"If I must suffer a tyrant, place him in a faraway land and give him little reason to concern himself with my business. He may enjoy his palace in peace, so long as I may enjoy my cottage in peace."
Now, I know: this is not how the world works. "You may not be interested in politics, but politics is interested in you." There is no escape. Our lives are dominated by institutions that oppose us and wish to silence us. One cannot remain neutral in the face of an attack on one's very being. This election has made that clear. I have written about my disavowal of the Left in a short thread on my Twitter. I won't copy and paste the whole thread, but here is the link:
We are not Guerrillas. Asymmetry is Death.
Perhaps the single biggest issue that this election has brought to the forefront is the incredible asymmetry in organization between the "Left" and the "Right". There is a Power center in this country, and it's not the Supreme Court or the Presidency. The unholy alliance of Mainstream Media, Academia, Silicon Valley, Wall Street, and the universe of NGOs is far closer to "fascism" than anything Trump or any other politician has done, proposed, or even alluded to in passing. On the contrary, there is basically no meaningful organization amongst the "Right".
How can this be? This utter lack of organization stems from "just let me live" conservatives and libertarians who, as well meaning as they may be, do not understand that you cannot fight organization with disorganization. The "individual" will be ruthlessly crushed by an organized force. A mass of individuals without organization is as useful as an army without any officers. They will be destroyed. It may not be rapid. It may not be sudden. It will normally happen slowly over time, and then all at once. This delusion is pernicious and only maintained because libertarians are wholly detached/distanced from Power. And the delusion keeps them there, impotent and sterile.
Gradually, the forces of the Power Center, the unholy alliance, will chip away at whatever institutions or norms that stand in their way of total domination. Small businesses? Cultural norms? The family? Chip, chip, chip away until they cease existing. This is where the marxist "Capital levels everything in its path" and the conservative "woke capital" critiques converge: remember, conservatism is the abused and battered wife of capitalism. Capital will destroy anything it cannot turn into a commodity, including the family, religion, tradition, etc. and it will replace these with commodified alternatives. Family? Who needs a family when you can have puppies and therapists to prescribe you anti-depressants to make you feel better about your meaningless transactional sex and your ultimately empty attempt to fill your life with meaning through pure credentialist status climbing!
Don't worry, I'm not arguing for the abolition of capitalism. I certainly am not advocating for socialism/communism/whatever you want to call the absurd proposals the "Left" makes about reordering production. Capitalism is a system that offers a wide range of options for implementation. The current one we have not only allows for, but openly incentivizes centralization, which leaves us powerless against massively organized systems hostile to our way of life. We require a system that delegates and decentralizes as much power as possible to as local and specific a level as possible. We need a system that hands power back to local communities/promotes localism, protects freedom of association, and allows individuals to direct their own lives outside of the control of the algorithms that dictate so much of our lives now. I have been writing about this on Medium (current home for my more long-form work).
Anyways, getting back on track: the asymmetry of organization between the Right and "Left" (I am calling them the Empire from now on). Make no mistake, this unholy alliance is the Empire. And you cannot meaningfully challenge them without organization. We MUST build alternative institutions. Here is the central issue: you cannot tell people "you should do X" and then give them no viable pathway to get X done given their circumstances and capabilities. It's like the person and their goal are on different sides of a canyon. What we must resolve ourselves to do is begin building bridges. To begin building the institutions and systems that will give people an opportunity to escape the Blue Empire, or meaningfully fight back.
Now, many people have tried to build alternative institutions in the past and failed. I am not coming up with an entirely new idea. But I do think these people have focused on building the wrong institutions. Without patronage, without a set of powerful backers willing to protect you, alternative institutions can only grow and flourish if they do not attract the attention of Power. A “bottom up” approach of building institutions can only work if these institutions survive long enough to become power centers of their own, strong enough to at least withstand the onslaught of the Blue Empire. And there needs to be many of these new institutions forming, so the Blue Empire has to split its forces. This is the only place where “guerilla fighting” becomes relevant.
Personally, I feel that K-12 education and local government offer areas ripe for alternative institutions being built. I will expand on this in the future, but there needs to be investigation into how to build robust institutions outside of the Blue Empire and then action to accomplish that building.
Closing Words: Be Mindful of what Must be Done.
Now, I would like to present some final words on organization. I will be far less kind here. For disclosure, I used to be an anarchist (cringe, I know) and I still have sympathies for the school of thought. But one cannot deny the existence of Sovereignty or the incoherence of Liberalism. "Harm" is a meaningless term, no matter how much libertarians attempt to refine it. "Liberty"/"autonomy" are not real. So when it comes down to organization, understand something: organization must be made in order to fight back against the Blue Empire chipping away at your way of life. Remember: there will almost always be an incentive to defect. "Oh, the town will be fine but I make a little extra money", etc. And little by little, your way of life disappears in a death by a thousand cuts. Understand this: if someone refuses to organize with you against the Blue Empire, it occurs for only two reasons: naivety or selfishness. Either they simply cannot envision themselves and other people defecting or they envision a plausible scenario where they themselves would like to defect. These people are either fools or your enemy.
And one last thought: understand that apathy is normal. One of the most pernicious and difficult things to deal with in this world is the obscurity of power. The greatest tragedy of our world is that, lost in the endless array of kafkaesque bureaucracies and narrative-forming entities, it isn't even clear who to blame! Who should I be mad at? "The Man"? That's meaningless. Why can't I see where Power lies, the formalist cries out in pain as he strikes you. Certainly, the most democratic thing you can do in a highly federalized and complex system is make it clear who should be gui**otined when things go wrong. But there will always be benefits to obscuring Power. The incentive structure is built into Power's very nature. It cannot be reformed. To deny this and rail impotently against the bizzare world of innocuously named NGOs and institutions that determine so much of our lives is to surrender in everything but name. You have become the very thing you hate. A Resistance in Name Only. A true RINO.
It has been helpful that so much of the power structure has at least revealed itself over the past few years, but make no mistake: much still exists cloaked in darkness. It is entirely reasonable to feel overwhelmed, apathetic, and discouraged in the face of such a monstrosity. But remember: sometimes we cast shadows far larger than ourselves. Do not be discouraged. You must resolve yourself to fight for your values and way of life. And that means not playing the enemy's game on the enemy's turf. It means changing the rules. Enough of "norm respecting". Norms are established by Power to keep you in line. The Blue Empire seethes when you refuse to play its game, because it loses leverage. Do not give them that leverage. Build alternative institutions. Defend yourselves and your way of life. Stay strong my friends.