A Bit of Staircase Wit

AS I HAVE THESE attacks of l’esprit d’escalier with embarrassing frequency, perhaps I ought to make a regular department of them. Or not.

Monday was an anniversary of many sorts. Some more somber than others. I didn’t think in advance to prepare anything appropriate, but, sauntering down the old spiral stair afterwards, I got this flash of wit. By way of groundlaying, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Concord Hymn” runs…

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.

The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.

On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set to-day a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.

Spirit, that made those heroes dare,
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.

A relative handful of men stood firm against the army of the most powerful empire on earth at the time… and won.

And yet, the nihilists on the side of government would have us believe that determined American patriots could not stand against military units composed of their fellow citizens — fellows of a greater patriotic bent than the average — and hope for anything but induction into speedbumphood.

It’s hackneyed perhaps to say, “Don’t give up your dreams.” But still…

And you know some tumblefuck is going to point out — as though nobody’d ever considered it — that the 18th Century American rebels were “only” facing muskets (.54 cal, muzzle velocity 1800 fps, energy 1700f/p, “will penetrate the front and back plate of a pikeman’s armor” — lethal enough), whereas — doncha know — we’ve developed machine guns and suchlike in the meantime.

To which I riposte, we’ve also developed Roger Young in the meantime.

And you just KNOW the same tumblefuck will go: “So what?”

So we’ll have to say the obvious: that decisions are taken in human affairs as matters of will, and a technological advantage can usually be surmounted by a sufficiently motivated force. Nukes from orbit excepted.

After all, much of what the military does is a matter of accomplishing what would appear to be otherwise impossible in the service of directing force at the appropriate point. As a matter of will.

But then, your standard issue Mk1-A tumblefuck probably will never get that.

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