Rollin' Like Sisyphus

This Ain’t Antietam

Posted in A Chronicle Of Decline by Huckleberry on January 5, 2016

With another standoff between the Feds and ranchers playing out amid a backdrop of short tempers and hot rhetoric, one can’t help but wonder if there is to be another Civil War, (and I’m not convinced) what it would look like in the current situation. So let me bounce some ideas out there as a thought exercise, and you tell me all the ways I’ve missed the mark. I’ll break this down into the two most likely scenarios:



Unlike the last one, this one would almost surely not involve organized battle between states, except in one or two possible scenarios where it definitely will come down to that. It’s an 80/20 shot that this will be state governments, the federal government, and the media versus a succession of marginalized groups. The Ranchers, apparently, are in the batter’s box, while military veterans appear to be warming up in the on-deck circle. Beyond them, this could (probably will) encompass gun owners, business owners, Occupiers, disaffected college graduates, members of the erstwhile middle class courtesy of their newfound station below the Mendoza Line of life, and a grab-bag of assorted members of the record 100+M no longer in the US labor force, along with a smaller grab-bag of military and LEO defectors.


This obviously follows the 4GW model of stateless actors subverting the sovereignty of the prevailing political/social order by every means necessary, and in that spirit it means taking as many things underground as possible. We’re already living in a time and place where raw milk and homemade lemonade is enough to bring the full weight of state agencies crashing down on your life, making them essentially blackmarket contraband, so expect more and more simple things like that to go underground entirely. I imagine you’ll have infiltrators and collaborators on both sides wreaking havoc and sowing discord. The “battlefields” will be concentrated on the mean streets of most urban landscapes, some featuring “protests” getting spectacularly out of hand, others focusing on targets of opportunity, while a small, disciplined few will engage in tit-for-tat attrition on a micro level.


The past few years has seen a major shift in the popular conception of the efficacy of government and police in our society. Even a handful of years ago, there were many more “law-and-order” types that simply dismissed any and every suspicion of corruption by their police or by their representatives. If nothing else, I can say with near-certainty that now many more people than not see through those lies and distrust the authorities in their lives to a greater extent than at any time in living memory. This new paradigm suggests that a preponderance of the people are prepared for a protracted low-intensity conflict.


Decades? Probably? More?


The interesting aspect about the scholarship on 4GW so far is that it all mostly deals with non-state actors fighting interloping forces that can usually be forced to go home eventually. But what happens when the “interloper” is already home? In that scenario I don’t see how such a conflict can be anything more than an accelerant for civilizational decline, occupying the limited resources of what should be an entrepreneurial force into a protracted myopia focused on diminishing the resources and influence of the authorities. The only possibility of clear “victory” that I can see involves either a quick and overwhelming government response that tamps down rising tensions, or following the point where the resources and influence of the authorities dwindles to the point where it can no longer physically hold certain territories. And even then, that won’t so much be a victory as it will the creation of several smaller state entities that will continue to seek authority that the non-state actors do not trust.
To be continued…


3 Responses

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  1. Giraffe said, on January 5, 2016 at 14:39

    I would suspect it’s going to break down as red versus blue. Our nation was conceived with religion as a part of everyday life. Nowadays, a majority don’t know their neighbors, let alone love them. As a result of this you have a remnant that wishes to be left alone by the government and govern their own affairs. They are predominantly religious people, or at least an echo of that culture, and they want things the way they’ve always been, where you put in an honest day’s work and got an honest day’s pay. The other side wants the government to be their mommy, and I suspect they will find it instead to be a cruel master. They want to be taken care of. To be safe from those that would prey on their weakness. And to retreat to their safe spaces where they think they can be like plants in a greenhouse. These worldviews are like oil and water. This day of being able to select-a-slant your information source is further polarizing.

    As a result of this, there’s going to be entire regions that are red that will want to separate from those that are blue. And vice versa. In some cases that may be just simple and easy. But will Abraham Lincoln let them go this time? I suspect it’s going to get messy and turn into a red rural versus blue urban, and in reality we are all just shades of purple. The resulting economic holocaust will cause…. well, I don’t know. I suspect the welfare checks are going to stop coming. That won’t play well anywhere, but maybe in the country we at least will try to help each other out. One hopes anyway. I suspect in the city, there’s a certain subset that isn’t going fare well without the welfare. And there isn’t really any plan B for them. Maybe we can set up some soup lines for the 47%, but who will pay for it when the treasuries won’t sell anymore? So I suspect some neighborhoods will burn down due to short time preferences and short short-sightedness. It might get difficult in the cities for awhile. One hopes that commerce isn’t disrupted too much or for too long, because we need each other. The urbans need things to eat and the rurals need someone to sell those hogs and cows to.

  2. Doom said, on January 6, 2016 at 10:24

    Cities really aren’t needed. Most cities don’t want to process what rural produces. Feed lots and distribution centers will work fine without cities. If it comes right down to it, cities will lose. Communists know it, Christians know it, only capitalists don’t like it. Cities are where income streams can be run so thin, but to nose-bleed heights, that capitalists don’t want to lose that.

    The war is already on. It isn’t just about government. It is economic, social, political, religious, and probably some other things. The middle ground is simply going away, as well. Which is really tough for those who are trying to play both sides against each other. That is soon to not win them friends, but create two groups of enemies. People are going to have to decide. What was it… diversity + proximity = war. The thing was created… on purpose or not is difficult to know. It was meant as a counter to nationalism, among other things. It had to fail, at least as soon as natives realized they were the targets of genetic destruction.

  3. doomdigit said, on January 7, 2016 at 18:15

    America is an artificial country. What happens really depends on who organizes first. Ever heard of that documentary Jagal (the act of killing)? It’s about how one Indonesian political party rounded up the opposing party and voted em off the island. Whichever side organizes and acts first will probably win. Obviously, depending on who wins, it might not really be a victory at all. It’ll be more like being eaten last by Cthulhu.

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