I’d rather switch than fight

Several of you have asked what I would do, if faced with a situation like the one in Oshkosh. I think it’s important to first understand that everything, literally everything, takes longer than those who see what is coming expects, and so it is a huge mistake to overreact directly to a simple probe and confuse it with the real thing.

It is wise, however, to use it as a warning and begin to prepare for the less desirable eventualities. My personal preference, as modeled by some of my intellectual heroes like Ludwig von Mises, is to simply leave. Anywhere is preferable to a society in the process of radical transformation – see South Africa and Russia for details. At no point in history has a society ever successfully resisted the suicidal urge to drown itself in chaos, and while there is one factor operating in America’s behalf – never before has a population been so well armed – it’s not difficult to envision an event that would lead the public to clamor for its own disarmament. If it is not too bizarre to apply a principle of socionomics here, I would not be surprised to see just such an event sometime before July 2006.

Of course, it’s not possible for many people to leave, nor are many who could leave inclined to do so. To those who stay, the principle of misdirection in all things is key. As it relates to the current subject, if they want guns, make sure you have some openly purchased guns for them to seize. Let them have them, behave in an appropriately servile manner, and take any action you deem appropriate later.

What most people don’t understand is that the police and government are terrified of the public. They know they are massively outnumbered. That is why they behave so arrogantly, like teenagers working themselves up to spray paint a street sign. And they are right to be afraid – in Peru, the police were afraid to even leave their homes as the initiation rite for the Shining Path was to shoot dead a uniformed policeman on the front steps of his house. It is not mass riots and demonstrations that they fear, for those can never be so large that they cannot be controlled one way or another.

What they fear is the quiet, invisible violence of places like Northern Ireland, where the entire British Army was finally forced to agree to a truce that was a de facto victory for the IRA. This is why the Bush administration is secretly trying to negotiate a deal with the Ba’ath and Sunni leaders, as they know that the foreign jihadists can be defeated with Iraqi help, but that the indigenous resistance will never be overcome now that the hearts-and-minds campaign has clearly failed. Government, however totalitarian, always depends on the consent of the governed, regardless of whether that consent is given freely or fearfully.

Perhaps these concerns are unfounded. I admit to the possibility that they are. However, I’ve never found it helpful to assume the innocence of government actors in any situation. Their interests seldom align with mine, and when they not only fail to answer my questions honestly but seek to evade them, well, I consider that sort of thing to be a red flag. It never hurts to be prepared.