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58 - Community Self Defense in a Declining South Africa with K9 Reaper

58 - Community Self Defense in a Declining South Africa with K9 Reaper

(Note: the “free preview” of this episode is the full version, and the full recording is also available for free on Spotify. EXIT meetup invites behind the paywall.)

K9 Reaper is a private security contractor and community safety activist in South Africa.

As a zoomer, he has no memory of the Before Times — but he has had a front-row seat as things have gone from bad to worse, particularly since the 2021 riots. Copper thieves who would have fled the scene with their hand tools five years ago are now firing on first responders with automatic rifles.

The primary vector of state violence in South Africa is a kind of persecution-by-incompetence, in which white South Africans are shut out of the ever-expanding sphere of government investment while their productive efforts are heavily taxed, expropriated, embezzled, and wasted.

The starkest symbol of this process is copper cable theft, in which multibillion-dollar energy infrastructure, painstakingly assembled by highly skilled laborers and engineers over decades, is sabotaged and stripped for a $50 payday at an illegal scrapping camp.

Cable Theft Is Crippling The City's Infrastructure, 59% OFF

As in America, the violence is outsourced via race-baiting propaganda aimed at the criminal underclass. But unlike in the States, South Africans enjoy broad latitude in patrolling their communities and violently subduing criminals — partly because the government needs them to maintain basic order, and partly because the government isn’t really competent to stop them.

K9 Reaper notes that South African private security forces number 2.7 million, by far the largest such industry in the world — dwarfing both the South African police (~150,000) and the standing army (~100,000, including reservists).

As the South African state receded in competence, private security filled the gap in an entirely legal and non-adversarial way, until eventually their role was integrated into regular law enforcement procedure.

This process has unfolded gradually over decades, until one day, despite having no constitutionally guaranteed right to firearms or self defense — and in fact facing extreme racial disprivilege under the law — white South Africans have, in practice, more expansive “2A rights” than Americans.

Ethnic enclaves like Orania also became possible on the same terms: not because the South African government is so tolerant and liberal, but because they simply don’t have the juice to do much about it.

I wouldn’t trade places with them at this point, but it illustrates how declining states leak power, which always presents opportunity.

It can be very depressing to discover that your “constitutional rights” are not self-enforcing. On the other hand, it’s liberating to realize that what matters is the practical question: what are you able to do, and who is going to stop you?

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  • On last Tuesday’s full group call, we discussed preparedness for election shenanigans.

  • This Tuesday we will have a hot seat and status update from one of the guys who quit his job and launched a healthcare startup last year. He used the group to find sales, IT, legal, and fundraising help, and is coming back to share what he has learned so far.

  • Side Hustle Summer is officially on as of June 1. Some of the current hustles: book sales, Twitter monetization, paid writing, a consulting product, an online lead-gen tool. If you’d like to participate, check in with DB in the EXIT chat before the week is out.

  • First planning call for the Grand Canyon hike is this Wednesday night. (Reach out in the chat for details.)

  • Cocktail hour RSVP links for New York City (6/21) and Columbus (7/19) below the paywall for subscribers. These are a great opportunity to meet your local guys and see if the full group is a good fit for you. Invites to the members-only portion of the meetup will be sent via email.

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