Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 549, December 20, 2009

"The United Nations must be destroyed."

Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

It's funny how things look different, after one abandons the collectivist mindset.

It's actually quite hard to do that; I see hints of collectivism all the time, even around here. Just a subconscious way of looking at the rest of the human race. For example, it's not unusual to read libertarians talking about war between countries—as if countries could war. Countries can't war, any more than countries can think or feel. It's all just a collection of individuals, some who war, and some (most, actually) who don't war.

When one has really started to shuck the indoctrination of decades, and consider people as individuals, the world looks different; war starts to look really different.

One can imagine a dialog between two members of the ruling class; one an American, the other in one of what my boy calls "the stans", those countries north and west of India:

George: "Hey Omar, how are you? How's the family?"

Omar: "Just fine, fine. And yours?"

George: "Just great. Say, the boys and I were talking, and we thought we could use another war. The natives are gettin' restless! We thought you might be interested in having us attack you. What do you think?"

Omar: "I don't know George, I have it pretty good here already. Not sure I really need it."

George: "Come on, Omar! Try to look beyond your goat-tending. You won't believe how good an American war can be for you."

Omar: "You know damn well I don't have any goats! Oh, ha ha, you were just joking, you sly bastard! But why do you want a war, anyway?"

George: "Oh, you've been reading our poll numbers lately, haven't you? We need a boost. Anyway our herd needs thinning. There's nothing like taking the most aggressive of our peons and sending them all out to be killed. Of course you know that!"

Omar: "Certainly, I can take advantage of that as well. But wars can be pretty damn expensive, you know."

George: "Not a problem! Just give us the number of your Swiss bank account, and you will start seeing a lot of nice fat deposits. And we'll have our boys put together a back channel to ship you plenty of arms for your side. And we can set up high volume channels, probably using the same shipping, to bring your heroin back into the US. Keep our peons asleep, and our 'justice system' <snort> busy. The point of war is to make money, not to lose it. You and your boys will be rich beyond your wildest dreams. Your family will be in 'fat city" forever. And let's not forget that "fog of war" stuff!"

Omar: "I'm not familiar with the term."

George: "Well you know, in the fog of war, people often disappear. Particularly, good looking women. Often those women somehow end up in the ruler's bed for a night or several nights. When you are tired of her, have her taken out back and put a bullet in her head. Trust me, Omar, you can stop shagging goats. Unless you prefer them; then you can get the best looking goats, all you want, ha ha!"

Omar: "Well, what about boys?"

George: "Hey, I hear ya!" <snicker> "Fog o' war, fog o' war."

Omar: "OK, that sounds wonderful. I guess I am ready for war. What's next?"

George: "I'll have my boys contact yours. We will cook up some semi-plausible reasons we have to go to war; ours will be the usual terrorist nonsense, you can do something with Islam. You know, the regular stuff. Then we feed it to our propaganda machines. Don't worry, we have this down to an art by now. Say, I've gotta go, have an appointment down at the golf course, hah! Be talking at ya!"

Omar: "Goodbye, George. Allah be with you." <snicker>

To be honest, I don't really think it went quite like that—but it might as well have done. The results seem to be the same. When you are not a collectivist, it no longer looks as if countries war with each other. It's just individuals. Individuals cook up wars.

There are not only (possibly) phony wars like the above, but real wars too—for the individual. What does that mean?

Well, there are many internet stories and youtubes where "the system" (that is, some individual or individuals within the system) make war on some poor schmuck minding his own business. I suppose the recent prototype is Carl Drega, but while the victim usually folds, unlike Drega, it is still war. Now, since people are usually indoctrinated that war is one country attacking another, they don't realize they are in a war, and respond inappropriately. Oh, they think, implausibly, that "the system" will vindicate them. I imagine that happens just enough to keep the indoctrination intact—can't have the peons thinking the game is rigged, after all. When one has given up on collectivism though, it stops looking like a bureaucratic dispute or mistake, and starts to look like war at the individual level. When someone declares war on you, what do you do?

Interesting thing about that, I think, is the old saying, "Si vis pacem, para bellum." I'm not sure, but I get the feeling that if you have a reputation for not putting up with crap, you are usually left alone—just like on a school playground. Bureaucrats know about Carl Drega too. At least some of them have the sense not to whack a hornet's nest.

Of course, one does not go to war over mosquito bites. Just like real mosquitos, we brush them off if we can. But after a while, when a whole lot of mosquitos are feeding on you, you have to do something about it: fumigate the swamp. Problem is, each individual mosquito bite does not look like a provocation, is considered not worth fighting about. So you are thought unreasonable if you do fight. It's always a question; but I have a feeling government will be providing a lot of real provocations in the future, thus solving this dilemma for us.

It's time for people to start thinking through what war is really about. Get beyond that reflexive collectivist thinking.


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