Niccolò Machiavelli knew it as far back as the 15th Century, yet today’s leaders, apparently, remain unaware:
Wars begin when you will but they do not end when you please.
Even though marching into the Middle East to kick the living crap out of the various fundamentalist loons like ISIL, al Qaeda, the Taliban, and whoever else believes they’re doing the great work of god seems like a quick and easy answer, it won’t be. Unless the chickenhawks of the Republican Party who blathered the other night about carpet bombing cities, sand glowing in the dark, hunting down and utterly destroying terrorists, and other masturbatorial fantasies want to fight their pretty little wars forever, the smart move right now is to stay the hell out of the morass.
I’ve changed my mind since the early days of ISIL. At first I was all for pounding those religio-psychos into the dirt. But it ain’t gonna happen. It can’t happen. War is never simple or easy or even final.
Come to think of it, maybe Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio et al do indeed want everlasting war. It’s becoming clearer by the minute that they and too many other legislators serve, more than any other constituency, their arms-manufacturing, defense-contracting sugar daddies. War is great business.
Sticks And Stones
University of Chicago Press editor Renaldo Migaldi points out a CounterPunch piece from a few years back that utterly belies the assertion that the citizenry needs guns to protect itself from a tyrannical gov’t. Author David Swanson writes:
There is no correlation between personal liberties in a nation and its gun ownership. Campaigns of resistance to tyranny are more likely to succeed, and that success is more likely to be lasting when those campaigns are nonviolent.
And by nonviolent, Swanson means w/o shootin’ irons. Swanson cites the revolts in Serbia and Egypt that toppled rulers without shots being fired. He reminds us that the East Timorians attempted rebellion for years by armed means but did not succeed until they laid down their pieces.
Simple, honest citizens carrying guns flat out don’t win shooting contests against their gov’t overlords. It didn’t happen in the New World English colonies. It didn’t happen in the “War of Northern Aggression” (where the rebels considered the Union an oppressive force). It didn’t happen in Tsarist Russia. It didn’t happen in Cuba. It didn’t happen in Egypt. It didn’t happen anywhere. Any nation where a rebellion occurred successfully, it was either another country or group of countries who came to the aid of the rebels (the French, for instance, in the American Colonies) or the tyrants were simply replaced by an equally bloodthirsty gang of bullies (the Stalinists or the Castro bunch).
Mass street movements endorsed by pretty much all segments of society save the power elite are the only successful revolutionary movements that work. And by work I mean kick out the despotic bastards and replace them with more reasonable bosses. Think Vaclav Havel’s Velvet Revolution. Think Ghandi’s Swaraj.
The government — any government — will be able to outgun you. Thinking you can hold the gov’t off with sidearms and long guns is fairy tale thinking. Now, if the citizenry were able to amass billions of dollars’ worth of armored vehicles, artillery, ballistic missiles, and weapons of mass destruction, maybe there’d be a case for a fair fight. But John Wayne or John Rambo riding in on a horse to save the republic from malevolent bureaucrats is a conceit that works only in movies. Childish movies, I may add.
Pick The Winner
The right to bear arms in order to protect against tyranny is a canard cooked up by lobbyists and pimps for gun manufacturers to ensure no one will ever impede their cash flow. So far it’s a strategy that works — at least in this holy land.
Home For The Holidays
The exodus of Indiana University students from our fair megalopolis will be complete after today. We’ll be able to listen to the birds chirp w/o the interfering din of kids using the term like every other word. We’ll walk our fair streets safe in the knowledge that some tinted-glass monster SUV won’t come careening around the corner to flatten us. Christmas break is the most wonderful time of the year. Well, that and spring and summer breaks.
By the time the students return next month, there’ll be changes at The Pencil’s new back office, Hopscotch Coffee. (BTW: Nothing against Bob and Kari Costello’s Soma Coffee House which served admirably as field HQ for this mighty communications colossus from 2009 to this past summer but it was time for a change of scenery.) Jane Kupersmith’s and Jeff Grant’s year-plus-old caffeine station on the B-Line Trail at Dodds St. has been doing such land-office biz since opening its doors that they’ve been forced to take over the storefront next door. Workers are pounding and sawing on the other side of the wall where I sit and type even now (thanks for the headache, boys!) Kupersmith showed me her construction calendar this AM and it looks as though work’ll be finished by Friday, January 8th. Meanwhile, customers will be able to gas up and pound on their keyboards in the original space even as those workers break through the north wall of the place the week between Christmas and New Year’s.
Speaking of hot entrepreneurs, how about that Joni McGary and her Lucky Guy Bakery?
Better Living Through Chocolate
While I was away from these precincts finishing up the Charlotte Zietlow book, Joni was busy setting up a brownie empire stretching from here to Indy. Pretty much every fashionable food joint and shop in our town is carrying Joni’s goods. She’s been putting mileage on her car peddling her wares in the big city as well as smaller burghs surrounding B-town as well.
Walnut Brownies Ready For Packaging
I thoroughly endorse Joni’s brownies, even if my buzz-kill doctor insists I cut down on my intake of sugary substances. What do doctors know anyhow?