Those Loaded With Guns and Those Who Dig: Naming the second-handers

Since I was about 19 I have kept volumes and volumes of notes about my observations regarding life as it truly is.  I have done that for over 25 years now and the process has migrated from little notebooks that family members would buy my for Christmas and birthdays, to loose-leaf notebook paper in binders written upon front and back and down across the margins haphazardly in some situations to complete a thought without having to turn the paper over.  That process has evolved of course into what I share daily here at Overmanwarrior’s Wisdom.  Of course to outsiders—people who do not know me, they continue to be baffled as to why I do all this.  After the Lakota election many of the unionized workers happy to have been given a tax increase by the community sent me a barrage of comments letting me know that all my work over the last three years has been fruitless—since they won the money anyway. This is because of their small mindedness that they think this way, and points to a resolution which will be concluded at the climax of this article.  A written body of work such as what I publish here may only have a 1% chance of changing an election.  That falls within the margin of victory for a candidate like Mark Welsh and Cathy Stoker in West Chester, or the Lakota levy which was a few hundred votes short out of thousands going up against an energized group of levy addicts.  The number goes up to perhaps 5% if the media type is popular and well-received such as The National Enquirer, People Magazine, or some other populous enterprise.  On the night of the election, Overmanwarrior’s Wisdom saw 2000 hits that evening above the daily normal of 400 to 500.  The spike was because the normally placid intellectual thinkers wanted somebody to tell them how to vote—so they looked to my blog to help them make a decision.  In an election that had about 26,000 votes cast, my blog probably changed the vote of about 300 people, most of the rest of that 2000 were from the other side nervous about their results and wondering what I was saying.

My entire adult life I have yearned to observe, think, and to write these things down in the solitude of my own mind.  Most of the notes I made over the years repeat themselves over and over again—or they lack proper conclusions.  This is because I was working things out.  By the time I started this blog, I had most of the answers to everything in life—because I had spent a quarter century getting those answers.  My personal education could not come from orthodox sources but came from a mind on fire not looking for a way to douse the flames, but to throw more logs on to make it roar.  During my orthodox education, which was as extensive as anyone’s, I noticed and wrote about as a young twenty year old, that education institutions seemed more intent to put out the fire of my mind, than to feed it, so I rebelled against that notion with a fury.  Even back then while most people my age were focused on getting drunk and “partying” I was sitting late at night at Waffle Houses and Perkins restaurants with my notebooks open writing till four and five in the morning.

My Cliffhanger character from my novel The Symposium of Justice was autobiographical, just for the record.  The character I created for Tail of the Dragon was a version of that which had accepted a degree of submission in his life until he reached a breaking point.  Cliffhanger never reached a point like that—which many publishers and book review professionals have told me is “unrelateable” to the general public.  Cliffhanger is intellectually unreachable for most people, and I know that—I know why, how, and for how long and I’m OK with it—because it’s autobiographical.  I wrote Tail of the Dragon to show that I could come off my personal mountain and speak the language of everyone else, but even then, Fletcher Finnegan was beyond the reach of most.  Not because he wasn’t a compelling character full of motivation, but it’s what drives that motivation that begins the difficulty.

If over the last year you invited me for a drink and I went, I must really, really like you—and for the record one person asked me about 6 times and I did go twice—and they know who they are.   I struggle to find time to be with all the people who want some of my attention.  I simply can’t do it—I don’t have the time.  I reflected at my mother’s Thanksgiving Day meal that they only live about 2 miles from my home, yet I only saw them 3 times the entire duration of 2013.  The reason is not that I don’t care about them, but they are on a different set of tracks that don’t intersect with mine very often.  Typically, I read, write, and think for 19-20 hours per day, every day.  Thinking is my hobby, and is as important to me as breathing.  Climates where people are busy trying to forget are not conducive to the thinking I enjoy doing, so I turn down social invitations nearly 95% of the time.  Out of all the invites, I give in one or two times a year just to show people who I respect their friendships—but at home are my stacks and stacks of books, notes and a view of the woods that is the focus of much contemplation—and there’s no place else that I’d rather be.

One of my favorite all time movies is The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, and in that film Clint Eastwood says, “In this world there are two kinds of people my friend, those with loaded guns, and those who dig—you dig.”  There is a truth to that statement that extends to a logic bedded deep in our human hearts and minds—it permeates time and space through many cultural manifestations and made that movie not just a good one—but a great one.  But why, and how—it was a question that started me on this quest beginning at age 19.  Instead of learning to shoot like Clint Eastwood did in that film, the quest became an intellectual one leading to hours and hours of solitary confinement—hours of practicing bullwhips in my back yard putting out candles with a crack, and thinking about why some men have guns while others are always carrying shovels.  In that answer was the solution as to why communism will never work, why economies rise and fall, and why some people are smart while others are stupid.

My purpose for writing this blog is not for those who carry shovels and dig—the media types who do what their editors tell them to, or to the public education employees who have had their intellectual curiosity extinguished in exchange for a stolen pay check paid for by tax payers.  I don’t write it for the typical Entertainment Tonight viewer who is only concerned about gossip and nonsense.  I don’t even write it to win elections—although I often have my hopes and endorse candidates and ideals occasionally.  I share my notes with the general public now instead of scattered notes written down everywhere just to capture thoughts as I think them—because I am intellectually reloading the guns of those who have them—metaphorically speaking.  I know who reads here, and most of them are leaders in powerful places who shape policy.  Some of them are Supreme Court members—you know who you are, they are powerful national politicians, they are local politicians they are leaders of political activism, they run business, they run media and all of them are shackled by their social roles to express the things I do, which they also feel.  What they all share in common is that they tend to be leaders—not followers—they carry guns, not shovels.

Clint Eastwood’s line in that famous movie is another way of articulating Pirsig’s train theory—there are some people who are on the cutting edge, and some who are content to remain in the caboose.  CLICK HERE TO REVIEW.  But to say things another way—a more appropriate way is to say that some people are meant to be leaders and are others second-handers leading democracies to always fail as a stable form of government always slipping into an abyss of collectivism if allowed to evolve on their own.  My character of Cliffhanger from The Symposium of Justice is named as such because he is always on the cutting edge, he is at the front of Pirsig’s train.  He pulls society along—they feed off him and his strength.  The conflict occurs when they (society) wish to believe that they guide the train, which they do not.  They are only passengers—or otherwise “second-handers” the way Ayn Rand defined them in her 1943 novel The Fountainhead.  “Whether explicitly or otherwise, the independent man grasps the distinction between the metaphysical and the man-made.  Conformity to the metaphysically given, he understands, is essential to successful action; the man-made may be accepted only if and when it achieves or flows from such conformity.  This kind of individual fulfills the basic requirement of human survival: he knows how–by reference to what absolute—to form his ideas and choose his actions. 

“To the second-hander, by contrast, the man-made—whether rational or irrational, true or false, good or evil—becomes the equivalent of realty.  This kind of individual, having detached himself from the realm of existence, has no standard by which to judge others; he has no way to know whose ideas to follow, whose behavior to copy, whose favor to curry.  Such a person reduces himself to helplessness, the fundamental helplessness of having left his life to the mercy of blind chance.  The result is most people’s desperate need for an authority, religious or secular, who will take over their lives, make their value-judgments, and tell them what to do.  The independent man will refuse any such role, but the worst second-hander of all, the power luster is eager to accept it.  Thereafter, he destroys everyone, including himself.  In other words, people at the back of Pirsig’s train are second-handers and unfit to make leadership decisions because the point of decision-making is at the front of the train where the leaders reside.  And society does not have an abundance of leaders at the front to make decisions.  We do not produce enough of them—and this is a major problem.  The second-hander is the person who spends their lives digging under the threat of those with metaphorical guns.

Barack Obama is a second-hander because he is clearly in the back of the decision-making train and always has been.  His power comes second-hand, through lies, manipulation, coercion and political help.  By the time the train passes a spot of decision-making, it has passed a point where Obama could ever make a correct decision.  Lakota schools and the employees of the last tax increase are second-handers in that they believe that what they instruct in the back of the train can influence the direction of society.  But it is impossible because they are at the back well behind the point of decision-making and can only react to the fate of the train on the track wherever it may go.  Most of the media are second-handers because they build their lives around people like Barack Obama, or public schools like Lakota—so they lack any real authority to report how decisions should be made, they can only report what they observe as the train moves down the tracks unable to lead society in any proper direction.  No amount of study can change this nature—no doctorate degree, no level of government sanctioned authority can change these metaphysical laws, they are what they are.  When society holds elections in a democracy, the ballots are cast at the back of the train, not the front—the perception of the elections are shaped entirely by second-handers.  Leaders are not miraculously produced as a result—which is why people are nearly always disappointed by-election results, even if their candidate wins.

What I write here and share as my personal notes in blog form are intended for the type of people who wish to be at the front of the train, and that is typically who reads most often and diligently.  Decisions are made at this point, not in the democracy at the back where those with shovels “dig.”  Those with guns and not afraid to use them have to know where to shoot, and at what—so they must be at the front of the train where they can see.  Everyone else digs in the back letting others make decisions for their lives because they fear the responsibility to do it on their own.

I have never had any desire to be at the back of the train—never one day in my entire life.  I’ve went back there a few times just to see what all the fuss is about only to return to the front out of sheer disgust.  When people provide invites to socialize—those events are always in the back of the train and while there, I cannot see what’s coming down the tracks—and I don’t enjoy that position.  I like to be not just on the front of the train, but hanging over the edge of the front watching the moving tracks rolling by underneath.  I like to be at the furthest point forward that is humanly possible and it doesn’t come from conversations with second-handers.  I do not write these millions upon millions of words to get rich off of appealing to the masses—the second-handers.  The intent is to share my notes with the leaders-the people inclined to sit at the front and make decisions well before anyone else is aware that a decision needs to be made.  Like Clint Eastwood said about guns and digging—the proper way to explain the same metaphor is to state that there are two kinds of people, those who sit at the front of the train and are leaders, and those who simply ride that train, the second-handers.  In a society it takes both to make things work, but it is important to understand that democracy does not work—a society cannot survive if it is run by second-handers.  It must be run by leaders—and this is the point of my many words, notes and future articles.  Second-handers will call these words rants, they will call them “attention grabbers,” they will call them “politically threatening” but they will all be wrong.  They are simply revealing their motives for doing things second-handed, and cannot understand life at the front of the train.  Their opinions do not matter because by the time they make a decision the ability to change directions has already passed—so all their statements constitute noise and nothing more.  I am not concerned about their noise.  I am concerned with what’s coming down the tracks and conversing with those who crave the front of the train away from the second-handers at the back.

With that in mind, I think it is time to start talking more about what’s coming down the tracks instead of all the stupid decisions that weren’t made at important junctures because second-handers through democratic authority gained the ability to lead—to their own peril and many others.  In the future, this will be the direction taken at Overmanwarrior’s Wisdom.  We know now how we arrived at where we are.  We know who made the dumb decisions and why.  Now we have to distinguish ourselves from them and divide the train up properly into who has the guns and who has the shovels—or more philosophically proper—who has leadership and who are the second-handers.  It is time to let the second-handers know what they are and to shove them out-of-the-way so that we can right our train back on the correct track and get moving in the proper direction.  And that job requires an understanding of what’s coming—which is the summation of my twenty-five years of notes which has given me a map of where we need to go.  So it’s time to use it.  I do not care about the squawks of the second-handers, their protests, their opinions, their cries for help, or their desire for comfort.  Nothing they say will help—it’s just noise in the background as the train barrels down the tracks.  I don’t even care to sell them souvenirs on the journey because that requires interaction with them, and I can’t stand these days to do even that.  Leadership is all that matters and seeing what’s coming before we get to a point of being beyond where decisions no longer matter.   That is where all the notes, the reading, and writing are intended to go, and where my focus will reside.  If it makes the second-handers angry, so be it.  Instead of calling them all the names which is the result of their social position, like Marxists, socialists, progressives, communists, school teachers—etc, I think it’s time to let them know their true place on the train—and the proper name of their kind.  As Clint Eastwood said, there are those with guns and those who dig.  Rich Hoffman says, “there are those who are “cliffhanger’s” hanging over the front of the train on its perilous journey, and those who are second-handers who sit in the back and are victims to wherever the train goes.”  My effort goes to those at the front of the train—as those in the back are only capable of observing the world as it goes by.

Rich Hoffman