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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Paul Gottfried reviews VICTORIA

I don't think anyone with any grasp of history doubts that the USA is in the process of going the way of the Byzantine Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Yugoslavia, and the Soviet Union at this point. It is a now a centralized multi-ethnic empire held together by the threat of military force, after all, and such empires always fracture sooner or later. And for all the various unpleasantries it recounts, VICTORIA: A Novel of 4th Generation War represents one of the more rosy-hued outcomes possible. Paul Gottfried reviewed it on VDARE.
William Lind’s VICTORIA Heralds Coming America Breakup
By Paul Gottfried

William S. Lind is a man of many talents. He’s an institution of the American conservative movement, formerly the Director of the Center for Cultural Conservatism of the Free Congress Foundation (under the late Paul Weyrich), a regular contributor to The American Conservative, and a noted military theorist. And now, with the publication of Victoria he is a novelist, putting forward a highly readable vision of the breakup of the United States and a traditionalist restoration. It’s a sign of the times that we can no longer regard such a story as implausible.

Victoria is subtitled “A Novel of Fourth Generation Warfare,” and Lind’s writings on warfare bleed (perhaps too much) into his storytelling. His theory of Fourth Generation Warfare contends that warfare has ceased between states with standing armies and operative governments. Instead, it is decentralized, on at least one side, lacking a regular command structure and no longer identified with an established state or regular army. Countries like the U.S. find themselves in partisan struggles around the world that violate the “rules of war” built up under the old European state system.

Bill’s ideas about changing forms of warfare may have been influenced by the German political-legal theorist Carl Schmitt, who wrote on partisan warfare after the Second World War. His novel is written under the nom de plume “Thomas Hobbes,” so even in this he reveals his connection to Schmitt, as the German jurist profoundly admired the seventeenth-century Englishman who wrote about the rise of the state [The Leviathan in the State Theory of Thomas Hobbes, by Carl Schmitt] (I wrote an intellectual biography of Schmitt and also deeply respect the philosopher who wished to protect us against “the war of all against all.”)

In Victoria, all Hell breaks loose in a way that Hobbes might have understood. Yet it is only the Time of Tribulations before the golden age of social restoration that ends the novel. Indeed, we are told the ending in advance in the opening scene when we learn “The triumph of the Recovery was marked most clearly by the burning of the Episcopal bishop of Maine.”
The revival of witch-burning in New England was certainly an eye-opener, but I'd have to say that my favorite scene was the rather egregious violation of academic freedom at Dartmouth. It's kind of funny to imagine what the reaction would have been if I'd recommended VICTORIA for a Hugo instead of THE CHAPLAIN'S WAR. But it's not science fiction, it's political fiction, so that wouldn't have been proper and neither Mr. Hobbes, nor his agent, Mr. Lind, would have approved.

In any event, VICTORIA is now available as a 592-page paperback. And speaking of Mr. Lind, I should also mention that Martin van Creveld's A HISTORY OF STRATEGY: From Sun Tzu to William S. Lind is now available in hardcover.

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37 Comments:

Blogger ChicagoRefugee May 27, 2015 6:20 AM  

I just gobbled up the first seven chapters. It's addicting! Unfortunately, we're a little tapped out at the moment (renovating a two-flat to occupy with the in-laws) and I already spent my book budget on a World Con supporting membership. (Excellent entertainment value for the money, btw!)

Don't suppose Castalia House is having a sale on this title any time soon?

Blogger VD May 27, 2015 6:30 AM  

Don't suppose Castalia House is having a sale on this title any time soon?

We don't really do sales, because our prices are half of what most publishers charge.

Blogger ChicagoRefugee May 27, 2015 6:33 AM  

Do most publishers really charge $20 for an epub? I really am out of touch. Damn.

Blogger RL (#0052) May 27, 2015 6:41 AM  

The chapter where the academics meet their end is perhaps the only time in my life I stood up and cheered while reading a book. Bought the paperback as well.

Anonymous Tom May 27, 2015 6:46 AM  

Victoria was a surprisingly good book. I was expecting it to be more pedantic and preachy, but after the first two or three chapters, the story really got rolling and took over very well. An enjoyable read all around.

By the way Vox, I appreciate your price structure at Castalia House. Thank you for taking advantage of the ebook medium and making all your titles more accessibly priced.

The only problem is that I've got too much to read right now. Just finished "There Will Be War" Volume 1, and I have to admit that I was more than pleasantly surprised at how well almost all the stories worked even !!!30!!! years after they were written. I did find that most of the essays were a bit more dated than the stories though.

Blogger Elocutioner0226 May 27, 2015 7:39 AM  

I'll echo Tom's comment. I read the chapters that were available online last year and found it to be a great read and entirely plausible. At some point I'll acquire the print copy as I want certain books on my shelf so as to not to be lost in my sea of digital books.

Anonymous roo_ster May 27, 2015 7:48 AM  

Castalia house is starting to horn in on my other reading the last few months. No need for a sale due to reasoable prices from the get go.

Oh i will buy my first castalia paperback when the composting book is printed. A buddy of mine still does not read ebooks and he is interested.

Blogger El Borak May 27, 2015 7:49 AM  

“The triumph of the Recovery was marked most clearly by the burning of the Episcopal bishop of Maine.” Wow, Lind has had that line in mind for better than 20 years.

I have to admit, though, it's a pretty good line.

Blogger Student in Blue May 27, 2015 8:28 AM  

But it's not science fiction, it's political fiction, so that wouldn't have been proper and neither Mr. Hobbes, nor his agent, Mr. Lind, would have approved.

Oh, that's rubbish! Just set it in the 'near future' like in 2040, give everyone laserguns, and boom, instant science fiction and contender for the Hugo.

:)

Anonymous cheddarman May 27, 2015 8:33 AM  

Lind is a prophet. He wrote this book about 20 years ago, and a lot of the milder cultural Marxist lunacy he chronicles reads like today's headlines.

Anonymous Viidad May 27, 2015 9:34 AM  

"Victoria" was my favorite novel of last year. I laughed out loud.

I hope we go the way of the Victorians, just because it would piss off Nate.

Blogger dc.sunsets May 27, 2015 9:53 AM  

Perpendicular to the topic, but the mention of Hobbes impels me to once more point out that his "state of nature," the war of all against all, is actually the political sphere (his Leviathan.)

As I understand it, Leviathan was a near total inversion of reality, a rationalization for the state as a bringer of order, when we can see with our own eyes that the state (a territorial monopoly on generally-accepted initiation of force) is anything but a font of order--it is simply an organization of men empowered to do what they wish, in their self-interest, largely immune from consequences for engaging in acts that, outside of "officialdom," are clear-cut crimes.

All of politics now is either offense (vote for the guy who promises to loot others and give me the swag) or defense (vote for the guy who promises to battle the former.) If this is not universal, constant and all-against-all warfare (albeit mostly without the blood), what is?

Blogger CarpeOro May 27, 2015 10:34 AM  

I read it and gave a review. Like many such works he knows his own region well but doesn't know others as well. I generally favored the first portion of the book over the later because of it (where the focus moves out of Maine/New England it starts to drop invalue). A worthwhile read for even just the first portion of the book.

Yes, I'll admit bias toward my home state of Michigan, but I think that few outside of it understand all of the dynamics there. It was never a destination beyond the early car industry days and isn't really on the way to anywhere else (other than Canada perhaps, where one branch of my family came from). At under 750k, Detroit still draws more attention than the rest of the state. #105

Anonymous BGS May 27, 2015 10:40 AM  

Just set it in the 'near future' like in 2040, give everyone laserguns, and boom, instant science fiction

If you where a flaming lesbian Episcopal bishop of Maine, my love

Blogger pdwalker May 27, 2015 10:50 AM  

Castilia House has a big problem.

They need more books to sell.

Anonymous Stilicho 0066 May 27, 2015 11:12 AM  

I read it and gave a review. Like many such works he knows his own region well but doesn't know others as well. I generally favored the first portion of the book over the later because of it (where the focus moves out of Maine/New England it starts to drop invalue).

IIRC, Lind lives in Ohio.

Anonymous aviendha May 27, 2015 11:17 AM  

This coming out in hardback or is this my only paper option in the foreseeable future?

Blogger Marissa May 27, 2015 11:41 AM  

The revival of witch-burning in New England

Those presumed to be witches in New England were hanged, not burned. The Victorians were resurrecting an old European tradition.

Anonymous Elijah Rhodes May 27, 2015 11:44 AM  

I loved this book. Gave it to my 15 year old son and he enjoyed it too.

Anonymous Stilicho 0066 May 27, 2015 11:46 AM  

What say the Ilk with respect to the subject matter of Victoria?

Personally, I expect the decline and fall to be a more gradual process of individual States or regions to begin asserting more autonomy and control over their territory as Washington's influence declines alongside its ability to buy acquiescence from the States. Followed by a period of rapid (and probably violent) separation or de facto secession prompted by one crisis or another.

Anonymous Stilicho 0066 May 27, 2015 11:49 AM  

Those presumed to be witches in New England were hanged, not burned.

Mostly, but then there's poor Giles Corey "Pressed to Death, Sept. 19, 1692" according to his tombstone...

Blogger Markku May 27, 2015 11:53 AM  

What say the Ilk with respect to the subject matter of Victoria?

Russia and China would always be delighted to invade the USA. I'm not sure that threat can be fended off in the interim, where there is political confusion. If they can maintain some semblance of national order while USA can't, then USA is toast.

And I think Americans will understand this, and not really allow USA to degenerate to that point, but will rather opt for the Eternal Jackboot just because it's their own jackboot, and not a Russky or Chink one.

Blogger David-093 May 27, 2015 12:01 PM  

I read it in two days. The book was addicting and I loved his relentless hammering of the SJWs. I didn't like the society-wide dislike for technology that he portrays as a positive or his apparent belief in the uselessness of astronomy, but his prediction of the states separating and forming new nations that are allied with each other is probably how it will turn out. The man's a prophet.

Blogger David-093 May 27, 2015 12:08 PM  

"Russia and China would always be delighted to invade the USA. I'm not sure that threat can be fended off in the interim, where there is political confusion. If they can maintain some semblance of national order while USA can't, then USA is toast."

Unless the wrath of God completely subdues the United States in a cataclysm for the ages, the Russians and Chinese will never invade and hold onto the Lower 48 for any period of time to make it worth it. The USA will probably go through a period of civil violence that culminates in an invasion by Russia and China, whereby the country will unite and fight them off.

"And I think Americans will understand this, and not really allow USA to degenerate to that point, but will rather opt for the Eternal Jackboot just because it's their own jackboot, and not a Russky or Chink one."

Americans will not go for a dictator either. The slogan of "No King but King Jesus" means we have no all-powerful ruler except for God. A dictator may arise, but that merely gives angry Southrons and Copperheads a target and if there's one thing both groups like doing it's killing bad guys, be they dictatorial governors in the Glorious Revolution, redcoats in the American Revolution, federals in the Civil War, and Nazis in World War II.

Anonymous Sheila May 27, 2015 12:14 PM  

I read the online chapters and found it entertaining, but parts of it struck me as unrealistic, perhaps reflecting my own biases. I particularly thought that black "leaders" having a come-to-God-moment and voluntarily separating their race to do agricultural work and heal their violent, sadistic souls was highly improbable.

I've been reading a fair amount of dystopian/TEOTWAWKI/prepper novels lately (of varying quality). Those positing Russian involvement or invasion seem throwbacks. Quite a few depict China occupying the west coast up to British Columbia, welcomed by and easily integrating all the Han emigres now living there. One feature or bug most seem to share is bad guys in the form of tattooed, White biker drug dealers grabbing women to use as sex slaves. While I'll readily admit women's physical and mental weaknesses and men's stronger sex drive, I'd anticipate more traditional sex roles naturally evolving and women needing men's protection. Somehow I don't see a large number of White men immediately focusing on gang rape in the event of a collapse.

Blogger Marissa May 27, 2015 12:34 PM  

Mostly, but then there's poor Giles Corey "Pressed to Death, Sept. 19, 1692" according to his tombstone...

You know, I thought about sharing this heartwarming form of execution, knowing the type of people who populate this site, but I thought I wouldn't need to, because someone else would bring it up.

The slogan of "No King but King Jesus" means we have no all-powerful ruler except for God.

Never heard this slogan before - where did it originate?

Anonymous Stilicho 0066 May 27, 2015 12:51 PM  

Usually in the form of "No king but Jesus", it is usually attributed as a Revolutionary War slogan (sometimes attributed to John Adams, but there is some doubt on this). Most often attributed to Scots-Irish Presbyterians. I've also seen it attributed as a slogan of earlier English separatists of various flavors that was adopted by American colonists.

Blogger Bluntobj Winz May 27, 2015 1:16 PM  

I purchased the kindle edition, and frankly the more disturbing material is in the last third of the book. The demise of Cascadia was chilling to me, perhaps because I live in the area, but more in that I can see the idiots on the coast trotting down this path, and it would be very unpleasant to try to live through (or not).

It was probably the best collapse book I've read since Alas, Babylon.

Blogger David-093 May 27, 2015 1:25 PM  

@Marissa

"Never heard this slogan before - where did it originate? "

It was used by Americans during the time of the American Revolution, but from what I've been reading the sentiment allegedly had it's beginnings in Scotland during the 1600s with the Scottish Convenanters, who were against the idea of divine right of kings. They influenced American thinkers and politicians who said that the American opinion about political authority was, "No king but King Jesus".

Blogger Marissa May 27, 2015 1:40 PM  

Thanks Stilicho and David - very informative.

Blogger MycroftJones May 27, 2015 2:22 PM  

Bought "HISTORY OF STRATEGY" yesterday, as soon as I saw it was in hardcover. I hope the rest of Creveld's and Lind's books are put into print soon.

I was impressed at the reasonable price. $15 for a hardcover? Wow!

However, Amazon is doing something, it says the book is in stock, but shipment is delayed a few days compared to other books I ordered at the same time. Not sure what is going on with that.

Blogger Markku May 27, 2015 3:04 PM  

However, Amazon is doing something, it says the book is in stock, but shipment is delayed a few days compared to other books I ordered at the same time. Not sure what is going on with that.

It has only just become available at the Print-on-demand service. There is no buffer of produced books yet, hence the delay. Currently they are shipped fresh out of the oven.

Blogger Josh May 27, 2015 3:15 PM  

Currently they are shipped fresh out of the oven.

You're printing the books at Auschwitz?

Blogger Markku May 27, 2015 3:17 PM  

We heard there was a lampshade glut, so we got a discount on some nice book cover materials. Don't know what that was about.

Blogger David-093 May 27, 2015 3:39 PM  

"We heard there was a lampshade glut, so we got a discount on some nice book cover materials. Don't know what that was about."

Do you take gold teeth?

Anonymous Jeffrey Quick May 27, 2015 4:26 PM  

"my favorite scene was the rather egregious violation of academic freedom at Dartmouth" Mine too, and I work in academia. Of late, whenever somebody posts a tale of academic insanity, I counter with a link to the free chapter.

Blogger V May 27, 2015 7:27 PM  

I've long said we'll probably go the way of Portugal. Once a world power, now a nice place to visit but mostly irrelevant. Well, out of the various decline examples, that would be the least horrible.

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