Lanterns: Counterpoints: My Money's On New York


Counterpoints: My Money's On New York

This is my response to fellow Lanterneer, Joshua Nybo.  Read his column here.

Armchair Generaling 

We’ve all heard the derogatory term.  It’s used to describe someone who’s talking about something they don’t really know much about. Whether it’s military matters or football, and armchair quarterbacking. It all amounts to the same thing—  an amateur’s assessment of a situation. We often don’t put much stock in it, and, in fact, a lot of us laugh it off as foolhardy.

But aren’t we the same armchair generals and quarterbacks that elected the President? 

Well, those who voted for him anyway. And if my Facebook feed and friends opinions are anything to go by, there’s a lot of folks who didn’t, even middle and right of the aisle. In fact, liberals, and the left, aside, some of the most visceral hatred of the President has come from those on the Right. 

Personally, I probably know about as much, if less, than the next man, and the very best I’ve heard from my New York friends is usually a very grudging respect for his business acumen. But that’s as far as they’ll go, as they’re always quick to remind me what a slimeball he really is. But again, when dealing with a world full of madmen gassing their own people, shrewd and manipulative statesmen, crooked politicians, conniving schemers, the good, bad, and ugly, the whole shebang, that seems to be unimportant.  

I’d say a smart man's money could be well spent laying it on the New York slimeball. 

I’ve been to New York twice, and it scared the shit out of me both times. It’s big. It’s loud. It’s a teeming mass of busy people doing busy things—  all the time, in a concrete jungle the size of a small European country. There are mobsters, real mobsters, not like Joe Pesci, haha funny, do I amuse you gangsters, but like real hardcore, shoot your ass dead in your car and take your cannoli mobsters. There are crazy people there, and they all like to yell at everybody for any reason—  happy, or sad, or mad—  you name it. “ You’re blocking the box you f$ckin a$$hole! Don’t block the BOX!” (ask a New Yorker, they’ll tell you. Don’t block the box. it’s bad if you do). 

I barked at people when I was there just so they wouldn’t get too close. 

My point is that if a fellow could thrive there and become a prosperous millionaire businessman who could deal with all that and call it home, that’s just the man for the job of undoing eight years of Obama’s damaging legacy of traipsing around the world bowing, apologizing for America, and kissing the hem of every garment of every foreign potentate he could find while enacting unconstitutional policies that undermine the very principles this country was founded on. 

I don’t imagine New Yorkers of any kind kiss anybody’s ass. 

Of course, his detractors say that’s exactly what they’re afraid of and that his brashness will get us into another war where everybody will start lobbing nukes at each other. They like to toss around words like stupid, dumb, and ignorant. Again, I’d think you don’t build a fortune in New York by being stupid, dumb, or ignorant. You can have plenty of moral turpitude (corruption) and Trump may well have, and indeed it might even be a requirement to making those millions in New York. I don’t know. 

But stupid and dumb are not words I’d attach to the man. My guess is he’s probably a pretty shrewd judge of character who knows how to play the game, and if the game involves unquestionably evil third world dictatorial regimes, then I might even believe some moral turpitude could have fair grounds for being viewed as a virtue. 

Now granted, I am not some expert at navigating foreign diplomatic relations with the likes of China, Russia, or North Korea, but I have stayed alive through every dark alleyway I have ever walked in every foreign port I’ve ever been in. ( I was a sailor for some number of years, so I’ve walked a few of them.) If there’s one thing I know about human nature, it’s that violence is a necessity, and even more so, the threat of violence worked wonders in keeping me in one piece.  I know that America possesses the greatest military force on the face of the earth. That’s a fact.  I know that in every instance in which America has possessed the leadership willing to use that force, our enemies have backed off. Nobody wants a war with America with unleashed Marines and Seals hitting their beaches, Army paratroopers in their backyards, Air Force warthogs tearing up their homes, Navy subs sinking their ships, kind of war. 

We’ve never lost that kind of war. Ever. We excel at it. And the world knows it. 


If you don’t believe me, then try running your own little neighborhood geopolitical experiment. Take a walk down a dark alley with a handful of surly looking types and see what happens when you negotiate from a position of weakness vs. one of strength.  Try pleading your case and negotiating with them, and if you survive, and then the next time, pull out your Smith and Wesson and see what kind of result you have.  It’s worked for me every time, like a charm. But then again I’m no expert. 

If I was a betting man, I’d put my money on the New York slimeball. I love New York, but it scared the crap out of me. And maybe that was the point. Nobody messes with New York. 

Written by Ben Coleman

Freelance author, historian and Navy veteran. Find him at

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