We Don’t Actually Want Another Civil War

A rare political post that I’m throwing up because it touches upon an area I just finished writing about.

Larry Correia takes the world’s dumbest tweet by a Congressman, and drops a hydrogen bomb of truth on it, and makes the rubble bounce.

Last week a congressman embarrassed himself on Twitter. He got into a debate about gun control, suggested a mandatory buyback—which is basically confiscation with a happy face sticker on it—and when someone told him that they would resist, he said resistance was futile because the government has nukes.

And everybody was like, wait, what?

Not a new statement. Whenever this comes up, proggies love to retort that the armed populace of the US could not possibly resist the U.S. Military. This is, sadly, a meme among them.

It’s dumb for a number of reasons, most obviously the fact that a high school senior today has never known a time when the U.S. Military has not been actively engaged against insurgents in Afghanistan, and by all accounts, we are not getting anywhere. Afghanistan is Vietnam with a lower body count (and according to some authors, we actually made some progress in Vietnam after Westmoreland left in ’68. But whatever):

Nobel Peace Prize Winner Barack Obama launched over five hundred drone strikes during his eight years in office. We’ve used Apaches (that’s the scary looking helicopter in the picture for my peacenik liberal friends), smart bombs, tanks, I don’t know how many thousand s of raids on houses and compounds, all the stuff that the lefty memes say they’re willing to do to crush the gun nut right, and we’ve spent something like 6 trillion dollars on the global war on terror so far.

And yet they’re still fighting.

Extrapolate that to the resources necessary for the U.S. Military to conquer North America, and some 20-30 million (if we go with the low estimates) of gun owners. Keep in mind that it took the better part of a century – from Fallen Timbers to Wounded Knee, for the U.S. Military to take North America from a variety of Indian nations, all of whom stepped out of the Stone Age no sooner than their first encounter with Europeans. I recently went horseback riding with some Blackfeet in Montana, and they told me that until the early 18th century, no Blackfeet had ever seen a horse. The Indians fought back with every weapon they had at their disposal, at a massive disadvantage in population and firepower, and it still took decades to defeat them. And they weren’t even unified. The Apache, Comanche, Iriquois, Dakota, etc., each fought their own individual war against the invader. And they each went down hard.

Oh, but that was when we had an emaciated army, underfunded and undermanned? Sure. But Correia reminds us not to be to sure of that high-tech, all volunteer military, to say nothing of the cops:

The problem with all those advanced weapons systems you don’t understand, but keep sticking onto memes, is guess who builds them, maintains them, and drives them?… Those drones you guys like to go on about, and barely understand? One of the contracts I worked on was maintaining the servers for them. Guess which way most military contractors vote? Duh. Though honestly, if I was still in my Evil Military Industrial Complex job when this went down, I’d just quietly embezzle and funnel millions of DOD dollars to the rebels.

This is what prompted me to come into this, as someone who just finished writing a novel that takes place in the Civil War, especially Sherman’s March: in 1861, the U.S. Military had about 16,000 men and 1,100 commissioned officers. Of those, about 20% defected and joined the Confederacy. Of the 200 West Point graduates who came out of retirement, nearly half joined the Confederacy.

How long did it take to defeat the South again? 4 years. Despite the fact that the North had over double the population, five times the railroads, and virtually all the industrial capacity. Despite the fact that of the southern population, one-third were slaves who were by definition (until the very end) banned from military service. Despite all of that, it took the advanced, industrialized, highly populated section of the country 4 years of bloody conflict to crush the agrarian, thinly populated half. And that was only because at the end those West-Point-trained Southerners honored their commitments to peace. That’s right, that was after four years of conventional warfare. The Confederates didn’t even try a guerrilla insurgency.

So how many current members of the U.S. Military are right-wing enough to have a real problem with firing on civilians in support of the abrogation of the 2nd Amendment? Wanna bet it’s higher than 20%? How many Robert E. Lees join the rebellion this time? How many Apache attack helicopters do they take with them? How many Abrams tanks?

Hell, how many nukes? Do you know where we keep all of our land-based missiles? That’s right: out in flyover country. When I was a kid, the running gag held that if Montana and the Dakotas seceded from the Union, they would instantly be the third-largest nuclear power on earth. I don’t think they have as many missiles now as they did in the 80’s. But they still have some.

How hard would it be for the governors of those states to order their respective National Guards to take over the missile silos? How many guys inside the missile silos would help them do it? And how many cities would they need to wipe out to win the war?

Two. New York and Washington. Game over.

Now, of course, it might not break down like that. War is never as clear in reality as it seems at the outset. But that’s my point. The scenario in which the 1.3 million members of the U.S. Military are going to be able to contain a guerrilla revolt by a group an order of magnitude larger than them, and within the country they draw their logistical support from?

That’s not gonna be over by Christmas.

A Glorious Fisking of the New Yorker’s Chik-Fil-A Snit

Supplied by no other than Larry Correia.

He’s in rare form, beyond calling out the puritanical screeching that has become so obligatory on the Left, he makes this salient point:

I often see people describe rags like the New Yorker as “intellectual”, and then they lament how America is “anti-intellectual.” No. America isn’t anti-intellectual. The problem fucking halfwits assigning themselves a title they don’t deserve. There was nothing intellectual about this. There was no deep thinking. This was some dude having a public hate boner against a chicken restaurant in proxy for his unresolved issues.

The New Yorker is about as intellectual as the Chess Club table in the school cafeteria. It’s all a bunch off dully, snarky whining, a vain attempt to out-do each other shoehorning as many SAT-vocab words into your conversation as you can before the bell rings to send you to gym.

How to Get an Agent, and How to Deal with Failure

With a tip of the hat to Larry Correia.

Step 1: Write Book.

Step 2: Pick Agent who, based on their past representation, will be interested in your book.

Step 3: Submit to Agent.

Step 3a: Get Rejected. Return to Step 2.

Step 3b: After several iterations of the 3a Loop, throw hands in air and self-publish or leave the book in the desk drawer, never to be read.

Step 4: Sign contract with Agent. You now Win at Life.

That’s pretty simple, right?

Of course it is. And like almost all simple things, it’s not really easy.

First, you have to write a book. Which is a time-consuming slog of ambition and drive, slaying self-doubt and inertia along the way. Stephen Pressfield’s The War of Art is your guide to that mess.

Then, you have figure out, based on The Writer’s Guide or some such other resource, what agents will want to see your un-requested submission. This is informed guesswork.

Then, you will knock your head into pieces trying to write a cover letter that indicates you to be a) a serious, professional sort of person, who happens to be b) the author of a book they will want to represent. This is harder than it looks.

You will be wrong about this. Most of the time. I wrote my first novel fifteen years ago. I submitted it. It was rejected. Looking back, I can see why it was rejected. It’s a bit all over the place, a bit Byzantine in plot, a bit loose in characterization. But I love it. I loved creating it. It’s gonna come out some day.

I wrote short pieces from the same universe (it’s my fantasy world I’ve alluded to earlier). They were also rejected. I despaired of all the rejection and gave up for a little while. Other things got in the way. I did self-publishing (My Amazon Author Page is pretty full actually). None of those got me the success I was looking for.

But I am committed. So I keep going. After I finish The Sword, I’m going to move on to the next book. And then the next, and then the next, until a) I drop dead and leave my work to the ages to judge, or b) people find value in what I’m doing (which is really just the same as a), when you thing about it).

So the process of getting an agent is the process of creating art is the process of accepting and internalizing the surety of failure. Failure is okay. Failure is normal. A book that doesn’t sell is better than no book at all, and only ruling-class gatekeeper trolls say otherwise.

Fail until you win.

Prepping vs. Pantsing, Outlining vs. Discovering – Where I come down on the Great Writer Divide

In the minds of many authors, there are two ways to write a piece of fiction:

  1. Outlining (“Prepping”). You figure out what’s happening, who the characters are, the arcs, everything. You do this before you’ve “written” a single word. Then, when you do sit down, you have a plan.
  2. Discovering (“Pantsing”). You sit down and let the story come out of you. You figure it out as you go along. You let nothing stand in the way of pure creativity.

Most authors who discuss the distinction, such as Larry Correia here, don’t say that there’s one best way to do it:

There isn’t really a correct method. Either one method works for you, or it doesn’t, or you use a combination of the two. Whatever. The important thing is you write a good, sellable book. Here is my usual disclaimer about anything related to writing, despite what your English teacher told you, there aren’t really any rules to this stuff. The only rules are 1. If your readers like it, you can do it. 2. If your readers think it sucks, take it out. For every rule you find, there’s a bunch of writers who violate the hell out of it and sell a lot of books. So the following is just my opinion about what has worked for me.

My experience goes along with this. I’ve done both ways, and there are advantages and disadvantages.

The first thing I ever wrote, which will not see the light of day for a long while (if ever), was a long bit of swords & sorcery fantasy called The Island Prince. I spent three years on that, because it was pure Pantsing. I made up every chapter as I went along, with a very vague idea of where the plot was going to go. Keep in mind, I knew the world extensively, as I’d been putting together the backstory of this kingdom, that dynasty, etc. since I was about 14. I knew where I wanted it to go. Still took three years. I laugh when I think of it now.

On the other hand, I’ve got an entire mystery novel outlined, scene-by-scene, character-by-character, beat-by-beat. I put the outline together in an afternoon. This was years ago, and I have one chapter and part of another drafted. Because I’m now bored of it. I know it so well that I have nothing to learn of it, so sitting down and writing it interests me very little. I’ll get back to it someday – maybe.

You might infer a lack of discipline here, and I certainly won’t argue that point very hard. But I find some combination of the two has enabled me to actually finish things.

Solar System Blues was the result of some initial pantsing, some basic freewriting to establish the world and the idea, and then a very workable outline that I was able to adjust as needed. It hasn’t sold magnificently, but it got a few favorable reader responses on Goodreads, and SelfPublishing Review liked it.

Right now, I seem to be operating under a “Pants it until you can’t, then outline your way home” philosophy. The first two chapters of Void were pantsed, and there will be things tweaks I want to make as a consequence. But now I’m at the point where I need to sit down and figure out my next several moves. I’m almost done with Chapter 3, which will appear in the next issue of Unnamed Journal before it gets posted on Tablo. I’ve hit the same point with The Devil Left Him: two chapters in, and I now need to plan my next moves.

This gives me the thrill of discovery, of building a world out of will, while at the same time organizing my work so I can actually finish things and ship them. Void and Devil will be the next works I complete and publish, and I feel very confident about that.

How ‘Stranger Things’ Got Passed Around Hollywood

In the midst of fisking the usual gang of idiots about raaaaaaacism, Larry Correia lets drop an interesting factoid:

For a long time entertainment tried to lump as many customers as possible into one big box to provide dumb bland mushy product to. To make a living at this stuff you needed to sell to everybody, including the easily offended. Now, you just need to appeal to one group of fans, and what appeals to them might not appeal to everybody, but screw those guys. You can make what you want. Technology has evolved so that you can get your product right in front of your target audience. It isn’t just books either. Stranger Things got rejected by something like 15 networks for being too weird, and now it is a hit on Netflix.

I double-checked to make sure that was true, and according to this article in Rolling Stone, Correia was low-balling it:

After they wrote the initial Stranger Things script, they never thought they’d have a chance at pitching Netflix; they thought it was only a place for established names like Orange Is the New Black creator Jenji Kohan and House of Cards producer, director David Fincher. Matt estimates the brothers were rejected 15 to 20 times by various networks, while other execs had balked at the idea that the show featured four kids as lead characters but that it wasn’t TV for children. “You either gotta make it into a kids show or make it about this Hopper [detective] character investigating paranormal activity around town,” one told them. Matt recalls replying, “Then we lose everything interesting about the show.” Some other people they knew in the industry understood their vision and helped connect them with Netflix. “There was a week where we were like, ‘This isn’t going to work because people don’t get it,‘” Matt says.

That’s the thing about the entertainment/content industry: they have to have product to connect with an audience, but they can’t know ahead of time what will, and there’s a cost factor with every bet. So if they gate-keepers don’t get it, viscerally, instantly, they assume that the disinterested masses won’t bother. Because the entertainment industry isn’t about connecting audiences and content, it’s about connecting audiences and content in such away that maximizing profit and minimizes loss. Thus, people are going to pass on things because they’re not getting it.

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Larry Correia Won’t Vote Trump, Either.

Good.

He posted on Facebook that he said so, and reaped the whirlwind of idiot Facebook comments. He re-posts his post on the blog, with edits responding to each genre of protest, and it is a delight.

A few delights:

WHAAA! NO LABELS! You shouldn’t call people Trumpkins!”

Forgive me No Labels Police. Writing out Coalition of Authoritarians And Low Information Voters Motivated By Anger And Fear Who Are Now Fully Invested In A Cult of Personality That Will Allow No Dissent got a little long to keep typing.

This is a good one:

Lots of You Sound Angry. Well, yeah I’m angry. A plurality of half wits picked the most uniquely unsuited candidate in Republican history. Duh. But I’m also perfectly rational writing about it. We might be at the fall of the Roman Empire, but at least I live in Byzantium.

Well. Played. And then there’s this, which defines the bright line that keeps me from his camp.

Then lots of posts from the despondent republicans rationalizing having to vote for an authoritarian clown, because he might be better than the harpy.Truly, I feel for you guys. I get why you’re doing it. Just can’t in good conscience pull that lever myself. Have fun explaining, defending, or owning all of his terrible decisions until November though.

Not just until November. That’s only if he loses. If he wins, you’ve tied yourself to him for the next four years.

And I won’t. I just won’t.

 

Larry Correia Discovers the Secret to Life

Step 1: Make money as an established genre fiction author, which is “not a real author” according to sad bastards who write lit fic about their feelings.

Step 2: Buy a tank.

Step 3: NOTHING. There is no third thing. You win at life.

Plus, think about it. You would win every argument after that for the rest of your life.
“Socialism works great in Denmark!”
“I have a tank.”
“Huh?”
“I win.”

“You aren’t a *real* author!”
“But I have a tank.”

See? You can’t argue with a man who has a main battle tank in his yard. I don’t know if I win, so much as I wouldn’t care. Because tank.

In other news, I’m going to quit my job and devote myself full-time to writing, so I can have a tank. I don’t need a main battle tank: a light tank or APC would do just fine. I’m a humble man, of humble needs.