Many reactionaries compare today’s America to the latter days of the Roman Republic, reflect on the excellence of the early Roman empire, and hope for a military coup that ends the corrupt and decadent American republic, replacing it with disciplined imperium.
The reigns of the five good Roman emperors illustrate that the reign of stationary bandit, an absolute dictator secure in his power, fearing neither votes nor coups nor riot nor military insurrection, is a pretty good system. He has an incentive to shear the sheep, but not flay them, while other forms of government tend to flaying. Observe that taxes on the rich are everywhere far above the Laffer limit, and in many places, such as Greece, taxes on the working poor are far above the Laffer limit.
Unfortunately such a tranquil transition seems improbable, for every officer above company grade in the US army is selected not only for political correctness, but, more importantly, for lack of military competence. The Cathedral fears losing a war with the US military far more than it fears the US military losing a war with some external enemy. A successful coup requires a leader who commands a reasonable level of respect from the junior officers. Being such a potential coup maker absolutely disqualifies officers for promotion above company grade.
Nor could the US military provide order after such a transition, for order requires legitimacy, and such a tranquil transition would leave the new imperator illegitimate. Coercive power is insufficient to enable a government to govern.
Further, the five good Roman emperors did not stroll calmly into power on the basis of the unchallengeable coercive power and perfect discipline of the famed Roman legions. The five good emperors arose out of a long succession of bloody Roman civil wars from Sulla to Antony, ending with Augustus becoming emperor by murdering his step brother Caesarion, the child of the two greatest people of the age – thereby ending the chance of Rome becoming a hereditary monarchy. The five good emperors preserved the illusion of the Republic, from which they derived a large part of their legitimacy. Most of their legitimacy, however, came from the fact that people were tired of the civil wars, so everyone was willing to pretend that they were legitimate, willing to pretend that the Republic was still in effect.
Arming for Civil War Two
Bob Owens tells us that since 2009 private citizens have purchased enough new firearms to equip every member of the military of the United States, including National Guard, Air National Guard, and Reserve units eighteen times over. Of those arms purchased, the overwhelming majority are not sporting arms, but weapons intended for war, revolution, and riot.
Private citizens have purchased more ammo since 2009 than the US used in World War II.
To defend against home invasion and mugging, the appropriate weapon is a short arm with a large magazine, a nine shot handgun. (A shotgun is of limited value unless you are hunting birds, though racking a shotgun makes a wonderfully intimidating sound.) For hunting and target practice, the appropriate weapon is a long arm with small magazine. Instead, people are buying military rifles and civilian versions of military rifles, long arms with large magazines.
The most popular ammo is the 22LR. Demand for the 22LR may well be partially monetary. Being useful in a wide variety of guns, it would be valuable as money in the event of crisis, perhaps more universally acceptable than gold.
If the government was united and cohesive, there would be no possibility that armed American citizens could stand against it, since each individual one at a time, would feel the full wrath of the entire state. But the reason we are getting such bad government is that the government is not united and cohesive. The Cathedral is not one person, or even a single conspiracy, but rather a multitude of conspiracies each seeking to be lefter than all of the others.
Likely shape of a Civil War Two crisis.
Let us imagine a crisis where the US government has no money, or far too much entirely worthless money. In that case, likely that the overclass/underclass alliance will predate directly upon the middle class and survivalists, as they did in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. According to Peter government teams sent in to rescue people tended to attack, kidnap, and rob those that had made good survival preparations. The unprepared tended to attack the prepared. The word “unprepared” is euphemism. What he really means is that blacks, government employees, and underclass, mostly blacks and government employees, predated upon the middle class.
rescue authorities seem to regard with suspicion those who’ve made provision for their safety and have survived (or bugged out) in good shape. It seems to be a combination of “How could you cope when so many others haven’t?”, “You must have taken advantage of others to be so well off”, and “We’ve come all this way to help, so how dare you not need our assistance?”
The political overclass/underclass alliance manifested in Katrina as direct violent predation on middle class and survivalists. Probably they would respond to a man made crisis in a similar fashion.
Left singularities do not always have really bad economic effects, though the Cambodian autogenocide and the French Maximum did have really bad economic effects. An economic crisis depriving the overclass of funds would likely trigger Civil War Two.
If tax systems supporting the overclass and underclass collapse, as well they might, (US currency hyperinflates, everyone uses gold, bitcoin, or one of bitcoin’s successors) we may well see the overclass/underclass alliance that attempts to loot the middle class directly.
That is not necessarily the most likely outcome, the approach to the left singularity is inherently unpredictable, but it is certainly possible, and it is reasonable for people to prepare for it.
Civil War and post civil war institutions
In such case the correct response is coalition building between the prepared, between those willing to respect property. Assume that the overclass and underclass members will in practice not back each other up, that the underclass begins with no cohesion, and overclass will find what little cohesion it does have collapsing. People who respect property rights will find it easier to cooperate.
The worst case outcome, the highly likely outcome is something like post-Roman civilization – centuries of poverty and ruin, with marginally better organized and less devolved outsiders occasionally wandering through, killing all the men, burning all the homes, and raping all the women.
To build order, to avoid the worst case outcome in Civil War Two, have to build upon the armed middle class head of household. Order and authority has to come from armed individuals who support private property, which is likely to mean rentacops and heads of households. If property owning heads of households come out on top, we are likely to get at best anarcho-capitalism, at worst Blackwater neo-feudalism. If the overclass/underclass alliance comes out on top, then either anarcho-piratism, as after the fall of the Roman Empire in the West, or else the left singularity continues to the next crisis, whatever that may be.
The difference between anarcho capitalism and feudalism is a matter of degree. Since all law in anarcho capitalism is private law, people are necessarily unequal before the law. Feudalism, anarcho capitalism, and anarcho-piratism are decentralized systems in which coercion and coercive authority is privatized, legal authority is a form of private property, and much law is private law.
Feudalism arguably works a lot better with a strong King to make sure that feudal property rights stick, but where do we get a strong King from? There is no Ring of Fnargl. At best, will get a Godfather, a coalition leader. At worst, weak or absent private property rights will result in the new nobility becoming mobile bandits, as in the fall of the Roman Empire in the west.
Order requires legitimacy. The shortcut to legitimacy is to pretend the old republic is still in effect. For feudalism or anarcho-capitalism, such a pretense would involve a radical reduction in the franchise.
In the early Roman monarchy, before the Roman Republic, the king was elected for life by the Senate, the People, and the Gods – who tended to display such remarkable unanimity that we can be pretty sure the election was fixed in advance in a small room. In our current system, we get a genuine choice between a Democrat candidate acceptable to the Cathedral, and a Republican Candidate acceptable to Cathedral. Unfortunately the only Republican candidate acceptable to the Cathedral is whichever Republican recently conspicuously and dramatically collaborated in legislation moving our society substantially further left. Thus, for example, McCain collaborated in McCain Feingold, and Romney produced
ObamaRomneycare. The next republican presidential candidate will probably be whoever further opens the borders and helps import a left voting welfare underclass from Mexico – the Rubio Amnesty Bill, or whatever it is going to be called.
I recommend that whatever actual system we wind up with after Civil War Two, we keep the form of the Republic and switch to elections on the model of the early Roman Monarchy. The electoral college provides a good mechanism for this, and was probably originally intended for that purpose.