Looking carefully at that which is unseen.

Daily Archives: December 9, 2011

Thinking about: 4G Warfare as applied to non-military areas

Any relationship that is not consensual must, perforce, be coercive. It exists because the parties want it to exist, or because it has to exist on pain of pain.

The nature and structures of coercive relationships are as manifold as can be – all the way from simple emotional “guilting,” up through “continuing the floggings until morale improves” all the way until perfectly credible “do it or I’ll kill you.” But this is not to say that coercive relationships start out at the maximum level. Coercive relationships are nothing more than war between two or more individuals, a contest of wills – or abilities – and, as such, are subject to the same analysis as any other war-related activities when it comes to determining which generation of war is being fought.

For instance, the losers in an election are told that they “have to take it, because they lost.” Torocaca. Winning doesn’t make you right, it just means you get your way. Nor does participation in a vote create any consent in the results on the part of the loser, any more than losing a war creates consent. It simply creates a losing side that does not wish to be injured any more.

But assertions that losers are stuck with the results are a perfect example of a 2G warfare mindset. The British Redcoats whined about American riflemen shooting from behind rocks and trees instead of lining up in neat rows. Tough kibble. There’s no rule that says a side is obligated to fight the same style of war as the other, and there’s no penalty for being “unfair” in war. Likewise the winners of elections who say that the other side has to live with the results – true, but only so far as the other side accepts. If the losers mount a “guerilla” action of, say, slowdowns, noncompliance, or out and out defiance, it can certainly bump things back into armed conflict (also known as “calling the police or National Guard”) initiated by the winners, but that can, as regimes have found over the years, backfire dramatically when the police and troops decide that maybe they’re better off with the “losers.”

One interesting facet of 4G warfare, as applied to non-military areas, is that individuals and groups in power often, after time, take that power for granted, and forget that such power ultimately rests on nothing more than forbearance, rather than consent, of the other side to not take remedial action. Civil wars are messy, nasty, but are often the end result of one side forgetting the lessons that history teaches.

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Thinking about: Society

Though it pains me to use the word “society”* in place of “social group,” it’s common parlance for people to use it as a noun, rather than the verb that it is.

So, that being said, let’s take a short thought at just what holds a group – a society – together.

There are only two ways that a society stays in one piece. Consent. And coercion. You are with someone else either because you want to be, or because you have to be.

Up until 1865, the theory was that Americans were going to be together because they wanted to be. After 1865, it was painfully obvious that they were going to be together because they had to be.

Unfortunately, forcing association can only last for so long. It’s the sort of society that Adam Smith referred to as a “brittle” society, one which has no real strength and resilience in times of stress. While it may hold up to some degree under an external threat – which is why politicians are constantly working to manufacturing them – nevertheless internal stresses will gradually wear it down, and you’ll come to the point where the ruling class can only hold power at the point of a gun. Once that stage is reached, the crash is inevitable, because eventually those on the other side of the gun will realize that they outnumber by far the number of people with guns – and the slide to doom commences.

Though this is just part of a pattern, it may also be a starting gun on the race to the end.

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