History’s First Successful Warrior of Attrition
“The victor is not victorious if the vanquished does not consider himself so”
The Roman Historian Ennius
So we’ve reached a meta-stable political and societal equilibrium that subordinates probative and intelligent governance to the satiation of an increasingly base and callow population. As a result of that, politicians promising to utilize government to meet the basic needs of a large mass of individuals increasingly enjoy higher probabilities of winning elections. This process favors Post-Modern Liberals over Traditional Conservatives and focuses elections on the lower rungs of Maslov’s Hierarchy.
This result is what I described yesterday as an absorbing state where voters feel like they can’t feed themselves unless they vote for Democrats who promise them government help. This limits opportunities for Conservatism and forces the nation on a train-track to fiscal and moral bankruptcy. This pernicious feedback loop can be countered in two ways. We blow it up (I’ll discuss how to light the fuse in my next post in this series) or we slow it down until we bleed off enough energy to make it stop. Today focuses on this option – The Fabian Option.
The strategy is based in Roman Military History. Quintus Fabius led an overmatched Roman military against Hannibal of Carthage. Hannibal was a driven man and a strategic genius*. Fabius knew his limitations and had no intention of running his army into that buzz-saw until Hannibal and run out of good forage out on the Italian Plains. Wikipedia describesthe Fabian Strategy below.
The Fabian strategy is a military strategy where pitched battles and frontal assaults are avoided in favor of wearing down an opponent through a war of attrition and indirection. While avoiding decisive battles, the side employing this strategy harasses its enemy through skirmishes to cause attrition, disrupt supply and affect morale. Employment of this strategy implies that the side adopting this strategy believes time is on its side, but it may also be adopted when no feasible alternative strategy can be devised.
So what if we can’t meet the Dems in the field of battle? What if we can’t hold an election anymore without the media turning it into a discussion of when the GOP stopped being such a pack of pro-rape Cro-Magnons? Well, you then work on taking Fabian Tactics into the political arena. This involves the tactic of forcing the opposition to operate in a trade space. Make them pay for the free contraceptives, the food stamps and all the rest of the panem et circenses agenda with something that is real.
After reading Streiff’s brilliant Keyser Suze post, establishing the first trade-off isn’t too hard. We offer the President the chance to drive off at least a good part of The Fiscal Cliff™. Then we debate how we get the best return on all that additional revenue**. The debate over who gives up what is how we make people stop and think about ordering up another one of Barack Obama’s Hershey Bars.
This forces us to engage from top to bottom. Our elected leaders need to engage in the House and Senate committees. We publish and fight to pass budgets that establish pro-growth and anti-waste priorities. Out state and local leadership does the same at local levels. Our Army of Davids fights this out on the blogs and with letters to the elected leaders and the editors of our newspapers.
We give ground on revenue, demand restraint in spending and offer repeatedly better and more thoughtful plans for the future. It will take time. It will take more time than I want to give up. But it will begin to bite and take its toll. As the times grow more drastic and the conditions more critical, the liberals will look less serious and more self-interested. A disciplined conservative alternative can then assume intellectual and moral primacy in the minds and the hearts of a demoralized populace.
We give up things we want this way, but if it forces a dissolute and disengaged populace to suck it up and deal with what our feckless and enstupidated current course of action is doing to our nation then we can win the debate and make America great again. It’s not what anyone wants to read on an activist website, but then again, it was Quintus Fabius, not Hannibal who ultimately conquered in the 2nd Punic War.
*-The ultimate Evil Republican. Not even Ronald Reagan could have led a troop of elephants over the Alps.
**-Yes, Dr. Laffer, I understand. Higher taxes don’t guarantee higher revenues in a system cognizant of 2nd order feedbacks. It’s a key component of the L-shaped Ambush I’m proposing we set here.