Fireside Chat on the Strategy of Total War
18 October 2015
A captured commander complained to a young officer of the victorious force that the battle had been unfair. “Your leader,” said he, “abides not by the rules of war. His cannon fire came from all directions. His methods are brutal; he has not the character of a civilized officer; what sort of barbaric madman do you follow?”
The commander could not know that it was Napoleon Bonaparte himself he was addressing. It was the young Bonaparte himself who had ordered the cannons to flank his opponent’s army, this young nobody himself who was the barbaric madman disregarding his opponent’s notions of fair play.
The campaigns of Napoleon Bonaparte were unprecedented in military history. So-called civilized officers of the day treated war as a game, no different from chess or backgammon, with the exception that a pawn taken was a real man dead. There were rules, and there were gentlemanly expectations, and anyone who disregarded these things was seen as a man without decency – or without sanity.
But Bonaparte was a genius and a visionary: the labels of “madman” and “barbarian” meant as little to him as did the rules and the expectations of ordinary men. He approached his campaigns from a different perspective, waging what we call today “total war.” The idea was to attack from all angles, to launch assaults on every possible front, to overwhelm the enemy and destroy all resistance.
Bonaparte turned his back on the prevailing expectations of officers in every manner possible. He rewarded merit, not noble birth. He promoted those with the requisite intelligence, fortitude, and creativity to wage war, not those with rich fathers and distinguished educations. He disregarded those traditions which made his army and his country weak; and he embraced a strategy that would give them the advantage over their short-sighted and sanctimonious enemies.
I would teach the same strategy to all of you who support this campaign. I have heard more times than I can count the criticisms from well-meaning supporters who tell me, “You can’t talk about drug use.” “You can’t talk about violence.” “You can’t alienate the majority.” “You can’t speak in poetic language.” “You can’t talk above a third-grade reading level.” “You can’t admit to animal sacrifice.” “You can’t speak of Napoleon or Che Guevara or Malcolm X with anything but contempt if you want people to like you.” “You can’t speak of bisexuality and LSD and expect people to take you seriously.” “You can’t criticize the leadership of the Libertarian Party and expect to win the primary.” “You can’t preach rejection of the System and simultaneously run for the United States Senate.”
Ladies and gentlemen, I must respectfully disagree. If I were running this campaign as a typical candidate, it would make sense to tailor my platform to what the polls say; it would make sense to pretend to be a Christian; it would make sense to be two-faced and pretend that I respected the leadership of the Libertarian Party; it would make sense, in short, to do all the things that typical candidates do.
But that is not the campaign I am running. As I have noted in numerous speeches and interviews, Sun Tzu teaches us never to attack an enemy’s strongholds – but rather to attack his strategy. Playing by the rules of the System will only keep you at the mercy of the System, and our enemies created this System. Should we really think, then, that we can best our enemies at their own game? And what honor is there, by the way, in crippling ourselves by sticking to these ridiculous rules?
There are those who would say that these rules exist because they simply are the case. We follow polls because they demonstrate the mind of the electorate. We need a message of compromise so that we can gain the support of the majority. We need to target the elderly and the rich, because those are the people who actually vote.
But I would argue that these rules only exist because no one has yet been creative enough to short-circuit them. I do not need a poll from a company invested in the System to tell me that Our Fellow Americans are sick of corruption of the Federal Government. I do not care to pander the majority, when all experience teaches us that history is made by dedicated minorities, not by the masses. And I do not have any inclination to scrape and bow to the elderly and the rich, who got us into this mess in the first place.
Dear Listener, I encourage you to disregard everything you think you know about politics and the electoral process. I want you to view the strategy of this campaign as one of total war. To focus on a single message and a single channel is not a strength for we who are outsiders, upstarts, and rebels. We must attack from every angle with full force.
Those of you who are artists, pick up your pens and your brushes, and empower us with your visions of the future.
Those of you who are musicians, sing us your songs of revolt, and inspire us with your energy.
Those of you who are businessmen, conduct your affairs with honor and help us financially.
Those of you who are political operatives, organize your people and help us with tactical operations: collecting signatures, raising funds, scheduling speaking engagements.
Those of you who are lawyers, remember why you first applied to law school, and work against the injustice you see in our profession.
Those of you who are criminals and members of the underworld, those of you who are journalists and talk show hosts, spread the Good News that a new law is coming.
We may have different methods and different talents, but this is a strength, not a weakness. We may have different philosophies on the best form of government, different opinions on what makes a just law, different perspectives on the proper bounds of social transgression – but we all have one common enemy, and that is the Federal Government of the United States of America.
The longer we bicker about strategy and tactics, the longer we are stuck in the mire debating whether it is politically savvy to speak the whole truth or to pander to one demographic or another, the longer we are distracted from the end goal. This campaign is far larger than me. This campaign is about all of you who are voiceless, all of you who are discontented, all of you who have been marginalized and disregarded by those in power.
Neither do you need my personal direction to carry out your tasks. In asymmetrical warfare, the weaker force is made stronger by decentralization. Whether you are in Orlando or Miami, Tampa or Jacksonville, the message is the same: Fight for your country, not for your Government. And though I am running for office in the State of Florida, this message is just as true in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York City. Those of you outside of Florida can help this campaign in more ways than you can know, especially when the reigning powers in Florida are doing all they can to silence us here.
Fear not that unconventional methods will frighten the conventional majority, for we have inspired already more people than we have offended. Those who can see past the sensational headlines already know that the stories of sadism and madness are ploys to distract Our Fellow Americans from the message.
We are the death of the System, and the System will do all it can to stop us. Be proud of this, and be not afraid. Let us join together, with our different talents and our different perspectives, so that we may launch assaults on all fronts and wage this campaign in the spirit of total war.