It is said that death and taxation are the only certainties in life.
Expanding on that list, we also know there are ‘physical laws’ derived from extensive observations, in some cases dating back to antiquity. For example, sticking fingers in fires will result in unpleasantness.
Then there is the realm of what one might call ‘common knowledge’. For example, the historical record makes it appear certain that, universally, power corrupts the human mind and the greater the power, the greater the corruption.
For a relevant example look no further than the late Kim Jong-Il who at an early age evidenced what are termed by psychologists as the ‘big six’ in deviant behaviors shared by all dictators: sadism, paranoia, anti-socialism, narcissism with schizoid and schizotypal personality disorders thrown in for good measure.
Without the power devolved to him by his equally degraded father, Kim Jong-Il would have been hard pressed to get a date anywhere else in the world. As supreme leader, on the other hand, he was unhesitant in pressing into service a “Mansions Special Volunteer Corps” – a harem of attractive women plucked out of the population to attend to his every prurient whim.
Remarkably, upon Jong-Il’s ascendance into whatever passes for commie-heaven, the populace stood by sheepishly as the latest dangerous dimwit in the dynasty, Kim Il-Un, took control. Proving that absolute power is absolutely hard to switch off.
Tangling things up in this area of common knowledge is that we humans are quite adroit as adopting unproven ideas as certainties, even though they may be anything but. While the list of entries in this particular ledger are almost infinite, I would point to the absolute certainty with which so many people view the notion that humans are the biggest culprits in climate change (previously referred to as ‘global warming’ and, before that, ‘weather’).
Another of these false certainties is that a government can create currency units out of thin air in unlimited amounts without triggering a subsequent devaluation of the currency units already in circulation. These days a large swath of the population have come to believe that flooding an economy with unbacked money is a good thing: the more the better and may I have another serving, thank you very much.
Not to go on, as I am wont to do, but I would also mention the misconception by many that the United States, militarily and economically the most powerful country in the world, remains the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.
While one might subscribe to a different definition of the words “Free” and “Brave, from where I sit the United States is increasingly looking like a large Club Fed populated by a peoples whose re-education as serfs laboring on behalf of the state is almost complete.
A relatively recent case supporting that contention was provided by professional golfer Phil Mickelson when he pointed out publicly that his taxes had reached 63% of his annual income and that, as a result, he was contemplating moving to a lower-tax state than California. For daring to want to keep more of his earnings than the state, which sinks not a single putt for its share, he was soundly pilloried in the press.
Sadly, rather than telling his many critics to bugger off, he issued a series of apologies for speaking out against his tax slave status.
But the hour is growing late and so enough of this rambling on.
Moving along, I thought it worth trying to divine something approaching certainty about at least one key aspect of today’s world that has the very real potential to affect us all in ways most profound.
The Continuous Crusades
While I have a number of things I would like to explore in depth, and will trot those out in future postings, for today I would like to touch upon one important feature of today’s world that appears to be true to me.
Namely that the Crusades are alive and well and will continue indefinitely. Since the first crusade in 1095, the Christians and the Muslims have been at war pretty much continually. In other words, the war has been going on for over 900 years.
Back then, the battles were pretty straightforward affairs involving a fairly limited range of sharpened instruments and projectiles, with no mercy asked and none given even if it was.
In modernity, however, the conflict has evolved in most interesting ways. For example, there are no longer distinct lines of battles. Rather, thanks to the natural evolution of societies and the advent of political correctness – encouraged by very large dollop of bureaucratic pandering - Muslims are now thoroughly embedded in previously staunchly Christian societies. (Interestingly, the opposite is not the case).
Adding to the fog of war is the nature of the weaponry and, by extension, tactics. Whereas in antiquity the warring parties had no real technological advantage over each other, or at least not of a lasting nature, today the range of possible weapons and tactics is almost limitless.
Put another way, the next attack on a major city could just as well take the form of a few jars of some particularly nasty germ dropped in the water supply as from a re-engineered Stuxnet computer virus.
Furthermore, as the potential enemies are numerous and reside within many borders, including your own, the possible responses to such an attack are rendered ineffective and even counterproductive.
That’s how the moronic act of attacking Iraq after a small group of Saudis and Pakistani’s took down the World Trade Center buildings came about. Feeling compelled to respond strongly, but with no significantly large targets to go after, the U.S.G. picked the appropriate fall guy and set about its bloody work.
Simply, as I see it, the current reality in this regards can be summed up as:
• The Crusades will continue indefinitely.
• There will never be complete clarity on who the enemy is (unless you live in a Muslim country, in which case the uniforms of the Western crusaders conveniently identify them).
• The next attack can come literally anywhere in the world and in any form.
• It is nearly impossible to anticipate or to respond in any way other than with largely ineffective surgical strikes or blunt force invasions.
In the case of the former, as much as some misguided individuals might wish it to be the case, this is not a war that will be won with a series of drone strikes. And we need look no further than Afghanistan to see the failures of trying a blunt force invasion when the enemy is fleet of foot and deeply embedded in a largely innocent population.
Of course, if one could manage to cast the entire population as being the enemy – e.g. the Germans in WWII - then winning the war would be a simple matter of unleashing widespread hell, something the U.S. has all the required weaponry to accomplish. However, in the case of the Continuous Crusade all of the problems emanate from a very small percentage of the Muslim population, misanthropic miscreants with murder on their minds.
The biggest consequence of this sloppy Forever War is that the helpless (and some would chirp, hapless) Western governments and the military industrial complex that props them up are at liberty to improvise countermeasures and strategies without any real limitations.
Thus, every new attack, or perceived new threat, results in a new set of actions pretty much made up on the spot to punish the perps and counter the next attack.
This is how the act of a single Jihadist fitting a bomb in his sneakers results in the loss of hundreds of thousands of hours, and more than a little dignity, when the bureaucrats reacted by insisting John Q. Sheeople removes his shoes in order to board a plane.
In addition, because these governments have no idea where the next attack is likely to occur or what form it will take, the perfect-worlder bureaucrats increasingly in charge of Western governments have begun to exercise the precautionary principle to the point of dangerous absurdity.
Beware the Precautionary Principle
In the event you are not familiar with the term, the precautionary principle basically holds that if there is a threat to the public, even though it is not proven, the burden of proof that it is not a threat falls to those claiming that it is not a threat.
For example, if the military high command issues forth a proclamation that it sees a threat emanating from, say, Iraq and certain analysts disagree, the burden of proof falls upon the dissenting analysts. Because, as often as not, the perceived threats are little more than abstractions and are therefore virtually unprovable, the threat-seers invariably win out and off goes the jets, drones, missiles and so forth.
Hoping to make the point clear, one might counter the gun waving of today’s military by theorizing that the most effective way of eliminating the Jihadist threat would be to pull all U.S. troops out of the Middle East and to stop the constantly meddling in the affairs of those countries.
As this thesis is unprovable without actually taking the measures in order to gauge its effectiveness, the military industrial complex and the headline grabbing politicians and their bureaucratic stooges are free to dismiss it out of hand and continued to layer on the countermeasures they insist are needed to head off the threats of further attacks.
Unfortunately, many of those countermeasures are not just inane and ineffective, but require stomping on personal liberties. But, for the reasons just mentioned, there is no effective argument against them.
“Why do you want me to go through an X-Ray in order to travel?” You might ask a TSA agent.
“Because we’re at war with the terrorists and it’s our job to keep the public safe!”
“But I’m not a terrorist!”
“Oh, yeah? Prove it by stepping into the X-Ray machine.”
Likewise arguments against building electronic files on everyone, including all their communications and Facebook contacts, fall on the deaf ears of bureaucrats charged with heading off the next attack.
And, because of the nature of the crusade, in the absence of a radical change of direction, the hit to personal freedoms will only get worse. Because, per my earlier observations, this ‘war’ is never-ending and has no hard targets of any consequence, the tentacles of the government’s counter-measures will grow until they reach into every corner of our lives.
The real consequences, however, will be felt only after the next large scale attack. After that the ardent advocates of the precautionary principle will kick their machinations into high gear and you won’t be able to sneeze without first getting permission.
(Somewhat related is the idea that schools in the U.S. should be turned into day-visit penitentiaries complete with metal detectors, bullet proof glass and armed guards, further inculcating the culture of paranoia and fear that now exists among the populace.
Managing by exception, a key tenet of the precautionary principle – and attacks on schools are very much the exception - is never a good idea. But that won’t stop the U.S. from turning their schools into mini-Camp Feds.)
Any way of ending the Crusades and turning this terrible trend around?
Not that I can see. Well, I suppose the better armed Western governments could really take off the gloves, turn the Middle East into the proverbial parking lot, then round up anyone within their borders unwilling to denounce Islam and throw them into
dungeons re-education camps. But that’s not going to happen (and, lest you get the wrong idea, I am not advocating it in the slightest), which means that there is no way to end the Crusade.
Instead, all you can really do is recognize it for what it is and, more importantly, the direct consequences to you and your family in the months and years just ahead. Personally, I gave up my seat within ground zero and plan on watching events unfold on the big screen while sipping on a nice Malbec in the quaint wine country town of Cafayate in the Argentine Northwest.
That’s what I know, for now.
Until next time…
P.S. As this blog is new, I would appreciate it if you could share it with people you know who might like it. Thanks!