What is a war, and is that what we’re looking at when we look at the current political situation in the world? I’m going to try to talk this out, making reference to the global state of affairs, as well as how it applies to Canada. My contention is that there is a war, but only under certain definitions—and that it never, has never, and never will end.
First, I want to try to define what a war is, and what it means.
Let’s start with it as a rhetorical definition, which I know is going to shock a lot of you. Many of us grew up watching movies about World War II and Vietnam and so on and so forth. We begin to identify the crackle of gunfire, the corpses of the slain, the explosions of shells and bombs and the crashing of planes guides us toward the conclusion that war is out and out violence between however many sides. It’s a very physical thing, which only occasional comes with declarations and formalisation.
Where, without piles of corpses, there is no war and therefore things are nonviolent.
I want to push back against this too-obvious definition of what a war is by asserting two things: the first is that all force is violence, which includes rape, theft, taxes and tariffs. That’s a lot of why Carl von Clausewitz is cited as having said, “War is politics by other means.” Politics is, as a raw, vulgar definition, getting your way over what others might think.
The other tidbit I’ll offer up is a thought originated by Scott Adams in this interview. Mr. Adams contended that, essentially, war is a means of persuasion now that the home fronts have become involved, and particular since Vietnam and the effect of the media.
A brief explanation: the idea of an entire nation’s population being mobilised for war is a concept which is relatively new to humanity. It began in 1914, when weapons and armour improved to the point where individuals could lay waste to entire divisions of other human beings with a single weapon: it was the birth of the machinegun.
Before that, national armies were essentially maintained by nobles and then states with relatively minor budgets, and despite the possibility of heavy casualties, it was abnormal for significant numbers of people to die in any particular war; normally, there was a “set piece” battle, and then one side capitulated for favourable terms.
Since 1914, however, war has essentially become, in a way, annihilating an enemy’s resources until that enemy is persuaded to abandon their cause in favour of your own. Those resources include people and assets both. More recently, the Vietnamese, the Afghanis, and the Iraqis have all employed this form of warfare against enormous superpowers (the USA and the USSR) to power themselves to victory by uneven cost-benefit defensive tactics. For example, an Afghani guerilla organisation can spend fifteen thousand dollars on a Stinger missile and knock a thirty-million dollar Russian MiG fighter jet out of the sky.
With enough like repetitions, even superpowers eventually began to be persuaded that their interests lie elsewhere, and to begin to withdraw.
So what is war? It’s politics and persuasion, when either is used as a method of force in order to achieve a goal that is against the interest of another party. Put in that light, we are all constantly at war simply because a) we desire resources in a world where resources are finite and b) we are constantly placed in contention by the government because government has no money and therefore requires our resources to implement social programs.
Without employing social programs, the government has no purpose, and therefore politicians cannot trade favours, leverage kickbacks and generally enjoy the fruits of political power. That would make the whole “being a politician” endeavour rather pointless, wouldn’t it?
That makes which social programs are implemented grounds for contention, doesn’t it? Doesn’t it make those social programs, in fact, the battleground for our everlasting war? As resources flow from both sides’ constituencies, through the hands of politicians more-or-less whole (there’s also corruption, which I won’t discuss in this article) and into the social programs that they promise for support from their populations, things begin to escalate. There are only so many resources and politicians keep having to one-up themselves to ensure that those resources keep flowing though them.
Politicians want to keep their power, and so they start to assign higher and higher importance to their social program of choice until, eventually, the whole thing reaches a type of fervour that is normally associated with religion. Because it is now religion, you need at least two sides; Heaven and Hell.
Let’s remember, now, that our population is always C-average. And I don’t mean C-average in our day; I mean C-average how it used to be graded when your parents were in university. Go and ask them, or someone from their generation, what that was like. It wasn’t easy. We’ve seen, I think the estimates are, a grade inflation of one and a half. That means, grades are one-and-a-half intervals higher today than they would have been for the same work a few generations ago.
So if you came out of university with a B-average, in a prior era you probably didn’t make it out at all.
As even the smarter people we all know have a lot of trouble extending and concluding arguments deep into the future, or to properly consider all the extensions and articles of a particular idea (ideas are, remember, infinite within a given context and subject to multiple different interests and agencies) people begin to give up on trying.
So now we have a political structure which, over the ages and fueled by the avarice and wish to proliferate their rule of the political class, slowly begins to resolve into two sides; left and right.
For whatever reason, these are the two sides which always emerge; fiscally conservative against fiscally liberal—because again, finite resources and C-average people. At various times, the issue of personal freedoms have arisen, and have typically come to be more associated with the right, as the right is tolerant only of regulations which do not violate their ability to be fiscally conservative. The left, meanwhile, has eventually come to be associated with centralist governments and heavy regulation which must be in place to keep the population from being bankrupted by the social programs it seeks to implement.
Whatever the difference actually is, it eventually winds down to my Finite Resource principle; that every single human action revolves around resources used in their own interest.
There is another theory which casts right and left as K and r selected genotypes—where environmental and genetic conditions activate genes which in turn activate as either predator or prey-animal characteristics.
In short, K-selected animals, which identify as predators, are large, complex, intelligent, monogamous and carry heavy in-group preferences.
In contrast, r-selected animals tend to identify as prey animals, and are simpler, kinder, tend toward polyamouresness and promiscuity, and have little in-group preference.
Here is a better explanation, but have some popcorn and about a half-hour ready to spend.
Whatever the sides actually are, we call them right and left, and aside from the management of resources and the general trend in decentralised/centralised government, they normally set about their business through similar means, and always at odds.
So how do we apply our everlasting war between left and right to the current day?
The trick is to understand that the left has been winning for decades. Vast amounts of resources have been spent on social programs geared toward social conformity and what I will refer to as “feelings.”
Why do I say “feelings?” Because often, the programs in question cannot begin to address the problems they are attempting to attack. The War on Poverty in the United States of America, introduced in 1964 which essentially resulted in the welfare state, massive inflation and interest-gambling as well as tremendous amounts of unfunded liabilities, became the problem which it was supposed to address.
It envisioned channelling resources into the impoverished as a way of making those people not impoverished anymore. However, as the state began to redistribute wealth, it began to find that that wealth was insufficient, and began to print money. Printing money caused price increases and inflation in proportion, and it became quickly obvious that no amount of resources being funnelled into the poor would ever be enough to stop them from becoming, proportionately, just as poor as before.
“Feelings,” then, because many, many people were already describing this outcome before the program ever started; mostly logical thinkers, likely from the right.
As the results began to show that the program was inneffective, the left began to justify it in a number of ways, many of which can be boiled down to “Hey, at least we’re trying!” This causes them to both cast the effort in heavenly light (remember our religion metaphor) and also double-down to try even more things of the sort. You get the War on Drugs, the War on Terrorism, and all the other social programs which have been called “wars.” Now included? Canada’s “War on Islamophobia” or whatever.
My personal belief is that this is mostly because the poor vastly outnumber everybody else, historically, until around that brief period in the United States when the middle class was statistically in the majority. The War on Poverty, essentially, allowed the political class to skim the top of prohibitive wealth redistribution mostly contributed by that middle class, and eventually made everyone poor—our present-day situation.
It was okay, though, because at least they were trying to be fair and not-racist and pure of heart.
So you can see that the war is going poorly for the right, who don’t care about feelings—until now, with the election of President Trump.
If we have an everlasting war between right and left, there are a few moments which can be called “set piece” battles. The 2016 Presidential election, I personally believe, will go down in history as one of the most massive of those battles. Our Battle of Zama, or our Battle of Cannae. Our Thermopylae. Our Waterloo.
It is a decisive win by the right, after a long period of losing the campaign. Naturally, the newly-occupied territories are extremely unhappy. Anyone who’s ever played a Total War game can probably understand what I mean by this. Our Unrest statistic is somewhere in the stratosphere, we have violent rebellions breaking out all over the country, and California appears to be teetering on the edge of open revolt and secession (a losing proposition).
Conservative politics will eventually wear down the opposition, for a time. The United States of America has a direction, and its internal institutions will eventually resolve and grind the process towards its inevitable end, even if they are relatively rusty and unused after decades of domination, and therefore progressive stagnation under the left.
Meanwhile, it must simply suffer through its various revolts and unrest until such things become improper—or until the rebels are “persuaded” to stop—and things will take their course.
However, the United States is only a piece on the board of geopolitics. She can, however, (if this is a chessboard) be thought of as the Queen for one side or the other. She threatens the entire board at every juncture, almost irrelevant of her position—and she has the potential to change sides with every election.
As the “white” Queen on the left, she has steered the entire world toward the left. She has funded the UN, NATO, and other efforts in the direction we now know as “globalism.”
Globalism is a philosophy which actually has no political affiliation—no right or left. Globalism asserts that the world’s peoples will gradually become a single people. This is likely factual, and will eventually happen, barring some description of reversion to a state of progress where global travel and integration is no longer possible. Say, a nuclear winter.
What does have political methodology is the artificial enactment of this likely eventuality. Rather like the Marxist-Leninist conception of a “vanguard class” of leaders who “guide” capitalist states into the transition toward Communism—that is, a series of leftist dictators who redistribute wealth and plan the economy—globalism has birthed a network of bureaucrats and politicians whose only goal is to integrate all the countries and peoples of the world. The United Nations, European Union, and the various trade and defense projects all carry the seal of such an endeavour. It is also the reason why the Russo-centric analogs always seem invalid to the West; they cannot be attempting globalism if they’re not including you, after all.
However, the Russian model is now the essence of our new “black” Queen; our new conservative United States of America. She is no longer concerned with globalism, or integration. She no longer cares about the values which she has espoused since the 1960s, and that’s, I think, a lot of the reason you’re seeing so much violence today.
The United States, no matter on which side it is today, can be thought of as the world’s only “evangelical” power. Its only “persuasive” diplomat, continuously spreading and preaching its holy message of whatever its own ideology happens to be at the time; sometimes through force, and sometimes not. This makes its population incredibly self-righteous, but also forces its population to ingest those principles at the same time as they ingest their nationalism. After all, personal identity, even among nation-states, tends to be whatever sets you apart from others, according to Borges—that is, we identify ourselves by how we are not alike.
For a very long time, the United States has preached globalism as a method of avoiding a nuclear war. After all, democracies hardly ever pursue more conventional forms of war against other democracies, and with nuclear weapons becoming available for wide use during the twentieth century, not ever having a war became almost literally the only concern of geopolitics.
On the other hand, the birth of the Information Age in the twenty-first century may well have blunted that possibility. What polity, all developing ties to other polities (masses of people) could conscience their exterminations? Is there any reason to worry about diplomacy anymore? If you look at the wars which are occurring around the globe, they are occurring where the state has total control, or where control has been entirely lost.
So what have we learned from this discussion?
There are two sides. They are at war. The primacy of the left has recently collapsed, and newly conquered territories are having their struggles as the right scrambles to figure out how to effectively rule them for the first time in most of a century.
In many Western states, the cognitive dissonance has become violent as the ideology of their states has halted, then abruptly started moving in the opposite direction—that’s ideology, not progress. People who are ignorant of these motions post memes, make snide comments, and shitpost on the Internet which ironically strengthens their ties to one another, and becomes free speech and discourse.
People more knowledgeable of current events are physically attacking one another. These are your antifa professional protestors (sort of like a small private army which disrupts civil events with violence) and various factions on the right (from alt-right to new-right to whoever else—decades as grassroots and regional movements have left the right mostly without a solid identity). Eventually, their struggles will resolve. After all, the battle has been won and these are just echoes.
The puppet masters continue where they are and continue to pull their strings. They are playing the long game, after all, and momentary disturbances are barely an inconvenience. These people are why the war is everlasting.
So when you decide to use force instead of opening a discussion, think about what I just said. Think about where you are, and what you’re doing. Do you feel like a soldier?
#LetsMakeCanadaFunAgain, everybody, and make sure we’re doing it in a constructive fashion.