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rules of engagement and friend/enemy distinction
I just read MindWar at the recommendation ofand I came away with some insights that warrant immediate application to current events. First, whoever can maintain dominance in the cognitive domain will ultimately prevail in any conflict, whether it ever becomes kinetic or not. Second, the rules of engagement in the information space that you employ relate closely to which side of the friend/enemy distinction you fall upon in the spiritual war man is destined to wage in perpetuity.
ROE = NAP
For anyone hoping to adhere to rules of engagement (ROE) that align with normative human moral proclivities, some version of the non-aggression principle (NAP) must be employed. Even bringing up the NAP in dissident spaces draws eye rolling and occasionally outright hostility. This is a product of ignorance. Anyone who openly flaunts the NAP in polite company would suffer an immediate and potentially irreversible loss of social status. To explain we have to start with a definition of the NAP from Wikipedia:
The non-aggression principle, also known as the non-aggression axiom, is a moral principle that prohibits the initiation or threat of force against an individual, their property, or agreements where the aggressor is liable and the individual is a counterparty.
Since this is too cumbersome to use as a universal heuristic, I find it essential to simplify the NAP to:
It is immoral to employ coercion against the innocent.
While the ambiguity of the word ‘innocent’ leaves room for evil to creep it, this lack of precision is necessary to ensure universal applicability in a world lacking objective arbiters for such distinctions.
NAP or NOPE
What this distinction facilitates is rapid delineation of who is at least possibly an ally in the Spiritual Everwar. With assent to the NAP mutually affirmed, disagreements over issues where violence and coercion are involved become easier to resolve. Between those who adhere to the NAP, such disagreements are essentially centered around who is and is not innocent in a given context. Of course, sometimes this itself is nearly impossible to discern (current events being a prime example). Such confusion has many causes, but none so dramatic as the subjective nature of value. We all have our own beliefs, values, and causes, and we are intrinsically motivated to influence perception in a manner that suits these values and interests. Most intuitively understand that characterizing those we sympathize with as victims and those we oppose as aggressors is an effective means of moralizing our cause. This is an enduring and natural feature of the human condition.1 We can’t expect people not to moralize their self-interest, or subscribe to all of the same values we might cherish. We can expect that they don’t use coercion against the innocent to further their cause, however. In other words, though others may desire different ends, so long as the means employed are just, this is no barrier to living in harmony with such individuals over time.
The Corruption of Liberalism
This feel good promise of liberal harmony has been transmogrified into the globohomo GAE horror show we’re all being subjected to precisely because of a departure from the NAP. As soon as employing coercion against the innocent achieves any degree of social acceptance, the demons have everything they need to transform the world into the hellscape demanded by their libido dominandi. Of course, this coercion is sold in the name of liberalism. It is sold as the only means by which the sad, pitiful lives of the weak and ignorant masses can be improved. Fortunately, most Americans are astute enough to see naked attempts to legislate compliance with the tyrannical measures our betters seek to impose upon us for our own good for what they really are. Unfortunately, our enemies have learned that even the lamest of attempts to put rhetorical distance between political violence and behavior change can be effective.
The Nudge and The NAP
Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein co-authored the book Nudge in 2008 codifying the nefarious means by which western institutions would rationalize their wholesale abandonment of the NAP in principle and practice. The authors argue that by constraining and influencing the choices of the populace, individual wellbeing can be enhanced. This argument is predicated on what has come to pass as a priori truth among the ruling elite in the wake of the managerial revolution, namely that highly credentialed and educated experts are best equipped to shape the decisions of ordinary citizens, workers, and consumers. They do make some arguments to demonstrate this, but they are only persuasive to those with enough baseline hubris that the right hemisphere of their brain can’t wake them from their myopic self-serving idiocy. The bottom line is that these clowns are utterly convinced that it is not only permissible, but morally optimal to employ coercion upon the innocent. They acknowledge that their targets are innocent. They justify this coercion with a series of arguments clearly designed to obfuscate their moral depravity that I won’t repeat, because it takes quite a bit of linguistic wordsmithing to untangle them (this is why the NAP is an essential heuristic, it cuts the Gordian knot they’ve attempted to tie).
MindWar and The Nudge
Though MindWar and Nudging are inextricably linked at every level, the most profound linkage to nudging in the paper is the author’s recognition that
For the mind to believe in its own decisions, it must feel that it made those decisions without coercion. Coercive measures used by the operative, consequently, must not be detectable by ordinary means.
The Nudge can be thought of as the principle means by which the enemy incorporates coercion into its MindWar efforts. Unmasking this coercion is key to subverting the efforts of our enemy in the Spiritual Everwar. By making the mechanisms of coercion clear and obvious we not increase our probability of counteracting and stopping them, exposure itself causes immediate blowback. As Aquino and Vallely explain:
in the long run brainwashing does not work, because intelligent minds later realize their suggestibility under such conditions and therefore discount impressions and options inculcated accordingly.
What this means to me, is that if the methods by which people are systematically coerced into believing things that their “betters” have determined to be in their self interest are exposed, we can expect them to re-evaluate all prior impressions given this recognition. While most everyone in the dissident space has experienced this phenomenon first hand, I found it interesting to consider that the same principle applies to overtly coercive brainwashing techniques as recognized by this paper.
Toward that end, Mike Benz is doing phenomenal work exposing nudge architecture embedded into the censorship industrial complex. I’ll write my next article exploring the concept of psychological vaccination as something for my next sortie:
MindWar and Truth
It must be axiomatic of MindWar that it always speaks the truth. Its power lies in its ability to focus recipients’ attention on the truth of the future as well as that of the present. MindWar thus involves the stated promise of the truth that the United States has resolved to make real if it is not already so.
The Spiritual Everwar really comes down to those who seek to understand truth and adjust accordingly, and those who seek to control and define truth when it fails to conform to their preferences. Both sides engage in MindWar, because like all war, the Spiritual Everwar is a MindWar. How you define the ROE for the universal battlespace will say more about what side of the fight you’re on than what your values are let along things like race or sex so it behooves us to define wisely.
That said, attempts to construct global narratives that confer victim and oppressor status based on group identity can be seen as a nefarious attempt to attain social status, which, as opposed to economic welfare is a zero sum game. I’m looking forward to writing up a reflection of Rob Henderson’s latest to explore this further and how such narratives are instrumental to ideological evil.