This is a book with a very specific target audience in mind and I’m always sort-of-hesitant to share my mind on these books because there is a lot to explain to even get to the good stuff (the message of the book itself). So, I can say this with confidence: If you are not neck deep in libertarian right wing-anarchist (pro-private property) philosophy, this is one of those books that won’t make sense to you. I think I’ve excluded a big enough chunk so I don’t have to do extra work for this book review.
“A surprisingly large number of people in modern societies are in favor of the redistribution of property, sometimes knowingly and sometimes merely because they regard the rules of the game more than morals of the game: they see redistribution as the way of the world and work to get “their share”
Still here? Good.
The Second Realm is a book, as the title suggests, about how to approach living in a world with a state that you are actively against and a control system that is working against you. The booklet isn’t big in the page number department, but huge in the message equivalent.
In a sense though, there are some click-bait tactics in regards to the title, because if I’m buying a product called “strategy” I’m expecting some sort of layout or detailed plan. The “this is what we are doing and here is the blueprints” kind of deal. I get that when you are living in the way that the main author, Smuggler, supposedly are doing you can’t spill out all your beans on the table and not get caught. “Philosophy” would be a more appropriate title, though.
To me, that is where the strength of this booklet is, in the philosophical department. This passage from the Second Realm is an excellent example:
“It is necessary to understand that the state and the systems of the world are not spatial. Though the state claims control, the state itself cannot occupy any of it, since it is not a physical entity. It is a social concept of control. The only way the state can interact with the spatial is through agents and proponents, as well as anyone conditioned to represent or call for it”
The authors sweep us through complex concepts like tradecraft, security establishments, access control, drop boxes and hidden stashes for trades, without really going to deep into the specifics and asks the reader to, through a touch of guidance, make what you want out of it. It is a very neutral stance on the subject of detaching you from the control system that the government is (if you think about it, the state is propagandized as for you, but there are more instances of what it’s against than for).
There are some interesting points about the difference between spatial contra institutional counter-measures and since every piece of counter-measures presented in the book is a microcosm itself in the term of skill needed to actually do them, the author(s) choose to leave it to the reader to explore the different avenues themselves and see where they can contribute.
That is a practical approach I can appreciate, but questions the need for the book itself, other than as sort of a red-pill. Which doesn’t work itself, because you need to be onboard with the idea in the first place and the book itself doesn’t give you that red pill, in my humble opinion. I got more out of reading works like Karl Hess’s “Community Technology” and that book didn’t ask me to use any new terms like the second realm.
I agree with the premise of the book and what it entails but for us old-timers its nothing new or revolutionary in its content. It isn’t a waste of time to have read it, it’s neutral. To make a comparison, its similar to look at an inspirational fitness video before working out – It won’t give you something new, but its entertainment and that is worth something – but it’s not revolutionary.