Make America self-reliant again

Learn the word: autarky

For decades Americans have enjoyed access to cheap goods, due in large part to the fact that we’ve outsourced our industrial and supply capacity to cheap, overseas markets like China and Vietnam. The free traders, roosting in their D.C. think tanks and on Wall Street, worry that the U.S.-China trade war is uprooting our supply chains and that Huawei (shown to have deep connections to the Chinese intelligence apparatus) is only a theoretical threat. They tell us that we must come to terms with China’s rise, that there is no other way. But what if there was?

My critics will more than likely dismiss this idea either insane or reckless. But throughout the late 19th and 20th century, it was a policy that led to prosperity and self-sufficiency. I’m talking about autarky. In our over-globalized world, a policy of total autarky is infeasible. But a degree of autarky should be recognized as self-evidently in America’s national interest.

Autarky, for those unfamiliar, was an economic and industrial policy of self-reliance wherein a nation need not rely on international trade for its economic survival. This is not to say that said nation rejected international trade or isolated itself from the global economic order, rather that it merely could survive on its own if necessary…

In the early days of the American republic, Alexander Hamilton advocated for a limited measure of autarky. Hamiltonian autarky—or industrial self-reliance—aimed to protect weak American industries from foreign manipulation by the likes Great Britain and France. Today, we must look to protect what remains of American industry from the manipulations of state-backed industrial sectors in China…

Critics, namely neoliberal internationalists and free-trade libertarians, will assuredly wail and gnash their teeth about the bounty of cheap consumer goods we have “won” from free trade, but to that I would caution: The United States risks becoming its own special category of the “sick man”—an obese has-been that sinks into a recliner and stuffs its face with cheap consumer goods provided by its global rivals, looking back woefully on its glory days. But it is not yet too late.

Hamilton was far from the only advocate of American economic independence.  Henry Clay, possibly the most influential Congressman in the nation’s history, fervently believed in the “American System” that emphasized a tariff to protect and promote American industry, a national bank to foster commerce, and federal subsidies for roads, canals, and other “internal improvements” to develop profitable markets for agriculture.  It was an inward-looking “America First” way of developing the young nation’s economy into the powerhouse it would eventually become.

Bringing critical manufacturing home reduces our dependence upon others, and provides large numbers of well-paying jobs — jobs that will be essential as our economy recovers from the COVID crisis.  It will also reduce avenues of influence and espionage by our enemies, such as the telecommunication company Huawei.  We’ve been given a glimpse of how helpless we will soon be if we stay on our current path.  Will we be foolish enough to return to the status quo ante when this is all over?

Running the numbers

Too many people today still have the idea that those who have a “prepper” mindset are on the looney fringe of society.  In truth, those who make prudent preparations for hard times are merely acknowledging that hard times are a recurring part of the human experience:

We don’t buy houses in the floodplain if we can help it, because we are risk averse, even though the chance of it flooding in any given year is only 1%. Why? We will live in the house longer than one year. Over the 30-year life of a mortgage, the chance of the house flooding at least once vastly exceeds 1%, because every year is another roll of the dice…

There’s a common misconception in the media about the eventuality for which the preppers are exactly prepping. That’s because they’re a diverse group, and prep for many different things. No, they aren’t planning for a revolution to overthrow the government. (Most of them, anyway.) Mostly they’re planning to keep themselves and their families safe while someone else tries to overthrow the government. That, or zombies. (More on zombies below.)

While we don’t have any good sources of data on how often zombies take over the world, we definitely have good sources of data on when the group of people on the piece of dirt we currently call the USA attempt to overthrow the ruling government. It’s happened twice since colonization. The first one, the American Revolution, succeeded. The second one, the Civil War, failed.

Stepping through this, the average year for colony establishment is 1678, which is 340 years ago. Two qualifying events in 340 years is a 0.5882% annual chance of nationwide violent revolution against the ruling government. Do the same math as we did above with the floodplains, in precisely the same way, and we see a 37% chance that any American of average life expectancy will experience at least one nationwide violent revolution.

This is a bigger chance than your floodplain-bound home flooding during your mortgage.  It’s noticeably bigger…

Two instances in 340 years is not a great data pool to work with, I will grant, but if you take a grab sample of other countries around the world you’ll see this could be much worse. Since our 1678 benchmark, Russia has had a two world wars, a civil war, a revolution, and at least half a dozen uprisings, depending on how you want to count them. Depending on when you start the clock, France had a 30-year war, a seven-year war, a particularly nasty revolution, a counter-revolution, that Napoleon thing, and a couple of world wars tacked on the end. China, North Korea, Vietnam, and basically most of the Pacific Rim has had some flavor of violent revolution in the last 100 years, sometimes more than one. With Africa, it’s hard to even conceive where to start and end the data points.

The entire piece is worth your time and consideration.  As the author noted, not every “prepper” is necessarily thinking about the complete collapse of society into civil war or anarchy (although these are not completely unreasonable considerations lately).  Hurricanes, floods, riots and funky new viruses each contain within them the seeds to upset the existing order, however temporarily.

We’re a highly integrated society, dependent on others for many basic things.  How long could you sustain yourself and your family if left solely to your own resources at hand?  The question can be overwhelming.  Start small.  Think of your daily necessities: food, water, shelter, personal care items, etc.  Put some of those aside for the proverbial “rainy day.”  Rotate your perishables (“eat what you store, store what you eat”).  Increase your “rainy day” supply over time as you are able to fund and/or store it.  Build a community, whether based on your extended family or well-known, like-minded people.  There are no “perfect” preparations, but investing the time it takes to binge watch a series on Netflix to think these sorts of issues through can lead to some obvious courses of action you can begin to take for your particular situation.

Because sooner or later, things will change.  Things will happen.  And that’s not the time to start thinking about what to do.  That’s the time to do.

‘Deplorables’ get things done

This observation is worth reading in its entirety:

How many flood victims in South Texas have been rescued by the Antifa navy?

Just asking, because on TV this week I’ve been watching the “Cajun Navy” pull one Dunkirk after another all around the Gulf Coast.

And those good old boys look like they just came off the set of “Duck Dynasty.” They could be wearing MAGA hats. Hell, I’ll bet one or two of them may have even been falsely accused of committing a fake hate crime or two since the election by some unhinged Social Justice Warrior.

They are, to coin a phrase, deplorables.

Hell, a Chick-fil-A franchise in Houston sent out a power boat to rescue a couple of elderly customers. And the old folks didn’t even ask if Chick-fil-A’s CEO is still opposed to gay marriage.

Is Michael Moore hosting an All-U-Can-Eat buffet for first responders in Harris County? If he were, surely MSNBC would be covering it, live.

Where are Elizabeth Warren, Whoopi Goldberg, Steven Colbert, etc. etc.?

Seriously, doesn’t it look like almost all of the heavy lifting in the wake of Harvey is being done by people who belong to what the Southern Poverty Law Center would describe as “hate groups?”

Speaking of which, when does the [Southern Poverty Law Center’s] food drive begin? (((Maybe once they’re done transfering all their donations to offshore accounts — Jemison)))  Are the non-workers of the Socialist Workers Party and the Spartacist League loading any southbound 18-wheelers with relief supplies this weekend?

Maybe everyone in “the Resistance” is worn out from wearing pink hats and black masks and tipping over statues and sucker punching passers-by with bicycle locks in Berkeley and grabbing an old lady’s flag on the Boston Common and burning it — all those wonderful manifestations of how Love Trumps Hate, as they say.

As the Instapundit frequently says, “read the whole thing.”  There are two groups of people in this land: those who build it up and those who tear it down.  The former group is running out of patience with the latter’s yapping and worse, while contributing nothing to society.  If Antifa hates it so badly here, then get the hell out (I hear the socialist paradise of Venezuela has plenty of openings for violent anarchists right about now).  If it’s all just a pose, then you’re welcome to roll up your sleeves and do something more productive than chanting asinine slogans and showing your historical, political and economic ignorance loudly and violently.

It’s getting on the nerves of us busy ‘deplorables’ who believe in helping our neighbors, not ostracizing them over differences of opinion.