Strategy – Don’t go into battle without one
by G. Edward Griffin
Originally published 2017-12-28. Updated 2018-09-06.
What you are about to read is one of the three most-important documents relating to the heart-and-soul of Freedom Force. A second document is The Chasm, which explains the core principles that all members hold in common as the foundation of our brotherhood. A third document is about the unique organizational structure that hardens our movement against infiltration from outside and corruption from inside. Strategy is the topic of this document, and it is the secret sauce of Freedom Force.
Because this is a long document, here is an overview of topics to give you a reader’s road map of what lies ahead. If you are interested in participating in Freedom Force, this is essential information.
Why Freedom Force focuses on principles instead of issues; the need to be pro-active with positive goals instead of defending the status quo; how a small group can influence the social and political policies of an entire nation; the necessity for full disclosure when using a strategy called ‘rings-within-rings’; Project Red Pill as the embodiment of that strategy; creating allies among people who do not yet understand the totality of the conflict between collectivism and individualism; the challenge of creating unity without conformity; one principle that can become common cause for the entire liberty movement; what is meant by: “Don’t fight city hall when you can BE city hall’; a look into the future at a hypothetical political party called ‘Born Free’.
CAUSE VS. SYMPTOMS
Freedom Force is different from all other organizations dedicated to liberty. Most groups seeking to bring about positive change in society are issue oriented. Political parties, for example, have platforms praising or condemning specific political agendas and then they seek voter support for those platforms. Educational groups increase public awareness of current events and historical trends in hopes that this knowledge will translate into political or social change. In both cases, the focus is on issues: We should do this. We must oppose that. Positive social and political change would be impossible without endeavors of this kind.
The problem, however, is that a single organization cannot champion more than one or two issues at a time. Furthermore, even in cases where issue-related victories are won on the political front, they are short lived. The same challenges return again and again at every election until, eventually, the super-state wins. That's because the cause of these problems remains – even when we have temporary victories. The cause of these problems is that the power centers of society remain in the hands of collectivists(1) and, as long as that condition remains, we can never succeed in the long run. Focusing only on issues is treating the symptom while ignoring the cause.
THE PURELY DEFENSIVE IS DEFEAT ON THE INSTALLMENT PLAN. We have been like firefighters trying to put out hundreds of fires set by an insane arsonist. We run here and there, back and forth, with hoses and buckets, fighting one fire after another; but there are more than we can count. Five new fires are started for each one we put out, and we constantly lose ground while our beautiful city is destroyed. We will never make headway until we find the arsonist and put him out of business. Any effort that ignores the cause of the fires is doomed to failure.
Collectivism is the arsonist. Collectivists ignite new totalitarian programs because they can. They do it easily because they hold the levers of power. They almost totally control the major power centers of society. At present, individualists do not have comparable power, and, as expressed in the Freedom Force motto, Those without power cannot defend freedom.(2)
If we really want to defend liberty instead of just going through the familiar motions of what everyone else has done in the past – and failed – we must devise a course of action that will allow us to take the initiative. We must stop playing a defensive game in which our sole objective is to stop our opponent from advancing. The purely defensive is merely defeat on the installment plan. We must have a pro-active strategy with our own long-term objectives. In other words, instead of just showing up with a willingness to engage the advancing enemy, we must have a strategy for victory.
WHAT WOULD A FREE WORLD BE LIKE?
If you are wondering what that word victory means in this context, picture in your mind the replacement of approximately 80% of the present politicians, who simply are gaming the system to acquire wealth by serving the agendas of lobbyists and replacing them with people who have no ax to grind except to protect liberty and human dignity. Then picture the repeal of the same percentage of existing laws that serve no purpose other than to plunder and enslave mankind on behalf of ruling elitists. Finally, imagine one or two simple constitutional provisions that would clarify for all time that the proper function of the state is to defend the lives, liberty, and property of its citizens, nothing more. That's what victory means to members of Freedom Force.
So, for those of us who want to leave the world a better place than as we found it, what is our course of action? Should Freedom Force follow other organizations and launch issue crusades? Should we call for an end to the income tax? Return to value-based money? Withdraw from the UN? Return to basics in education? Put a stop to illegal immigration? Oppose gun control? Reform Social Security? Demand freedom-of-choice in health care? Put term limits on politicians? Restore the principle of jury nullification? End aggressive wars with hidden agendas? There are thousands of issues that cry out for immediate action, so how would we select the most important ones?
Advocates of monetary reform argue that money is what feeds the monster, so let's start there. Advocates of education reform argue that schools are where future leaders and voters are being indoctrinated and that we must first un-brainwash the next generation. Others argue that our bodies are being poisoned and our brains are being chemically altered to turn us into sickly, passive robots and, if we don't stop that first, nothing else will matter.
All these arguments have merit. However, if we take on the task of selecting one or two issues, we soon would be inundated with urgent calls to act on other issues as well and, if we failed to do so, members would resign thinking we can’t see the wisdom of their arguments.
RINGS WITHIN RINGS
If not issues, then what? For the answer to that question, we turn to our collectivist opponent in the United States. The formula has been applied with astounding success by an organization called the Council on Foreign Relations. The CFR has had over 100 years to perfect the strategy by which only a few thousand members have been able to dominate the major power centers of society and, thereby, determine the social and political policies of the entire nation.
The strategy is known as 'rings within rings', which was implemented by Cecil Rhodes when he created what is arguably the most successful secret society in history. In fact, it was the Rhodes group that created the CFR, itself. If you are not familiar with this history, I invite you to watch my video presentation entitled The Quigley Formula; The Conspiratorial View of History as Told by the Conspirators Themselves. (3)
The essence of the 'rings-within-rings' strategy is that a small group can control a large group simply by having the members of the smaller group create the larger group and maintain control over its leadership. The second group then creates an even larger group around itself and, likewise, maintains control over the leadership. This process can be repeated until the outer-most ring encompasses virtually the entire population.
As the rings of influence move outward, they adopt identities and goals that are consistent with the objectives of the inner core, but those goals are expressed in terms that appeal to a much broader segment of the population. In this way, those at the general-membership level of the outer rings usually are not aware that they are serving the agenda of the inner ring.
For example, the center ring may have a goal of destroying the culture and national identity of a nation, so it can more easily be merged into a global political system. However, to enlist the support of the population within the target nation, an outer ring might be created that speaks only of compassion for the downtrodden and of the need for humanitarian aid to refugees. This ring theoretically might create an even larger movement claiming only to oppose 'hate speech' and calling for laws to punish those who speak against any aspect of cultural disintegration. In this way, it is possible to cause much of the population to endorse policies that they would soundly reject if they understood their true purpose.
IS IT ETHICAL?
Is it possible for Freedom Force to use the rings-within-rings strategy in an honorable fashion? The answer is yes, but the key to this riddle is the phrase 'in an honorable fashion'. Let's be clear that there is nothing unethical about this process unless the true goals are concealed. The only reason they would be concealed (as they are in the secret society created by Rhodes) is that they would be considered horribly unethical in the minds of most people, and very few would participate. In our case, we have nothing to hide and, in fact, most people would consider our goals and methods to be highly ethical.
Rings-within-rings have been common throughout modern history – ever since societies advanced to the point of sustaining large-scale voluntary organizations. In the American colonies, it is what made it possible for a few statesmen to influence the colonists to support the American Revolution. The creators of the US Constitution used this pattern of influencing others through organizations in which they had influence, but they were not conspirators, because they were totally open about what they were attempting to achieve. Their debates and private papers were widely circulated among the public.
The American Revolution, held up to the world as an example of the common man rising up against the British, is a myth. The revolution was led by a group of intellectuals and statesmen who dominated the power centers. They were leaders within colonial governments; they were the landowners and the merchants; they owned the printing presses.
American independence was won by the courage and sacrifices of common soldiers, but the soldiers were inspired and led by a small group of men who provided intellectual and military leadership. That is how it always has been throughout history, and that is the way it always will be. It’s just a question of which minority will lead.
Rings-within-rings is the natural outgrowth of human nature, which includes the instinct to form into groups and to follow leaders. Like it or not, that is what all societies do, and the primary reason we have been consistently defeated by collectivists so far is that we failed to notice that they were using this trait of human nature against us – and, therefore, we were unable to defend against it.
ADVICE FROM SUN TSU
The fact that we have been consistently defeated by our collectivist opponents should cause us to reflect on the words of Sun Tsu, a Chinese warrior and philosopher who, in the year 500 B.C., wrote a treatise entitled The Art of War in which he said:
If a man knows himself and knows his opponent, he need not fear a hundred battles. If he knows himself but not his opponent, for every victory, he will suffer a defeat. If he knows neither himself nor his opponent, he will suffer defeat in every battle.
The document called The Chasm is devoted primarily to knowing ourselves. It presents the principles in which we believe and provides a vision of what kind of a world we want to leave for those who follow us. But we also must know our opponent, and that is why Freedom Force leaders must, not only understand the strategy of rings-within-rings that has been used so successfully against us, but now must master it for our own counteroffensive.
PROJECT RED PILL
In 2006, I posted a section to the Freedom Force web site called Project Outreach. It was the genesis of the concept of rings-within-rings but spoke only of the need to reach out to other organizations and other levels of involvement to create a broad freedom movement. It languished in that embryonic form awaiting further inspiration and resources.
By 2017, Freedom Force had grown to the point where it was ready for an outer ring. It was time to reach a larger group of compatriots who, although they may not be clear about the difference between a republic and a democracy or able to explain collectivism and individualism, nevertheless, they are truth seekers who know something very bad is happening to their way of life. They are worried about state intervention in their personal lives, and they are discouraged because they think they are alone. Many of them want to do something to change all this but don't know where to begin or who to trust. All of us were in that category at one time, and many of our friends are still there, so it was natural for this to be our first ring of influence.
RED PILL EXPO
We needed a theme related to freedom at the deeper level but with a more popular appeal. The perfect choice, we thought, was the red-pill meme popularized by the sci-fi movie, The Matrix. Almost everything we want to say within the freedom movement can be expressed in terms of illusion vs. reality and, when we say, "take the red pill", we add a bit of mystery to the narrative and have some fun along the way. At least, that was the theory. We were worried that the public might think it was too corny or too frivolous for such a serious endeavor.
And, so, in June of 2017, we held the First Red Pill Expo in Bozeman, Montana, and it was a smashing success. Expecting 200 or 300 attendance, 600 came from far and wide, including twelve countries in all. Most of these people would not have been moved to attend yet another conference on the defense of liberty, but they came to take the red pill on many different topics, some of which, on the surface, had no bearing on freedom at all. Many of the attendees said it was the most interesting and exhilarating conference they had ever attended. It was then that we knew we had made the right decision. To our amazement and delight, the first ring became a reality. And with that, Project Outreach was nicknamed (for better public recognition) Project Red Pill.
RED PILL UNIVERSITY
As we left Bozeman, we thought it would be a shame to allow what we had started there to go into hibernation for twelve months until the next Expo, so we decided to create the Red Pill University as an ongoing platform to keep the momentum going all year long. The University is the same concept as the Expo but with two added features:
1. Expo 'presenters' become University 'faculty' and receive their own virtual classrooms at the University web site. Now they provide their amazing content as often as they wish, and our video platform delivers it, not just to one auditorium during one weekend per year, but potentially to millions of video screens all over the world, with new content added daily.
2. In addition to this Internet presence, the University also establishes 'campuses', which are local groups of students and teachers who become boots on the ground for political action to impact candidate selection and ballot propositions. Genuine movements are built from the bottom up and cannot exist merely in cyberspace. It takes more than web sites, tweets, and emails. It requires a physical presence, face-to-face contact, and the building of teams that know and trust each other on a personal basis. It is our goal to have at least one campus in every county of the United States and in comparable geographical boundaries in other countries as well.
UNITY WITHOUT CONFORMITY
Project Red Pill includes one additional goal that requires serious strategy. It is the seemingly impossible task of bringing unity to the freedom movement and to do it without requiring conformity. The reason for putting these two concepts together – unity without conformity – is that, to build unity, we must form alliances with many who hold different opinions than ours on a wide variety of topics. We also must work in harmony with people from different nations, cultures, religions, races, genders, classes, and life styles. A demand for conformity on any of these things would be the death knell for unity of the magnitude needed for this mission.
This does not mean anything goes. In addition to simple rules of civility and decency, there is one thing on which common agreement is expected. It is this:
Most problems facing mankind today are rooted in excessive state intervention in our lives, and their solutions are best achieved through freedom-of-choice and personal responsibility.
On that principle we stand firm. It is the foundation of our unity. For members of Freedom Force, there is a higher standard based on The Creed of Freedom but, for Project Red Pill, the more general expression is adequate. It is a blend of hard principle and popular sentiment – and a solid foundation on which we can build unity across the entire spectrum of the freedom movement.
THEOCRACY NOT COMPATIBLE WITH CORE PRINCIPLE
What about those who say they cannot work with anyone from certain nations, races, religions, or life styles. The answer is simple. This is not the movement for them. However, when it comes to religion, it's more complicated than that. Those who profess a religion that calls for theocracy, which is the convergence of church and state, cannot do so and, at the same time, agree that governments should not intervene in the personal lives of their citizens. In that case, they will have to choose between these opposing principles. If they chose theocracy, then they do not qualify for membership in Freedom Force. They are disqualified, not because we reject their religion, but because they reject our core principle.(4)
A BIG IDEOLOGICAL TENT
Most organizations in the freedom movement must struggle for financial support, and one of the obstacles to unity among them has been the potential loss of supporters who might migrate to other groups if they become closely involved. That is another reason Freedom Force and Project Red Pill must not become issue oriented, for that could be perceived as competition with other issue-oriented groups vying for the same donors. The fact that activist organizations have been happy to exhibit at Red Pill Expo is confirmation that this strategy is correct.
It now is possible for almost every organization in the freedom community to come under the Red Pill tent, share information, form coalitions, and, although they may debate issues on which they disagree, they will discover they have much more in common than they thought. Eventually, we hope to see all pro-freedom groups manning information tables at the Expos. When this happens, we will know that unity has been achieved.
Presenters, faculty, organizational leaders, and members will not agree on all issues. Not only is this inevitable, but it is desirable in terms of the red-pill theme. There is no need to hear the opinions of others on illusion vs. reality if we think we already know all the answers. We are truth seekers who are willing to listen and then draw our own conclusions. We are mindful that all our present beliefs were unknown to us prior to the first time we heard them explained and, in some cases, we initially thought they were nonsense.
Non-conformity is the price of unity, but the price is a genuine bargain, because non-conformity also stimulates thought, forces us to test the merit of prevailing views and it creates a stream of information that is fascinating and invigorating.
PROJECT CITY HALL
As soon as resources permit, we shall create yet one more ring, larger than Red Pill. It will be the embodiment of what we now call Project City Hall, which also was added to the Freedom Force web site in 2006 as another manifestation of Project Outreach. Based on the slogan: "Don't fight city hall when you can BE city hall", the strategy is to provide guidance and assistance to Freedom Force members to acquire positions within government and other power centers. That is the long-range purpose of all other activities.
The Freedom Force motto is: "Those without power cannot defend freedom." The inverse of that is: "Those with power can defend freedom". Therefore, the ultimate goal of Freedom Force is to replace collectivists, who now dominate the power centers of society, with individualists. Project City Hall is the mechanism by which that will come to pass.
PROJECT BORN FREE
Just as the red-pill meme was a more popular expression of Project Outreach, we will need the same for Project City Hall. Therefore, our Project City Hall will be publicly identified as Project Born Free.
We are talking politics now, so we need an icon and some slogans. Almost everyone has heard the moving music and lyrics of the song, Born Free. Coupled with images of lions and other wild animals in their natural habitat, they work well together to reinforce the impression of strength, independence, and freedom. We need go no deeper than that for a great political statement.
The first step into the political arena will be to create Born Free Caucuses that are staging areas for freedom-minded members within established political parties. As the caucuses grow, they will begin to have influence on the host major parties within which they operate. Eventually, they may gain enough support to dominate the host parties. If that is impossible, they can launch a Born Free Party and take the Caucuses with them.
POLITICAL PARTIES – THE GOOD AND NOT-SO-GOOD
Political parties are similar to ‘rings-within-rings’ in that (1) they are the outgrowth of a natural human instinct to form into groups for the advancement of common objectives and (2) historically, they have been used by demagogues to gain control over their members.
This process usually begins with a political issue that captures the passionate support of a large segment of the population, but which faces strong, entrenched, and organized opposition. It is an unfair fight, and there is little chance that the new contender will win without coordinated action, strategies, funding, communications, and leadership. All political parties begin with that scenario.
Within a few generations, however, the original members pass away and are replaced by new blood who have no memory of the party’s founding struggles. They have new passions and new issues. This shift is encouraged by those who care nothing about either old or new principles but merely seek to use the party to further their personal agendas. From that point, forward, platforms of political parties become like schoolroom blackboards, constantly being written on, erased and re-written. Voters are subjected to constantly changing slogans and position statements crafted by speech writers who study opinion polls and then write what voters want to hear. It really makes little difference what they write because, when elections are over, all is forgotten anyway. The whole thing is just an advertising campaign.
This corruption is clearly visible in every election in recent history, but the Founding Fathers of the United States saw it in ancient history and also in principle.
VOICES FROM THE PAST
George Washington said in his farewell speech: “The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism.”
John Adams said: “There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.”
Thomas Jefferson wrote: “There is no length to which [the delusion of the people] may not be pushed by a party in possession of the revenues and the legal authorities of the United States.”
Jefferson, however, also was a realist. He saw that factions are the product of human nature and, like it or not, they always spring into being when men are free to make choices. The only way to prevent factions and political parties is to prohibit freedom of speech and freedom of association. He wrote: “In every free and deliberating society, there must, from the nature of man, be opposite parties, and violent dissensions and discords; and one of these, for the most part, must prevail over the other for a longer or shorter time.”
This is our dilemma. There are plenty of reasons to dislike political parties but, like them or not, in the kind of free society we advocate, they always will be with us. Since we must accept the premise that political parties will exist in our future, there are just two questions to consider:
1. If we do not participate in political parties, would it be possible to equal or surpass their power over political processes, including elections?
2. If we do participate in political parties, would it be possible to create a permanent, unalterable, and irrevocable provision in the bylaws that would prevent a political party of our creation from becoming a tool for corruption and hidden agendas?
There is much to be said, pro and con, in response to both questions but, to move this analysis forward more quickly, please allow me to state my own conclusion: Unfortunately, the answer to question one is no, but, fortunately, the answer to question two is yes.
JEFFERSON VS. MADISON
In 1792, Thomas Jefferson, had to answer question number one when he was facing political opposition from James Madison’s Federalist Party. The Federalists wanted a strong, centralized government, and Jefferson wanted the federal apparatus to be the servant of the states. Even though Jefferson was suspicious of the long-term integrity of political parties, he saw the growing influence of Hamilton’s Federalist Party and decided that, to even be in the contest, he had no choice but to form what he called the Democratic-Republican Party to give form and momentum to his own political ideas. By the time he became President in 1801, his party had gained more popular support than the Federalists, and that is what carried him – and his ideas – to the Presidency. This was a classic example of the fact that, if we want to defend freedom, we must have political power and, in the real world, whether we like it or not, the path to political power is the political party.
It is true that, occasionally, an individual with great charisma can garner enough voter support as an independent to defeat a candidate associated with an entrenched political party, but that is rare, and it would be suicidal to make the success of our movement depend on that phenomenon. Trying to achieve political dominance without a political party because it cannot be trusted is like going into battle without a gun because guns are dangerous. In both cases, we must accept the risks and dangers, because the alternative is defeat. However, along with the risks and the dangers comes a challenge to do something that never has been done before: to create an organizational mechanism to make it impossible for the party to be diverted from its founding Principle.
That’s the promise that lies in the answer to question number two: Is it possible to create a permanent, unalterable, and irrevocable provision in the bylaws that would prevent a political party of our creation from becoming a tool for corruption and hidden agendas? The answer is yes. All we have to do is write it and explain why we did it. I believe that most voters would be thrilled with the idea. At first, they may have difficulty getting used to the idea of loyalty to a principle instead of a party, but the concept could light fires in their minds and spread literally around the world. The reason this has never been done in the past is, not because it’s impossible, but because it has never been tried.
Here is an example of how this might be accomplished. It is a draft of what could be described as the ‘platform’ of the Born Free Party. The provision that I propose for the bylaws is expressed in this platform.
The Born Free Party is unlike any other political party that ever existed, because its platform is not re-written at each election to conform to the wishes of new leaders or lobbyists. The Party has but one issue, and it never changes. Actually, it is not an issue at all. It is a Principle, and it is so basic that it holds the solution to just about every social or political problem that has arisen in the past or that will do so in the future. That Principle is this:
The proper function of the state is to defend the life, liberty, and property of its citizens, nothing more. All other functions, no matter how well intentioned, eventually become infected by mission creep and corruption, and this leads to oppressive laws, unbearable regulations, and crushing taxes. A just and free society cannot survive the good intentions of those who seek to re-engineer mankind, and it certainly cannot survive the evil intentions of those who use worthy sounding proposals to gain support for schemes to expand their personal power and wealth. Therefore, the Born Free Party supports any candidate or issue that is on the side of improving the state’s ability to defend the life, liberty, or property of its citizens. It opposes any candidate or issue that is on the side of any other use of state power.
That is the Principle, and it is not subject to revision. It will be the same a thousand years from now as it is today. It will make no difference who the current leaders of the Party are or how much money is offered by lobbyists, this principle can never be changed.
One more thing that sets the Born Free Party apart from all others is that candidates are expected to be loyal to this Principle after being elected. Annually, the Party asks its members to rate their representatives in terms of fidelity to the Principle. Any representative with a rating under 66% has one year to bring the rating up or be removed from the Party.
(Examples of how the Born Free Principle applies to typical social and political issues will be included for further reading.)
At present, the Born Free Party is just an idea, and there are many challenges to be considered before committing it to action, but I have described it at length so potential Freedom Force members can see that our strategy is pro-active and reaches far into the future. We are totally serious when we say we intend to change the world.
1. Power centers are groups and organization that, because of their large constituency, can influence public policies of the community and nation. Collectivists are those who advocate collectivism, the belief that the group is more important than the individual and that individuals must be sacrificed, if necessary, for the greater good of the greater number. The system of government built on this belief is an all-powerful state in which citizens are subservient to their rulers who control every aspect of their lives supposedly for their own good. Individualists are those who advocate individualism, the belief that the individual is more important than the group, because the 'group' is merely an abstraction and exists only to the extent that individuals exist ‒ and that the defense of individual rights is the greater good of the greater number. Individualists believe that the proper function of the state is, not to govern its citizens, but to protect them from foreign invaders, criminals, and the greed and passion of the majority that, otherwise, will plunder and enslave the minority. To learn more about this conflict between collectivism and individualism, read The Chasm.
2. Recognition that defenders of liberty must, themselves, have influence and power equal to or greater than the influence and power of collectivists is one of the concepts that sets Freedom Force apart from organizations that limit themselves to the role of education. We recognize that power is dangerous and that, in its pursuit, we must have mechanisms to prevent ourselves and those who follow in our footsteps from being corrupted by the power we must achieve. You can learn what those mechanisms are at other sections of the Freedom Force site, starting with Structure and Bylaws.
3. The most current version of this presentation was delivered at the Second Red Pill Expo and is available for viewing at the Red Pill University web site.
4. This is not a criticism of any specific religion, because, just about every major religion at some time or another has established a theocracy that brutalized those who did not pretend to convert. This has nothing to do with religion but with the corrupting effect of absolute political power, even in the hands of clerics.