How to actually defeat the US government

(This is part 2 of my letter to Ron Paul supporters.)

In part 1, we established that electing Ron Paul, even if it was possible, is not a practical way to convert USG into a libertarian institution. This is because the policies of USG are not set by its politicians, but by its permanent civil service, which tends to prevail in any conflict between the two.

The permanent civil service is much larger than it looks. It is best defined as everyone involved in setting and implementing USG’s policies. When we realize that this includes the press, the universities, and the NGOsphere (the brilliant Richard North of EU Referendum, one of the few bloggers who really understands how the modern state works and has not been psychically shattered by the awful truth, describes a typical rat’s nest of EU NGOs here), we start to realize why the battle plays out as it does.

Civil servants defeat politicians because no politician or political appointee can harm any civil servant’s career. Since civil servants, in the broad sense defined above, command numerous levers of public opinion—such as, um, the schools, the universities and the press—the converse is not the case. The result is that politicians either become housetrained or lose their jobs, or subsist in tiny backward niches whose voters couldn’t give a damn what the Times thinks. (E.g., Ron Paul’s district.)

An excellent way to describe any system is to outline its fringes. A fine example of an entity on the fringe of the Polygon, but still within it, is the Cato Institute. Somewhere I had gotten the idea that Cato accepts government funds, but in fact it does not—its main sponsor is, of course, billionaire Charles Koch. (I thank Will Wilkinson for the correction.) But when you compare Cato’s homepage to that of the liberal Brookings Institute, a classic Beltway bandit, I think you can see how I was confused. I think an alien who understood English could eventually figure out the substantive difference between Cato and Brookings. But it would have to be one pretty sharp alien.

When we look at the homepage of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, which will be on the Orange Line just as soon as the Metro extends out to Alabama, we can see the difference. The purpose of LvMI is to propagate ideas. The purpose of Cato is to impact policy. I.e.: to wield power. Power, of course, can be wielded for good as for ill. But Tolkien knew something about that.

I like Brookings’ motto: Quality, Independence, Impact. If anyone in Washington would sacrifice the third for the first two, ten others are ready to take his place. Impact is the true currency of DC. The social status of a Beltwayite corresponds directly to his impact. I suspect this is the real reason that LvMI is in Alabama: it has no impact, and hence no power. And its employees would constantly feel humiliated and scorned, like nerds at a jock party. This might not affect LvMI’s mission, but it would be distracting. Besides, Alabama is really cheap.

What Cato sacrifices for its impact is that the set of ideas it can propagate is, by any serious historical standard, enormously narrow. As we’ve seen in l’affaire Paul, the great fear that haunts the Catonians at night is the fear of losing their legitimacy. Their impact would go with it. DC has no pity for cranks and crackpots. The result is a school of thought that can fairly be characterized as pro-government libertarianism.

Sadly, we have no reason to think that this Schlesingerian “vital center” has any correlation whatsoever with reality. The center defines itself in political terms, not intellectual terms. It is the belief of the average voter. Since the civil service invests most of its energy in managing public opinion, also known as manufacturing consent, the outcome is quite clear. As the center drifts inexorably leftward, fueled by nothing more than the raw personal ambition of a thousand thousand Brookingsites, the likes of a Cato must drift with it—or be excluded from the policymaking process. Cato has minimal cognitive independence, unless of course it confines itself to today’s goodthink.

This is why we see the level of raw hatred and arrogance that the Orange Line Mafia aims at its redneck rivals. Progressives can be debated with. Paleoconservatives are dangerous cranks who must be ostracized. Cato regularly features progressive essays on its Cato Unbound series. You will never see an LvMI paleo there—let alone a real live racist, like Jared Taylor—and if you did the progressives would vanish at once. As would the impact. The invisible procession, going by.

Whereas the cranks over at—and there is a lot of serious craziness and pure stupidity that appears there, on a daily basis—can think and say whatever the hell they want. Defend the Confederacy? Why not? Probably no one at Cato wants to defend the Confederacy. But in their hearts, they know that even if they wanted to, they couldn’t. And this has got to burn.

I mean, how long has Jeff Davis been dead? What sensible person could possibly care? How can you carry around an emotional attachment to a 150-year-old war? Talk about lunacy.

The really sad thing is that the Orange Liners can only feel like they have impact because DC, being utterly sclerotic and impossible to change, has defined impact down to levels derisory to anyone outside the bubble. On Cato’s impact page, they list precisely one success: school vouchers in Washington, DC. Well, knock me over with a feather. But really, by Beltway standards, this is not bad for 30 years and 100 million dollars—especially when the product you have to push is an inherently nasty and pointless one, like small government. It’s hard to sign people up for abolishing their own jobs.

So the whole Cato disaster provides yet another example of a strategy which cannot possibly succeed in reforming USG. The Cato–LvMI divide has been described as the Stalin–Trotsky split of libertarianism. The ugly truth is that neither “Stalinist” Orange Line libertarianism nor “Trotskyite” Ron Paul Revolution has any chance of affecting USG in any significant way.

The stunning, yet obvious answer is that we have no reason at all to think that USG can be reformed in anything like a libertarian direction. It is a highly stable system in which all changes tend to be expansive. It shares this quality with all institutions controlled by their own employees.

In the immortal words of Arthur Conan Doyle, when we have eliminated the impossible, we are left with the improbable. Therefore, if USG cannot be reformed by either political or institutional methods, it cannot be reformed at all. If despite this we consider it harmful, we have accepted the need not to reform it, but to defeat it.

The fundamental case for defeating USG is that USG was established to serve the interests of its citizens. If you are a US citizen, you agree that USG as it is does not serve our interests, and you agree that it cannot be reformed to do so, you are at least ready to support defeating it. And any means whose collateral damage does not exceed the disservice done by USG are acceptable. This is a straightforward strategic problem, and we can solve it as such.

First and foremost, you can support defeating USG without wishing for a state of wild, Somalian anarchy in North America, because we are lucky enough to have a backup system of government: the states. The obvious and straightforward result of defeating USG is to dissolve the Union (as Michael Rozeff proposes here) and return sovereignty to the 50 states. Probably the existing military should be retained as a continental defense force. Otherwise, independent states can relate to each other much as the US and Canada do now.

There are an enormous number of details to be resolved in any such proposal. In general, the states should assume the financial obligations of USG, even its informal “entitlements”—no one’s Social Security or Medicare need be cut off. Central institutions will be necessary for a few years to ensure an orderly liquidation. To be safe, these should probably be located outside the watershed of the Potomac, and they should probably transition ASAP to an employee set untainted by service with USG or its various tentacles.

Is there any guarantee that state government will be more libertarian than Federal government? None at all (unless we go all the way to neocameralism). But state governments in a decentralized North America would at least be subject to serious jurisdictional competition. They would be free to compete for desirable citizens on the basis of good customer service. This should put a serious boost of genuine market energy behind libertarian government.

Said product is not one most people think they want now. But I suspect that seeing it would change their minds. If you are a libertarian or anything like it, and you believe that ten years after the abolition of Washington there would be even the slightest shred of affectionate nostalgia for the old Potomac beast, I think you have a serious case of cognitive dissonance. I am quite confident that the reaction would be: “why did we put up with that for so long?”

If you are not so confident, any transition plan could include a ten-years-later referendum on restoring DC—from NRO to HUD, from DEA to NSF, etc., etc., right down to the offices and positions. Of course any such restoration would have to retrieve its employees from the productive sector, where they might find that they actually enjoyed their work. But these, too, are details.

I won’t try to outline a transition plan in this post. Even just how to deal with the US dollar is a problem that deserves its own essay, if not its own blog. I hope you’ll just accept the lesson of history that change happens, and that it often looks just as inevitable in the past tense as improbable in the future.

The critical problem is: can we make it happen? And if so, how?

Of course we have to consider the possibility that defeating USG is simply impossible. Perhaps the thing is just eternal. In that case, far better to roll over and think of England.

Still, history does not record any eternal regimes. Nor does it record any regimes that saw themselves as anything but. If UR has convinced its readers of anything, I hope it has convinced one or two people to actually believe in history, at least as more than a series of horrid crimes gradually vanquished by reason and prosperity.

On the face of it, defeating USG seems even harder than reforming it. After all, we are looking at a country full of people who swore a sacred oath to USG, five days a week, for the twelve most formative years of their lives. What kind of superpowers would we need to defeat that? (I love the Bellamy salute. Note how, in this picture, the hand seems to be creeping around to the more anatomically-natural Roman position. Thank you, Arthur Lipow.)

But so what? The same people believe in Social Security, the FDA, and aid to Nepal. Why should it be easier to change their minds partially, than totally? If all you have is bare hands, is it easier to slice a watermelon, or to smash it?

Here at UR, we deal with the sacred-oath thing by shifting our words slightly. Instead of USG, we use the slightly more neutral name Washcorp. This reminds us that USG is no more than a corporation in the strict sense of the word, i.e., an organization with a virtual identity. In a slightly more outré move, we translate the old Viking word for USG’s continent as Plainland, its subjects thus being Plainlanders. Thus rather than trying to free the US from the evil clutches of USG—an almost oxymoronic task—we are trying to free Plainland from Washcorp.

Perhaps you remember how confused you were in high school when you read Hamlet, and found Claudius being called “Denmark”? Did a little lightbulb go off in your head when you realized how nice it is for a monarchy, if its subjects use the same word for both king and country? And when you saluted the flag that morning, which were you feeling? Warm ties of love and loyalty to Plainland, or warm ties of love and loyalty to Washcorp? It’s these little Jedi mind tricks that hold the whole thing together. They’re small, but they add up.

So all we have to do is liquidate Washcorp. Corporations are liquidated every single day. Hundreds of corporations are in liquidation as we speak. Typically this happens because they are bankrupt—an adjective hard to define in an entity whose liabilities are denominated in its own scrip, but one I often hear applied to Washcorp.

But there’s one big difference between liquidating Washcorp and liquidating Enron, which is that Enron didn’t have the most powerful armed forces in the history of the world. To defeat Washcorp, we need to defeat its military. There are a number of plausible strategies for doing so. And none of them involve hunting rifles, Patrick Swayze, or IEDs.

Clearly, to destroy Washcorp, we must capture it first. And one of the patterns we’re seeing is that the methods which work for a revolutionary capture of the state do not work for a reactionary capture of the state. This pattern is very consistent, and I’m pretty confident that anyone who ignores it is making a tremendous mistake.

For example, one way to see the Cato Institute is to see it as a sort of libertarian Fabian Society. Did Fabian or Gramscian tactics work as a method for socialists to capture the 19th-century liberal state? Spectacularly. But they worked because they attracted a legion of smart, amoral careerists who saw the near-infinite power and plunder that the hypertrophied state would create. Cato has no such promise. All it has is Koch, and his wallet is finite. Libertarianism does not create jobs.

We see the same pattern when we consider guerrilla warfare against Washcorp, either of the classic Maoist rural form, or the newer urban-guerrilla (“terrorist”) approach, or simply the strategy of building ominous and threatening paramilitary militias. These strategies work for leftist revolutionaries because they are essentially criminal in nature, and leftism—whose Yeatsian passionate energy is inseparable from its capacity for pure plunder—is fundamentally a criminal movement.

For example, in the early ’90s, after the Soviet Union collapsed, it became clear to many Americans that Washington was no picnic, neither. I don’t know that anyone took to the hills à la Patrick Swayze—unless you count Eric Rudolph. But perhaps you remember the militia movement of the period, which of course died a pathetic and probably well-deserved death after the Oklahoma City bombing.

As you may remember, no one at the New York Times asked “why do they hate us?” about Timothy McVeigh and his ilk. There was no sudden outpouring over the grievances of agro-Americans. The general national consensus, with which I basically agree, was that the Oklahoma City bombers were sick, crazy rednecks and they deserved to die. The militia movement sensed this feeling, it realized that it had no chance of victory, and it faded away.

Terrorism proper is only half of an effective strategy for seizing power. The other half is an information campaign that convinces the victims of terrorism that they can alleviate it by making concessions, typically in the form of money, power, or both. This brings the terrorists closer to their objective, which recruits more terrorists. The final result is a criminal state, led by the former terrorists—who are now, of course, statesmen.

(This pattern is the origin of most of today’s Third World governments. The political side of the campaign was, of course, our good friends the progressives. The result… do we need to go there? Not today, perhaps.)

And when we look at reactionary terrorist movements in the postwar era, such as the OAS or the AWB, we see the same pathetic Timothy McVeigh pattern. The OAS has quite arguably been proved right—Arab rule in Algeria has been a murderous catastrophe. The AWB is perhaps in the process of being proved right. So what? They both got their asses kicked. Like all failed reactionary terrorists, they made the mistake of aggravating the true authorities without having the power to destroy them. As Machiavelli pointed out, if you strike at a king, aim to kill.1

Prewar reactionary terrorists, such as the Nazis and Fascists, succeeded because they formed an alliance with the rotting remnants of the ancien régime. The ancien régime is no more. Case closed. Stormfront kids, I love you for your passion. But really, why bother? Perhaps you could put all that energy into, like, getting a job, or something.

If libertarians controlled the press, schools and universities, libertarian paramilitary movements would be practical and effective. After every bomb went off, the Times could whine about how the root cause of libertarian terrorism is high taxes and Orwellian antiterrorist measures, yadda, yadda. On the other hand, if libertarians controlled the press, schools and universities, libertarian paramilitary movements would be unnecessary.

We are left with exactly one time-honored reactionary military measure: the military coup. Since in all states the military is the final court of appeal whether they like it or not, a coup (contra Arnold Kling) is always an option, whatever your form of government.

Perhaps through a sort of vestigial anti-Latin prejudice, there is nothing Plainlanders—in or out of the military—fear and loathe so much as a coup. On the other hand, if you read a lot of milblogs, which I do, you’ll start to notice that there is nothing Plainland warfighters fear and loathe so much as Washcorp. And they are especially unhappy about the center of its central nervous system, i.e., the official press. Since in all states the military is the final court of appeal whether they like it or not, this has some potential.

The Plainlander military caste is fundamentally a red-state institution. I wouldn’t say that progressives in the military are as rare as conservatives at State, but it might be close. What makes this situation not at all volatile, at present, is that the Washcorp military, besides its excellent command discipline, has a strong tradition of conflating Plainland and Washcorp. (I believe the composite is known as America—apparently there’s some sort of colorful “flag” thing. Like a logo, but you can print it on cloth and run it up a pole. A sort of 18th-century version of Blue Force Tracker.)

As someone with no conservative heritage whatsoever, my impression is that most conservatives, while basically sensible, are quite confused about the nature of the modern state. It is hard for me to avoid the conclusion that this confusion primarily serves the interests of their enemies. Perhaps I am right and perhaps the problem will be rectified. However, I don’t see any sign of this happening.

For the most part, it’s simply pointless for anyone who is not part of the military to think at all about military coups. If the generals want to act, they will act. They won’t tell anyone, and they won’t ask anyone. And they will probably act only under quite dire circumstances, which it is simply puerile to wish for.

That said, there are some interesting options that could be facilitated by the Internet. For example, suppose someone managed to set up an external site which could verify the identity and rank of military personnel, but keep it anonymous. The result would be an uncensored forum in which soldiers and sailors could speak honestly about their feelings and concerns.

If this platform was scalable enough to hold an actual democratic election in which only military personnel could vote, it’s quite possible that the outcome of this ballot would have a rather definitive effect on the course of Washcorp. For producing truth, justice and competent government, elections are not much. For organizing large numbers of otherwise independent actors for concerted collective action, let’s face it—they’re the shizzle.

However, this strategy is impractical at present and may never be practical. It is best reserved for the back, back burner. I mention it only because I can imagine very hypothetical situations under which it might work.

This leaves us with the good old-fashioned way of seizing power—convincing people to vote for you. But how is this different from the Ron Paul Revolution? Allow me to explain.

As I’ve said before, Washcorp is best understood not as an electoral democracy, but a massarchy. A massarchy is a state in which power is held by those who manage public opinion. The difference between massarchy and electoral democracy is that in a massarchy, the permanent government (i.e., civil service) maintains a higher degree of legitimacy than elected politicians. The latter are thus essentially decorative and disposable.

Massarchy works because, with modern broadcasting and polling, the tools available to the civil service for both influencing and measuring public opinion are much more powerful and sensitive than anything in the political system. In the 19th century—at least, the early 19th century—politicians actually purported to change the voter’s mind on substantive issues with their speeches and debates. Needless to say, the beliefs of the normal modern voter are either installed via the schools and the press, or (in some cases) transmitted through peer networks which are incredibly jammed with bogus misinformation, conspiracy theories, etc.

Under massarchy, civil servants have an additional advantage: they can anticipate future public opinion, because the leftward drift of opinion has been so consistently predictable. (Gay rights, for example, is an excellent metric.) It is very easy for a civil servant in 2008 to simply organize his career around the plausible political center of 2018 or even 2028. Not so easy for a politician!

So it’s no wonder that the popularity of the permanent government is so high that no pollster even bothers tracking it. Civil servants proper are simply expert professionals who carry out the policies of their masters, the politicians, who are elected by the all-knowing public, whose opinions are right and cannot be inquired into. Nothing to see here. Move right along. The press comes in for a little more flak, especially since first the AM airwaves and then the Internet opened up, but it certainly has power to compensate. As for the universities and schools, who is against science, the arts and letters, or education? No one. There is no opposition. Politics is harmless and contained.

Elections are still informative for one reason: they measure not simple opinion, but motivation and organizational power. A poll will not do this. For example, the fact that Republicans didn’t really care for Rudy Giuliani is a fascinating product of the Presidential election. If you had been sure of this a year ago, you could have made quite a bit of money on the prediction markets. What the early polls were indicating was just name recognition, which is often a good indication of popularity, but prone to remarkable errors. The sad fate of Big Rudy tells us nothing about public opinion on any substantive issue. In theory, however, I suppose it could.

Washcorp is also quite capable of bending when it has to. When 9/11 made the White House (which is of course inherently temporary) and DoD (a hotbed of subversive grumbling) unexpectedly popular, we saw a short bull market in hawkishness not just in Congress, but also even in the press (remember Judy Miller?), State Department, etc.

This is easily explained by the theory that the primary goal of everyone in Washington is to attain as much power as possible, and retain it for as long as possible. When public opinion shifts, Washcorp shifts with it. In 19th-century Britain, figures who adopted this strategy were called trimmers. Unfortunately, now that everyone (except for Ron Paul) is a trimmer, there is no real use for the word.

This sort of unromantic view of the democratic system is absolutely critical if you want to employ what I think is the only practical strategy for defeating Washcorp: capturing public opinion and turning it against Washcorp itself. Trimming is no defense against this attack. If Washcorp trims, it agrees to commit suicide. If it does not, it loses its invulnerability to attack through the electoral system, and electing politicians who will kill it becomes a viable strategy.

In other words, the only way to actually defeat the US government is for the attacker to actually beat it at its own game: manufacturing consent. Everything else is a waste of time.

So: to liquidate Washcorp, convince as many Plainlanders as possible—certainly a majority, and ideally a substantial majority—that Washcorp is not acting in their best interests, that in fact it is fundamentally parasitic, and that it needs to be liquidated.

In my opinion, this is nothing but the truth. This helps. It certainly makes the job easier. But the fundamental nature of the task is military, in the Clausewitzian sense. Truth has certain natural advantages over fiction. It has other natural disadvantages. When your product is the truth, you probably don’t want to contaminate the message with fiction. When your product is fiction, you are free to add any useful embroidery.

My point is that the goal is to get from point A to point B, and anyone who believes that the truth just does this on its own is reading the wrong blog. If the truth is always victorious on its own, it would already have been victorious, and since it has not been, my view of Washcorp cannot be the truth. Either way you are barking up someone else’s tree.

So let’s say that you have the resources of Ron Paul’s war chest (what is it, $20 million? I hope this hasn’t all been spent—I’d like to think it could end up at LvMI), and your goal is to manufacture enough consent to liquidate Washcorp.

What would you do? Buy TV ads, for Ron Paul perhaps? Complete liquidation may not be exactly the Ron Paul platform, but surely it’s close enough for government work. Perhaps if you start by selling Dr. Paul, you can move on to the more aggressive message.

The idea that any of the “moneybomb” take is being spent on TV ads disturbs me. Short of hand-lettered signs on telephone poles, it’s the worst strategy I can think of. Advertising may get you a small amount of name recognition among particularly uninformed voters. These are not the people who are going to vote for Ron Paul, and even if they are they are not the people you want. Inch-deep support is worthless.

For an intelligent and thoughtful person, going from the official press or TV to Ron Paul—let alone to liquidating Washcorp—is not a decision that could possibly be influenced by a 30-second spot. Or even a 5-minute spot. It is not quite at the magnitude of a religious conversion, but it comes close.

Most people are not intelligent and thoughtful—anything but. But they know that government is serious business, and they know enough to get their views on government from people they see as intelligent and thoughtful. For most Plainlanders today, this chain terminates in the official press, which as we’ve seen is an essential organ of Washcorp. D’oh.

Wikipedia’s reliable source policy is typical:

In general, the most reliable sources are peer-reviewed journals and books published in university presses; university-level textbooks; magazines, journals, and books published by respected publishing houses; and mainstream newspapers.

What security does this policy provide against political corruption? Absolutely none. What it says is: trust the authorities. The computer is your friend. These are not the droids you’re looking for. The tap water is perfectly safe. The procedure is for your own good. Etc.

It is not La Wik’s goal to replace or challenge the “mainstream.” In fact, I’d say that it is sensible and conservative to not even try. Short of Uberfact, I don’t see how it could even be attempted. And the fact that we could not imagine a Wikipedia without these “mainstream” information distributors, which of course are informal arms of the State, should alert you to the scale of the problem. Imagine what this paragraph would look like in a modern Third Reich or Soviet Union. Besides being written in German or Russian, how else would it differ? If you remain confused, perhaps this fine article about Putin’s new textbooks will enlighten you.

From the adversarial perspective, the best way to think of Washcorp is as a cult. It so happens that this cult is hundreds of years old, and almost all Plainlanders believe in it. In fact, they accept it so uncritically that they believe there is nothing to believe in. Their natural response to anyone who shows up at their door—or on their TV—and tries to deprogram them will be to think that it is in fact this person who is trying to suck them into a cult. All cult members believe everyone in the outside world is crazy. And vice versa. This is quite normal.

Who is the cult? The only test is the truth. One of the things I’ve been trying to do here at UR is construct a set of case studies in how Washcorp systematically (and quite unconsciously) propagates and maintains fictional perspectives of reality among Plainlanders, to a point at which the very existence of the massarchy is dependent on these fictions.

If you are a new reader, perhaps the just-unearthed Crick letters are a simple way to shake your faith. Washcorp is relatively flexible. It can adjust to many changes in public opinion. But imagine what it would take to adjust to a world in which Crick and Watson were right. Frankly, I can’t even begin to fathom it. The gold standard is a trifle by comparison.

I think it’s pretty obvious that if all—or even any—of my conclusions in these matters are true, liquidating Washcorp in a timely and orderly way is not optional. After water and food, stable government is the next human essential. If you disagree, perhaps Jello Biafra has a lesson for you. If Washcorp’s security really is based on lies, so is yours. If this doesn’t make you uncomfortable, perhaps you are some kind of weapons expert. I’m afraid I am not.

The problem is that I am not an authority on anything. I am just some dude with a weird fake name. If you are smart enough to reason through my arguments and decide whether you agree with them or not, you plus everyone like you could elect a dogcatcher in Nome. My original blog template looked like ass. My posts are unedited and highly rambling. And I am sure I have made many factual errors which don’t involve the Cato Institute.

If you really want to defeat Washcorp, you need to do much, much better than this. You need a real institution with real money and a real staff. Your goal is to be more credible than the official story. You cannot do this with one person.

You need to build a Web site that anyone with a screen and a mouse can click on, and get an accurate understanding of reality, including all the bits of history, government, economics, science and current events that Washcorp doesn’t want you to know. With a 5-minute overview for casual readers, and enough depth that a PhD with a standard Washcorp education will come away at least gritting his teeth.

You need to hire Steve Sailer and Michael Totten and Greg Cochran and Hans-Hermann Hoppe and Steve McIntyre and Jeffrey Rogers Hummel and Razib Khan and Michael Yon and Jörg Guido Hülsmann. Or at least people who are at least as smart, at least as knowledgeable, and at least as expressive as the above.

You need to produce a coherent corpus of authoritative information, à la Diderot, not just a random jumble of essays. You need to crowdsource, but not without editorial control, so that Conquest’s Second Law does not do its thing. You need a place that anyone who speaks English can go to find out what is actually going on in the world, and update that knowledge every day. And above all, you need to be right. The task of replacing Washcorp’s pile of nonsense with some other pile of nonsense is simply not solvable.

And then you need to wait ten or twenty years. Because this stuff doesn’t happen overnight. Your accurate description of reality has to become more fashionable than the official “mainstream” truth. Fortunately, the latter is extremely boring, chock-full of pretentious cant and intentional obfuscation, and often transparently self-contradictory. But you also have to be more fashionable than all your “alternative” competitors (see under: Alex Jones), which is definitely nontrivial. Too bad. It has to be done.

The way to defeat a massarchy is to create and propagate a credible alternate reality that outcompetes the official information network. Fifteen years ago, the propagation part was almost impossible. Today it is trivial. All that’s left is the creation, and I bet it could be done in half Cato’s budget. Bored billionaires of Plainland, you have nothing to lose but your Washcorp. Why not give it a shot?

1. This formulation is attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson and was popularized by Oliver Wendell Holmes. The quote that inspired it appears in Machiavelli’s The Prince:

Upon this, one has to remark that men ought either to be well treated or crushed, because they can avenge themselves of lighter injuries, of more serious ones they cannot; therefore the injury that is to be done to a man ought to be of such a kind that one does not stand in fear of revenge.