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Many people are preparing for hard times by stockpiling food and ammunition.  It seems reasonable to assume that if a disaster occurs, or society simply begins to collapse that those who have prepared to feed and defend themselves would be better off, but this may not always be the case.  A condition of simultaneous anarchy and tyranny may exist for a period of days or even months during which those who are best prepared become likely victims.

Consider what took place recently during six nights of rioting and violence in Sweden.  Police did little to stop the rioting, vandalism, and assaults.   Police policy was to largely leave the rioters alone and try not to escalate the violence.  When Swedish citizens finally started to defend themselves or their property from rioters the police arrested the citizens instead of the rioters.  The absurdity of the situation was summed up by a photo of a police officer placing parking tickets on burned cars.   So the police did almost nothing to prevent the burning of cars, but then ticketed the owners of the burned out hulks instead of arresting the vandals. 

People should always think very carefully about the possible ramifications of using a fire arm in self-defense.    We cannot assume that the rules of engagement will change just because there is wide spread civil unrest.   You cannot shoot a person just because that person is damaging your car or other property.  Only when your life is danger and there is no way to escape the threat can deadly force be justified with a slight exception for states with the castle doctrine. 

Here is a possible scenario:

Joe and Jane Prepper are having a quiet dinner of lentils and oatmeal a week or so after widespread civil unrest has begun.  The problems have not reached their neighborhood yet, but their eldest son is keeping watch just in case.   The son spots a group of people approaching and notifies Joe Prepper.  Joe watches as the group arrives in the driveway and breaks into his truck.  They strip the truck of anything useful and siphon out all the gas.  Jane calls the police and they inform Jane that a response may take days to arrive unless their lives are in immediate danger.  The 911 dispatcher does tell Jane that a police officer might be able to come out in a few hours if violence occurs.  The dispatcher sternly warms Jane not to threaten the visitors in any way or she and Joe will be arrested. 

Jane knows that the dispatcher is not bluffing.  She has heard of friends who have been arrested by the police and had their firearms confiscated for standing up to rioters and thieves.   Joe and his son cradle their carbine rifles and keep an eye on the visitors.  The uninvited guests set up camp in Joe’s backyard and begin to strip Jane’s garden of anything edible.   A few of them crap in the well and laugh.  Joe is getting pretty ticked off and he considers his options.  He and his son can probably engage the vandals, but they are outnumbered and it is possible that either or both of them could be shot.  He decides that if any of the thugs break into the house he will open fire, but he waits in the meantime.  Joe knows that if he does kill all of the unhappy campers in his backyard the police will come and arrest him.  He would then need to bug out and live as a fugitive, but that would mean leaving most of his food and other life sustaining preparations behind….  Joe waits and gets very angry.   By preparing he and Jane have simply made themselves targets and now they find themselves prisoners in their home. 

A police policy of ignoring all but the worst property crime and violence makes sense in this situation.  There is simply no where to put all of the thieves and rioters as things begin to unwind.  All of the jail cells fill up the first day.  Some police officers leave their posts.  Many of the rest have no handcuffs.  Police administration issues a simple directive—avoid escalation.  Don’t make the looters any angrier than they already are, and above all watch out for any would be vigilantes who might escalate the situation.  Be proactive and disarm any citizens who might be inclined to use violence.  The police exist to enforce the laws, but in the situation there is no ways to enforce all the laws.  The police try to keep the lid on by directing their authority against those people who will be most inclined to obey them.   The best prepared citizens are therefore tyrannized by what remains of authority, and terrorized by outlaws.    The police are not the enemy, but simple self-preservation means that a police officer may not be much of a friend either. 

The term anarcho/tyranny was coined by the late Same Francis.

What steps can be taken to prepare for anarcho/tyranny if any?

Babies and Boom Boom

Issues related to human sexuality will be some of the most difficult for the resurgent church to overcome. Catholic guilt over the use of birth control methods has been around for decades, but there is a larger Christian guilt complex related to premarital sex in general. Let’s be honest–we preach abstinence to our children, but we are privately happy if they practice discreet serial monogamy and use birth control methods until they have obtained an education, house, car, etc. In today’s economy this process often lasts until the age of 35 or so. Human biology is not compatible with modern life and the result is a dramatic increase in the use of fertility treatments as women push the edges of the biological clock envelope.

Is it reasonable to ask young women to defer having children until they are in their thirties, and expect young men to remain to abstain during all of the years when their sex drive is the most overpowering? At last a group comes out with a solution–we shall throw away all moral value judgments once and for all! Brilliant! (Sarcasm intended)

It should be obvious that a society without intact families cannot prosper, but what is less obvious is that human males are by nature polygamous and human females hypergamous. In the absence of traditional sexual morality humans are reverting to a more primitive baboon pack form of sexuality in which a smaller number of men mate with most of the women, yet there is little procreation as a result. When unintended pregnancies occur they are aborted, or the state acts a surrogate daddy and provider through the welfare system. (Read Roissy’s blog if you have the stomach for it: heartiste.wordpress.com)

The total lack of tactical and strategic thinking in most of today’s churches is disturbing. The churches preach abstinence because they really don’t want to encourage 17 year olds to marry. (And because Paul stressed abstinence and even went so far as to say that it would be better to abstain from marriage as well. The logical extreme of this Pauline thinking was epitomized by the Shakers who died out from lack of reproduction.)

What would be a better solution? We must recognize that a lack of affordable family formation is the root of the problem. Since we cannot modify the human body so that sexual maturity occurs at age thirty, we must change society or at least the Christian subset of society so that Christians can become sexually active around the age of eighteen or so as part of the marriage sacrament. At least two things must occur to allow this to happen.

1. We must break the back of the college education racket and the staggering student loan debt burden that it places on young people. A college education is not needed for most jobs in today’s economy. College has become a proxy for intelligence, aptitude, and ethics testing because companies are forbidden to test for these qualities. Since we will not dramatically reduce the popularity of university education any time soon, the first steps that churches should take are to strongly admonish young people not to take student loans, and to work their way through school. Christians who are in a position to make hiring decisions should try to hire co-op students who are working their way through school instead of college graduates whenever possible.

2. We must find a way to bring back communities with small, affordable houses without crime and drugs. (Imagine any typical American neighborhood in 1947) This is a difficult challenge because of section eight housing rules, etc. Christians may need to form their own communities once again and patrol them. (History repeats once more. Pilgrims, Mormons, etc.) A visit to the Navajo reservation in Arizona reveals that today’s shepherds carry guns. In ancient times a shepherd carried a rod and staff. Christians need to rediscover what being a good shepherd means and learn to protect their communities.

These two steps are not enough and we need more ideas. How do we make abstinence outside of marriage practical in modern society? Is Christian separatism the right approach?

I was shocked and amazed during a recent visit to Yosemite, the “crown jewel” of America’s National Parks, that there were no other Americans there. All of the other guests at the little motel in Lee Vining, CA were from Europe. Would my wife and I be allowed in the park at all? How is it possible that the ban did not make the news—especially during an election season? Perhaps I should not be surprised since other important issues such as the ongoing destruction of America’s middle class are not in the news much either.
Well… I discovered that US citizens are not actually banned from Yosemite, but it sure seemed that way. This post is not intended to be anti-foreigner. I actually enjoyed talking with the folks from overseas a great deal, and the euro women are almost universally slender. There was one Asian fellow near Vernal Falls who urinated beside the path less than 100 yards from a restroom, but other than that there were no cultural issues.
The absence of other Americans did surprise me and I think there are several reasons why Americans were not present in large numbers.
1. Lack of money
2. Lack of time
3. Lack of interest
4. Poor physical fitness
What I saw at Yosemite was another symptom of a failing middle class. There were a few white Americans present, but I only saw two black people the whole time I was there and judging by his accent one of them was from a different country. The absence of black people might be partially explained by a lack of interest since black people will travel to NBA games. Mexicans were also poorly represented in the crowds at Yosemite in spite of their large numbers in California. This might also be explained by a lack of interest, but the fact that large numbers of white Americans are staying away suggests that something is seriously wrong. So let us contrast the white American experience with the white European experience as it relates to the ability to travel to Yosemite.
1. Lack of money. At first glance it would seem that the American middle class is wealthy, but perhaps middle class white Americans have less discretionary income than people from overseas. Student loan debt is a huge non-bankruptable burden on many Americans under 40. The US does not allow or discourages tracking and actively encourages people to take on mountains for debt to attend University. Many other nations track their students into vocational training and a smaller percentage attends University in these nations. House debt is the other American financial black hole. The cost of a house in a neighborhood with “good schools” has risen dramatically. Another American cost is automobiles since the US does not have effective mass transit. Pay 15,000 USD or more for a car every few years when you are only making 30,000 USD per year after taxes and you do not get ahead financially. Many might suggest that the national health plans popular in other countries are a factor since people from those nations do not pay directly for health insurance, but I suspect that any savings is minimal or non-existent. I am not suggesting that the US should enact single payer health plans or mass transit on a large scale, but it is interesting to look at the lifestyle consequences of these issues.
2. Lack of time. Most Americans are lucky to get a single week of vacation time and many don’t get that much. In many Euro nations it is common to have several weeks off work to go on holiday. This may change in the near future as Euro nations embrace austerity, but at least the European people had free time to enjoy themselves as their governments spent money recklessly. The national health plans are a factor in the ability of a person to take time off work. In the US a person usually loses all health coverage if he quits his job or takes a leave of absence. Health coverage may be purchased through Cobra, but it is expensive. Americans, who often pride themselves on individualism, have a difficult time starting a new small business or taking time away from work to do much of anything,. Most of the Americans that I did see at Yosemite (I admit there were a few) were either retirees or young people. Yosemite was a grand destination for middle class and middle aged people at one time, but that time is in the past.
3. I do not think a lack of interest is keeping white Americans away from the national parks. The environmental movement is alive and well. Lack of interest could become a bigger reason in the future. A person who has never visited a national park or who does not know anyone else who has done so has little reason to care about the parks.
4. Lack of fitness probably explains part of the phenomenon that I witnessed. Many Americans do not like to get out of their cars. The people I met were on trails through Sequoia groves and steep climbs to waterfalls. These activities are fun for people who are in shape from walking a lot every day, but many Americans are no obese. So it is possible that a lot of US citizens do go to Yosemite, but I did not see them because they were hidden in cars.
I became rather despondent watching the Republican convention a few weeks ago. Every speech was full of rah rah patriotism and all about American exeptionalism and how great the USA is. We can do anything! Except visit our national parks, go on vacation, buy a house, or afford to have babies. More government is not the answer, but it would be nice to see some discussion of the falling standard of living during the election year.

Peak Oil vs. the New Grid

If peak oil had occurred rather suddenly in 1959 instead of 2010 how would the US and the world have responded differently? Please forgive me if I do not get too excited about the Iphone 5 or 4S or whatever the latest consumer gadget is called. Steve Jobs may be a visionary but he is no Tom Edison or Samuel Insull. How would America at the dawn of the nuclear age have responded to an energy crisis? Perhaps by building the new grid. Electrical distribution at 60 Hz. in the USA, or 50 Hz. as in Europe has many advantages. The fact that most people can’t hear the 60 Hz. hum is a big advantage. Low frequencies also minimize reactive effects and make line drop compensation much simpler, but it is not written in stone that we must distribute electrical power at 60Hz. We have inherited the old grid and it is past time to consider designing the new grid as if we were bright young engineers in 1959. Nikola Tesla was interested in wireless electrical power distribution at higher frequencies a long time ago. Mr. Tesla may have built his great tower primarily to impress investors but his ideas hold merit even today in 1959. After all electrical power has been beamed from space satellites using gigahertz. frequencies (microwave), but we are only interested in transmitting power a mere 12 inches without wires.

Please google PRIMOVE (a technology from Bombardier)

By using an electrical distribution grid at around only 1200 Hz it is possible to wirelessly couple electrical power to trains, cars, buses, etc. The technology has existed for quite a while. The new grid would consist of conductors buried just below the surface of every public road built or repaired. The street that you live on is now your powerline and the electrical power to your house now comes from the conductors under your street. Perhaps your house is DC powered to avoid the 1200 Hz. hum, etc. The exciting part is that the new grid makes the great battery problem go away. Many mainstream media articles about electric cars such as the Chevy Volt extoll their virtues but ignore the great battery problem. We do not have a battery technology that comes any where close to making electric cars a reality. (A subject for another post) In 1962 after the new grid is built and and hundreds of MW of new nuclear power plants come on line this will not be a problem. Your new 1962 model auto will only run on battery long enough to pull out of the driveway and merge onto the street. Once on the public thoroughfare your car will start taking power from the secondary coil buried in the base of the car and provided by the new grid conductor buried in the street. A meter in your new car will automatically calculate your power usage as you drive along and a bill will be sent to you from the public utility at the end of the month. Your car is a true hybrid in the sense that it has a backup gasoline engine for when you venture onto gravel roads, and your battery provides short range power. Most of the time you will be powered wirelessly by the new grid.

The other great thing about the new grid that appears in 1960 is that it saves the streetcars. Most of the people who read this are not old enough to remember streetcars, but they were a clean and popular means of transit until the 1950′s when General Motors conspired with politicians to end the streetcar era in favor of diesel buses. The new grid under all the streets enables the streetcars to run anywhere without having caternaries or other conductors touching. Hell! the streetcars don’t even need tracks anymore in 1960! (Google PRIMOVE!)

I have an odd hobby of studying old maps. One fact that always jumps out when looking at a map of the 1940′s or 1950′s vs. today is that railroads went everywhere. The amount of abandoned railroad right of way in the state of Illinois alone is just amazing. Cheap oil and cars made that possible for our world, but in our imaginary world of 1959 much of that railroad infrastructure is still in use and is easily electrified to use the new grid. Trains now run on the tracks without wires touching. The early 1960′s are an era of incredible progress and the dawn of the electrical age.

I recently (2010) worked at a new electrical plants built at coal mines in Virginia, Illinois, and Wyoming. It is much more efficient to move electricity on high voltage transmission lines from the coal mine to the city than it is to build power plants at cities and move the coal. (coal is heavy and bulky) Our society was slow to embrace electrical power fully. Part of the reason for the lack of vision is that people just don’t think about alternatives. Coal had to be shipped to cities in 1910 to provide steam for heat. As long as coal was shipped all over the country anyway it made sense to build power plants near cities. We are living in 2011 with coal and steam age thinking. We had the technology in 1959 to build the new grid and embrace an electrical age, but cheap oil made it unnecessary. We have technology available today that is better than a 1959 engineer could dream of, but we lack the courage to use it. IGBTs and semiconductors make power conversion simple, and our computers make grid management easy.

Any of you who are still reading and have not fallen asleep are probably thinking–new grid is not an energy source and we are still running out of oil. TRUE! But… We have sources of energy from coal, wind, solar, and especially nuclear power. What we do not have without the new grid is an easy and scalable way to use energy for transportation. The new grid at 1000 to 1200 Hz. makes it possible to use electricity to power cars, trains, and buses without ever plugging them in.

For the few who are still reading and wonder how this is possible the answer is mutual inductance. Any electrical current creates a magnetic field around the conductor. If another closed loop of conductor is placed in a time varying magnetic field created by a different conductor an electric current will also flow in the second conductor as it is induced by the magnetic field that they are both sharing. This principal is used in power transformers to couple power from powerlines at 13,800 Volts down to 240 Volts for your house. The two coils in a power transformer are very close together and are wound on a laminated core. Only an oil soaked paper insulator separates them. The antenna coil in your AM radio is also a transformer secondary that is coupled via a shared magnetic field to a transmitter hundreds of miles away.

Your 1962 car works as follows: Electrical current is induced from conductors in the street under your car to a coil in the bottom of your car. The power is rectified to DC and used to charge the car’s battery. The same DC power is used to drive a variable frequency inverter that powers electric motors that spin the wheels. A backup gasoline engine drives a generator that also provides DC power to charge batteries and/or power the inverter a needed. What I have just crudely described is Toyota Prius with one added feature–the ability to take power through mutual induction from buried conductors. The other thing to bear in mind is that the Prius would have been so obsolete by 1968 that it would never be built as a gas/electric only hybrid anyway.

When we consider what could be done with 1959 technology ad then realize how much of our wealth has been wasted on financial shenanigans and consumer gadgetry it is truly shameful. We live in 2011 and face the reality of peak oil soon. We do not have nuclear fusion, scalable earth bound solar power, or nearly enough wind. We are up a creek…. maybe. We still have nuclear fission from thorium, breeder reactors, and what is left of our uranium. We have a decent amount of coal and natural gas if we quit wasting it, and there is still oil albeit increasing in scarcity. We do not need pie in the sky breakthroughs. We do need to build a new grid while there is time. Space based solar power satellites may be the ultimate solution a decade from now, but we need the new grid first so that we can use the electrical energy provided. Many thanks to all three of you who read this whole thing. Let me know what you think. Btw. Steve Jobs may be every bit as visionary as Edison, but he was probably also smart enough to know that consumer gadgets make money. Finding a way to power America’s farmers without diesel fuel is not as profitable as the Iphone.

Update:  Steve Jobs died the day afer I posted the above.  None of what I wrote should be interpreted as a crticism of Steve.  Instead we should question a society that uses its brightest and most creative people to make consumer products.  Jobs was an inspiration to many–the personal computer, and all that led to the internet started in his garage.  He is missed.  Godspeed Steve.

Armies of Bitterness

“Some day—the armies of bitterness will all be going the same way. And they’ll all walk together, and there’ll be a dead terror from it.”

Some conservative Christians have a blind spot regarding extreme wealth. Perhaps because liberals bash, lament, and outright confiscate prosperity so flagrantly it was inevitable that some sort of backlash would occur. In the Church this has taken the form of the prosperity Gospel which teaches that all prosperity and wealth in a persons life come from God (true), and further celebrates material prosperity as one of the goals of a Christian life. (untrue)
The violence in the middle east should serve as a sobering reminder that large disparities in wealth lead to death on a large scale. The instability is occurring for political, religious, and economic reasons, but the economic reasons are the most important. The Egyptians and Libyans who are revolting are not all that excited about a democratic form of government, and they are not spending their free time drafting a new constitution. As usual the American press is full of it. The typical Egyptian protester is not comparable to the gentleman landholders who founded the American republic. The typical Egyptian protester is just plain hungry and angry. If you watched a handful of rulers and their cronies live in luxury while your children cried for food you’d get angry too.

There is no easy solution to the mess in the middle east–revolutions are not likely to produce any sort of republic in any of the troubled nations. A better concern for Americans to focus on is the loss of their own republic to cartels, oligarchs, and big government. Conservatives in the US often protest big govt., but turn a blind eye to the ati-competitive practices of giant corporations. Part of the reason is a conservative narrative that involves lifting oneself up by the bootstraps; the self made man image. This idea that those who are extremely successful deserve every penny has become part of American folklore.
A more reasoned analysis of American history would acknowledge the importance of the Turner thesis. Frederick Jackson Turner asserted that the frontier was critical to the American republic. Turner was correct. America has not had the terrible legacy of class conflict that plagued Europe; free and abundant land was the reason. The United States before the civil war was a nation of farmers. There was never a huge disparity in wealth in the early US. Why should a person become a serf to a large landowner when there was land of his own to be claimed? The result was a large middle class of people who all had a common stake in their county and this created a stable republic–until now.

A republic is a fragile form of government that is seldom seen in history. The concentration of wealth and power into the hands of a few followed by bloody revolution is the standard path taken in much of human history. The American republic served the Church well for 150 years and hosted the great awakening. The collapse of the United States into tyranny is not inevitable, but it is made much more likely by the extreme concentration of wealth that is taking place. Churches must reject the prosperity gospel firmly. Christians should remember the Turner thesis when politicians call for eliminating taxes on dividends while slapping a15.3% payroll tax on wage earners. Remember the violence and bloodshed in Libya when you are told that the taxpayer must bail out AIG (again). and remember the words of John Steinbeck,

“But watch it, mister. There’s a premium goes with this pile of junk and the bay horses—so beautiful—a packet of bitterness to grow in your house and to flower, some day.  We could have saved you, but you cut us down, and soon you will be cut down and there’ll be none of us to save you.  And the tenant men came walking back, hands in their pockets, hats pulled down.  Some bought a pint and drank it fast to make the impact hard and stunning. But they didn’t laugh and they didn’t dance. They didn’t sing or pick the guitars. They walked  back to the farms, hands in pockets and heads down, shoes kicking the red dust up.

Maybe we can start again, in the new rich land—in California, where the fruit
grows. We’ll start over.

But you can’t start. Only a baby can start. You and me—why, we’re all that’s been.
The anger of a moment, the thousand pictures, that’s us. This land, this red land, is us;
and the flood years and the dust years and the drought years are us. We can’t start
again. The bitterness we sold to the junk man—he got it all right, but we have it still.
And when the owner men told us to go, that’s us; and when the tractor hit the house,
that’s us until we’re dead. To California or any place—every one a drum major leading
a parade of hurts, marching with our bitterness. And some day—the armies of
bitterness will all be going the same way. And they’ll all walk together, and there’ll be
a dead terror from it.

Welcome

The title of this blog should perhaps be changed to Tactical Christianity. Our purpose here is to encourage tactical and strategic thinking among Christian men and women. A great reformation or awaking is needed, but this need not be a theological matter. A change in attitude is what is required most to produce a resurgent church. For too many people being a Christian means being a good person. The Church becomes nothing more than a touchy-feely Dudley Doo Right social club. Christ Jesus is the most courageous and intelligent individual to ever set foot on planet earth, yet many portrayals of Christ show him as weak and meek. Today’s Church has been emasculated. The Savior is the ultimate heroic figure who in self sacrificing courage gave his life for all humanity. The only path to salvation is through Christ, but the message of the Christian Church needs to be about more than salvation. Biblical teaching concerns every aspect of every minute of our daily lives. What we eat, how we work, and how we relate to one another are all intended to conform to scriptural teaching. What sells in America? Diet books and books about relationships among other things. Perhaps the saddest commentary about today’s Chistian leaders is the simple fact the Oprah and Dr. Phil ARE the spiritual leaders of America. Christianity needs to be about more than salvation and the Church needs to give people the answers that they seek. Major topics of this blog will be the decline of monogamy and marriage, game, human biodiversity, diet, health, history, and politics. All of these will topics will be discussed from the perspective of a Christian and traditionalist.

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