Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The more things change, the more things become The Village

While many remember how the 1960's went out, with hippies, anti-war movements, sympathy given to barbarians in the name of 'the little people' who were usually the ones killed by those self-same red barbarians, and those who were doing that deciding to stop washing (and thus becoming unwashed masses) few remember how it came in. Popular culture leading into the 1960's was clean cut, defined, categorized and had a feeling that those things we worked hard on as individuals would better ourselves and our families, while giving a chance to enrich the whole world.

While the unwashed replaced the washed and turned to darker visions, we forget that there was a wholly different set of darker visions from those who came in. If Danger Man/Secret Agent and James Bond represented the tough 'good guy', just how would they react when society went bad? Both took down bad individuals and groups, but they depended upon society as a whole to remain stalwart, unflinching in the face of challenges and to support the rights of the common man. They had seen the dark version of society over-run by those that tried to make everyone equal and make no one above average nor below it, and thus create societies where the common man had no reason to make himself better and had every reason to submit to the concerted power of government. The unwashed would take that banner up and take to the streets, shouting for rebellion, equality and freedom... just so long as they got to define those things and were not held to those standards.

One secret agent got a taste of that, when he saw that his service was not working out in the way he had expected. He did the ethical thing: he resigned.

He was too valuable to let go.

And so one side or the other picked him up, to force him to give up his adherence to his ethics and swear fealty to them. The cruel vision of government using 'good' to coerce was seen and the individual was pitted against the subservient society. While being made anonymous had a cachet to it as an agent, when one was stripped of their name and given a number as a fact of life, anonymity became uniformity and repression. And the enforced jaunty atmosphere of The Village would belie the absolute evil of a society coerced to be good by government. The Village would be in many places and yet no place that could be found. Its society existed for the sole use of the side that made it. Everyone had a number, and while numbers had meaning, they are not personalities. We would never learn that agent's name, but his number we would come to know.

He was #6.

He was The Prisoner.

So while those out in the streets were moving towards self-imposed feelings of authority to stop 'repression' one television program showed that if that psychotic view was made real, it would be more horrific than anything that could have been thought up by the brutal forms of socialism that had come before it. Numbers could disappear. Numbers could be played with. Numbers, ultimately, become unimportant. When your name is replaced by a number, then you become unimportant. This was exactly what those protesting in the street *wanted*, and the program would throw the vision of the street marchers right into their faces before many even took to the streets. In many ways the program was prophetic on what happens when Big Brother meets High Tech meets the ubiquity of obscurity.

The show is chock-a-block with quotations, quips and extremely difficult to understand scenes... and yet also had ones that would cut deeply to the problematic attitudes of the 'counter-culture' which would soon become the supporters of barbarism. Sometimes it was simple, and you would miss it:

“Honour is the natural expression of a democratic society.”

--A sign from the Labour Exchange; Episode: Arrival

Strange that no one had honor before democratic societies, isn't it? That is investing 'society', which in this case is government, with the attributes of the individual and stripping them from the individual. A very simple sign, until you think about where it is and what it means, then it becomes an expression of repression of the good of the individual.

In this twisted society the hierarchy of numbers did mean a few things, once you got to the single digits, thus the person who ruled The Village was #2. That position changed, indeed it was the number that had the power, although the individual did have to show some value to get the number. The famous exchange between #6 and #2 would start many of the episodes, and is a telling point throughout the series:

#6: "Where am I?"

#2: "In the Village."

"What do you want?"


"Whose side are you on?"

"That would be telling…. We want information. Information! INFORMATION!"

"You won't get it."

"By hook or by crook, we will."

"Who are you?"

"The new Number Two."

"Who is Number One?"

"You are Number Six."

"I am not a number — I am a free man!"

(Laughter from Number Two.)

And we would find out who was #1, although that, too, would be telling.

The nominal information that #2, and thus the rulers of The Village, wants is why #6 resigned. He had been a trusted, indeed highly trusted, individual if the previous Danger Man series was any indication. A Secret Agent that didn't need Bond's gadgets, just a sharp mind and a willingness to exercise it. Rare was the shoot-out, or blood spilled in Danger Man: he was a secret agent and, thus, trying to keep what he was doing a damned secret. Bond was a walking billboard, but John Drake was the non-entity that suddenly became important and then disappeared, over and over again.

The show's creator, Patrick McGoohan, poked fun at the episodic format, at many of the major failings of shows like The Avengers or Man from U.N.C.L.E. #6 was used to winning, used to winning well, used to winning quickly, and when, at the end of the first episode, he finds that he has *not* outwitted those running The Village, his determined walk back is not only being upset at not winning but miffed at no longer being in episodic television. And he, the versatile man of all seasons, would *not* give in to simple setbacks. Those that would be in the position of #2 on a temporary basis, however, were not so sanguine, as their task was to break #6 and have him come over to their 'side' willingly, not as a broken man.

No.2: “We can treat folly with kindness . . . knowing that soon his wild spirits will quieten, and the foolishness will fall away to reveal a model citizen.”

No.6: “That day you'll never see.”

--Episode: Dance of the Dead

McGoohan purposely made The Village to be a non-place and yet represent every place - we could each claim to be different members of different Nations, and yet conformity of life to certain things would create a global Village, that was not that of Marshall MacLuhan's visage of a global 'tribal identity' but one that was an enforced mono-identity where individuation is not lost but abolished. MacLuhan invented the idea of 'surfing' ideas, which represented the fragmentation of individual thought, but McGoohan places that as a coercive condition enforced by those that rule The Village. In one visage mankind fractionates to a lowest common denominator, in the other we are dissolved until there is only commonness in that we are not individuals but mere numbers. These two outlooks come from the same, short period of years before the 'counter-culture' took off in full, and while many radicals would try to spout MacLuhan, they were, inadvertently, confirming McGoohan: they wanted to abolish the individual and create a state ruled so as to eliminate individualism. Just so long as the elites got to retain their own to 'guide society'. In thinking they spouted radicalism, they were, instead, supporting totalitarianism and we live with that to this day.

The telling thing about McGoohan's vision of this new world against that of MacLuhan's, is that it is highly descriptive as it is not a work to address the intellect, but one to address the visual media. MacLuhan thought the oral tradition would return with power via the spoken word, while McGoohan saw that the written word was a means to an end, and that a living society, even represented in small part, would tell much, much more than any book. Plus it allowed for him to skewer the very artifacts of society and government that would be backing the concept of an enforced societal standard that wasn't tribal, but truly horrific.

The 'arts' had become a source of cultural amusement and ceased to have much in the way of value impact, save via 'shocking' art: those pieces of art that offended and no longer uplifted the spirit. One episode would feature an art contest, and #2 would seek to persuade #6 to enter it:

No.2 [scanning book]: “There. . .At the age of fifteen, top of his class in woodwork! That's the sort of thing! I mean, join in!”

No.6: “I'll make you a handle for this door.”

--inside the Green Dome; Episode: Chimes of Big Ben

This is the strongest and most able of the #2s we see in the program: strong willed, sharp of mind and well able to verbally joust with #6 on an equal basis. He would be back at the end of the series in the finale between #6 and #2, but here in this earlier episode it is the attempt to wear down and persuade that matters. Needless to say that even when he does enter the competition, he creates something that appears to be wholly nonsensical, to the point that even the Judges have a problem with it:

A Judge: “We're not quite sure what it means.”

No.6: “It means what it is.”

--at the art exhibition; Episode: Chimes of Big Ben

Yes, we do hear that quite often from artists in the modern world! Still the art would help in an escape attempt, so that working through nonsense to escape reality does have very deep meaning via the episode. Of course it wouldn't work.

No.6: “The whole earth as. . . `The Village'?”

No.2: “That is my hope. What's yours?”

No.6: “I'd like to be the first man on the moon!”

--Episode: Chimes of Big Ben

When the obvious attempts to escape don't work, then the matter of breaking #6 goes to the core of the man. Can an individual be twisted enough to finally be defeated by society? Time and again he would be assaulted beyond just physically or even mentally, even the bastion of knowledge and dreams would be invaded to abolish his resistance. But the skewering of elitist society of our age would continue unabated, as seen with an episode in which 'speed learn' is tried out as a test on The Village, to see just what can be put into people's minds without them being able to resist it. That would be run by 'The General' and his wife would be heavily into 'education' and 'self-expression' of the very modern, leftist persuasion:

No.6: “What are we all looking for?”

Professor's Wife: “Well, let's see. That gentleman over there. What do you think he's doing?”

No.6: “Tearing up a book.”

Professor's Wife: “He's creating a fresh concept. Construction arises out of the ashes of destruction. And that woman?”

No.6: “Standing on her head.”

Professor's Wife: “She's developing a new perspective.”

--Episode: The General

Yes and a modern 'tax credit' that goes beyond what one actually makes is called: welfare. Just try to say that to a leftist, today, and they will declaim it as something else. But then they are using a new perspective to create fresh concepts. Any appearance of this being just like the 'social activism' of later years is purely intentional, let me assure you, as when these 'fresh concepts' get enforced on society the result is things like book burnings while people cheer at the destruction of knowledge. For that is where 'social activism' leads as we have seen time and again: not to a new tribal state, but to an enforced abolishing of knowledge and wisdom to conform to some elitist ethos that is never stated, but fully mandated. It is very strange the love/hate affair that so many on the left have with MacLuhan, that it is an enticing vision even while it destroys their elitist claim to fame. In trying to avoid it, in trying to create a 'better culture' or a 'safer world' by enforcing their beliefs on race, class and society via what they teach, what they 'create' and in trying to denigrate the actual society around them, they are creating The Village of McGoohan, the one they never talk about because he is so hard for them to understand... due to his vision hitting their mark and their detestation of what his thumbnail sketch shows it to be.

As part of that aversion to actually calling things as they are, excusing barbarism and wanting to create a revolutionary new concept of a society that helps people by diminishing them, politics degrades into a death spiral. If power gets concentrated, then getting hands on those concentrated points of power becomes the end goal of politics. Just as in The Prisoner the 'sides' become mirror images that both point in the same direction. It doesn't matter which 'side' runs The Village as they are no different from each other in seeking to grasp and hold power for its own sake. Thus elections, even for the slot of #2, are held, and absolutely meaningless. And, yes, #6 finds himself compelled to run, by the coercive means of the government... but it is against his better judgment:

No.6: "Elections? In this place?"

No.2: “Of course. We make our choice every 12 months. Every citizen has a choice. Are you going to run?"

No.6: “Like the blazes; first chance I get.”

No.2: “I meant, run for office?”

--Episode: Free For All

Would you want to run for office in today's corrosive atmosphere of politics? Where any slight smudge is taken as a national disgrace... unless you are of the 'pure party' in which case several dead lovers of both sexes wouldn't ever incriminate you in anything. You would run like blazes, too! In an atmosphere where falling short of being angelic is cause for absolute disdain and yet in not holding another side to that standard, you create a disjunction in society. That not only lessens the ability to have an honest discussion, because an unstated bias is present, but it also starts to devolve the actual content of political speech. After a speech saying that The Villagers have heads like 'rotten cabbages' we come to one of the few political speeches that I thought could not be topped for its vapidity, here given by #6 once he is into the swing of things:

There are those who come in here and deny that we can supply every conceivable civilised amenity within our boundaries. You can enjoy yourselves and you will. You can partake of the most hazardous sports and you will. The price is cheap. All you have to do in exchange is give us information. You are then eligible for promotion to other and perhaps more attractive spheres. Where do you desire to go? What has been your dream? I can supply it. Winter, spring, summer or fall - they can be all yours at any time. Apply to me and it will be easier and better.

-- Episode: Free For All

Literally promising the seasons in exchange for what makes you an individual. And yet, today, we get a politician in which 'We are the people we have been waiting for' and that he will ensure that everyone is forced to be 'active' in society, according to his wife. At least #6 promises self-indulgence or be seen as rotten cabbages, while a modern politician promises narcissism and then enforced work.

That haunting suspicion that art, education and politics is all set up to enforce a common, elitist view and enforce it via electronic media no longer looks like something of an idle threat. This is not MacLuhan's concept of a global tribalism, but McGoohan's emerging Totalitarian State becoming present. Just give up all you believe in and government will provide everything for you... and enslave you as you are no longer an individual. No longer a person.

That is the point of Transnationalist ideals, even while they play up 'groups' they ensure that individuals no longer matter as you are just a sum of your groups: never more than that. While that has always been the aim of the Progressive/Socialist/Communist/Fascist/Nazi realm, you would think they would have embraced the wholesome 'naturalness' of a new global tribal culture. And yet it is distrusted as it is derived from a lowest common denominator basis: it has no higher goals, no higher aspirations and would abolish class, race, and ethnic identity. To keep those they must be played up, some elevated and others denigrated via those categories and a willing media must 'toe the line' with this 'intellectually superior' form of totalitarianism. Mankind must have what is 'natural' and 'right' defined for it by an elite, and must never be allowed to self-define it for itself (if that is even possible).

The media's role is also seen in the Free For All episode, as #6 gives an interview with a reporter:

Reporter: How are you going to handle your campaign?

Number 6: No comment.

Reporter: [writing] "Intends to fight for freedom at all...

Photographer: Smile!

Reporter: ...costs." How about your internal policy?

Number 6: No comment.

Reporter: "Will tighten up on Village security."

Photographer: Smile!

Reporter: How about your external policy?

Number 6: No comment.

Reporter: "Our exports will operate in every corner of the globe." How do you feel about life and death?

Number 6: Mind your own business.

Reporter: "No comment."

-- Episode: Free For All

Even better is once he gets off the runabout that the interview takes place on, he goes to the Tally Ho! news stand and gets a copy of it featuring 'Number 6 Speaks His Mind' in the headline... yes, we have precedent for the article being written before the event happens and it pre-dates the internet! And you get the idea that he isn't smiling much for the photographer as the paper needs to use his old photograph seen being X-ed out at the beginning of the program and dropped into a drawer in a cabinet by automated equipment. He gives no interview, gives no smile and yet there is the interview with his smiling self on the front page. Will wonders never cease?

If the enchanting nightmare of an enforced 'happy society' of repression is one that is chilling, then consider that the only way to counter it is the exact, same one that The Prisoner uses: strong individuality. Then look at the predominance of numbers in The Village that have given in to enforced happiness, and you get an idea of why the elites seek such power. A secret agent sworn to uphold society must leave his position if he sees society coming under the sway of government and elites. When given the ability to 'help' such a society but only by giving in to the elites and becoming their pawn, he must ask if there is any 'good' in what the elites seek at all? He will have to face that any choice given him by such an elite structure is designed to enhance itself and subjugate him. His only way to help the entire society is to persist in seeking a way to dissolve the elites out form society so that a greater good can be worked out, no matter how painful the transition is.

The dichotomy of visions between McGoohan and MacLuhan is not a dichotomy: these are not inevitable sides of a coin, nor even ends in a continuum. What they are is the result of two warnings of our historical past written into the future. MacLuhan worries about humanity's ability to boil its essence down to a 'tribal' basis that is quite primitive. McGoohan warns of the totalitarian past fresh in his culture's mind right after World War II, and the ability of the then Communist powers to misdirect their culture via Orwellian techniques. One posits the lowest common denominator effect and the other the enforced culture via government effect. The other major path, and there are many, is the rights of man to create society, talked about in the Declaration of Independence, which was a distillation of centuries of thought on the role of the individual in creating society.

Currently these three main realms of human interaction types are pretty well defined.

1) MacLuhan tribalism - The 'social' sites like MySpace, Friendster, etc. These look to be social interaction venues that do tend to remove higher level discussion and enforce a more 'tribal' form of lowest common denominator culture via link-association groups. That rendering process is ongoing and will probably never settle into the full MacLuhan mode due to the diversity of human culture. Attempts to boil cultures that far down will be resisted by those who want no part in loss of cultural identity as that gives meaning to the lives of individuals. It is a force and it is present on the internet, but it is not the overwhelming majority of the net, but of particular venues for certain parts of some cultures.

2) McGoohan totalitarianism - Here the MSM and Leftist venues are in accord to attempt to create this. The Orwellian 'memory hole' is now seen with ever changing and often disappearing articles. The internet provides a venue for historical revisionism within those who adhere to these ideals. What it is, however, is global in reach: that is not to say each country but to all the varying ethos types on the internet. The problem totalitarian has with the internet is that it is 'flat' in structure. It is a common address space that does have key sites to run the space, but not dominate it. Any attempt to filter or subvert a part of it sees information start to re-route via other means. This is partly the 'information wants to be free' concept of the Open Source community coming into play, but it is more the curiosity of humanity forcing these other ways to open. China dearly wishes to make its Great Firewall a success but find, just like the earlier physical Great Wall, that people go around it, bribe guards and generally find other means to negate it.

3) Rights of Man Individualism - This is the slowest growing type, but one of the most vital as it does not seek a lowest common denominator nor a systemic thought control system. The idea that individuals band together to create society to protect themselves and, thereby, open up a civil venue for discussion is one of the most revolutionary in mankind's history. Tribalism resists it, but can be changed by this form of dialogue, although slowly. Totalitarianism attempts to suppress it, but finds its means unequal to human curiosity. Individualism requires civil dialog and content, while the others do not, meaning that the descent to name calling, base emotional attacks and juvenile forms of behavior become the norm for both tribal and totalitarian realms. While in the physical world it is not possible to shut up such people, online the power to remove such debasement while not turning totalitarian is something that can be done, but only with trepidation. If we value freedom of speech, then individuals making judgments on the validity of some speech to be heard is one that can lend itself to totalitarian suppression or the enforcement of minimal content via addition like tribalism. The touchstone to the Rights of Man is Civility, for that is how Civil culture and Civilization are formed: without civility we, as humans, tend towards the other means of government and thought. Individualism resists the very action of regularization of discussion, however, as the power of the individual for self-expression is given paramount importance.

Thus when it is asked 'where is the conservative version of dKos, DD, DU, Huff Po, etc.' the answer is that there is no regularity of intercourse because we are all free people and have our own way to express ourselves and do not want nor need centralization of control for messages or thought. The structure that has not been tried is that of the minimal support alliance system: where individuals with a set of base common ideas and ideals form associations based on those ideals and exchange ideas within that loose association. The 'blogroll' or 'web ring' is close to something like this, but is an inexact tool for mutual aid and support. To get that requires some mutual cooperation and support by members, which is a task that will take time and energy to do. Civilization is hard to support and requires effort to do so. Individuals often forget this and, thusly, do not put in more than minimal support save for those things they support wholeheartedly. Even worse is the over-zealous supporters will feel that not everyone is contributing as much as they are: they are correct. No set group of individuals will EVER feel the exact same amount of passion on ANYTHING. That is what the tribalism and totalitarian areas do - force support either socially or via the controlled echo chamber. Supporting individualism requires that each individual understand that basic concept and that no denigration for those who DON'T support things with equal zealousness be derided in that. The obverse is that your hard work sets a GOOD EXAMPLE and may SHAME others into pitching in more. That is not the 'why aren't you doing as much as I am?' question, which is a form of self-horn blowing, but should be one in which an individual says: 'I believe fervently in this, understand that others do not and accept and gladly thank those that can contribute for their contribution to our common effort'.

While each of these three areas overlap, which is no surprise given the diversity of individuals on the planet, they also are mutually in check. Each of the areas is not amenable to be absorbed into the other two, as the touchstones for each are different and require things that the other two cannot ever give up wholly or even in large part. Tribalism dare not go rigid and totalitarian as that turns members of society away from a vibrant culture, nor can it go the free-wheeling way of individualism as it supports common culture over individualism, although leaves space for some individual expression. Totalitarian views require inflexibility, by and large, and so cannot adapt to the flexibility of culture in tribalism or the mass interplay of ideas in individualism. While some individual self-expression is allowed, the mandated 'party line' or 'talking points' must always be adhered to. Individualism shuns the rigidity of thought in totalitarianism and the straight jacket of base common culture in its assertion that civility creates structures above mere tribalism and helps for larger common endeavors. While members may be parts of tribes and more rigid communities, the necessity of civil and honorable ideas and content while addressing your fellow man excludes the debasement of language used in the other areas.

The only worrying part is that only one of the three, totalitarianism, is set up for large scale power grabs. If that does happen in the physical world, the online will suffer or even disappear due to that. That is, however, a 30 year out worry, but the trends towards it must be observed, analyzed and countered at all costs as the death toll to totalitarian societies coming into being is horrific beyond compare. So if you see more and more of the world start to mirror The Village, you will know what is happening. And the disturbing trends of recent years is towards that sort of world view... global and totalitarian.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Management of Savagery - The 'weak horse'

There are few publications that utilize the foreign policy of the US as one of its contingent points, and fewer still that encapsulate decades of US views to its goals.  One of those is The Management of Savagery by Abu Bakr Naji, Translated by William McCants at the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point.  This is one of the few strategic doctrine articles we have from al Qaeda and I have reviewed it in quick and deeper reviews, and find it nearly impossible to drudge through the fantastical viewpoints given within it.  Part of the problem for the western analyst is in the fact that it is based on a fantasy ideology expecting that the supernatural will intervene if believers just do certain things.  That is following the analysis by Lee Harris of al Qaeda's fantasy ideology, but it is extensible to other organizations using different forms of fantastical basis for doctrine no matter what their form.  Yet the basis for those actions is rooted in actual real-world events, so that the fantastical can be used to explain them.  When it comes to US foreign policy of the 1980's to 1990's, The Management of Savagery follows on Osama bin Laden's 'weak horse' concept of picking up supporters: they will know a weak horse when they see it and follow the strong horse.  While events in Iraq have gone decidedly against the views of the US being a 'weak horse', Afghanistan has proven more problematical as al Qaeda and its Talibani allies have had safe refuge in parts of Pakistan, and other surrounding States.  Initial support from 'enemy regimes' by al Qaeda in Iraq proved to be insufficient to keeping a long-term insurgency going when civil society turned against it.  In Afghanistan the Pashtun regions stretching across Pakistan and into Afghanistan are less well defined and more porous to ethnic ties and money, plus the Afghani native Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's long lasting criminal/terrorist organization that stretches from western China all the way to London.


US Cold War Foreign Policy and Military Policy

The United States, in a 'weak horse' position is in no position to help this out.  Currently the situation in Afghanistan is slowly shifting the balance of viewpoint from the US as 'strong horse' to that as 'weak horse' and threats against Pakistan (or any ethnic sub-group) beyond fully known and designated groups does not help.  A shift in position to remove these organizations without destroying their backing ethnic groups is a major requirement as genocide is a result of not discriminating between those pushing for private war and those caught unable to resist it.  The United States, for all its puissance of arms by its National level forces, is not in a position to exploit the powers of its legitimate non-State forces as given to Congress.  There has been a general abhorrence by the political Left and Right to doing this as it shifts the US from late 19th/early 20th century Nation State concepts and late 20th century concepts of Nation States in Global concerns to ones of late 18th century and early 19th century ones.

And yet that is a valid part of the solution space as that space must recognize the cultural utilization of non-National armed forces.  This concept has the modern term of 'asymmetrical warfare' applied to it, and is generally held to be one of non-State actors that are illegitimate against legitimate National armed forces.  That coin has an obverse side, however, in which legitimized sub-State forces can be used against non-legitimized non-State forces: that is a direct Constitutional power backed by the Law of Nations and by the views of warfare to address National grievances against such actors by the utilization of the Letters of Marque and Reprisal in the 1:1 rule - for each dollar of damage incurred, the Nation can legitimately incur $1 of damage to the non-legitimate forces.  As non-legitimate forces tend to be smaller in funding base than Nation States, this spells an asymmetrical application of force as those forces that are private and legitimized will have a stronger economic backing than those that do not seek National means of legitimization.

That potent tool to bring non-National and non-Legitimate forces to heel or end them has been one that has gained the dark cloud of past utilizations of it going awry.  Yet, for all the advances of the modern State, the modern practitioners do not seem willing to utilize the exact, same technical and legal methodologies on such forces.  Politically this is an untenable solution to a political system that is entrenched in post-World War, post-Cold War and Transnationalist/Globalist encroachment.  Yet it is that exact, same set of politics that causes the US to weaken its stances on liberty and freedom and to run from difficult fights that yield no immediate positive economically or politically, and yet serve as a representation of the ideals of personal liberty and freedom the Nation was founded on.

By the mid-20th century (post-WWII) US Foreign Policy was set to a Cold War system in which stasis was the best achievable goal for the long haul.  So long as the 'balance of power' was kept stable, there was no long term threat to Western society.  Yet long-term threats that were non-Soviet in origin did appear in the form of radical Islamic views and continued ethnic problems in many parts of the world.  Additionally the political atmosphere at home shifted from the survival and retribution concepts for military analysis that was predominant in WWII to ones of insular stagnation and unwillingness to confront despotism and tyranny.  That was across the political spectrum and created a dichotomy of inaction: if the political Left wanted intervention into poor countries with no National interest to the US, the Right would not support such; and if the Right wanted to confront the USSR on even minor stands, the Left was loathe to expend any funds or lives in helping others to retain liberty and freedom.

The return to military recruitment normalcy via ending the draft was a major shift in military stance by the US, as it was the traditional route of the Nation to have an all-volunteer military.  This would actually free up the economy (so as to end the 'guns vs butter' debate) and that shift taking place before the end of the Cold War caused a major shock, globally, as the US did not need to expend anywhere the level of commitment the USSR was expending as a percentage of GDP to meet the Soviet threat.  The US had outgrown its opponent, although nuclear annihilation was still possible, economic collapse in accord to Leninist doctrine was impossible.  Within 20 years of ending the draft and re-scaling the armed forces, the Soviet Union collapsed as it could no longer keep so much economic output going to military affairs and overlook its population.  The threat that grew up during the latter part of this era (approx. 1963 to present) was that of non-State military actors utilizing terrorist tactics to political goals.  These non-State actors faced an increasingly insular United States and an increasingly stagnant and crumbling Soviet Union that could still be vicious but could actually overextend itself to no good.

US Foreign Policy and Military Policy both refused to address non-State actors in any meaningful way and actually would recoil from them multiple times, thus empowering the 'weak horse' concept of the US.  With unstopped successful attacks, these non-State actors grew in size and viciousness in the post-Cold War era to an extent that could not be conceived in the Cold War.


Al Qaeda and the milieu of Central Asia

If Pakistan is the last refuge of al Qaeda (although parts of Somalia and Kenya, along with the Tri-Border Area of South America may prove this to be a limited analysis), then it is a refuge already dominated by local players far stronger than al Qaeda is locally: the Mehsud brothers, Hekmatyar's huge organization and even the Baluchs of the south all have demonstrated capacity that far exceeds that of either al Qaeda or the Taliban.  Combined Hekmatyar's organization and that of the ethnically different Baluchs are individually as strong, although only Hekmatyar's has greater reach, scope and longevity with the Baluchs more geographically isolated for scope and reach, but arguably far longer in terms of existing (the stand-up of Pakistan) than Hekmatyar's (and his rise under General Zia).  It is that milieu that allows al Qaeda to survive, not expand, when its attempt to expand in Iraq was crushed.  Iraq was a strategic level defeat for al Qaeda and a huge global set-back, but its grounding is not in any one area of victory, but to exist to support all of them and outlast its opposition.  That was the 1990's statement my bin Laden and The Management of Savagery fleshes this out by examining the USSR and USA (p.23 of the pdf file, bolding is mine):

Some others among the people of truthfulness and jihad used to set forth what God had showed them and the notion was established in their minds that the enemy was weak and insignificant – if God decreed something, it could be done. This group says to the remainder of the people of religion and the masses: “O people! The viciousness of the Russian soldier is double that of the American (soldier). If the number of Americans killed is one tenth of the number of Russians killed in Afghanistan and Chechnya, they will flee, heedless of all else. That is because the current structure of the American and Western military is not the same as the structure of their military in the era of colonialism. They reached a stage of effeminacy which made them unable to sustain battles for a long period of time and they compensate for this with a deceptive media halo. O people! The center in the Soviet Union was, to a certain extent, close to the countries in which there was opposition to it. They even shared borders with areas that opposed it, so supplies, motorized units, and armored vehicles used to pour in with ease and without much cost. The matter is different with regard to America—the remoteness of the primary center from the peripheries should help the Americans understand the difficulty of our continued submission to them, their control over us, and their pillaging of our resources if we decide to refuse; but only if we refuse and enflame opposition to its materialization.”

It is clear for that understanding by al Qaeda if God decrees an end to America, and giving America small but persistent death toll, that America would withdraw from the Middle East, Central Asia and, indeed, agree not to otherwise stand against those that will refuse to ever stop killing Americans.

Here the lines of the modern Leftist doctrine of the US being an 'imperial power' and the al Qaeda doctrinal examination of what happens when the Left is able to sway foreign policy outcomes (and this is a bi-partisan outcome, not limited to a single political party but a Leftist outcome of foreign policy in total across multiple administrations).  The US is not only weakened but perceived as weak.  If Iraq is a showcase that America can and indeed will counter that via reinforcing local culture that is Nation State oriented, then the work in Afghanistan becomes a more difficult situation as the strength of Nation State doctrine has been weak there since before the first Empires attempted to dominate that region.

This is telling in that the ages old anti-imperial strains of the native populations in Central Asia now are unwilling to accede to multi-ethnic Nation States as those are seen as contrary to the ethnic divisions necessary to survive multiple Empires (arguably from the earliest Persian to the Soviet Union).  US foreign policy has not, does not and will not come to terms with this until a President actually addresses it and creates a foreign policy that understands these basic problems of ethnicity and Nation States.  If the opposition to the ideology of Nation States as multi-ethnic (20th century oriented) concepts is one that is seen as Imperialist and foreign to the local ethnicities still fighting their formation, as part of a tradition going back thousands of years, then those trying to utilize Transnational Progressivism and Transnational Capitalist (or Globalist) views which both try to utilize local ethnic differences to desired social and economic ends are BOTH treated likewise: external attempts to utilize internal differences are ALL seen as Imperialist to such native ethnic groups.

If the 19th to 20th century Nation State and 19th to 21st century socialist to Transnationalist doctrines are ALL seen as external and Imperialist, what the hell is left to try, you may wonder.  If every modern conception of the Nation State and Transnational/Globalist views are seen as exterior and Imperial, then NO current formulation of foreign policy, National policy nor military policy can or will work there.  Central asia makes the Balkans look like child's play, and yet Western doctrine (Nationalist, Socialist, Communist and Transnationalist/Globalist) have, each and every one of them, fallen flat on their face there.

They are, all of them, 'weak horse' concepts as al Qaeda sees it.


The Ideology of Modern States and Analysis

That is a sobering conclusion to look at based on the factual analysis done by al Qaeda (no matter how fantastical its world view is) and an examination (even cursory such as this one is) of all the Empires that have dried up and gone away while the ethnic rivalries have continued on in various guises under various religions for thousands of years in the region.  You cannot 'surge' unless you have a sound doctrinal basis for COIN (Counter-Insurgency) that is based on a conceptualization that actually accepts the basic cultural problems and finds a coherent and workable solution to them.  More importantly, if the ethnic group and religious backing is one that looks towards fantastical ends, the ability to actually bring such groups and organizations to an end is highly limited: the ideology is one of not stopping as the simple acts can be done by very few people.  What is COIN if the society, itself, accepts continual insurgency as a working phenomena that is part of society?

Here the DIME vector analysis of the modern military falls apart along the lines I previously examined, as the sub-units (Diplomatic, Information, Military and Economic) are descriptive vectors and amenable to multi-level uses and counter-use.  These are vectors within society and culture, but oriented towards a mid-to-late 20th century view of Nation States: pluralistic, democratic, western liberal.  The use of these at the macro scale is an demonstration of power along those vectors on Nation States, but when applied to non-State actors and ethnic groups and a weak Nation State, they become very problematic.  Additionally, using them to countervail an insurgent/terrorist/ethnically backed non-State actor group is then seen as exterior or Imperialistic, and not a 'home grown' happening.  I will pull out this passage I put down in the previous article:

DIME has a problem in that it serves equally well to set up the structures to collapse society as it does to uphold it. DIME is known as a set of 'vectors': pathways of major parts of society and systems that need to move in coordinated fashion to achieve ends. They are a set of 'means' not 'ends'. And, as such, can be used in any number of paradigms for how to have society, how to govern and, apparently, how *not* to do those things. As a method of COIN we must recognize that the opponents of Counter Insurgency, namely Insurgency, utilizes these exact same vectors in opposition to orderly society. That is because these vectors are neutral to ideology and only means to an end, not ends in and of themselves. If we treat DIME in isolation to the underpinnings of society, then we shall soon have no society in common as it fractures under the multiple forces of transnationalism which seek to gain by that destruction. To counter that the actual goals of what DIME is utilized for must be clearly and succinctly stated and all activities traced directly back to those goals. DIME utilized without such goals then can be utilized in opposition and that opposition will tear up any society upholding group that does not put forward the goals first. In the military parlance this is known as the 'Grand Strategy'. It is more than just 'victory' but the reasons why victory is worthwhile and the goals of that victory BEYOND mere victory. If these are not clearly upheld at entry into a conflict, then there is no way to trace any lesser level strategy or tactics (the implementation tools and locales for strategy) back to the larger goal. In the realm of business this is the Corporate Business Plan or Outlook document, to sort out the major goals to be achieved by said business, and hiring folks to work in a business unit is mere tactics. In this realm of thought, DIME is a way of implementing Grand Strategy and NOT Grand Strategy in, and of, itself.

This is a crucial understanding of DIME, that relates to the fact that Grand Strategy is implemented via DIME and, indeed, a whole suite of vectors beyond DIME.  As a means of short-hand it is limited, and only useful in limited circumstances where there is a pre-existing coherent Grand Strategy and then implemented via a series of vectors of which DIME is a sub-set.  Unfortunately many authors have come to accept DIME as a strategy, not a means to implement strategy, and have missed the fact that without a coherent foreign and military policy to back it, DIME is a set of stateless vectors that can be utilized by anyone.  These policies are meant to give direction in which these vectors are to be organized, but utilizing them is a two-way street: the enemy gets a say, too.


Al Qaeda and Modern State Ideology Intersections

The Management of Savagery is part Grand Strategy, part Grand Tactics and fully fantastical in examining how expansive outcomes can come from limited means.  With that said it was drafted and created by an organization that was based in Afghanistan and had strong links to the Pashtun support network and the larger terror and criminal support networks of central asia and it reflects those understandings.  The aim of the doctrine is clearly spelled out in pp.24-25:

A – The first goal: Destroy a large part of the respect for America and spread confidence in the souls of Muslims by means of:

(1) Reveal the deceptive media to be a power without force.

(2) Force America to abandon its war against Islam by proxy and force it to attack directly so that the noble ones among the masses and a few of the noble ones among the armies of apostasy will see that their fear of deposing the regimes because America is their protector is misplaced and that when they depose the regimes, they are capable of opposing America if it interferes.

B – The second goal: Replace the human casualties sustained by the renewal movement during the past thirty years by means of the human aid that will probably come for two reasons:

(1) Being dazzled by the operations which will be undertaken in opposition to America.

(2) Anger over the obvious, direct American interference in the Islamic world, such that that anger compounds the previous anger against America's support for the Zionist entity. It also transforms the suppressed anger toward the regimes of apostasy and tyranny into a positive anger. Human aid for the renewal movement will not dry up, especially when heedless people among the masses – and they are the majority – discover the truth of the collaboration of these regimes with the enemies of the Umma to such an extent that no deceptive veil will be of use and no pretext will remain for any claimant to the Islam of these regimes and their like.

(C) – The third goal: Work to expose the weakness of America’s centralized power by pushing it to abandon the media psychological war and the war by proxy until it fights directly. As a result, the apostates among all of the sects and groups and even Americans themselves will see that the remoteness of the primary center from the peripheries is a major factor contributing to the possible outbreak of chaos and savagery.

The first goal is coincident with that of the Transnationalists/Globalists: destroy respect for America.  The Transnational reasoning is as clear as that of al Qaeda.  Transnationalism is described by John Fonte in three good works:  The Ideological War within the West, Liberal Democracy vs Transnational Progressivism, and Transnationalist Left and Transnationalist Right.  Transnationalism is an emergent dogma that is a fusion of various leftist and radical movements starting with the Progressive movement in America and drawing its ideological bases from Communism, Fascism, Nazism, Democratic Socialism and Radicalism.  It is an anti-National distillation held by multiple organizations on how to remodel society from the view of an elite superstructure.  While those on the Transnational Left seek to do this for societal reasons, those on the Transnational Right seek to do that for economic reasons, and yet both utilize the same distillation of concepts, but with different emphasis.  Mr. Fonte describes the over-riding ideology, and thus a form of Grand Strategy, as follows:

Groups are what matter, not people. You are "Black" or "Christian" or "Mexican" or "Afghan" or "Sunni", you are not yourself. You also don't get to choose your group; it's inherent in what you were when you were born. Someone else will categorize you into your group, and you will become a number, a body to count to decide how important that group is. And your group won't change during your lifetime.

The goal of fairness is equality of result, not equality of opportunity. It isn't important to let individuals fulfill their potential and express their dreams, what's important is to make groups have power and representation in all things proportional to their numbers in the population. Fairness is for groups, not for individuals. The ideally fair system is based on quotas, not on merit, because that permits proper precise allocation of results.

Being a victim is politically significant. It's not merely a plea for help or something to be pitied; it's actually a status that grants extra political power. "Victimhood" isn't a cult, it's a valid political evaluation. Groups which are victims should be granted disproportionately more influence and representation, at the expense of the historic "dominant" culture.

Assimilation is evil. Immigrants must remain what they were before they arrived here, and should be treated that way. Our system must adapt to them, rather than expecting them to adapt to us (even if they want to). The migration of people across national borders is a way to ultimately erase the significance of those borders by diluting national identity in the destination country.

An ideal democracy is a coalition where political power is allocated among groups in proportion to their numbers. It has nothing to do with voting or with individual citizens expressing opinions, and in fact it doesn't require elections at all. A "winner take all" system, or one ruled by a majority, is profoundly repugnant because it disenfranchise minority groups of all kinds and deprives them of their proper share of power.

National identity is evil. We should try to think of ourselves as citizens of the world, not as citizens of the nations in which we live, and we should try to minimize the effects of national interests, especially our own if we live in powerful nations.

The al Qaeda vector goal of destroying respect for America plays into the Transnationalist vectors via group identification (Muslim vs. Non-Muslim), seeking 'fairness' (in which the demands of an 'oppressed group' trumps that of a Nation State), painting themselves as a 'victim', not only countering Nation State assimilation ideas but actively working towards separatist concepts, acting like a group that is 'disenfranchised' above and beyond being a 'victim', and espousing that religious identity trumps National identity.  Each of these themes play into the theme of destroying America.

What is interesting is that the second goal, of a renewal movement, is one to create a new elite structure for ruling that would be seen as the enemy of the cultural elite or economic elite in the Transnational Left and Right areas, respectively.  For all the oddities of the fantastical ideology of al Qaeda, they have taken a direct set of ideals from the Transnationalist perspective to create their own Transnationalist dogma that is backed by Terrorism.

Unexpectedly, to al Qaeda, is that in getting their third goal, they have damaged the first two very seriously as America actually has shown up to fight in Iraq, and very well, though perhaps not so well in Afghanistan.  This dogma was designed in the central asian environment and meant to play well in the general weak tribal environment of the Middle East and Africa.  There is one Nation in the Middle East that has very strong tribal affiliations, however, and has demonstrated resiliency against genocidal dictators:  Iraq.

As a strategic blunder, and this is in the Grand Strategy sense, al Qaeda has gambled and lost almost all of its three goals by investing so heavily in Iraq and not having it shift under to a normal State for the region.  This is due to the intense Nationalism that is felt North to South and East to West in Iraq: the New Iraqi Army was the first to clearly demonstrate this, but the gradual and strong return of civil society is now doubling and even trebling the error by al Qaeda.  Today Iraq arrests members of any group intent on harming the Nation, if they can find them, and the Tribes of Iraq, save for some holdouts, have turned against al Qaeda on the Sunni side and many of the Shia tribes want no affiliation with Iran.


Grand Strategic Failures of the Modern State

Grand Strategy actually requires that expected outcomes happen when you take activities, and al Qaeda has a non-intersection of outcomes to actions.  Where a Western ideology would implode due to this, al Qaeda's does not as it is not a rational nor logic based ideology:  it is a long-term conflict based on no surrender, no compromise and never giving up.  That is a fatalistic fantastic ideology and is the equivalent of a Death Cult.  As a rule, Death Cults only end once all their members have died or the entire organization so discredited that it cannot recover.  Aum Shinrikyo still exists, but is no longer the same organization it was, although there are still some deep followers of its ideology before its breakdown.  The Thugee following, a related type of cult of murder, was broken up due to its practices and heavily infiltrated until it could be, essentially, wiped out as a secret society.  These both point to a very active movement to rid society of these cults, and requires far more than just DIME exercising COIN.

At this point the negative conclusions draw a positive space of possibilities that are left. 

  1. Transnationalism not only does not work against terrorism, it incites it and enables it as an anti-Nation State based concept.  It must be noted that not only is Transnational Terrorism of the al Qaeda or Islamic form one that utilizes the methodology of Western anti-Nationalists, it is also anti-Western and, therefore, inimical to the practitioners of Transnationalist Left and Right, in that it places those elites in a non-ruling, non-elite status, replaced by an Islamic selected elite class.  While all three operate in coincidence of method, they all differ on final status, which not only pits the two Western views against each other but also pits both of those against the Terrorist form.  Temporary coincidence of methodology does not point to coincidence of outcome.
  2. Late 19th to 20th century Nationalism or Nation State doctrines have failed - This is apparent by the lack of coherence of the ethnic groups amongst the Nations that have formed: Pakistan, Afghanistan,Iran and the entire suite of ex-Soviet Central Asian Republics.  Pakistan by backing a number of these groups via its ISI (Hekmatyar, Meshud, Taliban, as examples) is a culprit in creating its own internal problems once these groups found stiff resistance in their target areas (Kasmir, Aghanistan, Iran) and started working with some of the criminal enterprises that arose after the fall of the USSR (notably Semion Mogilevich's trade group but also such individuals as the arms smuggler Viktor Bout).  The Pashtun people had an edict imposed on them during the British Empire to wait along 'temporary' borders while everyone figured out what was what, and that was going to last 100 years.  The 100 years ran out a few decades ago.  That, together with the Baluchs, who feel they got cheated out of significant internal sovereignty, plus other ethnic and religious groups and personal armies (or Lashkars) have made the modern Nation State a near impossibility to keep together.  The list of governments, assassinations, terror organizations, bombings, and personal armies running around since the stand-up of Pakistan, alone, indicates a failure of a coherent modern State system.
  3. Communism and Socialism have not addressed these problems - Both have been tried since the stand-up of Pakistan, neither has addressed the problem.  Nor has capitalism, although it is a thriving concept amongst the tribes.  Lawless areas continued to remain lawless no matter what the ideology of the government.
  4. Afghanistan has thrown off all exterior repression and now works hard to keep interior types in check - That is semi-workable, but so long as it has strong ethnic ties to a lawless region of Pakistan that allows private armies there will be no end of trouble.  A larger war or expanded war will NOT cure this problem and only expand the conflict if internal governments collapse in any Nation having some ethnic contact with those involved in the conflict.  Afghanistan can only be considered to have meta-stability, or being stable until a vector of events turns it unstable, and those would be ethnic or tribal level, not necessarily Nation State level.
  5. Appeasement does not work - The lawless areas fully intend to remain so and use 'cease-fires' as times to upgrade their capabilities (in negation of the cease-fire as the term is understood in military parlance).  Thus offers for such are disingenuous.  And, as non-State actors are involved, they cannot have any treaty power externally or internally, as anyone who disagreed would feel free to continue on as they were doing and ignore such treaties.

That is a highly sobering assessment as it invalidates all modern thinking on Nation States, Transnationalism and Globalism.  That is not something that the current political set up of the Western Nation State system is ready to adjust to and has failed at as that is the source of the problem.   What is necessary is to then see what the hallmarks of the solution space contain.


One Possible Solution Space

If the modern conceptions of Nation State and Transnationalism fail, then their failure creates the possible areas that are within a successful bounds for not only Pakistan but Central Asia as a whole.  The negatives are ones that must be known, otherwise a reliance with concepts and references to these modern types and incorporation of them will not come a solution that is viable.  This requires that thinking in modernistic terms of economy, society and warfare must all be scaled back to more basic and essential types for each category and then advanced slowly until the non-concordance with existing societies and types happens.  Solution space analysis begins with delimited areas and then scales to the minimum necessary to meet localized needs and still accord a higher level structure that has the least intrusion on those needs.  Thus the modern, centralized political systems of the West are not useful analogs for the solution space, as they engender too much centralized power that is in non-accordance with decentralized society.

While many of these solution types are pre-existing and known, their implementation in a post-industrial world is not out of accord with the general pre-industrial environment of society, culture and ethnicity seen in Central Asia.  Modern communications and other systems can help these systems along, but they are not central to the operations of the systems in the solution space.

First, the solution space has within it the pre-modern, pre-19th century conception of the Nation State.  This is not a prerequisite, by any means, but it offers a number of things that the late-19th and 20th century lacks:

  • Pluralism - Instead of multi-ethnic approaches of the modern type, the pre-modern ones of pluralism based on ethnic identity but holding to common necessities for basic societal structure and governance offers flexibility and adaptability without the need for lock-step conformity as seen in modern multi-ethnic societies.  Modern multi-ethnic concepts have shied away from such concepts as Federalism or Confederalism and concentrate on a centralized State apparatus.  As it is the centralized State concept that has repeatedly failed in the region, the more loosely held but still constrained Federal or Confederal conception of Nation State remains one area that no one has tried: the internal self-checking, self-balancing arrangement between unequal groups with equality of checks so that no major group dominates and puts the rights of smaller groups at risk.
  • Westphalianism - This is the generalized concept of the Nation State that can have a religious basis, but has internal agreement that this cannot be used to press a religious doctrine downwards from the State level.  An Islamic State that agreed to an internal Westphalian system of governance would have a generalized Islamic outlook, but only for those things held in absolute common across all sects within the State and then could impress none of those, save for minor things like holidays, upon any sect.  The West has generalized that to all religions, but a more restricted concept of 'known religions in society' was the prevailing ones before late 18th century Nation State doctrine came into being.
  • Internal trade regularization - In either the Federal or Confederal systems in a Pluralistic arrangement, autonomous or semi-autonomous sub-National States or Provinces agree to common rules for general trade and practices internally and to have external trade practices regulated by a common agreement government.  This does require normalization of National boundaries, but that can be done via understood treaty arrangements to take into account Pluralistic needs for travel (kinship relationships, religious practices, etc.).  Practices outside the purview of the Nation State and reserved for Individuals and sub-National States or Provinces then allow for specificity of trade agreements for those groups that are amenable to the larger Pluralistic system without endorsing favoritism.
  • Codification of private armies - This is something that is not well understood, but serves as a basis for the Nation State control of armed forces.  Private Armies would need to operate under National regulations and guidelines and hold themselves accountable to that structure.  This does not mean a National Army, per se, but having identified command and control structures run by individuals or groups and adhering to the larger National agreements amongst various groups.  The concept of this is a 'well regulated militia' in which service in these private groups comes under National oversight while not endangering the ability of private organizations at the local level to self-organize.  Indeed, they become National level tools via such regularized concepts of the Letters of Marque and Reprisal if the Nation decides to have no standing armed forces.  A larger agreement to come to the aid of any sub-member who is attacked by an outside force is a general requirement here, as well as serving as an adjunct to a National standing force if such is created.  Trust in such a government is paramount for having such forces and regularizing them, and such governments know that they are held accountable for their actions and that civil, political means are preferable to military means.
  • Nation State supported armed forces - These forces are seen as the common defense of all sub-groups and sub-States or Provinces within such an arrangement.  Here some check and balance agreement between the sub-units of society is necessary, and one that puts such armed forces as permissible when larger than the largest of the sub-state groups Militia but no larger than the largest three, say, is workable.  That gives the State a necessary leeway to create a competent military system for regularized defense of the Nation and yet is held in harsh check by the three largest sub-unit Militias due to size.  A practical note is that the sub-units may realize that weakening their sizes also draws down the maximum size of the National forces and some minimal size of the National force may be set by common agreement.  Here 'size' may be in manpower, funding or both combined.

Combined these bear the hallmarks of the restricted space as delimited by the negatives: each part of this sort of solution is within the positive space while not incorporating the negative space.  Such an outlook places cultural and ethnic affinity as a high priority for a Nation and yet recognizes that common understanding across all sub-States or Provinces is a requirement for the good of all.  What such a thing would do in Pakistan is cause a major re-negotiation of the basis for the State, itself and a buy-in by all the major ethnic and religious regions and perhaps some re-drawing of internal boundaries.  An attempt to redress the grievances of Baluchs and Pashtuns, in particular, is a requirement of such a solution and yet no final outcomes can be dictated by an external Nation or set of Nations, even though some grievances will require external redress (Baluchs with Iran, Kasmir settlement and Pashtuns with Afghanistan amongst many).  The original basis for Pakistan left the major sub-populations of Pashtuns and Baluchs feeling slighted to the point of becoming international threats, and no modern conformation of the Pakistani State has brought these regions into alignment with it.


Modern US governmental changes via politics

This brings this analysis to the modern two party system and trenchant ideologies of the United States.  The post-Cold War stasis in which one party held majorities in the House and Senate for 40 years started to dissolve in the 1980's and by the 1990's the Cold War stasis had left a group of individuals unready for the modern world, unwilling to address it and unable to conceive of how to deal with it absent a global threat.  These individuals had so infiltrated the political system with their adherents that the system, itself, was regulated to one in which only two parties get any chance to compete in a meaningful way at all scales of National debate.  The expansive concentration of power that started with President Theodore Roosevelt had continued unabated no matter which party was in office or governmental control: both had sought to use new powers taken without any other recourse to their own ideological ends.  The same political class that put a static system of Foreign Policy and Military Policy in place still have no other antidote to the problems it has caused and even refuse to recognize the two party causation of these problems.

The Republican Party has been notable in that it started off the entire Progressive cycle of government with the Administration of Theodore Roosevelt.  Until that point in time the Progressives aligned with the Populists to push general long-term themes to 'modernize government' via Constitutional amendments.  President Theodore Roosevelt would abet this from the Executive Branch by shifting to accede to the wishes of a religious majority that sought an end to the opium trade in China.  The accords reached in Shanghai would require those governments that signed on to it to end the opium trade in their countries.  As a signatory the US would have to break with Constitutional limitation on the federal government and seek the first ever restriction on personal use of medicines.  Prior to that the use of such things as laudanum, cocaine and heroin were required under the food and drug purity act which would establish that contents of foods and medications needed to be listed.  That, alone, started to curb rampant drug use.  Those who sought moral backing via an overseas treaty looked to enforce a 'good' by statute to enforce a treaty, thus criminalizing the unregulated use of medications for the first time, ever, in federal history.  Although that legislation would be put in during another Administration, it was President Theodore Roosevelt's that sought to expand the latitude of federal power beyond its traditional and understood boundaries.

Those powers accumulated to the Office of the Executive and to the federal government, and in a ten year period there would be a radical shift of the basis of US government away from classical liberty to that of Progressive government.  The more Populist based Democratic Party would latch onto these powers and help to get the necessary Amendments passed to change that basis and then start to implement greater and deeper shifts of power distribution to the federal government throughout the rest of the 20th century.  Holding the Congressional majority for 40 years helped to ensure that there would be no questioning of these changes and that no ending statutes for new government entities would ever be put in place.  In the prior century government institutions that were not direct Constitutional charters often had re-upping limits on them, such as the First National Bank, so that future Congresses and Presidents would be able to review and change or abolish these new government organs.  In 1832 the Democratic President Andrew Jackson ended the First National Bank and similar powers would not exist until the founding of the Federal Reserve by Democratic President Woodrow Wilson.  In that span of 80 years the Democratic Party went from support of classical liberal values to ones of government invested power over the citizenry, which is perhaps the greatest turnaround for any political party ever witnessed in the United States.

During the 20th century, American politics would adjust to the end of Imperial courts and Europe and the United States passing multiple European Nations in industrial output and power, as well as inventiveness in many technical fields.  The rise of mighty Nation States would also cause a general forgetfulness that warfare is not delimited to the Nation State, and that the Law of Nature that is given to all men allows for Private War.  For those years in which Nations held the overwhelming sway of power, such things as piracy and rogue armies tended to be overlooked, although the Soviet Union would stage the first ever paratroop drop against a rogue army as late as 1929.  The older Hague Conventions and pre-existing other conventions prior to the late 19th century Hague Conventions, understood Private War in the realm of Piracy and President Lincoln understood it to the point of authorizing the Army Field Manual-101 in 1863 that specified that acts the modern world would call 'terrorism' when seen by armies is to be treated summarily as Piracy or highway robbery.  It was this basic understanding that both parties, and the world as a whole, would slowly forget as two world wars and a massive cold war embroiled the governments of the planet during the 20th century.  With that forgetting would also go the means to counter them and the memory of why certain parts of the Constitution are set up as they are.  If the Constitution becomes a 'living document' then the memory system of it is distorted via re-interpretation by actual, living people.  At some point the basic structure is changed via 'reinterpretation' until the actual meanings and understandings of what Constitutions do for Nations is forgotten.


Foreign and Military Policy results

President Theodore Roosevelt is one of the first Presidents to call for an omnibus international body and also one of the first to repudiate the idea once he actually experienced how international bodies worked.  This ideal would be picked up by the Democrats and Woodrow Wilson, and soon add 'modern' international institutions that had previously not existed.  At that point this strain of Wilsonian Politics in America was one that would serve as the founding for Transnationalism.  America, save for a few years under President McKinley and early on with President Theodore Roosevelt, would not practice 19th century foreign or military policy.  While many point to this as a great 'good', being anti-imperialist in stance, the less understood problem with it is that it creates weak or unaccountable international institutions that are powerless without Nation State backing by a majority of powerful Nation States.  Instead of being 'anti-imperialist' this is system that, in theory, empowers large nations (either economically or via population) to force things their way when it helps them and to ignore anything that is not in their interest.

No Nation has tied its Military Policy to either the League of Nations or the United Nations for this reason: the large powers utilize these institutions to suit their ends, and when a Nation does not do that, it is liable to suffer at the hands of tyrannical or despotic Nations that form the majority of small Nations on the planet.  With Authoritarian, Totalitarian or Tyrannical large powers, and there need not be more than a simple moderate plurality in population or economic size, the ability of such bodies to bring about coherent action is negated.  Even in areas of Foreign Policy, no Nation dares trying to utilize such means as the only way to act as it means restricting their Nation and no longer utilizing the wide leeway any Nation has on direct, one-to-one talks as with traditional treaties.  Finally these large bodies become bureaucratic nightmares, being large institutions with no oversight, the ability of bad actors to find a home and be able to protect themselves from being dislodged by the use of diplomatic credentials is high.  None dare give power to such a body as it is the definition of despotic to start with, and swayed by the hot feelings of small Nations that do not have large economies or populations.

From this the United States learned Isolationism, utilizing the maxims of President Washington and distrusting foreign alliances.  Isolation did not start nor fuel the beginnings of the First or Second World Wars: the first was out of the capability of the US to influence and the second started in places like China and would then pick up years later in Europe.  No one had the power or will to stop Imperial Japan in China, and by the time people began to worry about Italian ventures into Ethiopia, the European system of Nations was succumbing to National Socialism.  No other Nation could reasonably expect to intervene militarily against Japan, Italy or Germany, and by the time any realized that they must do so, the world was at war.

International Socialism arising from the Communist regime in the Soviet Union would start the second basis for expanding Transnationalism and give Wilsonianism a Red make-over and then utilize the combination after the Second World War to start an anti-capitalist system of thought that would coalesce in the 1960's with US radicalism melded with European Socialism and other Radicals in Europe.  By the 1970's Transnationalism would take on some of the trappings of Globalist Capitalism and the latter would take on some of the virulence against Nation State power of the Transnationalists.  Because neither of these had any coherent foundation, they grew as a hodge-podge of general concepts that only coalesced around some basic points, yet by the late 1990's and early years of 2001-2003 those points would be able to be summarized by John Fonte as a coherent belief structure that covered almost all the radical/communist/socialist/globalist concepts that appear as many separate faces, but all are all different parts of the same working ideology.

Foreign Policy would shift to try and accommodate these changes and that would negatively influence US military policy in Vietnam.  What started as a simple support for a mostly democratic State against International Communism would become the first conflict to utilize Transnational Progressivist themes against the United States.  The military policy that started out as a simple enaction of the early Foreign Policy would be betrayed by the change in Foreign Policy and Domestic Policy that would squander all major positives of the COIN work that was done and actually lose the war for the United States.  That shift would disenchant many with the armed forces, as it was intended to do, but leave the core Nation State policy backers in charge.  The all-volunteer force would rebuild with a different ethos and understanding of how US policies shift in obtuse ways and attempt to prepare the armed forces for a similar happening a second time.

Foreign policy would further be twisted by Transnationalists and Globalists, to back the anti-American organizations of the UN and to try and back 'humanitarian' missions for US forces where the Nation had no legitimate reason to intervene.  President Reagan would be the first to attempt this in Lebanon, and the death of the US Marines and their French Comrades on a mission of peace would ultimately see a non-response by the US that would begin the super-charging of non-State actors following the behest of Iran which had become a radical Islamic State during President Carter's term in office.  The idea that was used was one that was bankrupt:  Realism in Foreign Policy.  What would be even worse is that over the decades of the post-World War II era, the education system of the United States would no longer teach the basics of military policy with regards to conflicts, until a general ignorance of what post-war situations actually look like when there are NO global conflicts involved would be the NORM for the United States.

Thus no policy was set up to counter non-State actors.  Post-Imperialism was a major causative factor to the start of them, not a way of curbing them.  Realism ignored them.  Globalism used them as an extortionary threat, at best, and at worse paid no attention to them.  Transnationalism so inculcated its concepts that they have been hijacked by terrorists to the point where terrorism now represents a methodology to create a separate elite from both the Transnational Progressivists and the Global Capitalists.  And no post-Cold War doctrine ever arose to cover them in a methodological and definitional way.  This is not limited to the Capitalist West but also to the Communist and Socialist regimes stretching throughout Europe and into the now defunct USSR.


Current Politics

The multi-variate 'Bush Doctrine' has undergone at least four major changes from its early isolationism prior to 9/11 to an anti-terrorist stance between 9/11 and the run-up to Iraq, then to a multilateral stance with regards to North Korea and finally to a traditional Globalist/Transnational Right concept seen during the term of President Bush (41).  It stepped close to actually being able to define terrorism in the modern world, but lacked vision, clarity and understanding of what terrorism actually *is* to call it by name and deal with it.

The Clinton Foreign Policy, it cannot be called a 'Doctrine', was one of political opportunism trying to show a glad hand for the least expenditure of National political capital possible.  It not only did not counter Transnational Terrorism, but it emboldened it via flaccid or non-responses to attacks in:  Langley, VA; WTC bombing; attacks in Somalia funded by al Qaeda; Kenya and Tanzania Embassy bombings; minimal action against FARC as it sought to take over the Colombian drug trade that would result only in a longer term COIN concept near the end of the Administration; and no response to an attack by al Qaeda that by all definitions would be called 'piracy' at any other point in US history.  Further, political capital was expended to no firm end in the Balkans (where the Kosovars love the US and the Serbs have come to detest the US), Haiti (with yet another President not doing anything substantial for the Nation following in the miserable experience of FDR there),and not doing a thing about genocide in Rwanda or Iraq.  On the latter score it allowed hundreds of thousands that had been executed for daring to believe the US would keep its word if they tried to over throw Saddam Hussein that they would get support.  Instead they got no support and seriously dead.  Both of the parties and its candidates have extreme problems of setting up any coherent Foreign Policy as they all rely upon failed past policies that have never addressed the post-Cold War era in regards to Transnational Terrorism, International Organized Crime and the diminution of Nation State power to unauthorized, unaccountable international concerns.

The Democratic Party has no coherent Foreign Policy and a degenerative Military Policy to further weaken the armed forces and put multiple necessary upgrades on 'hold'.  As was seen under other Democratic and Republican Congresses, the ability to maintain the Armed Forces is placed at a minimal stance without a 'hot conflict' going on.  If Afghanistan goes 'hot' under an Obama Administration, it will mean the involvement of one of the three nuclear powers in the region (China, India, or Pakistan) and a 'crisis' to show 'strength' without having any clear idea of what end-state such an Administration is looking for.  A withdrawal from Iraq before its major military infrastructure is in place (circa 2016) would leave critical and foundational gaps in that very successful conflict and squander a US victory there and put the risk of deep turmoil back into the Middle East.  By stabilizing the geographic centroid of the Middle East, the entire region is undergoing a period of increasing quiescence as it tries to absorb just what kind of Nation Iraq is.  As any external Nation faces danger in not figuring that out, first, only Iran is bold and blinkered enough to think that causing trouble there will help them.  Iran, itself, is undergoing an oil production crisis due to not keeping up its infrastructure, and is now faced with external criminal pressure from the Red Mafia that controls a vital 5% of the natural gas that Iran uses.  On understanding world events and terrorism, the Democratic Party as a whole only has Transnationalist and anti-US platitudes to hand out.

The Republican Party is shifting to a minimal Globalist concept to attempt to assuage those who feel the diminution of National Sovereignty due to previous Globalist trends put in place by the minimally Transnationalist Clinton Administration and by the Globalist outlooks of President Bush (41).  The current Bush Administration's trends have been towards those of moderately more Globalism and loosening controls on US domestic affairs in the economic realm to Transnationalist outlooks backed by Globalist finances.  The economic problems currently seen are directly traceable to the Transnationalist work done by the Carter Administration and not curbed by any subsequent Administration and enhanced by multiple Congresses of both Parties.  While there is some understanding of trade necessities for economic growth, there are none in place for accountability by those who trade with us who do NOT actively go after terrorists and who may actually give safe haven and support to various networks of terrorists.  The support of anti-Nationalist trends via Globalism is not one that spells out either prosperity or safety for the United States, and yet is happily at home in the Republican Party.  While the Republican Party generally supports a somewhat coherent Military Policy, their Party was responsible for the failure of support and funding for the armed forces throughout the mid-to-late 1990's and two entire Army Divisions falling to their lowest readiness since Vietnam as Congressional Republicans would not do their duty as Congressmen and hold the President accountable for the use of the armed forces without Congressional authorization.

What is even worse is that faced with a growing threat of Mexico imploding on the southern border due to the melding of Transnational Terrorism and International Organized Crime, neither of them is prepared to address the issue in a substantive way.  Both parties have been influenced by the strains of Transnationalism and Globalism to disregard Nation State boundaries and that puts the infiltration of external criminal organizations and terror organizations into the US as a known minimum number of events and an unrecorded number that goes unchecked without border enforcement.  Both Transnationalism and Globalism are fanning the fires in which very rich Red Mafia oligarchs can invest in financed organized crime with an aim towards the natural resource wealth of Mexico and the ultimate consumer of much of it to the North.  This puts both parties in a tenuous position to address any problems in Mexico and the resultant spill-over in the lead up to them going unchecked.



The lack of coherent understanding of ethnic problems in Central Asia is a result, not a cause, of US inability to respond to many other problems on a larger basis.  In attempting to do group analysis with a Transnationalist or Globalist bent, and then using restricted modern concepts of Nation States and International Policy, the US is unable to show adaptability with what should be the most adaptable system of society and government ever developed by mankind.  The Globalist and Transnationalist views that are anti-Nationalist, anti-democratic and anti-classical liberal in views has so eroded the ability of the political elite in America to understand what is happening in the world that this very same elite is floundering and threatening not only the stability of the United States but also that of the entire global system of trade, finance and commerce that have made for global population stability to occur.  Without those systems or with an actual 'hot' nuclear war starting in Central Asia, the world would be faced with the collapse of the global trade system and the discrediting of both Globalism and Transnationalism as failures to actually address the small scale needs of ethnic groups.

The coarse tooth comb of modern political ignorance is faced with a very fine-tooth problem and cannot adapt nor adjust to these changed circumstances.  It is not a new problem and has many other areas where similar factors show up:  the Balkans, Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa to name but a few regions with very similar and very volatile merging of the problems of the inability of the Western World to understand such things as personal liberty and accountability to society.  International institutions have proven not only unable to deal with these things but actually make matters worse by inflaming local hatreds and then not protecting those they are supposed to protect.

Anything that upsets the global trade system, however, has at stake not just local Nation State problems but those of global interdependence for such things as food shipments.  The US, as a main purveyor of many vital foodstuffs, serves as a major backbone to keep much of the world's population out of starvation, and yet the US is also unable to deal in any meaningful way with local ethnic problems or to confront trends that threaten this very same life support system.

Defuzing the possibility of a 'hot' nuclear war in Central Asia requires a change in political will and understanding to that of the earlier part of the Republic, and no political party is willing to give up 'modern' centralized and powerful governments for decentralized and yet accountable people taking up the fine-grained work that the 'modern' state is so woefully inadequate and incapable of responding to.  Unable to think about such things either from ignorance or ideological blindness by following pat platitudes, the political elite class is now acting contrary to long-term survival interests of the Nation and to the overall population of the planet as a whole.  And yet that is just what is at stake as the US has proven unable to adapt its Foreign Policy to such needs, and yet has all the vital tools at hand if it could just let go of power in its grasp.  That very Fascist 'will to power' and belief that government can solve all ills, puts the blunt instrument of government smack dab against the fine grained institutions of individuals forming societies of a relatively unsophisticated form.  And yet by taking up that unsophisticated form, it stymies all modern pre-conceptions about society, Nations and government.  Because of that the US is now facing the specter of a Cold Civil War that has the prospect of going 'hot' the moment a COIN conflict starts in Mexico or Pakistan hits the pot and disintegrates.

This status quo will not last much longer as there are too many and too many varied interests seeking to push the vectors involved in ways that are inimical to the US and its allies.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Forgetting Franklin and the end of the Republic

“Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?”

“A Republic, if you can keep it.”

-A lady asking Doctor Franklin if we got a republic or a monarchy. (Source: Bartlby's)

The Constitution of the United States can be considered an enacting document to supplant the Articles of Confederation which, in turn, were generated by the Declaration of Independence.  In that reverse order you have the justification under the Law of Nations for a people to terminate contact with their sovereign nation and become a sovereign nation on their own.  Those things that are talked about in the Declaration have their basis in not only the Common Law, as seen via the works preceding the Revolution in Blackstone's Commentaries, but in de Vattel's Law of Nations and the works of Grotius on the Laws of War and Peace and Laws of the Sea.  While the opening and most stirring parts of the Declaration is to declare what individuals are to have upon this Earth, it also sets forward that governments are set forth amongst men and that man will put up with much in the way of poor government before it becomes necessary to overthrow it.  That is prudent, in that governments protect their citizenry.  When governments abuse such rights of their citizens as is guaranteed under the Law of Nations and by such things as the Peace of Westphalia, then man has the right, indeed the responsibility to overturn such government and form a new one that will adhere to common practices and principles to allow the greatest liberty to individuals with the least amount of interference from government upon the individual.

One of the paramount institutions that mankind has devised is to give government the negative liberty we have so as to defend our nation.  It is a way to ensure that other Nations and those who abjure all civilized conduct and revert to the Law of Nature to reclaim their negative liberty will have a civil answer to them.  It is a right that is understood before Christian times, as every community, every individual, when attacked may defend themselves with whatever means they have.  When the followers of Jesus prepared to travel they were taught in the art of defense of themselves and told that if they had a cloak but no sword, they were to get a sword (Source: The Holy Bible, Luke 22:36).  The sword is NOT the arms to be used against beasts: hunting spears serve far better or bow and arrows, plus are cheaper and easier to wield.  What the sword is used for is the skilled defense of oneself and, in a cohort, an item of hand-to-hand combat that is lethal when used with skill.  When man reverts to the Law of Nature to practice war on his own, or with similar individuals who leave the bosom of civilized ways, they cannot be threatened with mere bow and arrow, or spear.  They have skill and must be defended against and the training for a sword is for that animal on two legs: man gone wild.  If they have reverted to the Law of Nature, then those attacked can and must defend themselves as that is ALSO part of the Law of Nature.  The ability to attack also creates the ability to defend and the liberty and right to use it.

When society takes up arms against the sovereign nation that is their progenitor, there is more than a physical and moral cost, but an actual cost in lives and treasure.  The colonies went deep into debt to achieve freedom, not just to France, but in the burial plots across the new nation that saw 10% of the population at the start of the conflict dead.  Even worse 15% remained loyal and fled to other Crown Colonies or back to Britain.  That young nation lacked 25% of its starting workforce to pay off their heavy debts, and the Articles put down in 1776 had no means of allowing a central taxing authority.  When peace was achieved the States of the United States sought to pay off their debt in traditional means via law: putting heavy tax burdens on the population.  Many went bankrupt and by 1786 the rallying cry of 'No Taxation Without Representation' was being heard again.  The Baltimore Convention called for a new Convention to draft a better set of underpinnings for the United States in Philadelphia the next year.  The United States would have been sorely pressed if only one, minor uprising had sparked to a wider rebellion, and the Shaysites nearly did that save for an intercepted message and hasty action by the paid for militia to defend an armory.  One message, one man, is all that stood between trying to retain the poor government the States had or turning into a path of violent dissolution and bloodshed.  The Philadelphia Convention was not a convivial set of conversations, but a desperate attempt to find something common to have a stronger government and yet one that could not put the liberty of the common man at risk due to tyranny, oppression and high taxes.  That action, to discuss the Constitution that was proposed until the majority of the States ratified it was a long one, but it channeled the essential fury away from arms and to the printing presses, and for awhile the postings about this went fast and furious.

There were two prime areas that came under contention: liberty and accountability.

Liberty is your ability, as an individual, to receive recompense for work and to put it to use as you see fit.  That is a prime economic liberty, and one that government must recognize as belonging to the individual, not society and not to government.  You have no 'right to work' but you do have essential economic liberty that allows you to use your rights TO work and to then utilize the fruits of your labor as you see fit.  By recognizing the personal liberty and how rights can be exercised for that liberty, government must recognize that imposing a 'right to work' is meaningless and bureaucratic as the individual already HAS that right and the essential liberty to utilize it.  Getting good work and someone to PAY you for it is another matter as that, too, is an essential part of economic liberty: who you get to help you on common projects and concerns.  In trying to enforce a 'right to work' government removes the essential liberty of allowing individuals or groups of individuals to decide, for themselves, who best will help them in a common project or concern.  The 'freedom of association' is that essential liberty and when applied to economics it allows you to determine who you want to hire.  Whenever there are laws put down to require equality of hiring, they should not be 'quotas' to 'require' that an individual hire by group or category.  Ending discrimination by race, ethnicity or other surficial forms of difference, when the equality of individuals is the same beneath the skin, is a restriction that is necessary if we are to have equality of opportunity for the citizenry.  Requiring equality in hiring is a mandate and coercive force upon the citizenry and must be fought at all times as such a mandate is fleeting and can be changed at the whimsy of government.  If it can mandate who you hire by how they look, it can also tell you who to fire by how they look, and that would lead to millions dead in Germany during World War II and more millions dead to Pol Pot.  Pol Pot had a perfect determination of who lived and died by their looks:  he decided.  The law suited him *perfectly*.  The tens of millions dead because of their jobs or good looks in comparison to the Great Leader is another matter entirely.

That is tyranny.

When I looked at Change and the Republic, one of the essential parts from James Madison came on the division of government and why it was necessary. James Madison in Federalist No. 48 on 01 FEB 1788 would look not only at the Doge of Venice and have problems with that, which was a limited methodology of trying to get a weak executive that would also administer laws fairly, but had some say in how tyranny might arise with unchecked government.  He had problems with each of the branches of government assuming powers of the other branches, while each is to be distinct and separated and serve as a check and balance to the other powers of the other branches.  There is a 'Unitary Executive' as only one individual is President.  Those powers invested in the office of the President are the Executive powers and go with that office and NOT to either of the other branches of government.  Those are not 'co-equal' powers but balancing powers of different type and kind.  One prime worry was, however, the legislative branch, and what it had done in times past:

If, therefore, the legislature assumes executive and judiciary powers, no opposition is likely to be made; nor, if made, can be effectual; because in that case they may put their proceeding into the form of an act of Assembly, which will render them obligatory on the other branches. They have accordingly in many instances, decided rights which should have been left to judiciary controversy, and the direction of the executive, during the whole time of their session, is becoming habitual and familiar.

While talking about the Assembly in Venice, this applies to all legislative branches of all governments.  When by legislation a 'right to work', to use the above I talked about, is created, it creates an obligatory statute that the other branches must abide by.  The Executive can veto such an act and the SCOTUS can deem it unconstitutional as stepping in where Amendments IX and X hold all rights and liberty not mentioned as going to the federal government as retained by the States and the people.  If neither of those is done, then the law remains: a created 'right' by government that has no place in creating rights because all those not handed to it are reserved outside of the federal government.  The surest path of power in the United States or in any nation with a Parliament or strong legislature is through that very same legislative process and undermining the nation by it.  In an elected representative democracy the surest way to get such placement of individuals is by changing the political culture so that those against it become disgusted with politics and don't vote.

I looked at the this and found that Alexander Hamilton, in Federalist No. 26 from 22 DEC 1787 examined the ability of a legislative branch to create the military power to do this.  His idea, however, is more general than just that, but the accountability built in to the Constitution for the armed forces was meant as a check on that.  The more general point on how subversion must be slow and gradual, however, applies across-the-board to the legislative branch [bolding mine]:

The legislature of the United States will be obliged by this provision, once at least in every two years, to deliberate upon the propriety of keeping a military force on foot; to come to a new resolution on the point; and to declare their sense of the matter by a formal vote in the face of their constituents. They are not at liberty to vest in the executive department permanent funds for the support of an army, if they were even incautious enough to be willing to repose in it so improper a confidence. As the spirit of party in different degrees must be expected to infect all political bodies there will be, no doubt, persons in the national legislature willing enough to arraign the measures and criminate the views of the majority. The provision for the support of a military force will always be a favorable topic for declamation. As often as the question comes forward, the public attention will be roused and attracted to the subject by the party in opposition; and if the majority should be really disposed to exceed the proper limits, the community will be warned of the danger, and will have an opportunity of taking measures to guard against it. Independent of parties in the national legislature itself, as often as the period of discussion arrived, the State legislatures, who will always be not only vigilant but suspicious and jealous guardians of the rights of the citizens against encroachments from the federal government, will constantly have their attention awake to the conduct of the national rulers, and will be ready enough, if any thing improper appears, to sound the alarm to the people, and not only to be the VOICE, but, if necessary, the ARM of their discontent.

Schemes to subvert the liberties of a great community require time to mature them for execution. An army, so large as seriously to menace those liberties, could only be formed by progressive augmentations; which would suppose not merely a temporary combination between the legislature and executive, but a continued conspiracy for a series of time. Is it probable that such a combination would exist at all? Is it probable that it would be persevered in, and transmitted along through all the successive variations in a representative body, which biennial elections would naturally produce in both houses? Is it presumable that every man the instant he took his seat in the national Senate or House of Representatives would commence a traitor to his constituents and to his country? Can it be supposed that there would not be found one man discerning enough to detect so atrocious a conspiracy, or bold or honest enough to apprise his constituents of their danger? If such presumptions can fairly be made, there ought at once to be an end of all delegated authority. The people should resolve to recall all the powers they have heretofore parted with out of their own hands, and to divide themselves into as many States as there are counties in order that they may be able to manage their own concerns in person.

Hamilton identified another three-part check upon the federal government:  the States and the people.  Again these are not 'co-equal' parts of an equation, but ones with highly different set of weights, measures and goals holding each other in check and balance.  The Constitution required State governments to appoint Senators so that the States would have equal say in that House to balance the say of the people in the House of Representatives.  The federal government could no directly tax individuals save in equal measure upon all, thus the States were handed the bill to pay from the federal government doing equal apportionment via population and the States then allowed to judge how best to administer such common debt to their people.  This concept of federalism is to have equal balancing by complementary powers, not equal powers, both within and amongst governments and the people.  The scheme to undermine that did, indeed, require time, and yet, within a few short years in the early 20th century, that concept of check and balances amongst the federal States and the people would be overturned completely. 

In a short 10 year time span the entire principle of representative democracy, government by checks and balances and by having accountable government amongst the checks and balances would be thrown out the window.  That came about because the idea of having a 'modern' and 'efficient' government were put forth by those seeking political power in America.  They were known as 'Progressives' and sought expedient 'efficiency' to create an 'efficient democracy' while forgetting that the concept of representative democracy via a federal system is anything but efficient.  That is by design, not by backwardness attributed to the non-industrial era it was formed in.  The very necessities of having accountable government that is restricted is inherently messy, slow, inefficient, prone to lurch in one direction and then lurch back, and, generally, hold accountability as its touchstone.  The governments of Pol Pot, Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Fidel Castro, Benito Mussolini, and any other tyrant or dictator you care to name is very, very, very efficient.  Democracy, alas, must seek prudence in creating and executing good laws from popular mandate and that is messy, slow, inefficient and generally keeps the level of tyranny down.

In a constitutional democracy founded on the citizen's approval of government via a common compact, there is one place to go to change that document:  the citizenry.  Those who seek power seek to worry the population, inflame the population and seek to goad the population into eroding the very protections put in place to keep them secure from tyrannical government.  The Progressives, Socialists (International and National) and all manner of those seeking more power for 'modern government'  started inflaming simple Populism and turning it into a means to sell the people on the idea that government owes them more than just equal administration of the laws.  The power to do other wise, once put in place and those backing such power elected to office, then have the necessary keys to power to undermine the population by a series of crises, rewards and supposed misdeeds of their fellow man.  That formulation doesn't require an actual, stated, political party, but a larger set of actors pressing for a factionalized set of 'social movements' to make those movements 'equal'.  While having citizens judged by the color of their skin is wrong, in a land of where all humans are equal in stature as citizens, it is wrong and unjust to require that society change to 'right wrongs' done by individuals who could not escape prejudice.  That is not a power of government, to change minds and hearts of people, it is up to society to do that amongst the citizenry in open forums, debates and to hear such equality of man from our fellow man and to reason it out based on our principles of equality of law.  Justices is visited upon individuals, but the law must be colorblind to ensure that Just Ends are achieved via law.  You cannot tilt the balance and create unequal law and say it is 'Justice': it is enforced discrimination and an attack upon essential liberty of individual citizens.

Economic liberty is also put into peril by coercive 'anti-discrimination' laws as those that put mandates upon hiring then force businesses to practice some form of social welfare that is, by definition, left up to society to decide not government.  Before that, however, there is another area that government utilizes to create such laws and that is the 'regulatory power' that has defined limits in the Constitution.  As per Amendment IX and X, if the federal government does not have a clearly stated power, then it has NO power or right to operate in an area.  Even when it is given a power, it is a highly limited one as set down by practice, Common Law and the Law of Nations.  Here, in a twist of fate that is quite ironic, the urgings of Alexander Hamilton to have the federal government take a larger role in the economy comes into direct conflict with how government accumulates power as he laid out in Federalist No. 26.  I look at this concept of the limited economic intervention capability in this article, and then I look at the beginning of the Progressive Era in Presidential politics by tracing it to Theodore Roosevelt in this article.

In Chapter X of his autobiography (Source: Project Gutenberg), Theodore Roosevelt clearly states his view on Presidential power [bolding mine]:

The most important factor in getting the right spirit in my Administration, next to the insistence upon courage, honesty, and a genuine democracy of desire to serve the plain people, was my insistence upon the theory that the executive power was limited only by specific restrictions and prohibitions appearing in the Constitution or imposed by the Congress under its Constitutional powers. My view was that every executive officer, and above all every executive officer in high position, was a steward of the people bound actively and affirmatively to do all he could for the people, and not to content himself with the negative merit of keeping his talents undamaged in a napkin. I declined to adopt the view that what was imperatively necessary for the Nation could not be done by the President unless he could find some specific authorization to do it. My belief was that it was not only his right but his duty to do anything that the needs of the Nation demanded unless such action was forbidden by the Constitution or by the laws. Under this interpretation of executive power I did and caused to be done many things not previously done by the President and the heads of the departments. I did not usurp power, but I did greatly broaden the use of executive power. In other words, I acted for the public welfare, I acted for the common well-being of all our people, whenever and in whatever manner was necessary, unless prevented by direct constitutional or legislative prohibition. I did not care a rap for the mere form and show of power; I cared immensely for the use that could be made of the substance. The Senate at one time objected to my communicating with them in printing, preferring the expensive, foolish, and laborious practice of writing out the messages by hand. It was not possible to return to the outworn archaism of hand writing; but we endeavored to have the printing made as pretty as possible. Whether I communicated with the Congress in writing or by word of mouth, and whether the writing was by a machine, or a pen, were equally, and absolutely, unimportant matters. The importance lay in what I said and in the heed paid to what I said. So as to my meeting and consulting Senators, Congressmen, politicians, financiers, and labor men. I consulted all who wished to see me; and if I wished to see any one, I sent for him; and where the consultation took place was a matter of supreme unimportance. I consulted every man with the sincere hope that I could profit by and follow his advice; I consulted every member of Congress who wished to be consulted, hoping to be able to come to an agreement of action with him; and I always finally acted as my conscience and common sense bade me act.

Theodore Roosevelt clearly goes outside the lines of a restricted federal government by intentional act, not by happenstance or by chance.  Within each power domain the power of government is Sovereign: no others may hold those powers.  Those Sovereign Powers are highly delimited and restricted, and cannot be 'broadened' beyond common understanding of what they are.  By trying to appeal to the Preamble, Theodore Roosevelt forgets to mention who is speaking in that part of the Constitution:  We the People.  It a statement of a people forming a common compact that agrees upon common things they agree to do, and that government is just one way to achieve these things.  In all other instances, when government cannot do that due to its restrictions, the power of the people is Sovereign.  The people set themselves tasks and broad common agreement and then agree to utilize limited government means and ALL other means possible to achieve them as given in Amendments IX and X.  Inside government you cannot appeal to this as a 'broader base' for your powers: if they are not given to you in restricted means, then the people and the States retain all such powers.  And as the people are the SOURCE of such powers, government is limited by intent and obligated to live with that intentional limitations as given in the Constitution. 

The attack upon such 'backward' and 'archaic' government did not start with Theodore Roosevelt, but the first instances of successes would be traceable to the acts he first took in the office of the President.  Agreeing to a Treaty to limit opium is outside the regulatory powers of government, which had already mandated food and drug purity acts so the citizenry could be informed of what they were ingesting.  President Roosevelt was pressured by religious groups that sought a moral basis for such a treaty, even if it contravened the power given to government.  The government could shut off ALL trade with a nation that produced opium or used it, or put high tariffs on them, but it could not restrict the use of it once inside the country.  The first shift to 'moral' and 'efficient' government starts with the restriction of individual rights and liberty under the Harrison Stamp Act formed for the Shanghai Convention Treaty that President Roosevelt sent emissaries to attend as representatives of the government.  That was not an act of 'broadening' power, but one of bowing to pressure for authoritarianism and restrictions upon the general citizenry due to the moral outrage of the majority.  In a few short years doctors were being imprisoned for dispensing medications and an underground economy would form that would start to be supercharged with funds once this moralistic view of government got fully put in place with Prohibition.  And we live with the powerful mafias and drug cartels on a global basis that now wield as much or more power than many nations.  In trying to stop the exercise of liberty, we have paid dearly in cash, lives lost and individuals imprisoned because we could not form up simple 'clean and sober' laws for ensuring that the public was not put in danger by unsafe operation of vehicles, industrial machines... or government.

The Executive clearly did not act alone after Theodore Roosevelt left office, and even though Taft would serve he was a disappointment to Roosevelt, and the three-way battle with Woodrow Wilson would see Wilson winning the Presidency.  Later on in his autobiography Roosevelt takes his problems with Wilson public, not only responding to the criticisms of himself but also trying to figure out just what it was that Woodrow Wilson stood behind politically and philosophically.  What is the undertone that comes through from that work and Roosevelt's speech on the fitness of Americans to choose their government, is that he was seeing the additional power that he had added to the office of the President going to someone he did not understand or trust.  President Wilson would work with Congress to enact some of the most major intrusions into the lives of ordinary Americans and reverse the position of the US in regards to a National Bank system that had been laid down to rest in 1832.  The arguments in 1832 was that such a system was prone to cronyism, foreign influence and did not reflect the needs of the common man via banking direction and ownership.  Those exact, same problems would then be instituted in the new Federal Reserve system so as to marginalize the input of citizens and maximize the input of unelected bureaucrats and banking members.  That system worked so famously in 'regulation' that it took a stance in 1928-29 that would push the economy over the edge of a financial precipice into the Great Depression.

At that point in time the House of Representatives had already taken one severely anti-democratic measure and that was to set its own size as fixed while the population grew.  What that would do, over time, is water down the ability of the common man to know his or her representative.  Considering that the House would expand by nearly 50% if it kept its then-current 1911 ratio by 1940, that indicates that each member's representative ratio climbed.  Although the number of House members is fixed, the actual say by population percentage of an individual declines as the overall population rises.  This was clearly a problem and criticized before the Constitution was ratified by a number of individuals, and it was seen as an opportunity to dilute citizen based power and the ability to unseat unrepresentative members as they reward some over others in their districts.  As those following 'Progressive' doctrines say, they wanted a more modernized system, but they then have stuck us with a House of Representatives sized perfectly... for 1911.  When one criticizes representative democracy the foundation of having a growing number of voices to reflect the diversity of a growing population must be taken into account.  Indeed, at the founding with the Constitution, there was an extreme criticism that even at the most representative levels allowed, that being 1 per 30,000, an individual would have a hard time ever knowing someone before they were elected and then have trouble getting them out of office once they gained political favors.  Today that maximum House would be nearly 10,000 members, and yet we have a number of corporations on a global basis easily able to sustain such levels of human interactivity.  The question of the utility of fixed modernity against the capability of representation for maximum citizen input becomes a clear and vital one of the future.

Today, when looking at the 'global financial crisis' which appears to be delimited to areas that involve political meddling in the economy and practices that rival those of 1928-29 for leveraging money, one must ask: if all of these government institutions were meant to solve the problem, then why has it happened again?

What is astonishing is that in the manufacturing areas, the economy is robust with company growth and profits rising amongst many of the 'blue chip' firms.  Someone has certainly made adaptable financial and market structures, but not within government as these companies prove out.  The efficacy of regulation that has failed us, that has concentrated economic power into the hands of unelected individuals who are then pushed by those seeking 'social engineering' to political ends must come to the forefront.  If those on the current Left laud Europe, then they do have to face up to Europe being in a WORSE state than the US at this point in time.  Those highly regulated economies were already suffering from declining productivity, declining growth, and declining populations.  Now, with a financial problem the very institutions set up to mitigate them have failed and they do not have the economic power to drive themselves out of the problem they are in.  Government cannot mandate good economic times, save at a huge cost in personal liberty and freedom.  Then you don't have those to complain with and retain a voice in government.  Yet the omnipresent answer is always:  more money to more unaccountable individuals with less oversight all in the name of greater 'regulation'.

For all of these problems, the founders understood it in their terms via authoritarian governments that caused havoc due to changing political and familial ties.  The concept was to remove that influence of government as much as possible and to keep it out so that individuals would have a common environment that was equitable, equally administered and Just.  That would mean that not every trial, every circumstance or every happening would have a happy ending, but it would ensure the regularity of the overall system as we understood it was not set up to be 'nice'.  By providing 'a shadow of a doubt' for a reasonable common man as reason to let someone off, we took the position that punishment required unequivocal positive proof of wrong doing.  Even with that some innocents would still be punished because we are humans and live in an imperfect world.  Fairness is in the eye of the beholder and hard to pin down, but equal understanding of the law and how its processes works are to ensure equality of treatment if not Justice in each and every single case.  Those seeking a 'fair' system, a 'modern' system, and an 'efficient' system should be pointed to the killing fields of Cambodia or the gas ovens of the Third Reich: those were fair, modern and efficient.

Thus we are left with imperfect tools being wielded to ill-understood and unachievable ends in search of objective fairness.  No matter how nice the idea, that comes down to someday, those seeking 'fairness', ultimately finding out that a changing whimsy of what is 'fair' will put them on the short end of the stick.  By removing trust from ourselves and trying to place it into institutions designed as a punisher, we find ourselves wondering why such wonderful and lofty ideas as 'housing projects' begin to look like prison camps run by the inmates.  By seeking to mandate 'fairness' there is a creation of inequality before the law and administration of it.  Every time that is used for justification of an expansive government in our modern era, it has come to ill and lethal ends.  It is strange that a society that started out knowing that charity is in the doing and the giving on your own to build a better society now harbors those within it that want to remove individual liberty and rights and hand them to government for various reasons.

I do understand what the founders sought and it is the most highly adaptable system of government ever devised.  It was to be limited and play as little part as possible in daily life and allow the good people of the Nation to adapt to a changing world and representing them in the greatest amount possible to do the very basic things required of government.  That was what was put down in at the founding and it is one of the most 'modern' forms of government ever devised because it depended on a changing people who came together to be in a Nation with each other.  And when the call for a 'modern' system arises, its form must be examined to ensure it retains the greatest free play of liberty for the population just like the original one.  It is our trust in each other and self-governing that allows us to have a common society for the good of all concerned.  When we place those things in government *itself* we start on that road to tyranny and despotic ends justifying any means to get them.  Because the most adaptable form of government isn't one made today, but one made in the 18th century by a group of people who came together in common cause to break with their mother country and form such government that would not oppress them nor their children for their societal and religious views.

We are forgetting the wisdom of Ben Franklin.

And that will only come to bad ends.