Saturday, August 13, 2022

Saturday Snippet: Eerily prescient


In my comments about the raid on President Trump earlier this week, I said:

I believe we have never been closer to the outbreak of Civil War 2.0 than we are right now.  May God prevent it, if that's still possible.

I've seen nothing since writing those words to make me change my mind.  Indeed, the constant dribble of excuses, obfuscations and quasi-justifications coming out of Washington D.C. make me even more certain of that.

An author using the name John Ross (which I'm told was a pseudonym, although I don't know for sure) wrote a novel back in the 1990's called "Unintended Consequences".  It dealt with the increasing overreach of the Federal government, particularly concerning firearms and gun rights, and described a citizen's revolt against them.  It was fiction, of course, but very heavily based on historical fact.  It sold tens of thousands of copies in paper editions, but has been long out of print.

It's been vilified by the liberal wing of US politics and social culture, and the progressive left has described it as "subversive" and "pro-terrorism".  It certainly is subversive to a statist culture, and it certainly does describe terrorism - but only as a response to overbearing statism directed against constitutionalists and free citizens.  Having had all too much up-close-and-personal experience with terrorism in my own life, I don't support its perspective on that:  but I do accept that there are times and places and countries where those subjected to such pressures have no other choice but to hit back in any way still open to them.  That applies to left- and right-wing causes across the board.  Push too hard, and you get push-back.  Push violently, and you get violent push-back.  As Newton's Third Law of Motion tells us, "To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction".  He meant that in terms of physics.  It holds true in politics as well.

John Ross died earlier this year.  He had apparently just finished a sequel to 'Unintended Consequences';  I've seen a working title of 'Cold Resolve' mentioned on an Internet forum.  His publisher is said to intend to bring it out within a year.  Meanwhile, in 2009 Mr. Ross lifted copyright protection from his first book, so you can now download a free e-copy of 'Unintended Consequences' from several sources, including the Internet Archive in various formats.  If you haven't yet read it, I highly recommend doing so.  It's not comfortable or easy to read, but looking at the situation in the United States today, I fear - I greatly fear - that it may be prescient.

To give you a foretaste of the book, here's the author's foreword.  It illustrates the reasons he wrote it, and the mindset from which he approached it.  I thought of publishing an actual excerpt from the book, but its length (well over 700 pages) and complexity almost defy one to choose any particular piece of it for isolated reading.  I hope the foreword will suffice to whet your appetite.

Author's Note—A Warning and Disclaimer

A friend in law enforcement told me that because of this book's content, I should not let it be published under my own name. Violent events happen in this story, and our country's current situation is such that these events could indeed come to pass. My friend's fear was that this book might precipitate such violence. He told me to expect to have drugs planted in my car during routine traffic stops, or have other similar miseries befall me and my family. He advised that if I did have this work published, I should use a pseudonym, employ an intermediary for all publisher contact, and in general prevent myself from being linked to the finished work, to avoid reprisals.

I didn't do that, not only because of free speech considerations, but because I disagree with my friend's hypothesis. I believe that if the instigators glimpse what may lie ahead, they will alter their behavior before wholesale violence becomes unavoidable. It is my hope that this book will reduce the likelihood of armed conflict in this country.

History has shown us that government leaders often ignore the fundamental fact that people demand both dignity and freedom. Because of this disregard, these decision-makers then initiate acts that are ultimately self-destructive. To illustrate this point I will remind the reader of the origin of two of modern history's most destructive events, and of all the warning flags that were frantically waving while the instigators rushed headlong towards the abyss.

In the late 19th and very early 20th centuries, European leaders formed two major alliances. Germany, Austria, and Italy comprised one coalition, and Britain, France, and Russia the other. Belgium remained neutral per an 1839 treaty signed by all of these nations except Italy. The smaller European countries became indirectly involved in the two aforementioned alliances. One such example was Serbia, a country Russia had pledged to aid in the event of war between Serbia and Austria. Despite Russia's presence, Austria annexed a large part of Serbia, a province called Bosnia, in 1908.

Few people remain emotionally indifferent when their culture and country are taken over by an aggressor, and the Bosnian Serbs were no exception. Many Bosnians despised the government that had chilled their independence. In spite of this obvious fact, the Austrian leaders sent an archduke to the capital of Bosnia to survey the people Austria now ruled. This archduke was resplendent in full military ceremonial dress, festooned with medals and other military decorations, and accompanied by his elegantly-dressed wife. An objective observer might at this point have said, "Stripping motivated people of their dignity and rubbing their noses in it is a very bad idea."

Archduke Ferdinand and his wife arrived in Sarajevo in an open vehicle, and the only protection either of them had was their chauffeur. This man was expected to drive the car and at the same time protect the Archduke and his wife with only a six-shot revolver he carried in an enclosed holster, and no spare ammunition. Our theoretical observer might here have said, "This is a recipe for disaster."

Almost as soon as the Archduke and his wife arrived in Sarajevo, a Serbian National tossed a bomb under their car. Its fuse was defective and the bomb did not explode. Here, our observer might have advised, "A miracle happened. Go home. Now. Immediately."

Despite this obvious wake-up call, the Royal Couple shrugged off the assassination attempt and continued their tour of the Bosnian capital. Later that same day, a second Serbian National shot them with his .32, killing them both. The Austrian leaders blamed the Serbian government for the assassination and demanded a virtual protectorate over Serbia, issuing Serbia a list of demands. Serbia acceded to all but one of Austria's stipulations. Here, our observer might have said to Austria's leaders, "Russia has pledged to aid Serbia in any war with you, and Russia has both powerful allies and powerful adversaries. Serbia has agreed to almost everything you demanded. Settle, and avoid a world war." Instead, Austria shelled Serbia's capital with artillery fire.

Our observer might here have told Russia's leaders, "Serbia is not worth starting a world war over," but Russia honored its commitment to Serbia and mobilized its army, sending troops to the Russian-Austrian border. Since this left Russia vulnerable to attack from Austria's ally Germany, the Russian Army mobilized against Germany as well.

This forced the German Army to mobilize. Since France was allied with Russia, the Germans feared an attack by France in the west while German troops went east. So Germany decided to invade France immediately, VIA Belgium. Here, our observer might have said, "Saying this is your 'destiny' is not going to be good enough, Germany. When you invade a neutral country and rape their women and slaughter their livestock and bum their houses, Britain is not going to just look the other way."

When the Germans invaded Belgium, Britain honored its commitment to defend Belgian neutrality, and declared war on Germany. Every major country in Europe was now at war.

Four years later, over thirty million people were dead, half of them killed directly in the war itself, and the rest so weakened through shortage of food and medicines that they succumbed to the influenza epidemic. In addition to the lives lost, the war's monetary cost in 1918 was almost three hundred billion dollars.

No sooner had the war ended than the victors demanded their pound of flesh at the Treaty of Versailles. The treaty required Germany to accept sole responsibility for causing the war. It dictated that German military leaders were to be tried as war criminals. It prohibited the German army from possessing heavy artillery. It abolished the General Staff and the German air force, and prohibited Germany from producing military aircraft. As in 1914, our observer might have said, "Stripping motivated people of their dignity and rubbing their noses in it is a very bad idea." But if such words were in fact uttered, they fell on deaf ears. A humiliated Germany was ripe for the nationalist message of Adolf Hitler, and in this fertile soil were planted the seeds of the Second World War.

Today in America, honest, successful, talented, productive, motivated people are once again being stripped of their freedom and dignity and having their noses rubbed in it. The conflict has been building for over half a century, and once again warning flags are frantically waving while the instigators rush headlong towards the abyss, and their doom.

It is my hope that these people will stop and reverse their course before they reach the point where such reversal is no longer possible.

John Ross

September 1995

I believe the (fictional) internal conflict that John Ross foresaw for the USA back in 1995 is perilously close to becoming a reality in 2022.  The reasons are more varied and complex than he predicted almost thirty years ago, but the outcome is likely to be very similar.  I hope and pray that doesn't happen, because I've seen civil war and internal conflict in several nations and know how absolutely, genuinely horrific it can be for those caught up in it.  However, those pushing to impose their views and policies on the rest of the country appear blind to that reality.  They simply won't leave people alone.  They're imposing their views and insisting that the people of this country "get with the program" - or else.  (To cite just one current example, adding 87,000 people to the IRS is not about more efficient functioning of that agency.  It's about picking on dissenters and making their lives unbearable, just as the IRS did when it was "weaponized" under the Obama administration.  Expect the same thing today as then, only on steroids.)

I hope John Ross's vision of what might happen in the USA may never come to pass . . . but I fear that may be a pipe dream.  Read his novel for yourself.  It seems eerily prescient in many ways.



Unknown said...

Actually "Unintended Consequences" is not out of print. Softcover copies are still available at

I just bought one not long ago. Corrects several typos from the previous editions.

Ritchie said...

"People don't like to be meddled with."

Chris said...

I re-read "Unintended Consequences" for the second time last year, and it was a sobering experience. Like many of the minor characters in the book, I'm just trying to make a living and stay out of danger (like inner cities after dark, or anytime in DC.) But I can see how things have trended over my 71 years, and my background in history informs me that a flashpoint is more likely now than in 1995.

Americans then, really until the last ten years, were mostly willing to agree to disagree on controversial topics. Now, not only is dissent not allowed, it is being made dangerous to one's life, liberty, and property. And the Progressives are no longer bothering to be subtle about it. With at least one prominent Democrat literally calling for the immediate hanging of Trump, we are hastening down the path to a violent and catastrophic end game.

For make no mistake: Peter already knows well that these things don't turn out well, but those of you who haven't lived through a violent spasm of political hatred cannot imagine how bad it could be.

I'm old, mostly immobile (very bad back), and live near an east coast city. I don't have the option to relocate. So I'm going to watch developments and keep my powder dry, so to speak.

Good luck to all of us who just want to make an honest living and not hassle others.

Virginia Granny said...

If you look hard enough, the book is also available in HB. I downloaded the free pdf to my computer (so I could enlarge the print on the screen), but bought the HB thru Smile Amazon (a first edition BTW) to have as an heirloom, and family reminder.

While it is definitely prescient re our political mess, and really offers no peaceful long-term solution, I consider this primarily a "serious shooter/2nd Amendment defender," book. Pages of details on weaponry and famous shooters. Excellent info on flying private planes as well. Outstanding tactical and strategic moves by the protagonist and various friends.

It is a long read and the HB is not cheap (I think I paid about $60), but I've read it 4 times and all my sons have read it as well. Strongly recommended, along with Aesop's and Wilder's blogs and the Enemies Foreign and Domestic trilogy by Matt Bracken.

And FWIW - today is Annie Oakley's birthday, born Phoebe Ann Mosey, 1860.

Uncle Lar said...

Lovely book, read it when it first came out.
Definitely time to give it another read, or so I believe.
And I think it is where the phrase "time to feed the hogs" originated.
It is the substance of a joke at the very end of the book.

Gerry said...

If you have that book in your library you are probably already considered an enemy of the state.

I have mine.

heresolong said...

Your referral seems to have driven the hardbound copies on Amazon over $500. Congratulations on your widespread influence.

Chris Nelson said...

It's more than "They simply won't leave people alone." They have open said they wish to kill most people since they consider us a "burden" on the planet and the United State as conceived for "the people" must be destroyed first.

And they have attempted genocide with economic warfare, non-enforcement of the law, man-made plagues,false medicine. Not to mention the corruption of almost all institutions of society.

Mind your own business said...

I understand the feelings about avoiding open conflict. The unintended consequences of that are unpredictable. But consider me as ambivalent.

I don't like to spend too much time or energy with things I don't control. So I've got to place myself in the camp of those who are not for civil war, but not against it either. There are plenty of good justifications for those that want open hostilities; as good as those who want to avoid them. The progressive/Left has made their intentions clear enough; they do not intend to share this planet with us and live and let live.

All I can do is prepare for worst case scenarios and try to shelter me and mine as best I can. I recommend you don't waste your time praying for peace. It's time to armor up.

FeralFerret said...

Funny, I mentioned this book in comments on another blog yesterday. I had just finished reading the book last Thursday.

I am looking forward to the follow up book.

B said...

87,000 new employees I could understand. 87,000 ARMED new emplyees, for an agency that simply looks at number? Nah. SOmethin' is up.

commoncents said...

Monologue: The Mar-a-Lago Raid | Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO) VIDEO

ps. would you please add CC to your blogroll? THANKS!

Old NFO said...

Ironically reread that a couple of months ago.

Skyler the Weird said...

The 'What's Left of my World' series by C.A. Rudolph is very similar. The Feds shut things down with an EMP and one family struggles to reunite and survive.

Guy Jean said...

John Ross was (also) the name T.E. Lawrence used when he enlisted as a common airman in the R.A.F. post Lawrence-of-Arabia. He wrote of his experience under that name in "The Mint".

Robert said...

I do not believe it matters whether I personally support or oppose a civil war.

I do not believe we can avoid a civil war at this point. Our enemies clearly intend to enslave and then exterminate us. If they run into unexpected difficulties, they will skip a step and go straight to exterminations. They are somewhat vague about how they expect to survive afterwards in a pre-industrial feudal system. But they would "prefer to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven".

They are quite open about their intentions. We had best believe what they say on this topic and plan accordingly. They are not going to leave us alone to live any life in peace.

They will do what they will do. And we will do what we will do. Things will not turn out as they expect or want.

Bear Claw Chris Lapp said...

One of the most entertaining and informative books I have ever read.

Guy Jean said...

Jon Rappoport has a number of interesting alternatives to violence: 1) free, competitive states ( )
and 2) in his most recent podcast, the importance of county politics and sheriffs:
Quick illustration: there are roughly 3,000 counties. In the last Trump vs Biden election, Trump won 2500 counties, Biden, 500. That's official, not assuming vote-fraud. What if sheriffs in those 2500 counties said, "I will use my discretion in deciding what laws to enforce and what not." This is contenious, yes, but sheriffs have done this. What if even just 50 of those red county sheriffs began to do this? Or even just 30? And they publicly, loudly and frequently said this? "That's how close we are to tipping the see-saw of federal powers. There's daylight here. It's not all gloom and doom by any means."
How about one brave governor?