Summary: It’s the sixth anniversary of the FM website, and so time to review the point of the operation — goals, progress, and lessons learned. Pitch into the comments to say what we’re doing right and wrong — or if we’re accomplishing anything.
- Who are we?
- Purpose of the project
- What makes us different?
- How long can we continue?
- For More Information
(1) Who are we?
Six years ago the FM website opened for business. We moved to here 4 years of articles from Defense and the National Interest. Since then the FM website has seen …
- 2,513 posts,
- 30,131 comments,
- almost 4.5 million pageviews,
- with a record of 26,179 hits on 10 July 2013.
These 2500 articles were written by this company of authors. Plus 334 posts by guest authors, and dozens of articles reposted here with the generous permission of major periodicals — most especially the Marine Corps Gazette, the London Review of Books, and New York Review of Books.
(2) Purpose of the project
We tottered along for two years doing cold analysis about geopolitics, broadly defined, from an American perspective. Until December 2009, when it became clear that America’s trendlines had taken an alarming downward turn. The result: Re-envisioning the FM website, becoming soldiers in the war for American’s future. Since then we — authors and commenters — have attempted to diagnose the problems with the Republic’s political machinery and devise solutions (see these posts).
How far have we come? Not far. But the longest journey begins with …
(3) What makes the FM website special?
“I now wish to make the personal acknowledgment that you were right, and I was wrong.”
— Letter by Abraham Lincoln to Grant, 13 July 1863
These are our distinguishing characteristics:
- tracking and publicly posting mistakes and failed predictions (see the list here),
- mostly critical comments, with a high fraction of hostile comments,
- rarest of all — a policy of apologizing for errors, and
- a remarkable record of forecasting (see the list of successes here),
I believe the last (the good record results from the first three factors, working together.
People posting critical comments make a valuable contribution to the FM website. They have pointed out many errors of fact and reasoning. They’ve sharpened my views, and forced me to upgrade my analytical skills and level of supporting evidence I give. I do not enjoy reading them, or writing responses. But swords do not enjoy getting heating, hammered, and quenched — repeatedly.
The comments are littered with complaints about harsh treatment. Often deserved. There are very very few admissions of mistakes (except by me), and almost no apologies for attacks proven to be false. It seems most people agrees with “Major Scarlet” that apologies — even admissions of error — show weakness. The results of the FM website suggest that they are wrong; it’s a source of strength.
(4) How long can we continue?
Our mad foreign wars, and the doomed-to-fail grand strategy of which they were the expression — drove me and many others to start writing. These wars’s exhaustion and eventual end in defeat burned off that energy. The slow relentless decay of the Republic provides ample new material to write about, but the apparent hopelessness of the Reform America project discourages effort.
Posts on the FM website usually run 1,000 to 2,000 words, and take several hours to write. Responding to comments takes more time (the comments on the FM website are of extraordinary length and quality, compared with the usual internet standard). The Fabiusmaximus01 Twitter feed provides updates.
Your support is appreciated. By reading. By posting comments. By recommending us to your friends. And, of course, by making donations.
(5) For More Information about the FM website
- About the FM website
- Predictions revisited – how do they look now?
- Smackdowns – corrections & rebuttals to FM posts
- Politics of the FM site: radical leftist reformer or right-wing iconoclast?
- Lessons learned during 2012 from comments on the FM website, 30 December 2012
- What can we learn from visits to the FM website from interesting Internet communities, 31 December 2012
- Why comments have been turned off on the FM website. It’s the same reason others have done so., 13 January 2013
- A look at the record hits, and what they tell us about ourselves, 28 September 2013