Friday, November 11, 2011

Concord Bridge or Fort Sumter Part II

Part I of my attempt to bring some order to my thoughts about politics and human nature is here.

Things which are unsustainable obviously will not be sustained, and the current political order in the United States is unsustainable. It is difficult not to see in today's heated rhetoric and occasional violence - though mild compared to what has happened in other places - the first breezes heralding the approaching storm.

In my previous entry, I attempted to define the opposing world views which make the conflict inevitable. I described them not as liberal or conservative, democrat or republican, or red or blue - these are meaningless labels - the modern equivalent of
Guelph and Ghibelline . The next civil war will be between those who must rule, and those who have little need for rulers, and it will not flare into violence until the latter change into those who will not be ruled.

I use the term civil war simply to refer to a conflict between people who are citizens of the same country, so banish thoughts of Pickett's Charge, and Sherman's March - it will not be that kind of civil war.

The reason it won't be, is not because those who must rule are enlightened and wouldn't think of launching a scorched earth offensive through the cities and neighborhoods of those who defy them. It has happened before in this country, and it would be folly to believe the police, national guard, regular military and all the others who draw a paycheck from the state would refuse orders to make war on their fellow citizens. I would like to believe that would be the case, but the still standing chimneys of the long gone homes which once stood between Atlanta and Savannah argue against a naive trust on the better angels of human nature.

Money is the reason the conflict will not resemble that of 1861-1865. That war was mostly fought on credit, and the federal government's credit was good enough that it could issue debt to finance its efforts - even the the confederate states could, until the last days of the conflict, still purchase weapons and material on loans mortgaged against their future cotton production.

This is not the case today. Even though U.S. debt still has some value, that value would evaporate if the already nearly bankrupt federal government were to try to finance a fight against a rebellion. If you think the Iraq/Afghanistan wars were expensive, imagine the cost of those same kind of operations covering the continental U.S.

But just as the central government does not have the wherewithal to mount a continent-wide counter insurgency; no other group has the wherewithal to mount a threat which would require it. With all due respect to constitutional militia groups, while I do think citizen militia will have an increasingly important role in the coming decades, that role will not be as the thin line of resistance standing athwart the path of some statist behemoth which has finally crossed into tyranny.

You may say a government whose employees stick their hands up ladies skirts before letting them board airplanes, and supplies weapons to the vilest gangsters in the hemisphere so it can use the resulting carnage as a justification to curtail our rights at home, has already become tyrannical - and I agree with you, but do the people who live up and down your street also agree?


No, make that extremely doubtful. Here in Ohio we just had an election where the biggest issue was a referendum on repealing a pension reform package which would have just slightly slowed the gravy train for public employees. The public sector unions and their allies spent thirty million dollars to convince voters that asking state employees to contribute a few percent of their pay to fund their otherwise completely tax financed salary, benefit, and retirement packages, would leave the police helpless to stop crime, the fire departments without water, and death and destruction just around the corner. The rubes bought it and repealed the reforms by a two to one margin. So no, to the vast majority of our countrymen the idea that friendly Mr. Policeman and brave Mr. Firemen, and selfless Mrs. Teacher could ever be agents of a despotic government would be an absurdity.

But the cost of those pay and benefit obligations has been going steadily up, while the revenue required to cover them has gone down. Those who must rule have established a regime where the support of half of the population is purchased by plundering and then distributing the wealth of the other half. The problem is the money is running out.

Even if those who must rule suddenly realize the trap they are in, do you think their allies - the ones who supported them, collected the taxes for them, distributed propaganda for them, enforced the laws for them, and depended on their largess for daily bread, will also just walk away saying, "No pension for me, I guess I backed the wrong horse." I can't think of a metaphor to illustrate the minuscule chance of that happening.

Mr. Vanderboegh has said that law enforcement officers must "Choose This Day Whom You Will Serve". It is important that the question be publicly put to those we trust to enforce the law, but I believe it contains within itself its own negation - the "This Day" part. All but a small percentage of police and for that matter, everyone who draws a paycheck from the state, made their choice years or decades ago - they chose the cause of their paymaster.


Alan J. said...

"All but a small percentage of police and for that matter, everyone who draws a paycheck from the state, made their choice years or decades ago - they chose the cause of their paymaster."

Sorry, Mike, but on that conclusion I think you're completely wrong. As both a retired military officer and a current public employee, you'd think I'm exactly the kind of person that you're writing about in the 2nd part of your essay. However, I swore an oath to the Constitution, not to any particular politician or political party.

So, I'll go on paying my taxes and voting for the candidate that I like or against the one I don't, and I'll continue to support the policies that I like. But that doesn't mean that I'm blind to the problems of our country.

Neither you nor any politician or union member or anyone else should think that I'll always just roll over for a paycheck. I'm prepared to make sacrifices, whether in paychecks or retirement funds or something greater, but I'll never fail to support the Constitution.

Anonymous said...

I'm retired military, also. My take is that if they keep plundering the treasury, I won't have any pension left anyway. I figure I've got about four more years of government largesse before it all goes to doo-doo, if nothing changes. So it really doesn't matter.
Either we change out the current batch of crooks for a new batch who may do it right, or it all goes away. Whether by Cloward-Piven collapse, or by civil war, or by some other catastrophic event, or with a whimper. It goes away.
I'm with Alan. I continue paying my taxes and voting for the good guys, but my allegiance is to my country, not the bureaucracy holding it hostage.

Roger said...

Check out the Oath Keepers organization.

The folks that have sworn loyalty to the constitution, not the politician or party.

fast richard said...

A civil war would only incidentaly involve conflict between the government and the citizens. The primary conflict would be between factions of the citizenry. You present arguments which are substantially similar to what I have heard recently from the leftist of the occupy mobs. I suspect that the desired final state of society might be different.

DJ said...

I have a friend who works as a civilian employee of the Navy at the Pax River Naval Air Station. Several years ago, I asked him how his Naval cohorts would respond if asked to (ahem) execute unconstitutional orders, i.e. to help in an overthrow of our Constitution. The question he put to them was thus in the vein of, "Whom would they choose to serve?"

The response was visceral and overwhelming. They swore an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution, not to the follow the illegal orders of the bureaucrats who inhabit gubmint. They are on our side.

Earl said...

During the Nixon Watergate years the division I was with was planning to go to Washington DC to secure the city -- my question to the officers was do we support the President or the Congress, Nixon didn't let it come to that. But the Army split in 1861, mostly just the officer corps. It is always more than money worth dying for, always.

Anonymous said...

Oh well you had me on your side till you started blathering on about issue 2. Im a union fireman...and an oathkeeper. You and I will simply disagree in the whole issue.

Anonymous said...

"They swore an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution, not to the follow the illegal orders of the bureaucrats who inhabit gubmint. They are on our side."


Yet, here we are.

John said...

Gentleman, I think you are missing the point of Mike's thrust. He isn't looking at individual police/ firefighters rather at the herd. Remember, a person is smart - people are stupid.

I used to make the mistake of judging by assuming I am average. Just from the fact that you read blogs like this, you ARE NOT average.

Anonymous said...

Just found this blog excellent.
I thought about what the police & military would do in a situation where they had to choose sides. I believe the answer is in these excellent comments just as I thought, sounds like they would stick in the early stages only to ultimately choose what the founders chose in the 18th century the constitution and family. This is why these are being attacked today. God help us all...

SiGraybeard said...

Linked back from my place..

Anonymous said...

The issue isn't what the government employees do so much as what kind of cretins the voters will keep putting in office. If nothing changes and the economy collapses there won't be salaries or pensions anyway.
As long as people who vote aren't willing to recognize the danger we are in then it's hard to press government employees about this.
As long as progressives are in denial about government trying to do every function in life then nothing will change.
The moment California or Illinois government can no longer go on their spending spree will be when realty hits. Because Congress will not appropriate money to bail them out. Especially since the federal government is burning through borrowed money at such a fast clip.

Anonymous said...

Causa Patet, exactly.

The union firefighter and public employees here say they will just keep paying their taxes and supporting the Constitution. That's just funny. Well, no,...sad, actually.

If you think voting is gonna fix the situation, then yes, you are blind to the problems.

Anonymous said...

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