Drain the Swamp


Drain the swamp, and you get rid of the malaria, for there is no longer any place for the malaria-bearing mosquito to breed.

-Agnes Maude Royden, Sex and Common Sense (1928)

When I use the pronoun “you” in this article, understand that this is really directed at myself. This point of view seems helpful to me. I don’t pretend to know how to give advice to anyone. Except maybe to Madonna, who should really think about refocusing her target demo because her Peter Pan complex is making many people sad. Just a suggestion.

Is it just me or does living sometimes feels like fighting a war? You have to strategize, negotiate, defend, attack, and the day you let your guard down is the day you perish.

The meanest motherfuckers in the history of war, as far as I’m concerned, were the Mongols. Those guys were pretty learned in The Art of War*. As an example, take this instance of typical Mongolian warfare as retold from the awesome website Cracked (emphasis added by myself):

Under the command of Genghis Khan’s grandson Hulagu, the Mongols went to war with the Persians and the first stop was Baghdad. They captured the city in less than two weeks, looted its mosques and massacred anywhere between 100,000 and 1,000,000 civilians.

All of its prized schools and libraries like the Grand Library of Baghdad? The contents dumped into the Tigris until the river ran black. Its magnificent works of architecture, some of them taking generations to build? Leveled. Its prized irrigation system, the breadbasket of Mesopotamia for thousands of years? Filled in.

What used to be fertile farmland dried up and turned to desert. The city sat as an abandoned ruin for centuries. Baghdad wasn’t just destroyed. The Mongols hit the reset button on everything that made it possible.

To get a sense of the sheer scale of the destruction, realize that to this day, Baghdad has yet to recover these losses from–checking our calendar–760 years ago.

From 5 Ancient Acts of War That Changed the Face of the Earth, Cracked.com

Bad. Ass.

What’s important about this story is that it’s a prime example of counterinsurgency. In any and every war, for any hope of winning you must counter the actions of the enemy. Population control always was and still is a great way to do this. You can do this in a lot of ways. You could try to win the hearts of minds of the people. You could commit mass genocide. Whatev.

So…to make a simple point long, drawn-out, and overly-complicated, I present you with an analogy. If life is a war, you should make happiness and pride your army and law enforcement, and assume depression and doubt are the insurgency.** Keep your army healthy and vast and the insurgents would be mad to attempt any attacks. If they do try anything, you have already equipped yourself to handle them. So handle it. And remember that if you let your guard down, if you cede a territory, if you agree to treaty, you’ve as well as resigned yourself to slaughter and your land will soon become nothing but desert for centuries to come.

    *Though they probably would have raped and impaled me and my entire village for suggesting they were similar to the Chinese in any way.
    **The protagonist could just as easily be morality, sobriety, goodness, productivity, etc., and the antagonist might be evil, complacency, indulgence, inconsistency, etc.

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