Skip to comments."Starving The Monkeys" book review. If you're an Ayn Rand fan...
Posted on 01/30/2010 6:29:11 AM PST by Travis McGee
Starving the Monkeys: Fight Back Smarter is about the struggle of the creative, productive members of society against the parasitic masses that author Tom Baugh refers to as the monkey collective. Monkeys are the looters and moochers who essentially dine from the plates of the producers through the tax and legal structures they have put in place. Baugh contends that the vast army of collectivist monkeys would literally starve if left to their own devices.
Starving the Monkeys refers to Baughs recommendation that the producers strictly limit the monkey diet, by withholding their productive efforts on behalf of the collective. Not by refusing to pay taxes, but by temporarily throttling back on their productive output, and thereby hastening the fall of the monkey collective, which is even now teetering on the brink. He advises retreating into a personal Galts Gulch until after the impending financial and social collapse, and then emerging with ones intellectual and productive tools intact. In the former Soviet Union, beleaguered individualists referred to this as internal emigration. Whether this strategy will be taken up by enough producers to have an effect on the collective remains to be seen, but it reflects the Atlas Shrugged meme that is echoing loudly today, as employers hold off on new hiring for just one example.
Although this is a book designed to help you survive what may be our imminent financial Armageddon, you wont find recommendations on long-term food storage or home defense firearms. Other recent titles cover that ground, such as Fernando Aguirres The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse, and John Rawless How to Survive the End of the World As We Know It. According to Baugh, by far the most critical survival weapon is the one between your ears. This book is all about honing your mental edge to razor sharpness for the purpose of surviving the collapse intact.
Starving the Monkeys is not an easy read. Its extremely challenging, not only to political correctness but to many popular dogmas, including some religious ones. No sacred cow or ox is left ungored. I guarantee that thin-skinned feminists will be highly offended. If you have a low tolerance for seeing your pet beliefs or heroes under attack, this is not the book for you. For example, if you think that Lincoln was our greatest president, you will certainly not enjoy this book, to say the least. I picked the ingrained American devotion to Honest Abe as one example among countless others. Be warned. Baugh comes after numerous cultural and social beliefs and traditions with a steel crowbar, to pry them apart and analyze their weaknesses as he sees them. In fairness, he turns the same critical analysis on himself.
So why should you read such a problematic and often uncomfortable book, by a consistently prickly and acerbic (but always hilarious) writer? Simple. For the equally consistent brilliance of thought displayed. You may disagree vehemently with many of Baughs suppositions (as I certainly did), but you cannot deny the breadth and power of his thinking. The single chapter titled The Idea Factory is worth the entire price of the book, and so are several others.
The Left will immediately trash the book, its author, and its fans as racist - sight unseen, words unread.
Whatever point the author is trying to make, he could have used a better metaphore.
I'm pinging the CW2 list to this book review, because the author is advocating a form of guerrilla civil war, the strategy being the deliberate withholding of the productive output of society's non-parasites. Author Tom Baugh sees the same impending financial and social meltdown that many of us are predicting. His contribution is to suggest that we help to kick the rotting edifice over sooner rather than later. If the "monkey collective" manages to suck the last ounce of liberty and freedom from our country, there may not be enough of a foundation left for rebuilding. Baugh is advocating sort of a "capital strike" against the growing socialist collective. It's a pretty radical book, and many readers will not enjoy some of his positions. I had trouble with some myself. But the book is a welcome edition to any freedom-lover's shelf. I strongly recommend it. If nothing else, it will force you to critically examine some of your own ideas.
If you think the author gives one damn about what the left might do to trash his book, you really have no concept of what the book is about.
The author takes a dirty sharp stick and jams it deep into the left’s eyeblls on every page. He really doesn’t care what the monkey collective thinks.
on the wish list!
From the author’s website, “Monkey, Defined.”
In the context of this book, a monkey is defined as a person that chooses to collectively seize, by unearned means, the property, material or intellectual, temporal or spiritual, of its rightful owner. The means employed may be fiat, guilt, force, theft, fraud, subterfuge, or anything other than a willing and negotiated exchange of value.
In our modern world, each person is given the opportunity to make a conscious choice whether to be monkeys or men.
Conspicuously absent from this definition is race, birth, gender, heritage, cultural influences, or any factor other than that singular deliberate decision.
But men choose to live their lives upon their own merit. It is this very spirit of independence of thought and action that makes men the prey of the monkey collective.
As such, monkeys abandon their claim to the rights of men.
But monkeys could just as easily choose not to, and become men themselves.
Damn the collective and all the collectivists....
Who wrote the actual review? You or Baugh?
I wrote it. It’s Baugh’s book, my review.
The dude just put into a book what most of us here at freereupblic have been saying for the last year. The guy is probably a freeper and most of his ideas probably come from right here. Which is OK by me.
Thanks for the review.
I just bought the book - received it last week. My wife is about half way through and I’ll be reading it after.
I have discussed many times here at FR the concepts of ‘Starve the Beast” and “Leaderless Resistance”. .....
That’s what it’s about. But be warned, the author swings his axe freely. No ox goes ungored.
I don’t think he’s a freeper, but he does share many (not all!) of our usual beliefs.
Folks won’t agree with all of this books, and that is FOR SURE.
But it is extremely well written and thought provoking.
I hope we don’t hit rock bottom as a fictional USA did in ATLAS SHRUGGED. I think we can purge the collectivist parasites from most important institutions of American life by simply limiting the federal government to its constitutional role and giving the right to vote to only those who can pass a simple high school level Civics examination in ENGLISH.
lol, it won't.
We’re producers. We produce. It’s what we do. To not produce is to not be who we are.
Maybe we can change what we produce to something not taxable, but part of why we produce is to provide for our own, and to “starve the monkeys” requires providing less for our own first.
...and that’s how we’re controlled: we produce to provide, and to not produce is to FIRST neglect our dependents. The system will hardly notice one stopped producer, but that person WILL suffer the consequences of stopping.
I have a rare Saturday when I am not working and when I have no real obligations, and it’s cold and rainy outside. I might have to re-read EFAD.
I’m about half way through this book. The challenging of the “culture of niceness” is absolutely correct. His break down on economic development and productivity are insightful. His criticism of religion comes across as horribly arrogant. The other issue I have is the statement: “Grudgers can live in a society and get along fine”, yet he comes across as a “don’t be perfect, please, so I can be pissed off at you, too, you scum bag”. We’re all roadblocks to his productivity, even if we’re self sufficient and leave the guy alone.
If he’d had only the economic discussions, it would have come across as ground breaking communication of evolution of productive technology and why automation leads to more regulation.
The endless paragraphs of why he fired people and others he has worked with make that half of the book real like a “why I hate people” vent.
And cutting out the venting would have made it a good book.
A lot of good ideas from these folks. But they have bete noirs which diminish some of their value.
I note that this books is available for the Kindle ($19.95 seems unusually high for a Kindle copy). I'm considering downloading it.
“But be warned, the author swings his axe freely. No ox goes ungored.”
Good! I hate ungored ox for breakfast.
You can read a good portion of the first chapter on Amazon.
I seriously doubt that.
Therein lies the rub. How are we gonna do that?
....How about restricting the right to vote and hold office to FReepers? Robert Heinlein’s idea was the franchise went only to veterans. The paradox is that only an oligarchy can rule a republic successfully for the long term, but an oligarchy leads to one man rule.
Sounds fine. But how do you see a restriction of voting rights ever actually happening? By what mechanism do you really think that our system will let that happen?
What I am getting at is that you are thinking in terms of "the way things oughta be," and I am sure that many of us would agree with lots of the ideas you have in that regard. But have you given any thought as to how you would actually get any of those ideas implemented? Do you really think that any Reps or Dems or Libertarians or Greens or anyone in power or likely to ever get elected would let you turn around and curtail voting rights?
Same thing with "return the fedgov to its proper constitutional role." Sounds awesome. As with any other idea you have for how things outght to be, how do you see it happening?
I don’t disagree with any of that! It’s a very imperfect book. I almost chucked it out a window a few times. But it is very thought provoking, even in disagreement.
In that area, you are on the same wavelength as the author.
Guerilla warfare can only succeed when those engaged in it have the population on thier side to the point were the people are not just supportive of your ideas but willing to give active aid & assistance .
Sadly we are not quite at that point just yet. Also the greatest weapon that a guerilla has is not a rifle or a machine gun or even a rocket launcher ,it is access to the internet & desk top publishing for the purpose of desiminating information & ideas that the powers that be deem subversive.
Good question. I suppose nothing will really change until man’s basic philosophy changes...
Are we having a Socratic dialogue?
If so, I’m the wrong person for such an exchange. My major was history in college.
If you are waiting around for the "basic philosphy" of the people in charge to change, then I wouldn't hold my breath (I mean, what's their incentive?). The point of this book appears to be to change the strategy of the producers who are not in charge.
Are we having a Socratic dialogue?
No, we are just discussing how you are over-thinking the problem and under-thinking the solution ;-)
My major was history in college.
Then you would probably get a kick out of the historical perspective presented in the book being reviewed in this thread.
I agree with that.
If I recall correctly, that restriction came after a civil war/revolution, instituted by the winners, who were generally veterans.
. If you’re an Ayn Rand fan...
I am, and thanx for the ping.
Thanks for the link.
It’s an aggravating book and can be hard plowing, but it’s so thought provoking that it’s well worth reading.
I finished the book this weekend. Wow!
Tom Baugh can be at once incredibly perceptive, and annoyingly ascerbic, but I found I could easily excuse the latter in order to gain the insight from the former. Once you get what he’s trying to do, you start to appreciate that he’s not pulling punches, nor worried about offending your sensibilities, and all of it helps to prove a couple of points along the way. If it gets in the way for you, think of him as the Dr. House of philosophy.
With his man/monkey analogy, he is able to illustrate many of the problems in our country as we hurtle down the ever steeper slope away from our founding principles. Some of these problems are obvious and well-discussed here on FR. Others are problems that you knew existed, gnawing at the back of your mind, but couldn’t quite identify. Tom makes these clear as well. Even though I agreed with much of Tom’s philosophy going in, I found many of my preconceptions challenged, and I have changed my mind on several positions I formerly held, and I don’t do that easily. You may come to think that his man/monkey construct is less an analogy, and more a semantic slight of hand to get you to think outside your cage. Or not.
I’ll not give away the ending, such as it is, which in true Baugh fashion, is presented with “some assembly required”, or better, “some of your own thought required”. All I will say is that, even if you don’t agree with most of what he says, and yet still ignore his warnings and make it through, you can’t find much fault with the bulk of his recommendations for self-improvement. Those alone are worth the read.
The print is a bit tiny for older eyes, making the book look shorter than it is until you start into it. There are many referenced works which the author expects you to read or have read - some of which are necessary to fully understand the following sections of the book. These are all on the website if you want to pre-read any of them.
This thread is also on the site as a reference.
I found this book to be life changing. Having spent most of my life shovelling bananas at monkeys, I came to some of the same conclusions, and made some progress in the direction Tom suggests. He took me the rest of the way in comprehension and illuminated a good part of the path ahead for me. Knowing in advance, I’d have paid many times more for his book than he charged, and how often can you say that?
That’s a great review, and I agree with you wholeheartedly.
Have you posted it on Amazon?
I can tell you, fresh Amazon reviews are a big help and also a morale booster for an author.
Thanks for your kind words.
I’ve never posted a review on Amazon, but I’ll look into it. Do you have to have bought the book through them? I got mine off Tom’s site.
If you ever bought anything via Amazon and have an account existing there, you can post a review. Even if you didn’t buy that book or product from Amazon.
Good deal. We riters got to stick together.
I think that his criticism is less about religion than it is about the Ponzi scheme that too many of its imnterpreters turn it into for fun and prophet. His advice is consistent: cut out the middleman. My advice is to seek spiritual sovereignty rather than spitirual slavery.
The three-legged stool of understanding is held up by history, languages, and mathematics. Equipped with these three you can learn anything you want to learn. But if you lack any one of them you are just another ignorant peasant with dung on your boots.
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
-Lazarus Long, Time Enough For Love
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.