I’ve been reading David Epstein’s book “Range” subtitled how generalists succeed in today’s world. The book is a little bit of a misnomer because it’s about much more than being a generalist. It also shows you how to overcome your cognitive biases and abandon methods that aren’t working.
In one part of the book, Epstein explores the cognitive biases that cause hot shots and other forest firefighters to get killed when fires race uphill after them. In these situations, firefighters are trained to drop all their tools so they can outrun the fire to the nearest ridgeline and escape. Unfortunately, despite training, many fail to do so. Instead, they continue running with their tools and, consequently, the fire outruns them. In some studies, firefighters were found burned to death only 50 feet from safety showing that they only needed a little bit more speed and they were so close to surviving rather than dying had they only dropped their tools.
Why did they ignore their training? Their tools were essential to their identity. If they didn’t have their tools, they’d no longer be firefighters and that was too psychologically difficult to accept, so they made the unconscious decision to die with their identity intact. Once you notice this cognitive bias or error, you see it everywhere. For example, farm murders in South Africa. White farmers know the ANC is eventually going to send thugs to murder them and these thugs will in almost every case be helped by a black farmhand. Rather than fire all their farm hands and come up with an adequate defense plan, most farmers cling to their identities as nice people who provide an essential service for others. They can’t understand why anyone – such as ANC Marxists – would identify them as the remnants of invaders from the 1600s who unjustly stole the land when that happened 400 years ago. Thus, they die.
Another example is farmers in the United States who commit suicide at an alarming rate due to inability to provide for themselves as farmers under crushing debt loads and prices fixed by the federal government and commodities traders. Rather than abandon farming or try market gardening or some other small-scale method that yields higher profits in local markets, they keep doing what they’ve always done in the way they know how. When the bank takes their livelihood, they eat a gun.
How about men in the United States? Our identity as men is based on our ability to provide, protect, and procreate. The Second Amendment is obviously a means of protecting one’s wife and children. The Left relentlessly attacks this amendment (as well as all the others) and men keep using ineffective tactics in response such as donating to the NRA, electing Republicans, or protesting. Their tools, in other words, are killing them. Men need to drop their tools and pick up others. We’re going to have to get more-involved in politics as unpleasant as that sounds. The Left has achieved everything they’ve wanted despite starting out as a despised minority through politics, not violence. Now that they’re in power, they’re talking gulags and other harsh measures against adherents to the Bill of Rights. Long have we seen this coming and failed to change tactics while we’ve had almost no strategy. We’ve hoped things will just right themselves by electing Republicans despite all the proofs that Republicans don’t care about us.
The Left operates as a vast back-scratching network that sees the State as a means of salvation and a surrogate family. This leads them to engage in relentless culture wars with a religious fervor. The Bible calls this behavior “worshiping the Beast,” which basically means behaving as though the world and its system governed by the Devil are a means of salvation rather than Jesus its true King. This puts conservatives and traditionalists at an inherent disadvantage since we want to be left alone to handle things within our own families and communities, but this is also a strength as we inherently see local solutions and subsidiarity as better methods. Liberals used to believe this too, and to the extent that old-fashioned liberals still exist, they are our allies. Strategy, as John Boyd defines it, is the simple act of connecting to more centers of gravity and disconnecting your adversary from his.
Washington or your local liberal city are not your centers of gravity, but your neighbors and city, and county politicians and public officials may be. They can help you employ a Deplorable Strategy that will contain the madness from the cultural Marxists on the Left through nullification and civil disobedience, which are the same things they’ve been doing for decades whenever they think a law or our even our entire society are unjust. This will require you to drop your old tools and pick up new ones. Read the books of the Left and you’ll get some ideas. More on this later.