By Kurt Saxon
When governments fall, or are too weak to control the outlying
provinces, warlords arise and take over those regions where there is no order.
Throughout the Middle Ages in Europe and England, men little better than
bandit chieftains established their rule over populations too weak to protect
Lest the king bring together his troops and wipe out these bandits, they
often pledged a kind of loose loyalty to the Crown and were given sanction
to keep their territory. The king often granted such titles because the region
was not worth his effort to conquer it. This was Feudalism and the warlords
became titled lords and servants of the king and had the power of life and
death over their subjects.
The warlord part came in because neighboring bandits, or even other sanctioned
lords were a constant threat to the territory. So the warlord had to be fighting
off competitors on a pretty constant basis.
In China, for quite awhile before Sun Yat Sen took over in 1911, that large
country too, was controlled by bandit warlords, often with no sanction from
the weak central government.
Nearly every American Indian chief was a warlord.
With the formation of a strong central government, governors are appointed
or elected. Since they can be recalled by the central government or voted
out of office, they cannot be considered warlords.
Heads of regional National Guard units are the nearest thing we have to warlords.
They are held in readiness to put down civil disturbances, help out in case
of earthquakes, floods, or to bear the brunt of an enemy attack. Even so,
their leaders are not warlords in the actual sense, because they have no
authority over the general populace, except by order of the
Following the collapse of every civilization, warlords have sprung up to
consolidate the territory they inhabited and to fend off neighboring warlords
who wanted more. When our world system dies, Feudalism will again rise to
replace the destroyed or critically weakened central governments.
Upon the collapse of our civilization, due to economic blowout, an overload
of degenerate dependents, or a combination of several factors, each region
will be on its own. Aside from the big cities, which will perish in a burst
of rioting, burning and plague, only the towns will be worth defending and
so what I call warlords will not only be inevitable, but necessary.
It might be commonly supposed that a modern warlord would be the district
military commander. But military people are not qualified to administer local
governments serving their native populaces. They might be used to head the
local National Guard and serve in a purely defensive capacity.
Their main function would be to fend off bands of refugees from the cities.
Such refugees would be plentiful, desperate and, for the most part, useless
to the local economy. Purely military units would be necessary to reroute
them around the town and escort them out of the county. After the initial
fighting off of outsiders, the military types could be assimilated into the
population, since they are used to disciplne and could pitch into any community
You might consider the County Sheriff as the likeliest candidate for warlord,
but he would not qualify. First, he is an elected official. As such, he is
usually corrupt and in any case would not be adequate to administer the needs
of the towns under his jurisdiction. His staff might be excellent but they
are mainly involved in policing the outlying districts and are not familiar
enough with the workings of the towns to administer.
Forget the mayor. Another politician, he is a dingbat by nature, usually
senile, and so crooked he needs his own accountant to keep from cheating
In fact, any elected official should be automatically written off as a choice
for warlord. Politicians have no other goals in life but to get and keep
a place at the public trough. Therefore, they are natural parasites and are
incapable of any gainful or useful employment. This is partly because their
training consists mainly in appealing to the lowest common denominators in
their constituency. In other words, they make their appeals to the average.
As you well know the average voter is a grasping ignoramus who believes the
world owes him a living. So successful politicians are skillful only in telling
the voters what most of them want to hear. Consequently, the most incompetent
and unscrupulous get elected.
I am sure you have listened to our President. As aimless and moronic as is
his political performance, he can give an off-the-cuff speech which projects
hope to the hopeless and intelligence to the pseudo-intellectuals. This shows
political refinement but such is the opposite of true qualifications for
A local politician is so clumsy and obvious that he sounds like Captain Kangaroo
addressing the residents of Sesame Street. The congressman representing my
district is a dumbbell but has turned political degeneracy in an art
In the more extreme category, are militant political groups. The political
militants would be the first to be wiped out by the local militia. Many political
militants fantasize that when the government collapses, the people will clamor
for their bizarre solutions.
As an ex-right wing fanatic, I realize my old comrades and their counterparts
on the left would be lucky to be left alive in any community they tried to
The best choice for warlord would be your local chief of police. In most
cases, he is well trained, efficient, conscientious, courageous and honest.
He generally knows more about the community then any other man in town. He
is also mature enough to establish martial law in the best interests of the
majority of the population.
He could be trusted to appoint the people best able to bring the townsfolk
through the crisis. Furthermore, he would be the most likely to step down
when order was established and delegate authority to those professional people
of merit who could run the town without coercion.
Only the police chief could justly implement the harsh measures a warlord
would have to impose on the populace. Not caring to remain warlord, as would
a politician or military officer, the police chief could establish internal
and external security, regardless of criticism.
Like a surgeon cutting out cancer, a police chief could objectively eliminate
the local parasites. A politician could never kill a degenerate whom he would
later depend upon for votes.
Since austerity would be a fact of life for some time, the local parasites
would have to be destroyed. This would entail rounding up all habitual criminals,
pimps and their whores, sex offenders, long-term able-bodied welfare recipients,
winos and drug addicts, taking them out to the edge of town and killing
There would be no practical reason for letting them survive. To enslave them
would mean appointing guards with better uses to the community. To turn them
loose would only be to inflict the vermin on decent people in other
If this seems harsh, consider; the collapse of world civilization will bring
about such death and suffering that eliminating a town's criminals and assorted
parasitical trash will be easy. Especially, when you consider that the survival
of the good people of the town will be accomplished only through great hardship
and austerity enough without the town's predators and social
The next task of the warlord would be a touchy one, indeed. This would be
the elimination of the town's hopelessly retarded, mentally incompetent,
terminally ill and dependent aged. They will not survive anyway, and prolonging
their lives would be not only a waste of precious resources, but would be
an actual cruelty. Such an unwelcome task would have to be delegated to the
town's most respected physicians, who would give injections to their hopeless
Lest parents and relatives protest on behalf of their loved ones, they would
have the final decision. In such cases, those closest to the useless would
be given sleepy-by pills by the doctors to be administered when their misplaced
altruism was overcome by the reality of the situation.
The warlord's only responsibility in the elimination of the physically and
mentally hopeless, aside from authorizing the program, would be to see that
no food or medicines out of the common stores would be given to the hopeless.
If relatives insisted on preserving such blighted dependents, they must do
so out of their own rations.
In the event of the general recognition of the permanent collapse of
civilization, the populace would panic. The warlord's first duty would be
to station armed personnel in stores holding food, medicines, tools, weapons,
and anything the community would need to survive.
This does not mean the contents of the stores would be confiscated. personal
property is more than a right. It is a necessity. The store owner knows his
inventory and how best to distribute it. Since he had the initiative to
accumulate the supplies, he would most likely be able to get more, if possible.
For these reasons, he must be left in proprietorship. If he is alienated
by having his stock confiscated, he will be unlikely to cooperate in making
or securing more supplies.
Rather than confiscating the stock, it might prove practical to remove it
to a common building more easily defended but with the inventory under the
owner's continued proprietorship. In this way, for instance, all the contents
of all the pharmacies could be removed to a common building and the respective
owners could then cooperate in rationing the drugs and medicines, taking
in exchange barter goods or whatever served as currency during the
Without such a system, stores would be looted of their most attractive contents.
The less attractive wares, and possibly the most useful, would be trampled
After the worthless and hopeless members of the town were disposed of and
the stores, utilities and other town necessities were secured, an individual
census should be taken. Every householder should declare all his belongings.
Again, private property rights must be respected, especially among those
who have stocked up in anticipation of the collapse.
The Survivalists will be the most important people in the region and
consequently, the most supportive of the warlord. Their surplus might also
be stored in common warehouses. But they must not be confiscated and distributed
for the "public good".
The only commodities which should be distributed to the general populace
should be food from the supermarkets. the perishables will have to be distributed
immediately, but with I.O.U. s given to the proprietor by the warlord. The
warlord will, in turn, collect I.O.U. s from the recipients, to be paid for
with work on public projects, especially agriculture.
Since the majority of the town's food supply is brought in from outlying
area, food will be critical. The current supply must be strictly rationed
as no new stock will be brought in. The warlord must appoint agriculturists
to supervise the cultivation of all arable land in the area. Even so, the
Survivalist with a year's supply of food must be allowed to keep it. In turn,
he will not draw on the communal food supply except by trading his surplus
for food items he lacks.
Every citizen should be required to submit a list of his possessions; food,
tools, weapons, etc. Again, nothing must be confiscated, but aside from food,
surplus tools, weapons, etc., should be freely loaned for the common
There is an interesting incident on page 481 of LUCIFER'S HAMMER, by Larry
Niven and Jerry Pournelle. It tells of a farmer who had far more than he
could use and did not report it. He also took the help of those around him
without meaning to help them in return. They took everything he had and drove
him out. He took his wife and kids out and was probably eaten by the roving
cannibals. He deserved it.
So a warlord must be an administrator, judge, fighter, tactician and a sincere
protector of his charges. The idea of a warlord being a tyrant is absurd
in America. There will be enough killing to last everyone a lifetime without
the warlord turning on his own. That is why only the most responsible and
able should become warlords.
The new warlords will save the culture, if anyone can. Only the local police
chiefs qualify in all areas of such a responsibility. Only the police chief
can properly choose townsmen to be deputized to help defend the region. And
he can well realize that his deputies will eliminate him if he turns on the
Supporting your local police is not simply a slogan. There will come a time,
and soon, when your local police chief might save you and everything you
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