Students of military science and contemporary sociology will note that the nature of warfare has changed fundamentally since the conclusion of the Second World War. In the last 70 years, the incidence of warfare between nations has decreased dramatically to the point where it has all but disappeared; it has been more than matched, however, by warfare within nations. Warriors have become terrorists, and defenceless civilians are cannon fodder in their war-games. Internet-trained sociopaths arm themselves with real weapons and wage their private war; the massacre of defenceless children at Columbine and Anders Brevik’s rampage on Utoya Island are stark reminders of the power of terror and the terror of power.

The 1960s acid-folk group The Fugs described democracy as “the lesser of two evils.” In any conflict, we ought to take sides not with the force representing our own conception of a morally perfect ideology, but with the party that seems to us to be the less harmful and more positive social solution.

Thus, in Ferguson last night, I leant towards the trigger-happy police rather than the criminal anarchy of the rioters; the same at Marikana, where police had to react to a crazed mob that had already killed ten people so gruesomely that those before them were in exaggerated panic; in Gaza, I prefer the imperfect actions of Israel to the crazy jihad of Hamas; in Iraq, the Iraqi government’s tribally lopsided actions are infinitely preferable to the horror of ISIS; South African farmers’ deepening racism, though philosophically abhorrent, is still far more acceptable to me than the murderous assaults that are rained upon them; and so on, for nearly every conflict currently raging, with a few exceptions – Syria springs to mind where the opposition to tyranny, however faulty, is without doubt a better bet than the tyranny itself.

Our common enemy—all of us concerned with this initiative— is the jihad. No normal, decent person, whether Arab or Jew, Muslim or Christian, would fail to find the method and the goals of the jihad absolutely abhorrent.

It seems to me that human beings as a species are evolving towards entropy, and perhaps resisting the tide is hopeless, but I shall continue to align myself with the forces of order and oppose those that spread chaos.

What side are you on?


In the second edition of Socks, I am going to sail on a different tack; this much I know already, before even the first edition has been published. I am going to pay much more homage to the philosophy of Robert Ardrey, for it is he who has nailed it. It’s not going to be easy though, let me tell you. It is nearly impossible to decide which passage to quote, which pair or triplet of paragraphs from any of his books best presents the central idea. They seem to defy reduction to first principles, so mighty are the ideas, so irresistible the revelations he left us with, quietly, over the last two decades before he went to sleep.


  1. John

    Without going into things in any extreme detail, I spent three archaeological field seasons in Israel in 1998, 1999, and 2000. What I experienced there is that the majority of Israelis – Jewish, or Muslim – are rational people who really want to make a living and have a peaceful existence without interference by outsiders or ideologists of any ilk. Religion and politics thrives on divisiveness, setting up “is versus them” dualities whose utility in the modern world is miniscule. Since most of the maddest ideology is tied to religion in Israel, you find that the folks seeking a peaceful existence were leaving the older, religiously important cities.

    Their view expressed to me that they are happy to “leave the cities to the nuts” as one Israeli doctor said. The situation in Israel is such that there is now a modern, on-going exodus of both secular Jewish and Palestinian folks. They get along with each other perfectly well, but cannot abide and not want their children exposed to the nightmarish ends to which they believe their co-religionists are directing the country. While I was there I actually heard a good deal more animosity directed at the Orthodox and Ultra-orthodox by secular Hebrews than at the Palestinians. The only violent action I experienced in Israel was a rock-throwing riot between two Jewish orthodox groups that cost me a mad five minute scamper through dark, Old-city Jerusalem “streets” to get away from the battle before a twelve-year-old girl, her father and I became collateral damage to a stupid religious argument.

    My suspicion is that you cannot take “sides” without advancing entropy.

    1. Skywalker Post author

      Thanks for your comments, John. It’s always good to get accounts from the rock face.

  2. Matt Terry

    I’m with you, Skywalker! As my favorite band, Chicago (the early years) urged, reform, yes, but within the system. As my inspiration to play guitar, Jimi, wondered: why burn your brother’s house down? Is not the human project anti-entropic?

    We depart on Syria, in this way however: current regime’s methods of defense are as bad as possible, assuming they authored the chemical attacks–don’t forget the Druse bombed their own in Beirut, not everyone thinks the same everywhere, and yes papa Assad thought nothing of offing 30K in a week, but before the revolution, Syria was about the easiest going of all the police states in the region. Do the people deserve liberation from all police states? Of course. Was Assad’s Syria this bad before they were provoked? Not even close, they had aspirations to European-style living. ISIS is as you said, infinitely more psychotic. If the Free Syrian Army really exists in any potent capacity, compared to Assad or ISIS, I am unaware of it, and would love to be corrected. If our choice, today, is between ISIS’s future, and Assad going back to his past, behaviors, then I say that’s the easiest call on your list.

    As an American who lived near and bought guitars in Ferguson MO for 4 years, once volunteered in community radio (very leftwing folks) and lived in modest blue-collar neighborhoods in several major American cities, the segregation of populations is as real as their different views of law enforcement. You and I have almost never been unjustly harrassed by “the man” (as much as we may decry “the system” “the man” enforces). Many blacks have. But the reason they attribute, racism, is in error, and their collective shame prevents discussion of the real reason: It is basic policing, and it looks and acts against them as it does because their culture has a real disdain of authority (understandable in slave-descended people) and widespread ethos of stealing, to put it frankly. The truly shocking numbers per capita of blacks locked up, on drugs, on 100% welfare, failing school, and guilty of child and “spouse” abuse are not produced by racism, but by behavior and values widely shared in their community that most other communities do not recognize as “good.” (Everywhere on Earth, a shuffling schlub whose ass is hanging out because he can’t pull up his pants is a figure of pity, here he’s the cool guy all the kids emulate. WTF?) We are prevented from discussing this plain-as-the-nose-on-your-face situation by the legacy of racism that did in fact exacerbate these problems many-fold, but which now is used as a club to break the teeth of any who speak to the real problems of African-American culture. As someone from a liberal household in Little Rock, in high school when northerners were showing their racism 20 years after we’d had our school integration crisis, I was disturbed to see the folks we’d been told were so enlightened be just as awful as our parent’s generation had been on the same issue. But America has made huge strides in accepting blacks into every job we have, so what has really disturbed me is to see not a new Harlem Renaissance blossom, but a South-Central mayhem and Lord of the Flies chasm of depravity yawn wide and horrific.

    War is for a purpose: the best, self-defense, comes in several forms, and losers are called losers because they lost something. This is the way of the world, and I don’t recall the UN changing these facts, no matter how much bad faith they direct at their own creation, Israel. (That’s the thing about Jew-hatred, it’s so self-mutilating!) I heard a modern American Indian describe this: his people had a creed: “If you are not man enough to protect your things, and I am man enough to take them from under your nose, then you lose your right to it, and I gain it.” Such attitudes are of course common and defensible among imprisoned populations anywhere, but that was their ethic with their neighbors long before the settlers and Union soldiers, and differs in what relevant manner from Hitler’s? Sorry, ignoble savage, I’ll take the Union, a flawed nation of laws is still better than a nation of strongmen. It certainly makes it a bit tough to consider claims they should be repatriated!

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