To : Chief, American Gestapo Agency
From : Strategic Intelligence Officer, American Gestapo Agency
Subject : Strategic Position of Federal LEF Agencies
This is my annual appreciation of this Agency’s strategic position, which I find increasingly tied to that of the entire Federal government. Previous assessments have considered this agency’s position relative to other agencies in power and budget, and pointed out opportunities to advance at their expense.
This assessment focuses on trends of government power and the derived LEF personnel and budget. My and my entire group’s recent understanding is that central institutions are losing influence relative to smaller, more peripheral institutions, entities and individuals. We believe these trends are accelerating, and that the consequences are very negative for American Gestapo Agency and our dependent institutions.
Please watch the following videos, as they illustrate cultural changes and the technology that is undermining control by central authority. Chief is an intelligence professional, so I need not remind him, but this memo is often distributed widely. As you watch, please:
- Be objective, keep your feelings out of your understandings.
- Do not try to judge intent, assess capabilities.
My kid brought me this one recently asking me what I thought. Really glad I have always been straight about things, otherwise this lovely young woman would have a lot more influence with my son than I do. (Allie’s video has been removed. Youtube search for “first time marijuana”, there are more than you can watch, some interesting stories. Allie was an obviously-intelligent young woman. These are more mainstream, I couldn’t find an Allie-equivalent.)
That is one of dozens of “First Time” drug experience videos, dozens and dozens for every drug.
This was email from a jokster friend, title “Newest Colorado Chamber of Commerce Tourist Ad” and the message “Have to applaud the competitive spirit. By God, Americans are exceptional.” Hope you haven’t told your kid that you can OD on cannabis!
I found this one just poking around in links from those above.
There are 100s and 100s of videos like that on the topic of cannabis, documentaries, comparing cannabis to other drugs, why it is superior to alcohol, … And just as many for most drugs, and for sex in every variety and pretty much any other topic you want to look at.
So look at the trends :
- Video is the modern communication medium
My kid doesn’t read books. It isn’t that he can’t, about once a year something like “The Martian” by Andy Weir comes along and he devours it in a few evenings, can’t talk about anything else. He even likes reading, when it grabs him, it is just that the net and Youtube are so much more interesting and it is all there in front of him, given a smart phone.
- TV is yesteryear
- Rule 34
Just this morning, my kid was showing me ‘ratrod’ replica car pictures and somehow the topic of steampunk came up, he googled for streampunk ratrods. There were lots, all evidence that people can get obsessive about anything. Rule 34 is really about the size of your imagination relative to the aggregate of everyone else and people being anxious to share their imaginations.
- Direct-from source eliminates editors
- Peer-to-peer dominates the information flows of young people
- Social goods are being created at a great rate, created and delivered by internet.
- Culture comes from the edge
- Vastly more information flows through the average mind than ever before
- Vastly more choices, alternatives, points of view available on every topic
- Rate of cultural evolution is higher than ever in history
- Social and economic structure follow technology and culture
For most of human history, information flow was entirely senses to minds and spoken words between minds. In small bands, everybody knew most of what everyone else knew, some had more skills or knowledge or stories, everyone knew who was who, who was best to help. With villages, the same information sources started to concentrate flows between center and periphery. With general literacy, we have been through a few centuries where most of the info generation and flow was center to periphery. That allowed efficient development of cities, universities, the corporations that took us into high-technology infrastructure and management of large nations.
Every entity faces problems, some trivial, some small, some ordinary, some serious, and blackswan-often some catastrophic. Entities doing well solve problems at a rate higher than the rate they arrive, and solve problems with few problem-making consequences.
Sclerotic societies, whose institutions and minds have built structures and control systems that degrade their performance, do not solve their problems fast enough. The picture is one of cascading failure. We believe that is the major trend against us. The patriots have escaped our control by adopting evolutionary strategies, anti-fragile strategies.
Our analysis is that centralization has hit its limit : its failure is because it has not been able to consider enough alternatives for optimal results. That is inherent in centralized organizations. Function follows form : set up a centralized research bureau, it proceeds in small and safe steps, easy to explain to superiors and producing definite results, measures of success. For farming you end with America’s industrial farming, huge short-term advantages with built-in problems of high annual planting and tilling costs increasing risk in years of bad harvest, exhaustion of soil and water resources.
Alternatively, distributing the problem puts a man under stress, like Gabe Brown whose farm was failing because of those. Under threat of failure, some proportion of such men* will do local experiments that produce ‘what box?’ solutions. Gabe Brown used information from the organic farming community, still largely peer-to-peer in its information flow, applied it to his farm, quickly knew what worked and kept pushing those. So 70 different species in his cover crops — sow them all, let Nature sort it out. Which seed did what, which could be left out for lower cost, those questions are for the future : his cover crop seed mix must be far from optimal in any dimension, but he quickly became the most profitable farmer in the county. Optimization in those other dimensions are topics for centralized research bureaus.
Gabe Brown and other ‘evolvers‘ add value at a much higher rate than USDA farmers as a result of the fact that their structure allows them to ask and answer different questions and to do so at a far higher rate than any central research group would be allowed to proceed.
Even if centralization can provide progress in some areas, it can no longer compete across the spectrum of optimizations, very local to very global. Decentralized systems find more-global optimizations at a higher rate than centralized systems. Efficiency is packing 100 parachutes in 3 hours. Effectiveness is packing 100 parachutes so that they all open. Outside the box is a wingsuit. OK, it still needs a parachute, but it wasn’t invented by a centralized research bureau, and there are a lot of people working on the landing problem.
This dynamic is certainly true in the arena of domestic intelligence. The patriots started their own Open Source information collection on the various police forces in the USofA. That all kicked off with the apps that showed NSA and Fusion Center parking lot occupancy, their measure of how much stress we were under. But it turns out that a Questar telescope and a webcam can combine with ‘screen scraper’ pixels-to-text software to make a fine license plate reader. Patriots now have license plate readers for every government parking lot. They have found many different ways of matching tags with names and addresses. Once they have those, they have everything else from public records, and cross-checks against FOIA documents. It takes a lot more redacting when the public has more context.
The same techniques are being used at the local level, informers are being exposed and cases lost because citizens often know where their public officials are, who they associate with, their investments.
The many “Citizen Transparency Projects” checking on local officials use the same techniques. “If the gov can know it about us, we can know it about them” is forcing many changes in local government.
They simultaneously began their own Patriot Noise campaign. Our knowledge of the ‘serious III%’ started declining as soon as their burner phone games and the intelligence noise got past a few hundred people.
That SWAT ambush has shaken the intelligence world : a serious and effective effort, costing several thousand dollars, deploying new weapons and technology that worked the first time, using a national logistics system, leaving no signals or physical evidence connecting it to the perps. That was strategic, they didn’t just destroy that team, they halted SWAT use. Compare to the Mossad’s best recent effort.
Trends in domestic intelligence are driven by the same trends** that are against the current organization of government. The internet, web and Youtube, have shifted the cultures of the world to ‘try it all’ mode. There is no way to resist, any attempt to control information flows will put a country permanently behind all the others.
There are no longer editors to frame public understanding, to keep society on the same page. The attempt is failing, MSM is less and less effective at the same time the government’s story is less connected to facts about events. Peer-to-peer information flow on the network means it is easy to find alternative views, and videos of ordinary people have the huge advantage of giving the viewer a person to evaluate. On average, we find people like us a lot more believable than news people or public officials. Compare the effect Allie has on your kids and grandkids vs any version of “Just Say No”.
As an individual with a family, I see no way to deal with that except to be real straight with them, to be wise in opinions, and to teach hyper-critical thinking as the key skill in life. If not, the Allies of the world will form their opinions, not family and community. Context is all, the web is a lie detector. The aggregate of those people’s opinions and insights and points of view, however flawed or reprehensible we find them, is a Truth individuals have to work to surpass.
The patriots see all this, and are changing their cultures to take advantage of the new information flows. Anti-fragile. They are open and honest, any failures in their ranks are openly discussed and lessons learned. Those are not options for us.
I do not see how to deal with the problem as a member of the government, nor an official in American Gestapo Agency. Our structure prevents effective responses. Our agencies are constrained by politics, laws and mindset to policies that are very often counter-productive, that alienate both citizens and our own employees, their operations are relatively more effect than ours every month. Their information is getting better, ours is getting worse. They are inside our decision cycle, they are driving us.
Boyd would not be impressed with our future. In 2016, our budgets and headcounts are secondary, it is our continued existence that is in doubt.
*Another, larger, proportion will kill themselves. Suicide rates have been very high around the world among older farmers over the last few years.
**Minority opinion in the agency is that the patriots learned everything from Al Qaeda. There was indeed a large pickup in patriot interest in Islamic web sites as patriots shifted to their new intelligence strategies. But it is as fair to attribute their successes to Saul Alinsky. Minds faced with similar problems and a similar technology palette them often come to similar solutions. OTOH, all of the Islamic cabals started using the patriot’s text-routing overlay on a cell-structured random-phone network. That was the conceptual breakthrough that has put government everywhere on the defensive.