Good Fences Make Good Neighbors
The title of this article is an old proverb that I’ve heard my entire life. Having spent all of my life except the decade I spent in uniform, living in rural locations, I’ve understood the truth of it, at least on the surface, for most of the last four decades. It wasn’t until I really started thinking about the lessons of tribalism that I was raised with, while writing Forging The Hero, that I really started understanding the deeper meanings though, despite it unconsciously being a core tenet of the philosophy I’ve lived my life by.
Good fences make good neighbors is directly related to the cultural concepts of innangarth and utangarth that I discussed in Forging The Hero. It is critically relevant to building tribal, resilient communities, both for intra-tribal relationships, and for inter-tribal relations. It’s really a large part of the core of “building rapport” and “winning hearts and minds.”
Boundaries are Boundaries
My innangarth is my tribe. It is composed of the people that I know and trust, and have frith with, because of our shared experiences of shared values, customs, and traditions. Within my innangarth though, there are layers of trust and closeness as well. My household, composed of myself, HH6, and our children are my absolute innermost circle. Outside of them are my kith and kin, then there is another layer of frith, indirectly, with their kith and kin, before looking over the outer walls of the community/tribe, at the rest of the world, whom I don’t know and trust, and are—by definition—utangarth, or “outside.”
It is safe to say, while I DO share cultural values, customs, and traditions, with my kith and kin, I don’t agree with them on everything. There may even be things that are important to me that they disagree with me on, and vice versa (it’s true, I can assure you). That’s okay though, as long as those disagreements are not detrimental to the CORE values, customs, and traditions of the tribe, and as long as practicing those do not violate the orlog, or “laws” of the tribe.
As an example, within the tribe, what my friend or my cousin does, with his family, inside of his family and home, is none of my business…as long as it doesn’t violate the CORE values, customs, and traditions of the tribe. This is an important distinction, that is too often overlooked by too many folks. If my cousin or friend is molesting his child, that is definitely a violation of the CORE values, custom, and traditions of our tribe. That is not acceptable, and it’s not something that we’re going to ignore, because of the belief that “good fence make good neighbors.” Some of OUR core values include, a) children are sacred gifts, and the future of the tribe, and so, must be protected, and b) we believe in protecting those that are incapable of protecting themselves from harm. As such, if this were to occur, there would only be a couple of viable options that would restore the frith of the tribe as a whole…1) would be burying the rotten piece of shit in a deep hole in the woods. 2) would be—possible–turning him over to the “justice” system, for prosecution (assuming he was actually adequately punished, by which I mean, at least the majority of the rest of his natural life in prison. Otherwise, we’d have to resort to #1).
The same would apply—in my tribe—with someone that beat their wife, except that in this case, there is the third option of outlawry, casting them out of the protection of the tribe. In today’s society, that doesn’t mean much, since he could, at least in theory, move to another town or state, and start over, with no one knowing his past, but, it protects OUR people. Ideally of course, such a scumbag would never make it through the initiatory process of inclusion into the clan.
On the other side of the coin however, if my cousin drinks more than I approve of, or decides he wants to smoke pot? It’s none of my fucking business, as long as he is upholding the core values of tribe. If he shows up sloshed for Thanksgiving Dinner at Grandma’s, and pisses on her kitchen floor? Now, he’s violated cultural mores and values, and recompense is due. If he’s losing job after job, and not able to pay rent, and keep a roof over his wife and kid’s heads? Now, there’s an issue we’ve got to deal with. Just drinking more than I think is “okay?” None of my fucking business. Making it my business is going to damage the frith of the tribe (obviously, if your religion believes that consuming ardent spirits is a sin, this particular example doesn’t apply. If you can’t extrapolate from there however, a) you’re an idiot, and b) your understanding of your religion must not be very good.)
So, how does that apply to intentional tribes, such as those discussed in Forging The Hero? It’s pretty simple really (notice that I did not say it was “easy”). You MUST define your core values. These need to be those values that you absolutely, positively, are non-negotiable on. I can’t tell you what those are, because it’s almost certain that yours are not the same as mine, and I won’t tell you what mine are, because they’re none of your fucking business.
When you start looking at a prospective kinsman; someone that has been hanging around, because of shared interests, it becomes critical that you look at them through the lens of those non-negotiable core values. Do they share those values? How do you know? Do they express those values through the same customs and traditions that you do?
Those core values are what matter. The other things? The things dude does in his own home? As long as they don’t violate your core values, they’re none of your business. If there is something he does that you can’t abide, then obviously, you didn’t do a very good job of defining what your core values actually are, did you?
Building Rapport and Winning Hearts and Minds
“Winning hearts and minds,” a phrase first codified by French General Lyautey, in the 19th century, is one that has gotten a really, really bad reputation, because of misapplication in the popular imagination, and by fuckwit politicians, who really don’t understand what the phrase actually refers to.
Winning hearts and minds is NOT about winning over your enemy. Once they’ve decided they need to kill you, for whatever reason, the only way to change their mind is to kill enough of them that their desire to live outweighs whatever urge led them to violence in the first place.
There is still a place for “winning hearts and minds,” and that place is where “good fences make good neighbors” comes into play for the prepared tribe, during the Decline of Empire. The goal of “winning hearts and minds” is not to convert the enemy; it is to convert those of the population not on the enemy’s side, or your side, to either come to your side, or—worst case—stay neutral to the hostilities.
So, how does that apply in this context?
Minding your own damned business!
Not everyone in your community is going to be part of your tribe. At the same time however, that doesn’t necessarily make them the “enemy,” unless you force them to choose the other team to support. If you start looking for reasons to be a dick, or just end up being a dick because of negligence on your part, you WILL drive people to the opposition, and that is a negative outcome for you.
This does not, however, mean that you need to—or should—ignore the behavior of outsiders, when that behavior is antithetical to your core values. Unless you know what your core cultural values are, however, defining what is antithetical to them is impossible. That means someone else—in our world, this generally means either a) one of the political parties, or b) the media, and I’m including bloggers like myself, and social media in category B—will be defining what is antithetical to what they think your core values should be.
If another tribe or group exists within your community, they may be potential allies, even though they don’t share all of your values. They may not share your core values—if they did, they’d probably be members of your tribe—but as long as their core values and your core values are not antithetical, there is no reason that you cannot develop a mutually rewarding inter-tribal relationship with them, if you define your own core cultural values, instead of letting someone from the GOP or DNC define what your core values “should be.”
(And yes, I know for a fact that this blog has readers that vote R and D. I also know that there are readers of this blog who have allowed their respective political party define what their core cultural values “should be.” If you’re surprised at that idea, you’re probably one of them…)
There may be groups in your community who seem to be ideal allies, but once you look deeper, you begin realizing that their core values and your core values are antithetical, meaning there is no way you can have a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship. We’ve seen this in international relations, when the USG supports a force somewhere, following the adage, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” That is unmitigated stupidity. “The friend of my friend is my friend,” is true, if you choose your friends well, but “the enemy of my enemy” may very well be a complete scumbag, who is just as much your enemy as your enemy.
So, what are your core cultural values that are non-negotiable? (That was a rhetorical question. Don’t fill my comment section with lists of what your cultural value are. I don’t give a shit). How many people in your current “prepper group” share those core values? How do you KNOW they share those values? Did they tell you so? Or, have you spent enough time with them to KNOW, through experience?
Are there other groups in your community that could be potential allies, even though they may have a different emphasis than you? (The correct answer is “yes,” 95% of the time—and yes, I made that percentage up, but I would wager it’s close) Are there other groups in your community that might seem like perfect potential allies, but if you really looked, they are natural opposition to you? Are you practicing—like a retard—the belief that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend?”
What are your core cultural values? What customs and traditions do you use to exercise those values? Who do you know—who may not be a “prepper” as such—that shares those values, customs and traditions? That person—those people—should be the people you are looking to as “tribe” and “community,” for surviving and thriving, during the Decline of Empire.
(Finally, one hint about that last paragraph: All you tough guys who talk shit about your families? Where, exactly, do you fucking think your values and customs and traditions came from?)