25 April 2012

Enlightened Author, April Edition

I'm planning on highlighting the work of various authors who have changed the way people write, interact, and think about the world around us in a positive way.  Sort of a geneaological look at the thinkers who have advanced the cause of the Effective Tribe since the time of Adam Smith and John Locke. 

This month's subject is a man who excoriated idiots in the first half of the twentieth century, H.L. Mencken.  Mencken is one of the few who foresaw the terrible results of the New Deal reforms, the creation of the Fed, and the beginning of the egalitarian larceny that we have suffered under since before WWII.  Below is a very good look at the life and work of this member of the effective tribe, written by Murray Rothbard in 1962.

Here's an excerpt from Rothbard's article that explains a good deal of the man's character:

"Any man who is an individualist and a libertarian in this day and age has a difficult row to hoe. He finds himself in a world marked, if not dominated, by folly, fraud, and tyranny. He has, if he is a reflecting man, three possible courses of action open to him: (1) he may retire from the social and political world into his private occupation: in the case of Mencken's early partner, George Jean Nathan, he can retire into a world of purely esthetic contemplation; (2) he can set about to try to change the world for the better, or at least to formulate and propagate his views with such an ultimate hope in mind; or, (3) he can stay in the world, enjoying himself immensely at this spectacle of folly. To take this third route requires a special type of personality with a special type of judgment about the world. He must, on the one hand, be an individualist with a serene and unquenchable sense of self-confidence; he must be supremely "inner-directed" with no inner shame or quaking at going against the judgment of the herd. He must, secondly, have a supreme zest for enjoying life and the spectacle it affords; he must be an individualist who cares deeply about liberty and individual excellence, but who can – from that same dedication to truth and liberty – enjoy and lampoon a society that has turned its back on the best that it can achieve. And he must, thirdly, be deeply pessimistic about any possibility of changing and reforming the ideas and actions of the vast majority of his fellow-men. He must believe that boobus Americanus is doomed to be boobus Americanus forevermore. Put these qualities together, and we are a long way toward explaining the route taken by Henry Louis Mencken."

Some Mencken quotes:

-"A church is a place in which gentlemen who have never been to heaven brag about it to persons who will never get there. "

-"A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin. "

-"A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar. "

-"A judge is a law student who marks his own examination papers. "

-"A man always remembers his first love with special tenderness, but after that he begins to bunch them. "

-"A man may be a fool and not know it, but not if he is married. "

-"A national political campaign is better than the best circus ever heard of, with a mass baptism and a couple of hangings thrown in. "

-"A newspaper is a device for making the ignorant more ignorant and the crazy crazier. "

-"A politician is an animal which can sit on a fence and yet keep both ears to the ground. "

H. L. Mencken

05 April 2012

Manifesto of the Effective, Part III

So we've dealt with, in this space, the danger of becoming domesticated, and the erosion of the definition of what it means to be a man. All good, I reckon. However, there's something out there that deals indirectly with both subjects, but is the logical conclusion to the entire line of reasoning. It came to me after I submitted the last Bile last week, when a friend of mine (thanks, Jess) asked me: "Okay. I see it. I understand. WTF do I do about it?"

And that is where we find ourselves, isn't it? We've defined differences between the effective and those that are not. We've described various manners in which the ineffective manifest themselves, and the specific causality of how these people lose their ability to maintain a baseline of effectiveness. But, indeed, how do we deal with these fucking people?

Sean and Andy know the answer to that question, and I suspect that most of those reading this understand at instinctual level as well: you obviate their ineffectiveness by finding that shining diamond of an individual who: a) says what he can do; b) does what he says he can do. Sounds simple, no?

The difficult thing is that we find that there are ineffective people (in order to save keystrokes, we will call them "assholes") who have been appointed to positions which are clearly above their head, and these assholes defend their positions by inventing miles of red tape and bureaucracy in order to block any improvements to existing procedure by simple legerdemain --OR-- there are assholes who, given positions of authority, understand nothing of context regarding how procedures have been derived, but simply bull ahead with their own idea of how things should be without any understanding, nor caring about, why we decided to run things in a certain way many, many years before those assholes showed up and were given a job here.

We see this in the Marine Corps all the time. A 2nd Lieutenant shows up after his basic officer training and either completely freezes up and becomes a complete burden on the unit due to his indecisiveness (for this argument "type A"), or worse, he decides on day-one to change the dynamic of his platoon based on ten months of entry-level training and ten day's worth of experience (for the sake of this argument, "type B").

The effective ones will hold off and watch how personalities interact, and seek to improve operations based on recommendations from the SNCO who has spent the past twelve to fourteen years figuring things out and putting them into execution, or by a dialogue between him and his subordinates based on their collective experiences. The assholes will assume that everyone who came before was an asshole, and that he knows better. In any case, the poor bastards who work on the bottom wrung suffer, as in the first case; nothing effective gets accomplished due to inertia; and in the second case, institutional knowledge, born of years of trial-and-error, are disregarded due to ego and a misplaced sense of self-worth.

Yes, yes (Jess) I've not dealt with the question.

What is one to do?

I've spent years dealing with type A and type B of the above example. What I find myself doing is a few things:

1) Find the member of the Tribe of the Effective. Within most organizations, there is one individual who is the central point of success. You will often find him to be the busiest individual within the organization. There's a reason for this: HE'S THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN DO ANYTHING. We see this often, and we often feel guilty for engaging him, because he is so busy. Don't feel that way. Engage. Bring him beer, when he helps you out. Befriend him. He is your counterpart in that organization who belongs to the Tribe of the Effective. You see this all the time, when you go out for a smoke with someone with whom you've found success in getting shit done with. There's a bond there. A recognition. Commiserate with the fellow. Cultivate relationships like this until you have a solid group of contacts who can help you get shit done. If they move, or get another job, keep track of them because they are priceless. Call them when necessary and ask them questions that you're dealing with. Because they belong to that Tribe, they'll shit you diamonds.

2) Dismiss the ineffective. They are legion. "98% of the population of this planet right now is simply inert. They can't react to anything, and you can't get them to if you were to set them on fire, or freeze them, or put them under pressure. 1% are bullshitters. They'll promise you the moon and never deliver. The last 1% are those say what they can do and deliver." (Paraphrased from Stephen King: The Dark Half. That is the best description of the Tribe that I've ever read, people.)

You'll identify these assholes of the 98% quickly. They speak in platitudes, grandiose statements that mean nothing. They will seek to replace the ethos of your organization with a dedication to themselves, seeking a personality cult whose existence replaces the need for effectiveness. As their ideas are confounded, assholes like this tend to try to blame "the system" and quickly circle the wagons around their intentions. When confronted, they will inevitably blame you. Yes, you. You poor bastard. If only you'd just gone along with their will, everything would be optimal. Fucker.

Your recommended reaction is to find reasons to avoid these fuckers altogether. Engaging them only encourages their sense of self-importance. If they are ineffective, they won't miss you. If they are a member of the Tribe, then they will seek you out to accomplish or codify their procedures. Simply put: fuck those fucking fuckers. (Thanks, Dan)

Remember one thing, in conclusion, my friends: The Founding Fathers created the Electoral College for a reason, and it wasn't because they had faith in the intelligence, effectiveness, and the ability of their fellow man to be able to identify shit from Shine-Ola. It was because they saw what you and I see: "Jesus, there are a whole lot of dumbshits out here! Don't let these fuckers be the deciding factor in the governance of this nation."

In like way, go about your bidness by being able to identify these assholes, and marginalize them. Then go find a fellow member of the Tribe and get shit done.

Immundus, in saecula saeculorum

01 April 2012

Spring Training Bile

Every official that comes in
Cripples us, leaves us maimed
Silent and tamed
And with our flesh and bones
He builds his homes
-Rage Against the Machine, "War Within a Breath"

Any attempt on my part of providing weak explanations of why exactly I have not been as vocal, as angry, or why I've not been pounding on the table with a ten pound sledgehammer for others to wake up and simply become aware is immaterial to the argument. While this space began eleven years ago as a way for me to simply try to amuse my friend(s), it has long since wandered over and served as a means to speak my mind with regards to political and social philosophy.

Today is definitely the later.

Sublety is pointless, at this point.  A single well-aimed logical shot from the prone has been rendered ineffective. What is called for is a logical Mk-84 2000 lb. bomb.

Americans, you have just found yourself inside the Minimum Safe Distance (MSD) of my rage. Despite my best intentions to just maintain hope in the overarching ability of free men to reason, I look about and note that the siege engines of those people who are hell-bent on enslaving us are tightening ever closer. I've been scoffed at before, and I'm sure most of you just read this and roll your eyes at what is perceived as hyperbole.

However, were it simply hyperbole, I would've stopped writing these little rays of sunshine many years ago. I started all of this during the second Clinton administration, looking around me and seeing clearly that we were travelling in a direction that would inevitably result in the end of what many of us have taken an oath to protect and defend: our Constitution. I thought, when I took up the pen in 2001, that the threat was distant. I thought eight years ago that the most striking threat was that represented by Mohammedan Extremists. I was wrong.

The threat is us.


I don't write this anymore assuming or hoping that you get a giggle and forward it to your friends, I write this because I don't hear it coming out of any of the popular media, and I think it may, in fact, be important enough, alarming enough, and sufficiently tragic enough that you will want to send it to those with whom YOU associate to make them aware of what is being done in their name.

However, so as not to put off those who don't want to read several thousand words worth of my vented spleen, I'll try to keep the argument on the early side of 500 (not counting the forward. HA! see what happened there? Read on, dear friends. Please click on the links. I didn't embed the text in hopes that reading it from other sources would lend credibility to an old, weathered patriot.)

Transition from Republic to Empire
1) A Brief Segue (no, not that gay two wheel thingy. Rather, a brief history lesson.)
It is generally accepted that the Roman Empire started slowly bending away from their republican heritage during the reforms that came about during the tribunal of Tiberius Graccus in 133 B.C. While the reforms by Tiberius, which sought to correct a manifestly unjust and corrupt land-grab by the ruling elite, can only obliquely be used as a metaphor for the recent troubles that were a result of Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac, the important aspect of the beginning of this period is the erosion of the influence of the Roman Senate, and by proxy, the Roman people themselves. This erosion, this disenfranchisement, is the parallel that I wish to draw.

It took until 27 B.C. for the Emperor Augustus (Octavian) to finally consolidate all power under the Roman throne.  106 years; that is what it took the Roman ruling class to steal the right of self-determination from their people.  In 133 B.C., each Roman citizen with the right to vote had some say regarding the laws that were being enacted in his name.  Three generations later, none had that right. How long, do you think, would it take for a free, educated populace to have their freedom taken from them?

The Federal Reserve Act was enacted in 1913.   That was 99 years ago.

2) "No, I assure you. Squirrel!  This administration. Squirrel!  Is dedicated to assisting the plight of the little... Squirrel!"
While these stories regarding the wholesale destruction of constitutional precedent have been out there, the following is what appears as "trending" by CNN.com right now:

Muslim Brotherhood to field presidential pick
Trayvon parents seek review of prosecutor

Pimco's Gross: More ETFs in the works

Taylor Swift wins big at the ACMs
I'm not sure whether it's ineptness by the media, corporate/government control of the media, or apathy by the consumers, but the fact that none of this is being talked about is a failure on the part of these people who claim to want to be the Woodwards and Bernsteins of the modern world.  The news is ineffective, showing you only what they think you want to see because the majority of the media is wholly owned and operated by entertainment corporations that pander to the lowest common denominator.  As a nation, we need to stop losing focus anytime someone yells "squirrel" at us.

[Okay, coming up are some links that support the argument. Please read them. Most are short and will increase your awareness of what is happening with regards to your government. Those that are actual links to government documents are longer, but still warrant a quick scan.] 

At 9:00 P.M. on New Year's Eve of 2011, when some of us were in the process of becoming somewhat overserved, President Obama was busy. At that time, he enacted the National Defense Authorization Act. This particular piece of legislation allows the Department of Defense to detain anyone on this planet, to include American Citizens such as, oh- you or me-, without due process "until the end of the hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force." (quoted from the act itself:

On March 16th, the Barack Obama administration signed an Executive Order that should terrify anyone who does not want to live in the Soviet Union. That Order was termed the "National Defense Resources Preparedness Executive Order". It eases restrictions on the President's ability to declare martial law, which he can do, as Jim Garrison from the Huffington Post says, "in peacetime without any national emergency to justify it. The language of the Order does not state that all these extraordinary measures will be done in the event of 'national security' or a 'national emergency.' They can simply be done for 'purposes of national defense,' clearly a broader remit that allows the government to do what it wants, when it wants, how it wants, to whomever it wants, all without any judicial restraint or due process". Once martial law has been declared, the President would be able to delegate to the Secretaries of the Executive branch to take control of the resources of this nation in the following ways:

  • The Secretary of Defense would have power over all water resources;
  • The Secretary of Commerce would have power over all material services and facilities, including construction materials;
  • The Secretary of Transportation would have power over all forms of civilian transportation;
  • The Secretary of Agriculture would have power over food resources and facilities, livestock plant health resources, and the domestic distribution of farm equipment;
  • The Secretary of Health and Human Services would have power over all health resources;
  • The Secretary of Energy would have power over all forms of energy.
But don't take my word for it, go here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/03/16/executive-order-national-defense-resources-preparedness and scroll down about two or three pages to "Sec. 201, Priorities and Allocations Authorities".

Additional websites to view regarding this particular ridiculously slippery slope:

A new law pertaining to your right to peaceful assembly:

A discussion of your President's right to target and kill whomever he wishes, American citizen or not, by the Director of the FBI: http://rt.com/usa/news/fbi-mueller-assassination-holder-193/

And finally, on the heels of all of this is the President's brief side-bar with Dmitry Mededev, the President of the Russian Federation: https://www.freespeech.org/photo/obama-meets-medvedev

"More flexibility". God help us all, should that come to pass...

Okay, I said it'd be a short post, and there it is. Please stay vigilant, my friends, as these forays into the rights given us under the Bill of Rights are not being reported by anyone.

...Don't mind me, I'm going out the same way I came in:

Yes, I know my enemies
They're the teachers who taught me to fight me
Compromise, conformity, assimilation, submission
Ignorance, hypocrisy, brutality, the elite,
All of which are
[have become] American dreams...
                    -Rage Against the Machine, "Know Your Enemy"

Immundus, ergo sum,