In my last post, I tried to give the flavor of how the Strategic Defense plays out in military conflicts. Of the three examples, the one that has the most lessons for our resistance is the third, the American Civil War.
In fact, I would argue that the current effort by the GOP to remake America as it was in the 1950’s draws on the arrogance and self-delusion of the Confederate example of the Strategic Defense, which believed that there was no possible way they could lose against the Union, so obvious was their moral, personal, and economic superiority. The South was seen by white southerners at the time as the Betamax to the North’s VHS.
(One of these days, I’m going to do an overview of Thucydides work, “The History of the Peloponnesian War”, which covered the 27-year long military engagement between Athens and Sparta and all their allies that destroyed Greece 2500 years ago. There are many lessons for modern “realpolitik” foreign policy and “endless war” pundits, as well as political establishments).
The lessons of studying the actual reality of the American Civil War include the role that stupidity, personal venality, and incompetence played in the conflict, and how ironically robust insurgent tactics are, even in the face of the long-term overwhelming advantages that the Union had. These advantages ultimately destroyed the antebellum South and the residue of that collapse (stretched out by southern insurgent tactics) continues to stigmatize and undermine both African-American communities and white southerners to this day.
Phase 1 of the Strategic Defense is a long way from being concluded. Even if the entire Congress were to shift into the hands of the Democratic Party in 2018, and the Presidency in 2020, don’t kid yourself into thinking that nothing else needs to change.
Phase 2 in the Strategic Defense is the proof in the pudding and the only reason we should tolerate the chaos and randomness of Phase 1. And the essence of a successful Phase 2 lies in how much, of what led you to end up on the Strategic Defense, you are willing to rebuild from scratch.
In this case, ALL the decisions that have lead us to the thoughtless, mind-numbingly automatic efforts to restore what existed before the 2016 election will undermine the success of Phase 2 for exactly the same reasons that the refusal of the Confederacy to give up any part of their ideology and societal structure led to their social destruction.
While people with disabilities would do better under almost anyone other than those in power now, that won’t change the larger trends that are driving the short-term thinking in both our economy and our republic, and the long-term degradation of our society.
As a minor but telling and ongoing example of this, the Democratic establishment is now building lists of people and organizations that they will punish when they get back into power, the same way that the Republicans are now implementing their revenge on those who were put on their lists over the last couple of decades.
For reasons that I don’t grasp, this endless cycle of recrimination seems acceptable to an alarming number of otherwise compassionate and intelligent people.
It is not enough to win back the seats of power. If we are not building something that hasn’t existed to this point, we will keep running through the same rhetorical cycles over the generations until we collapse enough to become irrelevant.
I’m not talking about some kind of top-down, professional, radical, or political plan based on some top-down, elitist silver bullet for revolution. I am talking about building from scratch, not a new society, but the basic practical way in which we hold each other dear, and mutually support our common growth toward an actual lived experience of both liberty and choice.
I’ll try to be more specific in the next post.