ZERO SUM GAME 3
The most intelligent use of resources will, all other things being equal, win the conflict for you. Most generals in the history of war were morons, with the exceptions proving the rule. As long as they worked within the constraints of nature and logistics, they would usually not screw the poodle too hard. Not that so many did even that small required bit of common sense well ( the only reason WWI seems an outlier was because of the scope of resources used. That was its only difference. The MIS-use of those was pretty standard ).
Terrain, and trains of supply, with a bit of tactical innovation or at least unexpectedness. Is all that really so much to expect after a lifetime of study and practice? Evidently, yes. Just as the average individual is a friggin moron, but the infrastructure built by culture protects him from his own folly, so too is the average military leader protected somewhat from his own mistakes by redundancy and other features of the military infrastructure. But make no mistake, the military is just like most other organizations, a mediocracy rather than a meritocracy. This simply reflects the normal bell curve.
Far too many people think they are smart, when they are not. I always say, I’m not smart but rather well read. I can simplify complexities, but that doesn’t make me all that smart. I think it is more an idiot savant ability ( smile ). Most people are NOT smart, nor are they endowed with larger than normal dinguses. But people confuse our brains as a computer that is better or worse than average, storage wise. Humans individually don’t have to be any smarter than the collective borg. It is our culture, not our individual intelligence that is the deciding factor.
As a species, that is. And within our species, different groups come about cultural development differently. ALL cultures are tailored to locality. That is what culture is, a location specific adaptation for survival. What is unequal is how that culture is suited for change or exposure to new different cultures. Both the Scottish and Afghan clans were adapted to their mountain environments, and both are similar in continuous warfare amongst indigenous tribes preparing them for foreign invaders. Why was one relatively easy to conquer a thousand years after they withstood Rome, and the other still holding out?
Sorry, that was a tease, I have no actual answer for you ( the question just occurring to me ). But it does showcase the need to search for that Secret Sauce of success, doesn’t it? One culture isn’t more intelligent than another. Each were equally successful adapting to their environment. But why is one able to prevail over another? THAT is the sixty-four thousand dollar question ( in 1950’s purchasing power dollars, not today’s wildly inflated currency. Hell, today sixty grand gets you about one night’s stay in the hospital ).
I could be way off here, but I’d hazard to guess as go empires so go cultural military conflicts. Poverty and deprivation are the driving forces of conquest, and luxury and decadence are the death knell of a group. I don’t think this is THE critical factor, but it certainly must play a large part. I have much to research on this subject, but for now we can call this one aspect. There are too many other factors, obviously. The tribe next door must be in decline while yours is on the rise, for instance. You must have enough initial resources, for another.
There is never only ever one cause of a problem or solution. But we can assign probabilities and orders of importance. I think the levels of luxury in the lifespan of an ascendant group does correlate to their ability to actually access danger and adopt to it. Because if you have passed peak of your power, not only will you deny this fact because to do so gives power to the fear of losing that luxury, you also cannot in fact change even if you wanted to because of the lack of resources ( mostly spent frivolously ). Hubris and denial, indeed.
And poverty also dictates HOW badly you fall into the trap of imperial rise and fall. I wonder if the Scots, with a neighboring resource rich surplus to share, were prey to greed, whereas the Afghans are so insular that there are no resources to bribe them with. They stay in poverty, and hence are protected from corruption. Without surplus, they never are conquered from within. The Scots-Irish of the Appalachians and nearby wallowed in poverty but were semi-autonomous, until the surplus Oil Wealth trickled in and defeated them with luxury. Or so goes this theory, anyway.
Surplus is a GREAT way to defeat your enemies, and not just militarily. If you bribe them with luxury, they are loath to engage you militarily. They get sloppy and lazy, their own sloth defeated them for you. In a lot of cases this is a better strategy than naked force. Of course, the downside is that when you can no longer afford to bribe them you have a bit of a problem. It all boils down to surplus resources and greed, doesn’t it? Nobody wants less, even if LESS is what can make you culturally inclined and successful martially.
Japan has always been more successful, from a resource scarce environment that compelled cultural adaptation to compensate. The Germans were always disadvantaged geologically and compensated for that culturally. Which is why I keep coming back to the frugal, resource poor survivalist having the initial advantage. They are not spoiled by luxury, soft and weak ( relatively speaking, obviously ). They are learned in deprivation and hardship. These are skills a rich humper cannot purchase. They can only buy the appearance of this skill, a talisman against lack of ability. Poor folk are hungrier, and less divorced from the reality that everyone else wants to hurt and kill them.
They are less opposed philosophically to hurting and killing other people not because they should, but because they can. Well, they SHOULD, because offense is still good defense, but they know the difference is that they CAN. Spoiled, wallowing in luxury types have convinced themselves they SHOULDN’T, because passivity is a prerequisite of their resource surplus sharing. The poor haven’t been bribed to think in this defeatist manner. Food for thought.
( .Y. )
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Solid points Jim. I, myself try to use self discipline in conserving resources, materials, etc. even if there is cash heating up my pocket to be spent. I am usually very discerning with a bullshit filter on regarding all information and people contacts. I practice Magyiver improvisation to all problems, self solving without needing outside support or bailouts. It has developed me over lifetime to be a pretty self reliant loner that is not a pushover. This philosophy and practical application (that you articulate well in your writings) is good groundwork training for an "eventual" collapse and appocalypse. Carry on.ReplyDelete
Most people keep raising the bar on minimum luxury. It is great you avoided this trap as your living standard increased. Kudos.Delete
Moving out here to the sticks, at least a half an hour from anything and an hour from most needed things has caused a difference in everything I do. The reverse is also true, unfortunately. When every store is just 5 minutes away you tend to live like it.Delete
In suburbia a hammer is just a hammer cause if it isn't then the solution is just 5 mins away. But out here in the sticks a hammer is whatever you need it to be. Yes, you can cut wood with a hammer, if you have to, because a new saw is an hour away. Yes, you can kill your supper with a hammer cause a different way to deal with it is not available. What's that saying? Need is the mother of innovation, or something like that.
When I was just six miles from town, but gas was $4 a gallon, and I was poor, it took about two weeks to get everything I needed to NEVER need to go to town again off schedule. No better tool to train yourself off of shopping trips. I like this guy:Delete
He covers some similar ground, and is entertaining to boot.
With a little bit of planning and some money, going to town can be reduced to spring and fall excursions. Maybe, the right town can be less-awful?Delete
Well, if you don't grow all your own produce...Delete
As heard from one of Uncle's best-trained soldiers: "LAST MAG!". Future gunboiz will be husbanding their 3 patrol cartridges knowing that an enemy kill might get them a few more as the patrol share. Stay frosty at the border, Boiz!ReplyDelete
Non-minion identifying patch:
Did you see the official USArmy photograph of the pregnancy surrogate kit strapped on an American soldier.
A pudgy grinning American soldier. A male soldier.
Did you read the after-action reports of folks rushing to evacuate as fires destroyed the city of Paradise California. Grid-lock on the two two-lane roads out of town; they abandoned their vehicles, and ran.
Were the fires from lightning or terrorists or stupit tourists? Irregardless, the result is the same. I think this whole prep business keeps getting more interesting.
Gawd, I hope nobody says the fires were from HAARP.Delete
Orbital Directed Energy weapons? and HAARP, of course.Delete
Naaaa, it was lightning or a piece of glass/bottle that focused the sun on a flammable thing.
A friend had a wooden porch catch fire by the sun focusing through a glass plant hanger. Good thing they were home to put it out!
Japanese made incendiary balloons to burn Western forests during WWII. Long shot per balloon, but good pay off if a single one sets fires in late summer.Delete
I believe it was a Jap who mapped the jet stream so that they could do that. War Science is fun!Delete