See my previous years’ 9/11 reflections. 2012: “9/11 Rewrote Our Lives in Ways We Are Only Beginning to Comprehend” and 2013: “On 9/11 and Benghazi’s Anniversary, We End Conservative Pessimism and Right-Wing Apocalypticism“
Last week, against my better judgment, I decided to do a PJTV show and argue some pretty kooky, outlandish positions. The subject in the video embedded above is speculating on the future of warfare in which robots might do the fighting for us. Scott Ott, Bill Whittle, and Glenn Reynolds took a more skeptical approach while I argued my overly optimistic, “Singularitarian” perspective, embracing Ray Kurzweil’s idea that in our lifetimes we’ll have robots with consciousness, be able to gradually merge our minds and bodies with intelligent machines, and eventually evolve into new hybrid species until we become pure energy (the Singularity).
See the film Transcendent Man for an idea of where I’m coming from:
In the meantime, on the road to getting there, I anticipate that in our lifetime wars will be fought between terrorist organizations and nation states primarily with drone assassins, rather than Phantom Menace robots or Terminator 2: Judgment Day-style exoskeletons running around.
I feel morally compelled at a serious personal level to call for and defend the development of weapons of overwhelming power and sophistication and then to call for their employment against all nation states and ideologies currently waging wars against any liberal democracy. Yes — an explicitly pro-war stance, counter to the sentiments of the idolized former Congressman and conspiracy theory peddler Ron Paul today. My reason goes to my very being: I’m in the same boat as three commenters who responded on Monday when we featured the new Prager University video, “Was It Wrong to Drop the Atom Bomb on Japan?.” War made us.
My father was stuck in the Philippines waiting on Operation Downfall to become reality. There’s a good chance he and his buddies would have been casualties, maybe KIA’s. Which means I wouldn’t be writing this comment.
I don’t regret being born and don’t regret that we dropped that bomb so my dad could come home. End of story.
No it was not wrong to drop the atom bomb on Japan. My father was flying B-29 missions and my father in law was in the infantry in the Pacific. Given the the anticipated casualties for invading Japan, if not for the bomb, I guess there’s a fair chance me or my wife and our kids would not exist.
and Robbins Mitchell:
Those who claim it was “immoral” or whatever for the US to nuke Japan are clearly unaware that Japan was also working on its own atomic bomb…named the “genzai bakudan”…they were receiving uranium oxide from the Germans and had a working reactor on the Korean peninsula….had we waited till fall to invade the home islands,that would likely have been long enough for them to perfect their own nukes and they would have most assuredly used them against the invasion force…which would have included my own father who was with a US Navy occupation team on Okinawa at the time
How many Atom Bomb families are there today who only got a chance to exist because President Harry S. Truman made the correct moral decision? A similar question could be asked regarding his role in supporting Israel’s creation. From “23 Books for Counterculture Conservatives, Tea Party Occultists, and Capitalist Wizards“:
A number of the commenters on YouTube and at PJTV made an assumption about me for which I don’t blame them, but that I did try to counteract somewhat during the show. Stereotypically, Singularitarians are secular materialists — and in its extreme forms Singularitarianism can indeed be a kind of gnostic pseudo-religion for those who misunderstand and reject the God of the Bible.
I fight against such approaches. Judeo-Christian values and an embrace of mind-bending, body-escaping technology can and should go hand-in-hand. And they did with Truman. As David Gelernter demonstrated in Americanism: The Fourth Great Western Religion, his willingness to use powerful technology to defend America was undergirded by a deep study of the Bible.
In declaring my advocacy for total war against all states which sponsor terror against Amerians and oppress their citizens under illiberal laws I do so through the Old Testament lens articulated by Michael Ledeen’s analysis of Moses and Machiavelli. We must be the same. From “What Machiavelli (A Secret Jew?) Learned From Moses” published in 1999 at the Jewish World Review:
Moreover, Moses is the highest example of the most successful kind of leader: a visionary who is willing and able to use force to accomplish his mission. Machiavelli has little time for martyrs; he wants winners, and he knows, in the words of one of his most famous phrases, that “all the armed prophets won, the disarmed went to their ruin.”
Moses was the greatest of the armed prophets.
At G-d’s behest, Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt and across the desert toward the Promised Land. He left them briefly to climb Mount Sinai, where he received G-d’s sacred commandments. Descending the mountain, he saw with horror the idolatrous orgy around the golden calf. He smashed the tablets, and asked Aaron for an explanation, to which Aaron replied, “Let not thy anger wax hot; thou knowest the people, that they are set on evil.”
“Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said: ‘Whoso is on the L-rd’s side, let him come unto me.’ And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him. And he said unto them: ‘Thus saith the L-rd, the G-d of Israel: Put ye every man his sword upon his thigh, and go to and fro from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.’ And the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses; and there fell of the people that day about 3,000 men.”
“Whoever reads the Bible sensibly,” Machiavelli tells us, “will see that Moses was forced, were his laws and institutions to go forward, to kill numberless men.” Machiavelli doesn’t pretend that the means used by Moses were good. He knows that somewhere in the shards of the shattered tablets it says, “Thou shalt not murder.” He readily admits that the means are evil, but he insists that they are the only ones that work in such dire circumstances. If Moses had said to the idolators, “Let us reason together,” he would have failed. In these circumstances, to do good — to adhere to the Sermon on the Mount — is to guarantee the triumph of evil.
Just as the quest for peace at any price invites war, and, worse than war, defeat and domination by your enemies, so good acts sometimes advance the triumph of evil. There are circumstances when only doing evil ensures the victory of a good cause.
Machiavelli is commonly taken to be saying that the ends always justify the means, but he does not believe that. Quite the contrary. Machiavelli is not telling you to be evil, he is simply stating the facts: If you lead, there will be occasions when you will have to do unpleasant, even evil things, or be destroyed. If you are lucky, these occasions will be few and far between (a leader who never had to do such things would be fortunate indeed).
This is essentially the Counterculture Crusader position on foreign policy. We have to be willing to recognize the enemies who cannot be reasoned with, accept their commitment to obliterate us, and then destroy them with superior technology.
Two very different thinkers who also inspire me articulate it too in their own forms. To try and quickly summarize my approach of trying to marry seeming opposites, I’ll sometimes summarize my activism as “Aleister Crowley meets Ann Coulter.” It turns out the two of them have views more similar in dealing with evil than most would suspect. Aleister Crowley’s Liber Oz statement during World War II, generally regarded as summarizing his very libertarian (and hawkish) political beliefs:
Let’s just emphasize that: “Man has the right to kill those who would thwart these rights.” As in, when someone possesses an ideology which justifies murdering you or other people, for the sake of self-preservation it’s best to assume they’re already planning on it and to kill them before they can kill you. Let’s remember Ann Coulter in 2001, the conclusion of the column that made her more infamous than any other:
We know who the homicidal maniacs are. They are the ones cheering and dancing right now.
We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren’t punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That’s war. And this is war.
Whether Jew, Christian, secularist, or a tech-minded, neo-pagan confabulation of all three like myself, the broad reading of the history of war against nature-worshipping slavemasters from the Canaanites to the Nazis reveals that the way to achieve peace is to impose it on the enemies trying to destroy you with weapons which make surrender the only viable option. David P. “Spengler” Goldman put a number on peace when he wrote in “Sherman’s 300,000 and the Caliphate’s 3 Million“:
This new Thirty Years War has its origins in a demographic peak and an economic trough. There are nearly 30 million young men aged 15 to 24 in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Iran, a bulge generation produced by pre-modern fertility rates that prevailed a generation ago. But the region’s economies cannot support them. Syria does not have enough water to support an agricultural population, and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of farmers into tent cities preceded its civil war. The West mistook the death spasms of a civilization for an “Arab Spring,” and its blunders channeled the youth bulge into a regional war.
The way to win such a war is by attrition, that is, by feeding into the meat-grinder a quarter to a third of the enemy’s available manpower. Once a sufficient number of who wish to fight to the death have had the opportunity to do so, the war stops because there are insufficient recruits to fill the ranks. That is how Generals Grant and Sherman fought the American Civil War, and that is the indicated strategy in the Middle East today.
Three million men will have to die before the butchery comes to an end. That is roughly the number of men who have nothing to go back to, and will fight to the death rather than surrender.
We need to develop the moral clarity to give our enemies the deaths they seek. Or this 9/11 will be just like the ones to come. We’ll always just sit here anticipating that we’re going to be hit again. I think we need to give September 11 a new meaning. Here’s my dream for today, who’s with me? Someday, maybe decades from now, the last territory under Shariah law and the final land living under a secular despot’s fist will be liberated. Someday 9/11 will not be a day of fear but of celebration as not just the United States sits under the protection of the First Amendment, but the entire planet.
Is there some more important long-term objective that I’m missing? I don’t see how anyone on earth can ever truly be safe from becoming a slave himself as long as slave empires are permitted to masquerade around as though they, too, were liberal democracies worthy of respect. The path forward is the one the founders wanted on the Great Seal: REBELLION TO TYRANTS IS OBEDIENCE TO GOD.