I am happy–delighted–ecstatic–to announce that I completed the final revisions and editing (WAY better editing on this one than the previous two) on the new book, this morning.
FORGING THE HERO: A Tribal Strategy for Building Resilient Communities for Surviving the Decline of Empire clocks in right at 200 pages. This is NOT Volume Three of The Reluctant Partisan. It is a completely different book, and in a many ways, far more personal as well as educational.
Waiting for the cover art to be done, but it should be going to the printers on Monday.
One of the prize-winning article requests was: “engagement/psychological preparation of children/youth in your planning and preparations—what the hell are you going to do with TMO?”
The following article is actually an excerpt from the working draft of the new book. It is not the exact content in the finished book, but pretty close. Mostly, just the layout is changed, to fix contextual issues that only make sense if you’ve read the six and a half chapters that lead up to this point, before getting into the training-specific aspects of the book.
For most people, the mental image that arises with the term “feral children,” is the boomerang-chucking little mute kid in the Mad Max: Road Warrior. Sociologically, the term “feral children” however refers specifically to children who live isolated from human contact from a very young age. This leads to a lack of cultural behaviors and understanding, including care and language. While historically, many feral children have been abandoned or confined by their parents as a rejection of intellectual or physical handicaps, there are cross-cultural mythological examples of feral children growing into successful adults. From the Roman foundation myth of Romulus and Remus, to the modern fiction examples of Kipling’s Mowgli, and Burrough’s Tarzan, we can reflect back to the earlier point from this book that “myth is history, told better.”
In the mythological examples, we see children with relatively normal levels of human intelligence and physicality, growing into a superior being, because of their enhanced physical attributes and survival instincts that have not been dulled by exposure to social behavioral norms. Of course, this concept is closely tied to the “noble savage,” or “Myth of the Golden Age,” but it also offers an extremely useful approach for developing cultural identity and raising children that will continue the survival of cultural values and tribal identity.
Feral is derived from the Latin “ferus” meaning “wild.” It is specifically defined as “untamed; undomesticated; hence, wild; savage.” A more contemporary edition of Webster’s includes “having escaped from domestication and become wild.” The issue then becomes, “who is defining ‘untamed,’ ‘undomesticated,’ and ‘wild?’” If we allow the imperial culture to define those terms for us, then most “traditional American values” are now the realm of “wild” and “savage” people, because they do not fit the cultural norms of the imperial culture. To the Roman imperial culture, the Celto-Germanic barbarians were—by definition—wild and savage and undomesticated, because they did not adhere to the customs and traditions of imperial culture.
Yet, even in the Roman example, we look at the foundation myth of Romulus and Remus, and we see a glimmer of memory of the barbarian, uncivilized youth of Roman cultural identity. We must strive for the same. We must strive to raise children who are not constrained by the morals and regulations of imperial culture, but instead, who are constrained by the cultural values of our tribes’ values and so, live in frið with the rest of the tribe—whether kin-group or sodality—increasing the chances that those customs and traditions will survive the death throes of the declining empire.
There are three basic aspects, in my understanding, to raising feral children (It is absolutely critical to understand that, to some degree, this section is largely hypothetical for me. While we do raise our children this way, our oldest is still primary-school aged. By the time she is a teenager, or young adult, we may have realized we were complete fucking retards on the subject, and ruined our child’s life through shitty parenting.). The first of these, as in all things, is leading by example. We cannot expect our children to internalize the cultural values we profess, if we do not provide the moral exemplar for them to look up to. At best, in such cases, we can only hope that, by setting such a shitty example, our children are repulsed by it, and strive to achieve a life opposite our own, thus actually succeeding at living the values we professed, but did not live.
If you profess to believe in critical thinking and logical decision-making, as a cultural value, you cannot get angry and scream at your child to “shut the fuck up, and don’t question your parents!” After all, by questioning the basis for not only your decisions, but even the basis of your authority to make those decisions, the child is successfully implementing the critical-thinking you profess a desire for them to learn. If your cultural value is that parents are, ipso facto, the source of all right thinking in the family, in the tradition of the patria potestas, that is fine. You’re a fucking moron, but that is fine too (let’s face it. We all know parents who are considerably less intelligent than their children. Case in point? You humble author). However, if you expect your child to learn critical thinking skills, you’d damned well better be able to explain to them that there is actually a philosophical basis for your parental authority.
If you profess to believe in the virtue of health and fitness to the survival of your tribe, then your children had probably ought not see you spending every available moment of free time, sitting in front of the television or the computer screen. While some time with either tool is not even noteworthy, your children should see you engaging in activities—and probably should be participating themselves—that validate your professed belief in health and fitness.
The second aspect is the inculcation of critical-thinking skills. If we accept that wisdom and good judgment are the basis of good fortune for both the individual and the clan, then it seems self-evident that teaching basic critical-thinking skills—logic—is a fundamental prerequisite of training our children to be leaders of their own generations within the tribe. If we teach our children legitimate logic and critical-thinking skills, they are less likely to find themselves coerced into actions inimical to their best interests and the best interests of the clan, through political and corporate marketing schemes that play on falsely created emotion.
The third aspect, directly related to the above, is the absolutely essential requirement of homeschooling our children. While this is often attacked by many within the preparedness movement as “impractical” for “most” people, that—in itself—is a failure of critical thinking and judgment. The typical reason provided for declaring homeschooling to be “impractical” is the “need” for two incomes, and the resulting inability for one parent to stay home. That is completely a function of surrender to the marketing of imperial corporate cultural programming. If removing Mom from the workforce requires a downsize of housing or material lifestyle, what are you losing?
“Oh, I don’t want my children to feel deprived!” This concern is an admission that you are allowing others to define the cultural values of your children. If your children are raised to value family connections and values over material wealth, how could they feel deprived by the opportunity to spend more time with their family? It is only when we see our children corrupted by the corporate advertising of the imperial culture—through public schooling, whether from teachers or their “peers,” or through television and other media marketing—that we see this raised as a concern.
“Well, what would the neighbors think!?” Who gives a shit? Unless those neighbors are part of your kith-and-kin, in which case, they should—by definition—share your cultural values and traditions, the opinions of your neighbors should be completely irrelevant to you. If they are of your tribe, and share your cultural values, and they voice opposition to your homeschooling, I would offer that there are two issues potentially raising their head: a) they do not, in fact, share your cultural values, at least in this specific area, in which case, you should reconsider where you’ve placed the boundaries of your tribal identity, or, alternatively (and possibly more likely) b) maybe they are not making a comment on your values, but on your ability to adequately teach those professed values. Perhaps, in the latter case, it is not the neighbors you are actually concerned about, but the unconscious understanding that you’re a fucking retard, and have no business trying to educate your children, if you are truly concerned about the survival of the tribe, rather than your own ego.
“There is no way my wife would go for that!” Like both of the aforementioned “concerns,” this actually illustrates nothing more than a failure of basic critical-thinking skills and good judgment. In the first place, it is a failure of critical thinking on the part of your wife, relative to the goal of survival of the tribe—and thus, of her own children. If your wife recognizes her role as the cultural arbiter of morality—in her role as the keeper of the hearth—then there is really no sound basis for refusing the role of homeschooling teacher for your own children. Does she believe that her income, as a method of funding more purchases of material goods, to assuage her guilt for not being home to raise her children, is more important than, well…being home to raise her children?
This of course, reflects back on the other side of the poor judgment involved. If you are a husband who is married to a woman that does not share your cultural values and customs, you demonstrated a remarkable lack of good judgment in marrying her in the first place, didn’t you? The reciprocal is equally true of course. If you are a wife, who is married to a husband who insists that you cannot afford to stay home and take care of the children, because of financial considerations, and you believe that passing on the cultural values of your kith-and-kin is the most essential role you have in life…then you’re a fucking idiot for marrying his ass in the first place.
The common retort to this that I often hear from critics is, “Well, I don’t believe in divorce! That’s a cultural value.” This is often offered as a defense for an unsuitable pairing that occurred because of youthful indiscretions and the lady of the house getting “knocked up.” I get it. Shotgun weddings are still a very real thing where I live. I’m not even referring to the morality or immorality of premarital sex(for me to protest premarital sex as immoral would require a level of ironic hypocrisy that even I am fundamentally incapable of) What we are referring to here is the “Well, she got knocked up, so I did the right thing by her and the kid.” Make no mistake, I agree this is the appropriate response. For better or for worse, you’ve passed on your DNA, and have—in my personal belief—a moral obligation to ensure the best possible outcome for the child. However, none of this removes the guilt of piss-poor judgment from your moral load. Now, because you lacked the good judgment to use a better form of birth control, or to abstain from premarital sex, you find yourself saddled with a spouse who does not share your cultural values. Undoubtedly, this was a result of the programmed conditioning you received in your own life, leading you to fall for a pretty face or a hard body. In the heat of the moment, good judgment and critical-thinking skills often fall victim to “damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” So, now you’re stuck, watching your children raised in the teaching of a culture completely foreign to your own values and traditions, with the forlorn hope that maybe—hopefully—you will be able to reverse that programming in the brief interludes you have with your children, at supper and on the weekends. Of course, at the same time you are struggling to achieve this, your efforts are being very effectively countered not only by the official programming of the public education system, but also of the unofficial programming of exposure to peer-group children with similarly contradictory values to your own tribal cultural values.
There are of course, despite these refutations, instances where it is not practical or practicable for mother to stay home and teach (Honestly, I don’t have a fucking clue what they might be, but people keep insisting to me that there are…). In such cases, in the tribal approach to surviving the decline of empire, we have a ready-made alternative, in the origin of education in much of America, when a local community built their own school, and hired a school teacher to come teach their children. In such cases, we have the opportunity to select a teacher that teaches lessons that correspond to your cultural values.
While the obvious example of this is private schools, whether secular or parochial, there is a less obvious example. That is simply, in cooperation and collaboration with others in your tribe, selecting a member of the tribe to act as the community schoolteacher, at least for the primary grades. It is, in effect, a return to the one-room schoolhouse model of yore (Yes, I am specifically talking about an obsolete, archaic system—that resulted in literacy rates estimated to hover steadily above 94%, versus current statistics, which hover between 80-85%, depending on how strictly you define ‘literacy.’).
We see the effectiveness of this educational model described by French emigre Pierre Samuel duPont de Nemours (Pierre Samuel was the father of Éleuthére Irénée du Pont, founder of the DuPont company.), who, in 1812, penned an interesting little booklet on National Education in the United States of America (Available in digital format, courtesy of the University of Michigan, at: http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015030974144;view=1up;seq=7) wherein he pointed out, “The United States are more advanced in their educational facilities than most countries…they have a large number of primary schools; and as their paternal affection protects children from working in the fields, it is possible to send them to the schoolmasters—a condition which does not prevail in Europe…most young Americans, therefore, can read, write, and cipher. Not more than four in a thousand are unable to write legibly—even neatly…the Bible is read; it is considered a duty to read it to children; and in that form of religion the sermons and liturgy in the language of the people tend to increase and formulate ideas of responsibility. Controversy, also, has developed argumentation and has thus give room for the exercise of logic…In America, a great number of people read the Bible, and all the people read a newspaper. The fathers read aloud to their children, while breakfast is being prepared—a task which occupies the mothers for three quarters of an hour every morning. And as the newspapers of the United States are filled with all sorts of narratives…they disseminate an enormous amount of information.”
What we see then, is a historical model of community- and family-based education, predicated on the local community’s shared values, that led to the growth of the most powerful culture in the human experience. Perhaps—just perhaps—it is time to return to that model, on the local, community and tribal level, to ensure the survival of our cultural values?
Ultimately, the goal of survival preparedness, if we use “I want to survive!” is a dead end. You are not going to survive. Whether that is in the long-term or the short-term is largely predicated on your ability to develop the types of strong tribal ties that allowed your ancestors to survive the decline of previous empires. Simply building a gang of fellow preppers may be adequate to ensure survival in the short-term, at least until someone comes along who offers more benefit to your friends-of-convenience. In order to survive for the long-term, you need to develop that level of loyalty among your kith-and-kin—or within the intentional tribe of a sodality. Even then however, you can only survive to the end of your natural lifespan. The continuation of your cultural values requires passing on those values to the next generations. That requires strong families, with children who are indoctrinated in the values of the clan’s culture.
By providing the example to your children, of how to live in accordance with those values, and by educating them with the skills and lessons of those values, you provide the greatest opportunity for not only their—and your—short-term survival, but also for the long-term survival of your culture. That requires, as in all other aspects of life, emigrating “outside” of the metaphorical borders of the decadent, dying imperial culture’s definition of “modern family values.”
HH6 asked me to toss up a post really quick. Some of you have been in contact with her, about enrolling in the upcoming classes in NV and OR. Her email server dumped a bunch of emails however….she thinks.
If you emailed her, and have not gotten a response, please email her again. Same email address.
I’ve been busting my ass, trying to get Book #3 done, among all the other tasks going on in our lives and world right now. I missed my projected first-of-the-year release by a pretty significant margin (which is nothing new, is it?).
For the last two weeks, the hardest-to-write chapter has been kicking the piss out of me. Tonight, I finally came back and beat the shit out of that 28-page sumbitch. That puts me back on track for an end-of-February release, assuming things don’t get bogged down again, during the revision process.
Combat Rifle Applications–Pahrump, NV
22-24 APR 2016
See the Upcoming Open Enrollment Classes tab above for more information, and email HH6 ASAP. This is an open-enrollment, but the hosts expect that their local group will fill most of the slots.
“...developing a PT program within the tribe and how to develop the tribe and mindset as a part of that..”
One of the points I’ve tried to make in past articles on the blog, in Volume Two of The Reluctant Partisan, and in the forthcoming third book, is that the key to building tribe and community for preparedness, during the decline of empire, is being a person that people recognize the importance of having around. It’s about making your presence valuable to them. The same of course, is true of people you would want in your tribal community. You don’t want or need useless people who are succubi, living off the efforts and exertions of those around them.
As I’ve tried to express—ad nauseum—in this blog, one of the best tools we have for this, in both cases, is strenuous, effective physical training. In addition to the basic, inherent value of being strong and fit, and being surrounded by strong, fit people, it develops a necessary “mutual exclusivity” that is necessary to separate “us” from “them” in a world of whining, weak, people who look for shortcuts and easy answers.
One of my favorite one-liners, in life in general, and in PT specifically, is from Texas strength coach Mark Rippetoe: “strong people are harder to kill, and more useful in general.” The idea of HARD, physically strenuous PT is often unpopular in preparedness circles. People seem to believe that they can purchase exemptions to this, relying on technology to solve their problems, by simply stockpiling more “bullets, beans, and band-aids.” They trot out tired, easily invalidated arguments like, “there will always be someone stronger,” (while true for most of us, SOMEONE has to be The Strongest; shouldn’t we strive to be that person? Even if we fail, we’ve increased the number of people we’re stronger than, thus making us more useful than them), “mental strength is more important than physical strength,” (again, inarguably true, until you need to lift something heavy as fuck off someone, or carry and injured person to safety, and you’re just not physically strong enough to do so…all the mental strength in the world isn’t going to help then, urban myths aside. This also conveniently ignores the reality that PT is one of the best tools we have for building actual—versus theoretical—mental discipline and strength), or—one of my personal favorites (*sarcasm*) that I hear a lot–”you’ll be old someday too, and then you’ll understand!” (Hopefully, I will get to be old someday. I already have to work harder to get, and stay, strong, than I did twenty years ago. That doesn’t mean I’m going to just give up. Will I be as strong at 80 as I was at 40? Probably not, but I guarantee you, even at 80, I will be stronger than the 40 year old who doesn’t do PT).
Whether it’s general chores around the homestead, digging or carrying heavy materials around a construction site, carrying bags of livestock feed, humping a heavy ruck on a bug-out to a safe haven, being stronger and more physically fit, is seldom, if ever, going to be detrimental. I cannot think of a single situation in my entire life when being strong has ever been a bad thing…and I can assure you, I spend a lot of time, generally in the moments leading up to a set of heavy squats or deadlifts, trying to think of some example that will be a viable excuse for not doing the set.
Since I’ve had students in classes admit as much, I know it is not true, but I’d like to believe that anyone who has been reading this blog for any length of time has embarked on a legitimate, effective strength and conditioning program by now. You know the value and importance of PT. That’s not the point of this article though, is it? This is about developing a PT program for the tribe, and using that as a tool to develop a stronger tribe, physically and mentally.
Be A Fucking Leader
It is my heartfelt belief that the first step in developing your tribe’s ability to survive—and even thrive—during the decline of empire, especially when you feel like you are the only one around with the foresight to recognize that “shit just ain’t right,” in the world (you’d be wrong feeling that way, by the way. I guarantee you, everyone around you recognizes it to, even if they’re still in denial about it), is to step up and be a leader. You may not be The Leader (and who would want that job, anyway?), but you need to be A Leader, even when those around you don’t want to accept that they need guidance. It’s no secret that, in my world, The Ranger Handbook is pretty much The Bible of leadership, so I’m going to turn to that first.
According to my Ranger Handbook, “…leadership provides purpose, direction, and motivation...” It also says that leaders must “...be, know, and do…” I’m not the smartest guy in the world—I’m not even the smartest guy I know—but that seems like a pretty good recipe for guidance on developing a PT program for your tribe, and using it to develop a stronger tribe.
In this case, the above descriptions from the Ranger Handbook are the sine qua non of leadership. You have to provide purpose, direction, and motivation by being an exemplar of the value and importance of being in great physical condition. That means, of course, you need to BE physically fit. You also need to understand the art and science of coaching and strength and conditioning, in order to KNOW how to help others get into great physical condition, within their own physical limitations. Being fit is not the same thing as knowing how to help others get fit. Your grandmother, your wife, your parents, and your children are not going to reach their peak following the same exact program that works for you. Finally, you need to DO, by actually getting out there and helping those others, even at the sacrifice of some of your own desires.
BE! Set An Example, Without Being A Dick
In my experience, no one will ever take you serious about the importance of physical fitness if you are not obviously physically fit. This doesn’t mean you need to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger, at his Mr. Olympia-winning prime. No one expects 23-inch upper arms, and sub-5% bodyfat is simply not maintainable for any length of time for most people.
However, if you’re suffering from Dunlap Disease (Your belly done lapped over your belt), or you’re walking around shoving your face full of Big Macs and Snickers bars, while preaching the value of physical fitness, strength, and vigor, don’t expect any of us to take you seriously. You need to look like you’re physically fit, you need to live like you’re physically fit, and you need to demonstrate that you’re physically fit. Standing around in your best hero pose, while everyone else is doing physical labor, because you’re “on a rest day,” is not being a leader, or setting an example.
Whether it’s helping your neighbor unload a truckload of lumber for his shed building project, getting a lid off a jar of pickles for your grandmother, cutting and stacking a cord of firewood for your mother, or wrestling around with a bunch of young dudes in their twenties at a party—and not getting gassed in the first thirty seconds—you need to able to demonstrate that being physically fit has as many advantages today as it does in some possible dystopian future.
KNOW! Set Standards and Enforce Them
You cannot develop a conditioning program for yourself—let alone for anyone else—without knowing what the goals are for that program. What are you trying to achieve? What are they trying to achieve? Are they trying to achieve the same things you are? Are those goals realistic for them?
One of the things I’ve discussed in previous articles, generally about firearms training standards, is the importance of performance-focused, or “soft” standards, versus “outcome-focused” hard standards. Setting a 0.95 drawstroke to first shot standard, from concealment is utterly fucking useless for a middle-aged housewife with her very first handgun and a concealed carry permit so new the ink isn’t even dry yet. The same principle applies to telling some scrawny dude wearing hipster skinny jeans that he needs to be able to squat 2x his bodyweight, dead lift 2.5x his bodyweight, and bench press 1.5x his bodyweight. He’s going to—righteously—look at you like you’ve got a dick growing out of your forehead.
My wife knows she needs to be physically fit and strong, in order to be a useful partner in our quest to provide for our children and our tribe of kith-and-kin. She also knows she needs to be physically fit and strong to help me set an example for those around us. Does that mean she needs to be aiming for—let alone actually achieving—the same standards I aim for? No. Expecting her to do so is not only unrealistic, it’s going to do nothing but discourage her attempts to achieve what she can achieve and what she needs to achieve.
Ignoring the physiological differences between men and women (which while real, are not as immense, as important, or as insurmountable as most of the “men are physically superior and stronger than women!” crowd want to believe. I guarantee you, most of that crowd are not half as strong, nor do they possess a quarter of the physical stamina of Annie Thorisdottir—2011 and 2012 Crossfit Games Womens Champion), my wife and I simply have different roles to play, which means we have different needs from our PT. My wife isn’t going to deadlift 400+ pounds for reps during PT any time soon, and I don’t expect her to. My wife isn’t going to carry two five-gallon buckets of concrete mix across a house-building site any time soon, and I don’t expect her to.
Setting performance-driven standards, so people are getting stronger today than they were yesterday, is what matters. We have to set challenging “hard” standards, and they need to be standard, but those standards may be different for different groups of people within the tribe, based on their specific needs. The hard standards you set for people have to be predicated on a couple of different factors including, yes, their age and physical ability to attain them.
My very prim-and-proper, ladylike grandmother, in her nineties, is not going to suddenly going to start flinging her bodyweight overhead in an Olympic Snatch. It just is not going to happen, and I don’t expect her to. Does my 90+ year old grandmother really need to squat her bodyweight on a barbell? Probably not. It doesn’t mean I don’t encourage her to do PT, and encourage her to do PT. Here’s the catch though…my grandmother is not going to pick up a rifle, and run to the sound of the guns. She has more important roles to play in the tribe. She still does her PT every day though. She gets on her little exercise bike every day for 20-30 minutes, she goes for her three-mile walk every other day, and she does weightlifting with her little one- and five-pound weights.
One of my uncles came to me a few months ago, shortly after we moved back South. He’s been a little bit of a prepper-type since Y2K, but has stepped it up a lot over the last few years. He asked me about helping him develop a PT program, because he’d noticed how serious I was about it, and was starting to recognize that, in his 60s now, he wasn’t as fit as he used to be, but felt he needed to be more fit.
I gave him a 35-pound kettlebell, and coached him on a couple of basic programs he could do that would keep challenging him, as he changed them back-and-forth. Now, a 35-pound kettlebell doesn’t seem like much to most of us. I do swings with a 70-pound kettlebell, and will step up to a 100-pounder as soon as I can fit it into my budget. I do snatches with twin 50-pound kettlebells, and will start incorporating the 70-pound within a couple of conditioning cycles. I do Turkish Get-Ups with a 50-pounder, and could do them with the 70-pounder if I wasn’t a chickenshit, worried about dropping it on my skull. That doesn’t matter though. I’m not in my 60s, and coming off a decades-long absence of physical conditioning work. For my uncle, that 35-pound ketttlebell has made a significant difference, in both his strength and his stamina and endurance. The standard set was simply, do more today than you did yesterday, and do more tomorrow than you did today.
How do you enforce standards though? In a kin-group tribe like mine, that can be challenging. Am I going to disown my grandmother or uncle or wife, if they don’t do PT? Of course not. I can only use my own example, of doing the right thing, and be ready to offer guidance, when they are ready.
In an intentional tribe however, where you are intentionally gathering people around you, as in a preparedness group, or a militia, you can most certainly set standards, and enforce them, through ostracism…and you should. If dude is not doing his PT, or is not meeting the standards, why not? If he doesn’t have a legitimate reason, what else is he going to avoid doing when it needs to be done, just because it is inconvenient?
In an intentional tribe, I believe that setting performance-driven “soft” standards, as well as outcome-driven “hard” standards should be written into the by-laws of the organization, whether those by-laws are actually written down in hard-copy, or are simply the “established values, customs, and traditions” that the group feels it shares and has discussed.
In addition to basic PT requirements, incorporating physical strength and vigor into the culture of your tribe can be a useful catalyst for motivation. Having a party, and including physical feats as part of the recreation, may help—through the natural, inherent competitiveness of people—build the mindset of fitness as part of your tribal culture. This is, in fact, an ancient tradition in tribal cultures. From American Indian foot races, to the hugely popular (I love competing in them) Highland Games, to more “mundane” things like stone carrying, or wood splitting competitions, throwing a wager out there, on a lark, or actually planning them into the party festivities, and offering prizes to the winners, while making it a tradition, will go a long way to not only establishing a culture of valuing fitness, but to building frith within the tribe, as people bond over the competition and cheering for favorites.
DO! Be Ready When They Are Ready
One of the things I’ve noticed about preparedness culture, as I’ve written this blog, and taught classes around the country, is that there is a very strong undercurrent of greediness in this community. From people who prepare solely out of a fear of “losing the stuff I’ve worked for,” to people who jump on the “If you show up at my house, when you didn’t prepare before hand, I’m not giving you shit” bandwagon, there is a decided, very noticeable level of greediness. I get it, don’t misunderstand me. My wife and I have worked our asses off for everything we have. We’ve scrimped, scrounged, and saved. We’ve gone without, a lot.
Nevertheless, if someone in my kith-and-kin group showed up, tomorrow, and had lost their job, because of the collapsing economy, and didn’t have a place to stay, because they couldn’t make their rent, and they had no food storage to feed themselves or their kids, what am I going to do? I’m going to make up a bed of blankets on the living room floor, and have the wife throw on a pot of stew, to feed them, and give them a place to sleep. If they’re out looking for a new job the next day, great. I’ll even help them with money for fuel to drive around. If they’re not looking for a new job, that’s fine too, I’ve got plenty of chores to do around the house that they can pitch in with. What I’m not going to do is punish them.
Most people in modern America don’t give a shit about fitness, beyond being able to claim membership in a Planet Fatness (not a typo) type “Health Club” for the social cachet. As Jack Donovan pointed out in a recent article on his blog, while the would-be elitists of the urban chic crowd seem to want to propagate the belief that the waspish, teenage-girl, skinny jeans wearing, scrawny, body type is the “new normal” for American men, the real “new normal” for all Americans seems to be the fat, dough-bodied slovenliness we see all around us.
As more and more people across the political spectrum continue waking up to the realization that “shit just ain’t right” though, a surprising number are also waking up to the fact that being stronger and more fit might actually be useful in facing the challenges they see on their horizons. As leaders within our tribes, whether intentional or kin-group, we need to be ready for this awakening, and be able to set aside our greediness, and be prepared to help. That’s why we need to be the exemplar. If we are obviously fit, then when those around us do wake up, they will—we hope—recognize that perhaps we’re the one they should look to for advice. But, we need to be ready, physically and mentally, to offer them useful, achievable guidance.
Not only do we need to be able to offer them guidance with ideas, we might even have to be ready to offer them material help. This may range from taking time out of our own tasks to actually coach them for a few days or weeks, to giving—or at least loaning—them some of the basic equipment they need to get started on their paths. I have more 35 and 50 pound kettlebells than my wife and I together can use at one time. Why? Because I can loan them out, indefinitely, without missing them. I use two Olympic barbells, a squat rack, and a power cage, but I have an extra barbell, bench and an entire extra power cage sitting in my backyard gym. Why? Because, if it comes down to it, I can loan them out to someone that will use them, but can’t go out and buy one, right this minute.
Am I at risk that they might sell it on Craigslist, or it will disappear into a pile of shit in their garage? Sure. Absolutely. I have to trust someone, at some point though, right? I’m willing to risk that loss, because the people I would loan that equipment out to are people that I need to be able to trust. If I can’t trust them with gym equipment, can I trust them with my life, or the lives of my family? I’d rather learn of their betrayal over a couple hundred dollars worth of gym equipment than over my kids’ lives.
If I just took the typical self-reliant, rugged individualist stand though, I’d say, “If they want to get fit, they’ll go spend the money and buy themselves a gym, just like I had to do!” Ignoring the fact that I was in a position to do so, and they may not be in the same position.
Leadership is all about self-sacrifice. In the last year alone, I’ve taken the time out of my own schedule, and loaned out the equipment, to help at least a dozen people within my kith-and-kin group get started on PT programs and other aspects of training. I didn’t shove it in their face and tell them they needed to be doing any of it. I waited until they came to me, asking for guidance, but when they came, I was ready. Be ready when they are ready.
Why It Works
Previously, we mentioned the importance of establishing a tradition and culture of fitness in your tribe. This is important, in the context above, of building frith through competitiveness, but it goes deeper than that. If you have a tribal culture that values strength and fitness, and demonstrates that value through reward, you will find that the people within your tribe struggle to be stronger and fitter.
More importantly though, once the people within your tribe start seeing results from their PT, they will start to recognize a “mutual exclusivity” within the group, separate from the rest of the world who is not striving to be stronger and fitter. This “mutual exclusivity,” or “Us v. Them” strengthens the bond of the tribe, far more effectively than a bunch of cute little velcro-backed patches will ever do.
Alright, boys and girls, this is your captain with no name speaking…wait, sorry, wrong movie….
So, HH6 went through the suggestions here on the blog’s comments, and those sent to her via the email account. She picked out a selection that she was most impressed with, and we selected two. Yes, I can break the rules of the contest, because it’s my contest. We’re going to send both recipients the prizes (since “W” only wanted a hard copy of Volume Two, that even makes it easier.)
The winners are:
Matt, with the suggestion of “developing a PT program within the tribe and how to develop the tribe and mindset as part of that.”
W, with specifically, his suggestion of “engagement/psychological preparation of children/youth in your planning and preparations—what the hell are you going to do with TMO?”
While others brought up planning and preparing with/around the children, we went with W’s because he suggested two other things that in themselves would’ve been selections HH6 would’ve chosen for winners, on their own merits.
“Vehicle preparation: what kinds, what parts, what skills, hardening…” (Of course, those who have read Volume Two recognize, he’s going to get his answers to that one post-haste, now, isn’t he?)
“Medical (may be too close to what Pineslayer suggested, but it was on my list): What the Hell do you do with someone past immediate first-aid when/if WROL and follow-on care is not available.” (Short answer, is the toughest part of the TC3 class that I present, and that goes something like this: “You can do everything wrong, and the patient can still survive. You can do everything right, and the patient can still die. Sometimes, shit is just out of your control. So, control what you can control, do the right thing, and pray to whatever gods you believe in—and praying to the gods of the patient probably isn’t going to hurt either.”
While others came up with those independently, HH6 decided to go with W, because he threw a bunch out there and had three winners in one.
All that having been said, there were a LOT of solid suggestions, and expect to see some of them addressed in coming articles, despite not being the winners today.
Some of the article suggestions have been covered, ad nauseum, on the blog in the past, and for the most part, my thinking on them hasn’t changed all that much. Some of them I’ve never done articles on, am not doing articles on, and will not do articles on, because they are either a) asking for trouble to write about, or b) do not belong on the open internet.
Oh, and in response to W’s final question, “What are you doing in May that covers nocturnal ops?” It’s a private class for a group of students who have all been in multiple courses with me, and have proven their ability to perform, under pressure, safely. All of my classes cover low-light operations to some degree, but open enrollment classes tend to be less in-depth on the subject for a variety of reasons ranging from disparate skill levels and safety considerations to range limitations on night fire.
Matt and W, email HH6 your shipping addresses ASAP and we’ll get your books out!