We invite you, if you haven’t already, to watch this five-minute video from the Army called “Megacities: Urban Future, The Emerging Complexity,” obtained by The Intercept via a FOIA request.
What you just watched was featured in an “Advanced Special Operations Combating Terrorism” course offered last year by the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations University (JSOU).
“JSOU,” Nick Turse, contributor at The Intercept, explains, “is operated by U.S. Special Operations Command, the umbrella organization for America’s most elite troops. JSOU describes itself as geared toward preparing special operations forces ‘to shape the future strategic environment by providing specialized joint professional military education, developing SOF specific undergraduate and graduate level academic programs and by fostering special operations research.’”
The video, according to Army spokesperson William Layer, “was made for an internal military audience to illuminate the challenges of operating in megacity environments. The video was privately produced pro-bono in spring of 2014 based on ‘Megacities and the United States Army.’… The producer of the film wishes to remain anonymous.”
Cities of the future, says the grim narrator, will be “subterranean labyrinths” with their own social codes and rule of law. They will be filled to the brim with “sophisticated illicit economies and decentralized syndicates of crime to give adversaries global reach at an unprecedented level.”
And here’s the kicker…
It will be, such is the tone of the video, entirely up to the Army to protect the citizens of these megacities from these techno-baddies on every corner.
Alas, as the film explains, seemingly unironically, even the failed wars of the past tell the Army very little about how to deal with this growing (and, thus far, completely imaginary) threat.
“Even our counterinsurgency doctrine, honed in the cities of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan, is inadequate to address the sheer scale of population in the future urban reality.
“We are facing environments that the masters of war never foresaw,” the narrator warns. “We are facing a threat that requires us to redefine doctrine and the force in radically new and different ways.”
Ludwig von Mises called this mentality “warfare sociology.”
It is, indeed, why Randolph Bourne once wrote, “War is the health of the State.”
From the highest rungs of the Deep State to the lowest rungs of many grassroot activist encampments, the thirst for war is pandemic. And all who cheer on the growth of the State call for, in one form or another, more of it.
Let’s, for example, take a look at how warfare sociology infects each wing of the political bird…
One idea rests at the gnarled root of all warfare sociology.
It is what Mises called the “Montaigne Dogma,” named after the 16th century French essayist, Michel Eyquem de Montaigne. The Montaigne Dogma, says Mises, is the idea that “the gain of one man is the damage of another.”
At their core, both left and right hold this dogma — this presupposition that all human interactions are inherently “zero-sum games” of conflict.
And, of course, a brutal third-party (the State) is needed to help society reach this illusory “equilibrium” of what each side deems acceptable.
Problem is, all trees which make fruit out of this mentality eventually fall to the same rotten hell…
The real problem with warfare sociology is each side requires the same thing. With both a hat tip and an apology to Orwell… they both require, ultimately, a boot stamping on a human face — forever.
On both sides, the apparatus of the State — that arbitrary violence-making machine — is necessary to make things “right,” or “just,” or “fair.”
“Warfare sociology and its corollaries, identity politics and collectivism,” says Sanchez, “whether of the left or of the right, lead to socialism and the total state.”
They both lead to a perpetual state of warring factions, with no victory in sight — because total victory for either side would be hell for everyone. Even the highest masters would become completely captive to their subservients.
“Thus,” Sanchez says, “do both the left and the right tend toward the Total State. The ultimate logical end of the left’s Nanny State is to turn society into one great hellish nursery on behalf of the underdogs. The ultimate logical end of the right’s Warfare State is to turn society into one great hellish military camp on behalf of the top dogs.”
“Today,” Sanchez says, “we are embroiled in conflict around the world because we are still afflicted by the Montaigne Dogma and the Herd Mind. But both can be dispelled if we rediscover what Mises called the ‘Classical Harmony Doctrine.’ Understanding sound social and economic philosophy will help us realize that, in spite of government alarmism to the contrary, we are not in a national lifeboat scenario. Therefore, there is no excuse to suspend basic human decency in our relations with other nations (or other classes, for that matter). And there is also no excuse for giving up our own freedoms and turning our own society into a garrison state. Cooperation (free trade, investment, immigration, etc), and not conflict (invasions, occupations, bombings, puppet regimes, sanctions, tariffs, borders, etc), with people around the world is the surest path to our own prosperity.”
While both sides fight, distract, scream, shout and hold their signs, the State gets its way no matter what. Because the ultimate outcome is the same.
“Our current and past strategies can no longer hold,” says the narrator as Pentagon’s video reaches its conclusion. “We are facing environments that the masters of war never foresaw. We are facing a threat that requires us to redefine doctrine and the force in radically new and different ways. The future army will confront a highly sophisticated urban-centric threat that will require that urban operations become the core requirement for the future land-force. The threat is clear. Our direction remains to be defined. The future is urban.”
Fortunately, all is not lost.
There’s still time to separate ourselves from the fear mongers — and live free in an unfree world. There’s still time to cooperate, to work together toward great and mutually beneficial ends.
There’s still time to break away from the warfare sociology, recognize the game and do the last thing the “powers of war” want…
But more on that to come.
[Ed. note: This article was inspired by Dan Sanchez’s work. For a deeper look into the concepts presented, check out Warfare Sociology and Identity Politics.]
Managing editor, Laissez Faire Today