Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Fundamental Mystery of Power and Leadership and War Through All History

Mike C Giannone emails:

I do not know if you are into Game of Thrones (HBO) but it is an astoundingly creative epic fantasy written by George R.R. Martin which HBO has converted into a made for TV series.  It is a very unconventional story where it is not so easy to pigeon hole the good guys and bad guys and constantly keeps you guessing as to what will happen next.  I highly recommend the books and the people that have converted it to TV for HBO are equally as talented (DB Weiss and David Benioff).  There is a lot of hype surrounding Game of Thrones and it is worth every minute of it.  It is that good.

With that introduction (if you were not already aware), I wanted to send you a link to a recent interview Martin did with Rolling Stone.  While not a full fledged endorsement for Anarcho-capitalism, Martin does pose some libertarian leaning questions that are hardly ever discussed by the elites in media/government.  I am pasting the specific part of the interview where Martin poses some great questions.  The rest of the interview is good if you are into the show/books but this is the key libertarian nugget:

It's true in virtually all wars through history. Shakespeare refers to it, in those great scenes in Henry V, where King Hal is walking among the men, before the Battle of Agincourt, and he hears the men complaining. "Well, I hope his cause is just, because a lot of us are going to die to make him king of France." One of the central questions in the book is Varys' riddle: The rich man, the priest and the king give an order to a common sellsword. Each one says kill the other two. So who has the power? Is it the priest, who supposedly speaks for God? The king, who has the power of state? The rich man, who has the gold? Of course, doesn't the swordsman have the power? He's the one with the sword – he could kill all three if he wanted. Or he could listen to anyone. But he's just the average grunt. If he doesn't do what they say, then they each call other swordsmen who will do what they say. But why does anybody do what they say? This is the fundamental mystery of power and leadership and war through all history. Going back to Vietnam, for me the cognitive dissonance came in when I realized that Ho Chi Minh actually wasn't Sauron. Do you remember the poster during that time? WHAT IF THEY GAVE A WAR AND NOBODY CAME? That's one of the fundamental questions here. Why did anybody go to Vietnam? Were the people who went more patriotic? Were they braver? Were they stupider? Why does anybody go? What's all this based on? It's all based on an illusion: You go because you're afraid of what will happen if you don't go, even if you don't believe in it. But where do these systems of obedience come from? Why do we recognize power instead of individual autonomy? These questions are fascinating to me. It's all this strange illusion, isn't it?


  1. What is "Sauron?"

    1. He is the villain in The Lord of the Rings. The embodiment of evil and darkness type.

  2. I think Lew Rockwell has said that the government could end at any moment if enough people just withdrew their consent.

  3. But soon afterwards Martin praises Woodrow Wilson's foreign policy (he was such an idealist!). Hmmmmm...

  4. George R.R. Martin books read like they were written by a pubescent boy. For those interested in Fantasy I would much highly recommend the books by Andrzej Sapkowski, he is responsible for the Witcher Series.

  5. "Why do we recognize power instead of individual autonomy?" Because the human being is as programmable as Pavlov's dogs. Education is the answer. Cheddar, it was first explained in the 16th century by Boetie in “The Discourse on Voluntary Servitude,” Our battle is generational.