If it takes your insurgency 800 years to win, your insurgency didn’t really win; it got used as a slogan for a different insurgency 800 years later

I had wanted to spend some time bloviating about Anti-Federalist philosophy of government, but I feel a need to disagree with a doomsayer.

(I love doomsayers, and I wish the real world were as exciting as they claim it is, but I think they’re usually wrong.)


A doomsayer wrote:

It is extremely important to note that in all of recorded history, an insurgency that matured through the phases and reached this stage has never been quelled through force. Ever. It may have been delayed, but the insurgency simply went underground until opposition forces relaxed. In some cases it took 800 years to achieve an insurgent victory. Once an insurgency reaches this stage, it wins. It is that simple. See: Irish Republic Army.


What Happens After Cops Start Getting Shot?

800 years is a very long time. I suppose the writer was referring to the ~800 years between the 1169 invasion and the Bloody Sunday 1972 uprising:

On 1 May 1169, an expedition of Cambro-Norman knights with an army of about six hundred landed at Bannow Strand in present-day County Wexford. It was led by Richard de Clare, called Strongbow due to his prowess as an archer.




Okay, so “Strongbow” cider is named after a guy who invaded Ireland. That doesn’t mean any Irish insurgency lasted 800 years. It means that some vague sense of Irish identity survived. The insurgencies lost their wars, then they got reclaimed as spiritual ancestors by different insurgencies later. So the Irish get crushed, then 800 years later the IRA wins freedom for Ireland, and the doomsayer above claims that the IRA is just the latest generation of an 800-year insurgency.

I don’t buy it. There have been multi-generational wars. For example, the Viet Cong who broke the Yankees were the fifth generation of Vietnamese who didn’t want foreigners running their country. The great-grandfathers fought and lost in 1858, against the French, the grandfathers fought and lost in 1885, the fathers fought and lost in 1930, the sons fought and lost in March 1945 (against Japan), and then the grandsons called themselves the Viet Cong and they held out long enough for the NVA and sheer Yankee idiocy to defeat the Yankees. That was a real five-generation insurgency, but it didn’t last 800 years.

Recall, if you will, the death of Wat Tyler in 1381.


Wat Tyler got killed, his revolt got crushed. Centuries later, his name is a watchword, but his team lost. We can start a new group, we can claim that we are the spiritual descendants of Way Tyler, but in fact he isn’t our leader. He might approve of us, or he might not, but insurgencies are physical, material movements, and Wat Tyler, if he lives on, lives in a spiritual and immaterial world. (It’s not impossible that upon death, God elevated Wat Tyler to some kind of angelic status, and perhaps angels do intervene and provide spiritual help to physical struggles. But such assistance is no guarantee of victory, as the Great Ghost Dancers found out in 1890.)

In more detail, what the doomsayer predicts is the following:


Prior to the digital age, pamphlets were the main method of spreading dissent around the world. The pamphlets examined and questioned the authority of the contemporary governments and control systems. In the modern world, pamphlets have been replaced by blogs, memes, social media, and to a smaller degree, adversarial journalists.

Reactive Protests:

Once the seed of dissent is planted, people take to the streets to voice their opposition to the government. These protests occur after the control systems of the era attempt to diffuse an offending incident.

Preemptive Rioting:

Preemptive rioting follows a period of reactive protests that go unanswered by the government. The people begin taking to the streets and destroying private and public property as soon as an offending incident takes place, rather than waiting and hoping for the government to police itself.

Military or Law Enforcement backlash and crackdowns:

These riots and small incidents of resistance trigger a government reaction. The control systems of the country tighten their grip on the people and further curtail civil liberties and infringe on people’s rights. The government crackdown fuels the resistance movement as more people tire of government intrusion.

Widespread rebellion and insurrection:

At some point during the crackdown, an incident occurs that tosses a match into the powder keg of dissent. At this point, open rebellion occurs.


This does not look like science to me. This looks like unfalsifiable hand-waving. The doomsayer seems to be referring to black USA insurgency against cops. (It’s not clear to me that the blacks are really organized enough to be called an insurgency, but let him assume that for the sake of argument.) According to him, the blacks might conduct an underground insurgency for 800 years, and in the end, they will be vindicated as unstoppable, even if there has been no visible insurgency between now and 800 years from now.


That prediction is so vague that no living person could disprove it.

I think the doomsayer is a hippie wanna-be who desperately wants the situation to be more perilous than it really is. I doubt that the USA will collapse into IRA-versus-Limey style warfare, and even if it did, the blacks of the USA are very different from the IRA.

Let me point out a few other differences.

Unlike Ireland and Great Britain, the USA is a huge expanse of prairie, mountain, desert, swamp, etc. Most of this land is under the domination of the USA’s central government, and some parts of it include heavily fortified locations like nuclear weapons sites. The IRA was able to run around Ireland, and smuggle bombs into England. The IRA crossed very short distances, mostly in urban settings, and it never had to travel very far through unfamiliar territory. The IRA would never have been able to sneak into a Yankee nuclear missile site.

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