naturally measures life ‘s events in terms of the life and death of Sovereigns, however powerless they may be in constitutional terms. Like the passing of Queen Victoria, the death of Queen Elizabeth will be marker between one era and the next.

Then we left the village to go to the the fishing camp. We drove along an atrocious rock- strewn path at 10 kilometers an hour. An hour and a quarter later, we unloaded cars and went by pontoon boat to the ancient fishing camp, an artifact of the era of lumber barons picking out choice lakes for their buddies to fish in. Huge beams, gas mantle lamps, and low to non existent internet connectivity, coupled with copious quantities of alcohol and food.

 

We heard the news of Poilievre’s decisive victory on Saturday night, by which I was greatly gladdened. Unfortunately I was surrounded by five  devotees of the milquetoast conservatism – if that is what it is – of Jean Charest, who are persuaded that Poilievre is the sure path of defeat for the Conservative Party. You know the type, I am sure: all reform is acceptable short of actual change. In terms that a western Conservative would be happy with, they were perfect exemplars of the Laurentian consensus. Highly intelligent people of good faith, the lot of them, but politically clueless, as far as I am concerned. If Poilievre fails, they will be sure to crow about my so called radicalism in leaving the sure path of Jean Charest. 68.15% of my fellow conservatives agreed that Poilievre was the better candidate, which should be enough to silence the whining of advocates of the losing candidates, even in a party that romanticizes losing.

Predictions are difficult, especially about the future. Nevertheless I think that the abhorrence I feel for the current Liberal government in Ottawa is shared by a possible electoral majority. We will either succumb to the Woke shit of Trudeau the Lesser, after we go down fighting it, or we will rescue the country. The Liberals and their media allies are asking us to acquiesce in the ruin of Canada,  and I for one will not abide it.

As to the Russian defeats in Ukraine, I am as surprised as I am pleased. I had thought that the Russians would take over Ukraine in six weeks.  The fact that large piles of equipment are being abandoned, so much so that this offensive marks the largest weapons transfer by far since Lend Lease, indicates that Russian morale is collapsing. In World War 2 , Allied soldiers noticed that the German soldier began to abandon usable equipment only in the Falaise Pocket in July-August of 1944, six years into the war. The Russians may rebound; the war is by no means over, but I think the recent defeats of Russian arms show that the era of Russia as a great power is over.

It is evident that the drone has come to be decisive. In many case the drone is substituting for an air force at a small percentage of the cost. Russians are abandoning equipment because, if they flee in their trucks and armored vehicles, they will be killed by drones. So they flee on foot. Drones are still not cheap enough to waste on individuals. They are however, sufficiently cheap to offer the less powerful an air force at a price they can afford. Much as I loved them, the tank has become too cheap to destroy relative to its utility as an offensive weapon. They talked of the foolish bravery of Polish cavalry attacking columns of German tanks; they will soon talk of the folly of tanks attacking across open fields  against anti-tank missiles and drones.

 

 

Why I read Fred Reed

Fred Reed is cranky and ex -US military. He is intelligent, and not deceived. Apart from occasionally rude and always accurate things he has to say about American blacks and the intelligence issue, his views are centrist. He has been advising against war with China for years. You can read more of him at the Unz review. But perhaps he found the Unz review too weird, and now writes privately. Try his subscription page here.

 

Speaking of wars, he writes:

“The reason for this curious behavior is that war is only tangentially a rational endeavor, being chiefly a limbic, instinctually driven habit probably of genetic provenance. War is just what men do, tribe against tribe, country against country, empire against empire, world without end. War is a major, perhaps the major, focus of human endeavor. A glance at history reveals it to be chiefly a tapestry of war. The literature of civilizations reflects this: The Gilgamesh Epic, the Iliad, the Aeneid, El Cid, Orlando Furioso, Lord of the Rings.”

AUKUS explained, and more than you want to know about submarines

The significance of the AUKUS treaty is explained. More important, one can learn much about why submarines cost what they do, how long they take to  reach their patrol stations, and what the effect they have once launched.  Submarine policy is maintenance policy. The public grows tired of reports of costs overruns and delays. Yet they are inevitable in leading edge technologies. And everything about submarines is leading edge. Also, the organizations which sustain operational readiness must be made to cooperate.

 

Revolution in Military Affairs

From RT, this report on fighting wars by drones. Armenia just got clobbered by Turkey’s drone tactics in the recent set-to with Azerbaijan. The machine gun of the modern age has been invented, and it is the coordinated use of drones. $1 worth of drones takes out $5 worth of tanks, artillery and command posts. In the same fashion a few hundred thousands worth of WW2 fighter-bombers took out $100 million battleships.

The tank has been rendered obsolete by the drone.

 

War Before Civilization: the Myth of the Peaceful Savage

Lawrence Keeley’s book, War Before Civilization: the myth of the peaceful savage, is perfect. It cannot be improved upon. I shall explain.

The basic assertions of the book are that war before civilization – which means written records –  was frequent, endemic, extremely violent, total, murderous, and that it engaged  the whole population of the tribes and family groupings involved, men women and children, and involved high proportionate fatalities. It was not ceremonial, ineffective, and rare, nor did it touch only the young men of the tribe. Peace was difficult to negotiate for many reasons, including because the reparations involved could generate new causes of war, for non-payment. There was always another death  to avenge.  No sovereign interposed itself because such a sovereign required statehood, and statehood lay far into the future. So deadly and ubiquitous was the violence that many peoples accepted European colonial justice readily as the less horrible solution to endemic violence.

The author shows the archaeological evidence of bones, arrowheads, spear wounds, fortifications, mass graves of men, women and children. He also relies on the accounts of witnesses from the “primitive” tribes themselves as they were recorded by Europeans in the early stages of first contact.

He also examines the economic rationales for pre-civilized bands to wage war, which are powerful and many. Winning societies gain access to resources by driving off competitors, whether for arable land, hunting grounds, or resources, such as obsidian for weapons or salt deposits.

Professor Keeley confronts the vast efforts of denial attempted by western anthropologists to disguise the war-like history of mankind prior to European colonial contact, and the absurd denials of reality. He argues against what he calls the “pacification of the past”.

He writes:

“The doctrines of the pacified past unequivocally imply that the only asnwer to “the mighty scourge of war” is a return to tribal conditions and the destruction of all civilization. But since the primitive and prehistoric worlds were, in fact, quite violent, it seems that the only practical prospect for universal peace must be more civilization, not less.” (p179)

Keeley situates the issue of war in the context of a continuing debate between the realists, who are, roughly speaking, followers of Thomas Hobbes, who felt that, tp achieve peace,  only the interposition of a powerful sovereign  could solve the problem of human violence, and followers of the illusory twaddle of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who felt that civilization was the source of all our discontents.

“If Westerners have belatedly recognized that they are not the crown of creation and rightful lords of the earth, their now common view of themselves as humanity’s nadir is equally absurd.”

Why is this book so perfect?

  1. It is directed to the general audience of intelligent readers.
  2. It is only two hundred pages long. Brevity is the soul of wit.
  3. It is does not divert from the issue into irrelevant matters, or academic asides.
  4. It is well researched, but not pedantic.
  5. It confronts an important issue – the untruth of the pacific human past – and demolishes it.

The book is an antidote to all thought that the absence of police will engender a state of peace between people and peoples.

Making decisions – about riots

I was watching a video of US Marines about to attack a town in Afghanistan. The Captain addressed his battalion. At about 2:20 into the video he said (I paraphrase) : “The plan we have gone over and over – as soon as you land, it will fly out the window. You will be called upon to make a hundred decisions that there is no right answer to. But guess what? you will have to decide; you will have to act.”

I enjoyed the approach, and it ought to be better understood. You will have to act, you will have to decide. I wish it were more broadly understood in society. You have to decide and you have to act. Make a wrong decision? Go ahead and make another. This one may be better. This approach is utterly contrary to the bureaucratic mindset which fears decision-making.

A former boss of mine was a judge. He said: “Make ten decisions. Eight will be right. One will be wrong. One you win or lose on appeal”. But the message was” keep making decisions.

This brings me around to Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt’s book on the newest generation, and it is not pleasant reading.  The Coddling of the American Mind 

chronicles the increase of neurotic levels of fear among American college students: how good intentions and bad ideas are generating a generation of weak people. As he says: prepare your children for the road not the road for the children.

 

The message Haidt is giving in his YouTube lecture is that we are heading for tribal war. That was in 2019. Look around you. What do you see? Dogmatism, groupthink, a crusader mentality and anti-intellectualism [at 42:40]. The riots and revolt we have been witnessing these last few days have been long prepared by the erosion of cultural and educational standards. The failure of the forces of order to act, because they have been told to lay off by mayors and governors, is yet another signof the scale of  the rot inside our institutions.

 

Someone, possibly Jonathan Kay, said that this could be Trump’s Reichstag Fire moment. I avoid the connotation that Kay would like to put on these riots. These are an excuse for  looting and for anti-fa to break windows. Everyone is seeing far too much disorder to be enthusiastic for kneeling before the black race and beseeching forgiveness, as the Left would have us do. Time for some violence from the state against Antifa and the looters. And yes, Derek Chauvin disgusts me. But so does mass break down of order.

 

 

The mind of Steve Bannon

I would like you to direct your attention to the speech of Steve Bannon, given a few weeks ago. He is one of the very few who see the relationship among several events and forces: the colossal failure of the financial system in 2008, shipping jobs to China, low interest rates, the party of Davos, and what Trump is doing or expected to be doing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqrjaUC3oak

Bannon constantly tells us to sift the noise from the signal. The Russian collusion nonsense is the noise. Dealing with a mercantilist dictatorship like China is the signal. Controlling immigration is the signal, because without it the wages of the US working classes are continually driven downwards. And because of the economic crash and the flood of money used to bail out the rich, no one can save money.

He says China is exporting deflation and de-industrialization of the United States. A multi-decade project is required to turn back the growing power of the administrative state, and that will take a Supreme Court able and willing to comprehend the issue.

This edition below of one of Bannon’s recent speeches is even better, though its production values are worse.

He predicts that information war, cyber war and economic war with the Chinese mercantilist dictatorship is beginning, indeed it is underway. He finds it absurd to assume that free trade can possibly work with such an entity. For the Chinese, foreign relations are in essence the management of barbarians. The US can export swine, canola, wheat and ore to China, but aircraft and smart-phones, never. China wants tributaries, and the idea of equality between nations, or a rules based order, is absurd, un-Chinese, and contrary to nature.

At an earlier stage of life, I had an ethnic Chinese Canadian brother in law. His first words to me of any seriousness were that “The Chinese idea of democracy is ‘you do as I say’”. I have never forgotten what he said, because Chinese state behaviour has exemplified the insight throughout the years.

“The whole object is to shift the world’s supply chain back to the industrial democracies of the West” (including Japan and Korea). Getting a trade deal with Mexico and Canada is key to this, as well as special deals with Japan and Korea. “You must be a manufacturing juggernaut if you want to be a serious power”.

You can question the premises of his position, and I am certain many think he is drumming up war. What you cannot assert is that Bannon lacks strategic vision.

“The deplorables are mad because they are rational human beings.” Amen.