Monday, 27 May 2013

The Long War

Among the many books that I find myself reading at the moment, Peter Schwyzer's book Reagan's War is definitely the standout. If you thought you knew who Ronald Reagan was based on his public appearances or his speeches, think again, because the simple bumpkin that you thought you knew was only a fa├žade  and a brilliantly held one at that. For all of my differences with President Reagan- and there are many- I do agree that he was by far the greatest President of the 20th Century, for it was his vision, and his ideas, that led to the destruction of the monstrous, barbaric evil that we today refer to tamely as "communism". The war against the evil empire of the Soviet Union was his war. He was the mastermind of America's final victory, and his doctrines generated the drive and the power and the vision needed to destroy, once and for all, the absolute tyrannical evil that was the USSR. There are important lessons to be learned from that war, and it is vital that we learn those lessons, for we (meaning the civilised Western world) are very much in danger of losing a much larger, far longer war.

Reading this book brings to mind the ongoing war against the other great enemy to human freedom and liberty- Islam. And reading this book gives you a very good idea of just what it will take to win that war, for unlike Communism, Islam will not be defeated in the span of a single generation.

Tomorrow, When the War Began

Let me tell you, briefly, the simple story of how this war started. You didn't start it. Nor did your fathers, nor their fathers, nor their fathers before them. This war will not be ended in your lifetime; you will be long dead and gone before we can even be certain that we are winning it, but you will assuredly be alive to know whether we are losing it. This war started long before you were born- nearly 1,400 years ago, in fact, in a place we know today as Medina. It was there that the self-proclaimed Prophet of Islam fled when he discovered that his teachings were not being accepted in his birth city of Mecca. It is there that Mohammed became a warlord, raised an army of followers, and embarked on a war of conquest that would drive forward the political ideology disguised as a religion that we refer to today as Islam. Mohammed's great genius, and the trait for which he should be remembered by history, lay in uniting the bickering Arab tribes into a single coherent, cohesive, and deadly military force using theology and promises of eternal salvation.

The war started in Arabia and soon expanded outwards. The first great wave of Islamic expansion, driven during Mohammed's lifetime, sent Islam surging outwards towards the rest of the Arabian peninsula and then east towards Persia. Eventually Islam turned westwards again, invading Europe through Spain and going as far as France, and was finally stopped by Charles "The Hammer" Martel at the Battle of Poitiers in AD 732. The second great wave of expansion started with the conquest of Sicily in AD 932 and continued on for the next 700 years, culminating with one of the few truly catastrophic defeats that Islam has ever suffered at the Siege of Vienna, which was conclusively broken and shattered on a date that today stands, for all the wrong reasons, as the most famous in history:

September 11th, 1683

The third wave started relatively recently and is still ongoing, brought about by the colossal hubris and stupidity of Western governments in opening their doors, their borders, and their welfare systems to Islamic immigrants from the Third World. It will not end any time soon, and it will certainly not end peacefully.

The Nature of the War

Do not for one moment be stupid enough to think that Islam is some religion of peace that tolerates coexistence. It does nothing of the sort, and those idiotic, naive, and foolish enough to be taken in by this propaganda deserve exactly what they get.

Islam makes its stated goals and aims perfectly clear to anyone who takes a little time and trouble to discover them. In the Islamic worldview, the entire world is divided into two "houses"- dar al Islam, the house of Islam, and dar al Harb, the house of war. The Islamic way of war is very simple, for combatants are offered exactly three choices: conversion, subjugation, or death. Those who choose conversion often find themselves regretting that choice, because Islamic law absolutely forbids income taxation of Muslims; so, of course, any halfway sensible Islamic caliphate will always choose to raise taxes on the dhimmi, the subjugated near-slaves of the populace, to satisfy the needs of an expanding empire.

When presented with this choice, do not think that you can go the route of the Danegeld and buy yourself some breathing room or some margin of safety. The idea that tribute is "owed" to Muslims by "everyone else" is a cornerstone of Islamic law. Within this view, welfare systems used by the West to give third-world immigrants a "fresh start" are simply viewed as rightful tribute by Islamic clerics, who do not hesitate to promote this point of view via various outlets.

My own people know- or should know- the reality of Islam in their very bones. My country is roughy 20% Muslim, and the legacy of Islamic empire in my land is a long and bloody one. When Arab conquerors came to my country, they found idol worshippers and animists- the very thing that they hate the most. They proceeded to slaughter my people in such truly appalling numbers that it is estimated that the death toll in my land exceeded eighty million people over the course of 500 years of occupation. And that is a conservative estimate. The true number is almost surely much higher. The holocaust perpetrated by Islamic occupiers against my people should have knocked some sense into historians the world over; sadly, it has not. There is a very good reason why the Hindu Kush is named what it is; in Farsi, it means "Kills the Hindu".

Understand this, and understand it well: Islam is a political ideology that accepts the primacy of nothing other than the Word of Allah. It preaches a gospel of deep intolerance towards other faiths, of extreme violence and constant, aggressive expansion, of repression of human liberty and faith, and of technological stagnation. It is a political ideology that recognises strength above all things, and which will not hesitate to use whatever covert means are necessary to achieve that strength. History has shown this repeatedly, and now we are coming yet again to the same point in the same cycle.

The reason you have probably never heard of any of this- as I had not until just a few years ago, even though I grew up in an Islamic nation- is because of the Islamic doctrines of taqqiya and hudna. The former basically means "deception used to further the cause of Islam", and in simple terms means that it is permissible in Allah's eyes to lie in order to ensure the victory of Islamic forces over their enemies. The latter doctrine involves striking a truce of at most 10 years in length to allow Islamic forces to recuperate from a major defeat. At no point does Islam permit the idea of "defeat" to enter into the minds of its followers; every setback is merely an obstacle to be overcome while working towards the ultimate goal of absolute dominion over all human life on Earth.

How Reagan Fought His War

Reagan's war against the Soviet Union has many parallels with the current Long War, and many lessons that we need to learn, and fast. Reagan attacked the Soviets from 4 distinct but tightly related angles:
  1. The economic approach: Reagan knew, better than almost anyone else, that a totalitarian system based on slave labour could never compete with the power and dynamism of a free market economy in which choices were rewarded or punished based on market incentives. Reagan believed for most of his political career that the Soviet Union's economy was in reality at best the size of California's; subsequent declassified analysis from both the KGB and the CIA proved him right, and showed that America alone, without any help from the other NATO nations, could outproduce the entire Warsaw Pact bloc with ease.
  2. The military approach: for all of their bluster and might, Reagan believed that the Soviet military edge lay in numbers, not in technology. He recognised that the Soviet military expansion program, started under Brezhnev and continued by his successors, was proving hugely expensive for the Soviet economy. When Reagan came up with the Strategic Defence Initiative (Star Wars, as it is colloquially known- and it was all his idea, by the way), the Soviets were thrown into an almighty pickle. They couldn't afford to increase military spending to match the Americans. But they couldn't afford to ignore a strategic initiative that would in one simple stroke render both their first-strike and retaliation-strike capabilities useless. Star Wars threatened to bankrupt the Soviets, and they knew it.
  3. The diplomatic approach: by relentlessly hammering the Soviet Union in public for its failures, and by presenting a firm and unyielding show of tenacious resolve to American allies, Reagan made it perfectly clear to everyone that he was not to be trifled with. Reagan had no problem with the idea of meeting with Soviet leaders- but he believed in doing so from a position of strength, in which America's interests came first and Soviet interests were not allowed to dominate.
  4. The covert approach: Reagan's war involved hitting the enemy in his vulnerable spots, repeatedly and hard, and nowhere was this more prevalent than in his use of covert military operations to attack Soviet interests around the world.
How to Fight the Long War

Reagan's war, and his example, provide us with the exact strategies and tools that we need to stop Islam in its tracks. Note that nothing I am writing here is new. Everything that I write here was first expounded in detail by a very brilliant Dutch civil servant named Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje, who observed the insurrections in Aceh against the Dutch colonial administration and wrote a seminal text on containment of Islamic expansion and aggression. The key to defeating Islamic expansion is to stop treating it as a religion and start treating it as what it truly is- a political ideology, and a very dangerous one at that. Only when political Islam is on the retreat, and is contained to the point where it is little more than an exercise in observance of religious scripture, can the West breathe easy. There is very little to fear from religious Islam; but there is everything to fear from political Islam.

We start, as always, with economics. An economy that follows Islamic law and the economic policies that such law dictates will very rapidly fall into utter stagnation. It is no accident that the Arab nations have contributed absolutely nothing to human advancement and happiness since the turn of the 20th Century other than petroleum. Every single major Western advancement in that time has come from European and American minds. It's not as if there is some law of nature dictating that the Arabs cannot build thriving economies, either; resource-poor nations like Japan and Singapore have done a phenomenal job of building trade-based, technologically advanced economies that have raised the living standards of their people at rates never seen before in human history. Were it not for an incredibly fortuitous accident of geography and geology, it is likely that the Islamic nations of the Middle East would have stayed in stagnation and decay without the West's interventions.

For all of the aggressiveness of Islamic imperial expansion, it can be countered using the core strengths of a free market economy. An Islamic economy will be forced to make hard choices between maintaining Islamic citizens in the style to which they have become accustomed at the vast expense of their dhimmis, or going into permanent war mode. A free market economy, by virtue of its ability to produce what people want at ever lower costs, can circumvent this entire problem by simply out-producing a stagnant economy.

It should never be forgotten that Islamic empires respect strength above all else. The concept of the strong horse is absolutely central to Islamic philosophy, so the first lesson of history to remember is that when the armies of Islam were stopped and defeated decisively, the Islamic world almost instantly went into decline. After the defeat at Poitiers, Islam began a long retreat back to Andalusia. After the destruction of Islamic armies at Vienna, the Ottoman Empire almost instantly went into terminal decline. Until the advent of Western petroleum exploration in the Middle East in the early part of the 20th Century, the Arab Peninsula was fractious, divided, and backward. Well before the partition of Palestine, the Jews of Israel proved that things didn't have to remain that way by building a flourishing oasis in the middle of nothing but sand and rocks; the Arabs did nothing to follow suit and still haven't.

The manner and method by which the third wave of Islamic expansion can be defeated can be outlined in a few relatively simple points:
  1. Start by cutting off all immigration from Islamic nations. It is futile and stupid to believe that Islamic immigrants will adopt the customs and traditions of Western nations for which they have zero respect and even less tolerance. It simply does not work, as nations like Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Holland are rapidly finding out. Barbarians will remain barbarians for generations after they immigrate, and those who do not learn this lesson will go the way of the Romans and for the same reasons.
  2. Continue by cutting off ALL foreign aid to Islamic nations. As far as I'm concerned, foreign aid is a monumentally stupid idea to begin with; it doesn't work. So, stop pretending that paying the jizya will keep the jihadist away; it didn't work with the Danes and the Danegeld, after all.
  3. Set your economies free. Stop pretending that your governments know what they're doing by taking over various industries. Your economies are sluggish and enervated, and they are becoming more so every day as your own stupidity and laxness permits your government to take over ever more sectors of the economy, thereby strangling the very sources of your power and your natural advantages over your enemies. Destroy the Federal Reserve, remove the power of the printing press from your idiot politicians, and stop pretending that governments know how to pick winners and losers in the economy. Institute a single universal, low, flat tariff on all foreign imports, reduce and eventually eliminate all income taxes, and roll back the entire overbearing apparatus of the Federal government until its only powers are those enshrined within your sacred Constitution.
  4. Dismantle your welfare systems. Destroy them completely and utterly. That means no more Social Security, no more Medicare, no more food stamps, no Federal assistance for housing, education, or bloody well anything else. If you can't afford it, do without. You cannot afford these idiotic entitlements anyway as it is. They do you no good and they give aid and comfort to your enemies. Providing Islamic immigrants with free welfare assistance is very much like this country selling massive amounts of grain at far below market prices to the USSR in order to secure arms concessions. It didn't work then, it doesn't work now. Your enemies laugh at your weakness in private while smiling at you in public. You are fools if you insist on believing their falsehoods.
  5. At every turn attack the structural weaknesses of Islam. Time and again history has proven that an Islamic state cannot compete against a technologically advanced, free-market economy (up until the Yom Kippur War, the Israelis were making their Arab neighbours look stupid at least once a decade, and Israel hardly even counted as a free-market economy back then), but it can muster sheer numbers against a technically superior opponent- and those numbers will be motivated by fanaticism. Neutralise those numbers wherever possible by exploiting the long-standing factional and sectarian fractures within Islamic theology. Learn the difference between the various sects and strains of Islam, understand where they disagree with each other, and exploit those divisions wherever possible. For instance, it is no secret at all that Wahhabi Saudi Arabia is absolutely terrified that Shi'ite Iran will acquire nuclear weaponry; thus, in order to save their own skins, the Wahhabists seek accommodation with an equally frightened West. That fear is foolish. Seek to pit each against the other instead of seeking accommodation or a balance of power.
  6. Withdraw your troops from all foreign colonies. Your American empire is overstretched and on the brink of collapse as it is. Pulling back to easily defensible home ground is your only option. You should never have been over there fighting these ridiculous and pointless wars of "nation-building" in the first place. Return home, rebuild your domestic economy through the free market, secure your borders, and confront the threat head-on instead of pussyfooting around it as you are at present.
  7. Identify the single biggest weak point of the Islamic world's economies, and strike it- hard. Islamic economies the world over are highly dependent on one thing: natural resources, and specifically oil. While it is not possible to achieve this fool's dream that your useful-idiot Republican politicians stupidly refer to as "energy independence" (for no such thing exists), it is possible to bring down long-term costs and prices for energy by ensuring that any and all resources available in domestic territories are exploited to the fullest. You import about 10% of all of your oil from the Middle East, which doesn't sound like much; but, by pushing down the long end of the forward curve for oil contracts, you can rapidly impoverish and potentially even bankrupt the sources of wealth for jihadists the world over.
Winning the Long War

I am not deluded enough to believe that any of this will ever happen. As far as I can tell, the West is too far gone for that. Western civilisation is facing its final, ignominious collapse, brought low by decades of greed, stupidity, and wishful thinking. The key strength of Islam is that for all of its utopian silliness regarding the kingdom of Allah, it recognises that humans instinctively respect strength and acts accordingly. The great weakness of the West, and especially of the European West, is its flatly idiotic belief that what ought to be can somehow triumph over what is. The time for such ridiculous illusions is rapidly drawing to a close.

However, for those with the eyes and the brains to see, Reagan already showed you how this war can be fought and won. Heed his lessons well. Learn from him, and other happy warriors like him. Understand the nature of your enemy, and understand that the stakes of this fight are higher than those of any other war fought before or since by this country. Unlike any other war that your nation is currently fighting, this one was not of your choosing. You did not ask for this war. You did not engage in this war. But you can still help win it. All you have to do is to choose the path of the civilisationists, and stop upholding the pretty lies which have sustained Western society for so long. Ultimately, those lies will perish, and the truth will shine clearer for it. But we will pay a terrible and bloody price before that happens. When the time comes, you will have a choice to make. Choose well.

Further Reading

  • Sword of the Prophet by Serge Trifkovic
  • The Legacy of Jihad by Andrew G. Bostom
  • Why We Left Islam by Susan Crimp and Joel Richardson
  • The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) by Robert Spencer
  • The Truth About Mohammed by Robert Spencer
  • The Complete Infidel's Guide to the Koran by Robert Spencer
  • A Religion of Peace? Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn't by Robert Spencer
  • Now They Call Me Infidel by Nonie Darwish
  • Inside the Jihad: My Life with al-Qaeda by Omar Nasiri
  • Islam: What the West Needs to Know (documentary film)

Honouring the Fallen

There's no question that I'm glad it's a public holiday; Lord only knows, I need the rest. But unlike most other public holidays in this country, which celebrate something or other, this day is about remembering those who paid the ultimate price in defence of their brothers, their people, and their country. Today we remember and honour those men (and women) with silence, contemplation, and reverence.

Let me make it perfectly clear that I do not agree with the wars that this nation fights, not even slightly. A decent examination of the five wars that this country is currently fighting will tell you very quickly that you are fighting the wrong people for the stupidest of reasons, and that you have no hope of ultimate victory until you recognise this fact. Your fathers, brothers, uncles, and sons are being sent to fight and die on foreign soil for absolutely no good reason at the behest of leaders who you elected and who understand nothing of their sacrifice or the consequences of their stupidity- and, by extension, your own.

None of these facts changes the worth of a single good soldier, fallen in combat. Nothing changes the nature of their sacrifice, their innate humanity, or their worth as human beings. In the spirit of this fact, take a moment to remember those who fell in battle, whether righteous or not, and regardless of whether you agree with the conduct of these endless wars, use that moment to thank them for what they have done.

And as for the living, pray that one day soon, the senseless wars that they have been ordered to fight will end, and they will return home to the delight and joy of their loved ones:


Book Review: C.R.O.W. by Phillip Richards

After tearing through Marko Kloos's Terms of Enlistment at what probably amounted to record speed a few weeks back, I was definitely hungry for more good, high-quality hard military sci-fi. And it took me a little while to find it, because that sort of book is easier to write than you might think. Basically all you have to do is throw together a bunch of motley characters in an interstellar war with aliens/bugs/rebels, ensure that gender equality is a major part of your story (after all, what would the modern Starship Troopers universe be without those co-ed showers?!), toss in some kind of improbable but not completely ridiculous loophole in Newtonian physics that permits FTL travel, and proceed with describing the horrors of war either in overly graphic detail or in detached, clinical terms that make it sound like you're just describing an everyday walk in the park.

If I sound cynical, that's because when it comes to great military sci-fi, I am. There are far too many pretenders out there, and really great mil-S/F books are as rare as they are amazing. True classics of the genre like Starship Troopers (the original version, written by Robert Heinlein, thank you very much) and The Forever War by Joe Haldeman are few and far between. Even great modern takes on mil-S/F like the Stars At War series by David Weber and Steve White have their flaws. Almost every modern military sci-fi novel has fallen prey to the flatly absurd idea that you must have female space marines and naval personnel- and that includes my beloved HALO series, where female SPARTAN supersoldiers (which I can almost believe, given the way the original SPARTAN-IIs were created) mingle with badass female marines and female ODSTs (which I flatly cannot believe at all). No matter which way you cut it, there is nothing realistic about the idea of women serving in front-line infantry combat. The political correctness of modern military sci-fi is also reflected in the fact that most modern series start out by pitting humanity against brutal, barbaric alien hordes, rather than the more likely outcome- humans fighting humans for control over the stars.

So when you come across a truly well-written, action-packed, deeply engrossing story like the one that Phillip Richards has written, that pulls no punches and doesn't try to be politically correct, it is most certainly worth reading and praising.

C.R.O.W. concerns the experiences of one Andy Moralee as he escapes the overpopulated, resource-depleted hellhole that is Earth and joins the Union dropship infantry. You see his world through the eyes of a scared kid who is bullied and beaten by his platoon, who knows he is completely out of his depth in a war zone, and who grows over time from just more fodder for the meat-grinder into a reluctant hero and leader. Even his designation as a C.R.O.W., combat replacement of war, is dehumanising. You follow this young man on his journey, and as you do, you see that Phillip Richards has done what only the best fiction writers can do- his journey becomes your journey.

Even the background to the novel isn't your standard set of sci-fi tropes; it's much better than that. Essentially, the European Union is now a major global and interstellar superpower- along with the Chinese, apparently. The Americans, interestingly enough, are nowhere to be seen at all. Neither are the Russians. The last great superpower, the Indo-Japanese Alliance, was defeated and destroyed by the Europeans in the last major war on Earth. The Chinese and Europeans were once allies, and as allies they attacked and conquered the colony of New Earth (better known to you and me as one of the planets in the Alpha Centauri system). And then, inexplicably, the Chinese turned on their allies, betrayed them, and in a brief, bloody, and brutal war, threw the Europeans back into space 2 years before the events of the novel.

Several of the usual mil-S/F tropes are present and accounted for- the scared new recruit, the dystopian future, the brutal horrors of war, the faceless and terrifying nature of a dehumanised enemy (mostly due to EU propaganda), and (of course) the aforementioned loophole in physics.

However, as I wrote before, this is not your typical by-the-numbers space marine novel. There is no gender equality going on here; the dropship infantry and indeed most of the military is a male-only institution. The only women in this book serve in the Navy; in fact I can only recall one, the ship captain of Challenger, the troopship that carries young Private Moralee and his squadmates to the battlefields of New Earth. Conscription is very much a reality in this world, and the only choice that any conscript has is whether to choose regular infantry or the much more dangerous, much more intense dropship infantry. For reasons known perhaps only to himself, Moralee chooses to be a Helljumper- an orbital assault specialist, trained to ride a dropship down and take the fight straight to the enemy.

The book starts by picking you up and dumping you right smack into the middle of the action. Moralee and his unit are dropped in to fight the Chinese occupiers of New Earth, and the book makes no apologies whatsoever when describing the horrors of the war. There is blood, guts, brutality, and extreme violence- all described with the vivid, adrenaline-fuelled accuracy that only a true soldier could deliver. For Phillip Richards is indeed a former soldier, and you really get the impression that he is essentially telling his own life story in a different, futuristic setting. Death and destruction are not sanitised at all in this book; this is raw, brutal, in-your-face violence, and there are absolutely no prisoners taken in the writing or in the action.

Then the book abruptly switches gears and takes you about 10 months into the past, to show you Andy Moralee's days as a trainee and recruit on the long voyage out to New Earth. The true nature of being a new boy in the military is revealed in often sickening ways. The bullying, the psychological torture, the violent initiation rituals, the hazing- it's all there, described in vivid detail. You get to see life in the military through the eyes of a true soldier, right down to the gear that troopers use. The weaponry is described with the skill of a true expert, unlike with other mil-S/F books; when Richards describes an assault rifle that uses magnetic acceleration to take tiny, half-inch steel darts and turn them into lethal (and lethally accurate) hypervelocity projectiles, with target-correcting software and gel-padded armour, you actually find yourself believing him.

Throughout the narrative, you really do get the impression that Moralee is frightened out of his wits at the idea of being in combat, trying not to stand out, trying to survive in an extremely hostile environment. Among the recruits, the coming war is represented as an opportunity for revenge against those who dishonourably betrayed the Union; but among the older veterans, the war is treated as just another exercise in corporate greed, started by faceless and nameless people back on Earth who send thousands of men to fight and die on an alien world with the stroke of a pen. You get to understand the anger and hatred that enlisted men feel for each other during their training days, when politics and hazing are such a big part of daily existence- and then you see how all of that goes straight out the window the moment the first shot gets fired, the moment the first man gets hit and goes down and the man who was beating you to a pulp in the locker rooms yesterday is now your brother and comrade-in-arms, the last remaining link to your humanity, the only person that matters now amidst the hell of war.

The last third of the book is where the war finally gets in your face, and you get to see and experience the horrors of war as though you are right there fighting alongside Moralee on the red soil of New Earth. This is where the real quality of the book becomes clear. Richards is one hell of a descriptive writer; you can see in your mind's eye the brutality of the war as you read descriptions of men reduced to flying bits of meat and bone by technological wonders spitting death and destruction from above. You can feel Andy's horror and sorrow at seeing his squadmates killed. You understand his rage as he charges the enemy and engages them at point-blank range. The images of men being blown apart, of limbs being shredded, of blood and guts flying everywhere, will stay with you long after you stop reading the book. The cowardice of men who abandon their comrades in battle and flee will make you angry, just as it does Andy. In every way, his experience of the war becomes your experience as you read this book.

For all of its incredible quality, though, there are flaws in the book. The most irritating by far are the errors of spelling, punctuation, and grammar. I have seen this repeatedly with almost every new, self-published author out there in the last couple of years, and I have very little tolerance for it. In this day and age of spell-check and grammar check, it should not be that difficult to produce a work where the spelling is consistent and correct.

This is a pretty minor quibble, though, because overall this is one hell of a great book. In many ways this book could probably be described as "We Were Soldiers in space". That comparison holds in both the description of the Chinese enemies and in the last few pages of the book. The Chinese are never described as inhuman monsters; the few Chinese soldiers that you do get to see up close through Andy's eyes seem just as scared as he is. The soldiers that he kills could easily have been just like him. And I guarantee you that you will come away from reading this book with a very sober, very raw appreciation of what real soldiers go through every day on the front lines when fighting other human beings. In the last few pages, Andy is taught an important lesson in the futility of the war, as he notes that the people of New Earth seem to be rather less than enthusiastic at the fact that they have been "rescued" by the Union. The words of a Sergeant in the book give real weight and meaning to that hostility: the people of New Earth came there to be free of the politics and misery of the old world, and now those same evils have come to them with the war. This is really the only point in the book where things get political, and not in a bad way at all.

Bottom line: if you like great military science fiction, and you're tired of the equalitarian, politically correct nonsense that passes for the majority of the genre's modern output, you need to read this book. It is completely worth the money that you will pay. In fact I am very much looking forward to reading the second book in the series.

Verdict: 5/5, brilliant, essential, and incredible value considering the price.

Buy/download Combat Replacement of War here

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Comments

Due to the sheer number of bloody spambots that keep bombarding the comments on various posts, I've changed the comments policy back to permitting only those with OpenID and Blogger usernames from posting comments. If you have something to say regarding a post and the page doesn't seem to let you save, please send me the comment via email and I'll make sure it gets published.

(Long) Weekend Linkage



Lots of great writing floating about this week to occupy your reading time:
  • Vox Day takes note of a very scary development that basically eliminates the Society of Cincinnatus
  • Golden oldie from Vox- the sin of Jeroboam
  • Vox Day over at Alpha Game draws a distinction between the nihilists and the civilisationists of the Manosphere
  • Bill Powell has been doing some digging into the powers that the Federal government has arrogated to itself- and what he's found is bloody terrifying
  • Keoni Galt on being able to say "F*** YOU" to everyone and everything that has power over you today- and how to do it
  • Keoni again on the Curse of Eve- guys, it's really not their fault, they can't help it, but that doesn't mean you can't do anything about it
  • Red Pill Wifey plays a very amusing game- part 1 here, part 2 here
  • tempesttcup on how to find and date introverted girls (I know one or two, they're worth close to their weight in gold)- part 1 here, part 2 here, part 3 here
  • Rollo steps up to bat to take on the concept of "that special guy" and knocks it out of the park
  • Prof. Ironwood's class is in session, and he's come up with a barnstormer of a lesson- ladies, pay attention, there will be a test
  • Halfbreed reviews the Blackdragon online dating system*
  • Danger & Play on the best way to overcome mediocrity
  • The Elusive Wapiti slaps around the Baby Boomers with a much-needed dose of truth and consequences
  • Another good one from EW about the sheer silliness of demanding equality in the military
  • Mikael on the reason why every man needs to be able to cook for himself
  • Samseau comes up with an interesting take on Tolstoy's views of the Church
  • Tam's frustration with WinDOZE 8 is entirely understandable
  • Never underestimate the competitive instincts of little girls when playing football
  • For Memorial Day- now that's what I call a healthy burger
  • Lemmy may not quite be God, but he's pretty damn close
  • Metal track of the week: "Thunderbird" by IRON SAVIOR

* I'll be putting that system to use fairly soon, stay tuned

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Be a Man: Juicing

Depending on your background, mention of the word "juicing" and its results might well bring to mind images of gargantuan, bloated, hideously misshapen experiments in muscle-building gone horribly wrong. Like, say, this:

Sorry. Couldn't resist. I've been wanting to post a silly picture like that for ages.

OK, time to get serious. Juicing might sound like a bit of a fad, and some of the claims made about its benefits- e.g. your skin will glow, you'll feel the need to eat less frequently and less sharply, your testosterone levels will go up, you'll heal faster from injuries, etc. etc.- might sound way too good to be true. However, when I first came across the concept over at Danger & Play's pad, I thought that he might be on to something. This was shortly after I decided to go fully Primal and cut out most of the processed junk from my eating habits, and I've never looked back since. It didn't hurt that a number of Manosphere bloggers that I hold in high regard- Frost, Edward Thatch, and I think Roosh as well- all gave juicing a try and gave it high marks.

Why Juice?

The concept behind juicing is elegant and easy to understand. Fruits and vegetables are natural sources of nutrients, fibre, vitamins, and minerals, and in the case of fruits, a wonderfully tasty source of natural glucose. It is a near-universal truth in the natural world that things which are sweet are not poisonous, which is exactly why fruits taste sweet- the idea is that animals eat them for their sugar content, and thereby distribute the resulting seeds. However, not all fruits and vegetables taste "good" in their natural form, because of the way that the skin or the cellulose fibres in the vegetables taste. So, in order to get around this and still have access to the nutritional benefits of these substances, we just go straight to the source and create juice instead. This preserves the nutrient content while disposing of the unnecessary bits of pulp and vegetable matter that lock it away from us.

Bottom line: juicing is a fast, convenient way to get a lot of nutrients in a single tasty serving.

The basic premise of juicing is simple. You buy yourself a juicer and a lot of fruits and vegetables, and proceed to make yourself some fresh juice every day. Health benefits follow instantly, or your money back! Or something like that.

It all sounds very simple and brilliant in theory. In practice it's rather more difficult than that.

Juicing in Practical Terms

Basically, once I bought my juicer and got started, I resolved to drink one glass of fresh fruit and vegetable juice every day. Here is what I have found thus far in terms of the practical realities of juicing every morning:
  1. You need some idea of what kind of juicer you want to buy. There are many different juicers out there, and they range in price from the cheap and cheerful simple $100 juicers that work really well on hard and semi-soft vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, and squash (but really badly on leafy vegetables), to really top-end masticating juicer models that will juice anything.
  2. You'll need to spend time experimenting with different combinations of fruits and vegetables before you can really get it right. And this heavily depends on what kind of juicer you bought in the first place. For instance, kale is very difficult to juice with a traditional blade juicer that just shreds things through a sieve- but kale juice is also nutritionally very dense. The same goes for spinach and cabbage- the latter being a rather intense flavour that newbies will probably find off-putting at first.
  3. You'll be amazed at the sheer speed at which you go through produce. Even if you buy a good quality juicer that produces lots of juice and not too much pulp, it can take a lot of fruits and vegetables to extract just a single glass of juice. It is not uncommon for me to go through a pack of like 20 carrots in under a week. (I love carrots. Always have done, ever since I was little. Turns out, I love carrot juice too.) When I first started juicing, I'd walk into a grocery store and walk out with like half the produce section- which is not fun lugging back to an apartment and up stairs, let me tell you.
  4. You'll want to use certain ingredients for very specific purposes. Carrots go great with everything- so I use them for practically every single juice. So does celery. Cucumber juice, however, really is a bit strong, so you'll want to mix it with something else (like carrot juice). Same goes for tomato juice. Ginger is a great way to add some zest and spice. Beets look really weird but taste really great. Citrus fruits will allow you to add some nice complexity to your juices- and will also prevent your juices from oxidising. Berries, particularly strawberries, are great sweeteners. The same applies for apples- in fact, apples are basically glucose grenades, so I would recommend using a smaller amount of apple, or using a smaller type of apple, or using sour green apples instead of ripe red ones once you've been juicing for a little while.
  5. Never juice lemons, limes, or other citrus fruits with the peel on. You'll break your juicer. And don't juice mushy substances like avocados or bananas, for the same reason.
  6. Cleaning up after juicing is by far the most annoying and time-consuming part of the whole process. You can keep the pulp, if you want- it works great in soups and stock. But, if you're just cooking for yourself, pulp is generally pretty useless if you simply want to whip up a fast meal. So you end up throwing that pulp out. And that means that you have to clean your juicer every single time you use it. This can add a good 10 minutes to your daily juicing regimen every morning- and that's on top of the time spent peeling and cutting all of those fruits and vegetables. It takes me 20-25 minutes every day to prepare a single glass of juice. To me, though, the health benefits outweigh the time costs.
  7. A good fruit/veggie juice goes great with protein powder. If you mix the whole thing up with coconut milk as well in a blender, the combination is a full meal replacement.
The Benefits of Juicing

If you're serious about juicing, and you keep at it despite the cost (which can be a little off-putting at first but evens itself out over time) and the inconvenience of cleaning every day, you will see the benefits very quickly.
  • A good dose of fruit and vegetable juice acts as a liver tonic, especially if you toss in some citrus fruits. And if you're a hopeless wine addict like me, this is very much a Good Thing.
  • You'll certainly feel happier and fresher after juicing for a little while. Carrot juice in particular does tend to make your skin look and feel better.
  • I have noticed that I can drink a glass of juice with two scoops of whey protein powder, eat a big meal for lunch, and then I'll be fine for the next 8 hours or so. And juicing certainly doesn't hurt my ability to do intermittent fasting- as of right now, in fact, I've gone roughly 23 hours without food after putting in a really hard deadlifting workout, and I feel fine.
  • Your skin, health, and overall mood will definitely improve- provided you don't just make pure fruit juices. This is a huge mistake, because it just gives you a lot of sugar. It's also the reason why juice outlets like Jamba Juice are so popular and successful- the best-selling juices are not vegetable juices, they are fruit juices. Combining fruit and vegetable juice is the best way to get yourself the health benefits of vegetables with the natural taste and sweetness of fruits.
Is Juicing Worth the Time and Cost?

Hell yes. Absolutely. Let me put it this way. Your health is the single greatest and most important asset you have- more valuable than any amount of money, poosy, or wisdom. Without your health, the rest simply doesn't matter. And the fact remains that juicing is a very good way to boost that asset's value quickly and with relatively little effort.

For those reasons alone, I would strongly recommend any independent-minded man take up juicing.

Further Reading

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Domain Query: Introverts and Self-Improvement

Though my posts might be few and far between, I do in fact read the comments that people (and I mean people, not spambots) post. It just takes me a while to respond to them, for which I can only apologise. Nonetheless, a recent comment from pumpsix was, I thought, worthy of response:
Can I get your thoughts on something? Just say that you have been weight training for a while, doing some martial arts/other interesting [hobby], and progressing solidly in your career/study. How do you overcome the social barriers of being stuck on (2)?
I wish I could tell you that it's easy, but it isn't. I hate small talk even more than most introverts- it annoys me beyond measure, especially at work when I'm trying to concentrate on getting things done. That said, by working on self-improvement you are by definition making yourself more interesting as a man. And this automatically makes you better able to move from the irritating, noisy superficiality of modern conversation straight to the deep subjects, interests, and ideas that drive your existence forward. It also makes you better able to connect with women. You do, however, have to figure out how to make that step, and that is where the difficulty lies.

Let me give you three concrete examples from my own life and show you how to apply them. In the last 6 months, I have done three things that the vast majority of women in my part of the world will never experience because they are either too liberal, too pampered, too feminised (in the feminist sense of the word, to be clear), or all three. I have fired handguns (and enjoyed the hell out of it), taken up a martial art, and travelled on my own halfway around the world to Asia and the UK. And starting today I'm going to get back to playing the acoustic guitar, which is something I've let slide for nearly three years now.

All of these things are immensely enjoyable and easy for me to talk about because they interest me. They also happen to interest women in ways that, say, video games, running (and even weight-lifting), and books simply do not.

Take martial arts. The very fact that a man does martial arts automatically makes him seem more dangerous- and therefore more masculine- to a woman. To connect with this instinct, all you have to do is drop a hint about taking a Krav Maga class and how sore you are after the workout- and then, when she asks about it, state matter-of-factly what Krav Maga is all about. If she continues to show interest in that thread of conversation, then it's not difficult to escalate physically by showing her a few defensive blocks and a basic stance (assuming, of course, that you're in a venue with standing room that doesn't frown on this sort of thing- as with real estate, location is everything).

Or take playing the guitar. (For this example you do need to know more than 3 chords, and you need to be able to play at least one song with reasonable competence. I recommend classical guitar because it just sounds nicer- plus, it's easier on the fingers.) With a guitar, you have an actual physical prop to use that allows for concrete, practical demonstrations and allows you to rapidly move on to physical escalation. All you have to do is use a prop and show that you know what you're doing with it. If you can't sing (and I cannot) then so much the better- just let your hands do the talking.

Finally, take firearms. In the hyper-liberal Northeast, firearms are something that most women will never take the time to familiarise themselves with- and neither will most men, for that matter. If you know something about firearms, and are competent and skilled in handling and using them, you automatically make yourself stand out by showing off a potent and powerful skill. Taking a woman to a firing range is a great second or third date. It's just very difficult to do this where I live, unless you're willing to make a day of it and drive out to less idiotic parts of the state (or out to Pennsylvania, where they are vastly more sensible about these things).

In order to make this work, however, you have to take the crucial next step: actually engaging with other people. This is, I will readily admit, incredibly difficult. After a long day at work the last thing I want to do is talk to people. I have to mentally psych myself up every time for a night out with colleagues, and more than once I've simply said "f*** it" and gone home instead. You can't ignore this part of your programming as an introvert. You can only work around it. For an expert's tips on that, check out what Halfbreed has to say.

Two final thoughts. First is something that comes from Roosh's Bang: in order for a conversation to have a deep connection with a woman, there has to be a vibe in it- and that vibe has to show you off as a man with interesting ideas and hobbies. I would extend this to your conversations with anyone else. You don't become interesting by talking about doing interesting things- you become interesting by just doing them. It's true that you might feel worried or intimidated by the idea of doing something new or different. That is where the will to succeed comes in- the same will and determination that will allow you to bring depth into your interactions.

And that brings me to my second point- a thought that comes from one of the best movies ever made, Batman Begins. Remember that scene where Bruce Wayne is training with Henri Ducard (okay, okay, Ra's al Ghul) out on the ice? Remember what Ra's tells him?
Training is nothing! WILL is EVERYTHING!

An Introverted Alpha's Perspective


Halfbreed is a game blogger whose writing first hit my radar when I read this article over at Return of Kings a few months ago. I've been reading a fair amount of his writing for the past several months and I've always found his perspective on things to be both entertaining and refreshing. (Word of warning: his blog may not be entirely safe for work, so use discretion.)

Halfbreed's stated and clear intention is to build a harem around himself; he doesn't care much for monogamy and I have to say that I sympathise strongly with that. Halfbreed stands out relative to a lot of other "game" bloggers that I read in that he is, like me, quite introverted; unlike me, though, he knows how to best apply the strengths of that introversion in practical fashion through game. I contacted him a few days ago asking if he wouldn't mind answering a few questions and letting me post some of his responses. He very graciously agreed. In what follows below, I have slightly edited some of his responses, but only for the sake of brevity without losing content. So, if you are an introvert and you want to know how to enter the game, how to improve your own game, or what weaknesses to look out for in the game, then get yourself a drink, sit back, and enjoy:
Hey Didact,
I think introvert game has been under-explored in the manosphere.
It does seem like a lot of the "advice" men get, in game and life, is meant for extroverts. I think that can be confusing and difficult for many introvert men. I know it was for me, until I realized what was going on.
  • Did you sharpen your skills through cold approaches first, or did you start with internet dating?
I sharpened my rusty game with internet dating. It's a great place for introverted men like us to start. It eliminates the need for cold approaching. The computer acts as a buffer make it easier to take the rejection. That being said, you still have to go on the first date and seduce the woman...so it still forces you to learn game. And you still take real life rejection, which is good practice. 
I highly recommend the Blackdragon dating system ( redpillgame.com/blackdragon-dating-system-review/ ) It helped me out a lot. I liked having a system to follow...
I honed my skills on receptive girls through (now almost 60) first dates. Then I could focus on the one-on-one dates, one girl at a time. And once I did a ton of internet date my game was tighter in general. Then, day game approaches got easier.
  • What have been the most critical skills for success in your conquests?
One area that has been important to my success (as an introvert) is learning good harem management skills. It's an important subset of game, especially for us. Better to keep what you have then go find new women. And when sitting on a harem, it's easier to pull new pussy (when you want to).
  • As an introvert, what are the most difficult issues that you have to overcome, and how do you do it?
My weakness is laziness, I don't like trying too hard to get laid... I have the tendency to allow 1 or 2 women to become too important in my life... As far as overcoming these issues? Practice, just being a better man in general. And as you already know, taking the Red Pill forces you down that self-improvement path.
Much gratitude to Halfbreed for his insights and for taking the time to answer these questions. Note that I myself will be applying this advice over the coming weeks and months and will be making notes of those successes and failures right here. I believe self-improvement comes from will, training, and practice, and as such I welcome critiques from more accomplished and capable men like Halfbreed. Take a trip over to his blog too if you have the time. 

Weekend Linkage




Wednesday, 15 May 2013

ALWAYS PUNCH THE HAWK!!!


If you grew up with the Apple IIe (like I did), then this will bring back some truly fantastic childhood memories of a great game. I've not played the 2012 version and, to be honest, I don't intend to anytime soon- but that trailer alone has got to be worth the price of the game.

(h/t Vox Day)

Be a Man: Martial Arts

In between dealing with pissy women at work, things going somewhat pear-shaped at home, and the bonkers weather we've been having up in the Northeast recently, it's not been easy to find time to write on the subject of manliness, but that has finally changed. I actually managed to get home at a reasonable hour for once and decided to spend the time doing some very long-overdue writing.

Very early on in the life of this blog, I posted on the subject of physical fitness as an essential component of the game. Going to the gym isn't just about being in shape or being strong. It is about mastery- the concept of having complete control over oneself and one's environment. However, there is more to physical fitness and strength than simply lifting really heavy weights- though I view weightlifting as the cornerstone of any physical fitness program, a truly well-rounded man will look to incorporate other facets of fitness into his daily routine.

One way to do so is to take up a form of martial arts. Inspired by a post from a chap named David over at RoK, I decided to start taking Krav Maga lessons about a month ago. And let me tell you, it's been one hell of a great experience thus far.

Learning Krav Maga

Krav Maga is Hebrew for "contact combat". This form of combat was forged in the crucible of war and the hell of direct street combat, and it has been maintained and refined by a people under constant siege. This has shaped it into a completely unique form of martial art, and if you've ever studied any other martial art like karate or tae-kwon-do, you will instantly realise why it is so very different from more stylised or passive combat forms. Unlike other forms of martial arts, Krav Maga is not about tag-fighting, peaceful resolution to conflict, style, elegance, or form. It is about effective and intelligent combat. End of story. That means that its singular focus is on injuring, crippling, and even killing your opponent as quickly and efficiently as possible while exposing you to minimal damage from counterattacks.

There are several consequences to this philosophy. First and foremost, sparring is basically impossible. If skilled Krav Maga practitioners were to engage in sparring, severe injuries or even death would result, which is why it cannot and will never be a competitive martial art form. Second, when you go for a Krav Maga class, you will be told, repeatedly and relentlessly, that the entire point of Krav Maga is to conduct intelligent combat. This does not mean that the biggest or strongest fighter wins- it means that the most tactically and strategically intelligent and aware fighter will win. The fighter who can combine speed, flexibility, situational awareness, and brutal efficiency the best into a chain of fast attacks is the one who will prevail.

When you learn Krav Maga, you will learn to target the weakest points of your opponent's body- no quarter given, no mercy shown. When I went for my very first lesson, I didn't know how to throw a proper punch. In that lesson, the instructor- this man, who studied under the progenitor of this form of combat during his early years and received his black belt from the Grand Master himself, Haim Zut- taught us how to punch, how to kick, and how to perform a combat roll. He also taught us how to break a choke-hold from behind- by slamming a fist into your opponent's groin, then by targeting his eyes or nose, then slamming him hard into the ground, and finally stomping hard on his head. The second lesson involved learning how to fall down without hurting yourself too badly. The third lesson, with a different instructor, consisted of learning how to break or prevent forward choke-holds by stabbing someone in the throat with your hand, or by combining a choke-break with a knee to the groin.

As you can imagine, this is not for the faint of heart. Do not take up Krav Maga if you don't like the idea of getting a bloody nose, being bruised, falling down, doing combat rolls, or punching and kicking other people. During that first lesson, in fact, Rhon Mizrachi- who is quite a lot shorter than me but who commands immense respect- actually gave me a nose-bleed when he demonstrated to me by way of painful personal example why the nose is a weak point on the body.

The consequences of learning Krav Maga are profound. Here is what I've learned so far- and bear in mind, I've been doing this for less than a month and I'm already hooked.
  1. Speed, not strength, is the key to victory. During that first lesson, Rhon Mizrachi came over and told me, to my face, that I am very strong. While this is objectively true, I cannot tell you how honoured I was to have one of the world's deadliest men tell me this. He also told me, however, that strength can be turned against itself, and that it is speed and accuracy that are the guarantors of victory. From that moment on, I concentrated on getting the form right instead of just trying to power my way through the techniques being taught.
  2. As with any other aspect of mastering oneself, practice is absolutely key. If you begin learning Krav Maga as a complete novice, you must commit to a minimum of one class a week. I'm looking to start doing two a week now.
  3. Following on from this, one of Rhon Mizrachi's comments to the class really stuck with me. The very first techniques that Imi Lichtenfield taught his first students were: punching, kicking, and combat rolls. With repeated practice comes confidence, strength, and speed. The point of the Krav Maga method of instruction is to drill you so hard and so frequently in the basics that the simple techniques just become muscle memory- so that when you are attacked from behind, you don't even waste time thinking, you immediately know how to break a choke-hold or defend against a side attack.
  4. While there is supposedly no general fitness requirement for learning Krav Maga, you had damn well better be in decent shape before you even start. The first 20-30 minutes of a Krav Maga lesson consists of intense warm-ups, punching, kicking, push-ups, sit-ups, squats, lunges, and jumping jacks. After your first lesson, your body will be screaming in agony because you will have used muscles and tendons that you didn't even know you possessed. After your third lesson, you'll realise that actually, it's not so bad- after that first 20 minutes, that is. You WILL walk out of a Krav Maga session absolutely drenched in sweat and utterly exhausted- if you don't, you're being a candy-ass. Krav Maga workouts are brutal, but damn are they good fun.
  5. Krav Maga is about respect as much as it is about aggression. In order to get the most out of your lessons, you must respect the training room, your training partner, and your instructor. Never forget that the lessons you are being taught are designed to save your life in the event that you ever find yourself in a street fight. Every single technique taught in the art is taught with the aim of crippling or killing your opponent. Forget this even for a second and you forget the very purpose of the art. In every lesson I've taken so far, this has been hammered home repeatedly. Krav Maga is brutal. It is efficient. It is lethal. So you must never underestimate or disrespect the power that it gives you.
  6. Yes, Krav Maga teaches you how to defend yourself from knife and gun attacks. Yes, if you get into a situation where a gun is produced, you are still statistically likely to lose. That doesn't make the art any less awesome or worthwhile.
  7. As David points out in his article, after a few weeks of Krav Maga, you're going to feel like Jason Bourne. Rhon Mizrachi pointed this out in that very first lesson:
After a few lessons here, you're going to think differently, you're going to carry yourself differently. You're going to walk around and you're going to look at guys on the streetg and you'll think to yourself, "yeah, I could take that guy". And someone on the street will see you looking at him and ask you, "whatcha lookin' at?!" And you'll reply, "I'm lookin' at YOU." 
Where and How to Take Krav Maga Lessons

Krav Maga lessons are not cheap, at least not where I take them. Each individual lesson is $30; a 6-month membership clocks in at $900.  But, trust me on this- they are worth every penny. If you find a good place to learn the art, with real professional instructors, you will learn very quickly how contact combat really works. Leave your preconceptions at the door- nothing can truly prepare you for the intensity of a Krav Maga workout.

If you're in the Tri-State Area, this link will put you in contact with some very good instructor-certified schools where you can start your journey towards being a true bad-ass.

If you don't live in a city with a heavy Jewish contingent, you may find it very difficult to get to a Krav Maga class. If you can't, look into taking Muay Thai or some form of mixed martial arts. While I have a lot of respect for karate and judo and other forms of sparring martial arts, direct contact combat forms are the best way to learn how to really defend yourself in real world situations.

Martial Arts and Game

Like any other aspect of self-improvement, martial arts builds self-confidence, strength, and power. As my instructor said in my last lesson, where I was practising roundhouse kicks and tagging my partner on his shirt, "I may not walk out of here confident that you can kick someone's ass, but I can be confident that you'll be able to touch someone on his shirt!". By the time you've gone through a few Krav Maga or other MMA lessons, you'll realise that you are strong, that you are alive, and that very little in this world can truly intimidate you unless you let it.