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L. Neil Smith's
Number 699, December 2, 2012

"Can America's slide into the totalitarian
abyss be halted and reversed?"w3

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An Open Letter to Chris Claypoole
by Michael Bradshaw
speaker [at] usrepeals dot org

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Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

In TLE number 698 Chris Claypoole, in his article "To the Barricades! Or Not." asked about the government problem "What are we to do?" He then seems to answer his own question (please correct me if I am wrong) with: "Well, overt violence is not the answer." And then he gives two examples of non-conrontational responses of agorism and gulching. As he said, both are a partial withdrawal from government into the free market, in somewhat different styles. Neither, however, shows any prospect to date of "starving the beast". Both are retreats with holding actions. Historically, holding actions have been doomed to failure and defeat.

He also said that "You don't have to be an expert on The Art of War to know that it is stupid and suicidal to attack an enemy on his ground using his preferred style of fighting." and gave a link to the Wikipedia article on the book "The Art Of War" by Sun Tsu. I would concure that it is, indeed, generally stupid and suicidal to fight according to the enemy's strategy and tactics. I would also point out that it is just as bad to fight according to the enemy's instructions on how you should fight. When your enemy wages war against you, he does not want you to win. To emulate him without bringing to bear overwhelming force; or to take his instructions and fight according to inferior methods is to insure defeat. In those cases, one gets what one deserves for his folly. Good and hard.

However, on his judgment that "overt violence is not the answer", Mr. Claypoole and I part company. It would seem that he has not studied either history, The Art Of War, or the writings of the military historian, William Lind. See Mr. Lind's archive at

History shows that violence does, indeed, solve military problems by winning wars.

Sun Tsu, the author of The Art Of War, shows that, while ultimate excellence in warfare consists in defeating the enemy by psychological means, without engaging in combat, there are many cases in which combat is absolutely necessary. Victory without combat is the Socratic Ideal of war, not the usual or even an ordinary case. Mohandas Gandhi was able to win by civil disobedience, with heavy losses, against the British Empire; but we Americans are not facing such an over-civilised government (relatively speaking). One should remember that Mr. Gandhi also said that the worst evil committed by the British in India was to disarm the Indians; so that civil disobedience was all that was left to them.

Our conflict is against a state that is more like Third-Reich Germany or the Soviet Union. To expect that Mr. Gandhi's methods will work against our modern enemy seems to me to be an exercise in futility. As Mr. Claypoole has said, direct resistance of any kind and to any extent in America begets savage aggression -- amounting to genocide, as I see it -- from the the United States Empire.

While it is not good form in a magazine article to try to state all possible or even probable cases, Mr. Claypoole has, in my opinion, over-simplified to the extent of falsehood. He has said, in effect, that the only way to use violence is to use the methods of the enemy; or to retreat and make a permanent holding action. Unless he can show how the latter may be done in a new way, history shows that this method does not work.

Mr. Claypoole is refuted by William Lind in regard to modern warfare in his theory of the four "generations of modern war". The "generations" are categories of strategy on the battlefield that are dictated by the evolution of military technology since the introduction of gunpowder, and later mechanized transportation and communication, into classical warfare; which was based on muscle power of men and animals.

The first generation of modern war came with the introduction of gunpowder weapons that were both crew-served (cannon) and man-portable muskets, used by a single man. The personal guns (the muskets) were smooth-bored and inaccurate beyond about 50 yards; and so were used in a classical formation style of massed infantry slugging it out at about 50 yards; sort of a shotgun-by-committee, and a small change from the classic melee using edged weapons. The British Army was the foremost practitioner of this method. The French under Napoleon was another major force using first generation strategy.

In the second generation we see rifled guns, both personal and crew-served. Now individuals could wound or kill a man at longer range (200 yards was not unusual for skilled riflemen), and canon at much longer range. Now armies had to move farther away from each other, open-up their formations and use cover (something to conceal one and stop enemy bullets). We now see the first modern war, in 1861, of the United States conquering the Confederate State of America, and trench warfare, as in World War One. Radio communications and aircraft are now coming into their own. The United States Army in the twenty first century is still a second generation force.

In the third generation we see advances in guns, bombs, radio communication, transport and aircraft for transportation and fighting platforms. Warfare has now become much more mobile and smaller unit maneuverability lets forces get behind the enemy front lines and cut off his supplies. Soldiers in powered transport can go around forts and other strong points, making them irrelevant to the overall battle. Small units and sniper teams (usually two soldiers) can penetrate without being detected to strike at high-value targets and withdraw. The United States Marine Corps and other highly trained and equipped special forces, such as the British SAS are examples of third generation force.

In each of the first three generations we see an increase in the importance and fighting power of the individual and the smaller-unit teams, rather than massed cannon fodder mowing each other down like wheat. We also see greater mobility and more difficulty in finding the enemy to fight in the first place. The battlefield gets progressively more complex, strategy more complex and subtle, and tactics more varied and requiring more skill from the individuals doing the fighting. In all three generations, however, we see national armies fighting each other on fronts and destroying supply sources to starve the enemy. Civilians are only in the way (and get killed for it) or in the rear, or "home front", producing the materiel needed to support the war effort.

In the forth generation "who fights" and what they fight for changes. The first three generations had the same basic goal of defeating a foreign nation that was either the target of conquest or an aggressor, trying to conquer the nation in question. Now, in the forth generation we see civilian forces fighting against an invading foreign nation, or fighting against the local government to throw-off oppressive rule at "home".

These small-unit civilian forces (which may or may not be organized on a larger scale) are called "guerilla" (pronounced "gwer-'ee-a", not "gor-'il-la"; it is spanish, sheesh!) They usually do not fight classical, pitched battles; or if they do, they usually get wiped-out. They use the tactics of assassination, hit-and-run raids and harassment of enemy forces and sabotage of support assets, like supply storage facilities. Terrorism is also a commonly used tactic against the government and its military. They do not wear uniforms; instead they blend into the general population, of which they are a part, and make themselves hard or impossible to identify. In this way they prevent the enemy from finding a target to hit.

The object of the exercise (the goal) is to throw off the rule of the state in power; and the strategy is usually not to defeat the enemy militarily on the battlefield, but to wear him out and make his conquest too expensive to be worth while. In this way the guerillas hope to make him withdraw and leave them alone. Some examples of successful guerilla warfare (usually with foreign aid) are the American Revolution against Britain, Vietnam's wars against China, France and the United States and Afghanistan's wars against Britain, the Soviet Union and the United States.

The end result of a successful guerilla war has always (as far as I know) been the imposition of a new, or the reinstatement of the old, government to replace the invading or old one.

All of the generations of war strategy are over-matches for (able to defeat) earlier generations of strategy. That is why they are used. A combatant who uses a higher generation of strategy will defeat one who uses a lower one, unless the more primitive strategist brings truly overwhelming force to bear; and is very lucky. The higher generation strategy permits its user to fight effectively with fewer men on the battlefield, in some cases the difference between forces of matching strength may be very large, such that a small force can defeat a much larger one. This is known as "asymmetric warfare" because of the large difference in size between the two forces, and the victory of the smaller one. Each generation of strategy is asymmetric in relation to earlier ones. It looks as though the fifth generation is not only asymmetric in relation to previous ones, but may be so by several orders of magnitude. An order of magnitude is a factor of ten.

In all the first four generations of modern war, the basic method has been to fight from the bottom, up; in which common soldiers kill each other and destroy property on both sides until one side surrenders. In this way, the politicians, aristocracy and top commanders remain safe behind the battle lines or on the other side of a border or ocean. The killing and dying is for the commoners, not the aristocrats. In the next generation, those things will be reversed.

We now have a proposal for a fifth generation of modern warfare which has not, to my knowledge, been refuted, although it is still in the "theory category"; as it has not yet been proven or disproven on the battlefield. All objections to it that I have heard have been either aesthetic ("I don't like it!") or moral ("Self defense is immoral!" or "Self defense is murder!") Fifth generation warfare is defensive by nature.

Again, in the fifth generation, who fights and what they fight for changes. In the previous generations the conflict has been between competing forms of government, or at least different styles or nationalities of governments of similar form. In the fifth generation the conflict is between the government (either the existing domestic one, or a foreign conqueror) and the productive class of the general population, fighting for political freedom from any form of government. In short, fifth generation war is fought for anarchy, the absence of any form of political rule.

The goal of fifth generation warfare (5GW) is anarchy -- political freedom from any government -- and the prevention of future war and genocide. Anarchy is peaceful and prosperous. Most human relationships and interaction are anarchic, as states are not participants in business, friendship or families -- except as an outside aggressor. States, on the other hand are the only entities that wage wars of aggression and commit genocide. In the twentieth century states have killed well over 305,000,000 people, six sevenths of them in genocide and the rest in wars, both foreign and civil. The United Nations Organization and the government of the United States of America have plans to kill nine tenths of the human race, about 6,300,000,000 people as a matter of policy. Now can you see why I favor 5GW over surrender to genocidal states?

The first-phase strategy is individual and very-small-unit strikes against the highest value targets, to wear down the government's will to fight -- and his organizational ability to do so; with the least possible damage to both the general population and their property, and the enemy, himself. This sets the stage for, and makes possible, the second phase; which carries forward the condition of political freedom (anarchy) on a permanent basis. The second-phase strategy is to set up one or more "Bell Foundations" (named after the inventor of the method, Jim Bell; see his paper "Assassination Politics" on the web) to prevent another state from rising on the ashes of the old. This two-phase strategy is based on the Zero Aggression Principle and the top-down, distributed order of battle. It also has a major psychological warfare component, à la Sun Tsu's principle of victory without combat. In that way, while combat cannot be eliminated entirely, it can be minimized.

The "top-down" component of the first phase refers to the order of targeting the most valuable assets of the enemy and working down to lower levels of value; which are now at or near the top of the remaining value pyramid. The "distributed" part of the first phase refers to the isolation of the fighting units, either individuals working alone, or small teams (2 to, perhaps, 5 people) who work in parallel, choosing targets without external input or direction. The primary unit of combat is the individual working alone, with teams discouraged, for security against infiltration by enemy forces. The lack of contact between units prevents one who is captured and interrogated from betraying those whom he does not know. "Communication" between units is through the free market of news services.

The tactics consist mainly of assassination of the highest political office holders and military officers available to the individual and small-team forces, and sabotage of high value political and military targets that are either of strategic or tactical use to the enemy, or of high psychological value to him. Examples in North America would be the killing of a state governor, a congress member or a federal departmental "Secretary" (a department head, such as the departments of state or war, also known as a "Minister" in many other countries) and burning down his house.

As the first phase of the fifth generation (5GW) strategy unfolds and the state finds itself unable to function effectively, the second phase is started to finish the conflict and maintain the peace on a permanent basis. If the second phase is started too early, it will be destroyed by the state; and the first phase must then be continued until the second phase can be started again and gain a solid foothold in society.

Our choices are stark and clear. We can continue our present policy of craven cowardice and surrender, or we can fight back. If we do the latter, some good people will die. If we do the former, hundreds of millions of innocent people will die horrible deaths in the concentration camps and on the battlefields that our cities and countrysides have now become; and those who are not killed will be slaves.

In any big and important endeavor whether military, business or other, we need to follow the triad of goal, strategy and tactic in that order. If you leave even one of those out, or get them out of order, you doom yourself to failure. And perhaps to a useless death.

I have offered here historical proof that violence, which is at base morally neutral, and depends on its context for moral judgment, does indeed work in the real world. I offer for your consideration the fact that the Zero Aggression Principle not only refrains from prohibiting defensive violence; it actually requires it by implication, because aggressive violence is only discouraged and prevented by defensive counter-violence. I have offered a new theory and paradigm for political and military conflict with a goal of political freedom for all Men, and a permanent state of peace, prosperity and progress. I have been doing that since 2004.

Mr. Claypoole has denied the historical success of warfare to gain political ends for good or ill, and has offered nothing but hand-waving and magic in the form of his last coherent sentence, "Therefore be ready in your mind and in your heart to do what you can to be free." He has, in his referenced article, left all the work up to others, while admonishing them to do it. I ask him to present his ideas for progress toward, or the achievement of, similar goals of freedom, peace, prosperity and progress; if, indeed, he has such goals. If that is the case, I would like to work in parallel with him. What do you say, Chris?

Michael Bradshaw is the Speaker (also the Lord-High Janitor) of the United States House of Repeals, Copyright © 2012, Michael T. Bradshaw

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