Location: Shanghai, China
Once upon a time, I was a self-exiled veteran.
Every day, I hurt myself and others as I practiced destructive habits I developed upon returning from Iraq.
One day, everything changed: I remembered that my great joys in life were mastering skills, conquering challenges, and connecting with honorable people.
Because of that, I relearned to see every “problem” that life put in front of me as an opportunity for betterment.
Because of that, I regained control of my situation, moved beyond society’s programming, and expanded my circle of positive influence.
Until finally, I am doing work that I love, in a thought provoking part of the world, for people who need and appreciate what I produce for them.
Veterans Are Not Victims
Last month, around the time of Veterans Day, there were many nice media pieces around the topic of veterans.
It’s great to be socially, politically, and economically active in the name of veterans.
Veterans are, after all, the only “special interest” group whose members took an oath to fight, kill, and die for their countrymen.
With that said, there is a great crisis brewing in civilization.
Within this crisis, there are threats and opportunities.
VA disability ratings and Wounded Warrior Projects and “22 suicides a month” awareness events are luxuries of living in America, a properly functioning western nation.
Luxuries of that sort serve a purpose: They maintain the faith of the men and women who are willing to put their lives on the line.
Many countries do much less for the veterans whose politicians sent them off to wage war.
There is no shortage of Americans in the world who feel the need to complain about their country, but I am not one of them.
American society does a lot to help combat veterans going through problems to feel well again.
Veterans have given a lot, and deserve to be given the opportunity to feel well.
If veterans screw up, they deserve to be given the benefit of the doubt.
They deserve not only second chances, they also deserve third and fourth chances. They’ve earned it.
However, listen here veterans, because I care for you and I am one of you!
Once You are Feeling Well Again, You Need to Keep Fighting
You need to do more.
You are not spent.
You are not done.
You are not an empty shell casing.
You are blood.
You are sweat.
You are tears.
You are the men you fought for, the men you fought with, and the men who died fighting alongside you.
Like the Spartans, Marcus Aurelius’ legions, and those brave men who destroyed America’s enemies in World War II, you are a warrior!
You are that which built this country, that has the luxury of giving you VA ratings and Wounded Warrior Projects and “22 suicides a month” awareness events.
We learned in the military that our survival depended on our ability to improvise, adapt, and overcome.
A shark dies if it stops swimming. And a warrior dies if he stops improvising, adapting, and overcoming.
We learned in the military that we have nothing without the strength, courage, mastery, and honor that make anything else possible.
The reason these martial values make all other American values possible is simple: Without these values, our fighting units would be dead shortly after moving into a combat zone.
A properly functioning society only exists because of these fighting units that we are able to put in front of people who wish to slaughter everything we love.
When The Metal Hits the Meat, There Is No Time For Bullshitting
Those same martial values that make our American society of luxury possible are the same values that are constantly under attack in modern American society.
Often the social, political, and business leaders with the “best intentions” for America are the ones who do the most to erode, cheapen, and destroy those values which make their job possible.
Professors who denounce violence are only able to hold such a lofty position because of the violence of so many men before them. And because of the violence of men protecting them right now.
America, and much of the rest of the civilized world, has become a place that seems to apologize for its own existence.
I’m writing to inform you that your enemies are laughing at you.
Reality is harsh, and over a long enough time period, it punishes flowery values that aren’t backed up with martial value.
They Want to Eat Your Lunch
In a world without someone else to step in, do you know what happens to people who go about life apologizing for their existence?
The people they apologize to kill them, then they take their belongings and enslave their loved ones.
This reality may have changed for the average American, but it hasn’t changed for many other people on this earth, and they are hungry.
Protect What’s Yours
America has become a place where the cowardly, incompetent, and flamboyantly dishonorable are proud to make demands upon you.
After they make demands upon you, they are happy to scream in your face that you are still the one who is in the wrong for being everything that they are not, and you should give them some more.
America’s government is doing less and less for you, and more and more for those people.
If this continues, America (a country whose founding principles are intellectual, political, and spiritual freedom) will burn to ashes.
Mark my words.
The people who are best suited to take America back from her enemies are the same people who were willing to die for her.
I Know the War Was Hard, and Coming Back Was Harder
Drugs, entertainment, and endless consumption exist for you in abundance.
So do soul sucking situations that will take your testicles and put them on a silver platter as you grow obese.
A temporarily easy life awaits you.
But how long will it be easy?
Until you look at pictures of yourself in a time when you knew who was who, and what was what.
Until you look in the mirror, and stare into your own eyes.
Until you look at the faces of your children.
What awaits you if you allow yourself to give in to addiction, victim-hood, or complacency is much harder than any war against men who hate you.
In This Crisis, There Are Great Threats and Great Opportunities
The great threat is that respectable people drown in the growing sea of snarky, coddled, celebrity worshiping consumers that many powerful institutions now encourage Americans to be.
The great opportunity is that you can be a beacon of shining light for yourself, for your brothers, and for the people you love.
You can stand for sincerity instead of irony, intense realism instead of sheltered idealism, and lead a values driven life instead of being dragged to a consumption driven death.
If you should happen to be killed by a person who hates your people while in the process of living this life, you can do it with the satisfaction of knowing that you went out on your feet instead of your knees.
When this is understood, a threat is little more than an opportunity to rise to the occasion.