The Problem With Leading…and Following

Note: I started this article four weeks ago. Since then, I was dealing with a family emergency, so I wasn’t able to finish it until now. Imagine my (un)surprise when a month later, it was still timely, because there’s still drama.

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As I write this, it’s a day ending in ‘y,’ so there’s drama du jour in the “patriot movement.”  As usual, it’s yet another brouhaha about rumors, feds and schemes. (Kind of sounds like it should be sung like the old Cher song about gypsies and whatnot.)  

Meanwhile, a 2-minute stroll through social media shows that the same people who claim to not want tyranny are desperately searching for a regional/national leader in the movement who will tell them what to do. Such folks completely miss the point.  Contrary to popular opinion, a new George Washington will not rise suddenly from the militia ‘officer cadre,’ fresh from the rank he just gave himself and ready to lead teeming national masses of patriots from his secret bunker in Nebraska known as MiWeCOM.  

Think about it.  On one hand, you have all of these people screaming about freedom and rights and the “soul’s right to breathe,” to steal a line from Good Will Hunting. Those same people, however, are running around following people.  They need the safety of a group doing it all right there with them. They post the memes and run their mouths on various sites, as if by doing so they are both affirming their own worth to the movement and contributing their own noise to the echo chamber.  Neither things really accomplish much, but social media “activism” is still somehow the most-used “tactic” in the movement’s arsenal — and I use the term activism in the loosest of ways. 

It’s a nasty truth, but if people read more, learned more, knew themselves better, they wouldn’t need someone giving them marching orders for activism. They’d already know what to do, and they’d already be doing it.  There wouldn’t be this never-ending cannibalism, because it wouldn’t matter what so-and-so was doing; people would be far too busy taking back their own towns and counties to worry about what Joe Blow in the next state over was doing.  There wouldn’t be this constant need for group validation.  Basically, you’d have a whole bunch of individuals, choosing to segregate and/or coalesce into small, effective local groups of their own choosing by whatever means or criteria they deem necessary, for whatever one-time, short-term, or long-term purposes they decide.  Maybe they do stuff as a group. Maybe they do stuff as individuals. The point is, they don’t need to be told what to do, and they don’t need to have everyone see them do it.

There are groups here and there who are working within their own counties. They’re running for local offices; they’re cleaning up highways; they’re working directly with the community in a host of ways — including forging a professionally courteous relationship with local first responders and law enforcement.  They have learned the single most important thing in a guerrilla-type conflict: Without the support of the people, you will lose. They’re ensuring they have that support.

What does your national group have? Are you seen as morons who call for snacks after ill-advised actions? Are you being completely mocked and not taken seriously by a good portion of the country? Or are you focused on building a reputation of integrity, dependability, and clear-headedness in your own communities and among your own neighbors? While some think that being called “Y’allQaeda” is a badge of honor, it’s actually a pretty decent indicator that you’re failing at the popular support aspect.

Some groups aren’t known as groups at all; they’re just regular folks, contributing in their own ways, under the radar; they’re the ‘go-to’ people for information or resources. They’re the folks who can get you things, or can get a message from one place to another. They’re the ones responsible for a whole bank of cameras suddenly not working, or billboards getting defaced, or posters appearing everywhere.  You don’t see them, and that’s how they like it. You do, however, see the results of their work.

People who need the validation, who are unable to think for themselves, are ripe for the picking because they can be steered and manipulated — it’s that simple.

And what about so many of these leaders? 

There’s always someone who wants to be in charge, who thinks that leadership means taking over wherever they go.  You’ll notice that these people often equate volume with leadership, and there are plenty of people who will follow that, even if a few moments of research and/or critical thinking would dispel their starry-eyed worship of their favorite hero or patron saint of the moment. 

There are other types of ‘leaders,’ too,  who think that it’s their job to make sure everyone knows that THEY are ditching their job for the day/week/month to go do “patriot stuff,” and that’s what ‘real commitment’ is.  In fact, that type of guy also expects a few other things.  If you’re not as committed as he is (you know, because you decided to go to work that day and provide for your family, for instance), then you should be donating to his cause, because after all, freedom is expensive and the least you can do is support the people who are truly committed.  If he’s really gung-ho, he’ll even make noises about how the movement should be ‘thinned out’ and the people who ‘aren’t committed’ should be ‘kicked out.’ You know, because that’s his call to make, as the SuperGeneral Grand McPoobah of the Liberty Ranger Wolfpack Wild Operator Corps.

It’s all become some popularity contest, where your value to the cause is apparently determined by how long you can get other people to pay your bills for you while you leave your own family, job, and responsibilities in your local area to go ‘protest’ somewhere.    Meanwhile these are often the same folks that ridicule the Left for bussing in protesters to events.  And of course, in all ‘patriot’ activities, pics or it didn’t happen. You can’t get credit for what no one saw, you know.

Let’s extrapolate some of this to a different scenario.  Imagine that you’re a member of a charity group based in the inner city of Chicago. Your focus is caring for the homeless, the sick and hungry.  You have a good number of people, and a lot of donors for the cause. In short, you could get a lot of work done — and you do. You travel all over the place, giving talks and organizing protests about hunger and homelessness.  This morning, in fact, you step over the elderly homeless man who sleeps in your building’s doorway as you look at your phone and make sure you’re checked in for your flight to Denver, where you’re giving a speech about how elder care is failing in America. What’s wrong with this picture?

How much more could you get done if you simply stayed in your own community and LOOKED AROUND?  How much could you accomplish if you stopped looking for someone to hold your hand and lead you to the Promised Land Of Liberty, and just started reading the writings from people who already wrote down exactly how to do it?  How much stronger would we be as a movement if we stopped looking to others for validation and started doing what needs to be done even if no one sees it? 

If you want to truly be self-governed, then lead yourself first. Learn the information you need to know in order to understand BOTH sides of liberty — the duty first, the right second (and for the record, that’s a LOT more information than just the Constitution or Declaration of Independence).  Learn how to think critically, to set emotion and narrative aside to get to the truth — even if it means you need to shift your belief and/or actions. Don’t follow men; if you perform the due diligence of study, you won’t need to.  Mankind is self-interested at best, and straight up evil at worst. 

Your worth to the movement is not based upon how loud you are, how far you’re willing to travel to protest, or how much money you donate to this cause or that cause.  It’s not based on how strongly you defend this person or that person on Facebook, and it’s not found in your tattoos, your bumper stickers, or your memes.  It is, however, found in your ability to understand information, your willingness to seek it, and your desire to use it — regardless of who knows who you are and what you’re doing. 

Some of the people worth most in this movement are acting as individuals, within their own communities. They are also silent….and very, very busy.

Brushbeater on the Following of Men

If you don’t read Brushbeater, you should. Especially this one, because he brilliantly describes something that far too many people absolutely refuse to see.

Escapism is a dangerous, dangerous mistress. I submit to you that no one behind a keyboard is your leader. No One. Further, no one you don’t know personally or interact with on a regular basis should know much of anything about you. Period. If they’re asking questions they shouldn’t or you don’t feel comfortable answering, don’t. As some of you who’ve interacted with me behind closed doors know, I don’t give out personal information to anyone I don’t plan on meeting in person. And even then, it’s very limited and cryptic. Why? Because you don’t need to know, that’s why. Because trust is built over time in the flesh, people are generally not trustworthy, as I could spell out for you several occasions where information given by a former low level confidant lead to the targeting of Taliban leaders. Sold out by their buddies for a few bucks. And that’s not counting the moles we inserted; so unless you’ve run those kinds of operations, keep your trap shut to people who are warning you that some dude behind a keyboard might not be what he claims. And as many tirelessly point out over and over again, cognitive infiltration is rife in the so-called liberty movement.

RTWT.

How Some Pot Smokers In Seattle Taught Us Recruiting Tips

For those who need the tl;dr, no, I’m not advocating we use pot to recruit people to the liberty cause. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to the rest of the article.

If you paid attention to the May Day ‘festivities’ (I use the term loosely) yesterday, especially in Seattle, you might have noticed something. While in other cities, Antifa threw rocks and Molotov cocktails, acted like idiots, and generally presented themselves as a threat to humanity, in Seattle there was a lot of yelling…and then a lot of talking.

There were three factors going on in Seattle yesterday that snuffed out the flame of Antifa violence before it could even get going.

1)  A massive police presence. Whether you like cops or not isn’t the issue. The fact is that there were so many cops on site in Westlake Park that even if Antifa had tried something massive, they’d have been outnumbered. As it was, there were very few arrests; one was for throwing an object from across the street. Every time there was a hint of scuffle, the police stepped in and separated the parties.

2) Early deployment of anti-communist forces. Whether you want to call them pro-Trump, pro-liberty, whatever, they were there in force, and they were there hours before Antifa was even expected. They possessed the landscape, and so by the time Antifa got out of bed and mobilized, the other side was already there, holding ground — and doing it with respect for the cops and the grounds they were standing on.

3) Intermixing of groups. While this can easily be a recipe for disaster, the fact that anti-communist groups held the ground meant all Antifa could do was either circle around outside, or mingle. That separated them into smaller groups of 2-3 at a time, somewhat sapping both their numbers and their resolve. It’s a lot easier to act like a jackass when you’re in a big group — but when there’s only 2-3 of you and you’re surrounded by a bunch of geared-up folks who can easily take you and are willing to do so, it changes the game somewhat.

But all of that isn’t the point of this article.

One very interesting dynamic that I noticed from the multiple feeds I was monitoring, including from one of my own sources, is one of forced discussion. There were Antifa pockets mixed in with anti-communist groups, and with that many cops around, no one was going to get much done in the way of physical violence. So they were forced to scream at each other…and then they started actually talking. Granted, it wasn’t always the most respectful of conversations, but a few times you heard each side say something like, “Hey, we definitely agree on that part.”

As I watched, the mood shifted from anger to simple disagreement…and then out of nowhere, the two sides started taking photos together, arms around each other like they were buddies. Soon a joint was passed around, and for the next 15 minutes or so, there were no sides, there were no fights, just a bunch of folks in radically different dress, agreeing that while they may not like or even understand each other, they could all agree that something was desperately wrong with what’s going on in our government. By the end of the evening, Antifa and anti-communists were standing together, defying an order to disperse by the police, and getting forced out as one group. If you stop and think about that, there’s some serious food for thought in there.

So what’s the takeaway? Well, it’s pretty simple. There are members of Antifa that can still be reached. There are people on the Left — not many, I grant you, but some — who can still be reasoned with, if only we can frame it in language that they can relate to.

We don’t have to agree on every single point. This isn’t some kind of political “missionary dating.” It’s simply good strategy. Antifa is filled with college kids who, quite frankly, don’t know a lot about the intricacies of a lot of subjects yet. They DO, however, understand that society is effed up. They already get that things are wrong. And they have the passion to go do something about it. If we can reach them, show them that they’re fighting for the EXACT side that wants to deny them the things they actually believe in, they can be an incredible force for liberty.

Whether we want to admit it or not, we do agree with some of their concepts — even if we despise their methods of putting them into practice. They want the freedom to believe as they wish — don’t we? They want the liberty to determine their own path — so do we. Granted, they haven’t figured out the responsibility side of liberty yet, or the need to also respect the rights of others, but that can come with education. And yes, some of them are simply violent for the fun of it, and some of them wouldn’t know liberty if it smacked them in the face with a 2×4. This isn’t about them.  This is about the ones who stood there, took off their masks, and actually stopped long enough to listen because the people in front of them were saying something that resonated.

The point is this: We can show up all day ready to fight them — and I’m not even advocating that we NOT do that. We can also, however, see through to the fact that some of them can still be pulled over to the side of liberty. Let’s face it — you didn’t pop out of the womb screaming “give me liberty or give me death,” and if you’re like me and a lot of others, there was a time when you were as statist as the next guy.

Someone along the way probably turned you on to some liberty ideas. Somewhere in your journey, you were presented with facts, and you made a choice based on those facts.  So, just maybe next time you gear up to go face down Antifa, keep your eyes open for opportunities to talk to them, too.

You might be surprised at how well it works.