L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 345, November 13, 2005
"Plant the Spirit of the Rifleman"
Teaching the ZAP to the 4-GW Crowd
Exclusive to TLE
The following is adapted, from my reply to a correspondent's note, about my previous note to him, regarding his posts, in a discussion, on a bulletin board (Hoo-boy, this is getting round-about!) on the subject of (Pant, choke, gasp wheeze...!) guerrilla, or Forth-Generation War. He was having the devil's own time being understood, and said that I was the only one who "got it". Oh, well!
Some folks on the board were discussing Forth-Generation (or guerrilla) warfare to defeat the State in the on-going civil war by attacking "public infrastructure" in the form of electrical, water and other utilities. They saw that the State is partially dependent on those utilitiesalong with 99.44% of the general populace being completely dependent on them. They figured (I can't say they actually "thought" this.) that destroying those utilities would hurt the State badly.
At the same time, they figured that destroying the utilities would not make the general populace mad at them or inclined to oppose them. Destroying lots of folk's personal property, leaving them freezing in the dark, killing many of their family members who were dependent on electrical medical appliancesand destroying a large part of the country's economy (read "sorry, your job is gone")was supposed to make most folks love these guerrilla revolutionaries and help them against the State. Not one poster had a word to say about what they would replace the State with after their "victory".
How stupid can one get? Well, pretty gosh-darn stupid, actually!
Fred was using the Socratic Method (asking leading questionsto get the listener to think more thoroughly, or in a new way) and Devil's Advocacy (promoting an idea that he does not, really, agree withto get the other guy to attack it) to try to get the others to see that the methods of revolution they were talking about were immoral according to the Zero Aggression Principle, so they hurt and offended most Americans and would, therefor, not work.
He was getting nowhere fast.
The following is my attempt to help him get his ideas across better; plus some discussion of Fifth-Generation War (5-GW) to defeat the Stateand prevent its rising againwithout all that "collateral damage" (read "waging war against your neighbors instead of your enemy") that the "revolutionaries" and the State seem not to mind very much.
You can read more about Fifth-Generation War in my essays in TLE: "Election and Revolution" in issue 295 (the primary intro to 5-GW) "Fixing the Tiger" in issue 298 (why the State is not "fixable") "The Solipsist Fallacy? Wazzat?" in issue 299 (on why it is so hard to understand how politicians think) "Cold Shutdown and Don't Re-Start!" in issue 336 (similar to "Fixing the Tiger")
Well, so much for the prolog!
Re your Personal Message:
"Re: Your post re 4GW strategy
Yes, I really am Speaker.
Sorry to take so darned long to reply, but family emergencies intervened. Also, as I went along, this note kinda morphed into an article. That seems to happen to me a lot. Sheesh!
I am familiar with the strategy, tactics and goals of 5GW warfare. You are the only one who "got" where I was going with my discussion, and I certainly agree with you and your analysis as to the effectiveness of same. My observation would be, however, with some of the newbies to these boards the goals of 5GW would be real hard for them to "grok" since they are having such a hard time articulating an answer to my question, specifically, who or what would be legitimate targets, given the [destruction of] infrastructure is OUT, and that Human "collateral damage" is also OUT.
As an old teacher I have, like you, used both the Socratic method and devil's advocacy quite a lot. They are good techniques, but somewhat limited when dealing with people who are new to an idea, method or philosophy. They play upon the person's previous knowledge by putting it into a new context or using it in a new way. If a person does not have the background of principle or fact, or the requisite thinking skills, he cannot use these techniques on what he knows and is true, let alone the knowledge that he does not have or is false. Below are some thoughts on teaching and presenting according to your audiencein their own language and at their level of understanding.
One of the more important techniques used in the indoctrination centers is to present a lesson on any subject to beginning or early students at an advanced level, or in the middle of the basic lessoninstead of at the beginningas though it was actually the right place to start. Then the propagandist ("teacher") can criticize the students for not understanding the lesson because they are stupid or lazy; not because the lesson was presented in a way that could not be understood by anyone who was not already well grounded in the subject. That is supposed to prove that the subject is much harder to learn than it really is, and that the student is stupid or lazy, and therefor unable to learn. The primary lesson, of course, is not about the alleged subject matter at all; but, rather, that the student cannot learnbecause learning anything important is too hard for him and that thinking and learning in general are boring, complicated and useless. In that way the state can produce a populace composed almost exclusively of dull, unthinking slaves from otherwise good people; just as the indoctrination system (government schools) was designed to do in Prussia in the early nineteenth century. We need to overcome this. See the books of John Taylor Gatto (http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/) for much more on government indoctrination of children.
When the Socratic Method or devil's advocacy do not work, and the student reacts to some of his old memories that sound superficially similar to what he is facing now, it is our job to fall back on more radical methods of instruction in principle, technique and fact. It is time to go back and sweat the basics again. "OK, here is the ZAP and what it means. Here are the facts to apply it to. Here is how you do that." Victor Milan did a great job of that with his "Wehrmacht sentry" example at the Libertarian Enterprise, years ago in issue 16. Make sure the student has the skills, principles and facts to do the job before you judge him for failing to do it correctly.
Many libertarians are coming from the classical liberal or conservative ideologies and have neither shed the old ways nor fully learned the new ones. Most are, like me, products and victims of the government's child-indoctrination system, AKA the "public schools". They need to review the basics many times, with examples, to illustrate the applications of principle to the physical world.
As we age our ability to learn new ideas is lessened. When teaching adults the need for repetition of principles and examples increases. This can be frustrating! One must almost treat an adult more like a child than a childwhile using more advanced language and concepts.
The Socratic method and devil's advocacy are advanced methods of instruction for advanced students. Those who not only have a basic grounding in the Zero Aggression Principle and libertarian thought but also have training and experience in both deductive and inductive logic. Remember that Socrates taught at the university level in a culture that, unlike the United States, revered thinking and philosophy.
I recommend, when addressing the readership as a whole, taking them, respectfully, by the hand and sweating the basics (Again! And at least by reference.) before making reference or application to specific cases. Example: "Hey, remember the ZAP! You can't do "that" because it violates the ZAP. Try this other way." Use the advanced methods when addressing a specific individual or small group whom you have reason to think can profit from those methods.
Please do not worry too much that the newbys to the board or to the libertarian philosophy will not understand the principles or techniques of Fifth Generation War. I did not integrate top-down war and the Bell Foundations into 5-GW theory for application by the general militia. Rather, it's for the use of a self motivated elite force of individuals and small groups to use in uncoordinated parallel action. I am content to leave command, control and communication up to Adam Smith's invisible hand.
I am also content to see that discussion on bulletin boards and similar venues is mostly at an elementary level and exhibits little or no understanding of 5-GW theory by the commentators. Debate in favor of 5-GW is not indended to recruit the average militiaman. Rather it is to spread the meme and inform the more educated and able person. One who does not communicate publicly about the subject in order to maintain his security and freedom of action.
After all, 5-GW seems (at least to me...) to be the most asymmetrical theory of revolution yet devised; so it does not need many actors to effect the goal of removing all governmentcompared to even guerrilla, or forth-generation war.
With regard to libertarian theory, whether it be economics, ethics or war, I suggest trying the approach I have outlined here. The fact that I was the only one who, as you said, "got it" from your previous posts indicates that you are presenting at too high a level for your audience, somewhat like a propagandist in an indoctrination centerand with similar results, although for different reasons.
Sweat the basics. Or at least refer to them from previous material and cite references.
Use short words and sentences, rather than compound or periodic ones. Winston Churchill was a master of this kind of rhetoric.
Be more verbose, by outlining in an introduction, stating your thesis, and then illustrating with examples or using Socratesor challenging with devil's advocacy. Follow-up with a summary.
As David Cooper, the sales trainer said:
"Tell them what you are going to tell them.
People need clarity, completeness and repetition to understand new ideas.
I hope the above may prove useful. I have tried to illustrate my ideas by example.
All the Best,