The war of ideas

In thinking about the ideological component of 4GW and our current war  I found myself thinking about the dotcom boom. I didn’t play any role in it, but rather watched from afar. It was a very exciting time. There was an explosion of entrepreneurship and people were coming up with all kinds of crazy business ideas. But it wasn’t a top down, centrally planned phenomena. People were driven by a vision. A vision of a new era: the endless possibilities of  the internet, a New Economy that operated by new rules, and the possibility of great wealth.  For our purposes it doesn’t really matter that most of the dotcoms went bust as the old economy realities dissolved the fantasies of the New Economy. What is important is that this is an example of how thousands of people all over the world could be inspired by a vision to create civil society institutions.
Now as we know the Islamic fundamentalists are also inspired by a powerful and compelling vision. And they are creating all kinds of civil society institutions in addition to the terrorist cells, training camps etc. Glenn Reynolds posted an excerpt from an article Thursday describing the institutions created in London that are promoting the jihadist agenda:
“In the past decade, the United Kingdom’s undisputed political, economic, and cultural center has also become a major world center of political Islam and anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, and anti-American activism. Through its Arabic-language newspapers, magazines, and publishing houses, not to mention its flourishing network of bookshops, mosques, and community centers, radical Islam has taken full advantage of what British democracy has to offer for its anti-Western goals, reaping the benefits of London’s significance as a hub of global finance, electronic media, and mass communications.”
This is 4GW in action. The challenge that we face in the ideological war against radical Islam is finding a way to foster “Arabic-language newspapers, magazines, and publishing houses… flourishing network of bookshops, mosques, and community centers” that are promoting democratic ideals and institutions. How can we communicate a vision of a free and democratic society that will inspire people throughout the Muslim world to create civil society institutions and offer an appealing alternative to that of the Islamic fundamentalists? We can’t expect Muslims to be inspired by the vision of democracy if we in the Western democracies are not. We have to be driven by our own vision in order to be able to inspire people in the Muslim world with an alternative to radical Islam.
Usually when we address the issues of fighting an enemy, we are talking about what we think the military, CIA, State Department and other government entities should do. But because in 4GW
the enemy is using our own rich and thriving civil society to their benefit, not only to spread their ideas to potential recruits, but also to attack our culture, shouldn’t we then develop a civil society strategy to oppose that of the enemy? So what would a 4GW civil society strategy look like? It would certainly start with people who are driven by a passion for their own culture and its ideals and are willing to make the effort to create institutions to defend them. And there is no role for government here, this isn’t about founding organizations to influence policy. This strategy would bypass government altogether, both our own government and others, and would fight the ideological war within civil society, at home and abroad. What kinds of institutions would these be? Which would be the most effective at fighting a 4GW ideological war?

Stuart Berman on Slashdot!

“Tear Down the Firewall,” by timothy, Slashdot, 9 July 2005,….

Congratulation to Stuart Berman of My Kids’ Dad for having his article on firewalls mentioned on the uber-geek Slashdot

lousyd writes “‘What’s the best firewall for servers?’ asked one Slashdot poster. Give up the firewall‘ answers Security Pipeline columnist Stuart Berman. Through creatively separating server functions into different, isolated servers, and assigning them to a three tiered system of security levels, his company has almost completely eliminated the need for (and headache of) network firewalls. “Taking that crutch away has forced us to rethink our security model,” Berman says. The cost of the added servers is greatly minimized by making them virtual servers on the same machine, using Xen. With the new security-enhanced XenSE, this might become easier and more possible. What has you chained to your firewall?”

That’s almost as important as having the same article mentioned at tdaxp — a month ago! 🙂

Fight Spam, Get Help (You can also visit the pages dedicated to gambling gambling)

Well, it happened again.


Poker comment spam.


The latest message was

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Other sites so hit on gambling, poker, or other comment spam include

So, in that spirit, here are some links to help

Get help with blackjack addiction

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Chinese Perspectives on the 600th Anniversary of Zheng He’s First Voyage

600 Years Ago,” China Doll, 9 July 2005, (from Simon World).

I’m a great admirer of admiral Zheng,” by m.c., China Doll, 9 July 2005, (from Simon World).

The Chinese Admiral, Muslim eunich, and adventurer Zheng He left China to see what he could see 600 years ago today. He voyaged to Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Persia, Africa, and perhaps farther. Chinese bloggers are divided on his legacy

Zheng He’s Treasure Ship, background
Columbus’s Santa Maria, foreground


The Chinese discovered America in 1421, 71 years before Christopher Columbus did in 1492; passed the southern tip of Africa (Cape of Good Hope) 76 years earlier than Vasco da Gama; rounded the globe about 100 year earlier than Ferdinand Magellan’s fleet (1519-1522) and surveyed Australia three centuries before James Cook did in the 18th century.

We can only contemplate today what the legacy of the great Chinese armadas would have been if China had not abandoned her glorious maritime and scientific heritage and retreated into a long, self-imposed isolation from the outside world. What we do know as a fact is that by incorporating the discoveries of the Chinese fleets and by importing the Chinese navigational know-hows, the Europeans charted their even more adventurous routes and began their 500 years domination of the world.

Perhaps, who was first to discover America or to circumnavigate the globe is not nearly as important as the difference in spirit between the Chinese and European explorations. For the Europeans, they were about colonization and seizing control of foreign lands and for gold and silver. For the Chinese, the explorations were about friendship and promotion of peace. The Europeans loaded their ships with treasures and plunder when they returned home; the Chinese loaded their junks with treasures when they set sail away from home.

Perhaps, just perhaps, if the Chinese had not given up their explorations, Africa would not be so miserable nowadays.


Zheng He’s explorations was more for political, or “show-off” reasons, instead of a simple gesture of international friendship. I’d say it took almost 1/3 of the nation’s GDP.

The explorations could probably not be financially sustainable for long by the Ming Dynasty. The European controlled the seas for the next 500 years, not because by mere technologies, but its privately funded maritime system, insurance structures, and seafaring traditions. All of which we didn’t have.

Granted. Admiral Zheng’s journey was glorious, but I’d think twice about trivializing the West’s maritime records. The fact is – they made progress, and we stopped for the next 500 years.

Jesusism-Paulism, Part II: Caiaphas and Diocletian Did Know Better


Why was Jesus crucified? Why were the Christians thrown to the lions?

Douglas Adams began his epic Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by saying people didn’t want to be kind

And then, nearly two thousand years after one man had been nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change

While Juanna Hates sees something in the Christian message that the Temple found obnoxious

Surely it was because of these outrageous claims that the leaders of the Jewish community succeeded in having Jesus killed. His real claims struck at the heart of their religion, the identity of their nation.

Both these answers are too easy. They make people feel good about themselves, knowing how foolish and short-sighted their opponents were. But Caiaphas was wise and far-sighted. Diocletian was one of the greatest Emperors in history. Why did they make their decisions?

Joseph Caiaphas, Hellenized Jew, Roman political appointee, and High Priest of the Temple for 18 years, agitated against Jesus to his fellow priests.

Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”

Joseph Caiaphas ruled as high priest for nearly two decades, and other family members would reign for most of the century. He was a smart man. He wanted Jesus dead.

Centuries later, Emperor Diocletian banned Christianity

“It was the nineteenth year of Diocletian’s reign [AD 303] and the month Dystrus, called March by the Romans, and the festival of the Saviour’s Passion was approaching, when an imperial decree was published everywhere, ordering the churches to be razed to the ground and the Scriptures destroyed by fire, and giving notice that those in places of honour would lose their places, and domestic staff, if they continued to profess Christianity, would be deprived of their liberty. Such was the first edict against us. Soon afterwards other decrees arrived in rapid succession, ordering that the presidents of the churches in every place should all be first committed to prison and then coerced by every possible means into offering sacrifice

But Diocletian was not a cruel man. He was an autodidact, a world-system thinker, and a genius. He separated the Roman foreign policy system into what we would call a “Department of Defense” and a “Department of State. He further subdivided DOD into an “Army” and “National Guard.” He defined a system of executive political appointees that would allow for Constitutional succession of Emperors for the first time in history. When his economic reforms caused rapid inflation, he changed them so they wouldn’t. Diocletian was a very intelligent man able to learn from mistakes. Diocletian was smart man. He wanted Christians dead.

These men may not have “known” why, but Caiaphas and Diocletian had a fingerspitzengefühl — a gut feeling — that something was wrong with Christianity. Interrogating witnesses who had heard Christ, Joseph Caiaphas saw a threat that could destroy his nation. The Emperor Diocletian saw a force that could destroy his Empire.

The Empire believed in a steep vertical world. Romans believed that the State ruled men, that men ruled their families, and that this relationship was decided by virtue. Women, children, and slaves were without virtue. They were naturally property of the pater familias — the father of the family — to do with as he pleased. And just as the pater familias has life-and-death power over his dependents, the State had life and death power of its citizens. Socrates execution of Athens was seen to prove Socrates virtue, because he submitted to an unjust execution.


State has life-and-death power over Citizens
Citizen-Fathers have life-and-death power over Women, Children, and Slaves

Another way to see this is that the Romans believed that religions should be state cults. Want to found temples to some crazy god? No problem — as long as you worship the Emperor too. Jews were granted a special exemption because of the personal friendship of Julius Caesar and Herod the Great, but even then the Jerusalem Temple worked closely with Roman authorities.

Roman Religions are State-Cults
Judaism, while having extraordinary privileges, is still under Roman guidance

Because religions were state Churches, power flowed from the churches to the State, while authority flowed from the State to the churches


Power Diagram, Showing Rome investing power into,
and harvesting power out of, the State-Cults

Christians did not accept that Christianity should be under Roman control. Christians did not believe the Church was under the State. As The Apostle wrote


And [God] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment— to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.

Paul (Ephesians 1:10)

Or more clearly, in a different translation

letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in [Christ], everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.

The Christian world would be worse than inverted: not only did Christians want their faith to guide the State

The Christian Goal of Subverting the State-Network to Christian Ends

Romans 13:1 “…there is no authority except that which God has established…”

Romans 13:4 “[The Ruler] is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer…”

They also lumped the State into a “Mystical Body of Christ” with all other things, flattening the world and making the State only a subset of Christ’s mystical body


Christ, Head and Body

Note that the State, and the Church, are merely subsets of the Mystical Body

As a 4GW religion — a netfaith — Christianity empowers individuals and weakens other bonds

And compound it by stating that women and slaves should obey the pater familias, and that subjects should obey the State, because of the authority of God, not the authority of the State

And, to that, the Christians believed that women, children, and slaves were just as important to God — had just as much virtue — as free men

There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Paul (Galatians 3:28)

To the Romans, this was a nightmare. Christianity was a giant moral isolation attack against the Roman elite, making their women, children, and slaves see themselves as Christians first, dependents second.

This is why Christianity had to wait until the Empire was weak to become the State Religion. Christianity would never oppose the state — that much is clear from its strategy of co-option. But Christianity could only become an energizing force for the State if the State recognized the instrinsic value of every human life.

That is what Caiaphus and Diocletian saw. If Christianity would spread, peaceful society built on some humans being morally worthless would be impossible. The only proven method of social peace would have to be abandoned.

Caiaphus and Diocletian weighed the value of social peace on one hand with the lives of a carpenter and a few thousand fanatics on the other. They understood that violence is disasteful but sometimes necessary. They chose what they saw as the greater good. As, or Priest Joseph Caiaphus put it


You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish!

It would centuries before Muslims found the secret to deforming Christianity and nearly eliminating it as a threat. But that is a post for another time…

Jesusism-Paulism, a tdaxp series in six parts
1. Love Your Enemy As You Would Have Him Love You
2. Caiaphas and Diocletian Did Know Better
3. Every Man a Panzer, Every Woman a Soldat
4. The Fall of Rome
5. The People of the Book
6. Embrace and Extend

Jesusism-Paulism, Part I: Love Your Enemy As You Would Have Him Love You


The founders of Christianity knew how they would win

But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.

Jesus (Luke 6:27-31)

The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Paul (Romans 13:9)

Generally, there are two means to use against an enemy — violence and politics — and two strategies — take-over and take-down. To put it in a 2×2 matrix

Many movements try to use several methods, so that the enemy has to protect himself on many fronts. For instance, American conservatives are trying to both neutralize the courts (by limiting the Judiciary’s powers of even allowing Congress to overturn Court rulings) and co-opt them (by making more conservative judges). Similarly, in Iraq the terrorists are trying to destroy the Iraq government (violently take it down) and conquer Iraqi lands (by moving forces into cities like Fallujah, creating mini Islamic Republics that keep existing infrastructure).

Christ and Paul ruled out the destruction, conquest, or neutralization of the Roman Empire.

No Destruction: The State’s military must be supported

If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles [centurians could lawfully force a subject to help carry their gear for one Roman mile — tdaxp]

Jesus (Matthew 5:41)

No Conquest: The State must not face rebellion

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

Paul (Romans 13:1-2)

No Neutralization: The State’s finances must be supported

Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his words. They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay or shouldn’t we?”

But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. “Why are you trying to trap me?” he asked. “Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” They brought the coin, and he asked them, “Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?”

“Caesar’s,” they replied.

Then Jesus said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”

And they were amazed at him.

Jesus (Mark 12:13-17)

By ruling out destruction, conquest, or neutralization, The Apostle and The Christ forced the faithful to co-opt the Empire. And indeed by AD 313 the Roman Empire had submitted itself to the Christian Faith. But how did this work?

In 4th Generation War, sometimes called “netwar,” the object is not to destroy your enemy’s ability to resist — it is to destroy his will to resist. This is why some famous 4GW tactics — terrorism, exagerating civilian casualties, hit-and-run-attacks — are the tactics of the weak. Because a lot of enemy will can be destroyed by using little strength.

Jesus and Paul understood that the Roman Empire was a hyperpower. It was undefeatable in any meaningful sense. Even areas “liberated” of the Roman military (like Germania) quickly fell into the Roman economic and cultural orbit. Further, as Jesus lived a day’s walk from a town that had been butchered in a reprisal by Roman troops, and Paul had been a secret policeman for a State Church, both respected the Roman security system.

To understand why love was an appropriate tool to co-opt the Empire, think back to friction networks.

Friction exists when two entities oppose each other. This can be a block moving along a table


Or two enemies who hate each other.

To co-opt the Empire Jesus and Paul decided to limit friction — to become slippery.

(If the friction nets were complete slippery on each other, they would “embrace” by sharing all attributes — they would be “in bed” with each other)

As long as Christianity could avoid becoming existing, supporting the state was a methodical route to Christian victory. The Empire. To see how this worked, imagine the Roman power structure as a table.

The State rested on many groups, the People, the Senators, the Armies, the Merchants, etc, who gave their power to the state. In this way they supported Rome like legs support a table. (The same, of course, is true of any government.)

However, they demanded that the state protect their interests. So while the state ammased power from these special interests, it had to turn around and spend it on them too!



This situation is stable. But the Christians knew things would change — they only had to wait


“Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.

Jesus (Matthew 24:4-8)


Sure enough, the Romans soon faced new barbarian enemies — further drains on its power


You can think of this like an even heavier load being placed on the Roman Table



The Romans had to look for a cheap new power source. The power source had to be already running (because the barbarians were at the gates now), resiliant (because the barbarians are violent and effective), and inexpensive (it had to support the state even if the state couldn’t export security to it). Christianty was for Roman political power what cold fusion would be to modern-day electric power. Sure Romans now found themselves ‘encouraged’ to convert, but that was a lot cheapter than gold for a new army, an army for a new market, or a new market to enrich the merchants, or more merchants to tax to enrich the Senators.



By loving their enemy, by intermeshing their friction nets, the Christians had only to wait for a Crisis and see the Empire spread their belief over the Realm. This is why Rome became Christian when Rome became weak. Christianity treated Rome as it wanted to be treated — as an object of veneration and protection.


And so the last become first, the poor become rich, the weak became strong, and Christianity co-opted the Empire.


In the modern world, the United States is the only hyper power. Is there a “new Christianity” out there, giving us a co-option attack like the Christians gave Rome?


Early Christianity was, and continued to be, a netfaith, until finally deformed under the heat of the Islamic Invasions. But that is a post for another time….

Jesusism-Paulism, a tdaxp series in six parts
1. Love Your Enemy As You Would Have Him Love You
2. Caiaphas and Diocletian Did Know Better
3. Every Man a Panzer, Every Woman a Soldat
4. The Fall of Rome
5. The People of the Book
6. Embrace and Extend