The Order of Defenders

Officiant: “One comes before us today who wishes to become a Sworn Brother. Let him approach.”

Officiant: “Are there two Brothers present who will affirm that the candidate is of sound mind and good character, being aware that the penalty for error in this judgment is expulsion and disgrace?”

Upon hearing affirmations, the officiant continues:

“Very well. Aspirant. Take your firearm in your dominant hand. Raise it in the posture I now demonstrate, and repeat after me. After each line, the assembled Brothers will affirm with one voice.”

My gun protects the weak.

SO MOTE IT BE!

My gun speaks for liberty.

SO MOTE IT BE!

My gun defends myself, my neighbors and my nation.

SO MOTE IT BE!

My gun guards civilization.

SO MOTE IT BE!

With this oath I become a Sworn Brother of the Order of Defenders.

SO MOTE IT BE!

I will defend, and teach others to defend themselves.

SO MOTE IT BE!

I will shoot neither in anger nor haste nor from any sort of intoxication, but in grave knowledge of the consequences.

SO MOTE IT BE!

When a Sworn Brother calls for aid in defending, I will answer.

SO MOTE IT BE!

These things I swear by all I hold sacred.

SO MOTE IT BE!

Following the initiation, all repair to a shooting range for convivial practice.


I wrote the above after thinking about Rudyard Kipling’s Ritual of the Iron Ring for newly-graduated engineers.

Rituals like this exist to express and formalize what is best in us.

The Order of Defenders does not exist. Perhaps it should.

205 thoughts on “The Order of Defenders

  1. *sigh*

    This would have been a suitable thing for a late night at Penguicon, had it not been taken over by the SJWs…

    • >This would have been a suitable thing for a late night at Penguicon, had it not been taken over by the SJWs…

      I don’t see any reason we couldn’t do it there. They still sponsor Geeks With Guns.

        • >This is an oath I would swear…bit I would not be comfortable doing it there.

          Don’t cede them that much control of you. Wherever you swear, it would in your country among your friends. Their failure to comprehend or appreciate it would be their problem.

          • If SJWs are the issue, for extra *burn* factor, take the oath while wearing that ‘hot chicks’ shirt the NASA fella from the Rosetta mission – Matt Taylor – wore to that infamous press conference.
            He buckled like a pansy amidst the SJW howling…I’m sure you won’t similarly disgrace yourself ;)

            • That might be extra appropriate because it was a ‘hot chicks with guns‘ shirt. And I can’t shake the feeling that it was the guns that the SJW types really objected to – but they didn’t dare admit it.

          • Right.
            You’ve either got what it takes or you don’t. An oath won’t change that.
            That said, I do ‘get’ the noble intent behind this…I’m not ridiculing it in any way. Fine words.
            It’s just not on my wave.

        • I am a sheepdog, I will defend the flock. And since I am from Texas Molon Labe or as we say it in Gonzales: “Come and Take it!”

    • You may remember that I gave you a certificate from “The Ancient and Honorable Order of Geeks With Guns, Penguicon Chapter” back in 2013, for the help you had given me in resurrecting said activity. I was not at that time (and may not yet be) qualified to take this oath, much less offer it to anyone else, but I did what I did in an “HHOS” gesture at this exact idea.

      I followed up with more certificates for my most helpful partners in 2015, one of whom I ‘passed the baton’ to this year when I was unable to attend. At neither event did the heavens fall, nor were we molested by any “woke” hoplophobes.

      “Rituals like this exist to express and formalize what is best in us.” +100

  2. There’s a bit of this idea at Project Appleseed–not so much the oath, but the ideas. Basically a pyramid scheme for training riflemen, and how I’m spending this weekend.

    • >There’s a bit of this idea at Project Appleseed

      First I’d heard of them. They’re having a training 53 minutes from here in October; I might well go.

      • That the Palmerton one? I might go as well.

        Let me know if you need to borrow a .22 rifle. I know you’re more of a pistol guy.

        I’ve been to two in the past. They are great.

        • >That the Palmerton one? I might go as well.

          No, Quarryville in Lancaster County Oct 5-6. That’s significantly closer, only 53 minutes from here.

          >Let me know if you need to borrow a .22 rifle.

          Offer much appreciated, but I have a couple of 22LR rifles I inherited from my father. They haven’t been fired in decades, but I’ll have time to take them to my local gunsmith to get them cleaned and checked.

          • Read and follow their recommendations for equipment and prep especially on the sling–you specifically want a GI sling, You probably want elbow pads and advil, and it is surprisingly physically demanding-Not endurance, but flexibility. I was too stiff and sore the second day to continue, I just could not get a steady hold. Still glad I did it, and I plan to practice what I learned and go to another.

            • >Read and follow their recommendations for equipment and prep especially on the sling

              Have read them, am thinking about how to get my rifles sling-fitted.

              >it is surprisingly physically demanding-Not endurance, but flexibility.

              Yeah, that’s my biggest worry. I may plain be unable to hold some of the standard positions.

              • The guy who teaches most of them around here shows up in a full Minuteman kit.

                You will find the course profitable even if you have physical challenges. You will not find it at all profitable if you do not have a proper sling and mounts.

  3. I fear that most Americans today do not have the moral understanding or personal integrity to swear much less uphold an oath of this sort.

    • The proper corrective for the stated condition is to give as many Americans as possible the opportunity to take the oath, and steadfast support and guidance in upholding it thereafter.

      Those who wish others to demonstrate “moral understanding and personal integrity” have the responsibility of providing a living example of doing both.

      • >The proper corrective for the stated condition is to give as many Americans as possible the opportunity to take the oath, and steadfast support and guidance in upholding it thereafter.

        And that is exactly the point of inventing the Order.

        • I suggest the title, Order Of Defenders, is too Teutonic and feudal in sentiment and therefore too easily vilified and de-contextualized. As an alternative, I suggest the following: The Proponents of The Practicum of Equilibertalious. The membership consisting of those who, through their considered statements and routine actions in the course of ordinary life, personify the beliefs codified in the Practicum they individually swore oath to. The word “equilibertalious” is literally a Harry Potterization of the sentiment: equal liberty for all of us. Thus, a Proponent of The Practicum (individually referred to as a Practicant) of Equilibertalious is one who has sworn an oath before witnesses to live life in compliance with the terms of the oath.

          • I suggest the title, Order Of Defenders, is too Teutonic and feudal in sentiment and therefore too easily vilified and de-contextualized.

            The first thing the name made me think of was the Deacons for Defense and Justice, who were… decidedly non-Teutonic.

            • >The first thing the name made me think of was the Deacons for Defense and Justice, who were… decidedly non-Teutonic.

              An honorable precedent, one which the Order of Defenders will be proud to point at.

              • Non-Teutonic certainly, but admirably feudal, given the assumptions of class, race, and religious classification of human (American) society the group “defended” (by manufacturing locii of confrontation adjacent to those it “defended” consisting of blatantly armed professional proponents of The Religion of Love). “Honorable” isn’t the first word I would associate with all of that, but I tend to honor results over intentions so the fault is no doubt mine. And, the fact that the other rascists tended to not take the obvious bait doesn’t actually argue the success of the tactic the Deacons chose, but the tactical proficiency of those they sought to violently confront instead. No doubt I’m wrong about that, too.

          • >The Proponents of The Practicum of Equilibertalious.

            I’m sorry, the last word just makes me laugh. I don’t think it’s suitable.

            • So, the Order of Defenders is intended to be seen as an active threat directed at non-members, rather than an offer of shared (if admittedly somewhat laughable) experience of mutual assistance extended to all?

              You’ll pardon my thinking that to be the unsuitable aspect of the proposal, I hope.

              • active threat directed at non-members

                Jumping Jackrabbits! It takes skill to get a concept so thoroughly backwards. That is almost on par with “anti”-facists beating the tar out of anyone on the street who doesn’t agree with them.

    • You mean it isn’t?
      Do you have any idea how long it took me to iron my robes and starch a nice point in my hood?
      Not cool.

  4. Is it necessary to add some sort of line about always being prepared? It seems a depressing percentage of permit holders don’t bother to go armed on a regular basis.

    I would bet that the majority of those who self-select to take this oath are already warriors at heart and don’t need to be reminded. Still, I think there may be a class of people who are natural warriors but are in environments that have led them to forget their nature. Perhaps they would benefit from such an admonishment.

    I think it’s worth remembering that there are many CCW permit holders and even police and soldiers who are not warriors. Gabe Suarez has some relevant articles where he talks about the difference between warriors and non-warriors, though he uses different terms.

    https://gabesuarez.com/getting-to-the-shot-part-1

    https://gabesuarez.com/fear-aggression-in-gunfighting

    https://gabesuarez.com/justified-killing-101-the-predator-mind

    • >Is it necessary to add some sort of line about always being prepared? It seems a depressing percentage of permit holders don’t bother to go armed on a regular basis.

      I’m going to meditate on this. A major problem with it is that some members will live in jurisdictions where day-to-day carry is legally fraught. It would be unfair to put a charge on them that they cannot meet.

      None of your links work for me. I get blog page frames but no text.

      • Consider that this is essentially the reason for Sikhs always wearing a kirpan – it is carried not for the wearer’s self-defence, but so that he may fulfil his obligation to defend others. They have been generally, but not universally, successful in contesting laws criminalising the practice. It’s unclear whether one who takes such an oath would be accorded the same level of freedom of conscience under American courts’ current interpretation of religious liberty.

        • > Consider that this is essentially the reason for Sikhs always wearing a kirpan

          I’ve considered off and on “The Church of the Gun” where one of the commandments from on high is ‘thou shall always be armed sufficiently to to protect those around you.’

          Then it’s first *and* second amendment.

          • I used to live not too far from the Beecher Bible and Rifle Church. They had to have the rifles to defend themselves against pro-slavery folks coming over from Misery to cause mischief. “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.”

        • I have a great deal of respect for that element of Sikhism. I think the world is in need of neo-Sikhism which updates the type of arms and tools to be used for that purpose.

      • > It would be unfair to put a charge on them that they cannot meet.

        I see three ways to go. Require always being armed, require always being armed except where prohibited by law, or make no change and leave it to the judgement of members.

        As for always being armed, if one isn’t willing to commit to that, then they don’t get to join. That’s a tough one.

        Except where prohibited by law: some people who might otherwise be willing to roll dirty in certain situations would either have to stop that, or wouldn’t ethically be able to join. This limits the amount of defense that is provided.

        These two options make stronger political statements. I think I’ve convinced myself, at least, that it’s probably a mistake to get any more political than you do by implying that our our nation and civilization are worth defending. In that case, it’s not necessary to add anything. Some things are best left underspecified. Just leave it to members to use their judgement when determining how best to fulfill their obligations. It is, after all, implied in what you’ve already written: “My gun protects the weak.” Not if it’s left at home!

        • I would leave any kind of implied oath to always comply with the law out – these kinds of organizations are adaptive to situations where the law has been perverted against the common defense, or has otherwise gone fucky. Oaths to abide by the law above all can be found elsewhere. This would carry an obligation to ethical conduct, but almost by design not necessarily to strictly lawful conduct, should the law contravene one’s ethical obligation.

          And as for “swear to go armed everywhere, or don’t join”, as much as I like the statement that’s making, it’s impractical, and can be construed as causing the oath to contain an implied *obligation to violate* the law, which could get the organization in legal hot water. Members should neither be sworn to uphold the law nor to disregard it, that being left to individual judgement.

          Also, as a practical matter, such a stricture could serve to both turn away persons who otherwise would be good candidates, and encourage those already sworn to take their oath less seriously because of the practical problems it imposes. I would argue both of those consequences should be avoided.

  5. If one gets such a hard-on for swearing oaths about protecting people and civilization while holding a gun, why not join law enforcement or the armed forces?

      • What do you mean by that? Are members of the Order agreeing to engage in daily patrols? Does the oath only count for meeting days?

        • I don’t see it as explicitly conducting patrols. Rather, I see it as being armed in your daily life and being ready to defend yourself and those around you from predators, be they nonsapient, criminal, or tyrannical.

    • Asthma. Bad knees. A bad back. Palsy. A heart condition.

      There are lots of reasons good people might be physically unqualified for sworn service in uniform.

    • >If one gets such a hard-on for swearing oaths about protecting people and civilization while holding a gun, why not join law enforcement or the armed forces?

      The point of the design is to provide useful structure for people who don’t want to or can’t be full-time LEO/military.

        • The military defends against external threats. Those threats are often theoretical, or simply political. It can be distasteful for a patriot to join an army that could order him to do things that may actually harm the nation.

          Law enforcement seems to be largely social work or politically motivated. It’s necessary, but that’s a different sort of work. This is about stopping terrorists and other demons. Law-enforcement rarely gets to do that simply because they’re usually somewhere else when it happens. This problem requires a decentralized solution. It is our responsibility. Delegating that responsibility hasn’t been working.

            • > Also about being a deterrent against crime.

              But only violent crime that justifies the use of deadly force. Perhaps I wasn’t clear, but when I say “demons” I mean violent criminals. My gun does not protect against shoplifting, drug dealing, or embezzling.

              Also, I hope it’s obvious, but when I say stopping demons I mean stopping crime that’s in progress. If the crime is over, then it’s a job for the police. This can’t be a vigilante organization that hunts down criminals and punishes them, or in any way tries to prevent the commission of future crimes.

              Am I thinking about it wrong?

              • Yes, it is obvious. Or so I would have thought…. every time anything even remotely like this is proposed, people (including CCWers who ought to know better) absolutely lose their shit and project vigilantism all over the place. See YouKnowWho in this very thread.

            • “Also about being a deterrent against crime.”

              How does the deterrence work? Oath-takings are public ceremonies?

              • >How does the deterrence work? Oath-takings are public ceremonies?

                No. But when lots of people CCW, and villains start dying or just seeing a credible threat as a result, crime rates fall. The effect is known to be particularly strong on rape and felony assault.

                • This. Eventually it gets to a point where you don’t even need your gun with you – the fact that you might have it is enough to deter would-be criminals. Having it home may indeed be enough. (Unless enough people do that long enough that criminals regain their confidence.)

        • Military reservists have to maintain the same physical standards as active-duty servicemembers. There may be slightly more slack cut as to the consequences of violating these standards, but they’ll still be considered to have been violated.

          There is slack cut for some disabilities, but usually it’s temporary slack cut for temporary disability. In my case, I was in for 12 years before my joint instability became such a problem that I couldn’t meet standards anymore and I left voluntarily to avoid being forced out (at which point spiteful people could make my future very dismal, if they were of a mind to, and I would have very little recourse). If 19-year-old me tried to enlist today, the pre-screening would catch my unstable joints and deny my enlistment.

  6. Check out your local John Brown Gun Club. And of course, the Black Panther Party was started with the same aims. The only difference is that you include “my nation” as something worthy of defence.

    I posit that as a self-described anarchist, you should be against the very notion of nations. You would have more in common with people of a similar wealth than you would with those “1%ers” who would claim the same nation. You have more in common with the poor blacks of your neighbourhood and town, than they with the rich blacks of Bel Air.

    Otherwise, sure.

    Except of course, I assume you would also include “Sisters” in your group, because otherwise that would be insane.

    • >I posit that as a self-described anarchist, you should be against the very notion of nations.

      “Nation” is not the same thing as “state”. Your “nation” is the largest group of people shy of the entire species with whom you feel a common identity.

      >Except of course, I assume you would also include “Sisters” in your group, because otherwise that would be insane.

      Actually, I’m kind of wrestling with that. I think there’s a bioenergetic case that women of childbearing years should not be members, because they have a more important job to do than risking their lives in defense of civilization – nurturing and defending their own children.

      • >Actually, I’m kind of wrestling with that. I think there’s a bioenergetic case that women of childbearing years should not be members, because they have a more important job to do than risking their lives in defense of civilization – nurturing and defending their own children.
        OK, let’s be generous and say that each women is going to have two children (the average would be less than this in most developed countries; Wikipedia says it’s 1.73 in the USA), and the first around age 28, and the second around age 32. So, you are saying that no women should be allowed to join, because maybe from 28 to 48 (when the youngest child would be 16 and able to look after themselves), they have to look after children?

        Insane.

        This will be my last comment about political matters on this blog. I look forward to reading more tech stuff, but reading your political opinions …

        • Oh, do fuck off.

          ESR is entitled to an opinion that doesn’t match yours.

          Your progressive style “if you don’t agree with me” offense signaling is pathetic.

          • Yeah, don’t play stupid. Obviously, barren women would be allowed to join without messing up the “bioenergetics”

            • >Yeah, don’t play stupid. Obviously, barren women would be allowed to join without messing up the “bioenergetics”

              Good, you figured that out.

      • May I suggest you rethink the ‘sisters’ bit? Otherwise you risk a gut reaction of “I am not a milch cow!!” Also, given the instinct and commitment most mothers have to defend theiir children, excluding them doesn’t sit right with me.

        • “Also, given the instinct and commitment most mothers have to defend theiir children, excluding them doesn’t sit right with me.”

          This is an oath of service.
          “When a Sworn Brother calls for aid in defending, I will answer.”

          It puts the Order above personal motives, however noble they may be. Moral quandaries wouldn’t spell trouble solely for the individual; they would erode the legitimacy of the values the Order stands for. That’s why the oath ritual perhaps ought to be exclusive of certain groups.

          But I’m not convinced myself.

          • Women can and should be armed to defend their families. Sometimes, they should even be the fighters. I remember reading from one female gun-writer (I can’t remember who) that she is the one in their family who will do the fighting when necessary. Her husband is the one with the size and strength to scoop up all the kids and run. He is also the major breadwinner and would be better able to support them.

            But that sort of thing is about defense of family. As I understand it, the Order of Defenders is something else. A Defender is a hunter of demons. When the shooting starts, they go hunting. They don’t just stand in between the demon and their family. They run to the sound of the guns and stand between evil and their nation.

            This is a non-issue. Simply have high standards and don’t make exceptions. Anyone who is willing and able to take on the obligation should be admitted. Women will need to be very clear about their priorities, but then, so will everybody who wants to join. It’s not necessary to exclude women or anyone else. Some women will join, but many won’t, according to their nature.

      • > I think there’s a bioenergetic case that women of childbearing years should not be members,

        Nonsense.

        I stand with my spear between the bear and my family.

        My wife stands with hers behind me and in front of our child.

        • >My wife stands with hers behind me and in front of our child.

          Yes…that actually gets to the core of my objection, right there.

          Think about it.

          • I’m still not getting it. Most men are just as interested in defending their family first (as William O stated) as women are. But that doesn’t mean women are not interested in defending other people, or their country. They may also fight precisely in order to protect their future breeding experience. From what I’ve read this was a motivation for the Kurdish female fighters: they knew life for them under ISIS would be hell and were willing to put off childbearing and fight instead. Telling them they made the wrong decision is unlikely to go down well.

            • Come on, this is neither complex nor unheard of: men usually form the front line against a threat, women the last hope before all is lost. Men are ultimately expendable, women are not, and children are to be protected at all costs. The rest follows naturally.

              That this is not 100% in all cases no more falsifies it that the fact that some women are taller than men falsifies the general rule that men tend to be taller.

          • If you’re implying that women *shouldn’t* be on the front line–they should be running rear guard at the hearth, then you’re about 60 years out of date. They usually aren’t close enough to the hearth these days, and there is no front line. It’s 4G, war along all available networks.

            They’re the ones running the kids to and from school, they’re the ones (at least at my daughter’s school) volunteering inside the schools. In the grocery stores, in the malls–way more than us.

            They’re the ones MOST likely to be near the shooting when it starts, and if they’re trained to the same level (and with women shooting is one of the few sports they *can* do as well as men) then the shooting stops RIGHT THERE.

            I’ve already discussed with my wife that if we’re in a public are and a shooting breaks out (please God, on my watch. PLEASE send me) she’s to get Spawn and *anyone else* and get them to a defensible area as I’m going hunting. BTW, restrooms are as defensible as you can get in this environment. One door, usually with a bend where you can position yourself such that there’s no good line of fire to you and you have a second to ID the target as it comes through the door. This is still “between the bear and the kids”.

            You do realize you’re taking a very socially conservative position here, right?

          • I, for one, still fail to see the issue.

            I would suggest that whether you are the one going towards danger, or you’re the one shepherding people away from danger, you’re doing what you can to protect innocent life, and to protect society in general.

            In either case, you need to be prepared to defend yourself and those around you, so that if you encounter the murderer, and he’s still a threat, you are able to do something to stop him.

            So, yes, I think women of childbearing age, particularly if they have children to protect, should be encouraged to take an oath like this, rather than discouraged.

      • The “bioenergetic” case is nonsense. Fertile women serve in LE/MIL in civilized countries. For instance, in Israel, a nation with fertility rates above replacement.

        • That they do does not mean that it is the best choice to be made.

          For the record, I am ambivalent at best about Eric’s objection, and tend to think that he’s not making the best choice from at least a political standpoint: “You’re protecting the patriarchy!”

          I also wonder just what Cathy thinks of that. I, for one, would not want to face her when she’s decided that armed defense is necessary. Woman can shoot.

          • >I also wonder just what Cathy thinks of that.

            Cathy is OK with it – she understands the reasoning. She has raised the practical objection of just what minimum age cutoff for women is appropriate if the goal is to exclude fertile period.

        • Or put something into the oath that one parent is excused to defend the kids in an active shooter situation.

      • It seems to me that women – even those of childbearing age – should be *permitted*, albeit not encouraged, to join provided that they have their priorities straight and understand exactly the implications of the obligation they’re taking on. That goes for men too, of course.

        Or possibly there could be a separate order or similar for those that swear to defend their hearth and home, as opposed to their society. There are a fair many people today who don’t even think of that, and while it is a lesser responsibility than that stated in the oath above, it is related and still important.

    • >The only difference is that you include “my nation” as something worthy of defence.

      No, there’s actually a much larger difference. The Order of Defenders is not, as I imagine it, a political organization. The aim (outside of the obvious defensive one) is not to change society but to help individuals achieve virtue and competence.

      • The aim (outside of the obvious defensive one) is not to change society but to help individuals achieve virtue and competence.

        The Order of Protective Room Cleaners.

      • > The Order of Defenders is not, as I imagine it, a political organization.

        Then that’s a problem with it. Just because you’re not interested in politics doesn’t mean politics isn’t interested in you. SJW’s *will* attempt to either infiltrate it or shut it down. You need to be prepared to fight them. You can’t do that by staying apolitical.

        • The nature of the organization precludes infiltration. But they would bring out the full complement of ways to shut it down.

          Attempting to brand it as a terrorist, white supremacist club would be the starting point. Then come the Red Flags….

        • > SJW’s *will* attempt to either infiltrate it or shut it down.

          So – it’s not a “public organization” [think IRS code 501( c )3], but a “private social club” [501( c )6]. Membership can be secret (except for the officers). It still has the tax-exempt advantages of a 501-Cee-3.

          Also, note that Eric specified that two current members would have to personally vouch for any new member. Having that “web of trust” will go a long way towards preventing infiltration. You could even tighten that up by requiring a third current member to nominate you for membership, but being disallowed to be one of your vouchers.

          (Spaces typed around the “( c )” above to avoid them getting automagically and incorrectly turned into (c) marks. Sigh….)

          • Does such an organization really have to be any kind of formally registered organization? You mention taxes. But taxes only matter if the org has an income as an org, like, membership dues. But there are different ways for covering costs.

            There is this dude called Lama Ole Nydahl who started like 550 buddhist meditation centers around the world and developed a very simple and very functional organization method. The first rule is no one ever gets paid for doing work for the organization. That includes him. All work is volunteer. No cost reimbursements either. This immediately drops the costs to materials only. And materials are donated directly to a purpose. If flyers need to be printed, some dude who owns a printing press makes them. If a toilet needs to be repainted, two people volunteer to do it, another three volunter to buy the paint, and they five will decide what color. That is another of Ole’s inventions. Since he wanted to avoid all kinds of centralized control, both authoritarian and democratic, all decisions about a project are made by people who contribute work or money to the project.

            This way, it is perfectly possible to run organizations of arbitrary size without the organization having any income, membership dues, and thus possibility to tax. Because even a large organization is essentially a collection of projects. In fact, it also means the organization does not need to be registered in any formal way.

            Nor will any accounting, bookkeeping be necessary.

            It also means there will be no formal distinction between people who are in and those who are out, nor between leaders and followers. People can drift in, find a project they like, contribute to it, eventually contribute so much that they can more or less be considered the leader of the project, then find other priorities in life, get out of the project, drift out of the organization yet still drop my sometimes etc. it is all very fluid.

            This is NOT my preference actually. I like very formal and clear roles, responsibilities, duties. It is way too neurotypical for me. Yet it obviously works. Starting all these centers without demanding that people pay membership dues is a big achievement I think.

    • >You would have more in common with people of a similar wealth than you would with those “1%ers” who would claim the same nation.

      My Marxist detector spidey sense is tingling hard. Wealth is not a particularly useful definition of an in-group. See this historic anecdote NTSS has found: https://carlsbad1819.wordpress.com/2017/10/04/old-school-cuckservatism/

      >Except of course, I assume you would also include “Sisters” in your group, because otherwise that would be insane.

      I am on the opposite edge on this spectrum than you, with ESR somewhere in the middle. I say separate gender roles exist for a reason. Fighting isn’t a female gender role, period. Including women in male activities always leads to problems like the relaxation of standards or policing the kind of locker-room language men feel comfortable with but women not. Even when they try to humor men, men naturally watch their tongues around women and the dynamic gets all wrong. Sexual relations will happen, then jealousy will happen, which harms the sense of brotherhood. A small number of women will be fawned all over by a large number of men, that is also wrong for the social dynamic. Lots of guys elbowing teach other out of the way to show the lady how to hold a gun properly. Who will often not like it, finding it patronizing and all the obviously sexual attention tiresome and creepy. Some will like it, recruit “orbiters”, which makes less attractive guys bitter. No, generally it is all wrong.

      I am pretty hardcore and I would flat out exclude women and gays from things like this, but if people want a compromise there is one it Tom Kratman’s novels: women and gay men form their own separate battalions in the Legion of a fictional country of his. This solves basically all of the problems described by me and seriously it will be they who will like it the most. Gays definitely will, women will too, except those who really like having a lot of sexual attention but they are welcome to do that outside the organization in the nearby bar. The idea of “safe spaces” is not bad at all, the only bad thing is the double standard that only “minorities” can have it and straight men not. To put it this way, we straight men are not that cool that women want to have us around all the time. Women are not that cool that we want to have them around all the time either. Or think school desegregation. Are white kids so cool that black kids really want to have them around all the time? Maybe they want some schools for themselves. People like to have exclusive spaces for for their in-groups, however they define it. Yes, people can be parts of multiple intersecting in-groups with each group having their own spaces, and going to one one day and going to the other one the other day.

      You will probably not understand it, but I hope libertarians like ESR will. People are not as individualistic as libertarians usually want them to be. Group identity for a lot of people is basically an extended sense of self. So if individuals need to have exclusive properties, groups need to have something like that too.

      So Kratman’s solution leaves only one problem, namely that those female or gay battalions might not be very good. But then they are just simply given the easier jobs.

      • To make my point more clear. I sort of mixed up two different kinds of arguments. Fighting being a male role. And that in any kind of organization or group activity, regardless of the roles, mixing men and women (and gay men) creates all kinds of bad dynamics, as I explained above. Exception: in activities where you would expect a relatively even number of participants, it may be different. But in any activity where men will vastly outnumber women, there will be this problem of thirsty beta to gamma men fawning over the women which is bad for male bonding and bad for the women who find it patronizing or creepy. So in any activity it is better to set up separate male ,female, gay groups, possibly with a mixed group for people who really prefer it that way. There is nothing wrong at all with the idea of female-only gyms or female-only days at gyms. The only problem is that the male-only equivalent does not happen. Women are perfectly right to think they don’t want a man ogling their crotch when they are exercising thigh adductors. But men are also right if they want to exclude gay men for the same reason, and wanting to exclude women because when they yell supportive obscenities to their buddy who is trying to set a new personal record they don’t want a woman to complain to the management. Generally speaking a lot of things work better if a group focusing on doing a certain thing removes sexual tension from the picture. And this is the only way I know how to do that.

      • Fighting isn’t a female gender role, period.

        With the advent of firearms, there’s no reason why not. Women can defend themselves and their families just as well as men can.

        • >With the advent of firearms, there’s no reason why not. Women can defend themselves and their families just as well as men can.

          That’s actually not true. It would be if “defense” consisted of firing from cover at a target well beyond CQB range. But most attacks happen from inside Tueller Drill range, 21 feet; in fact, a typical firearms engagement range is 7-10 feet. That means the woman’s ability to survive hand-to-hand is a significant factor even when she has a gun, and women are at heavy disadvantage due to strength differences.

          • I’m getting mixed signals here.

            Above, people were describing the Order as those who hunt for the threat. When danger looms, the Order has committed to defending the group, finding the danger, and neutralizing it, while non-members hunker down by default.

            But if the threat is inside Tueller Drill range, there’s no time to fart around with Order membership or a genitals check; everyone’s a defender. That’s why we never try to talk a woman out of learning defense.

            So what’s the Order’s expected RoE?

            • >So what’s the Order’s expected RoE

              Well, it will want to do what you described in your first paragraph.

              But sometimes the threat happens so fast and close that it can’t. Then, as you say, everyone’s a defender. If they want to live.

          • The stats for attacks like this are distorted by police encounters where they *have* to close to do their job, and then the attack is launched.

            While I agree that there’s no such thing as “gun fighting” or “sword fighting” or “fist fighting” once you leave the training facility, there is only *fighting*, this “cuts” both ways. A woman who *knows* she’s behind the curve simply has to make the decision to move faster. Keep a little more awareness of her surroundings, and a bit more distance (time is space, right?)

            The biggest problem with women isn’t that they’re smaller and weaker–they generally are–but that they’re not willing to break a piece off in some motherf*kers ass on demand.

            Guess what? Neither are most middle class white guys. Break the wrong guy’s neck, shoot the wrong person in the face, misread a situation only >< that much–or even run off at the mouth a little too much afterwards, and you're in jail. Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect 200 dollars.

            Hell, George Zimmerman was getting his ass *pounded* by some skinny little bitch and he had to go through how many years of hell?

            Your Oath Takers are not going to be warriors (keep in mind I don't consider myself one either. I'm just trying to be in the 9%), and most of them are going to be over weight out and out of shape. They're going to last exactly no minutes in a fist fight against some half trained jihad with a blade and a psychosis. They're in *exactly* the same position as most women–if they can't get a gun in their hands before the fight starts they're going to lose.

            You ought to have a small test before the oath. RIGHT before the oath. 20 push ups, and then stand up and take the oath *without gasping for air*.

            • >You ought to have a small test before the oath. RIGHT before the oath. 20 push ups, and then stand up and take the oath *without gasping for air*.

              And how would we enforce maintaining that condition?

              We can’t, so it’s a bad idea to require it. People will have to be defenders with the bodies they have when they meet a threat, not the body they had when they became Sworn Brothers. What effort they choose to invest to increase their survival odds will be up to them.

        • That sounds like what many RPGs think that fighting is simply a skill like any other. No essential difference between learning to operate a gun or learning to ride a bicycle. But the most important aspect of any fight is that it is an extremely stressful, scary thing. To be able to operate under such pressure without locking up, freaking out and even without overly trembling hands, that is the central thing. Which looks like a heavily T-loaded trait to me.

  7. I’m not an American so maybe I should not even comment this, but don’t you think if this would be serious, it would soon be parodied by every mainstream media at which point it would be more harmful than helpful? Long and solemn ceremonies create social bonds, but short and more to the point ceremonies are harder to parody.

    • >it would soon be parodied by every mainstream media at which point it would be more harmful than helpful?

      The “mainstream media” is now so widely loathed by gun owners that their hostility would probably not signify, and might even serve as a bonding agent.

      • Amen. If the MSM tries to give me a hard time over swearign this oath, I’ll give them two middle fingers and keep ignoring them otherwise.

    • >Right, because what the US needs right now is more militia cosplay horseshit.

      What is it exactly that made you think the goal involved uniforms or fighting in formed units?

      Discard your preconceptions and try again. Perhaps you lacked the knowledge base to recognize that the style of the ritual was cribbed from Freemasonry. This was not an accident. Think “fraternal order”, not “militia”.

      • So why did Neopagans swipe the “so mote it be” from Freemasonry? I had assumed that was where you got it, and was wondering what your connection with the Freemasons was.

        • >So why did Neopagans swipe the “so mote it be” from Freemasonry?

          Um, because we steal from any source that doesn’t run too fast? It’s practically a rule.

          You re-use parts that work.

    • /me facepalms

      Given all your comments here, I’m wondering if you get a hard-on for a jackboot stepping on your enemies’ faces forever.

      This is not Europe. This is not Asia. This is the United States of America. We do things differently here, and frankly, we like it that way! The government does not have a strict monopoly on violence here. And just because we’re not part of any formal law enforcement or military org, doesn’t mean we’re not serious about protecting this country from enemies both domestic and foreign.

  8. The first thing this makes me thing of is III%ers who LARP because they didn’t qualify as Oath Keepers, who uhh … well never mind.

    The second, more disturbing thought I have about this are around how do I object or decline to being, “protected” in this way, I don’t want anything to do with it.

    It is nothing like the calling of the engineer, its just another cult like freemasonry or something. By all means engage in your RP, and stay the fuck away from me. :)

    • >The first thing this makes me thing of is III%ers who LARP because they didn’t qualify as Oath Keepers, who uhh … well never mind.

      This makes me sad for you. That you have such a cramped, cynical view of human beings that you can’t recognize idealism when it’s in front of your face.

      • > This makes me sad for you. That you have such a cramped, cynical view of human beings that you can’t recognize idealism when it’s in front of your face.

        I’m going to give you on the pass that one reading of this reply suggests that threepers are idealistic, which we both know is hilarious.

        To suggest that my assertion that I am happy being 100% responsible for my own personal defense is interpreted as cynicism to you? Its not cynical, its rational. I don’t know any of you, you have guns, I don’t want you around me.

        I have my own guns for that, and I trust me. What’s hard to understand here?

        • >I’m going to give you on the pass that one reading of this reply suggests that threepers are idealistic, which we both know is hilarious.

          I don’t know what “threepers” are. They are not the locus of your failure here.

            • Wikipedia is hardly an unbiased source. “Threepers” is more a state of mind than any sort of militia. ESR understand the problem just fine I’d say. Don’t be snotty and come back soon.

          • Threepers = 3%, which Mike Vanderboegh stated was the number of active revolutionaries in 1776.
            His fantasy novel, “Absolved” which is pretty entertaining and has been called “the most dangerous book in America” can be found online.
            https://billstclair.com/absolved/absolved.html
            It is similar to “Unintended Consequences” in some ways, though much shorter.

        • There’s something you’re missing: if you’re indeed protecting yourself with a firearm, then you don’t need a Sworn Brother to come to your aid, and so won’t call for it. Hence, it will never affect you.

          But if you’re going to be paranoid about it, then why aren’t you already paranoid about the government doing he same and worse?

    • The second, more disturbing thought I have about this are around how do I object or decline to being, “protected” in this way, I don’t want anything to do with it.

      I will never understand what sort of twisted logic causes statements like this. How, exactly are you being imposed on?

      • > I will never understand what sort of twisted logic causes statements like this. How, exactly are you being imposed on?

        To quote the OP: “My gun defends myself, my neighbors and my nation.”

        Did anyone think of asking the neighbors? Kid, I hope you shoot better than you read.

        I’m happy taking personal responsibility for defending me and mine, I don’t need some paramilitary fraternal order bullshit with secret handshakes and oaths.

        • Did anyone think of asking the neighbors?

          I shall once again ask, though in different words: What is it to them? How are they being imposed on?

          paramilitary

          And you accuse me of reading comprehension failure….

          • > I shall once again ask, though in different words: What is it to them? How are they being imposed on?

            When you, “defend” them without any oversight, trust or consent? It’s a threat. Basically. I could be swatted later tonight with a well known mechanism, yet now I also need to worry about yet another fraternal order roaming around protecting the fuck out of everything? Strong pass, thanks all the same.

            • without any oversight, trust or consent?

              So if I’m walking down the street, hear screaming, and see a couple of thugs raping some woman in an alley I need to. 1. Ask for her consent to assist her. 2. Call the police and ask them if I’m a sufficiently upstanding citizen. And 3. make sure her and all her friends know me well enough to personally trust me?

              It’s a threat.

              To whom?

              Basically. I could be swatted later tonight with a well known mechanism,

              What?

              yet now I also need to worry about yet another fraternal order roaming around protecting the fuck out of everything?

              What are you worrying about? Do you suspect every person who passes you by of having insidious designs on you and your family?

              • > So if I’m walking down the street, hear screaming, and see a couple of thugs raping some woman in an alley I need to. 1. Ask for her consent to assist her. 2. Call the police and ask them if I’m a sufficiently upstanding citizen. And 3. make sure her and all her friends know me well enough to personally trust me?

                Nice strawman. I previously noted *personal* responsibility, so this has nothing to do with the wanky-oath taking. If you personally choose to intervene, then you’re either right or wrong and when its all said and done you’re either going to be a hero, or going to prison.

        • Despite your rather pathetic complaints, here’s the news:

          You don’t get a say in this.
          This is a deeply personal mission.

          How about you decide what *you* want to take responsibility for, and quit wasting your time whining about others.

    • Wear a bell that identifies you as a defensive leper.
      Nobody wants to risk their life for a wretched ingrate.

  9. The echo of Freemasonry made me smile (since I know a few things about that collection of fraternities) and I think it’s very appropriate. Serious commitment to a set of moral/ethical ideals supported and affirmed by a public oath is a sound foundation for group action and association.
    I would join.

  10. So this is the essential dilemma of our time. Do you openly and forthrightly proclaim fealty to the noble guild of citizen defender, and thereby announce your identity to the community-at-large? In theory, this will encourage others of like-mind to unite and help build a grassroots movement that supports the freedom loving ideals of this country. However, in this modern era of Progressive extremism, such a public act could, at minimum, put you in the cross-hairs of malicious doxxers or, at worst, a future jackboot thugacracy. Alternately, keeping a low profile and flying under the radar may become a necessary survival skill if we’ve already passed the tipping point and a Brave New World awaits.

  11. Ah. I was thinking about something similar for different purposes. Basically, a brotherly society / chivalrous order for the *political* defense of the West. What I missed completely was that these values must exist *before*. They must be already there and this just expresses and formalizes it. Your kind of gun owners already had these values and I assume those engineers already had those values. It cannot create these values nor can popularize them if they were not previously there. It can only preserve, perhaps strengthen what is already there. And my problem is not of preservation, nor strenghtening, it is simply that there are not enough people actually caring about such a political defense. And this is not the way to gain more, it is the way to make those who already have the preferred values to commit to them. It is a commitment device. And all commitment devices require pre-existing values/decisions.

  12. > My gun defends myself, my neighbors and my nation.

    I live in a shall issue state. Defending my neighbors is explicitly against my personal rules of engagement. I am not going to risk my life to protect those who are too lazy/delusional/brainwashed to take the minimal effort to tool up

    • Don’t think of it as “defending your neighbors” then. Think of it as stopping the incursion of criminal violence in your society. Your neighbors are coincidental beneficiaries…maybe they’ll wake up.

    • Whether your neighbors deserve to be hoist on their own petards by being helpless in their pious disarmament, it’s still to your benefit to kill anyone who attacks an innocent party. By doing so, you shift the risk picture for any perp in your vicinity.

    • To a certain, limited extent, your neighbors don’t get a say in whether they receive their share of the benefits of your self-defense. It’s like herd immunity. If there are 20 homes in your neighborhood and 19, 18, or even 15 of them have armed owners ready to defend their property, criminals are going to think twice about entering the neighborhood as a whole.

  13. Why isn’t there an ESR-authored FAQ in the same style as “How to Become a Hacker” for those of us who are unarmed but would like to join the ranks of the principled, disciplined, practiced gun owners?

    • >Why isn’t there an ESR-authored FAQ in the same style as “How to Become a Hacker” for those of us who are unarmed but would like to join the ranks of the principled, disciplined, practiced gun owners?

      It’s an interesting idea. I’m not at all sure I have all the knowledge required to write it.

      If what you mean is something as specific as how to arm up and how to get basic training, I might be able to do that.

      • >> “If what you mean is something as specific as how to arm up and how to get basic training, I might be able to do that.”

        As someone who is worried about the 2020 election aftermath and is considering arming up, I wouldn’t mind reading that.

    • All living things are creatures of habit, and you must first change your habitual mindset before seeking proficiency with firearms (or any tangible weapon for that matter). This is a core tenet of martial arts training. The mind precedes the body.

      We now live in a time of extreme affluence, which has the deleterious effect of making us soft mentally and physically via insidious atrophy. Start by reversing that trend.

      If you need structure, martial arts training is a good place to start. But if that option is not readily available, here are some simple things you can do to begin the process.

      Routinely chop wood with a long handle axe. Keep a baseball bat by the front door and get comfortable swinging it with practiced movements.

      Don’t pick up a firearm until you feel confident in your ability to control powerful things.

    • I would recommend Col. Jeff Cooper’s “Principles of Personal Defense” as a good starting point on the appropriate mind-set. Like “The Book of Five Rings”, it is one of those books which bears repeated study and seems to give up new insights during each additional reading. Both are short enough to read and re-read, even while one is studying other material. I would also recommend “Deadly Force: Understanding Your Right to Self Defense” by Massad Ayoob as a good introduction to the legal aspects of armed self-defense. None of these address the mechanics of defensive pistol-craft, however, but you can probably find a gun range nearby that offers classes on that subject. Weapon and caliber selection is a can of worms I’d sooner not open, but many gun geeks will happily geek out about such things, if invited.

      • In addition to your excellent choices, I would add Lt. Col. Dave Grossman’s books “On Combat” and “On Killing”

        • >In addition to your excellent choices, I would add Lt. Col. Dave Grossman’s books “On Combat” and “On Killing”

          I know Dave Grossman slightly and like him, but I think Rory Miller’s “Meditations on Violence” covers most of the same ground in a way more appropriate for civilians. That’s what I recommend these days.

      • Weapon and caliber selection is a can of worms I’d sooner not open, but many gun geeks will happily geek out about such things, if invited.

        “The .357 has more energy!””

        Yeah, but a .45 has better knock-down power!”.

        Man, a person can get tired of that argument.

          • That was pretty good – I was surprised at how close everything is, other than the smallest handgun rounds.

            • >That was pretty good – I was surprised at how close everything is, other than the smallest handgun rounds.

              Note that the closeness assumes that you get to hit with more than one shot with the pistol – otherwise the incapacitation rate still would not match rifles.

              Even with that qualification, I agree that the statistics are very interesting and somewhat surprising.

              • Considering the importance of being able to get in another shot, 9mm might be better than .357 or .45, especially for someone that isn’t big and doesn’t shoot a lot.

                • >Considering the importance of being able to get in another shot, 9mm might be better than .357 or .45, especially for someone that isn’t big and doesn’t shoot a lot.

                  That’s true but cuts both ways. There are people, including me, who find a .45 more comfortable than a 9 and can shoot more accurately and repeatably with the heavier gun. I believe that video when it implies that these factors come out to a within 5% wash.

  14. Isn’t the use of “My gun” in the text an example of exactly the kind of “magical” thinking that underlies the “guns kill people” argument? Wouldn’t the proper actor be “I”?

    And if you’re invoking it on purpose for ritualistic reasons, do you then consider the hoplophobes’ argument to maybe have some validity (and contain some accidental understanding of the nature of magic)? If not, why?

    • >Isn’t the use of “My gun” in the text an example of exactly the kind of “magical” thinking that underlies the “guns kill people” argument?

      It doesn’t read that way to a native English speaker; the “my” has equal or greater weight than the “gun”. Possibly Finnish has different conventions.

      • Thanks. And yes, “my gun” would translate as a single word “aseeni”, which isn’t exactly helpful for making that kind of distinctions.

        • >And yes, “my gun” would translate as a single word “aseeni”, which isn’t exactly helpful for making that kind of distinctions.

          Right, I thought your objection might come from something like that. Psycholinguistics matters.

  15. As someone who’s gone through it, the ritual of the iron ring, “the calling of an engineer”, felt really weird and somewhat forced. I’m not certain that sort of ceremony will resonate with people today.

    • >As someone who’s gone through it, the ritual of the iron ring, “the calling of an engineer”, felt really weird and somewhat forced.

      Running that kind of ritual effectively is a skill. You’re reporting what happens when it’s not done competently. I, or about any other third-degree Wiccan, would probably have done better – we train for this. There are subtleties about timing, voice, and use of the setting that matter a lot.

      It should have occurred to me that engineering schools have a culture within which even the existence of this skillset is generally unknown. Which means that to have the Ritual of the Iron Ring done right you need to get really lucky and have the running of the ceremony land on someone with an instinctive grasp of the proper technique.

      Bummer. I had not thought this through before.

      • But is this “unknown”, or “known, and put in the ‘bad people-avoid’ bin”?

        This may go deeper than engineering school culture; the “cheater-detection module” ESR has noted may be in play here. How many people out there, anywhere, could effectively emcee a ritual like this who are not in the business of manipulating people for the manipulator’s own benefit?

        My take is that the “high-test pagans” like ESR are a notable exception, but they prove the rule. I don’t think I’m the only one who would get an ick reaction to this idea, because I’d assume the people wanting it done were somewhere in the range of “trying to sell me something” to “evil cult leader”.

        • You’re not the only one, aye.

          But it maybe worth checking whether our ick nerves are the same. Thinking about it for a moment, my ick nerve is the one that simulates my never having understood the meaning behind the ritual before. If I didn’t understand the link between a gun and defense, then all this ritualism around it would look like lunacy. You could have the most charismatic person in history performing it, and it’ll just look like some classic movie I’m told I’m supposed to appreciate. Worse, if I happen to believe the opposite, it’ll look like Hitler waving his arms while everyone waxes effusive.

          Is this the type of ick you’re getting?

          I think a ritual’s meaning has to be grokked. If not, it fails, and is not only inert; it becomes an antigen.

          Many people would need the background, before seeing the ritual. Probably true of a great many rituals.

          • >Many people would need the background, before seeing the ritual.

            It is worth noting at this point that my original thought experiment assumed that Sworn Brothers would be recruited from people already inside or close to the gun culture.

          • I’m icking on rituals that require a charismatic emcee to “work”, and presumably also a ceremony designed to break down one’s mental barriers to going along with that. In other words, psychological manipulation by people experienced at doing that. So in your example of “most charismatic person in history”, my cheater-detection module would be maxed out, not minimized. The meaning of the ritual doesn’t matter for this purpose. And in fact, if I did grok the meaning behind such a ritual (and in ESR’s gun group idea or engineering school, I would), then I’d be even more suspicious. Because what’s the point when I already know? Somebody must have ulterior motives here, etc.

            I wouldn’t, as a general rule, trust the emcee or the people running any organization that did this. Even if they started with good intentions, I’d worry that the mechanism would be used by new people with bad intent.

            • >I’m icking on rituals that require a charismatic emcee to “work”, and presumably also a ceremony designed to break down one’s mental barriers to going along with that.

              That’s not exactly the right metalevel condition. While it is helpful if the ritualist is charismatic (and many of them are) what’s really important is knowing how various available ritual mechanics hook into human wetware.

              Putting your hand over your heart while singing your national anthem is a ritual gesture. It alters your consciousness in a small but consistent way. A competent ritualist knows why it’s there, in what other contexts it’s useful, and where it fits into a family of similar gestures with similar effects.

              Now, as an exercise, think about other rituals in which you put a ring on your finger. What is the meaning of this gesture? What does it tell you about the meaning of the Ritual of the Iron Ring?

            • >Because what’s the point when I already know?

              What is this “I” you speak of, Grasshopper? An illusion, no more real than your reflection in the mirror :-)

              There’s a difference between knowing with your System 2 brain (reflective intelligence) and your System 1 brain (reactive intelligence). The purpose of many rituals – most obviously weddings and swearing of military oaths – includes programming into your System 1 brain a decision your System 2 brain has made.

              The point of the Ritual of the Iron Ring is so that someday, when you have to make a tough decision with lives potentially on the line, your System 1 brain knows what the correct ethical goals are and your System 2 brain does not have to struggle quite so hard against ego and other distractions.

              • This is exactly the same idea that Plato had about education. The core idea being that the rational part of the soul is too weak to defeat the appetitive part of the soul, and thus the thumos must be recruited to help it out. Thumos is understood as emotion or spiritedness, but most of the time it means a specific kind of emotion, the desire for social status, prestige, reputation etc.

                This is exactly what happens in such rituals. A wedding is a promise made in front of all our relatives and friends. Breaking promises is generally shameful, low status, bad for one’s reputation. By making a promise in front of everybody who really matters for us maximizes the incentive to not break it.

                Perhaps not all, but many of our moral instincts come from our upbringing and society in generally strongly associating virtuous, moral behavior with high prestige and good reputation, high social status, and immoral behavior with shame.

                A corollary to that is that whoever controls in a society who gets shamed and who gets praised has a lot of power, but mostly invisibly. The real gray eminence behind the scenes. Well, just controlling who gets shamed is enough. A lot of people are not too ambitious and don’t really want higher than average status, i.e. to be seen as an “okay dude”. But nearly nobody wants lower than average status i.e. being a shamed, vilified social outcast.

            • When I said “charisma” I meant the “knows how to manipulate wetware” thing. Sounds like that’s bad usage on my part, but we don’t actually disagree on the metalevel.

              We may be talking past each other. All I’m saying is that I have a gut ick reaction against wetware manipulation, and people who put me in situations where I have to subject myself to it. I believe–but can’t show–that this is common, and suggesting you may have overlooked that.

              I don’t have an ick reaction to rituals themselves, and I intuitively understand their function. It’s wetware manipulation–ritualized or otherwise–that triggers it.

              There must be other ways to instill the System 1 understanding. I have that for many things, and was never manipulated into it by others.

              • Why do you think you would be manipulated into it? Nobody in the hypothetical Order of Defenders would want a member that had been coerced into taking the oath. You would have to come to them willingly. The ritual runner isn’t there to puppet you. They are there to guide. To move the ritual along.

                • >The ritual runner isn’t there to puppet you. They are there to guide. To move the ritual along.

                  And, very specifically, to help you become what you wish to be.

                • I wouldn’t. The intentions and personnel are obviously good in this scenario. But at a hindbrain level, I have always had a strong reaction against anybody attempting any kind of “head work”. That’s not necessarily rational, but I think it’s interesting.

                  ESR, in his response to somebody who said they were weirded out by the Iron Ring ritual, said that it was because an expert ritualist was needed. It’s this that’s triggering, not ceremonies and oaths in general.

                  I’ve sworn many oaths, and in most of them, the “System 1” effect came from repeating $BLURB in front of witnesses, not from the emcee, who would banally read from a script. The few times I’ve been in one where there was clearly a “vibe” going on, I was deeply uncomfortable.

                  I thought that would be more common that it apparently is.

                  • “An expert ritualist will conduct a ritual so skillfully that participants who subscribe to its telos will feel a stronger emotional bond to that telos as a result.”

                    “An expert ritualist will conduct a ritual so skillfully that emotionally receptive participants will feel an emotional bond to its telos as a result, whether or not they previously subscribed to it.”

                    Which of the above statements do you think ought to describe an expert ritualist?

                    Which do you think Eric meant?

                    I left various cases unaddressed by those statements. What do you think of them?

                    • >Which of the above statements do you think ought to describe an expert ritualist?

                      The wetware mechanisms have no morality. They’re just there. I can use them for a benign, consensual initiation ritual…or whoever designed the Nuremberg torchlight rallies can draw you in even most of a century later when you know you’re looking at the face of horror and evil.

              • I think you’re missing something important, and that’s the issue of consent. I’m icked out by the idea of having sex with about 99 percent of the human race. If someone suggested that I could solve the problem by having sex with someone who’s “charismatic and experienced” I’d be squicked out too. (And have been, when just such a suggestion was made or implied.)

                And that’s true until I happen to meet someone who I like, and they happen to be charismatic and experienced…

                Like sex, ritual acceptance into an organization is something you consent to first, knowing how it’s going to play out, then the ick goes away. The fact that you’re “icked out” by the idea of doing a ritual with a trained shaman of some kind, whom you’ve never met in person isn’t bad or wrong (any more than being picky about who you sleep with is bad or wrong;) it shows that you won’t join an organization which requires an oath without due reflection and a willingness to have your brain rewired in ways you’ve consented to.

  16. ESR,

    Not sure if you’re aware yet, but your blog is only loading sporadically. I sometimes have to try repeatedly for most of a minute to get a page to load. Here’s the error message:

    This page isn’t working
    esr.ibiblio.org is currently unable to handle this request.
    HTTP ERROR 500

    • >Not sure if you’re aware yet, but your blog is only loading sporadically.

      Cert flakiness at ibiblio. Happens a couple times a year; they fix it, but it can take a day or two.

  17. I would add one more line, right after the one which reads, “I will shoot neither in anger nor haste nor from any sort of intoxication…” as follows:

    I will accept the judgement of my brothers in the order should they , either temporarily or permanently decide that I am too angry, too crazy, too emotional or too old to safely bear or keep a gun.

    I’ve been thinking about some of the Second Amendment issues recently, and wondered whether some kind of self-policing among gun owners would improve matters. Just a thought, for what it’s worth.

    • >Just a thought, for what it’s worth.

      Enforcement overhead makes this impractical. Even if it were philosophically sound, which is questionable.

      • The oath starts with the following:

        “Officiant: “Are there two Brothers present who will affirm that the candidate is of sound mind and good character, being aware that the penalty for error in this judgment is expulsion and disgrace?” “

        How and when and what are the “errors in judgment” to be determined? How is “expulsion and disgrace” enforced?

        • >How and when and what are the “errors in judgment” to be determined? How is “expulsion and disgrace” enforced?

          One obvious bright line is if someone you sponsored commits a violent crime involving a firearm – I had to specify that because malum prohibitum gun crimes such as possessing a full auto weapon without an NFA stamp should *not* be included as disgrace-worthy.

          Like the chivalric orders on which it is partly modeled, I expect the Order of Defenders would have a membership roll from which names can be struck in the event that becomes necessary.

          How a great deal of disgrace can be attached to being expelled is not as clear to me. But there are precedents for this being an effective enforcement mechanism in, for example, Freemasonry. Before writing up a set of bylaws I would research how they put reputational teeth in expulsions.

  18. The more I think about it, the less I like The Ritual of the Iron Ring as a model. That ritual is based on the assumption that engineering should be done only by specially well-trained engineers who are dedicated to their craft, and that letting any Tom, Dick, or Mary design and build bridges poses an unacceptable risk of dangerously bad bridges.

    But the idea that guns are too dangerous for any Tom, Dick, or Mary to possess, and that guns should therefore be limited to a dedicated elite is a bad one. The concept of a Brotherhood of Defenders pushes in that direction, even with the deliberate measures taken to avoid that push. It raises my hackles.

    One of the great things about handguns is that they’re tools of egalitarianism. “Col. Colt made men equal” – and while guns don’t completely eliminate the combat disparity between men and women, they do greatly reduce it. It’s interesting how the rise of the status of women in western culture parallels the rise of small, affordable, repeating handguns. Women went from “Childlike beings who needed the protection of men” to “Big girls who could take care of themselves.”

    I’d be much more favorably inclined to a fraternal order dedicated to teaching as many people as possible at least the basics of firearm handling. Even if only a few go on to routinely carry, it still would be good to have culture where gun-friendliness is in the water. Where people know that guns aren’t special and that possessing a gun doesn’t make you special. Where people can recognize bad gun handling when they see it, and will instantly reject the more absurd anti-gun claims.

    • >I’d be much more favorably inclined to a fraternal order dedicated to teaching as many people as possible at least the basics of firearm handling.

      One of the few obligations in the Defenders’ oath is to teach others to defend. My intention includes what you describe.

      Both the Defender initiation and the Ritual of the Iron Ring are intended to reinforce the idea that the initiate is taking on a special life-or-death responsibility. The difference is in the qualifications required. Not many people can design bridges, but most people can make good clutch decisions about use of force. If that weren’t true, the statistics on crime and accidents by gun owners would look like a rolling atrocity, instead of 5 out of 6 defensive gun uses not even involving a discharge.

      • On the subject of whether guns should be considered an elite skill, or something that should be commonly practiced: there seems to be a pretty widespread view here in favor of the latter view.

        This is why I have problems with the “sheepdog” concept. I don’t have this protective, albeit somewhat patronizing attitude toward “sheep,” because I consider them to have made the choice not to do their duty in defending themselves and others. Far from being sheep (who have no choice about their nature), they are failed wolves. I refuse to make a distinction between bullies and cowards; to my mind, they are both my enemies.

        • I think you’re ascribing too much volition to their choice. There are far too many people out there who are literally incapable of thinking that they can, much less should, take an active role in defending themselves. I consider this a great failing of our society. I can’t hold that level of deep conditioning against its victims.

      • “One of the few obligations in the Defenders’ oath is to teach others to defend.”

        That’s what I had in mind when I wrote “even with the deliberate measures taken to avoid that push” toward the idea that guns should be limited to a dedicated elite. I still say your countermeasures aren’t enough; that despite your good intentions, the concept of an Order of Defenders still pushes in that direction.

    • The FIU bridge collapse showed what happens when you let unqualified people design and build a bridge. See also the Kansas City Hyatt bridge collapse for the affect of field changes that were never properly analyzed. Ditto for the Challenger O-ring failure

      The Ritual of the Iron Ring is correct, some fields of engineering DO require much higher levels of diligence about safety, reliability, and fault tolerance.

  19. Eric, I don’t think there is any analysis under which bioenergetics justify any sort of categorical exclusion of all (or some) women. There is too much variation between individual women both as to parenthood (no children, young children, self-sufficient teens) and other factors, such as quality of support structure available to care for orphaned children, that while defense of family will be a consideration for some women considering joining the decision should rest with the woman. This is very much like the question of whether women should serve in the military, and in both cases each woman must evaluate her own unique circumstances when deciding whether to join.

    • >This is very much like the question of whether women should serve in the military,

      I don’t think it’s like that at all. The reasons women should not be in line military are quite a bit stronger and cluster around psychophysiological differences that you can’t hack around with a better support system.

      For ground troops, soldiers need to be able to hump heavier loads of equipment than 99% of women will ever be able to. This Israelis experimented with putting women in front-line units anyway and the results were such a disaster that they’ve stopped doing that – all those sexy Israeli-uniformed women you see pictures of on the Internet are deployed to minimize the odds that they’ll ever have to deal with a set-piece battle or field conditions, been that way for decades now. There are a few specialist roles that women can be good at – the Soviets trained up some really deadly snipers – but in general the overhead of trying to integrate women into the sharp end of a ground combat force is too high to be worth it unless you’re being driven by politics rather than military effectiveness.

      Attempts to integrate women as combat pilots in air arms have fared little better. Women do just fine as transport pilots, but the combination of aggression and 3-D kinematic ability required for air combat is so rare in females that I suspect most of the apparent exceptions are or were chromosomal intersexes.

      The U.S. Navy’s attempts to integrate female sailors have not been crowned with glory either. There was a major ship collision recently which, on investigation, turned out to have happened because two female watch officers weren’t speaking with each other. More humdrum problems include an extremely high rate of female sailors getting pregnant at sea and morale problems because most of the sailors aren’t getting in their pants.

      A rational military planner would explicitly confine military women to roles they’re suited for (transport pilots, onshore naval staff) but politics makes rationality impossible. Instead, training and performance standards for males get compromised to a degree that may significantly compromise force effectiveness. This shit won’t survive the next war – it can’t – but too many good people will die bringing home the lesson.

      • I agree that there are roles in the military for which few women have the necessary abilities and that incorporating women in those roles who don’t have those abilities is a very bad idea (though I think including those few women should be done where feasible). That said, I think the comparison between joining the Order you propose and military service in other roles (driver, clerk, transport pilot, medic, etcetera) is valid. Both involve accepting a small but significant risk of harm in order to serve a role protecting society.

        • >Both involve accepting a small but significant risk of harm in order to serve a role protecting society.

          You’re right. The difference – and I think it’s an important difference – is that female reproductive capacity is scarce relative to male capacity. This is the biological reality beneath “women and children first”. It is rational to treat women equally in roles that don’t threaten or implicate that asymmetry, but not to do so in those that involve a significant risk of loss of life.

          • That is a legitimate argument in the context of a tribe or village, where that reproductive capacity is a scarce and valuable resource. I don’t find it persuasive applied to a modern industrial society with millions of members. At best, it applies only to women who have young children or are trying to become pregnant. I see no reason a young women with no short term plans to become pregnant should be barred from membership. She might go somewhat inactive when she has young children and then become active again when her children are older, but that isn’t much different from a man who is inactive for a time while undergoing chemotherapy or recovering from a heart attack.

            • >She might go somewhat inactive when she has young children and then become active again when her children are older, but that isn’t much different from a man who is inactive for a time while undergoing chemotherapy or recovering from a heart attack.

              I think you’re reasoning too narrowly. It’s not just her present fertility that’s a scarce resource, it’s her future and potential fertility. And you can tell me that’s not an issue when the U.S.’s birth rate gets back up to a healthy margin above replacement level.

              • What if the woman is menopausal? Or solemnly pledges not to try to bear children later? Or to just bear the risk of not being able to?

                All this concern over a woman’s potential fertility seems both noble, and utterly mooted if the woman goes out of her way to opt out. If she doesn’t want to get pregnant, some libertarians may mourn her choice, but every libertarian fights against depriving her of it. There may be concern that she didn’t consider that loss of fertility, but that seems easily fixed with an extra clause in the Pledge.

                I keep trying to check whether I’m missing something, but it keeps boiling down to this. What are we really worried about here? Moral hazard? That including women will pressure others on the margin, until the overall birthrate takes a hit?

                If that’s true, what if the Order just explicitly forbids itself from according extra status to women (even if it implies such to men)?

              • Eric, what makes reproductive capacity unique? High level programming skill, for example, is vital to maintaining our technical infrastructure, but is much less common than the ability to bear children. Should you be barred from joining the Order because your valuable skills shouldn’t be put at risk?

                To the extent we have a fertility problem in the US, we have it because we have decided as a society (correctly I think) to extend the same liberty of choice to men and to women and some loss of fertility is an unavoidable side-effect of the way women choose to exercise that liberty. Joining the Order is just one of innumerable choices available to women that may impact fertility, and would have a much lower impact than many other commonplace choices.

                • >Eric, what makes reproductive capacity unique?

                  That is the best objection anyone has posed yet. I think there’s a principled distinction to be made there but I’m going to have to contemplate for a while to dig it out.

      • This shit won’t survive the next war – it can’t – but too many good people will die bringing home the lesson.

        Only if the people in charge care about winning it.

    • >the Soviets used AIDs to create anti-US-government propaganda in the eighties.

      I blogged about this in 2006.

      The Soviets had an entire “active measures” department devoted to churning out anti-American dezinformatsiya. A classic example is the rumor that AIDS was the result of research aimed at building a ‘race bomb’ that would selectively kill black people.

      I was referring to that exact Fort Detrick rumor.

  20. > The Order of Defenders does not exist. Perhaps it should.

    Seems like this is the definition of the 2nd Amendment, how a “well regulated militia” would, well, regulate.
    But would the OoD take guns away from unqualified people, the nut sort that they wouldn’t swear in as members?

    • >But would the OoD take guns away from unqualified people, the nut sort that they wouldn’t swear in as members?

      Don’t be silly. By what right would OoD do that? It’s not law enforcement, even assuming law enforcement had the authority to do that – which, thankfully, it does not. Because some idiot in authority would inevitably broaden the definition of “unqualified” to render 2A meaningless.

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