I recently read an article by Curtis Yarvin* in which he refers to the Canadian trucker convoy as an incomplete revolution, which is therefore a failed revolution. Yarvin measures the success of a revolution on proof, as like with bourbon, with 200 proof being the best outcome, and anything less being a failed outcome by degrees. He says…
The proof of a revolution is the peak purity of the monopoly of power it obtains. The lower the peak, the faster it falls. While a 180-proof revolution may be fairly stable, anything under 150 proof is very likely to turn out a disaster, and 100 proof has no end but fire. Once the proof gets down to beer levels, the failure, though no less certain, becomes much less dangerous—a mere golf-cart crash.
What else is in there? The typical contaminant in a low-proof revolution is, of course, the old regime. The more residual old-regime power, the more dangerous. If the new regime, at its peak power, only has 75% of total power, it will struggle to hold that 25% diehard remnant faction down. At 50% it has no chance.
Was the Freedom Convoy (FC) a revolution? A revolution is the new replacing the old. The truckers weren’t demanding anything new. They wanted their lives to go back to normal; back to pre-COVID conditions. If anything, the FC was a counter-revolution. If that’s true, then who were they countering against? Justin Trudeau of course. Trudeau is the revolutionary in this story, and he is going for a 200 proof result.
Supporters of the convoy had high hopes that the FC would fix everything and that Trudeau would have no choice but to bow to their demands. Consider this video of a supporter, filmed as the trucks were first gearing up to go to Ottawa (language warning)…
Well, Justin did have a way to end the FC, and it worked very well. I wrote in a previous article that the truckers could not win against Trudeau. The PM of Canada, with a large police force at his command, and millions of dollars at his disposal doesn’t have to worry too much about a bunch of truckers whose funds have been seized by the government.
Yarvin talks about two kinds of political action…
We distinguish two types of political action in the present day: formal and informal. The traditional politics industry is formal action. The emerging, yet timeless, genre of street porn—like the 2020 Floyd riots, the January 6 demonstrations, or the Ottawa truck protest—is informal action.
Formal and informal action have two polarities: pro-government or anti-government.
Most participants in anti-government action do not understand the difference. The result is that they expect formal action to be much more effective than it is, and they expect informal action to be both much more effective and much safer than it is.
The FC expected the formal action of government to listen to them and agree to their demands. They expected their informal action to be 100% successful. They didn’t expect to be trampled by horses or to have their bank accounts frozen.
The proof of the [FC] truck occupation can be measured by the peak power it achieved. At its peak, it was shutting down the national capital and several border crossings, which is certainly not nothing. 0.1 proof may be too low—let’s be generous and call it 0.2. That would be 1/1000 of the way to ruling Canada. Generous? Ok, it’s generous.
One way to get an intuitive sense of very low-powered revolutions is to take the event itself and imagine increasing the proof. What could change?
Clearly, the truck occupation never considered a bid for absolute power. What would that have meant—Justin Trudeau would step down and hand power to Tamara Lich?
Of course, the actual goal of the trucker action was an issue—vaccine/mask mandates. An issue is the weakest kind of goal, because it does not aim at taking power, only at using it—by somehow convincing and/or coercing power to change its mind.
Let’s also not forget that many Canadians did not support the truckers. Many Canadians were calling the FC movement the “freedumb” movement. These Canadians were offended at the truckers for being anti-vaxxers. They were happy when Trudeau brought out the Emergencies Act. “Finally!” they said. Many of these folk believed the rhetoric put out by Trudeau accusing the FC of being racist. They watch the CBC and believe it. So, not only did Trudeau have the support of his fellow Liberal MPs, but he also had the support of a lot of Canadians (perhaps most). He does keep getting re-elected after all.
The truckers never had clear leadership. Who was going to negotiate? Who was going to decide a new strategy? Who was going to declare victory, or failure? Who was going to properly distribute the millions of dollars (or who will)?
[T]he trucker protest has two lessons. The first lesson is that any amount of informal anti-government action, regardless of its traditional practice or even apparent legality, and entirely regardless of the safety of pro-government action, is extremely unsafe and effectively illegal. If, after the action, the old regime is still around to prosecute or persecute you—it certainly will. This is the normal condition of human affairs, so try not to cry a new Mississippi about it.
The second lesson is that ultimately every action against a government is military, and every military action can be measured by a simple yardstick. The action succeeds not if it achieves its nominal mission, but if it alters the balance of power in its own favor. A step that makes you stronger and your enemies weaker is a victory. A step that makes you weaker and your enemies stronger is a defeat.
Not only is it easy to see that the trucker movement was smashed and the Canadian regime gained new, tasty emergency superpowers, as well as experience dealing with this surprising new tactic, there is an excellent yardstick for any informal action. The simple question is: did this action make it easier, or harder, to repeat the same action? If you cannot do the same thing you did last time, you must be weaker than last time. Maybe you gained somewhere else—maybe not.
Trudeau was morally wrong to use the Emergencies Act, but not politically mistaken. He had the power, he used it, and he won. He now has more power than he did before, and he has the truckers to thank for that. He acted against the heart of what Canada was founded to be, but Trudeau doesn’t care about that. He is the revolutionary in this story after all.
Are the truckers stronger now than before? Those who could go home have gone home. The rest? They are scattered. They have no money. They are forgotten by most Canadians….
Thus in one clear way the balance of power has changed in the regime’s favor—before the trucker protest, truckers could do something like the trucker protest. Now they can’t. They would just lose—so they will never even try. That’s how power works.Yarvin
So, in the end I have to agree with Yarvin. The FC movement was not only a failure in that it did not achieve its goals, but it was also a worse failure in that it strengthened its enemy. Trudeau will carry on as per usual. His supporters, while maybe disagreeing with some of his recent actions, will respect him more because of the “strength” he’s shown. I put strength in quotation marks since I think he acted more in childishness than anything. He did play the political game well though.
Perhaps Trudeau will lose the next election to the Conservatives, but will the Conservatives do anything to prevent the government from abusing its power again? I doubt it.
*Click here to read Curtis Yarvin’s full article