Monthly Archives: June 2016

Athens and Sparta: Their 30 Year War; Bravery v. Boldness, and Infusing the Concepts into the ‘Now’

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Having read Pressfield’s work previously, in “Gates of Fire,” I couldn’t help but be intrigued enough to read the introduction to the book below when reading the, “Art of Manliness” piece referenced below.  We can certainly use an infusion of Spartan virtue today, as we face the probability (not just a possibility) of life and death scenarios as the world becomes more, ‘interesting.’

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“Love of individual liberty and expression degenerated into narcissistic, hyper-individualism; robust commercial enterprise morphed into unhinged avarice; hardiness and restraint were replaced with softness and debauchery; active and healthy democracy devolved into mob rule and demagoguery.”   – Brett & Kate McKay, “The Art of Manliness”

Does the above quote remind you of anything you see today?  As a Nation, we’re more like Athens than Sparta, and unless we change from within, will go the same way or worse.

From here.  Take the time to read the entire piece at, “The Art of Manliness;” it’s worth it.  (The book above can be had here, for ONE CENT and $3.99 shipping.  It’s a ‘no brainer,’ for those who may find the material a ‘shot in the arm’ as well as instructive, so, ‘pull the trigger,’ you’ll be better for it.)

As the piece indicates, we must learn to harness our boldness with courage.  Without courage, boldness will always rot its host; courage (bravery) is the oil that tempers boldness and keeps it useful.

“Boldness honors two things only: novelty and success. It feeds on them and without them dies.”

 “Boldness is impatient. Courage is long-suffering. Boldness cannot endure hardship or delay; it is ravenous, it must feed on victory or it dies. Boldness makes its seat upon the air; it is gossamer and phantom. Courage plants its feet upon the earth and draws its strength from God’s holy fundament.”

“The enemy’s weakness is time. Thrasytes is perishable. It is like that fruit, luscious when ripe, which stinks to heaven when it rots.”

 “Those qualities most pleasing to heaven, we believe, are courage to endure and contempt for death.”  – Lysander, “The Tides of War,” by Stephen Pressfield.

Some key grafs from the piece in no particular order:

The Spartans understood that victory is won not in the heat of battle, but in all the small tasks and practices that lead up to it — that what is needed is not only courage for special times of crisis, but the everyday courage of discipline.”

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“Many modern men center their lives on this kind of personal ambition, and care nothing for how their exploits and foibles affect other people, and their country. They do whatever they want — whatever is best for themselves, gratifies their desires, and flatters their flaws. If cheating will get them to their goal, they cheat even if it hurts innocent bystanders. If the standards and ideals of manliness are too difficult for them to reach, they disparage them, or move the yardsticks in order to include themselves. If they feel like collapsing in self-indulgent pity when their friends and loved ones need them, they indulge this urge, bringing others down with them.

Such men have boldness, in the sense they “audaciously” do whatever they feel like doing. But they lack the courage of honor — the commitment to strengthen and uplift their fellows, celebrate a code of ideals, and respect others enough to do the right thing, even when it’s hard.

Especially when it’s hard.”

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“The bold man seeks to divide; he wants his own and will shoulder his brother aside to loot it. The brave man unites. He succors his fellow, knowing that what belongs to the commonwealth belongs to him as well.”

“In troubled times the bold man flails about in effeminate anguish, seeking to draw his neighbors into his misfortune, for he has no strength of character to fall back upon other than to drag others down to his own state of wickedness.” – The Tides of War

If you look around, you’ll see a lot of people that match the ‘bold’ descriptions to a ‘T,’ and not as many that match the ‘brave’ descriptions  in the preparedness and liberty circles, the mainstream political arena, and in business.

Look to network with those who exhibit courage that unites; not those who flail about, drawing all around them into their own state of despair and evil.

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And Now, for Something Completely Different, but ABSOLUTELY Necessary…

And well worth the time spent reading and reflecting upon, if one wishes to explore the ‘why’ of the younger generation’s inability to have any grasp of our identity as a nation and a culture.

H/T Matt Vanderbeogh over at Sipsey Street.  His take on changing the landscape of the ‘millennial’ generation is also apropos.

“I know the Millennials are taking a beating recently.  They earned it to a degree.  As I have observed elsewhere, it is every bit our own damn fault.  The good Professor here does an excellent job in explaining the depths to which we have sunk and will continue to sink.  We have wasted a generation to our own excesses and we will see them drift away at our own peril.  At a time when they need mentorship the most, we are bored to distraction and dither away the last chance at passing on freedom to later generations.  We can continue to dump on them or see this as an opportunity to pass the torch.  When this light goes out, who or when would you suppose will light it again?”  – Matt Vanderbeogh

The linked article also gives a great reading suggestion: Cultural Literacy:  What Every American Needs to Know,” by E.D. Hirsch, Jr., written in 1988.  That’s a good thing, because on Amazon, you can pick up a copy for $4:  1 Cent for the book and $3.99 for shipping.   You can afford one for yourself, and a few others to gift or leave for others to read….

Teaching Sheep

Key excerpts of the piece:

Our students’ ignorance is not a failing of the educational system – it is its crowning achievement. Efforts by several generations of philosophers and reformers and public policy experts — whom our students (and most of us) know nothing about — have combined to produce a generation of know-nothings. The pervasive ignorance of our students is not a mere accident or unfortunate but correctible outcome, if only we hire better teachers or tweak the reading lists in high school. It is the consequence of a civilizational commitment to civilizational suicide. The end of history for our students signals the End of History for the West.”

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“We have fallen into the bad and unquestioned habit of thinking that our educational system is broken, but it is working on all cylinders. What our educational system aims to produce is cultural amnesia, a wholesale lack of curiosity, history-less free agents, and educational goals composed of content-free processes and unexamined buzz-words like “critical thinking,” “diversity,” “ways of knowing,” “social justice,” and “cultural competence.”

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“Ancient philosophy and practice praised as an excellent form of government a res publica – a devotion to public things, things we share together. We have instead created the world’s first Res Idiotica – from the Greek word idiotes, meaning “private individual.” Our education system produces solipsistic, self-contained selves whose only public commitment is an absence of commitment to a public, a common culture, a shared history. They are perfectly hollowed vessels, receptive and obedient, without any real obligations or devotions.

They won’t fight against anyone, because that’s not seemly, but they won’t fight for anyone or anything either. They are living in a perpetual Truman Show, a world constructed yesterday that is nothing more than a set for their solipsism, without any history or trajectory.”

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I have held for many years that these students, and later graduates, when displaying an acute lack of understanding of our culture, Constitution, Principles of Limited Government, what it means to actually be “Free,” are doing exactly what they’ve been programmed to do; think as they’ve been programmed, and live for the great collective, minimizing to the point of oblivion those who provided our People with the greatest level of individual freedom and standard of living the world had ever seen.

On Genuine Leaders…

 

leader

There are a lot of people out there held to be “leaders” in the preparedness and liberty community.  More often than not, these individuals are looked to for what they say rather than what they do by virtue of the communication tool (blog, website, whatever).  If you’re looking to set up or join a NPT for example, here are a few things that genuine leaders will and won’t do when getting the team moving to achieve a particular result or series of results:

GENUINE Leaders:

  • Are honest with themselves and their team on objectives, acceptable conduct and performance.
  • Hold themselves to the same standards they set for their team.
  • Set the example by action (leading from the front) rather than by using censure and ridicule (Actions, not words).
  • Train the team, and then delegate authority to get the task successfully completed, and then GET OUT OF THE WAY.
  • Are up front with their team (see “honesty” above).
  • Communicate openly with them.
  • Constantly work to build trust within the team and earn trust from the team.
  • Constantly work to earn respect from the team.
  • Say what they mean and mean what they say. 
  • Don’t incite the team to do something the leader refuses to even attempt.
  • Don’t blame the team for failure; they take full responsibility.
  • Don’t accept the praise that belongs to the team; they point all the praise to the team members.

Moral of this short story?  If you’re involved in any network, group, affiliation, fraternal organization, NPT or whatever, and the leader isn’t doing the above, you might want to reconsider your involvement.

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Re-Post: A Primer on General Purpose SHTF Rifles

Before choosing your SHTF rifle, you may want to consider its purpose.  The description, “SHTF Rifle”, means different things to different people.  To some, it means a tricked out AR platform complete with a piston operated gas system with an ACOG type scope on top.  To others, it means an older example of the pre-64 Winchester in ‘Ought-Six’ with a Unertl scope on it that can kill a fly at very, very long ranges or a M-40 military-style ‘sniper’ rifle.  But to the reader whose skills are minimal, or is only now beginning to prepare for hard times, it’s a new and strange term.  So, in determining your SHTF rifle’s purpose, a good place to start would be with a rifle that fits the definition of, “General Purpose.”

Why general purpose?  Because a SHTF ‘general purpose’ rifle will be able to do, at reasonably long ranges, anything the shooter wants it to do within its limitations.  Taking game, putting down ‘zombies’, etc.  Just about any task except for purposely designed ‘force-on-force’ combat.

So, let’s start by looking at what http://www.dictionary.com says about the term:  “General Purpose:  Useful in many ways; not limited in use or function.”   In prepper circles, we define the term this way:  “General purpose items can do most things very, very well, some things well and only a very few things not so well.”

So it follows that choosing a general purpose rifle for a SHTF situation actually does something more positive for the purchaser in terms of other related SHTF preparations and equipment when it comes to initial cost and ROI (return on investment), let alone increasing the probability of surviving.  Cost wise, general purpose rifles are typically less expensive than the more exotic rifles (which come stripped of necessary accouterments, and when added, sometimes more than double the price of the original platform).  General Purpose rifles are usually easier to maintain, have fewer parts that can break, are typically extremely rugged, have inherent back-up sighting systems (like iron sights) that can either be attached or are a permanent part of the rifle, and normally come in a ubiquitous caliber easily obtained just about anywhere (think 30.06 or .308).  Additionally, general purpose rifles are not usually restricted in bullet weights that it will ‘eat,’ as are many special purpose rifles or carbines.

The first rifle we’ll look at in the general purpose ‘modern’ SHTF rifle category is the Savage Scout in .308/7.62NATO.  Off the rack, this rifle is ready to go to the field as it has its own iron sights, and can have a low powered extended eye relief, forward mounted ‘scout’ type scope attached easily.  I’ve used quite a few of the ‘scout’ type scopes, and you still can’t beat a Leupold 2.5X for quality and reasonable cost.  Don’t skimp on your scope rings, either.  Get the best you can afford.  So, when all’s said and done, for the whole shootin’ match (pun intended), the buyer is looking $800 to $1,000, depending on where the rifle is purchased and if a scope is attached.

It’s accuracy from the bench is pretty good from all reports (current savage owners can validate the ‘out of the box’ accuracy that Savage rifles always seem to have); the bolt is fast and smooth, and the barrel length of 20 inches makes it extremely handy when it’s time to bring the rifle into play quickly.  Effective range is about 600 meters with any commercial or surplus ‘line’ ammunition; longer if match ammo is used.

It also possesses the advantage of having the Mauser-type claw extractor, which allows the action to feed from any angle or any position.  A distinct advantage from push-type feed mechanisms such as the post-64 Winchesters or the Remington style bolts.

The Scout also has a psychological utility built into it:  It is not designed as a Main Battle Rifle (MBR), so the urge to lay down a hail of fire on an opposing force would be quickly overcome by common sense.  If the need arose, however, it could, in fact, function as one for the well-trained rifleman who can calmly, deliberately, and accurately bring fire to bear upon his antagonist and then displace.  Again, falling onto its ‘general purpose’ design in what it is designed to do well against what it may not do as well as other platforms especially designed for a certain purpose.

The drawbacks to this rifle are few:  First, its blued finish and black stock.  Bluing is not necessarily an ideal weatherproofing coating; in fact, it’s terrible.  Besides that, it’s shiny.  Recommendations to deal with this issue are a treatment of Gunkote, Diamond Coat, or other rust inhibitor that’s permanent to the finish.  An even less-expensive way would be to spray paint (very carefully) every exposed part of the rifle with your choice of paint ranging from Krylon to Brownell’s “Alumahide” paints. There are many patterns available on-line that can be printed and replicated with a total cost of about $30 in spray paint.   Its other drawback is that it has not been ‘battle proven,’ such as the second recommendation, through long service in the US military.

The second recommendation along the same lines of the first is the venerable US Rifle, Model 1903A3.  Many are still available, but the cost has gone up for a decent example.  This rifle sports a 24 inch barrel, is extremely accurate out to 600 meters with iron sights, and with minimal care, will last several life times.  The “Ought-Six” round is ubiquitous and can be had just about anywhere, cheaply.  The ’03 can eat anything from the light 110 gr to the 220 gr rounds with absolutely no problem.  Additionally, if the owner wants to have it in .308, it can be re-barreled fairly inexpensively along with having the barrel cut down to 20 inches.  All it takes is a decent gunsmith.

The receiver can, in fact, be drilled and tapped for a scope if one desires or needs optics.  If a scope is added, however, unless it’s a forward scope, the bolt will have to be reworked to allow the bolt handle to clear the scope.  The finish can be upgraded as in the first recommendation also.

For those who like psychological advantages, the ’03 has a bayonet lug as an integral part of the stock bands and issue or replica 10 to 16 inch bayonets are readily available.  Reports that I’ve received on the replicas say they’re just as good as the originals; the only difference being they’re not original.

The receiver also has a built in stripper clip guide to top off the internal mag (which also boasts a ‘cut off’ that allows the rifle to be used as a single shot during non-emergencies and as a 6 shot repeater during ‘oh shit’ situations) that holds 5 rounds.

The ’03 does have the disadvantage of being about 3 pounds (or so) heavier than the Savage, but can do something the Savage can’t, due to it’s light stock:  The ’03 can be used to beat an attacker half-to-death without sustaining damage, or if sustained, very little damage, and once reloaded, can be used accurately again in the rifle mode.

The third basic “GP SHTF Rifle” is the venerable 8mm Mauser.  It’s a WWII rifle, just as the ’03, and can do and take about the same things the ’03 can do.  Ammunition can be tricky, in that much of what’s available from surplus is ‘corrosive’, meaning that corrosive salts were used in the primers, and the rifle must be cleaned as soon as practical to keep the barrel from corroding.

Don’t let this disadvantage put you off if you like or have access to one of these fine rifles.  They hit like a mule, and whatever gets hit, stays hit.  They can cost anywhere from $300 to $800, depending on the source used.

Judge Napolitiano: “No Fly, No Buy’ Means No Freedom”

H/T Wirecutter, here.

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From the Freedom Files

No Fly, No Buy’ Means No Freedom

The people in the government who want to control our personal choices are the enemies of freedom. And the enemies of freedom can be very clever and seductive.

Last week, these folks, manifesting their lust to keep us dependent upon the government by rejecting the natural right to self-defense, coined a clever phrase: “No fly, no buy.” It sounds rational, yet it rejects core American values.

The phrase was pounded home to average Americans during a one-sided 15-hour televised marathon on the floor of the Senate orchestrated by the gun control crowd. The essence of the argument was that stricter laws regarding gun sales would have prevented the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. In gun control advocates’ dream world, the self-loathing Islamic State-inspired killer, willing to take 49 innocent lives, would somehow have been unwilling to violate restrictive gun purchase laws; and his obedience to those laws would have saved lives.

Their argument is naive and absurd. A person willing to commit mass murder is surely willing to break the law to acquire the means to commit the murders. So blinded were these senators in their misguided utterances about self-defense that they forgot about the Constitution.

The legislation they offered would have required that people whose names the feds put on a terror watchlist or a no-fly list (these are often done simultaneously) would not be legally able to purchase a gun. The senators summarized this idea dozens of times as “no fly, no buy.”

Though this phrase, which was quickly picked up by many of my colleagues in the media, has an easy and simplistic ring to it, it reveals a troubling ideology that profoundly rejects core American values.

When Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence that we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights and when the inalienability of our rights was codified in the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, the United States was wedded to the Judeo-Christian principle that our rights stem from our humanity. This was expressly recognized recently by the Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller, in which it held that the right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental personal right, not a gift of the government to a group.

A fundamental personal right is the natural ability of individuals to make meaningful choices without a government permission slip. May the government ever interfere with fundamental rights? The short answer is yes. The longer answer is that it can only do so if it can demonstrate a compelling governmental interest — served by the least restrictive means, and only after due process.

Stated differently, if the government wants to silence your speech or deny you the right to self-defense, it must meet a very high burden in a public courtroom. It must demonstrate to a judge and jury that its need to silence or disarm you is compelling, and its goals may not be attained by any lesser means. Americans need not demonstrate a compelling need to speak or bear arms; the government must demonstrate a compelling need to prevent us from doing so.

That is what lawyers call black letter law — meaning it is well-established, followed throughout the land and rarely challenged. Until now.

Earlier this week in the Senate, the gun control crowd sought to give nameless and faceless federal bureaucrats the ability to strip Americans of their right to keep and bear arms by putting their names on a terror watchlist/no-fly list and prohibiting those on the list from buying guns. Yet none of these senators could state the criteria for putting a name on that list, and none could identify the people who prepare or keep the list.

That’s because these are well-guarded government secrets — secrets that have no place in American life.

If a government bureaucrat can put your name on a secret list on the bureaucrat’s own whim or even using secret standards and, as a result, you have lost a fundamental liberty, then the feds have transformed a natural right into a governmental gift. If the feds can create a no-fly list in secret and “no fly” comes to mean “no buy,” then we have no rights but what the government will permit us to do.

As if to underscore his ignorance of American values, one of the senators even stated that due process is killing us. He must have forgotten his oath to uphold the Constitution, which guarantees that the government may not take life, liberty or property without due process.

Due process — the absolute right to know the law and to force the government to prove a violation of it to a jury before it can take life, liberty or property — is the essence of the rights of free people. It is utterly scandalous — and probably disqualifying from office — that a senator could bemoan its existence.

Can you see how low we have sunk? The gun control crowd doesn’t care about personal liberty in a free society; it just cares about control. It wants us all to be pliant and reliant on a government that it controls; never mind that it is utterly incapable of protecting us from crazies who will resort to mass death for their own deranged purposes.

If the government secretly can put an American’s name on a secret list and, as a result, his liberty is lost, then there are no freedoms — just government-granted privileges. And if it can do this to the natural rights to travel and self-defense, can other fundamental rights be far behind?

Here’s Something You Might Wish to Read…

towercranearabic

As it clearly demonstrates the hypocrisy of ‘liberal tolerance’….author Matt Bracken, who’s terrific trilogy, “Enemies Foreign and Domestic” is still going strong (and you can read all his works on Kindle Unlimited for free!), has started a new series originally seen at WRSA and Gates of Vienna, and now here, as part of our rare political op-eds.

Read and think.  I can’t say enjoy, because the subject of conflict and persecution is not ‘enjoyable.’  However, it is something we must think about and be ready to meet should those people become even more hostile and make good their threats to start targeting ‘average Americans.’

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

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Post Script:  “This story is dedicated to the memory of Amina and Sarah Said, who deserved much better in the Land of the Free.

Re-Post: Essential Skills: Getting Home – Pt 3

Timely re-post, 3rd installment.

Putting it all together, when you’re making up your ‘Get Home Kit’, it will most likely be made up from several components that include clothing, sustainment, and personal defense items.  It most certainly won’t fit into one small or medium day pack, especially when the weather turns colder.  Right now in my vehicle, I have a small storage container that contains the following:

  • Boots
  • Coat & Liner
  • Silk Long Underwear
  • Socks (seasonally appropriate)
  • Hat
  • Gloves
  • Pants
  • Belt
  • Shirt
  • Sunglasses or wind goggles (seasonally appropriate)

The pack contains all other items, so when I grab it, I don’t have to think about it.  I stow it next to the storage container and I’m off.  I can add or delete any other items I might deem necessary for a single trip as circumstances warrant.  For example, if I’m traveling to or through heavy snow country or winter storms, I may include snow shoes, trekking poles, heavier gloves, insulated pants, water purifier, utility pot, a small stove (the 120 hour emergency candle doubles as a stove), comfort foods, small shovel, hatchet, etc.

snowshoes

Whatever you put together, as another professional, JC Dodge over at Mason Dixon Tactical, is wont to say, “ounces make pounds and pounds make pain,” so make sure you can, in fact, carry it.  Over-packing is a serious drawback, and as such, let your decisions be based on NEED v. WANT balanced against your environment and trip plans.  Wirecutter provides a good explanation of what his kit includes, here.

overpacked ruck

Your fitness level is directly related to your probability of making the trip home on foot.  Remember that, and take appropriate measures.  Don’t plan on being able to drive, though every mile put behind you in your vehicle helps immeasurably in your effort to get home to protect your ‘precious cargo’.  Discipline in your fitness regimen will save you from regret during the ‘real thing’ when you’re trying to get home and just don’t have what it takes.

discipline

Keep the primary objective in mind at all times:  GET HOME WITHOUT INJURY IN ORDER TO PROTECT PRECIOUS CARGO.  Only pack and carry what you actually need to achieve that objective.  And during the trip, every thing you do should be guided by that objective as well.

 

reunited family