Monthly Archives: September 2018

The Official Uniform – Like a Boss

Never let it be said I don’t give the dozen readers (I think that’s what we’re up to?) what they want!  Presenting….

the Official Uniform of #TheRealResistance. 

I’ve got mine on order.  It’s the all-white version, obviously.  Wander around wearing one, and see what happens.  If you live in a very fashion-forward area, put a cat-related pin somewhere near the brim.  If anyone gives you “the look,” flash a covert “OK” sign at them.

(Since what you’re wearing will be unusual enough to cause comment — especially with the pin — you might get some looks from the ladies.  Give them the OK, too, by all means, but if you want to save the political sermons until after the hookup, well, nobody here will blame you).

We’ll be the most stylish guys in the reeducation camp, that’s for sure.

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Conclusions from the Thought Experiment: Critical, but not Serious

I think we all generally agree with the following:

  1. Building a movement can be done, if the circumstances are right.
  2. The crisis point is fast approaching.
  3. Such a movement can / should be mostly non-ideological, at least at first.

The main areas of disagreement are:

  • a. Whether a “movement” is premature at this stage.
  • b. If / how / when to bring “ideology” into it.
  • c. Will the circumstances ever be right?

In all, it beats my pair of jacks.  And really, it doesn’t matter — Rotten Chestnuts is a dinky group blog with ten readers.  But let’s stipulate for the sake of argument that we’re a representative cross-section of Our Thing (whatever it’s called today).

Back in the 70s, I’m told, biologists ran an experiment: What happens if you give a group of rats far more resources than they could ever possibly need, or even use?  At first the rats went full Malthus, as you’d expect — furiously breeding up to the limits of their food supply.  BUT: Their food supply was limitless.  It wasn’t more than a few generations, then, before the fat lazy stupid rats stopped breeding, instead wasting their days in idle squabbling.  A few more generations, and there were no more generations; the rat colony that existed under ideally fecund conditions effectively committed suicide.

The overwhelming impression I get of Our Thing — again, assuming for the sake of argument that we ten are representative — is of resignation.  Far from raging against the dying of the light, we’re closing the curtains and locking the doors on the way out.  We — all of us, the West, human beings in general — are those rats.  We had a good run, but in the end, the jungle shall always reclaim the clearing.  We were fucked all the way back in 1965 — we (or our parents, or our grandparents) should’ve hung Hart and Celler from the nearest lampposts, but we (they) didn’t, and now it’s too late.  But even then it wouldn’t matter — even if the Marching Morons weren’t morons, they’d still kill the goose that laid the golden egg, because morons are humans too.

Indeed, it’s not the morons who landed us here.  Hart and Celler were bright guys, but they were just the point men in a centuries-old process.  To get revenge on the real culprits, you’d have to hang every doctor, every materials scientist, every computer engineer, every bond trader, every industrialist, every physicist, every chemist — everyone who brought us this nice, cushy, safe, resource-rich world that we apparently find so intolerable we’re willing to bomb ourselves back to the Stone Age rather than endure it a moment longer.  Hobbes was wrong — life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short, all right, but apparently that’s the way we like it.  What else was the English Civil War, other than a group of idle rich guys getting peeved at another group of idle rich guys over whose Magic Sky Fairy was stronger?

Like the Austrians told the Germans at the end of World War One, our situation is critical, but not serious.  Cf. the author of the linked piece — Bill Kristol, captain of the S.S. Never Trump, whose taedium vitae is so terminal he’d nuke Moscow just for the lulz.  This is not a serious man; the entire punditocracy, which includes Hollywood, the Media, and Academia, is a clown show, top to bottom, stem to stern.  They don’t think the crocodile is going to eat them last — they don’t think at all.  They just feel that, of all the ways to go, thrashing around in a reptile’s jaws would be one of the less boring.

Meanwhile, we worry about whether white hats make our butts look big, and, come the revolution what to do with, sigh, teh Jooooooos!

Fuck it, I give up.  I’m halfway to slitting my wrists over a fucking thought experiment.  I am not a movement-builder.  I’m just a guy who reads History.  If all this is obvious to me, it’s certainly obvious to the Powers That Be, where a few still-effective units get paid to think about stuff like this.  And if it’s not obvious to most people out there in Internet-land, well, what more proof do you need?  We’re fucked.  QED.

 

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Rage III: The Dying of the Light

The most important is also the shortest, because by this point you either agree or disagree.

The Cat Fanciers had an ideology.  It’s not hard to find.  They had a philosophy, too.  Nobody’s ever heard of Giovanni Gentile, and you might want to ask yourself why not, but it doesn’t matter.  The point is, there was enough intellectual heft behind Cat Fancy that even serious, heavyweight people could buy into it, in full public view.  The Black Cat Militia — the fanciest Cat Fanciers of all —  was full of professors, doctors, lawyers, industrialists; far from mindless thugs, they were better educated than average, with better degrees (up to and including PhDs in real subjects) the higher up the ranks one went.

[If it helps, think of how many serious, heavyweight people were in the Freemasons, well into the 20th century.  Did they believe all the ooga-booga stuff about Masonic ritual extending back to the time of the Pharaohs?  Of course not, but they took the ritual aspects seriously, because whatever else it was (and is), Freemasonry is a brotherhood.  Brotherhoods depend on ritual.  So did your average obersturmbannfuhrer really believe all that junk about World Ice Theory, Atlantis, the power of Norse runes, etc.?  I really doubt it.  But the “brotherhood” part?  Oh yes; to the bitter end].

What really held them together, though, was an aesthetic. A vision.  The only reason the Cat Fanciers’ techno-anarcho-retro-futurism seems weird to us is the same reason nobody’s heard of Giovanni Gentile (or Ishiwara Kanji and the kokutai): They lost the war.  It’s no weirder than Karl Marx’s techno-anarcho-retro-futurism, and the only reason “Marxist” isn’t a swear word right now is because the same professors and media figures who were so hot and bothered for Cat Fancy (esp. the Italian variant) switched sides once it became obvious how the war was going to turn out.  Stalin’s crimes dwarf Mustache Guy’s by an order of magnitude (and Mao has Uncle Joe beat by a country mile), but wild horses still couldn’t drag an admission out of most “educated” people that mass murder is a feature, not a bug, in the ideology.

For a modern techno-anarcho-retro-futuro thing, I suggest mythologizing the Fifites (already mostly done, I realize), combined with end-of-the-Empire conservationist paranoia:

The light really is dying, comrades, all over the former West.  The glories of belief, of science, of the very concepts “logic” and “reason,” are being pushed back into darkness, not just by the Marching Morons, but by smart people who owe everything in their lives to Western Civ.  These “people” — decadent and corrupt enough to make an Ottoman pasha blush — would rather see the whole world burn than endure the tedium of their sheltered, cossetted little lives one second longer.

Resist them, or die in a nuclear fire.  Why on earth do you think they’re so desperate to arm the Iranian mullahs?  It serves no geostrategic purpose.  It’s guaranteed to destabilize the region, and that, comrades, is the entire point.  If they can’t goad us into a war with Russia over Syria, then give nukes to the mullahs.  They’ll use them — you know it, I know it, Obama and Hillary and Soros and John Kerry and John McCain and every faceless bureaucrat at the EU knows it.  Bibi Netanyahu certainly knows it, which is why they’ll strike first, and the SJWs can crow about it for the 59.3 seconds it’ll take between that and the arrival of Russian / Chinese ICBMs in our skies.  They’ll die, too, but at least they’ll die smug — to the SJW, that’s ultimate victory.

Rage, comrades, rage against the dying of the light.  If you can’t fight — and not all of us can — preserve.  Be an Irish monk in the Dark Ages, hoarding up humanity’s precious inheritance against the possibility, however remote, that we might crawl out of the caves again.  But if you can, fight!  The human race depends on it.*

 

*obviously this is my thought experiment example of how such a mythology might be created.  I advocate nothing.  All of this is strictly hypothetical.
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An Unbreakable Secret Communication Method

Cleaning out the ol’ spam filter, I came across comment spam promising “sexy stone buttock massage.”  This suggests a fantastic method of communication:

Comment spam.

There’s no need to even post anything on a discussion board, running the risk of it being seen by other eyes.  Just arrange the code such that it’s guaranteed to be ignored as spam.  (Similarly, you could email blast the whole #RealResistance with Nigerian Prince scams.  Just be sure to check your spam filter between 1 and 3 on October 5, 2018).

“Sexy stone buttock massage” is, of course, our new code for “we’re initiating new members tonight.  The usual time, the usual place.  Be sure you’re not followed.”

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A Cat Fancy Glossary

As we know, the point of referring to “those guys” as the Cat Fanciers is so we don’t get bogged down in details.  You simply can’t use real names without someone wanting to drag the discussion off into minutiae, the perfidy (or not!) of (((you-know-who))), and so forth.  The historical details of Cat Fancy don’t matter at all for our purposes — understanding how a successful revolutionary movement can be built in an advanced industrial nation —  but since this is the Internet…

But I’m also coming to realize that folks would like to read up on some of the details on their own, track down references, etc.  This is the Internet, yes, but just as not every person on the Internet has an encyclopedic knowledge of Star Trek (just 95% of you), so not every person is 100% up on the historical details of Cat Fancy.  (I’m certainly not — it’s pretty clear Pickle Rick has me beat, and I’m sure he’s not the only one).  So here’s a quick glossary, with links, in case anyone wants to read up on various topics that come up in discussion.

Most of the names come from the comments here.  In (sort-of) order of frequency, updated as needed:

Cat Fanciers — obvious, but please remember that we’re discussing the movement prior to the seizure of power.

Cat Fancy — NOT the official doctrine of the Cat Fanciers.  They had one, and we might have to refer to it later, but those cases will be clearly marked as such.  “Cat Fancy” is the weird techno-retro-futuro utopian dream that emotionally fuels the Cat Fanciers.  The key point to remember: Cat Fancy is almost entirely aesthetic.

Mustache Guy — obvious; the Kitten-in-Chief.

The Nerd — leader of the Black Cat Militia.  The fanciest Cat Fancier of all, the Nerd had the most comprehensive fantasy life, which he tried to make into reality with his Dungeons and Dragons playset and action figures.

Black Cat Militia – the toughest kitties of all, their entrance requirement was the demonstrated willingness to follow any order.  Mortal enemies of the Kitten Patrol.

Kitten Patrol — the street-brawling head-busters that were the public face of Cat Fancy in the early years.  They never went away, but once they’d served their purpose they were ruthlessly suppressed.

Dungeons and Dragons playset — it’s a real place, basically a real-life Castle Wolfenstein, but here it means the really far-out fringes of Cat Fancy.

Rosie — the Cat Fanciers’ official ideologist.  Sneeringly referred to as an “intellectual” — always in quotation marks — he wrote a lot of the Cat Fancy mythology that the Nerd put into practice.

The Dwarf — quite possibly the world’s greatest salesman, the Don Draper of his day (except short, plug ugly, and clubfooted).

Fat Guy — the most impressive of the Cat Fanciers in his youth, a bona fide war hero in the sexiest branch of the military at the time.  By the seizure of power he was a fat, weird, codeine addict, but still a savvy political operator with a fighter pilot’s killer instinct.

Rudy — nowadays, if he’s known at all, it’s for his quixotic “peace mission” (and the devotion to astrology that partly spawned it), but he was an integral part of the state and Mustache Guy’s chief negotiator with industry.  Before the “peace mission,” he was second in line to the throne (behind Fat Guy).

We haven’t mentioned the following yet, but we’ll probably need them soon enough, so….

The Fencer — the Nerd’s second-in-command and the beau ideal of the Black Cat Militia.  Their collective leadership style ensured maximum creativity, maximum efficiency, maximum brutality… and maximum deniability.

The Bureaucrat — seemingly the polar opposite of the Fencer, he was famously banal.  That’s mostly a myth, too — surprise, surprise — but he’s a good stand-in for the kind of guy that’s essential to a functioning revolutionary regime.

Updated as needed…. and what the hell, since we’re at it, a Cat Fancy Annotated Bibliography.  This is the only place we’ll use real names.  Suggestions welcome, but please keep it minutiae-free and aimed at the general reader.

Published Primary Sources in English):

Hitler, Adolf.  Mein Kampf.  There are a million translations, redactions, expurgated versions, unexpurgated versions, etc.  I myself have only browsed around in the damn thing, because it really is as tedious as advertised.  On the other hand, I have browsed around in it, because come on — any book that gets the Smart Set’s universal condemnation as so totally not worth reading has got to have something going for it (remember, these are the people who find profound meaning in Harry Potter).

Goebbels, Josef.  Diaries.  Same as above, but way longer.  And here again, the problem is with the editors — they quite rightly assume you want to read the good stuff and not 10,000 entries on what he had for breakfast, but their definition of “good stuff” probably doesn’t track with ours.

Rosenberg, Alfred.  The Myth of the Twentieth Century.  The Party’s official ideology / mythology.  Apparently as tedious as its inspiration, The Foundations of the 19th Century.  I’ve read neither, but they’re referred to all the time in the secondary literature.  Again, if Our Betters universally assure us they’re not worth reading, there must be something to ’em.

I’m leaving out war memoirs etc., as they’re mostly self-serving (though often very interesting).

Secondary Sources:

Weber, Thomas. Becoming Hitler.  A good intellectual biography of his early years.

Longerich, Peter.  biographies of Goebbels and Himmler.  Both are Teutonically thorough, but as we’re only concerned with the years before 1939….

Arendt, Hannah.  Eichmann in Jerusalem.  Just the actual Eichmann parts – lots of it is a blow-by-blow reconstruction of the Holocaust.

Stangneth, Bettina.  Eichmann before Jerusalem.  Blows up the “banality of evil” thesis.  For our purposes, Eichmann is interesting as a personality type, not a historical figure.

Evans, Richard J.  The Coming of the Third Reich and The Third Reich in Power.

Gellately, Robert.  Backing Hitler.  They knew.

Koonz, Claudia. The Nazi Conscience.  It’s the indoctrination techniques, not the content of the indoctrination, that matters.  If you don’t mind some alcohol poisoning, a fun game is swapping out “Straight White Males” for “Jews.”  Our media, academia, Hollywood, etc. has been doing all this stuff to us for years.

UPDATED suggestions from Pickle Rick:

Padfield, Peter.  Himmler.  PR’s comment: “it also delves into how the SS State was created. Excellent analysis within.”  My comment: It looks like a “psycho-history.”  These got a bad rap within the Biz back in the days.  The stated reason was that they’re inherently subjective, but as you might suspect, that’s not the real reason — History professors, being obnoxious Leftists, are juuuuust fine with subjective ass-pulled speculation, so long as it fits their biases.  No, the real reason is that they were embarrassing — since folks in the other Liberal Arts all think they’re qualified to do History, too, they flooded the market with those “every single significant individual in history was gay!” narratives that made college in the late 80s / early 90s such a joy.  Nowadays, of course, the tremulous sheltered dorks that make up the professoriate couldn’t write a “psycho-history” if they wanted to, having no experience of any other type of human but the egghead.  Padfield’s an amateur, and remember: That’s a compliment more often than not.  Read his evidence; decide for yourself.  If Pickle Rick vouches for it, I’m good with it.

[PS the reviewer comments on this one are hilarious — they’re “psycho-histories” in their own right.  E.g. here: “It is amazing that people still write from a Marxist perspective, that capital is the primary motive of history. According to this book, it was the landed Junkers vs the Capitalist industialist that led the NAZI’s into war and policy formation.”  All [sic] of course.  And this is why both professionals and amateurs tend to be heavy drinkers — it was National <i>Socialism,</i> dude.  There are just two words in “National Socialism,” and both of them are really, really, really important].

Diehl, James M. Paramilitary Politics in Weimar Germany.  Rick’s comment: “A somewhat biased work from the 70s, but really the only scholarly treatment on the subject.”  Me: That it is.  I haven’t read it, as it looks really heavy, but it also looks fascinating.  Amazon has no reviews and sells only used hardbacks (starting at $32), so you’ll probably need a university library (or a local library with a loan arrangement with the local U).

Friedlander, Saul.  Nazi Germany and the Jews: Volume 1: The Years of Persecution 1933-1939.  Friedlander is a big leaguer in the field.  PR says: “it’s integral to understanding how and why a totalitarian party does what it does after seizing power.”

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Rage Part II: Mythology

In addition to the camaraderie of the Front, the Cat Fanciers had another great movement builder: Mythology.  Forget (((you-know-who))), for the same reason we’re calling the folks under discussion the “Cat Fanciers:” Naming names just clouds people’s minds.  Let’s stipulate, for the rest of the series, that (((you-know-who))) are irrelevant.  It’s not just possible, but really easy, to construct the Cat Fanciers’ basic movement-building technique without any reference to them.  Here goes:

Regardless of whose hand moved the knife, the stab-in-the-back seemed very real at the time.  Most veterans took it for granted that international finance capital — which for the majority was NOT synonymous with (((you-know-who))) — was behind both the start and the end of the war (Lenin agreed, which is one of the many reasons so many veterans went Red after the war).  It wasn’t true — nothing in human affairs is that simple — but it’s an easy-to-understand explanation that meshes with a lot of the obvious facts on the ground.

I trust I don’t have to spell out how “the fat cats sold us out!” applies to our current situation.

On its own, something like the stab-in-the-back is a necessary but not sufficient condition for building a revolutionary movement, because it doesn’t suggest anything to replace the fat cats.  This is why Bakunin-style anarchist movements always fail — they’re great with the “first, we kill all the ____” part, but they’ve got nothing for “and then we shall have Utopia, in which ____.”  It’s the same problem all those chiliastic sects had back in the Middle Ages — they filled in the blank with “Jesus returns and the world ends.”  People are stupid about utopian fantasies — cf. Socialism’s current appeal, 100+ million corpses notwithstanding — but it’s got to be small-u.*

What you need is a kind of two-way myth.  You have to mythologize both the past and the future, such that both are really just two sides of the same myth.  That’s why Karl Marx’s rare pronouncements about what the Communist future would look like invariably invoked an idealized past.  Rousseau gets my vote for The Original Commie, if only because he expressed it best:

The first man who, having enclosed a piece of ground, bethought himself of saying This is mine, and found people simple enough to believe him, was the real founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not any one have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows, “Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody.”

Marx devoted umpteen pages to “proving” that all of human history was just a run-up to the industrial revolution, which was the precursor of Communism, which was really just a return to Rousseau’s eden.  It sounded all precise and scientific — Leftists have claimed to have a monopoly on Science for going on 300 years now — but it was really just a prelapsarian fantasy.

So, too, with the Cat Fanciers.  They, too, fucking loved science, but only in the service of a higher Romanticism.  Their vision of a Cat Fancy future was a series of all-but-medieval market towns, linked by autobahns and defended by peasant farmers with air support.  No, really — that’s what the Black Cat Militia was expressly designed to do.  Lenin said Communism is “soviet power plus electrification.”  Mustache Guy wasn’t that pithy, but “feudalism plus autobahns” is a pretty good summary of their weird futuro-retro-techno thing.

Here’s how it works:

Part III soon.

 

 

*Lenin didn’t really have an answer either, of course, for what goes in the second blank; Mustache Guy didn’t either, for that matter.  But they had big huge books that sure seemed to be offering an answer, and that was enough.
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Rage Against the Dying of the Light, Part I

You can observe a lot by just watching, as Yogi Berra said.  History is full of examples to learn from, if one were to attempt getting a revolutionary movement off the ground (and I, of course, advocate no such thing).  The Commies, for example, have much to teach us about organization, tactics, and above all, doctrine (“revolutionary theory,” they’d call it).  But, as models, they have one huge drawback: Tradition.  Communism in Russia and Asia rests on a thousand years of tradition; it seems to fit the peasant soul, such that they’re already practicing “naive communism” long before the Kommissars show up.

There is a revolutionary movement that managed to capture a large, advanced industrial nation, and it’s worth studying in detail.  Alas, this is the Internet, so the merest mention of this group brings out the lunatics.  So let’s call them the “Cat Fanciers.”  Ready?

I’m confident that the Ten (I think that’s what we’re up to now) Regular Readers follow me, but for drive-bys, I’m going to put this in all caps.  Please read it as many times as you need to, until you get it: THE DOCTRINE OF THE “CAT FANCIERS” DOESN’T MATTER.  AT ALL.

Let me repeat that: DOCTRINE DOESN’T MATTER.

The chief Cat Fancier himself didn’t worry about doctrine until very late in the game.  He started out, in fact, as a spy from military intelligence, assigned to dig up dirt on the group he ended up leading.  We’re only concerned with movement-building techniques here.  I have zero desire to discuss who did what during the War, or who should or shouldn’t have been sentenced to what at Nuremberg, and I sure as hell don’t want to discuss the details of the War itself.  If you want to cosplay as the commander of 5th Panzer, making little “vroom! vroom!” noises while steering your Tonka trucks around Mom’s basement as you recreate the Battle of Kursk, go nuts.  Just do it elsewhere, please.

In the early days, the Cat Fanciers had two major objectives.  The first — “destabilizing the ruling regime” — gets all the press, even though the Regime was doing an excellent job of that on its own.  Objective Two is the important one: Giving angry, disillusioned young men a sense of purpose.

Well into 1919, most Germans didn’t think they’d lost the War.  It wasn’t going so great at the Front at the time of the Armistice, but that — it seemed obvious at the time — was due to the chaos in the rear.  Most ex-soldiers, certainly including the head Cat Fancier, thought that the eventual peace would be equitable and honorable.  Had we known what was in store for us at Versailles, many if not most of them thought, we’d have kept fighting, Armistice be damned.  Better an end with horror than a horror without end.

That was the Cat Fanciers’ appeal.  While every mainstream party was tainted by appeasing the Allies, every other “fringe” party was explicitly for pie-in-the-sky stuff.  The “Right” (used only for convenience) wanted a clear impossibility (bringing back the Kaiser).  The Left wanted Communism, and while the Commies’ doctrines could be pretty appealing, they seemed to carry with them absorption by the Soviet Union.

Exaggerating just a little for effect, we can say that the Cat Fanciers, of all the parties, mainstream or fringe, wanted to move Germany forward, as Germany.  A vote for any of the mainstream parties was a vote for knuckling under — to the Allies, to the Vatican, to “International Finance Capital” (which, it’s important to note, meant Great Britain and especially America, i.e. the architects of Versailles, NOT you-know-who).  A vote for the fringe-Right meant throwing your vote away, as the Kaiser wasn’t coming back, and a vote for the Left, fringe or mainstream, meant reducing proud Germans to mere proletarians… whose bosses were in Moscow.

It was a powerful message.  Imagine the plight of millions of young men, who wasted the best years of their lives fighting for something that they now realize was a lie.  Worse, it was always a lie — Industrialists (again, and crucially: more America than you-know-who) cooked up the war, and got fat off it while poor boys got gassed at the Front.  And now, those same frauds are in politics, making noises about how we should let Washington, London, or Moscow tell us how to live.

So here’s this organization, led by one of our own, that promises all the camaraderie of the Front, and takes care of you in tough times.  The Cat Fanciers spent vast sums (proportional to their tiny budgets, anyway), helping out comrades in need.  Indeed the Kitten Patrol, their large, highly visible organization of street-brawling headbusters, would often put down-and-out guys on the payroll for a while, just so they could feed their families.  In a chaotic situation, where nobody knows where the next meal’s coming from (or even what the money’s worth from hour to hour), these guys take care of their own.

That’s why you need an organization.

Part II soon.

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What is to be Done?

Since we’re all just doing hypothetical, theoretical spitballin’ here, let’s open the floor.  Let’s say a hypothetical group, not us, were to stage a meetup, further to organizing Fight Club / Project Mayhem-style.  On D day at H hour, we’ll all go out in the streets wearing an all-white Pats baseball hat with an upside-down American flag pin on the brim* (such that people who live in Greater Boston etc. don’t accidentally start blabbing about Our Thing to unsuspecting fans).  We’ll loiter at the busiest shopping area within a ten block radius of our houses for an hour.  When you recognize one of your own, give him the “OK” sign.  (Be subtle-but-clear about it).  Then find a way to surreptitiously exchange contact info — maybe carry a business card that you can “accidentally” drop as you pass — then check back here for further instructions.

[Again, don’t actually do this.  This is just a thought experiment.  We all love Big Brother here].

It seems we’ve already hit an insurmountable problem.  Even if we assume that Rotten Chestnuts isn’t under surveillance by the Feds (and lately I’ve been noticing a floral delivery truck marked Flowers BIrene circling my block), we’ve just transmitted the key piece of information in the clear.  Even if we communicate in unbreakable cipher from here on out, at some point you have to transmit the instructions for picking up your secret decoder ring in plain text…

Once you get the code, though, the problems persist.  I assume any such group would be an “organization” only in the loosest sense, but even there, someone has to be Tyler Durden, keeping track of what all the Fight Clubs within Project Mayhem are doing.  Remember, the key to this whole (entirely hypothetical!!!) thing is that everything it does — everything — is 100% perfectly straight-up LEGAL.  (One of Tyler Durden’s top priorities would be to get some crack lawyers into the Club).  Tyler would need to be able to track activity, and enforce discipline if necessary.  In other words, there would need to be some loose group communication, if only to keep track of things.

And as the movement grew, the need for coordination would increase.  I’ve already suggested a way to keep in touch — a fake (or hell, even a real) discussion board.  I suggested a “pickup artist” community, as they’re already eyeballs deep in conspiratorial lingo, but anything sufficiently specialized and dorky will do.  A baseball site would probably do the trick (VORP! WHIP! BABIP!  It sounds like Batman fighting the Riddler back in the Sixties).  The idea is that you can communicate in all-but-plain text, piggybacking on their jargon.  Look for posts by “Hubert Q. Fakename” after 12/2/2018 (I assume it’d be easy to go back and fake time stamps, such that Hubert looks like a longtime poster?  Software people, please help).

Which raises another problem.  I assume that piggybacking on existing jargon would fool search algorithms (again, where my comp-sci brothers at?), but it’s still hosted on a commercial site, and people have to log in with IP addresses, user names, etc.  I know there are ways around this — TOR and whatnot — but a) I’m sure TOR itself was developed with some back doors, and b) more importantly, you need people tech savvy enough to use this kind of thing.  I’m not, and I doubt most kids are.  (Remember, the key word in any mass movement is “mass.”  Meaning you’re dealing with the dead center of the bell curve.  If most people are idiots, then what does that say about our membership roster?).  Everything would have to be 100% plausibly deniable, without your average poster realizing it.

[While I’m sure it’s possible to set up some kind of super-secure, ultra-encrypted server in a secret lair somewhere, that would be a big neon sign for the Feds.  Setting up a home server in her goddamn bathroom was actually the smartest part of Hillary Clinton’s whole caper — surely the Media-certified Smartest Woman in the World wouldn’t be so stupid as to do that, so nobody bothered to look.  She botched it, naturally, but the initial idea was pretty clever].

Last, and most important, are the face-to-face meetings.  Intimidation — completely legal intimidation — is the whole point, and that requires visibility.  The Left’s greatest advantage is that they can do this in the clear, under their own names — it’s not a crime to say “gosh, it sure would be a pity if someone doxxed you.” It’s not a crime to retweet it.  And that’s how they get you.  I’d suffer zero penalties, legal or social, if I did that openly, under my own name, as a Left-winger, targeting a right-winger.  It’s not a crime for us to do it, either, but we all know that we’d immediately put ourselves in the crosshairs of every liberal busybody in every government organization nationwide (which is to say, pretty much all of them).

This is why it’s critical to make the uniform — the ballcap or whatever it hypothetically is, theoretically — a fashion thing before making Fight Club’s existence known.  That’s also why it’s important to choose an obvious variant of something already popular.  Who knows, maybe that group of pissed-off young guys is just the local Pat fan club, and the team just lost?  What are you going to do, haul every Chad and Stacy from Local U down to the police station for a chat?  Get ready for a flood of phone calls from pissed off administrators, teachers, and parents!

And with that, you’re right back to the start — how do we even make ourselves known to each other (theoretically), without blowing OpSec all to hell in the first five minutes?

I have no answers.  I’m pulling all this straight out of my ass as I type (and it’s all a thought experiment anyway).  I’m sure it’s covered in Spycraft 101 at CIA school, but unless you’ve got the manuals (or, better yet, firsthand experience) I don’t think that’d do us much good.  Plus this is the Internet, where 1 in every 5 guys is a ninja paladin Green Beret who got kicked out of SEAL Team Six for being too badass; nobody would believe you anyway.  I know a few of you are comp-sci types, so you could probably knock together a solution for the middle stages, but the “getting to know you” part seems hopeless in the modern urban surveillance environment.

Suggestions?

 

 

 

*Yes, you will probably look like a dork, especially if you’re past a certain age.  And yes, all-white anything makes your butt look big.  What’s more important, saving America or looking cool?
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Wearing the White Hat

The last post was fairly abstract about movement building.  Let me illustrate.

College football programs change their uniforms all the time.  They almost never change their logos and color scheme, no matter what pressure is put  on them.  This is because football is central to the college experience.  The teams themselves mostly lose money, as we noted yesterday, but they’re loss leaders – they  build the brand.1  This is also how ranked schools have creampuffs to mollywhop every opening weekend.  Yeah, Cupcake Tech gets paid to travel to Big State and get stomped, but have you ever wondered why the hell Cupcake Tech has a football team in the first place?  You can’t run an entire program from a single game’s paycheck.  Again, it’s all about the brand — Cupcake Tech gets stomped by Big State on national tv.

What, you thought the faculty decided that athletics is a central part of a well-rounded education?  Profs hate sports in general, and football in particular, with the heat of a thousand suns.2  All that toxic masculinity!  I promise you: Every fall, all the faculty loudmouths (that is to say, the entire faculty) at every college in America get together and go down to the college president’s office to complain about the football program.  And every fall, the president tells them to get bent, not because he’s a football fan — college presidents are eggheads, too — but because he’s the one guy on campus who sees the bottom line.  I’m not exaggerating too much when I say that without its annual stomping by Big State, Cupcake Tech would pretty much cease to exist.

No, really.  If “athletic success” can increase applications 30% in two years, simply being on tv with the big boys must do something.

“The primary form of mass media advertising by academic institutions in the United States is, arguably, through their athletic programs,” says Harvard Business School Assistant Professor of marketing Doug J. Chung.

That’s what I want everyone to keep in mind: The brand-building effect.  Let’s say you’re a parent who doesn’t want to send your snowflake off to Big State — you bought into the bullshit about “smaller class sizes” and whatnot (and it is mostly bullshit, but that’s a rant for another day).  Where do you start looking?  Well, there was that college on tv the other day… they had a cool logo, nice colors….

The specifics don’t matter.  At all.  Snowflake doesn’t know what she’s going to major in, or what she’ll do with that degree once she gets it.  Nor will the first three or four years on campus clarify it much (what, you thought “undeclared” was just for freshmen? HA!!).  But I promise you: Snowflake will have all the gear.  It’s an almost perfectly inverse relationship, in fact — the less you know why you’re in college in the first place, the crazier your devotion to the school mascot.  (Yeah, sure, it’s anecdotal, but I’ve got a lot of anecdotes).  Snowflake will be a Cupcake Tech Fightin’ Pastry until her dying day.  And since the student body nationwide is close to 60% female

Let’s apply that to Our Thing.  The very first step in building a successful movement is letting the world know your movement exists.  This seems obvious, but read the biography of any successful revolutionary — it’s littered with alphabet soup, the clunky acronyms of a zillion low-rent “movements” that never got out of somebody’s basement apartment for lack of publicity.  Here again, the specifics don’t matter.  At all.  The first, and most pressing goal, of a Direct Action Group — even before “getting a better name, for pete’s sake” — is to create the impression of ubiquity.  Turn wearing a white ballcap into a fashion statement.  This shouldn’t be all that hard to accomplish — see “undergraduates, female majority of,” above.  College girls are the most conformist creatures on God’s green earth, with high school girls running a close second.

Again, because it’s critical: The specifics don’t matter.  They don’t need to know — indeed, definitely should NOT know — that a white Pats ballcap (or whatever) means you’re part of #TheRealResistance (or whatever).  That comes later.  Your cadre should know…

… because that’s our white hat’s second critical function at the start: Signalling.  This is old-school spycraft, right out of the Fifties.  The eighteen fifites, which is why it is will be so effective in the modern high tech urban surveillance environment.  “Affects and effects” were standard communication techniques for secret agents.  How do you know who your contact is, since basic operational security means you’ve never seen him before?  Ahhh, he’s the chap with the red flower in his left lapel, holding yesterday’s copy of the Telegraph in his left hand, leaning against a lamp post at Euston Station between 12:30 and 12:45 (he’ll recognize you by your white hatband).  If the meet’s on, he’ll rapidly open and close his paper; if it’s off, he’ll pretend to drop his pocket watch.

So: Are you really in #TheRealResistance, or just some trend-surfing poseur?  Ahh, you have a shamrock pin on the left side of the brim.  You’re a Cell Leader Third Class in the local Organization.  Combine the two for extra fun — get the trend surfers wearing “pieces of flair” on their hats like that dork in Office Space.

You really just want to be able to recognize your fellow Fight Clubbers, but if these nimrods want to volunteer as camouflage, let them!  If your Basic College Girl has at least fifteen pieces of flair on her hat, you can stealth-transmit half of Atlas Shrugged.  

Obviously I’m being more than a little facetious — obviously — but “piggybacking” on a trend that you yourself started is incredibly effective.  Witness the lulz with the OK sign, which was openly a prank from day one.  It’s to the point now where undercover shitlords really could signal to each other that way.  It’s got plausible deniability out the wazoo, everything from “do I look like I follow internet memes?” to “seriously, that’s really a thing?” to “haha quit joking” to “I’m standing up to the Alt-Right — take back our hand gestures!”  But if the other guy flashes OK back at you, now you have much to discuss….

Alas, the plausible deniability requirement means Our Thing’s “uniform” really will have to be something common.  I take a backseat to no man in my disdain for poseurs, and while all modern fashion is stupid and it’s getting worse as we careen closer to real-life Idiocracy, creating a “look” from scratch is too risky — you’ll get “outed” before it turns into a trend.  It’d be easy enough to get bespoke gear made — the local screen printing shop can set you up with an all-white hat with any logo you choose — but it totally compromises operational security.  As does picking some minor league team’s gear — while nobody will find it suspicious if the New England Patriots suddenly have a lot more fans (particularly if they win another Super Bowl), a bunch of y’all running around Dallas wearing the hats of the worst team in the New Hampshire Co-Rec Softball Weekend Beer League’s weakest division might raise a few eyebrows, even at such an enstupidated institution as The Feeb.

In short: Start thinking like a dumb, mal-educated, hormonal college girl.  What would she wear, and why?  Use that, and once it gets good and popular….

THEN it’s time for the big reveal.  Or, you know, the microscopically small reveal, because you want to maintain plausible deniability at all times.  You want it juuuuuuust well-known enough that it’s slightly “risky” to be seen wearing one. Take a lesson from the so-called “EdgyCons” here.  Whatever you think of their message, guys like Jordan Peterson, Ben Shapiro, etc. make really nice livings at the very edges of “respectable” opinion.  A certain kind of person would find you slightly dangerous if you carried a copy of 12 Rules of Life around.  If they asked you, though, you could just as easily say “it’s a research project; I know he’s a horrible badthinker, I want to see just how bad it really is, to make sure nice sweet people like you who love Big Brother don’t get sucked in.”

Obviously you’ll get a lot more of a certain type of poseur with this tactic, and that’s ok.  For one, they’re a fertile recruiting ground, especially the ones who want to get in your face about it.  Goebbels bragged he could turn a Red (Communist) into a Brown (Nazi) in two weeks, because both Commies and Nazis are easily excitable losers who are already worked up about politics, so all you have to do is shift the emphasis a little bit (he only implied that last part).

For two, imagine the reaction of the kind of hysterical wanker who gets worked up by the OK sign, Pepe the Frog, and the rest.  If they start thinking that maybe, just maybe, an all-white Pats hat is the uniform of the Neo-Neo-Klan, then isn’t all Pats gear suspect?   Hell, isn’t all NFL gear suspect?  I mean, cardinals are well known as the most racist of birds, and that Jacksonville team could’ve picked an all-black jaguar for their logo, but picked the spotted one instead.  Clearly racist.  And don’t get me started about the “Packers” — packing Jews into concentration camps!!!3

Have some fun with it.  So long as it’s plausibly deniable and no none gets hurt, it’s good.  (Or, you know, don’t have fun with it, because all this is purely a thought experiment.  Totally hypothetical).

 

1 The teams that do money make tons of it, and hey, whaddaya know, Oregon — the undisputed world champ of wacky uniform changes — is third on the list.  They started changing their uniforms every week when Nike CEO Phil Knight got involved.  Hey, ya think Phil Knight — the guy who brought Air Jordans to the world — knows a thing or two about building a brand?

2 Yes yes, the “gender studies” people love softball, I’ll give you that.  And field hockey.  But since about 14 total persyns play those, they have no impact on campus life.

3. Again, obviously I’m kidding.  This is 100% satire.  I advocate nothing.  I love Big Brother (in fact, I’m required by my institution’s ethics board to notify you that this — all of it, this whole blog — is all a big experiment in the Department of Sociology.  I’m trying to see just how gullible and manipulable you suckers really are.  I’m With Her, all the way).

 

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Romanticizing College

The late, great David Stove once said,

There are scarcely any human beings who do not have some lunatic beliefs or other to which they attach great importance. People are mostly sane enough, of course, in the affairs of common life: the getting of food, shelter, and so on. But the moment they attempt any depth or generality of thought, they go mad almost infallibly. The vast majority, of course, adopt the local religious madness, as naturally as they adopt the local dress. But the more powerful minds will, equally infallibly, fall into the worship of some intelligent and dangerous lunatic, such as Plato, or Augustine, or Comte, or Hegel, or Marx.

By “scarcely any” he of course meant “none.”1  People get all hot and bothered about the word “transcendental,” I suspect, because lots of us think other people use it as secret code for J-E-S-U-S.2  But it isn’t.  The transcendental is just a “lunatic belief…to which [we] attach great importance.”  If you’re not sure what yours is, fill in the blank:

It’s just a _____.

Everyone has something to put in the blank such that, if someone said it to you, you’d sock them on the jaw.  Atheists are the most fun meta-example.  Tell an atheist that hey, it’s great that you’ve got 1001 irrefutable proofs that there’s no Invisible Sky Fairy, but in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter a bit — if all we are is dust in the wind, dude, then our illusions are actually more valuable, because otherwise Camus is right and philosophy’s only real problem is suicide.  You first, Cheeto-breath.  Atheism is just another teenage fad.  You’ll grow out of it, just like you grew out of being a goth and a metalhead and a skater and the seventeen other things you were sophomore year.

And so on.  Your teenage Libertarian — otherwise so calm and reasonable — will break down crying if you tell him that The Smiths are “just a band.”  Tell a Packers fan that football is “just a game” and watch what happens.  Tell the guy who’s doing twenty-to-life that those Air Jordans were “just sneakers.”  See what I mean?  We don’t want to believe that people can find transcendental meaning in a pair of sneakers, but 1200 homicides a year say otherwise.

The fastest route to transcendence, though — and by far the most consequential — is through politics.  A successful revolutionary movement is just a cult writ large, and revolutionaries damn well know it.  Why do you think Lenin created a cabinet-level Ministry of Education — complete with Enlightenment Commissar! — to proclaim that The Workers are the source of all that is good and vital in the world?  And he wasn’t a patch on Heinrich Himmler, whose neo-pagan fantasias would be awesomely kitsch if they weren’t so terrifying.  We can infer a general rule here:

A successful revolutionary movement must offer

  1. A transcendent goal, and
  2. Transcendent experience.

The first without the second is your basic New Year’s Resolution — you think about how great life would be if you were to drop 20 pounds, but since the future benefit is only a fantasy and hauling your sweaty, hungry ass up the stairmaster is reality, most New Year’s Resolutions don’t make it past January 4.  The second without the first is your basic rock concert — it’s fun to get drunk and high and half-naked with 20,000 of your new best friends, but it’s back to the office on Monday.

It doesn’t have to be explicit, and it sure as hell doesn’t need to make sense.  The clowns who shoot each other over sneakers almost certainly can’t articulate why that makes sense to them, any more than Packers fans can explain why they stand shirtless in subzero weather for three hours.  Indeed, the Left got where it is, I argue, simply by romanticizing college.

Betcha didn’t see that coming!

College sells itself as both 1 and 2.  The transcendent goal is, of course, “a good job,” which if you remember your own adolescence is entirely hypothetical at that point.  But it’s also the whole “going off to college” thing — going to school, getting the gear, giving your parents the “College Mom” bumper sticker at Christmas.  Why do you think NCAA football still exists?  As eggheads outside the ivory tower always point out, only a handful of programs make money.  Not to mention all that toxic masculinity!!!  Football is marketing — that’s it.  My old employer, Flyover State, made it the cornerstone of the campus experience, even though the team last won a bowl game in Nineteen Seventy Never.  A whole bunch of kids around there took it for granted that they’d go on to be Flyover State Fightin’ Deplorables when they graduated high school, just like Mom and Dad (and these days, often Grandma and Grandpa too).

Which is also the “transcendent experience” part.  I don’t know about you, but I started missing college by about the fourth time my alarm rang at zero-dark-thirty and I had to haul my suited, necktied ass down to the cubicle for another eight hours of the rat race.  By the end of my first month in The Real World, I’d forgotten all the shitty parts of college and could only recall the good times.  By the end of the second month, The Good Times had acquired their own capital letters.  Remember how great it was to be able to roll out of bed at 2:30 in the afternoon?  The endless nights of cheap beer and easy girls?  All the afternoons lazing around the frat house with Chugs and Dudester and Munchie, solving all the world’s problems over some cool tunes and righteous bud?  Me neither, but by the time I had to file my first income tax returns I could swear all of that stuff happened, like, all the time.

That’s how they get you.  Because, of course, the radical Leftist politics were always there, steady white noise, like your Mom’s heartbeat in the womb.  You may not remember anything specific — in fact, they’re counting on it — but you remember the gist of it.  Quick: What did you learn in English Lit 101, all those years ago?  “Uhhhh…. something something Shakespeare oppresses women.”  How about HIST 201, Colonial America?  “Errr….. Harriet Tubman?  No, wait, Crispus Attucks!  Also something something genocide of the noble Native Americans.  And slavery.”  How about MATH 101?  “Something something algebra is racist.  Also sexist.”

Any successful revolutionary movement must focus on the revolutionary experience.  Fights over whether we should all wear white Patriots hats  — or should we wear hats at all, or do they have to be Patriots hats, and does white make my butt look big? — are all fine and good, but without the experience, it’s just fashionista crap.

The point is meeting people — “male bonding,” if you must.  We can all prance around dressed like Tinkerbell, Queen of the Fairies, for all I care.  You build a movement by giving people an experience.  It doesn’t have to be the whole Leopard Lodge, Grand Poobah deal — shouldn’t be, for obvious OpSec reasons — but it has to be something more than just grousing on the Internet.  Wearing a hat — or a fez, or a Tinkerbell costume — is only a conversation starter, a wink and a nod, a way to let other people know you’re in the know.  It’s the same as wearing college logo gear to the grocery store.  “Oh, you’re a Fightin’ Deplorable, too?”

Being in #TheRealResistance is, by definition, a bonding experience.  The trick is to plausibly deniably let everyone know you’re in it.  It’s no Big Rivalry Game, but it’ll do.

1. though I suspect Stove, who was not without intellectual vanity, gave himself a pass.

2. Stove was one of them.

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